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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 14, 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.

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.

News & Resources
* USDA Funding to Enhance Market-based Approaches to Conservation
* New SARE Handbook on Multifarm CSAs
* ARS Researching Camelina as a New Biofuel Crop
* University of Illinois Study: Lack of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Linked to Male
   Infertility
* Farmers Can Consult New Series on Economics of Growing Alternative
   Crops
* Direct Marketing Livestock and Poultry: A Resource Guide


Funding Opportunities
* Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council Common Fund
* Western SARE Graduate Student Grant
* North Central SARE Professional Development Grant


Coming Events
* Decision Making to Maximize Dairy Profits Workshop
* Organic Veterinary Workshop
* Food Symposium



News & Resources

USDA Funding to Enhance Market-based Approaches to Conservation
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of approximately $25 million in fiscal year 2010 to fund projects designed to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies through its Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) in fiscal year 2010.
The $25 million in CIG funding will be divided into three categories:
  • National - Approximately $15 million will be available for proposals that address specific CIG resource concerns nationwide such as energy conservation and climate change.
  • Mississippi River Basin - About $5 million will be used to address resource concerns in the Mississippi River Basin. This funding will help USDA further advance its recently announced Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative for 12 Midwest and Southern states.
  • Chesapeake Bay Watershed - Up to $5 million will be available for proposals that address natural resource concerns in the 64,000 square-mile watershed, which includes Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York and the District of Columbia.
USDA encourages beginning farmers and ranchers, limited resource farmers or ranchers, Indian tribes or community-based organizations that service these groups to apply for grants. Ten percent of the total funding is being set aside for this purpose.
Applicants must submit pre-proposals to NRCS's National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. by close of business on Monday, April 26, 2010. Full applications for selected pre-proposals must be submitted by June 4, 2010. All CIG projects must include agricultural producers who meet EQIP eligibility requirements.


New SARE Handbook on Multifarm CSAs
On Monday, April 5, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) released a handbook on cooperative marketing for community supported agriculture farms (CSAs). The 130-page manual gives concrete details on strategies for forming and maintaining a multifarm CSA, including advice on staffing, volunteer boards, distribution, and legal topics. Local Harvest: A Multifarm CSA Handbook is available for download as a free PDF or you can order a print copy from the SARE website.
This guide is one of the many publications available from SARE Outreach, which features research, practical guides, and other tools related to sustainable production systems and marketing practices.


ARS Researching Camelina as a New Biofuel Crop
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have long-term studies underway to examine growing camelina as a bioenergy crop for producing jet fuel for the military and the aviation industry. This research supports the recently signed memorandum of understanding between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Navy and interests of the Commercial Airlines Alternative Fuels Initiative. Native to Europe, camelina (Camelina sativa) is a member of the plant family Brassicaceae and has been grown since ancient times for use as lamp fuel, among other things. The seed's high oil content has made it a promising candidate as a new source for biofuels.

University of Illinois Study: Lack of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Linked to Male Infertility
According to a University of Illinois study, omega-3 fatty acids may be good for more than heart health. A little-known omega-3 may have implications for treating male infertility. "In our experiment, we used 'knockout' mice that lacked the gene responsible for an enzyme important in making docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In the absence of DHA, male mice are basically infertile, producing few if any misshaped sperm that can't get where they need to go," said Manabu Nakamura, a U of I professor of food science and human nutrition. "We looked at sperm count, shape, and motility and tested the breeding success rate, and the mice lacking DHA simply were not able to breed," said Manuel Roqueta-Rivera, a U of I doctoral student who also worked on the study.

Farmers Can Consult New Series on Economics of Growing Alternative Crops
Thinking about trying a new enterprise? Before taking the plunge, you'll want to check out the capital, labor and management requirements for the alternative agricultural production possibilities. A new series of crop and livestock enterprise budgets available from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the Beginning Farmers Center at Iowa State University gives farmers a quick overview of what alternative operations might work for them and how. Enterprise budgets for sweet corn, sorghum, popcorn, sheep and beekeeping are provided initially. Budgets covering Christmas trees and raspberries will appear soon. The crop budgets sheets are now available for download on the Leopold Center web site.

Direct Marketing Livestock and Poultry: A Resource Guide
The Cornell Small Farms Livestock Program has published a new tool for small farmers in the Northeast: Direct Marketing Livestock and Poultry: A Resource Guide, a farmer-friendly legal guide for producers raising meat birds and livestock. The guide discusses slaughtering and processing at the custom, state, and federal levels and guides farmers through the logistics of the various market channels. While the guide is intended for farmers, it is also helpful to buyers, restaurants, market managers, small processors, extension educators, and many others. The 155-page guide is available on line at the Cornell Small Farms site. CDs can be requested by sending name and address along with $5.00 for shipping and handling to: Dr. Tatiana Stanton, College of Agriculture and Life Science, Department of Animal Science. Morrison Hall Room 114 Ithaca, NY 14853-4801.

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council Common Fund
The Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council is accepting grant applications for statewide and regional agricultural education initiatives across Minnesota. The Common Fund Grants Program will have up to $235,000 available in this fiscal year.
Proposals are due May 15, 2010.

Western SARE Graduate Student Grant
The Graduate Student Grants provide a maximum of $25,000 and may last for up to two years. Those eligible to apply are masters or Ph.D. students enrolled full time (as determined by the institution’s requirements) at accredited colleges or universities in the Western region.
Proposals are due May 28, 2010.

North Central SARE Professional Development Grant
The Professional Development Program provides funds for professional development projects that provide sustainable agriculture training to agricultural professionals and educators in the Cooperative Extension Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, other governmental agencies, and educators in the profit and non-profit sector serving the food and fiber system.
Proposals are due May 21, 2010.


> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Decision Making to Maximize Dairy Profits Workshop
April 19, 20, 21, & 22, 2010
Lancaster, Chambersburg, Altoona, Meadville, and Troy, Pennsylvania

The speaker is Wayne Weiland, the Midwest regional manager of Standard Dairy Consulting. Mr. Weiland will discuss how dairy professionals can help producers make better decisions, and will specifically look at evaluating management interventions.


Organic Veterinary Workshop
April 21-23, 2010
Viroqua, Wisconsin

This workshop consists of two and a half days of classroom lecture, interactive discussion groups and hands-on cattle work with a special emphasis on organic techniques and materials.


Food Symposium
April 22, 2010
Wilmington, Ohio

This event will feature several presenters on such topics as Earth-friendly methods of food production, fresh and green food alternatives, and feeding the world’s growing population.


> More Events

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