Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 26, 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
* Publication Profiles Dairy Production Options
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* Peach IPM Program Introduced
* USDA Research Lab Focusing on Sustainable Pest Control, Ethanol
* Report Concludes Farm Subsidy Reform Key to Restoring Gulf of Mexico
* School Wellness Policies Include Local and Organic Food
* Brewing Companies Carve Niche with Organic Beer
* Commodity Partnerships for Small Agricultural Risk Management Education Sessions
* Western SARE Graduate Student Fellow Grants in Sustainable Agriculture
* North American Wetlands Conservation Act US Standard Grants
* Putting it All Together: Using Livestock to Manage Natural Resources
* Building Sustainable Local Economies Seminar
* National Value-Added Agriculture Conference
News & Resources
Publication Profiles Dairy Production Options
Dairy Your Way is a free, 100-page book that profiles a variety of dairy housing and production systems suitable for the Upper Midwest. Dairy Your Way describes the variety of management alternatives available to today's dairy producers, including tie stall setups, free stall barns, and transitional housing options. The book also discusses confinement, grazing and organic management systems, as well as custom heifer-raising and value-added production. There is a chapter dedicated to milking center design and options for retrofitting. For farmers at the beginning or the end of their careers, one chapter is devoted to entry and exit strategies. The book is published by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) in collaboration with the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) at the University of Minnesota, the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota, the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at the University of Wisconsin, and the Michigan Agricultural Stewardship Association. Print copies of Dairy Your Way are available free of charge by calling the MDA at (651) 201-6012 or MISA at (800) 909-6472.
Peach IPM Program Introduced
The Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program at the University of California has released a year-round IPM program for peach production. The program recommends seasonal practices for a monitoring-based IPM program that reduces water quality problems related to pesticide use. The program recommends specific activities for each season, with links that provide information on how to monitor, forms to use, and specific management practices. Progress throughout the year is tracked on an annual checklist form.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic and Low-Spray Peach Production
USDA Research Lab Focusing on Sustainable Pest Control, Ethanol
The North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory (NCARL) in Brookings, South Dakota, dedicated new laboratory and office space April 20. The new facility will aid the USDA laboratory in finding nonchemical solutions to agricultural pests and developing technologies that will make ethanol fuel production more efficient and profitable. Formerly known as the Northern Grain Insects Research Laboratory, the expanded ARS research facility changed its name about a year ago to reflect a renewed and focused commitment to north central Plains crop production and soil and water conservation.
Report Concludes Farm Subsidy Reform Key to Restoring Gulf of Mexico
Each year, an average of $270 million worth of wasted fertilizer flows down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico, creating a "Dead Zone" of more than 5,000 square miles that is completely devoid of marine life. Now, a new Environmental Working Group (EWG) analysis of government and industry data shows that reforms of wasteful federal farm programs could lead the way to restoration of America's most valuable fishery. According to the report, Dead in the Water, shifting a modest portion of crop subsidies, particularly those that go to the largest and wealthiest growers, into programs that encourage more careful fertilizer use, wetland restoration and the streamside planting of grass and trees to absorb runoff, could reduce dead zone pollution significantly—while also boosting the bottom line for family farms.
School Wellness Policies Include Local and Organic Food
The Child Nutrition Act legislation of 2004 required school districts across the country to create local wellness policies by the start of the 2006-2007 school year, according to a story on Connect for Kids. Some districts are involving their communities in developing wellness policies, and some policies already being adopted by districts emphasize purchase of local and organic foods for use in school cafeterias or for sale on campus. School gardens and food system education are components of other policies. Though enforcement of wellness policies may be limited by lack of designated funding, community and parent involvement can be key to holding school districts accountable. The story concludes with links to several resources that can help schools develop wellness policies.
