Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 26, 2008
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.
News & Resources
* USDA Announces CSP Sign-up
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* Organic Corn Performance Studied
* Organic Wheat Trial Yields Over 100 Bushels per Acre
* Farm to School Movement Grows Nationally
* SARE to Recognize Innovative Producers
* Ohio Newsletter Saves Farmers Money
* Southern SARE Research and Education Grant
* Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund
* Food and Agricultural Sciences "National Needs" Graduate Fellowship Grants Program
* Southwest Marketing Network Conference
* Economic Opportunities in Forest Medicinal Plants and Mushrooms
* Tools & Equipment for Today’s Small Farm: A Practical Look at What Works
News & Resources
USDA Announces CSP Sign-up
USDA announced a sign-up for the Conservation Security Program (CSP) that will be available starting on April 18 to approximately 64,000 potentially eligible farms and ranches in 51 watersheds covering more than 23.7 million acres. Most states have one eligible watershed. The CSP sign-up is open in the 51 watersheds from April 18 to May 16. CSP is a voluntary conservation program that supports ongoing stewardship of private, agricultural working lands and rewards those producers who are meeting the highest standards of conservation and environmental management on their operations.
Organic Corn Performance Studied
A new study, led by Ohio State University, Iowa State University, and the University of Wisconsin, is providing information on performance of organic corn varieties. The study is evaluating organic corn hybrid performance trials to compare the performance of organic corn hybrids, open-pollinated varieties and conventionally produced corn hybrids (untreated seed). The two-year study, which began last year, is being funded by a North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant and is supported by the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA). Ohio Ag Connection reports researchers analyzed the performance of nearly two dozen organic corn hybrids from seven seed companies at three locations in each state, focusing on such characteristics as grain quality, seed germination and yield potential. Results conducted in Ohio can be found by logging on to http://agcrops.osu.edu/corn.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Field Corn Production
Organic Wheat Trial Yields Over 100 Bushels per Acre
A multi-year organic cropping systems trial being conducted by Montana State University in Bozeman yielded 101 bushels of winter wheat per acre in the 2007 season. The Bozeman wheat also yielded better than 12.5 percent protein in 2007, though protein content has been a challenge in other organic wheat crop trials in the state. Perry Miller, Montana State University cropping systems researcher, isn't entirely sure where to attribute the greater-than-expected harvest. Miller characterized the heavy yield as a mixed blessing, saying that while it proves that it is possible to grow very high-yielding wheat organically, it also shows that organic production can be less predictable than conventional, with risk increasing over time. The trial plot is experiencing loss of some nutrients after nine years of crop rotation.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Small Grain Production
Farm to School Movement Grows Nationally
School children in cafeterias across the country are enjoying more locally grown foods, thanks to Farm to School programs spearheaded by parents, teachers, and schools, reports USA Today. Though local foods may be more challenging for school food service programs to procure and prepare, advocates say that foods that promote student health and help keep local farmers in business are worth added cost. Individual schools, and even the Washington state legislature, are trying to develop purchasing policies that will encourage purchase of locally grown foods from area farmers. Teachers are working with students to help them learn about fresh foods, so that they are not only available, but the kids are motivated to eat them.
Related ATTRA Publication: Bringing Local Food to Local Institutions
SARE to Recognize Innovative Producers
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education's (SARE) Patrick Madden Award for Sustainable Agriculture recognizes farmers or farm families who advance sustainable agriculture through innovation, leadership and good stewardship. SARE has introduced the 2008 winners, one from each of SARE's four regions. The winners will receive their awards and give brief presentations on March 26th at SARE's 20th Anniversary New American Farm Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. The winners are Henry Brockman, North Central Region; Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens, Northeast Region; Terry and La Rhea Pepper, Southern Region; Larry Thompson, Western Region.
Ohio Newsletter Saves Farmers Money
Ohio farmers saved an average of $2,400 last year using Ohio State University Extension's Ohio Ag Manager newsletter as a farm management resource tool, according to an OSU Extension survey. The Ohio Ag Manager newsletter, launched in 2004 from the OSU Extension team of the same name, provides farmers and agribusinesses the latest and best management and marketing information, as well as issues and trends impacting the agricultural industry. According to the survey results, respondents believe that the Ohio Ag Manager newsletter is important to their agricultural business. The Ohio Farmer reports nearly 70% indicated that their business saved money or their profits increased through use of the newsletter. The free newsletter is published monthly. To access the newsletter, log on to ohioagmanager.osu.edu.
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Southern SARE Research and Education Grant
The Southern Region USDA Program on Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is requesting preproposals for research and education activities that address issues of sustainable agriculture of current and potential importance to the region and nation. Each proposal must address one of the priority areas identified by the SARE Administrative Council: 1) limited resource farmers; 2) organic farming systems; 3) environmentally sound practices/agricultural ecosystems; 4) marketing/economic development; 5) policy, program evaluation, and quality of life; 6) women in sustainable agriculture. The Southern Region includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
Proposals are due June 1, 2008.
Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund
The goal of RAFI's Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund is to keep farmers in farming and maintain the economic base of North Carolina’s rural communities. The Reinvestment Fund aims to assist farmers and rural communities in selected North Carolina counties to develop new sources of agricultural income through provision of cost-share grants. In 2008, the Reinvestment Fund will make two types of demonstration awards: Producer Grant Awards of up to $10,000 for individuals and Community Grant Awards of up to $20,000 for collaborative farmer projects.
Proposals are due October 1, 2008.
Food and Agricultural Sciences "National Needs" Graduate Fellowship Grants Program
These grants support fellowship programs that encourage outstanding students to pursue and complete their degrees or obtain postdoctoral training in areas where there is a national need for the development of scientific and professional expertise. Applications are being solicited in the following Targeted Expertise Shortage Areas: 1) agricultural genomics and bioinformatics; 2) natural resources and the environment; 3) agricultural systems and natural resource engineering; 4) agricultural management and economics; 5) food science; 6) human nutrition; 7) sciences for agricultural biosecurity; and 8) training in sustainable sciences. Applications may be submitted by: 1) Land-Grant Institutions, 2) colleges & universities having significant minority enrollments & a demonstrable capacity to carry out the teaching of food & agricultural sciences, & 3) other colleges & universities having a demonstrable capacity to carry out the teaching of food & agricultural sciences.
Proposals are due May 8, 2008.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Southwest Marketing Network Conference
May 5-7, 2008
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Southwest Marketing Network is planning a number of networking meetings and many workshops for this conference. The event is focused on helping Southwestern producers and communities develop new and improved markets and enterprises and rebuild local food systems.
Economic Opportunities in Forest Medicinal Plants and Mushrooms
May 2-3, 2008
One and a half days on opportunities for landowners and farmers interested in raising medicinal plants and mushrooms in wooded areas. This event is followed by an afternoon organic certification workshop for farmers and ranchers interested in applying for certification or understanding the rules for organic certification.
Tools & Equipment for Today’s Small Farm: A Practical Look at What Works
April 26, 2008
Focusing on smaller-scale farms, presentations will cover currently available hand-, tractor-, and horse-powered equipment, how to determine the most appropriate match between farm, farming style, and implement. Half-day of hands-on practice with a variety of tools and equipment provides attendees with knowledge necessary to make the most of future equipment purchases. Special focus centers on the use of horses as a power-source for the small farm.
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