Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - August 4, 2004
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
Farm Beginnings Course Accepting Applications
* Farming Systems Listserv Launched
* Report Looks at Manure's Impact on Chesapeake Bay
* Grazefest to Promote, Educate on Pasture-Raised Meat
* Program Helps Immigrants Establish Farms
* Panel Urges More Evaluation and Monitoring of
* Southern Region SARE Grants
* Illinois Organic Certification Cost Share
* Texas Department of Agriculture Urban Schools Grant Program
* Herb Production and Marketing Farm Tour
* America's Heritage: A Slow Food Festival
* Agroecology Online Course: Principles and
News & Resources
Farm Beginnings Course Accepting Applications
The Land Stewardship Project is accepting applications to participate in its
eighth annual Farm Beginnings Course until October 5, 2004. The Farm Beginnings
course, held in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, provides participants an opportunity
to learn firsthand about low-cost, sustainable methods of farming. Farm Beginnings
participants take part in a course that teaches goal setting, financial planning,
business plan creation, alternative marketing, and low-cost and sustainable farming
techniques. Established farmers and other professionals present at the seminars,
providing a strong foundation of community resources, networks and contacts for
those interested in farming. Hands-on training provides opportunities to apply
knowledge gained in the seminars. There are also opportunities to connect with
established farmers through a series of farm visits and one-on-one mentorships.
Classes will begin Saturday, Oct. 23, and will run twice a month until the middle
of March. After March, course participants will have the opportunity to attend
a series of on-farm educational field days.
Farming Systems Listserv Launched
The North American Farming Systems Association, one of six regional associations
of the International Farming Systems Association, is being revitalized. This
revitalization is beginning with a Listserv to share information and questions
about projects, programs, events, opportunities, publications, materials, and
ideas related to on-farm participatory research, whole farm systems approaches,
and farmer learning in the United States, Mexico and Canada. To subscribe to
the NA-FSA listserv, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To help get the NA-FSA Listserv started, and build the North American Farming
Systems Association, please email a brief summary of your interdisciplinary,
on-farm research or farmer participatory development activities or questions
related to Farming Systems in North America when you subscribe.
Report Looks at Manure's Impact on Chesapeake Bay
Agricultural waste is the largest source of pollution
in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and animal manure is the largest
component of agricultural waste, says a new report from the Chesapeake
Bay Foundation. The report, Manure's Impact on Rivers, Streams,
and the Chesapeake Bay, finds that farm animals in the watershed
produce 1.4 billion cubic feet of manure. In areas where animals
are concentrated, this represents far more than can be applied
to local land without creating runoff problems, and despite years
of effort, water quality in the Bay is not improving. The report
not only documents the extent of the problem, but includes examples
of small-scale efforts that have reduced polluted runoff in local
streams. The report makes several recommendations for action this
year, such as reducing nutrient levels in animal feed and establishing
viable alternative uses for manure.
Grazefest to Promote, Educate on Pasture-Raised Meat
Grazefest Alabama 2004, set for Montgomery, Alabama, September 11-12, is set
to be the first national conference and festival on pasture-raised foods. In
addition to a day of educational seminars and presentations aimed at pasture-based
farmers, educators, students, and chefs, the event will feature a food festival
and series of exhibits aimed at raising awareness among consumers of the health,
flavor, and culinary benefits of pasture-based foods. The two-day event also
includes banquets featuring pasture-raised meat and an outstanding lineup of
musicians. One of the event organizers is Teddy Gentry, founding member of the
country music group Alabama and himself owner of a grass-fed beef production
and marketing operation.
Program Helps Immigrants Establish Farms
An article in the Monterey Herald profiles the work of the Agriculture and Land
Based Training Association (ALBA), a California program that is helping immigrant
farm laborers establish their own farms. ALBA not only assists farmers with horticultural
training but helps them access government assistance programs and market their
crops. Participants in the free program attend Spanish-language classes from
October through April, covering the all-encompassing knowledge of farming needed
to run a successful, small organic farm. Following the coursework, participants
may lease a half-acre of land on the premises to grow their own crops for market.
