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Weekly Harvest Newsletter


Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 29, 2009

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
* On-Farm Processing Guide Now Available
* Leopold Center Releases Research Results
* New Publications Posted on Organic Ecology Site
* Researchers Study Cost of Organic Pork Production
* Massachusetts Organic Food Guide Available
* NRCS Seeks Comments on Conservation Standards


Funding Opportunities
* Youth Garden Grant
* National Farmworker Jobs Program
* South Dakota Specialty Crop Block Grant


Coming Events
* American Community Gardening Association Conference
* Mississippi Biofuels Conference
* Cover Crop Field Day



News & Resources

On-Farm Processing Guide Now Available
Farm Made: A Guide to On-Farm Processing for Organic Producers (PDF/1.1MB) is a new publication that has valuable information for those who want to process organic ingredients into value-added organic products, on the farm. It uses four example enterprises: Sorghum Syrup, Packaged Fresh Salad Greens, Jams, Jellies, and Spreads, and Table Eggs. The guide is published by Kerr Center, distributed by Kerr Center and ATTRA (800-346-9140), with funding from the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

Leopold Center Releases Research Results
The key findings and lessons learned from 20 recent Iowa-based research projects funded by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture are now available on the Web. New one-page project synopses of the research results are posted at that site, along with the traditional long summaries for each recently completed project.

New Publications Posted on Organic Ecology Site
New articles and photos are now posted on the University of Minnesota's Organic Ecology website. Food Legumes for Organic Systems: Lentils reports on a project investigating the viability of lentils as an alternative crop for organic systems in Minnesota. The Effects of Winter Rye and Hairy Vetch Cover Crop Mixtures on Organic, No-Till Vegetable Production in MN is a project to test the effects of winter annual cover crops hairy vetch, winter rye, and a mixture of both on four different organically grown vegetable crops in a cool, northern climate. Perennial Sunflower and Perennial Flax Breeding Program to Diversify Organic Systems describes a project to perennialize sunflower and flax through crosses with related species or direct improvement of related perennial species.

Researchers Study Cost of Organic Pork Production
Researchers at Iowa State University have released results of an organic pork production study. Cost of Organic Pork Production (PDF/19KB) reports on a study of two different production systems. It includes the projected costs for two organic pork production systems--a seasonal system and a continuous production system.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Considerations in Organic Hog Production


Massachusetts Organic Food Guide Available
For the past twenty-one years the NOFA/Mass Organic Food Guide has been connecting consumers to farmers and stores selling local organic produce. The 2009-2010 Guide is available for download. The Guide has lists of organic and sustainable farms in Massachusetts, along with an interactive map.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Local Food Directories


NRCS Seeks Comments on Conservation Standards
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking public comment on its conservation practice standards to help improve the Nationís delivery of conservation programs. The public comment period is open until August 11. ďA public review of conservation standards, which is written into the 2008 Farm Bill, is critical to ensuring that conservation programs are available, adequate, and working for the Nationís producers and landowners,Ē said Dave White, NRCS Chief. All comments will be reviewed and considered for incorporation into final rules directing delivery of conservation programs.

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Youth Garden Grant
National Gardening Association awards Youth Garden Grants to schools and community organizations with child-centered garden programs. In evaluating grant applications, priority will be given to programs that emphasize one or more of these elements:
  • educational focus and/or curricular ties (if applicant is a formal education program)
  • nutrition or plant-to-food connections
  • environmental awareness/education
  • entrepreneurship
  • social aspects of gardening such as leadership development, team building, community support, or service-learning.
Proposals are due November 2, 2009.

National Farmworker Jobs Program
Announcement of a Program Year (PY) 2009 grant competition for the Arkansas, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, and Nebraska service delivery areas for operating the National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP). The NFJP is designed to serve economically disadvantaged persons who primarily depend on employment in agricultural labor performed within the United States, including Puerto Rico, and who experience chronic unemployment or underemployment. Qualifying participants are typically those persons employed on a seasonal or part-time basis in the unskilled and semi-skilled manual labor occupations in crop and animal production. Through training and other workforce development services, the program is intended to assist eligible migrants and seasonal farmworkers and their families to prepare for jobs likely to provide stable, year-round employment both within and outside agriculture.
Proposals are due September 1, 2009.

South Dakota Specialty Crop Block Grant
The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) is pleased to announce the availability of grants for projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. As defined for this program, specialty crops include fruits, dried fruits, tree nuts, vegetables, turf grass sod and seed, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Projects can include specialty crop and organic research, best management practices, distribution efficiency, and more.
Proposals are due August 7, 2009.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

American Community Gardening Association Conference
August 6-9, 2009
Columbus, Ohio

Over 3 and a half days, there will be over 40 engaging workshops, thematic tours ó by bicycle and vans to Columbusí diverse community gardens and other green sites, a welcome reception, keynote speakers, a film festival, banquet featuring locally raised food, networking, silent auction, and more.


Mississippi Biofuels Conference
August 6-7, 2009
Jackson, Mississippi

Experts in biofuels will provide information on the costs and availability of feedstocks as well as the challenges that need to be overcome to sustainably convert these feedstocks into biofuels. They will discuss the rate of progress in the biofuels industry and how integration of the agriculture, transportation and chemical sectors can help relieve petroleum dependence.


Cover Crop Field Day
August 7, 2009
Macomb, Illinois

Cover crop innovation will be the theme and focus of another installment of the Allison Organic Farm Field Day from noon-4 p.m. Friday, August 7. Part of Western Illinois University's School of Agriculture's Organic Agriculture Research program, the venue for the event is WIU's Allison Organic Farm and neighboring Kane Farm in southwestern Warren County.


> More Events

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