Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 25, 2007
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
* Sustainable Agriculture Systems Study Seeks Nominations
Share The Harvest: Please forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues who might be interested in the latest sustainable agriculture news, funding opportunities, and events.
* Organic Farming Builds More Soil Organic Matter Than
* University Students Learn from Farmers
* Weevil Used to Control Invasive Weed
* USDA Announces Colony Collapse Disorder Action Plan
* South Wedge Market Focuses on Sustainability
* Emergency Forestry Conservation Reserve Program
* Strategic Agricultural Initiative, EPA Region 5
* New Hampshire Agricultural Nutrient Management Program
* Risk Management Strategies for Beginning and Small Farmers and Ranchers Conference
* From Recipe to Reality
* Small Scale Sustainable Farming Field Day
News & Resources
Sustainable Agriculture Systems Study Seeks Nominations
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation have awarded a grant to the National Academies' Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources for a 2-year study to identify the scientific foundations of sustainable farming systems and management practices, and the social, economic and political factors that influence their use and wide scale adoption by farmers in the US and abroad. The Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources is seeking nominations for 1) potential committee members and 2) farm operations to include as case studies. Suggestions for potential study committee members are due by August 15, 2007. The deadline for suggestions for case studies is September 1, 2007. A more detailed description of the study is available; contact Robin Schoen, 202-334-3062, firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Organic Farming Builds More Soil Organic Matter Than No-Till
A long-term study by USDA's Agricultural Research Service shows that organic farming can build even more soil organic matter than no-till farming practices. The study showed that organic matter added by manure and cover crops more than offset any organic matter losses due to tillage to control weeds. The research is reported in the July 2007 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
Related ATTRA Publication: Manures for Organic Crop Production
University Students Learn from Farmers
A course offered by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln lets students work with local farmers, visit their operations and learn the goals, long-term strategies and specific practices unique to each farm. Students in the Agroecosystems Analysis course will visit two Nebraska farms, both using intensive rotational grazing -- one with organic milk production and the other with organic beef production. Nebraska Ag Connection reports the students will then devise their own methods to compare farms and come up with indicators of sustainability. This program was developed in part based on a model from the Agroecology Program in the Nordic Region, and has been copied for use in Washington and Idaho using a similar format.
Weevil Used to Control Invasive Weed
Researchers with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, University of Delaware, and the Howard County (Md.) Department of Recreation and Parks are using a weevil to control the mile-a-minute weed. This Asian vine invades a wide-range of Northeast habitats. The American Agriculturalist reports that previous releases of the weevil show that they can kill the plant. Researchers hope the weevil population will establish itself and grow in numbers enough to combat the weed. For more information see ag.udel.edu/enwc/research/biocontrol/mileaminute.htm.
USDA Announces Colony Collapse Disorder Action Plan
USDA researchers have finalized an action plan for dealing with colony collapse disorder (CCD) of honey bees. The action plan coordinates the federal strategy in response to CCD. Four possible causes for CCD are identified in the plan: (1) new or reemerging pathogens, (2) new bee pests or parasites, (3) environmental and/or nutritional stress, or (4) pesticides. Research will focus on determining which of these factors are contributing causes of CCD, either individually or in combination.
South Wedge Market Focuses on Sustainability
A new farmers' market in Rochester, New York, is bringing sustainable food to an urban community, says City Newspaper. South Wedge Farmers Market was the brainchild of two sustainable agriculture advocates, and opened in June. Participating vendors post their farming practices for customers to read. The goals of the market include providing city residents with local food, strengthening the local economy and local foodshed, building a sense of community, and promoting health and healthy food.
> More Breaking News
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Emergency Forestry Conservation Reserve Program
USDA Farm Service Agency's (FSA) Emergency Forestry Conservation Reserve Program (EFCRP) helps eligible landowners and operators restore and enhance forestland damaged by the 2005 hurricanes. Trees planted through EFCRP will help reduce flood effects, protect water sources, decrease soil erosion and improve wildlife habitat. To be eligible for EFCRP, private non-industrial forest landowners must have suffered at least a 35 percent loss to merchantable timber in one of 261 counties receiving primary presidential or secretarial disaster designations caused by calendar year 2005 hurricanes. Producers may submit offers to participate in EFCRP at local FSA offices Aug. 6, 2007 through Dec. 31, 2007. EFCRP participants receive up to 50 percent cost-share assistance to prepare sites and replant or restore tree stands. Participants also receive either 10 years of annual rental payments or a lump sum rental payment.
Proposals are due December 31, 2007.
Strategic Agricultural Initiative, EPA Region 5
The U.S. EPA, Region 5, is soliciting proposals to help implement the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) and to support efforts by the agricultural community to transition away from high risk pesticides to the use of less and reduced risk pesticides, alternative methods of agricultural pest control, and sustainable practices in food production. U.S. EPA, Region 5 seeks to establish a Cooperative Agreement to develop and administer a Region-wide competitive small grants program for pesticide risk reduction. In 2007, U.S. EPA, Region 5 anticipates awarding one cooperative agreement, to be issued for a limit of $800,000 in funding over a three-year project period.
Proposals are due September 6, 2007.
New Hampshire Agricultural Nutrient Management Program
The Agricultural Nutrient Management (ANM) Grant Program seeks to provide financial, educational and technical assistance for livestock and agricultural land operations and related organizations with implementing Best Management Practices and such other measures necessary to prevent or mitigate water pollution. Awards of up to $2,500 are given to on-farm projects.
Proposals are due December 1, 2007.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Risk Management Strategies for Beginning and Small Farmers and Ranchers Conference
September 12 - 15, 2007
The goal of this conference hosted by Growing Power is to promote the success and viability of small and beginning farmers and ranchers. Producers and potential farmers and ranchers, and people that work with these individuals are invited to attend and participate in this exciting conference and learn the latest strategies that contribute to the success of America's small farms. Conference tracks include urban agriculture, energy and renewable fuels, current issues, beginning farming, and alternative marketing.
From Recipe to Reality
August 10, 2007
The one-day "From Recipe to Reality" seminar presented by The Food Processing Center at the University of Nebraska Lincoln is the first step in developing a food business. It is specifically designed to provide entrepreneurs with an understanding of the key issues they will need to consider when starting a food business.
Small Scale Sustainable Farming Field Day
August 23, 2007
This Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) Farm-based Education event offers an opportunity to learn about high tunnel construction, costs and production and no-till raised beds in the open air garden at Fresh From the Vines. Also learn about selling at a farmer’s market and a natural foods cooperative, record keeping and operating a home processing kitchen.
> More Events
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