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Weekly Harvest Newsletter


Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 10, 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
* Report Finds Direct Marketing Boom
* USDA Releases Organic Industry Report
* Community Gardening Toolkit Available
* Glossary of Climate Change Words Released
* Pricing and Profits Information Now Available
* Oklahoma to Celebrate Local Foods Week


Funding Opportunities
* New York Dairy Profit Team Program
* National Integrated Water Quality Program
* Native Plant Conservation Initiative


Coming Events
* Weed Suppression and Biodiversity through Cover Crops and
    Field Edge Plants Field Day
* Food System Economic Partnership Conference
* Organic Stone Fruit Jubilee



News & Resources

Report Finds Direct Marketing Boom
A new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) shows direct-to-consumer farm marketing in the United States is growing faster than total agricultural sales. The two categories increased 104.7 percent and 47.6 percent, respectively, from 1997 to 2007. AMS’s Marketing Services Division developed Facts on Direct-To-Consumer Food Marketing (PDF/1.3MB) to examine the contribution that direct-to-consumer marketing is making to the food system in different regions of the country. The report compares data from the 2007 Census of Agriculture with those from previous years.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Direct Marketing


USDA Releases Organic Industry Report
On Wednesday, June 3, USDA's Economic Research Service released a report entitled, "Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry." The report provides an overview of trends in the organic industry and the accompanying issues, including shortfalls in supply, production costs, and competing labels. The report also discusses changes in policies for organic agriculture with the passage of the 2008 Farm Bill.

Community Gardening Toolkit Available
The University of Missouri Extension has released Community Gardening Toolkit (PDF/971KB). The 16 page publication contains information on how to start a community garden, steps to success, benefits of a garden, resources and more. Also available is a Gardeners' Welcome Packet (PDF/134KB). The packet is intended to be a tool for organizing your garden, introducing new gardeners to the policies, procedures and people that keep the garden running smoothly, and keeping returning gardeners updated and involved.

Glossary of Climate Change Words Released
A new glossary from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture defines terms like 'milankovitch cycles' and 'eutrophication,' which could become just as common in climate change discussions in the near future as carbon footprint and acid rain are now. Understanding Common Terms Used in Discussions about Climate Change and Agriculture (PDF/2.8MB) is the name of a new resource from the Leopold Center. The glossary was written by Rich Pirog, Leopold Center Associate Director and leader of the Center’s Marketing and Food Systems Initiative, and Rebecca Rasmussen, an MBA student in the ISU College of Business. Following each of the terms are definitions and their sources, as well as places to get more information on the Internet.

Pricing and Profits Information Now Available
Presentations from the "Pricing and Profits: Making the Right Decisions for Small-Scale Farmers" finance short course during the 2009 Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group conference are now available online. Jim Munsch and Alex Hitt took participants through a step-by-step process in order to make better informed financial decisions. The three presentations — The Beef Cost Model, The Vegetable Cost Model, and Figuring the Cost to Own and Operate Farm Machinery — presented the critical first step in developing a complete farm financial plan.

Oklahoma to Celebrate Local Foods Week
Governor Brad Henry has officially proclaimed June 14 – 21 as Local Foods Week in Oklahoma, thanks to the hard work of the Oklahoma Buy Fresh Buy Local - Green Country chapter. Mayor Kathy Taylor of Tulsa has also made a similar proclamation for her city. The week will feature a number of different activities and events in northeast OK to celebrate the rich diversity of locally-produced foods in early summer, to encourage support of local farmers throughout the season, and to grow more “Oklavores.”

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

New York Dairy Profit Team Program
The NY Center for Dairy Excellence is offering the first program to bring Dairy Profit Teams to farms throughout the state. Dairy Profit Teams are advisors that help a farm identify issues and opportunities on the farm, develop strategies for change, and offer suggestions. Under this program, Dairy Profit Teams may receive cost share assistance of $2,400, approximately 80 percent of the costs to run a team for one year. The NYCDE has funding to launch approximately 45 teams from June-December 2009.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, until funding is exhausted.

National Integrated Water Quality Program
The goal of the National Integrated Water Quality Program is to improve the quality of our nation's surface water and groundwater resources through research, education, and extension activities. Projects funded through this program will advance the knowledge available to agricultural and rural communities. Funded projects should lead to science-based decision-making and management practices that improve the quality of the nation's surface water and groundwater resources in agricultural and rural watersheds.
Proposals are due July 15, 2009.

Native Plant Conservation Initiative
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is soliciting proposals for the 2009 Native Plant Conservation Initiative (NPCI) grants cycle. The NPCI grant program is conducted in cooperation with the Plant Conservation Alliance (PCA), a partnership between the Foundation, ten federal agencies, and more than 270 non-governmental organizations. PCA provides a framework and strategy for linking resources and expertise in developing a coordinated national approach to the conservation of native plants.
Proposals are due July 1, 2009.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Weed Suppression and Biodiversity through Cover Crops and Field Edge Plants Field Day
June 17, 2009
Centre County, Pennsylvania

This field day will focus on managing cover crops and field edge plants for weed suppression and biodiversity gains.


Food System Economic Partnership Conference
June 18, 2009
Adrian, Michigan

Participants will gain an understanding of the local food system and explore opportunities for growth in production, processing, distribution, sales and consumption of local foods.


Organic Stone Fruit Jubilee
June 20, 2009
Clovis, California

This evening event will feature San Joaquin Valley farmers offering tastings of their certified organic peaches, nectarines, plums, pluots and apricots.


> More Events

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