Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 5, 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
* More Precautions Seen in Preparation for Avian Flu
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* Pittsburgh Restaurants Serve Local Food
* Climate Change Offers New Crop Opportunities
* Dartmouth College Dining Services Introduces Local Produce
* Ohio Purchases Agricultural Easements
* July Designated 'Smart Irrigation Month'
* Rural Initiative for New American Farmers
* Nebraska Value-Added Agriculture Grant Program
* Farm Credit Administration's FCS
* Northern Nut Growers Association Annual Meeting
* Eastern Apicultural Society Annual Conference
* Sustainable Agriculture Policy Options for the 2007 Farm Bill Workshop and Rally
News & Resources
More Precautions Seen in Preparation for Avian Flu
Among recent efforts to combat avian flu in this country is the National Zoo's removal of chickens and ducks at its Kids' Farm exhibit, the Washington Post reported in its online edition today. Described as a precautionary measure, 18 ducks and 27 chickens were moved from the zoo's Washington, D.C. main exhibit to a research center in Virginia. The state of Massachusetts begins testing wild birds for the H5N1 virus this week, the Hanover Mariner reported yesterday. Migrating Canada geese and mallards will be target by a $40,000 federal grant to sample wild birds. Maine and Alaska already have testing programs in place. The virus has yet to be found anywhere in North or South America, the story reports. Meanwhile, researchers announced the first documented case of the virus transmitting from wild birds to humans. Four people died in Azerbaijan earlier this year after they plucked feathers from the carcasses of dead wild swans, the Guardian International reported over its online news service earlier this week. The sale of wild swan down is a valuable but illegal commodity and this circumstance may have hampered the research. Andreas Gilsdorf, a German epidemiologist who led the team that made the discovery, said: "As far as we know this is the first transmission from a wild bird, but it was a very intensive contact."
Pittsburgh Restaurants Serve Local Food
A growing number of restaurants in the Pittsburgh area are proudly featuring locally grown food, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Penn's Corner Farm Alliance, a farmers cooperative, is one of the entities that is helping bridge the gap between farmers and restaurant chefs, to bring local foods to dining tables. Local produce can range from the exotic to the commonplace, but it offers an unparalleled freshness and quality. Farmers and chefs may both face challenges in developing local food markets, the article acknowledges. Meanwhile, another Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story reports that one Pennsylvania organic farmer has found a niche with a specialty product: chives. Larry Patrick makes weekly deliveries to an area restaurant wholesaler. He says this niche market has been more profitable than numerous other farm ventures he's tried, and it has led to a long-standing relationship that has opened the door for him to produce other niche crops.
Related ATTRA Publication: Selling to Restaurants
Climate Change Offers New Crop Opportunities
British media, including the Telegraph, report that Britain now has its first commercial olive grove, in Devon. The 120-tree grove was planted by an environmental consultant who says temperatures in the country have risen so much that he believes it's now possible to grow olives there. Mark Diacono expects his first harvest in 5 to 7 years. An average temperature rise of 1 degree Celsius across Britain since 1900 has extended the growing season by about a month, and further warming is expected.
Dartmouth College Dining Services Introduces Local Produce
Beginning this summer, Dartmouth Dining Services (DDS) will begin an experiment designed to increase student access to fresh, local produce by buying 11 varieties of produce directly from several farms in New Hampshire and Vermont. The program is the result of two years of collaboration between DDS and Valley Food & Farm, part of the non-profit organization Vital Communities. Fresh local produce was already part of DDS's offerings to students, purchased through the distributors, but under the new program, DDS has also committed to purchasing produce directly from farmers.
Related ATTRA Publication: Bringing Local Food to Local Institutions
Ohio Purchases Agricultural Easements
The Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program has agreed to purchase easements on 5,412 acres from 23 families in its current funding round, says Ohio Ag Connection. The program uses a combination of federal and state funds to purchase easements that keep property in agricultural production. Landowners may still undertake any agricultural activity permitted by Ohio law, and can sell or transfer their farms, but may not convert the land to non-farm uses.
Related ATTRA Publication: Conservation Easements
July Designated 'Smart Irrigation Month'
The Irrigation Association® has named July Smart Irrigation Month to raise awareness of efficient watering practices, technologically advanced irrigation products, and water conservation. The group offers articles and links to information on efficient irrigation equipment and practices from its Web site.
Related ATTRA Publication: Measuring and Conserving Irrigation Water
> More Breaking News
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Rural Initiative for New American Farmers
The Risk Management Agency (RMA) announces the availability of approximately $500,000 to fund the Rural Initiative for New American Farmers. The purpose of this cooperative partnership agreement program is to deliver risk management training and information to refugees and low income individuals who produce, or who are undertaking to establish a business producing, priority commodities. A maximum of ten partnership agreements will be funded. The maximum award for any of the ten cooperative partnership agreements will be $50,000.
Due date: July 17, 2006
Nebraska Value-Added Agriculture Grant Program
Nebraska's Value Added Agriculture Act grants are designed to support collaborative development among farmers and ranchers; the start-up and growth of value-added agricultural enterprises; and growth of rural communities and regions. Applicants must provide a cash and/or in-kind 25 percent match; maximum grant is $75,000.
Due date: August 7, 2006
Farm Credit Administration's FCS
The Farm Credit System (System) is a network of borrower-owned lending institutions and related service organizations serving all 50 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. These institutions specialize in providing credit and related services to farmers, ranchers, and producers or harvesters of aquatic products. Loans may also be made to finance the processing and marketing activities of these borrowers. In addition, loans may be made to rural homeowners, certain farm-related businesses, and agricultural, aquatic, and public utility cooperatives.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Northern Nut Growers Association Annual Meeting
July 23-26, 2006
The 97th Annual Meeting of the Northern Nut Growers Association will be held at Western Illinois University. Two full days of technical presentations, workshops and meetings will be followed by an all-day tour on the final day of the conference.
Eastern Apicultural Society Annual Conference
August 7-11, 2006
Young Harris, Georgia
Every summer EAS conducts its Annual Conference consisting of lectures, workshops, vendor displays, short courses for beginning and advanced beekeepers, and annual business meeting. Over 400 people generally attend the conference each year.
Sustainable Agriculture Policy Options for the 2007 Farm Bill Workshop and Rally
August 14, 2006
Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group and Sustainable Agriculture Coalition host this day-long event to learn about the farm bill, viable policy options to support sustainable agriculture, and to officially kick-off a 2007 Farm Bill campaign to support family farms, healthy communities, conservation and environmental enhancement, and new marketing options and opportunities. Registration forms are available online in PDF (62K).
> More Events
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