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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 29, 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
* ATTRA To Host Hoop House Webinar
* USDA To Conduct Organic Study
* Researchers Study Organic Dairy Manure as Fertilizer
* Publication Offers Information on Grass-fed Beef
* Report Discusses Climate-Friendly Food System
* Community Food Conference Seeking Workshop Proposals


Funding Opportunities
* Western SARE Sustainable Agricultural Tours Grant
* Southern SARE Graduate Student Grant
* Victor Chrapko Non-GMO Scholarship


Coming Events
* Atlanta Local Food Forward
* Hoop Houses for Extending Your Growing Season Webinar
* Poultry Processing Workshop



News & Resources

ATTRA To Host Hoop House Webinar
Hoop houses can help small-scale farmers grow more and extend their season, bringing a higher price for crops and developing loyal customers. Find out how hoop houses might benefit your crops in a FREE 60-minute webinar from ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. Your presenters for this webinar are NCAT horticulture specialists Tammy Hinman and Andy Pressman. The webinar will be held on May 7, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. (Mountain time).

USDA To Conduct Organic Study
This spring, USDA will conduct the first-ever, wide-scale survey of organic farming in the United States, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. The survey will find out how the growth of organic farming is changing the face of U.S. agriculture. "The Organic Production Survey is a direct response to the growing interest in organics among consumers, farmers, and businesses," said Vilsack. "This is an opportunity for organic producers to share their voices and help ensure the continued growth and sustainability of organic farming in the United States."

Researchers Study Organic Dairy Manure as Fertilizer
Dairy cows that produce USDA-certified organic milk also produce manure that may gradually replenish soil nutrients and potentially reduce the flow of agricultural pollutants to nearby water sources, according to findings by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and colleagues. Cows on organic dairy farms generally consume forage feeds cultivated on soils that are fertilized with manure and compost rather than manufactured fertilizers. This organic management, in turn, may significantly affect how easily nutrients are converted in soil into forms readily taken up by crops. They showed that conventional and organic dairy manures from commercial dairy farms differed in concentrations of plant nutrients, including phosphorus, metals and minerals.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Manures for Organic Crop Production


Publication Offers Information on Grass-fed Beef
Farmers use a variety of systems to raise healthy animals. Today, most meat in the grocery store or at the local restaurant is from animals that were raised in a feedlot and fed significant amounts of grain in addition to hay and pasture. Grass-fed meat is from animals that are put “out on grass,” or fed a forage diet. This allows animals to harvest their own food and dispose of their own manure in the pasture. A consumer’s guide to grass-fed beef provides information about the health and environmental benefits of grass-fed beef and how to buy and cook this beef.

Report Discusses Climate-Friendly Food System
Sustainable practices in agriculture, combined with the development of local food systems, can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. food system, finds a new paper by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). The paper, "Identifying our Climate 'Foodprint,'" (PDF/395KB) by Jennifer Edwards, Jim Kleinschmit and Heather Schoonover, looks at the entire food chain and identifies opportunities to shift toward a more climate-friendly system.

Community Food Conference Seeking Workshop Proposals
The deadline for workshop proposals for the Community Food Security Conference, October 10-13, 2009 in Des Moines, Iowa has been extended to 5 pm PDT, Friday May 8, 2009. They are accepting proposals for interactive workshops on topics such as Farm to Cafeteria; Food Access in Rural and Urban Communities; Local Food System Projects and Networks; Urban Agriculture Practice and Policy; and many other topics.

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Western SARE Sustainable Agricultural Tours Grant
The Administrative Council of the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program announces the Request for Sustainable Agricultural Tours Grant Applications for 2009. With a Sustainable Agricultural Tour Grant, farmers and ranchers will be able to network with other producers, researchers and other sustainable agricultural professionals in seeing and learning about sustainable agricultural production systems. These grants are targeted for producers to attend specific on-farm demonstration and/or educational outreach tours in an area of sustainable agriculture. The maximum allowed per grant application is $2,000.
These funds are awarded on a first come basis.

Southern SARE Graduate Student Grant
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. Projects may last up to three years.
Proposals are due June 1, 2009.

Victor Chrapko Non-GMO Scholarship
In memory of OCIA member Victor Chrapko, the OCIA Research & Education Board will award one $1,000 scholarship to support education and/or research projects with a focus on determining the environmental, health, and/or social impacts of non-GMOs (plants and/or animals) in the environment and in the food system.
Proposals are due June 1, 2009.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Atlanta Local Food Forward
May 1, 2009
Atlanta, Georgia

The Atlanta Local Food Initiative (ALFI), a coalition of citizens and organizations, has begun a grassroots movement to reconfigure our food system to promote the health of our people, our economy, and our environment. We invite you to participate in a one day invitational event to create an action plan for achieving the vision outlined in A Plan for Atlanta’s Sustainable Food Future.


Hoop Houses for Extending Your Growing Season Webinar
May 7, 2009
11:00-12:00 (MDT)

Hoop houses can help small-scale farmers grow more and extend their season, bringing a higher price for crops and developing loyal customers. Find out how hoop houses might benefit your crops in a FREE 60-minute webinar from ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. Your presenters for this webinar are NCAT horticulture specialists Tammy Hinman and Andy Pressman.


Poultry Processing Workshop
May 8, 2009
Salisbury, North Carolina

Techniques on humane slaughter and safe handling will be addressed as well as composting processing waste. We will also talk about the legal and food safety aspects of processing under the 1,000-bird inspection exemption. This workshop will be taught using the new Mobile Processing Unit (MPU) funded by a grant from Animal Welfare Approved, and built by Wild Turkey Farms. The unit will be available to Animal Welfare Approved farmers as well as other area farmers, subject to availability. To register for the free workshop, please contact Emily Lancaster by email at emily@animalwelfareapproved.org. Deadline for registration is April 30, 2009. Directions and workshop details will follow registration confirmation.


> More Events

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