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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 15, 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
* North Central SARE Releases New Brief Sheets
* Benefits of Organic Dairying Covered in New Publication
* Research Shows Diversified Cropping Systems Can Be Profitable
* Report Outlines Local Food Distribution Models
* USDA Unveils New Reporting System
* Friends of Family Farmers is Developing a Land and Resource Connection
  Service


Funding Opportunities
* Idaho Conservation Innovation Grant
* Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive Grants Program
* Pennsylvania Conservation Innovation Grant


Coming Events
* Organic Veterinary Workshop
* Langston University Goat Field Day
* Biodiesel Workshop



News & Resources

North Central SARE Releases New Brief Sheets
The North Central Region SARE (NCR-SARE) has released one page "Brief Sheets" about SARE projects funded in their region. The intent of these Brief Sheets is to make easily accessible, topical information available electronically, so people can print out focused NCR-SARE information as they need, on demand. This both reduces waste and allows NCR-SARE to reach targeted audiences. Topics covered include organic farming, specialty crops, beginning farmers, bioenergy, alternative marketing, and agroforestry.

Benefits of Organic Dairying Covered in New Publication
A calculator has been developed to help consumers, dairy farmers, and food companies estimate the avoided environmental, public health, and animal welfare impacts associated with shifting dairy cows from conventional to organic management. The design of the calculator, the equations in it, and sources of input variable values are described in the "Shades of Green" (PDF/862KB) report.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Dairy Resource List: Organic and Pasture-Based


Research Shows Diversified Cropping Systems Can Be Profitable
University of Wisconsin's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Michael Fields Agricultural Institute agronomists established the Wisconsin Integrated Cropping Systems Trial (WICST) in 1990 to study various cropping systems. Their findings indicate that diverse, low-input cropping systems can be as productive per unit of land as conventional systems. However, these systems are associated with more variability in yields, primarily due to the difficulty of mechanical weed control in wet springs. Full research results from this current study are presented by Chavas et al. in the 2009 March-April issue of Agronomy Journal.

Report Outlines Local Food Distribution Models
Recent research assessed the performance and success of distribution models for moving food in a local network. The research included interviews with more than 50 chefs, farmers and distributors about what they think works best for moving local food effectively, and what they wish worked better. Geographically, the research focused on large urban markets with partial-year (rather than year-round) growing seasons and sought out examples of models that deviated from the conventional wholesale distribution system. The report is available as a PDF (397KB).

USDA Unveils New Reporting System
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today unveiled an updated version of USDA's Research, Education and Economics Information System (REEIS), which allows the public to measure the impact and effectiveness of the Department's research, education and extension programs. The latest version adds additional data sources, opens data to Google Search and provides for extended data analysis. REEIS offers information ranging from agricultural and forestry research projects, to state accomplishment reports, statistics on funding, publications, institutions, faculties and students.

Friends of Family Farmers is Developing a Land and Resource Connection Service
Friends of Family Farmers is happy to announce the official launch of iFarm Oregon, a land and resource connection service with an online database for young and beginning farmers. As the average age of Oregon farmers reaches nearly 58 years, iFarm Oregon is intended to connect new farmers with experienced farmers and those preparing to exit agriculture. The online database, which can be found at www.ifarmoregon.org, allows the user to search for listings, which include: agricultural services, land for sale, land wanted, unique leasing arrangements, partnership options, mentoring and internship programs, educational opportunities and financial resources.

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Funding Opportunities

Idaho Conservation Innovation Grant
The Conservation Innovation Grant program (CIG) enables NRCS to work with other public and private entities to accelerate technology transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches to address some of the Nation's most pressing natural resource concerns. Idaho has further targeted the State's highest resource concern priorities. High priorities include: Transitioning to Organic production, on farm energy conservation, on farm composting technologies, integrated pest management strategies, and nutrient management strategies.
Proposals are due April 24, 2009.

Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive Grants Program
CSREES requests applications for the Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive Grants Program (SACC) for fiscal year (FY) 2009 to support Canola crop research whose primary objectives are to significantly increase crop acreage by development and testing of superior germplasm, methods of planting, cultivation, harvesting, processing, and transfer (via Extension) of such applied research from experimental sites to on farm practice as soon as practicable.
Proposals are due April 23, 2009.

Pennsylvania Conservation Innovation Grant
The purpose of CIG is to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging the Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. CIG projects are expected to lead to the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches (such as market-based systems) into NRCS technical manuals, guides, and references or to the private sector. Applications shall address one of the following environmental concerns: Water Resources; Soil Resources; Atmosphere Resources; Grazing Lands; Energy; or Wildlife Habitat.
Proposals are due May 4, 2009.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Organic Veterinary Workshop
April 22-24, 2009
Viroqua, Wisconsin

The Organic Veterinary Workshop consists of two and 1/2 days of classroom lecture, interactive discussion groups and hands-on cattle work with a special emphasis on organic techniques and materials. Let Dr. Dettloff's 41 years of large animal veterinary experience help you become a better animal manager. This workshop is a great opportunity to learn about organic herd health techniques and tools.


Langston University Goat Field Day
April 25, 2009
Langston, Oklahoma

The annual Goat Field Day will be held on Saturday, April 25, 2009 at the Langston University Goat Farm with registration beginning at 8:00 a.m. This year's theme will be Breeding for the Future in the Dairy and Meat Goat Industries.


Biodiesel Workshop
April 28-29, 2009
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The Louisiana State University AgCenter is hosting a two-day comprehensive workshop on how to make your own biodiesel fuel from used vegetable oil at the Callegari Environmental Center. In addition to learning the chemistry of making biodiesel, the class will see the different kinds of equipment required to go into the biodiesel-manufacturing business.


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Digital versions of recent Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.


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