The organization also offers short courses on specific topics of assistance to
Urges More Evaluation and Monitoring of GM Foods
Genetically altered foods should be assessed on an individual
basis to determine whether they may have consequences for human
health, concludes a new report by the National Academies’ National
Research Council and Institutes of Medicine. The committee responsible
for the report does not single out genetic engineering for scrutiny,
but rather advises that all forms of genetic modification – including
traditional cross-breeding, genetic engineering, and the use of
chemicals and radiation – should be evaluated for safety.
The report claims that genetic engineering is not an inherently
hazardous process, but warns that much more research is needed
before scientists will be able to predict whether changes in a
particular plant genome will cause adverse health effects. The
report offers a framework to guide federal agencies in determining
proper levels of safety assessment and urges agencies to enhance
the traceability of genetically modified foods.
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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Southern Region SARE Grants
The Southern Region SARE Producer Grant program is requesting grant proposals
from producers or producer organizations interested in conducting research or
marketing projects related to sustainable agriculture. Projects must be developed,
coordinated and conducted by farmers and/or ranchers or a producer organization.
Projects may be funded up to two years for a maximum of $10,000 for an individual
producer or $15,000 for a producer organization. Southern Region SARE is also
requesting grant proposals for its On-Farm Research Grant program. SARE is requesting
grant proposals from Extension, NRCS and/or non-governmental organization personnel
who work with farmers/ranchers and are interested in conducting on-farm research
or marketing projects related to sustainable agriculture. Projects may be funded
up to two years for a project maximum of $15,000. The Southern Region includes:
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North
Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico
and the US Virgin Islands. Proposals for both programs are due by December
Illinois Organic Certification Cost Share
The Illinois Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the availability
of funds under the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program. These funds
provide cost-share assistance to producers or handlers of organic agricultural
products who apply for and successfully receive or continue their organic certification
from a USDA Accredited Certifying Agent. Certification costs must be incurred
on an annual basis during the period October 1, 2003 through September 30, 2004.
Producers may apply for reimbursement even if they applied and were reimbursed
the previous year. Funds will be provided on a first-come first-served basis.
Under this program, eligible producers or handlers may receive reimbursement
for 75 percent of their certification costs up to a maximum of $500.00. To apply,
contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Marketing and Promotion,
P.O. Box 19281 Springfield, IL 62794-9281 or phone 217-782-6775 to request the
Organic Certification Reimbursement Form and W-9 form. For more information,
contact Bob Reese at 217-524-9130.
Applications for reimbursement must be received by September 30, 2004.
Texas Department of Agriculture Urban Schools Grant Program
The Texas Department of Agriculture requests proposals for demonstration agricultural
projects or other projects designed to foster an understanding and awareness
of agriculture for the period of January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2005, from
certain Texas urban school districts. Proposals must be submitted by a Texas
public elementary school from an urban school district with an enrollment of
at least 49,000 students. A total amount of up to $2,500 may be awarded to an
eligible elementary school in a grant cycle. Applications must be received by
October 1, 2004.
For additional funding opportunities, visit http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.
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Herb Production and Marketing Farm Tour
September 4, 2004
Innovative Farmers of Ohio sponsors this tour of Companion Plants, an internationally
recognized herb nursery. The tour will encompass display beds, seed beds, greenhouse
operation, seed harvesting and cleaning, and a discussion of various plants and
America's Heritage: A Slow Food Festival
September 10-12, 2004
Slow Food Pittsburgh hosts this event where special guests and events will be
presented throughout the weekend to celebrate uniquely American regional food,
small farms, heritage foodways and pleasures of the table.
Online Course: Principles and Practice
October 4 - November 28, 2004
This web-based eight-week course on the design of biodiverse and sustainable
agroecosystems is offered to agricultural professionals (farmers, researchers,
extension agents and advanced students). The course will cover the practical
aspects of sustainable agriculture such as the role of biodiversity in agriculture,
ecological pest management, organic soil management and the design of sustainable
agricultural systems through crop diversification schemes. The registration deadline
is September 24.
More events at http://attra.ncat.org/cgi-bin/event/calendar.cgi.
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National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is the Web
site of the ATTRA project created and managed by the National
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