Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 21, 2010
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
News & Resources
Farmers' Markets and SNAP Benefits Report Released
Economic, social and technological barriers prevent many Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants from buying fresh and healthy food at farmers' markets in their neighborhoods, according to a sweeping, independent study of farmers markets nationally. This lack of access should be considered not only a fundamental health issue for SNAP participants, but a loss of potential income for farmers. Redirecting existing federal funds, as well as instituting changes at the community level can minimize these barriers. In "Real Food, Real Choice: Connecting SNAP Recipients with Farmers' Markets," (PDF/3.4MB) the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) and Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) sought to define and measure the challenges farmers' markets face in serving the growing number of SNAP participants nationwide and offer a road-map for improvement.
'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' Blog Launched
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack launched a new blog on the 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' website to highlight local and regional food systems and the multitude of connections being made between farmers and consumers. The new online resource advances a national conversation about food and agriculture and highlights the importance of local and regional food systems – one of the fastest growing segments of agriculture – to American agriculture, the economy, and rural communities. The 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' Ideas and Stories webpage will provide real-world examples of the outpouring of dedication, entrepreneurship and support for agriculture that are taking place every day across the country.
Michigan State Offering Free Late Blight Screening
Late blight disease in tomatoes and potatoes could become a problem this summer, so Michigan State University (MSU) Diagnostic Services is offering free late blight testing to Michigan home gardeners and commercial growers. Because a cool, wet spring has made widespread development of the disease possible in the state this year, growers should become familiar with the symptoms of late blight and other common tomato and potato diseases, according to Jan Byrne, plant pathologist and diagnostician at Diagnostic Services. More information on late blight and how to submit a sample to the MSU Diagnostic Services laboratory is available at http://www.pestid.msu.edu/, or call the laboratory at (517) 355-4536.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Alternatives for Late Blight Control in Potatoes
Forage Goat Test Report Available
Each year, the Kerr Center teams up with the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service to conduct the Oklahoma Forage-Based Buck Test. The rationale behind the Oklahoma Forage-Based Buck Test is to begin to identify individual bucks, as well as their sires and dams, which carry genetics expressing strong traits important in commercial meat goat production. The report (PDF/2.2MB) from the 2009 Buck Test is now available. The report explains the methods used in the buck test as well as the results and rankings for the goats.
Study Examines Nutritional Value of Eggs From Pastured Hens
A study conducted by researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has shown that eggs produced by chickens allowed to forage in pastures are higher in some beneficial nutrients than are eggs laid by caged hens. In the research, titled "Vitamins A, E and fatty acid composition of the eggs of caged hens and pastured hens," which was published online this year in the January issue of Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, researchers examined how moving pastured hens to forage legumes or mixed grasses influenced hen egg omega-3 fatty acids and concentrations of vitamins A and E. "Compared to eggs of the commercial hens, eggs from pastured hens had twice as much vitamin E and long-chain omega-3 fats, more than double the total omega-3 fatty acids, and less than half the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids," said lead investigator Heather Karsten, associate professor of crop production ecology.
Minnesota School Offering Sustainable Food Production Diploma
Minnesota State's hands-on Sustainable Food Production diploma program gives students the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the many agricultural and environmental challenges facing food production in the 21st century. Students enrolled in Minnesota State's food production program will emerge at the forefront of this critical subject and will be prepared to grow food themselves, or contribute to the country and the world as innovative problem solvers and catalysts for positive change. In addition to practical agricultural curriculum, the program includes courses in sociology to assist students in understanding the cultural and community aspects of sustainable food production. The fall semester begins August 23, 2010.
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Western SARE Professional + Producer Grant
These one- or two-year grants are similar in concept to the Farmer/Rancher grants with a few key differences. Instead of a producer serving as the project coordinator, an agricultural professional – Cooperative Extension educator or Natural Resources Conservation Service professional – coordinates the project. A farmer or rancher serves as the technical adviser. Applicants can seek up to $50,000 and must have a minimum of five producers involved. Western SARE serves Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and four Pacific protectorates.
Proposals are due December 3, 2010.
North Central SARE Sustainable Community Grant
Sustainable Community Grants make a direct connection between community revitalization and farming. Projects must address specific key issues such as farm finance, marketing, land use, water use, enterprise development, value-added product development, or other delineated topic areas. North Central SARE serves Illinois, Indiana, Iowa,Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. To apply, you must be affiliated with Cooperative Extension, NRCS, a municipality, a state department of agriculture, a college or university, a community organization, or other institutional entity.
Proposals are due October 19, 2010
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Foundational Program
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) is the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) flagship competitive grant program and was established under section 7406 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill). AFRI supports work in six priority areas: plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition, and health; renewable energy, natural resources, and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities.
Proposals are due August 23, 2010
>> More Funding Opportunities
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Northern Plains Summer Farm Tour
August 3, 2010
Wimbledon, North Dakota
This tour will include Bethany Prairie Farm, Rain Simulator Demo – S.D. NRCS, Oil Press Demo, and workshops on soil health, cover crops, pastured poultry & more.
Kentuckiana Dairy Exchange
August 3-4, 2010
The two-day meeting will give dairy producers an opportunity to visit other dairies and learn the latest from UK and Purdue specialists. Dairy specialists from both universities believe Kentucky and Indiana producers share many common challenges and have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. Presentations will feature nutrient management, synchronization programs and rubber flooring.
American Community Gardening Conference
August 5-8, 2010
The ACGA Membership Conference brings together hundreds of individuals from across the United States, Canada, and abroad, who are engaged in all aspects of gardening and greening. The conference includes hands-on workshops, keynote speakers, a film festival, and visits to parks, school gardens, and community gardens.
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