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Weekly Harvest Newsletter


Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 12, 2010

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
* Conservation Program Sign-up Now Underway
* New Cattle and Goat Cost of Production Publications Available
* Manual Available on Mobile Slaughter Units
* USDA To Conduct On-Farm Energy Production Survey
* New Food Blog Launched
* Climate Friendly Gardening Publication Available


Funding Opportunities
* North Central SARE Research & Education Grant
* Organic Seed Quality and Crop Breeding Grant
* Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Grant


Coming Events
* Food and Farm Policy and Obesity Workshop
* Introduction to Biodynamic Agriculture Workshop
* Lambing on Pasture Workshop



News & Resources

Conservation Program Sign-up Now Underway
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that producers nationwide are invited to apply for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, CSP offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and who agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland and non-industrial forestland. The deadline to be considered for the next ranking and funding period is June 11, 2010.
Related ATTRA Resource:   Accessing the New Conservation Stewardship Program


New Cattle and Goat Cost of Production Publications Available
UC Cooperative Extension has released new cost of production studies that examine the costs for beef cattle yearling/stocker [PDF/685KB] production and costs for a goats for meat (PDF/441KB) operation. The studies are based upon hypothetical farms using common practices in the regions showing current production costs. Farm advisors, producers, researchers and other agricultural associates provided data input.

Manual Available on Mobile Slaughter Units
Mobile slaughter/processing units have been getting attention in recent years as a potentially expedient way to bring access to inspected processing to a community or region. This manual offers comprehensive guidance for anyone interested in building and/or operating an inspected mobile slaughter unit (MSU) based upon on the experiences and expertise of several USDA-inspected MSUs in operation.

USDA To Conduct On-Farm Energy Production Survey
USDA will begin conducting the first national On-Farm Energy Production Survey this week. The most recent agriculture census counted more than 20,000 farms and ranches that were producing renewable energy via solar panels, wind turbines and methane digesters. This spring's survey will further explore how this energy is generated and used. "This survey is a chance for farmers and ranchers to highlight the steps they are taking to produce renewable energy within their operations, which is helping to reduce our dependence on energy from foreign sources," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The survey results will provide agricultural producers, policymakers and the public with factual data about the economic and environmental implications of on-farm energy production."

New Food Blog Launched
A blog providing a steady stream of current information about the creation and consumption of food has been launched by the University of California at http://ucanr.org/food. The blog is also available in Spanish at http://ucanr.org/alimentos. Topics addressed in the blog include nutrition, gardening for food, food safety, obesity, pesticide-residue issues, local food, farmers markets, slow food, home food handling, organic food, food production, food policy and more. It is all geared to the general public.

Climate Friendly Gardening Publication Available
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is pleased to announce the release of The Climate-Friendly Gardener: A Guide to Combating Global Warming from the Ground Up(PDF/2.8MB). This science-based but accessible guide explains how home gardeners can avoid contributing to climate change by using certain techniques and tools that are more climate-friendly than others. The Climate-Friendly Gardener discusses the connection between land use and global warming, and offers the following recommendations for conscientious gardeners to maximize the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide their green spaces store and minimize the other global warming gases gardens can emit.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Agriculture, Climate Change, and Carbon Sequestration


> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

North Central SARE Professional Development Grant
The Professional Development Program (PDP) provides funds for professional development projects that provide sustainable agriculture training to agricultural professionals and educators in the Cooperative Extension Service (CES), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), other governmental agencies, and educators in the profit and non-profit sector serving the food and fiber system.
Proposals are due May 21, 2010.

Organic Seed Quality and Crop Breeding Grant
Organic Farming Research Foundation's funding for the fall 2010 funding cycle will be directed toward organic seed and crop-breeding related education and research grants only, thanks to a new partnership with Clif Bar Family Foundation.
Proposals are due June 2, 2010.

Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Grant
The Rural Energy for America Program will provide funds to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis and can be up to 25% of total eligible project costs. Grants are limited to $500,000 for renewable energy systems and $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements. Grant requests as low as $2,500 for renewable energy systems and $1,500 for energy efficiency improvements will be considered.
Proposals are due June 30, 2010.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Food and Farm Policy and Obesity Workshop
May 21-22, 2010
Davis, California

The purpose of the workshop is to report findings regarding the effects of agricultural and food policies on obesity. In this context agricultural and food policies are taken to include farm commodity program policies and related policies, agricultural research policies, and food and nutrition programs as covered by the U.S. Farm Bill and related legislation in the United States.


Introduction to Biodynamic Agriculture Workshop
May 22, 2010
Caledonia, Illinois

Join us for an introduction to the comprehensive ecological methods behind the Biodynamic farming movement inspired by Rudolf Steiner. We'll explore the farm, learning how soils, plants, animals, and people together form a dynamic living organism. Hands-on activities will include preparation-making, applications to compost and fields, plant observations, and learning how to use planetary calendars.


Lambing on Pasture Workshop
May 27, 2010
Fayston, Vermont

In this workshop we will go through tips for successful lambing with very little infrastructure or intervention. We will talk about raising sheep in general, breeding, grazing management, and how to start a flock.


> More Events

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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.


National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home pageThe National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Visit the NCAT Web site for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

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