Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - May 11, 2005
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
* Farm Beginnings Program Expands to Missouri
* Greenhouse Tomato Market Share Growing Rapidly
* Demand for Organic Food Keeps Growing
* Insurance a Challenge for Agritourism Ventures
* Niche Meat Producers Hampered by Lack of Small Processors
* Community Gardens Help Address Food Security Issues
* Matching Grants for Conservation on Private Lands
* Nutrient Criteria Development RFP
* Rural Youth Development Grants
* Sustainable Farm Tour
* Visualizing Food and Farm Conference
* Raising Earthworms and Vermicomposting Successfully
News & Resources
Farm Beginnings Program Expands to Missouri
Farm Beginnings™, a mentorship and education program for farmers just starting
out, will now be offered in Missouri, thanks to funding from North Central
SARE. Farm Beginnings was developed by the Land
Stewardship Project in Minnesota,
and the program has been offered there since 1998, amassing many success stories.
The hands-on program trains new and transitioning farmers in innovative, low-cost
farming practices that sustain both farm families and the land, using a combination
of classroom instruction, farm tours, and one-on-one mentoring. Starting in
October 2005 the program will be offered in Missouri, with classes taking place
twice a month in West Plains. Field days will continue on through the spring
and summer of 2006.
Greenhouse Tomato Market Share Growing Rapidly
Tomatoes raised in greenhouses have climbed from a negligible market share in the early 1990s to 17 percent of the U.S. fresh tomato supply and 37 percent of all fresh tomatoes sold in U.S. retail stores, reports Amber Waves. The article, drawn from the USDA/ERS study Greenhouse
Tomatoes Change the Dynamics of the North American Fresh Tomato Industry, looks at the greenhouse tomato market in North America, including its challenges, its relationship to the field tomato market, and falling prices as an increasing number of growers sometimes makes supply outstrip demand. Greenhouse growing has extended the tomato season, and growers are working to achieve a year-round supply that could offer a steady supply for the food service market.
ATTRA publication: Organic
Greenhouse Tomato Production
Demand for Organic Food Keeps Growing
An Associated Press article that appeared in the Washington Post, Forbes, and elsewhere reports on continued growth in the market for organic foods. The Organic Trade Association predicts sales will reach $14.5 billion by the end of 2005, while a USDA agricultural economist pegs the sector's growth at 20 percent per year. Industry observers commented on a wider diversity of organic products now available, and one organic certifier in Indiana told of rapidly increasing numbers of farms seeking organic certification. Consumers have been willing to pay higher prices for organic products, based on perceptions that organic food is healthier or tastes better.
Insurance a Challenge for Agritourism Ventures
Farmers who enter the growing field of agritourism may face challenges in obtaining insurance coverage, according to an Agrinews article. Experts recommend meeting with insurers to discuss details of the operation, as specific practices and precautions taken on the farm can make the difference between obtaining coverage and not obtaining coverage, or pricing the insurance out of range. The article provides several examples of agritourism operators who found ways to reduce their liability so that they qualified for coverage or reduced the amount of coverage necessary. The cost of coverage can vary greatly with the type of activity involved and the scale of the operation.
Niche Meat Producers Hampered by Lack of Small Processors
Producers are seeing demand for their organic, pasture-raised, local meats rising, says the Roanoke Times. Yet they are experiencing a bottleneck in meeting this demand: a lack of small meat processors. In order to be sold to the public, meat must be processed at a federally inspected facility. Increasing regulations and costs, not to mention the demanding nature of the work, have reduced the number of small processors who can serve niche producers. Many producers have to drive several hours to reach a processor who can slaughter and cut their meat for sale. Even at that, small processors charge more and may not be familiar with turning out a standard product for retail sale. Grower groups who have looked into starting their own processing facilities find the costs prohibitive in many cases. One promising option may be mobile slaughter facilities. These inspected and approved trailers can be moved from one producer to another, for on-farm processing of poultry, hogs, lamb or beef.
