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Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 13, 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 Site Provides Organic EQIP Information
* Researchers to Study Health of Organic Cows
* Online Resource Center to Help With Value-Added Producer Grants
* Congress Exploring Farm-to-School Programs
* NCAT Releases Two Livestock Project Reports
* Higher Education Adapting to Growth in Sustainable Agriculture

Funding Opportunities
* Value-Added Producer Grant
* North Central SARE Native American Sustainable Agriculture Grant
* EQIP Organic Initiative

Coming Events
* Introduction to Small Acreage Sustainable Farming
* Seeds for Success Grazing Conference
* PASA's Summer Farm Start

News & Resources

ATTRA Site Provides Organic EQIP Information
A new page on the ATTRA website provides information on accessing funds in the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) Organic Initiative for Conversion or Expansion. Last week USDA-NRCS announced $50 million targeted specifically for organic production. Applications for the Organic EQIP are being accepted until May 29, 2009. This site provides information about the program, important contacts, and other helpful documents.

Researchers To Study Health of Organic Cows
Three universities have launched a four-year study with nearly $1 million in funding that will examine the impact that organic and conventional management practices have on the health of cows at 300 dairy farms in New York, Oregon and Wisconsin. Researchers from Oregon State University, Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison aim to find correlations between management practices, incidences of diseases and the amount of milk produced. "There's not much data about the health of cows on organic dairy farms in the United States," said dairy specialist Mike Gamroth of Oregon State University. "So this study will answer a lot of questions."
Related ATTRA Publication:   Dairy Resource List: Organic and Pasture-Based

Online Resource Center to Help With Value-Added Producer Grants
The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC) is assisting producer groups in gathering information for use in applying for the USDA Rural Business and Cooperative Service (RBCS) value-added producer grants, announced in the Federal Register last week. AgMRC is a virtual library of agricultural value-added opportunities, business development and consulting resources for producers, located at www.agmrc.org. Producers can investigate specific commodity information on many different niche opportunities and can locate specific laws, consultants and individual contacts within their individual state to assist them in the grant application process.

Congress Exploring Farm-to-School Programs
U.S. Senators Tom Harkin of Iowa and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, respectively, announced a Committee field hearing entitled, "Benefits of Farm-to-School Projects, Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for School Children." The Committee will meet in open session May 15 from 1 to 3 p.m., at the Roybal Campus of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA. The hearing is one of a series leading to the committee's writing of legislation to extend and update federal childhood nutrition programs later this year.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Bringing Local Food to Local Institutions

NCAT Releases Two Livestock Project Reports
NCAT has released reports on two recently completed livestock projects. Building a Montana Organic Livestock Industry was a study of the cost of production of and marketing possibilities for certified organic and grass-finished beef. The report is based on data from Montana certified organic and grass-finished beef producers who are members of the Montana Organic Producers Cooperative. The second report, Natural Livestock Feasibility Study: Eastern Sierra, California, was a study for the development of a regional alternative livestock market in the eastern Sierras of California. The study includes a survey of livestock producers and livestock product retailers. Also included is discussion of mobile and stationary meat processing development. For more information on these projects, or to obtain a copy of the reports, contact Jeff Schahczenski at jeffs@ncat.org or call the ATTRA line at 1-800-346-9140.

Higher Education Adapting to Growth in Sustainable Agriculture
In recent years, a number of majors, minors and concentrations with names like sustainable food systems, organic agriculture, and agroecology have cropped up in colleges of agriculture nationwide. Inside Higher Ed reports on the growing number of related higher education programs and highlights some of the existing sustainable agriculture programs.

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Value-Added Producer Grant
The primary objective of this grant program is to help eligible independent producers of agricultural commodities, agricultural producer groups, farmer and rancher cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures. The grants are meant to create marketing opportunities and develop business plans for viable marketing opportunities. These grants will facilitate greater participation in new and emerging markets for value-added products.
Proposals are due July 6, 2009.

North Central SARE Native American Sustainable Agriculture Grant
The Native American Sustainable Agricultural Grant Program is initially funded as a one-time North Central Region-Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) grant program. The purpose of this grant program is to fund project(s) that can help NCR-SARE reach and work with Native Americans to improve agricultural sustainability in the North Central Region.
Proposals are due September 30, 2009.

EQIP Organic Initiative
USDA has announced $50 million for a new initiative to meet the Obama Administration's promise to encourage more organic agriculture production. Funding for the initiative is being made available as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Organic producers may also apply for assistance under general EQIP. Under the Organic Initiative, required minimum core conservation practices will be determined by specific resource concerns. The practices are: Conservation Crop Rotation; Cover Crop; Nutrient Management; Pest Management; Prescribed Grazing; and Forage Harvest Management. States must consider using any appropriate practice that meets the resource concern on a particular operation. Applications received from organic producers or producers in transition to organic farming will be accepted under this initiative between May 11 and May 29. The 2009 Organic Initiative will be administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Interested producers should visit their nearest USDA Service Center to determine eligibility.
Proposals are due May 29, 2009.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Introduction to Small Acreage Sustainable Farming
May 20-24, 2009
Rice, Washington

Attendees will gain experience in gardening, composting, building a raised bed, and transplanting garden starts. Students will learn about small livestock care, how to milk goats, make four types of cheese and more.

Seeds for Success Grazing Conference
May 22-23, 2009
Wilburton, Oklahoma

Livestock industry legends Bud Williams, Greg Judy, and Donnell Brown will share their knowledge and experience at the “Seeds for Success” grazing conference at Eastern Oklahoma State College.

PASA's Summer Farm Start
May 22, 2009
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

PA Preferred Best Chef James Woltman of Stock's on Second in Harrisburg will prepare a fantastic menu of the finest regional farm fresh foods available. Join us for this festive evening to benefit the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, and stroll the grounds of the Milestone Inn along the Susquehanna River while the food is prepared right before your eyes!

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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 page ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and is 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 projects.

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