Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 24, 2006
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.
News & Resources
* USDA Conference to Focus on Risk Management Strategies Related to Energy Costs
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* Initiative to Aid New York Dairies in Organic Production
* Ohio Program to Mentor Beginning Farmers
* Senator Enrolls Farm in Climate Exchange
* Budgets Help Farmers Estimate New Enterprise Costs
* Community Supported Agriculture Offers Options for Farmers and Customers
* Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative
* Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program
* Water Conservation Field Services Program, Phoenix Area Office
* Planned Grazing School
* World Congress of Soil Science
* 2006 SARE National Conference
News & Resources
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Conference to Focus on Risk Management Strategies Related to Energy Costs
USDA will hold a conference on June 27-28 in Kansas City, Missouri, to examine risk management issues and strategies associated with alternative energy production and use in the agriculture sector. "The goal of this conference is to help farmers and ranchers learn more about the latest available energy-related risk management tools and strategies that can help them to mitigate increased energy costs in their operations," said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns. Agricultural producers, including small and limited resource farmers, are encouraged to attend the conference. The conference will look at renewable energy enterprises on the farm, as well as strategies for managing risk and maximizing profit under high energy costs.
Initiative to Aid New York Dairies in Organic Production
Organic milk production, business enterprise development, successful farm management and enhanced information and idea exchange are the goals of the NY Organic Dairy Initiative. The project, funded by the New York Farm Viability Institute and administered by Cornell Small Farm Program, is targeted to New York's small and mid-sized dairy farms. To kick off the NY Organic Dairy Initiative, the Cornell Small Farm Program convened a task force to identify barriers to and opportunities for organic milk production. The Initiative will also hold workshops around the state, to help farmers to understand how organic production impacts animal health, crops, and farm finances. The New York Organic Dairy Initiative will also produce organic production educational materials to help farmers statewide.
Related ATTRA Publication: Dairy Farm Sustainability Checksheet
Ohio Program to Mentor Beginning Farmers
Innovative Farmers of Ohio will launch a program to help beginning farmers learn from experienced farmers. The "Wisdom in the Land" program received a $93,000 Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) grant to coordinate farmer-to-farmer learning. The program puts in place a formal means for people to learn about farming from successful models. It will match up to 40 new farmers with an interest in organic or sustainable agriculture methods with 25-40 mentors. The mentors will receive a small honorarium. Applications for the program will be available in July, for farmers in 13 Ohio counties.
Senator Enrolls Farm in Climate Exchange
Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana has enrolled his own 600-acre corn and soybean farm in the Chicago Climate Exchange, says a Reuters news story on Planet Ark. Lugar is quoted as saying, "I want to encourage farmers to explore this new opportunity to increase their farm income by using carbon-absorbing environmental practices." His farm will devote about a third of its acreage to growing hardwood trees. The Chicago Climate Exchange estimates the number of tons of carbon dioxide those trees will absorb, and Lugar is then eligible to sell those credits on the Exchange for $3.50 per ton.
Budgets Help Farmers Estimate New Enterprise Costs
Agriculture and sustainable agriculture programs at several universities have recently made example budgets available for a wide range of specialty crops and alternative agricultural enterprises. These cost studies and enterprise budgets can help producers with business planning for farm diversification or transition to new crops. The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California Davis has recent cost studies for pears, grapes/raisins, orchardgrass hay, and organic beef posted online. Iowa State University, meanwhile, offers numerous enterprise budgets online in the categories of vegetables, field crops, aquaculture, fruits and berries, and livestock. The UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems has also posted enterprise budgets for poultry, dairy sheep, dairy goats, and specialty foods.
Community Supported Agriculture Offers Options for Farmers and Customers
A story in The Toledo Blade reports that Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, operations are offering added income for farmers and fresh local food access for consumers. Many different CSA arrangements exist, offering customers products such as vegetables, fruits, flowers and eggs. Subscribers pay a wide range of prices for a share of farm produce, depending on the length of the season and amount of produce they opt to purchase. Small CSA operations may have only a few shareholders, while others deliver goods to hundreds of subscribers. Many different examples of successful CSA arrangements exist.
Related ATTRA Publication: Community Supported Agriculture
> More Breaking News
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Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting proposals to fund projects within the Region 5 states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, that will demonstrate effective emission control technologies and strategies, methods or approaches to reducing diesel emissions as part of the Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative.
One of the categories in which funding may be sought is Agriculture; specifically the cultivation, harvesting and transport of cereal grains. EPA Region 5 anticipates awarding approximately $575,000 under this announcement, and approximately 2-10 awards will be made. EPA is soliciting proposals from States, Federally Recognized Indian Tribes and Tribal Consortia, international organizations, public and private universities and colleges, hospitals, laboratories, and other public or private nonprofit institutions.
Proposals are due June 16, 2006.
Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program
The Commodity Credit Corporation announces the availability of funding for the 2006 Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) Program. This announcement is intended to solicit applications from the private sector and from government agencies for participation in the FY 2006 TASC Program. The TASC Program is designed to assist U.S. organizations by providing funding for private and public sector projects and technical assistance that address sanitary, phytosanitary, and technical barriers that prohibit or threaten the export of U.S. specialty crops. In prior years, the amount of funding per proposal has ranged from $13,000 to $250,000, the maximum allowed. Proposals are evaluated on a semi-annual basis, with submission cut-off dates of February 1 and July 1.
Proposals are due July 1, 2006.
Water Conservation Field Services Program, Phoenix Area Office
The Phoenix Area Office of the Bureau of Reclamation is requesting proposals for cost shared funding for water conservation activities in the Colorado River Basin area served by the Phoenix Office. The Bureau of Reclamation has financial assistance available in the form of grants and cooperative agreements for minimum 50 percent cost-shared funding for water conservation activities as per the Soil and Moisture Conservation Act. Projects will generally be awarded with funding from $10,000 to $50,000 per year. The main focus of the Water Conservation Field Service program this year is on improved outdoor water management practices. This focus should be applied to all three areas of the program where appropriate - implementation, demonstration, and education/training/research. Eligible applicants include agricultural and M&I water user entities that receive water supplies from Reclamation projects, tribes, universities, states, local governments, and non-profit organizations.
Proposals are due June 29, 2006.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Planned Grazing School
June 8-10, 2006
University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension presents this three-day course. The purpose of the school will be two-fold: 1) to learn procedures to develop and monitor a grazing plan and 2) to learn how to monitor biologically. Approximately 50% of the school will be held in the field. There is a prerequisite of having attended an approved holistic goal training and/or having completed a personal or farm holistic goal.
World Congress of Soil Science
July 9-15, 2006
The scientific program for the 18th World Congress of Soil Science (WCSS) will focus on multi-disciplinary soil science advances under the theme, "Frontiers of Soil Science: Technology and the Information Age." The event is being hailed by organizers as being a unique convergence of the world's leading professionals in soil science. This will be the first World Congress of Soil Science held in the U.S. since 1960. Presentations organized into topical symposia will be given by thousands of soil scientists from around the world on such topics as GIS technologies, land-use analysis, environmental soil biology, plant/soil interaction, hazardous waste remediation, precision agriculture, and more.
2006 SARE National Conference
August 15-17, 2006
"A Midwest Homecoming: Sharing a New Tradition of Sustainability" is the 4th SARE national/regional gathering. The conference will feature oral presentations, poster sessions, workshops, roundtable discussions and tours designed to recognize and advance sustainable agriculture throughout the nation.
> More Events
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