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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 6, 2005

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site.

News & Resources
* Sustainable Agriculture and the Urban Connection
* Organic Agriculture: a Means to Feed Africa?
* Immigrants Swell Ranks of Farmers
* Pasture Management Workshops Offered for Iowa Rotational Grazers
* UC Releases New Cost of Production Studies
* Nominations Sought For 2006 "Organic Farmer of the Year" Award

Funding Opportunities
* Technical Assistance to Develop and Implement Conservation Programs in Iowa
* New York Extension Innovation Grants
* Northeast SARE Partnership Grant Program

Coming Events
* Organic Farm Field Day
* Organic Apple Production Field Day
* Solar Water Pumping Workshop


News & Resources

Sustainable Agriculture and the Urban Connection
John Ikerd, retired professor of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri and strong advocate for sustainable agriculture, recently spoke to a crowd of sustainability activists in Portland, Oregon. The address helped launch a new campaign called the "Eat Local Challenge." According to Dianne Stefani-Ruff, executive director of the Portland Farmers' Market, the challenge asks consumers to commit at least 10 percent of their food budget to buying locally grown food, to try one new fruit or vegetable each week, and to preserve some food to eat when seasonal produce is not available. Several Portland-area farmers' markets, restaurants, and advocates of sustainable agriculture came up with the challenge as a way to promote locally grown, organic food products. The Eat Local Challenge Web site lists special events and includes a guide to 10 ways to eat locally.

Organic Agriculture: a Means to Feed Africa?
Tewolde Berhan, the head of Ethiopia's Environment Agency, believes that organic farming could prevent the death of thousands of Africans who are suffering from poverty and hunger, according to an Independent (UK) story carried on Common Dreams. Berhan notes that a lack of infrastructure contributes to food insecurity in his country, particularly during years when harvests are bad. And international food aid, while welcome in times of hunger, cannot continue to the point where local production is discouraged. In order to foster self-reliance in Ethiopia, Berhan has introduced compost-making and old field management techniques to the Axum region and has seen soil fertility improve and yields increase.
URL: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0628-04.htm

Immigrants Swell Ranks of Farmers
Asian and Hispanic immigrant farmers are helping to supply demand at farmers' markets, says an article in The Boston Globe. Though still a tiny percentage of the total farm population, numbers of immigrant farmers are growing fast. Farming is a way for many immigrants to stay connected to their past, by growing traditional or heritage foods, while making a living in a new land. About 20 programs across the country help immigrants become established in farming, offering them help in finding land, setting up businesses, locating markets, and learning sustainable farming techniques. With the age of the average white farmer in the U.S. now at 55, some farm activists believe immigrant farmers will play an important role in keeping farmland in production in the future.
URL: http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/06/30/

Pasture Management Workshops Offered for Iowa Rotational Grazers
Iowa's NRCS office is sponsoring a series of on-farm pasture management workshops across Iowa this summer, for producers in the process of installing or who have already installed a rotational grazing system. Each meeting will be conducted in “pasture walk” format at a host landowner's farm. The host describes his or her system and answers questions from attendees, with additional information provided by NRCS specialists. Topics covered at each event: plant identification, manure distribution, decentralized watering systems, weed and brush control, managing forage heights, pasture condition scoring, and contingency plans during weather crisis. Four workshops have been held, and four more are scheduled for July, August and September.
URL: http://www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov/news/newsreleases/2005/grazin.html
Related ATTRA Publication: Rotational Grazing

UC Releases New Cost of Production Studies
New cost of production studies for specialty crops, wine grapes and dry beans are now available from the University of California Cooperative Extension. Individual studies focus on small farm production of cherry tomatoes, green beans, and bittermelon in the San Joaquin Valley. Cost of production studies to establish a vineyard and produce wine grapes are available for the Intermountain Region and the San Joaquin Valley North. The study for common dry beans focuses on San Joaquin Valley North. All of the studies are available online or can be ordered from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 and the local UC Cooperative Extension offices, or by phone at (530) 752-4424. Similar reports are available for many commodities from 1931 to the present.
URL: http://news.ucanr.org/newsstorymain.cfm?story=675

Nominations Sought For 2006 "Organic Farmer of the Year" Award
The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) has issued a call for nominations for the 2006 "Organic Farmer of the Year" award. The award is presented annually in February at the Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Along with MOSES, the award is co-sponsored by The New Farm. Criteria for the award are: 1) Innovations in organic farming/livestock management, including crops and crop rotations, weed, pest and disease management strategies, sustainable or renewable energy, and marketing; 2) Excellence in enhancing farm resources: soil, water, wildlife and biodiversity; 3) Inspiration and education of organic farmers, consumers and others in the organic community, and 4) Current organic certification. Nomination application forms are available from the MOSES Web site or by calling 715-772-3153. The deadline for applications is October 15, 2005.

