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Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 1, 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
* Alternative Cropping Keeps Water Clean
* Community Supported Agriculture Connects Farmers and Consumers
* Price Protection Introduced for Sheep Industry
* Tribes Concerned over Wild Rice Patent
* New Takes on Local Food

Funding Opportunities
* EPA Region 4 Regional Environmental Priority Projects
* Connecticut Farm Reinvestment Program Grant
* Tennessee Cattle Improvement Initiative

Coming Events
* Risk Management Education Training-of-Trainers Workshop
* Heritage Harvest Festival and Seed Swap
* High Tunnel Field Day

News & Resources

Alternative Cropping Keeps Water Clean
A recent study by researchers at the University of Minnesota shows alternative cropping practices may help to protect the environment by reducing high nitrate levels in surface water and groundwater caused by conventional fertilizer use. The alternative practices studied included organic management and extensive crop rotations. The Water & Wastewater News reports the alternative practices reduced water loss and reduced nitrate-nitrogen losses. Lead author of the study, Jeff Strock , said, "There are no silver bullets for solving our water quality problems. Instead, implementing practices such as cropping system biodiversity, along with refined nitrogen management practices, growing perennial crops in a rotation, cover cropping and other management practices will help prevent nitrate contamination of our lakes and rivers."

Community Supported Agriculture Connects Farmers and Consumers
An article in The Christian Science Monitor explores how a growing number of community supported agriculture operations in the United States are helping farmers and consumers forge a connection. About 1,300 CSA farms across the U.S. are offering produce shares for sale to members. New England has the most CSA operations, with some experiencing far more demand than they can meet. One of the challenges of CSA membership can be dealing with plentiful supplies of unusual vegetables, and the article offers a few recipes for vegetable bounty.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Community Supported Agriculture

Price Protection Introduced for Sheep Industry
The American Sheep Industry (ASI) recently announced that Livestock Risk Protection-Lamb (LRP-Lamb) will be available for purchase September 17, 2007. LRP-Lamb is designed to insure against unexpected declines in market prices of slaughter lambs. Sheep producers may select 13-week, 26-week or 39-week insurance periods as well as coverage levels ranging from 80 percent to 95 percent of the expected ending value to correspond with their general feeding, production and marketing practices. ASI is developing an online educational/training course detailing the features of LRP-Lamb that will be available in August.

Tribes Concerned over Wild Rice Patent
Native peoples in Minnesota are concerned over the legal future of their traditional wild rice crops, writes Winona LaDuke in Orion magazine. From a marketing standpoint, tribes are unhappy that paddy-grown rice from California is marketed as "wild." Of even greater concern to natives for whom rice harvest has a cultural, as well as monetary, importance are university and corporate efforts to genetically engineer and patent strains of wild rice. The article compares the dispute over wild rice to similar controversies over native or corporate control of taro, neem, and other crops.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Transgenic Crops

New Takes on Local Food
Author Brian Halweil addresses the issue of "anonymous food" in a piece posted by Worldwatch. Halweil mentions some new innovations in "Buy Local" movements, including the low-carbon diet offered by Bon Appetit restaurant company. He notes the argument that the miles food travels are not necessarily an accurate indicator of the energy used to produce that food. Nonetheless, Halweil points out, buying food locally can have community and economic benefits beyond energy savings.

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

EPA Region 4 Regional Environmental Priority Projects
EPA Region 4’s focus on Regional Environmental Priority Projects (REPP) provides monies to external organizations to help States, Tribes, local governments, and communities address priority areas and multimedia issues, as identified in this solicitation, because of the complexity, extent, threat to human health or ecosystems, and/or the significant need to protect, improve or restore specific environments. For 2007-2008 one of the priorities for Regional funding is projects that address sustainable agricultural practices. The total estimated funding expected to be available under this competitive opportunity is approximately $500,000.
Proposals are due September 10, 2007.

Connecticut Farm Reinvestment Program Grant
The Department of Agriculture's Farm Reinvestment Program (FRP) Grant Program provides money for capital enhancement to farms, to help preserve Connecticut’s agricultural base and improve farm production. These competitive matching grants will be awarded on the basis of the quality of their business plan that is a part of their application. The farmer applicant must match or exceed the amount of the grant being requested. These funds must be used for projects that are defined as capital fixed assets and have a life expectancy of 10 years or more.
Proposals are due April 30, 2008.

Tennessee Cattle Improvement Initiative
The Tennessee Cattle Improvement Initiative is a program aimed at increasing farm income in Tennessee by providing cost-share funds to farmers for the improvement of beef and dairy cattle genetics and livestock handling facilities. The program consists of two major components: a cattle genetic improvement program and a cattle handling facilities program. Both programs utilize cost share incentives to encourage producers to improve herds and facilities.
Proposals are due December 1, 2007.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Risk Management Education Training-of-Trainers Workshop
August 23-24, 2007
Mobile, Alabama

Alabama A&M Small Farms Research Center sponsors this two-day workshop that will feature topics including land loss prevention, land use and management, rural entrepreneurship, cooperative development, crop insurance, aquaculture, pastured poultry, organic production, and agroforestry.

Heritage Harvest Festival and Seed Swap
September 8, 2007
Charlottesville, Virginia

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is sponsoring the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello. The festival is an educational and networking event, with workshops, presenters, a Farmer's Market, and an "Old Timey Seed Swap." The Seed Swap is from 8-10 AM, and the festival goes all day. The seed swap will allow the seed savers, heirloom enthusiast and aspiring seed savers attending the Festival to meet and exchange seeds and information in a more relaxed setting before the extensive schedule of workshops, lecture, tastings, tours and demonstrations begin.

High Tunnel Field Day
September 6, 2007
Gilbert, Iowa

The Wallace Foundation for Rural Research and Development, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and Iowa State University's PME Program sponsor a field evening at ISU Horticulture Research Station, focusing on the benefits of producing crops in a high tunnel.

> More Events

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives Available Online
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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