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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 7, 2010

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
* Organic EQIP Sign-up Extended in Nebraska
* Economics of Transitioning to Organic Crop Production Studied in Indiana
* Pastured Poultry Producers in Georgia Needed for Survey
* Study Evaluates Economic Impact of Farmers' Markets
* Researchers Study Impact of Increased Fruit and Vegetable Production
* Funds Available for Water Conservation Projects


Funding Opportunities
* Southern SARE Research & Education Grant
* Agriculture and Food Research Initiative-Global Food Security Grant
* Organic Farming Research Foundation Grants


Coming Events
* Northeast Rural Summit
* Beekeeping Workshop
* Livestock Harvesting and Marketing Workshop



News & Resources

Organic EQIP Sign-up Extended in Nebraska
Steve Chick, state conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Nebraska announced the cutoff date for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Organic Initiative has been extended to April 16, 2010. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) NRCS, which administers EQIP, has set aside $1.5 million in EQIP funds to help Nebraska organic producers and those who are transitioning to organic production. Applications for the EQIP Organic Initiative are taken continuously throughout the year, but to be considered for Fiscal Year 2010 funding, producers need to have an application signed and returned to their local NRCS office by April 16, 2010. Funding selections will be made on or before May 1, 2010, from those applications received.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Accessing Organic EQIP


Economics of Transitioning to Organic Crop Production Studied in Indiana
Purdue researchers have released results of study comparing profitability of conventional and organic grain production. This preliminary study modifies existing organic and conventional crop budgets in an attempt to apply them to typical Indiana farm operations. This will provide Indiana producers with more information regarding their production options, organic transition profitability, and optimal transition rotations.

Pastured Poultry Producers in Georgia Needed for Survey
Georgia Organics is collecting data to support the development of processing options for small-scale poultry producers, through a grant provided by Farm Aid. This questionnaire is for farmers currently raising and processing pastured poultry, or for farmers who would like to start raising pastured poultry. Responding farmers should be located in Georgia, or within one hour's drive from the state line (if located out of Georgia).

Study Evaluates Economic Impact of Farmers' Markets
To understand the economic impact of farmersí markets in the state, Mississippi State Universityís Department of Agricultural Economics and MSUís chapter of the National Agricultural Marketing Association (NAMA) conducted a survey of farmers' market facilities in Mississippi in September 2009. Results from the survey (PDF/155KB) confirm the authorsí opinions that farmersí markets in small- and medium-size communities produce greater economic returns for vendors while filling a void in the demand for fresh produce in the area. Farmersí markets provide major benefits to local communities engaged in economic development.

Researchers Study Impact of Increased Fruit and Vegetable Production
Expanding the fruit and vegetable industry in the upper Midwest could have a huge economic impact in the region. A new analysis from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University in collaboration with regional partners estimated potential state and regional economic values associated with increased production of fresh fruit and vegetables in a six-state area. The study included two scenarios and was conducted by Iowa State economics researcher David Swenson and included data from Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The results of the analysis can be found in ďSelected Measures of the Economic Values of Increased Fruit and Vegetable Production and Consumption in the Upper Midwest."

Funds Available for Water Conservation Projects
On April 5, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Dave White announced the availability of $61.2 million for Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) projects. This funding will help producers conserve surface and ground water and improve water quality on agricultural land. AWEP projects are implemented by NRCS entering into partnership agreements with eligible entities. NRCS works with these partners to help landowners plan and implement conservation practices in project areas established through the agreements.

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Southern SARE Research & Education Grant
The Southern Region USDA Program on Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is requesting preproposals for systems research and education activities that address issues of sustainable agriculture of current and potential importance to the region and nation.
Proposals are due June 1, 2010.

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative-Global Food Security Grant
This RFA focuses on the societal challenge to keep American agriculture competitive while ending world hunger. In the Global Food Security Challenge Area RFA, specific program areas are designed to achieve the long-term outcome of increasing food availability and decreasing the number of food insecure individuals. Letters of Intent are due in April, depending on the Program area.
Proposals are due August 11, 2010.

Organic Farming Research Foundation Grants
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) funds research on organic farming and food systems and the dissemination of these research results to the greater agricultural community. Proposals must involve farmers or ranchers in project design and implementation and take place on working organic farms or ranches whenever possible. This request for proposals is open to any agricultural production, social, economic, or policy-related topic of concern to organic farmers and/or ranchers.
Proposals are due May 17, 2010.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Northeast Rural Summit
April 12-13, 2010
Burlington, Vermont

Join national and regional USDA leaders, state agency leaders, non-profit and business leaders from throughout the northeastern United States for two days of strategic planning around four crucial directions for the rural northeast:
  • Food Systems: Local Foods Development and Regional Foods Systems
  • Energy: Advancing Efficiency, Generation and Fuel Development
  • Broadband: Global Opportunities & Rural Lifestyles
  • Rural Economic Development: Investment in Innovation
Beekeeping Workshop
April 12-15, 2010
Perryville, Arkansas

Learn the basics of beekeeping. Our three day introductory beekeeping course will cover basic bee biology, hive management, equipment needed to build and start a bee hive, plus hands on work of building and assembling bee boxes and frames. We will also suit up and open existing hives and install a new colony of bees.


Livestock Harvesting and Marketing Workshop
April 6 & 14, 2010
Calhoun & Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Livestock harvesting and marketing workshops will be held in north and south Louisiana for county agents, agriculture professionals, and livestock producers across the state. These are important topics to ensure compliance with regulations as more farmers transition to home harvest, processing and marketing of meat from their grass fed cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens.


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New Biodiesel Webinaroil in jar
Farm-Scale Biodiesel Production: Taxes and Financial Incentives. This free webinar is the third in a series on farm-scale biodiesel production. Register now for the April 8th webinar, which will be broadcast at 1PM MDT.


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