For more news and resources, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site's Breaking News section: http://attra.ncat.org/management/geninfo.html.

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Funding Opportunities

Technical Assistance to Develop and Implement Conservation Programs in Iowa
The Iowa State Office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is requesting proposals for technical assistance to implement soil and water conservation programs in the state. Iowa NRCS seeks to identify partnering opportunities with other organizations that share a common interest in order to accelerate progress on Strategic Plan priorities. The NRCS will accept proposals for projects up to eighteen months in duration with options to renew for up to three years. Approximately $1.5 million will be available under this cooperative agreement. Applications are due July 27, 2005.
URL: http://fedgrants.gov/Applicants/USDA/NRCS/50309/

New York Extension Innovation Grants
The New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI) is a new, farmer-led organization established to foster a vibrant agricultural sector in New York by supporting applied research, education, information transfer, technology adoption and market analysis to reduce practical barriers to the success of agricultural production enterprises. The Institute is soliciting proposals for NYFVI Extension Innovation Grants. The grants program will support investments in new approaches and innovative programs that focus on extension, outreach, technical assistance and/or business management education and services to address well-identified barriers to success for defined groups of producers or specific segments of New York's diverse agricultural production sector. Applications must be of a scope to justify a budget of at least $10,000. Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals as soon as possible and no later than September 1, 2005.
URL: http://www.nyfarmviability.org/grant-ext.htm

Northeast SARE Partnership Grant Program
The Partnership Grant is for agricultural professionals who work directly with farmers—specifically Cooperative Extension, NRCS personnel, non-governmental organizations, and others operating in the farm community—who are interested in developing on-farm demonstration, research, or marketing projects related to sustainable agriculture. The purpose of the Partnership Grant is to build knowledge farmers can use, to encourage the understanding and widespread use of sustainable techniques, and to strengthen partnerships among farmers, extension, non-governmental organizations, and NRCS personnel that support useful inquiries into how agriculture can be made more profitable through good stewardship. Partnership Grant applications are due with a postmark deadline of November 29, 2005.
URL: http://www.uvm.edu/%7Enesare/PARTinfo.html

For additional funding opportunities, visit: http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.

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Coming Events

Organic Farm Field Day
July 14, 2005
Hardwick, Vermont

The Organic Farm Field Day features workshops on organic cropping systems, pasture management, herd health and organic certification. Sessions run hourly from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The field day will help producers learn the basics of transitioning to certified organic production and the available marketplace for organics.
URL: http://www.thecountycourier.com/index.php?

Organic Apple Production Field Day
July 22, 2005
Rochester, Pennsylvania

PASA presents this afternoon event as part of its Farm-Based Education Program. The day combines a tour of Kretschmann Farm's organic orchard with presentations on varieties, genetic resistance, organically approved insecticides, and the opportunity to network and share solutions with novice and expert organic apple growers.
URL: http://www.pasafarming.org/programs/2005_organic_apple.html

Solar Water Pumping Workshop
August 6-7, 2005
Carbondale, Colorado

Solar Energy International presents this two-day workshop covering pumping terminologies, PV modules, system sizing, and component selection. The workshop covers drip and spray irrigation systems.
URL: http://www.solarenergy.org/workshops/workshop.php?id=2

More events at: http://attra.ncat.org/calendar/index.php.

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives Available Online
Digital versions of recent Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are now available online. ATTRAnews is the bi-monthly newsletter of ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
URL: http://attra.ncat.org/newsletter/archives.html

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home pageThe National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is the Web site of the ATTRA project created and managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), and funded under a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Visit the NCAT Web site for more information on our sustainable agriculture projects.

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