Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 29, 2006
Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site.
News & Resources
* Book Highlights Pastured Poultry Success
Share The Harvest: Please forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues who might be interested in the latest sustainable agriculture news, funding opportunities, and events.
* 'Socially Responsible' Farm Issues Report Outlining Sustainability Efforts
* Reports Call for Improved Water Efficiency in Agriculture
* University of California Releases Study on Organic Beef Operation
* Kansas Meatpacker Wants All Cattle Tested for BSE
* Essay Considers Energy Impact of Food Miles
* Rural Cooperative Development Grant
* EPA Healthy Communities Grant Program
* Southern SARE Graduate Student Grant in Sustainable Agriculture
* Campus-Community Partnerships for Sustainability Conference
* Strengthening Rural Community Food Systems
* International Short Course in Agroecology, Integrated Pest Management and Sustainable Agriculture
News & Resources
Book Highlights Pastured Poultry Success
The American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA) has released a new reference on pastured poultry production, titled Raising Poultry on Pasture: Ten Years of Success. The book is a compilation of 130 illustrated articles that appeared in the APPPA newsletter Grit! during the past decade. According to APPPA, the reference is as relevant for the backyard poultry keeper as for the commercial producer. Chapters cover topics such as genetics, brooding, egg production, nutrition, processing, marketing, and insurance. One chapter addresses turkey, duck, and other poultry production. The book may be purchased online through APPPA.
'Socially Responsible' Farm Issues Report Outlining Sustainability Efforts
Threemile Canyon Farms, one of only a few U.S. farms to successfully implement and document standards of corporate social responsibility, has produced a 40-page report that details its sustainable farming practices, reviews its achievements, and outlines new goals. According to a piece in the Capital Press, the report focuses on five performance areas: natural resources, agricultural practices, the workplace, animal welfare, and the community. Several practices were rated within each performance area, such as use of water, use of waste products, efforts to preserve wildlife habitat, and efforts to be a good employer. The 93,000-acre farm and dairy is located near Boardman, Oregon. The full report can be downloaded at the Threemile Canyon Farms Web site.
Reports Call for Improved Water Efficiency in Agriculture
The World Water Forum was held this past week in Mexico, and SciDev.net says that two reports released there stressed the need for improved water use efficiency in agriculture. A report by the International Water Management Institute challenges researchers to find ways of making farming more water efficient and calls on farmers to harvest rainwater or use small-scale, inexpensive irrigation technologies to save water. Meanwhile, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released a report saying that agriculture is the biggest threat to freshwater resources. Both reports are available online.
University of California Releases Study on Organic Beef Operation
In what may be the first study of its kind, the University of California has released results of an intensive examination of an organic beef production operation. Management practices, revenues, costs, and marketing were studied on a hypothetical 800-acre ranch in Mendicino and Lake Counties running 50 cow-calf pairs. The study by UC Davis investigates all aspects of a small-scale beef operation that has already transitioned to certified organic status. The full report can be downloaded via the Central Valley Business Times Web site.
Kansas Meatpacker Wants All Cattle Tested for BSE
A Kansas meatpacker has proposed testing every animal it processes for mad cow disease. The Washington Post reported recently that Creekstone Farms Premium Beef has requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certify the company to voluntarily test all cattle processed through its Arkansas City plant. The agency has refused to certify the testing program and Creekstone has now filed suit against the department, according to a notice posted on its Web site. Mad cow disease is the popular name for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), which has been linked to a rare but fatal neurological disorder in humans known as variant Jakob-Creutzfeldt Disease. Creekstone's chief executive, John Stewart, told a Post reporter in an interview that Asian customers in particular demand more complete testing. "We should be allowed to provide that," he said. Japan was a top foreign market for American beef until the first U.S. case of mad cow disease prompted an import ban in 2003. Stewart said the ban has cost Creekstone Farms nearly one-third of its sales. Creekstone specializes in "natural" beef production and processing. It is one of only four U.S. plants certified to meet the European Union's tough beef import standards. "There isn't any nation in the world that requires 100 percent testing," USDA spokesman Ed Loyd said Wednesday. The USDA maintains a Web site with current information about BSE.
