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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 25, 2009

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

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News & Resources
* Fishermen Create Seafood CSA
* Researchers Evaluate No-till Production for Carbon Sequestration
* Online Training for Food Safety and Marketing of Local Foods
* New Meat Marketing Resources Available
* Video Series to Help Beginning Farmers
* Researchers Study Biomass Crops

Funding Opportunities
* New Ranch Network Grant
* Pennsylvania Dairy Business Budgeting Grant
* Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

Coming Events
* Hydroponic Growers Conference
* Eat Local Expo
* Illinois Farmers Market Conference

News & Resources

Fishermen Create Seafood CSA
Fishermen in Maine have created Port Clyde Fresh Catch, which is a community-supported fishery (CSF). The Boston Globe reports participants sign up, pay a lump sum for the season, then receive a weekly share of seafood caught by the members of the Midcoast Fishermen's Cooperative. CSFs work in much the same way for fishermen as CSAs (community-supported agriculture) do for farmers, with many of the same benefits. Consumers get the freshest local food, and the money goes straight to producers, with no middleman.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Community Supported Agriculture

Researchers Evaluate No-till Production for Carbon Sequestration
No-till is recognized globally as an ideal means of conserving soil and water while also storing soil carbon, but the agricultural practice may not be applicable under all environmental conditions. Ohio State University soil scientists measured carbon levels in no-till fields throughout seven states and found that soil texture, moisture, temperature, and terrain parameters affected the amount of carbon stored on the soil surface. "The message here is that no-till is not applicable everywhere as a means of practicing carbon sequestration. There are situations where other carbon sequestration methods would be more effective," said Rattan Lal, a soil scientist with Ohio State's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Agriculture, Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration

Online Training For Food Safety and Marketing of Local Foods
A South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service Web site offers online training in food safety and marketing strategies for foods that are grown and marketed locally. The training is a self-paced study that provides content along with follow-up questions to assess what participants have learned. One module addresses critical safe food handling practices from planting to market, and the other concentrates on the organization of a farmers market. Anyone interested in learning more about safely growing, producing and harvesting fruits and vegetables and organizing local farmers markets can benefit from the information.

New Meat Marketing Resources Available
The New York Small Farms Livestock Processing Work Team announced two new publications. Meat and Poultry at the Market: What a Farmers' Market Manager Needs to Know and Meat and Poultry at the Market: What a Farmer Needs to Know cover many specific details on what is required of farmers in order to sell at the farmers' market.

Video Series to Help Beginning Farmers
The New York Beginning Farmer Project, led by a team of Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators in partnership with the Cornell Small Farms Program has released a new video series. The "Voices of Experience" series features experienced farmers and their advice to beginning farmers. Topics covered include setting goals, choosing an enterprise, and profitability.

Researchers Study Biomass Crops
On the University of Illinois South Farms, 320 acres are devoted to the largest biofuels research farm in the U.S., growing crops that could be used to produce renewable energy. Last year the farm planted miscanthus, switchgrass, corn, and restored prairie as bioenergy crops. The goal is to compare insect and disease challenges, environmental benefits, economic opportunities and potential energy per acre of each. Long term, the Energy Farm will conduct research projects on many more potential biofuel crops reports Illinois Ag Connection.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Switchgrass as a Bioenergy Crop

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

New Ranch Network Grant
The New Ranch Network Small Grants Program provides assistance to landowners, associations and communities in making changes through collaboration. The project or activity must involve Forest Service permittees or Forest Service lands, or involve water related projects east of the Rio Grande in NM or TX. Grants range in size from $1,000 to $5,000.

Pennsylvania Dairy Business Budgeting Grant
To assist dairy farms struggling to manage cash flow in a cash-negative milk sales environment, the Center for Dairy Excellence is offering forty $1,500 “Cash Projection and Business Budgeting” grants. The grants were made available as an initiative of the Pennsylvania Dairy Task Force’s Business Management Committee. Any Pennsylvania dairy farm that is not already doing comprehensive cash projection and business budgeting can apply to receive the grants.
Proposals are due May 1, 2009.

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) provides resources to support the development of education, outreach, curricula, workshops, educational teams, training, and technical assistance programs to assist beginning farmers and ranchers in the United States and its territories in entering, establishing, building and managing successful farm and ranch enterprises. This program will also provide a cooperative agreement to an online electronic and library clearinghouse to provide associated support to individually funded projects, educational enhancement projects and the overall BFRDP program.
Proposals are due May 13, 2009.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Hydroponic Grower's Conference
April 2-4, 2009
Dover, Delaware

Through a series of specifically-focused seminar tracks, this 25th anniversary conference will present the information that you need, no matter where you are on the growing learning curve. This Conference is designed to present you with new technology, as well as acquaint you with the fundamental basics of controlled environmental growing.

Eat Local Expo
April 4, 2009
Independence, Missouri

Kansas City Food Circle presents its 11th annual exhibition of farmers. The event, which is being held in two different locations on consecutive weeks, includes a free workshop on how to buy local, and the opportunity to enroll in CSA programs and buy local produce, meat, eggs and garden seedlings.

Illinois Farmers Market Conference
March 31, April 7, & April 9, 2009
Springfield, Mt. Vernon & Sycamore, Illinois

A series of three meetings are being offered to individuals involved with specialty crop production and farmers markets. Topics covered will include market issues and resources for market managers and vendors.

> More Events

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