Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 3, 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
* Asian Soybean Rust Concerns Growers Again This Season
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* Proposed Rule to Revise Organic Regulations
* Publication Considers Habitat in Agricultural Landscapes
* Rotational Grazing Demonstration Illustrates Benefits
* Report Shows Grazing Dairies Succeeding in Wisconsin
* Joel Salatin Reflects on Local Food
* American Floral Endowment Research Grants
* Research and Development Risk Management Partnerships
* Georgia Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative
* From Recipe to Reality Seminar
* Operating An Efficient Farmers' Market: A Workshop for Market Masters and Vendors
* Organic Tree Fruit Production Workshop
News & Resources
Asian Soybean Rust Concerns Growers Again This Season
Asian soybean rust remains a concern for organic and conventional producers again this season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) noted in a program announcement earlier this month. Rust has been confirmed in five counties in Alabama, eleven in Florida, four in Georgia, and one in Texas. The USDA reports no new positive findings since the first week of March. Asian soybean rust is a serious fungal disease that has caused major crop losses in some parts of the world. It is currently confined to nine southeastern states and Hawaii in this country. A finding in 2004 in Louisiana marked the first discovery in this country outside Hawaii. Kudzu, an invasive weedy pest in the southeast, also hosts the fungus and is implicated in its spread.
Related ATTRA Publication: Asian Soybean Rust
Proposed Rule to Revise Organic Regulations
USDA published a proposed rule in the Federal Register April 27 that would revise the National Organic Program (NOP) regulations to comply with the final court order in the Harvey v. Johanns lawsuit and implement the 2005 amendments to the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. The proposed rule revises the NOP regulations to clarify that non-organically produced products listed in section 205.606 of the regulations may be used as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as "organic" or "made with" organic ingredients, only when such organic products are not commercially available. The proposed rule also revises section 205.236 of the NOP regulations to eliminate what is commonly known as the "80/20" feed provision. Transitioning dairy producers would no longer be able to use 20 percent non-organic feed during the first nine months of whole herd conversion from conventional to organic production. The comment period for the proposed rule closes on May 12.
Publication Considers Habitat in Agricultural Landscapes
A new report released by Defenders of Wildlife through The Biodiversity Partnership offers a review of literature on biodiversity status and trends on farmland. The publication, Habitat in Agricultural Landscapes: How Much Is Enough? seeks to provide a comprehensive synthesis of current understanding regarding conservation of fish and wildlife habitat and biodiversity in agricultural landscapes, and to establish a framework for setting conservation goals, policy, and future research priorities. The report, which is available for download, notes the biodiversity benefits of a more ecological approach to agriculture and offers guidelines and recommendations for landscape-scale ecological agriculture.
Rotational Grazing Demonstration Illustrates Benefits
University of Minnesota Extension reports that a demonstration in Cass County during 2005 showed better animal performance under rotational grazing than continuous grazing. Cow-calf pairs in a 400-acre continuously grazed pasture were compared with pairs in a 41-acre pasture divided into four paddocks and fertilized. In this demonstration, the rotationally grazed paddocks was able to support 1 cow/calf pair on 2.1 acres of land for 143 days. The pasture that was continuously grazed provided support for 1 cow/calf pair on 5 acres for 87 days before these cattle had to be moved because of lack of available forage. During the same 87 day grazing period, cows on the rotationally grazed paddocks gained 0.38 lb. per head per day more than cows on the continuously grazed pasture. Calves in the rotationally grazed pasture showed considerably more weight gain than their counterparts in the other pasture. The cows in the rotationally grazed pasture also achieved higher body condition scores.
Related ATTRA Publication: Rotational Grazing
Report Shows Grazing Dairies Succeeding in Wisconsin
A new report from the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) and Program on Agricultural Technology Studies (PATS) compares production systems, technology, labor, performance, and satisfaction with quality of life on grazing dairy farms and more conventional dairy farms. Grazing in the Dairy State says farmers using managed grazing make more money per cow and have less enterprise debt than other dairy farmers. "In general, dairy farmers using managed grazing are a lot like other Wisconsin farmers in terms of age, farm background and experience. However, they earn similar household income with half the number of cows, have less debt and are more satisfied with their overall quality of life," said report co-author Jennifer Taylor. The report is available online and in print.
Related ATTRA Publication: The Economics of Grass-Based Dairying
Joel Salatin Reflects on Local Food
The May/June 2006 issue of Mother Jones contains an excerpt from Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, in which he visits Joel Salatin's Virginia farm. In this story, Pollan talks with Joel Salatin about his farming philosophy, his customers, food quality, the virtues of local food, and the future of the local food movement.
> More Breaking News
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American Floral Endowment Research Grants
The American Floral Endowment offers funding for research into its basic research priorities for floricultural crops. These include Management Protocols for Floriculture Crops, Management Systems for Diseases of Floriculture Crops, Management Systems for Insects Affecting Floricultural Crops, Post-Harvest Management Systems for Floriculture Crops, and Studies Related to Economics and Marketing. Pre-proposals are required.
Proposals are due June 1, 2006.
Research and Development Risk Management Partnerships
The Risk Management Agency (RMA) announces the availability of approximately $4 million for partnership agreements that will fund risk management research activities. The purpose of the Risk Management Research Partnerships is to fund the development of non-insurance risk management tools that will be utilized by agricultural producers to assist them in mitigating the risks inherent in agricultural production. Project objectives include development of risk management tools for producers facing reduced water allocations; risk management tools to assist producers (including livestock) in finding alternative products, techniques or strategies related to disease management; risk management tools to assist producers in finding alternative products, techniques or strategies related to pest mitigation under various farming practices; and risk management tools encouraging self-protection for production agricultural enterprises vulnerable to losses due to terrorism.
Proposals are due June 8, 2006.
Georgia Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative
The Georgia State Office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting proposals for cooperative agreements to enhance private grazing land sustainability, and support grazing land educational activities to landowners and other agricultural stakeholders in Georgia. The office expects up to three cooperative agreements to be made under the program, up to a total of $220,000.
Proposals are due May 15, 2006.
> More Funding Opportunities
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From Recipe to Reality Seminar
May 22, 2006
The one-day From Recipe to Reality seminar is an introduction to the Food Entrepreneur Assistance Program at The Food Processing Center of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. It is specifically designed to provide entrepreneurs with an understanding of the issues they will need to consider when starting a food business. Participants may include people interested in marketing their family’s secret recipe, restaurateurs exploring the sale of a house specialty, store owners contemplating the development of a private label product, or producers considering adding value to an agricultural product.
Operating An Efficient Farmers' Market: A Workshop for Market Masters and Vendors
May 19, June 15 or June 16, 2006
Noblesville, Nappanee, or Wanatah, Indiana
The Indiana Cooperative Development Center and others are presenting a series of one-day workshops across Indiana that offer an overview of marketing ideas, state regulations for food handling, insurance,
and breakout sessions both for market masters and vendors. A registration form is available online in PDF.
Organic Tree Fruit Production Workshop
June 21, 2006
Princeton, New Jersey
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey presents a tour of Terhune Orchards and expert discussion of what it takes to grow tree fruit organically in the Northeast. Host Gary Mount will share his experience growing apples, peaches, and pears conventionally and discuss the challenges of going and growing organic. Learn the latest of what works and what doesn’t to grow high quality organic fruit from experts Emily Brown-Rosen of Organic Research Associates, Jim Travis, a Penn State Plant Pathologist, and Don Jantzi from The Rodale Institute.
> More Events
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