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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 20, 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
* Small Farm Team Releases Local Markets Report
* Proposed Food Systems Journal Seeks Input
* Small Farm Marketing Opportunities Discussed in New Report
* Book Examines Grass-Based Agriculture
* Organic Economics Tool Available from Montana Department of Agriculture
* Listening Session Launches Food Safety Working Group


Funding Opportunities
* EQIP Organic Initiative
* Utah Conservation Innovation Aquaculture Grant
* Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program
* Wisconsin Grazing Grants for Technical Assistance


Coming Events
* 18th Annual Small Farmers Conference
* Small Farm Field Day
* 11th Annual North American Agroforestry Conference



News & Resources

Small Farm Team Releases Local Markets Report
The New York state Local Markets Work Team announces the long awaited publication of their report "Enhancing the Viability of Local Markets in NYS" (PDF/801KB). The report summarizes two years of extensive surveys and feedback collected from participants involved in all sectors of the local food chain. The report boils down the extensive feedback to a concise and reader-friendly 5 page report. The NYS Local Markets Work Team encourages all those with an interest in a local food system to consider these state-wide recommendations so that the most effective efforts are employed to ensure success and that our limited resources are used wisely.

Proposed Food Systems Journal Seeks Input
New Leaf Associates Publishing and Consulting, which specializes in regional farming and food systems, is exploring the development of an online journal and supporting website to provide both practical information on the state-of-the-art for food system and agriculture development practitioners, and also to serve as a publishing vehicle for applied researchers and young scholars. The journal and website will also provide a way for student programs and organizations to network internationally in order to share information and ideas. New Leaf would appreciate your input on journal and website content and features as a potential author, site member and/or subscriber through a brief survey.

Small Farm Marketing Opportunities Discussed in New Report
The U. S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) released Proceedings of a Special Session from the 2008 USDA Partners Meeting: Emerging Market Opportunities for Small-Scale Producers. One of the sessions at the 2008, "meeting," (PDF/358KB) offered an opportunity for farmers and farmer organizations to learn directly from industry insiders what it takes to work successfully with produce buyers. The report describes novel ways for small farmers to establish more lucrative and stable markets by selling their crops directly to supermarkets, institutional foodservice establishments, and specialty distributors.

Book Examines Grass-Based Agriculture
Grassland: Quietness and Strength for a New American Agriculture was written to increase our awareness of the vital role grass and grassland plants have in ensuring a sustainable future for American agriculture. Published by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, the book’s content is geared toward agriculturists, students, the public, and policy makers. Taking its inspiration from the classic USDA yearbook Grass: The 1948 Yearbook of Agriculture, which was written at a time of political, environmental, and economic turbulence, much like today, the editors of Grassland set out to create a book that stresses the importance of developing sustainable agriculture in order to maintain the capacity of our planet to sustain life, and to explain that humans are capable of diminishing this capacity.

Organic Economics Tool Available from Montana Department of Agriculture
The Montana Department of Agriculture created the rotation modeling spreadsheet to serve as a tool for farmers to compare the economics of different crop rotations and farming systems (organic/conventional). The spreadsheet allows users to design and compare up to four organic rotations and four conventional rotations.

Listening Session Launches Food Safety Working Group
The President's Food Safety Working Group was recently launched with a listening session. President Obama has charged the Food Safety Working Group with examining all aspects of food safety, be it meat or produce, fresh or frozen, whether it is imported, or produced domestically. The Food Safety Working Group is interested in hearing from a broad range of stakeholders in a variety of ways about their ideas for improving the food safety system. The White House Listening Session was an opportunity to engage stakeholders in a conversation to help shape these principles.

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Utah Conservation Innovation Aquaculture Grant
NRCS requests applications for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies to aquaculture in Utah. The purpose of CIG is to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging the Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. CIG funds projects targeting innovative "on-the-ground" conservation, including pilot projects and field demonstrations. Applications are accepted for aquaculture projects throughout the State of Utah.
Proposals are due June 17, 2009.

Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program
Rural Cooperative Development grants are made for establishing and operating centers for cooperative development for the primary purpose of improving the economic condition of rural areas through the development of new cooperatives and improving operations of existing cooperatives. The U.S. Department of Agriculture desires to encourage and stimulate the development of effective cooperative organizations in rural America as a part of its total package of rural development efforts.
Proposals are due June 29, 2009.

Wisconsin Grazing Grants for Technical Assistance
The 2009 Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Grant program invites proposals for research in managed intensive grazing. Applicants may include, but are not limited to: county, state, and federal agriculture and natural resource agencies, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, and grazing networks.
Proposals are due May 31, 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

18th Annual Small Farmers Conference
May 27-29, 2009
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Topics covered will include grant writing, business planning, alternative enterprises, energy considerations, livestock production, and more.


Small Farm Field Day
May 30, 2009
Unity, Maine

Hands-on learning for small farmers, gardeners and homesteaders. Practical skills, answers to questions.


11th Annual North American Agroforestry Conference
May 31-June 3, 2009
Columbia, Missouri

The intent of this conference is to further stimulate development and adoption of sustainable rural land management practices centered on the integration of trees into the landscape. The conference will provide a forum for individuals associated with or practicing agroforestry to share their experiences and discuss production, environmental and social attributes of different agroforestry practices.


> 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.


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