Brewing Companies Carve Niche with Organic Beer
Beer drinkers in the Northeast and Northwest have a healthy alternative: organic beer. In the Northeast, the country’s largest organic brewer, Otter Creek Brewing Co., of Middlebury, Vermont, markets its products under the Wolaver’s label. Vermont is also home to several smaller organic brewers. On the other side of the country, Portland, Oregon, is a “hotbed of organic brewing,” according to this article in The Post-Standard. Portland's Roots Brewing Co., the state's first organic brewer, also is enjoying considerable success. In fact, the company is hosting a national organic beer fest in June. Don’t expect to see organic beer everywhere, though—the Wolaver’s brand, for example, contains no preservatives and therefore won’t travel any real distance.
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Commodity Partnerships for Small Agricultural Risk Management Education Sessions
The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), operating through the Risk Management Agency (RMA), announces the availability of approximately $500,000 for Commodity Partnerships for Small Agricultural Risk Management Education Sessions (Commodity Partnerships Small Sessions Program). The purpose of this partnership agreement program is to deliver training and information in the management of production, marketing, and financial risk to U.S. agricultural producers in small sessions. The program is to give priority to educating producers of crops not insurable with Federal crop insurance, specialty crops, and underserved commodities, including livestock and forage. A maximum of 50 cooperative partnership agreements will be funded, five each in ten designated RMA Regions. The maximum award for any agreement will be $10,000. Recipients of awards must demonstrate non-financial benefits from a partnership agreement and must agree to the substantial involvement of RMA in the project.
Proposals are due June 2, 2006.
Western SARE Graduate Student Fellow Grants in Sustainable Agriculture
The Western SARE Graduate Student Fellow Grants in Sustainable Agriculture must address issues in sustainable agriculture of current and potential importance to the Western region. These grants provide a maximum of $20,000 and may last for up to two years. Western SARE Graduate Student Fellow Grants in Sustainable Agriculture are awarded to the applicant's university, with the funds to be dedicated to the graduate student's project. Western SARE will consider applications from graduate students (masters and Ph.D.) enrolled full time at accredited colleges or universities in the Western region.
Proposals are due May 31, 2006.
North American Wetlands Conservation Act U.S. Standard Grants
The purpose of the 1989 North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) is to promote long-term conservation of North American wetland ecosystems, and the waterfowl and other migratory birds, fish and wildlife that depend upon such habitat. Principal conservation actions supported by NAWCA are acquisition, establishment, enhancement and restoration of wetlands and wetland-associated uplands. The U.S. Standard Grants Program is a competitive, matching grants program that supports public-private partnerships carrying out projects in the United States that further the goals of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. Partners much match their grants request at no less than a 1-to-1 ratio.
Proposals are due July 28, 2006.
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Putting it All Together: Using Livestock to Manage Natural Resources
May 8-10, 2006
The National Center for Appropriate Technology and the Heifer Ranch are holding a special Southern SARE Professional Development Program (PDP)-funded workshop for educators with a nonprofit organization or other agency that works with livestock producers in any of the USDA Southern Region States. This workshop is designed to enhance skills needed for a systems approach to managing beef cattle and small ruminants and transitioning to organic livestock production. Participant numbers are limited, and priority will be given to educators from extension, NGOs, and other agencies who work with producers from the Southern region. If you would like to receive more details about the event, please contact Teresa Maurer at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message by calling a special toll free number: 1-866-442-6085.
Building Sustainable Local Economies Seminar
May 24-28, 2006
Great Barrington, Massachusetts
The E.F. Schumacher Society presents this Tools for Change Training Seminar. How can regional communities regain the power to revitalize the means of production for basic necessities (food, energy, shelter, clothing) in the face of a deepening economic, social, and ecological crisis? Attend this seminar to learn about successful, citizen-driven models for community revitalization and how to take action in applying them to your own community.
National Value-Added Agriculture Conference
June 12-13, 2006
This is the 8th annual conference for value-added agriculture educators and service providers. The agenda includes presentations on business and USDA programs, as well as concurrent sessions and a trade show.
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