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Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 21, 2008

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
* New Guides to Help Farmers Understand and Negotiate Organic Dairy Contracts
* Urban Farm Trend Brings Food to Cities
* Dairy Goat Reference Released
* California Study Shows Hospitals Serving More Local Food
* Sustainable Farming Tour Series Planned for Ohio
* Pennsylvania Beef Producers Market Certified Product

Funding Opportunities
* Rangeland Research Program
* North Dakota Agricultural Product Utilization Commission Grants
* Kentucky Horticulture Market Development Cost Share Grant

Coming Events
* Fueling the Farm II
* NPSAS Summer Symposium & Farm Tour
* Rodale Field Day

News & Resources

New Guides to Help Farmers Understand and Negotiate Organic Dairy Contracts
Farmers’ Legal Action Group, Inc. (FLAG) announces two new articles to help farmers negotiate organic dairy contracts. The articles contain important legal information for dairy farmers interested in selling organic milk to a processor, as well as for those who are already doing so. The first article is called "When Your Processor Requires More than Organic Certification: Additional Requirements in Organic Milk Contracts." The second article is called "Hushed Up: Confidentiality Clauses in Organic Milk Contracts." Farmers may request a copy of one or both articles by calling FLAG’s office, and both articles are available online for download.

Urban Farm Trend Brings Food to Cities
In cities across the country, vacant lots are becoming community gardens and thriving urban farms that bring fresh food to city dwellers and provide significant incomes for crop producers, according to a story in The New York Times. Some producers are growing hard-to-find specialty crops to serve immigrant markets. Others grow high-value vegetable crops that help them derive income from even small plots. A variety of non-profit organizations in cities coast to coast are helping secure urban land to farm and train people to grow food on it.

Dairy Goat Reference Released
Best Management Practices for Dairy Goat Farmers is a new publication being made available online in PDF (2.7M) by the Wisconsin Dairy Goat Association. The 166-page publication includes chapters on the basics of establishing a goat dairy in Wisconsin, managing milking does, genetics, herd health, facilities, and milking systems.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Dairy Goats: Sustainable Production

California Study Shows Hospitals Serving More Local Food
UC Davis researchers studied farm-to-hospital initiatives in the Bay Area, and found a growing movement to put locally produced food on patient trays and cafeteria menus. They say that buying from local farmers and ranchers is part of a trend toward better quality and flavor in hospital meals, both to satisfy consumer demand and to address concerns about dietary contributions to chronic disease. Their report, "Emerging Local Food Purchasing Initiatives in Northern California Hospitals," is available online.

Sustainable Farming Tour Series Planned for Ohio
Several Ohio organizations are coordinating their efforts to present a series of 2008 Ohio Farm Tours & Workshops from June through October. Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association, Innovative Farmers of Ohio, and Ohio State University Sustainable Ag Team are all sponsoring events this summer. A full listing of events, with details and directions, is available online from OEFFA in PDF (2.9M). The 29 tours and other events focus on a variety of topics, including ways that farmers and consumers can cultivate vibrant food systems, preserve farmland, increase farm profitability, and learn more about livestock and grazing, season extension, crop rotation, marketing, and specialty crops. Most tours are free; some include charges for meals and require pre-registration.

Pennsylvania Beef Producers Market Certified Product
Penn State Cooperative Extension, the regional Weis Stores supermarket chain, and Pennsylvania beef producers certified through the Beef Quality Assurance program are working together to market "Pennsylvania Proud Choice Angus Beef," reports Pennsylvania Ag Connection. Pennsylvania producers participating in the quality assurance program attend training and recertification workshops, may have their operations inspected, and have cattle with Angus-based genetics that grade USDA Choice or better. "While there are many breed and location-based labeled beef product programs in place around the country, Pennsylvania Proud Choice Angus Beef may be the first that also requires the producer to meet training and certification standards that will enhance the quality and safety of the beef for consumers," notes John Comerford, Penn State associate professor of dairy and animal science and a member of the Beef Quality Assurance Commission.

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Rangeland Research Program
The goal of this RRP from CSREES is to contribute to the improvement of U.S. rangeland resources and the ecosystem services they provide by supporting the development of new and emerging rangeland science methodologies which specifically address the interrelationships between multiple disciplines. The primary purpose of RRP is to provide U.S. agricultural producers, rural landowners, and land managers with integrated science strategies to make informed land management decisions with an emphasis on enhancing the restoration and sustainable integrity of rangelands. Applications may be submitted by land-grant colleges and universities, State agricultural experiment stations, and colleges, universities, and Federal laboratories having a demonstrable capacity in rangeland research. A total of $950,000 in project funding is available, with individual awards not to exceed $500,000.
Proposals are due July 7, 2008.

North Dakota Agricultural Product Utilization Commission Grants
North Dakota's Agricultural Product Utilization Commission provides grants for North Dakota companies that add value to a raw North Dakota agriculture commodity. Funding proposals for the following categories are accepted: basic and applied research grants; marketing and utilization grants; farm diversification grants; and an agricultural prototype development grant program. Applicants are invited to present their proposals to the commission on a quarterly basis. The remaining deadlines for submitting applications to present are: July 1, 2008 and October 1, 2008.

Kentucky Horticulture Market Development Cost Share Grant
This program is designed to assist producers of horticulture products to attend educational events and conferences to improve production and marketing skills. Funding for the program is provided by grant funds to the Kentucky Horticulture Council through the Agriculture Development Board. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture administers this program on their behalf. The maximum program benefit is $2000 in 2008 for any one business entity.
Proposals are due January 9, 2009.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Fueling the Farm II
July 10, 2008
Goldsboro, North Carolina

"Fueling the Farm II: Managing energy risks, reducing energy costs and exploring alternative energy sources" is part of the Seasons of Sustainable Agriculture series at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems. This day-long workshop will provide farmers and other participants with information and tools to explore and evaluate farm energy use, potential economic risk and ways of reducing on-farm energy usage and expenses. Renewable energy and energy efficiency projects will be discussed and demonstrated and potential funding sources will be identified. Biofuel production topics will be a specific breakout thread and will include the step by step demonstration of biofuel production.

NPSAS Summer Symposium & Farm Tour
July 22, 2008
Madison, South Dakota

Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society presents this day-long event including tours of the 2,400-acre certified organic Johnson Farm and the 1,000-acre organic Wilcox Farm livestock and crop operation. Panel discussions on "Managing Obstacles in Organic Production" and "Marketing and Equipment Sharing" are also scheduled.

Rodale Field Day
July 18, 2008
Kutztown, Pennsylvania

At the Rodale Institute's annual field day their researchers provide updates and tours of the Farming Systems Trial research underway on the 333-acre certified organic farm.

> More Events

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