Essay Considers Energy Impact of Food Miles
Journalism student Chad Heeter considered the energy that went into transporting and preparing a typical breakfast in an essay that is posted online. He points out that even organic food is less than environmentally friendly when it's transported around half the globe to reach our plates. The essay explores the amount of energy calories that go into transporting and preparing a simple breakfast, compared to the amount of energy calories derived from consuming that breakfast, and relates the energy consumption to the equivalent amounts of fossil fuel used. It offers a sobering reminder of the energy saved by consuming local and less-processed food.
Related ATTRA Publication: Local Food Directories
> More Breaking News
Back to top
Rural Cooperative Development Grant
Rural Cooperative Development grants are made for establishing and operating centers for cooperative development for the primary purpose of improving the economic condition of rural areas through the development of new cooperatives and improving operations of existing cooperatives. The U.S. Department of Agriculture desires to encourage and stimulate the development of effective cooperative organizations in rural America as a part of its total package of rural development efforts. USDA announces the availability of $4.45 million in competing Rural Cooperative Development funds for fiscal year 2006. Nonprofits and public institutions of higher education are eligible to apply for grants of up to $225,000.
Proposals are due May 20, 2006.
EPA Healthy Communities Grant Program
The Environmental Protection Agency offers the Healthy Communities Grant Program for New England communities to reduce environmental risks, protect and improve human health, and improve quality of life. Areas of particular concern include those with children and elderly populations at risk from toxic pollutions. The competitive grants are available to public entities, nonprofit entities, and tribal governments. Award ceiling is $30,000. For a complete listing of goals and criteria, download the PDF file linked below, or access a synopsis through the EPA grants Web site.
Proposals are due April 5, 2006.
Southern SARE Graduate Student Grant in Sustainable Agriculture
The Southern Region USDA Program on Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is requesting proposals for Graduate Student research projects that address issues of sustainable agriculture of current and potential importance to the Southern Region and the nation. The Southern SARE Graduate Student Grants in Sustainable Agriculture grants a one-time project maximum of $10,000. The Southern SARE program will only consider proposals submitted, and to be conducted, by graduate students (masters and Ph.D.) enrolled at an accredited college or university in the Southern Region: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Proposals are due June 1, 2006.
> More Funding Opportunities
Back to top
Campus-Community Partnerships for Sustainability Conference
April 21-23, 2006
College students, faculty and staff, and townspeople from throughout the region will gather in Berea to share information about how to create more sustainable local communities and how to develop lasting partnerships with each other. Topics to be covered include community gardens, developing a local food system, and native landscaping.
Strengthening Rural Community Food Systems
May 7-9, 2006
This Food, Education and Development symposium at Eastern Oregon University will include panel discussions, workshops, demonstrations, and will provide skills for action on a variety of topics related to community food systems.
International Short Course in Agroecology, Integrated Pest Management and Sustainable Agriculture
June 18-28, 2006
East Lansing, Michigan
Michigan State University (MSU) is recognized as a center of excellence in international agricultural development and training. A multidisciplinary
faculty will organize a two-week course focusing on the principles of
agroecology, integrated pest management (IPM), and sustainable agriculture. The course will provide meaningful exposure to topics related to appropriate technology. The course will also address social and equity issues in agriculture.
> More Events
Back to top
to the Weekly Harvest
Comments? Questions? Email the Weekly Harvest Newsletter editor John Webb at
Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives Available Online
Digital versions of recent Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters
are available online. ATTRAnews is the bi-monthly newsletter
of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and is funded under a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Visit the NCAT Web site for more information on our sustainable agriculture projects.
© Copyright 2006 NCAT
Back to top
|ATTRA Spanish Newsletter
Subscribe to Cosecha Mensual (Monthly Harvest), ATTRA's new Spanish-language e-newsletter