Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - July 14, 2004
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA
- National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web
* Soil Association Fact Sheet Considers
Nutrition of Organic Food
* SARE Unveils Revamped Web Site
* Michigan Organic Advisory Committee Seeks Members
* Small Farmers Opt for Direct Marketing Niche
* Agronomist Advises Against Unnecessary Tillage
* Study Shows Organic Cover Crop Mulch Promotes Plant Health
* Leopold Center Marketing and Food Systems Initiative
* Kentucky Grazing Land Demonstration Grants
* New York 2004 Food and Agriculture Industry Development RFP
* Weaning Lambs Beginning Farmer Workshop
* Niche Marketing and Natural Parasite Control
for Small Ruminants
* Permaculture Design Certification Course
News & Resources
Association Fact Sheet Considers Nutrition of
The United Kingdom's Soil Association has recently
released a fact sheet on health and nutrition-related implications
of consuming organic food. The fact sheet is based on an article
that appeared in Coronary and Diabetic Care in the UK 2004. The
online fact sheet concludes that an organic diet: reduces the amount
of toxic chemicals ingested; totally avoids GMOs; reduces the amount
of food additives and colourings; increases the amount of beneficial
vitamins, minerals, EFAs [essential fatty acids] and antioxidants
consumed; and appears to have the potential to lower the incidence
of common conditions such as cancer, coronary heart disease, allergies
and hyperactivity in children.
Unveils Revamped Web Site
The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)
program recently unveiled a redesigned Web site crafted to help
farmers and ranchers increase profitability, protect the environment,
and improve rural communities. The site offers topical indexes
that allow the user to browse a variety of subjects, including
animal production, crop production, and economics and marketing.
The new site is also sorted by audience, giving farmers, ranchers,
consumers, researchers, and educators a fast track to the information
that's most useful to them. The site makes available information
on the content and results of years of SARE project research conducted
in partnership with the nation's most innovative producers.
Michigan Organic Advisory Committee Seeks Members
Michigan's Organic Advisory Committee has vacancies for four positions, according
to the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA). Members are appointed by the
MDA Director to serve a four-year term, advising the Department on issues affecting
organic production and processing in Michigan. Specific vacancies are for one
producer of organic food, one individual who is either involved in organic retail
food sales, is an organic processor, or is an input supplier of organic food
or fiber; and two consumers of organic products who are not associated with the
commercial production or handling of organic food or fiber. For more information
on or to apply for the available posts, interested parties are encouraged to
contact Colleen Collier in the Department's
Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division at 517-373-0280.
Small Farmers Opt for Direct Marketing Niche
As mega-producers and a global market dominate grocery
shelves, small and mid-size farmers are finding a niche in direct
marketing specialty crops, reports the Times-Picayune. While competition
in the commodity market has grown fierce, and prices are low, some
small producers have found they can command a premium by direct
marketing goods to a segment of the population that is willing
to pay a premium. These producers offer specialized goods and cater
to their customers' wants. Some have also found success by supplying
raw ingredients to other small-producers who make value-added goods.
Agronomist Advises Against Unnecessary Tillage
Mahdi Al-Kaisi, agronomist with Iowa State University
Extension, warns that frequent tillage has a negative effect on
soil quality, particularly in drought years. In an article on Iowa
Ag Connection Al-Kaisi says, "Without a break from tillage,
a total breakdown of soil structure is possible. The number of
beneficial soil organisms decline, bringing microbial activity
to a minimum and degrading soil structure, which results in severe
limitations of water infiltration, increasing surface runoff." Al-Kaisi
says that improving soil quality and sustainability should be a
main priority for Iowa farmers, and suggests adopting no-till or
reduced tillage systems if conditions warrant.
Related ATTRA publication: Sustainable Soil Management
Study Shows Organic Cover Crop Mulch Promotes Plant Health
Scientific American reported on the results of
a USDA study published by the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences, which showed that tomato plants mulched
with hairy vetch cover crop residue were healthier over time
than those grown with a black plastic mulch. The scientists also
found five types of genes more highly expressed in the organically
mulched tomatoes, a finding that they credited to the nutrients
released by the legume cover.
more news and resources, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture
Information Service Web site: Breaking News section: http://attra.ncat.org/management/geninfo.html.
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Leopold Center Marketing and Food Systems Initiative
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture has
issued an RFP for the Center's
Marketing and Food Systems Initiative (PDF / 43 kb). The initiative
will: Research and test new marketing strategies and business structures
that allow Iowa's small and midsize producers to retain more of
the value for food, fiber, or energy produced with high standards
of environmental and community stewardship; conduct research and
education to address challenges that impede farmers from fully
sharing in the risks and rewards of food, fiber, or energy-based
value chains; and research and document economic, environmental,
and community impacts of local and regional food, fiber, and energy
value chains and determine best how farmers and other groups can
use this information in their market messages. Organizations, agencies
and educational institutions are eligible to apply. Pre-proposals
must be received by August 24, 2004.
Kentucky Grazing Land Demonstration Grants
The USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service
office in Kentucky announces the availability of up to $60,000
for Grazing Land Demonstration Grants in fiscal year 2004. The
purpose of the Grants is to implement and transfer grazing land
conservation technologies and approaches for adoption in Kentucky.
Demonstrations may be focused on improvements to fencing systems,
watering developments, forage resources and management styles.
The project must include provisions to demonstrate the project
work to farmers and others who may use the technologies and approaches
on their grazing lands. Up to three grants will be awarded throughout
the State of Kentucky, through a competitive grants process. State
and local governmental entities, non-governmental organizations,
individuals, and others may apply. Applications must be received
by August 6, 2004.
New York 2004 Food and Agriculture Industry Development RFP
The New York State Department of Agriculture and
Markets invites proposals for implementing innovative and low risk
approaches to the research, development, production, processing,
and distribution of agricultural products and foods that capitalize
on the State’s unique resources and strategic location near
significant markets. Public and private agencies and organizations,
business and industry, educational institutions, local governments,
and individuals are eligible to submit proposals for funding under
this RFP. Proposals for funding in fiscal year 2004-2005 must be
received by the Department before 4:30 p.m. on August 31, 2004.
For additional funding opportunities, visit http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.
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Weaning Lambs Beginning Farmer Workshop
August 11, 2004
One of a series of Beginning Farmer Workshops offered by Innovative Farmers of
Ohio. Lamb handling is the focus of the day, though other topics could include
pasture lambing, intensive grazing, laying hens, cattle, and homesteading operations.
Niche Marketing and Natural
Parasite Control for Small Ruminants
August 25, 2004
Trout Run, Pennsylvania
This August farm field day sponsored by PASA will center around two small ruminant
topics: Niche Marketing for Fiber Animals and Natural Parasite Control. Our discussion
of niche marketing will cover raising livestock for fiber and how to sell it.
Discussion of natural parasite control will explore the various methods Steam
Valley has used in reducing parasites in their livestock. Currently, the farm
is experimenting with a free choice mineral system to enhance livestock health
and parasite resistance.
Permaculture Design Certification Course
September 11-26, 2004
Nevada City, California
In this course, you will learn every facet of Permaculture and ecological agriculture
from the best in the field. The entire group will practice their new skills through
the creation of a group Permaculture design on-site. This course is rich enough
in material for professionals, yet presented in an easily comprehended format
for the lay student.
More events at http://attra.ncat.org/cgi-bin/event/calendar.cgi.
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to the Weekly Harvest
digital version of the latest ATTRAnews is available online.
ATTRAnews is the bi-monthly newsletter of ATTRA, the National
Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
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
© Copyright 2004 NCAT
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