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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 23, 2012

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

News & Resources

  • Farm Beginnings Courses Accepting Applications
  • Grass-fed Beef More Environmentally Sustainable, Says UK Report
  • USDA Reports on Farm Activities Associated With Rural Development Initiatives
  • Final Rule Gives Organic Livestock Producers New Options
  • Sustainable Food and Agriculture Visionaries Recognized
  • USDA Seeks Peer Reviewers for Farmers Market Promotion Program Proposals

Funding Opportunities

  • Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - Methyl Bromide Transitions
  • Utah Specialty Crop Grants
  • Massachusetts Farm Viability Enhancement Program

Coming Events

  • Grass-Based Beef: The Business Case Webinar
  • Horse Progress Days
  • The Necessary (r)Evolution for Sustainable Food Systems Conference

News & Resources

Farm Beginnings Courses Accepting Applications
Farm Beginnings is a 10-month training course that provides opportunities for beginning and transitioning farmers to learn about values clarification and goal setting, whole-farm planning, business plan development, and low-cost, sustainable farming methods. Farm Beginnings courses are offered in many states. Course schedules and application deadlines vary. Programs accepting applications for the coming year include Land Stewardship Project (Minnesota and Wisconsin), Dakota Rural Action (South Dakota), Stateline Farm Beginnings® (northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin), and Central Illinois Farm Beginnings.
Related ATTRA Resource: Beginning Farmer

Grass-fed Beef More Environmentally Sustainable, Says UK Report
The UK's National Trust has released a research report showing that feeding cattle on grass throughout their life cycle is the most environmentally sustainable way to rear beef. Research at 10 farms shows that while the carbon footprints of grass-fed and conventional farms were comparable, the carbon sequestration contribution of well-managed grass pasture reduced net emissions by as much as 94%, even resulting in a carbon 'net gain' in upland areas. The farms that had recently converted to organic status showed greater gains.

USDA Reports on Farm Activities Associated With Rural Development Initiatives
A new report from the USDA Economic Research Service improves understanding of the characteristics that may influence farm operator involvement in development-related activities, specifically by focusing on five farm activities: organic farming, value-added agriculture, direct marketing, agritourism, and energy/electricity production. The 48-page report, Farm Activities Associated With Rural Development Initiatives, is available online in PDF.

Final Rule Gives Organic Livestock Producers New Options
The National Organic Program has announced a final rule that allows the use of two parasiticides—fenbendazole and moxidectin—in organic livestock production as emergency treatment for dairy and breeder stock when approved preventive management fails to prevent parasite infestation. The final rule is available for view at www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=AMS-NOP-10-0078-0018.

Sustainable Food and Agriculture Visionaries Recognized
The Natural Resources Defense Council has announced the fourth annual “Growing Green Awards,” honoring four remarkable food visionaries for their trailblazing work to make our food systems healthier and more sustainable. The Food Producer award went to North Dakota rancher Gabe Brown. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers received a new award for Food Justice. The Young Food Leader award went to Andrea Northup, who founded the D.C. Farm to School Network. Finally, the Business Leader award went to George Siemon, CEO of Organic Valley.

USDA Seeks Peer Reviewers for Farmers Market Promotion Program Proposals
The U.S. Department of Agriculture invites individuals to share their expertise in reviewing project proposals for the 2012 Farmers Market Promotion Program grants. Reviewers will evaluate, score, and comment on approximately 25 proposals and participate in team discussions for group consensus on final project scores and rankings. For additional information or to download an application, visit www.ams.usda.gov/FMPP.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - Methyl Bromide Transitions
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture announces the availability of grant funds to support the discovery and implementation of practical pest management alternatives to methyl bromide uses for which the United States is requesting critical use exemptions. The amount available for support of this program in FY 2012 is approximately $1.9 million. Colleges and universities are eligible to submit applications.
Applications are due by June 19, 2012.

Utah Specialty Crop Grants
The Utah Department of Agriculture & Food is seeking proposals for the federally funded Specialty Crops Block Grant Program. Individual producers, producer groups, organizations, and associations, as well as state and local organizations, academia, and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply. This year, approximately $260,000 of grant money will be available on a competitive application basis.
Grant proposals are due by June 8, 2012.

Massachusetts Farm Viability Enhancement Program
The Farm Viability Program seeks to improve the economic viability and environmental integrity of participating farms. The program offers farmers environmental, technical, and business planning assistance to expand, upgrade, and modernize. Capital for implementing recommended improvements is available in exchange for an agricultural covenant on the farm.
The deadline for submitting applications is June 26, 2012.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Grass-Based Beef: The Business Case Webinar
June 21, 2012
Online

The Wallace Center's National Good Food Network is hosting a webinar that will make the business case for pasture-raised beef, present a case study of a highly successful operation, and highlight resources for learning how to transition to farming and ranching techniques that are higher value, environmentally positive, and increase animal welfare.

Horse Progress Days
June 29-30, 2012
Clare, Michigan

Horse Progress Days encourages and promotes the combination of animal power and the latest equipment innovations, in an effort to support sustainable small-scale farming and land stewardship, and to show that draft animal power is possible, practical, and profitable. Horse farming equipment will be demonstrated in actual field conditions.

The Necessary (r)Evolution for Sustainable Food Systems Conference
June 28, 2012
Burlington, Vermont
This free one-day event will be an energizing look at the ideas, initiatives, and voices that can help revolutionize work in food systems, with a goal of advancing a shared vision for the future of food and making clear specific ways each person can help transform the system.

>> More Events

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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The 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.

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© 2012 NCAT

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New Publication
Energia Renovable: Oportunidades en Su Predio Agricola

Question of the Week
How do I develop and maintain productive and profitable soil?

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