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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 8, 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.

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News & Resources
* New Publication Available on Small-Scale Poultry Processing
* Organic Curriculum Available Online
* Loans Aid in On-Farm Conservation
* New Publication Discusses Farm Succession
* Herbicides Not the Answer for Invasive Species
* Study Results Discuss Barriers to Farmers' Market WIC Program


Funding Opportunities
* Good Husbandry Grants for Farmers
* Small Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant
* Small Business Innovation Research Program Grant


Coming Events
* Organic Agriculture Field Day
* Facilitating Sustainable Agriculture Education Conference
* Farmscaping for Pest Management Workshop



News & Resources

New Publication Available on Small-Scale Poultry Processing
A new Iowa State University Extension guide is designed to help small-scale poultry producers in Iowa figure out poultry slaughter and processing regulations. Iowa Poultry Slaughter, Processing, and Sales Guidelines for Small-scale Producers (PDF/4.5MB) also discusses marketing limitations and provides additional resources.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Small-scale Poultry Processing


Organic Curriculum Available Online
Georgia Organics' curriculum on organic and sustainable growing is now free online. Intended for use by university extension agents, master gardeners, and high school educators, the program is the first of its kind in the state. It can be viewed online for free or it costs $10 as CD-Rom.

Loans Aid in On-Farm Conservation
When an Iowa program rolled out low-interest loans for farmers and livestock producers in 2005, no one knew whether they would be willing to borrow for conservation improvements. The conventional wisdom was that they needed grants or cost-share. "The study has shown that farmers are willing to finance conservation when low-interest loans are available," said Bill Ehm, DNR coordinator for water quality. "We gained information that indicates borrowing can be a useful tool for producers who want to improve their management practices." Other findings show that people who used the loan program were very satisfied. In general, they tended to spend more on conservation than the farmers who funded their conservation practices through cost-share programs.

New Publication Discusses Farm Succession
Farmers rarely consider full retirement. According to the new publication, ďIowa Farmers Business and Transfer PlansĒ by Ethan Epley, Michael Duffy and John Baker of the Beginning Farmer Center at Iowa State University, only 23 percent of Iowa farmers plan on retiring, and 30 percent say they never will. These statistics are part of the findings from the International Farm Transfers Study done in 2000 and 2006. According to Baker, for every 10 farmers that want to get into farming, only one is getting out. Additionally, more than 70 percent havenít identified a successor despite the high interest in the occupation, because for many, farming is more than simply a career. Itís a lifestyle that retirement will completely disrupt.

Herbicides Not the Answer for Invasive Species
It may not always pay for ranchers to use herbicides to kill exotic invasive weeds such as leafy spurge, according to a 16-year study by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and colleagues. Rangeland ecologist Matt Rinella at the ARS Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory in Miles City, MT, and colleagues conducted the study. Data they collected 16 years after a one-time aerial spraying of herbicide showed that the invasive leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L) may have ultimately increased due to spraying. Conversely, several desirable native forbs were still suffering the effects of spraying 16 years after spraying. Although the herbicide would have dissipated within a few years, it seemed to cause a long-term plant community shift.

Study Results Discuss Barriers to Farmers' Market WIC Program
The Community Food Security Coalition has released a report from a recent study. State Implementation of the New WIC Produce Package: Opportunities and Barriers for WIC Clients to Use Their Benefits at Farmersí Markets (PDF/3.42MB) provides an overview of the current status of the new WIC Package Rule [at 7 CFR 246.12(v)] and the issue of states authorizing farmers as vendors for the new cash value vouchers for fruits and vegetables. The report includes an overview of survey data, barriers, and case examples collected from 36 states regarding their decision to authorize or not to authorize farmers as vendors for the new cash value fruit and vegetable vouchers. It also includes policy recommendations.

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Good Husbandry Grants for Farmers
President of the Animal Welfare Institute Cathy Liss and Animal Welfare Approved Program Director Andrew Gunther are pleased to announce the 2009 Animal Welfare Approved grant cycle. Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded for the sole purpose of improving farm animal welfare, with a concentration on three areas: increased outdoor access, improved genetics and improved slaughter facilities. Current Animal Welfare Approved farmers and those who have applied to join the program are eligible, and farmers may apply for certification and for a grant simultaneously.
Proposals are due October 1, 2009.

Small Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant
Formerly known as the Small, Minority Producer Grant Program, the primary objective of the SSDPG program is to provide technical assistance to small, socially-disadvantaged agricultural producers through eligible cooperatives and associations of cooperatives. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis. The maximum award amount per grant is $175,000.
Proposals are due August 10, 2009.

Small Business Innovation Research Program Grant
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) makes competitively awarded grants that are to qualified small businesses to support high quality, advanced concepts research related to important scientific problems and opportunities in agriculture that could lead to significant public benefit if successful. Topic areas include Forests and Related Resources; Plant Production and Protection - Biology; Animal Production and Protection; Soil and Water Resources; Food Science and Nutrition; Rural Development; Aquaculture; Biofuels and Biobased Products; Marketing and Trade; Animal Manure Management; Small Mid Size Farms; Plant Production and Protection - Engineering.
Proposals are due October 1, 2009.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Organic Agriculture Field Day
July 21, 2009
Kimberly, Idaho

The University of Idaho will host an organic field day at the Kimberly R&E Center. Eleven acres of the research station were certified organic in 2008. Several researchers are now studying various aspects of organic production at this site. This season the rotation includes organic winter wheat, dry beans, and potatoes. The field day will feature the following topics:
* Transition of the organic research site
* Organic nutrient management and sources
* Organic weed management studies, including cultivation methods
* Organic disease management, including a biological control agent for early blight in   potatoes
* Organic potato variety trial and storage research


Facilitating Sustainable Agriculture Education Conference
July 15-17, 2009
Ames, Iowa

Come join us in the heartland to learn about key issues of the sustainable agriculture education research and practice community! The conference will provide an open exchange of information among students, faculty, staff, administrators, student farm managers, farmers, non-profits, community organizers and others.


Farmscaping for Pest Management Workshop
July 15, 2009
Goldsboro, North Carolina

This workshop will focus on how various landscapes (farms, home gardens, golf courses, etc) can be
arranged to enhance populations of beneficial insects used for pest management.

> More Events

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Digital versions of recent Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.


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