Related ATTRA Publication: Small-scale Poultry Processing
Community Gardens Help Address Food Security Issues
The goal of Digging Deeper, a city project in Des Moines, Iowa, is to plant sustainable, edible gardens in low-income neighborhoods throughout the city, reports the Des Moines Register. Because Iowa historically produced a lot of fruit, project organizers also want to encourage the idea of planting fruit trees in inner city neighborhoods. As part of the project, over 100 students and volunteers at King Elementary School recently dug, mulched, and planted a garden that covers much of the school's campus and will eventually feature a butterfly garden, patch of prairie, and wild flower garden, in addition to vegetable beds and two orchards. The project is funded in part by a USDA community food security grant.
more news and resources, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture
Information Service Web site's Breaking News section: http://attra.ncat.org/management/geninfo.html.
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Matching Grants for Conservation on Private Lands
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (Foundation) is working to expand and strengthen its partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to support innovative and effective conservation and stewardship of our country's private lands. The goal of the partnership is to support high quality projects that engage private landowners, primarily farmers and ranchers, in the conservation and enhancement of fish and wildlife and natural resources on their lands. A new focus added for this year's program is on grassland nesting birds, particularly sage grouse, and their associated habitats. The Foundation has received $3 million from the NRCS in support of this partnership. The Foundation will devote 100% of these dollars to a matching grant program to support conservation projects. Matching grants will be awarded through a competitive process to eligible grant recipients including state and local governments, education institutions, and nonprofit organizations. Electronic
pre-proposals are due May 16, 2005.
Nutrient Criteria Development RFP
EPA is making available funds under Statutory Authority of Section 104(b)(3) of the Clean Water Act, which authorizes federal assistance agreements for conducting or promoting the coordination and acceleration of research, investigations, experiments, surveys and studies relating to the cause, effects, extent, prevention and elimination of nutrient related pollution. Agencies and organizations selected for funding will be knowledgeable in the areas of water quality data analyses and data management. State water pollution control agencies, Federally recognized Indian Tribal Governments, institutions of higher education, interstate agencies, and other public or nonprofit private agencies, institutions, organizations and individuals are eligible to apply for this program. Awards will range from approximately $20,000 to a maximum of $80,000 per project. Proposals are due by June 11, 2005.
Rural Youth Development Grants
The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) announces the availability of grant funds and requests applications for the Rural Youth Development Grants (RYD) Program for fiscal year (FY) 2005 to support the expansion of effective, high quality youth development programs for youth in rural areas and small towns. The amount available for support of this program in FY 2005 is approximately $2.5 million. Only Girl Scouts of the United States of America, the National 4-H Council, the Boy Scouts of America, and the National FFA Organization are eligible to apply. Applications are due June 1, 2005.
additional funding opportunities, visit: http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.
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Sustainable Farm Tour
May 22, 2005
Vashon Island, Washington
Island Earthfair hosts their annual Sustainable Farm Tour, showcasing organic fruit and vegetable gardens; permaculture; subscription vegetable farms; pasture raised goats, chickens, ducks and pigs; subscription eggs, milk, cheese and meat; grass-fed beef and organic flower farming.
Visualizing Food and Farm Conference
June 9-12, 2005
This event is the joint annual meetings of the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society and the Association for the Study of Food and Society. Two multidisciplinary professional and scholarly societies meet for the purpose of discussing contemporary research and issues about food and agriculture.
Raising Earthworms and Vermicomposting Successfully
June 9-10, 2005
Tarboro, North Carolina
On Thursday, June 9, participants will learn the basics of vermiculture and tour the largest worm farm in the Carolinas. The tour will include equipment demonstrations of a manure solids separator, mobile bagger, feedstock spreader and castings screener. On Friday, June 10, participants will learn more advanced topics, such as marketing products, brewing compost tea, vermicompost research, and uses of vermicompost.
events at: http://attra.ncat.org/calendar/index.php.
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Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives Available Online
Digital versions of recent Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters
are now available online. ATTRAnews is the bi-monthly newsletter
of ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is the Web
site of the ATTRA project created and managed by the National
Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), and funded under a grant
from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural
Business-Cooperative Service. Visit the NCAT
Web site for more information on our sustainable agriculture
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