Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 4, 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.
News & Resources
News & Resources
Leopold Center Seeks Input for Food and Farm Plan
The Leopold Center is collecting information this summer to put into a new Iowa Local Food and Farm Plan. Through the month of August, they will be gathering information from an on-line survey, as well as hosting focus groups and listening sessions throughout the state. If you live in Iowa, and are interested in Iowa's food and farm economy, please complete this survey today!
USDA Provides Information on Local Food Programs
On Friday, July 30, Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food published a blog, “USDA Programs at Glance,” with links to memorandum outlining programs that can be used to foster local and regional food systems in four areas of USDA: Rural Development, Farm Service Agency, Research, Education & Economics, and Agriculture Marketing Service. The memos provide information on programs and research areas. The USDA blog post indicates they will be adding information on other USDA agencies’ programs related to Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food in coming months.
New Publication Provides Tractor Efficiency Tips
Proper ballasting can help tractor operators conserve fuel and operate more efficiently. A new publication from Iowa State University Extension, "Ballasting Tractors for Fuel Efficiency," explains the mechanics of measuring ballast to ensure that tractor performance is not hindered by excessive or inadequate weight for the job at hand. The publication is part of a series of farm energy conservation and efficiency educational materials being developed through the Farm Energy Conservation and Efficiency educational initiative. The purpose of the initiative is to increase farmers’ awareness of farm energy conservation practices.
Related ATTRA Publication: Conserving Fuel on the Farm
Florida Program Provides Gardens to Low-Income Residents
Gainesville Initiative for Tasty Gardens (GIFT Gardens) builds raised-bed vegetable gardens for Alachua County, Florida residents and the institutions that serve them, helping them become more self-sufficient and increasing their ability to provide for some of their own food needs. Residents of Alachua County with low incomes and the institutions that serve those residents are eligible to apply for a free GIFT Garden. Alachua County residents can purchase a GIFT Garden to grow healthy food nearly all year long if they do not meet income eligibility requirements for a free GIFT Garden. The purchase of a GIFT Garden donates a FREE garden for a low-income Alachua County resident, so part of the cost is tax deductible.
Video Highlights Crop Rotation Research
Fields of winter wheat underseeded with red clover are not a familiar sight in Iowa, but it could become a favored rotation if energy costs continue to rise. Jeremy Singer, a research agronomist with the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA, is looking to find viable crop rotations for the state of Iowa. "Using winter cereal grains and forage legumes in the rotation could become a more attractive crop system because it has lower inputs," said Singer, who works at the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames. "The rotation does not require pesticides and uses considerably less nitrogen than corn. It could actually reduce costs for a rotation of corn following wheat by reducing the need for nitrogen." Singer’s work has been funded by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at ISU since 2006.
Missouri Program Offers Rebates for Farm Energy Audits
Small Missouri farms can take steps to reduce energy usage through a program that offers energy audits, loans and rebates to retrofit equipment and improve operations. The Missouri Agricultural Energy Savings Team—A Revolutionary Opportunity, or MAESTRO, targets livestock and poultry farms that are small enough to not require a confined feeding operation permit. Farmers start with a comprehensive energy audit conducted by either EnSave or MU Extension. Results of that audit will include detailed recommendations on equipment and other improvements that will increase energy efficiency for the farm and the farm residence. Loans of up to $50,000 per farm are available to purchase energy-efficient equipment..
Related ATTRA Publication: Farm Energy Calculators
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Montana Organic Cost Share Program
Certified organic producers and handlers in Montana may apply for reimbursement of 75 percent of their certification costs up to $750. Payment is subject to availability of federal funds, and will be made on a first-come first-served basis. Only those costs paid or incurred between Oct. 1, 2009 - Sept. 30, 2010 qualify for this 2010 application, which corresponds to the federal fiscal year. Applicants' operations must be located in Montana.
Proposals are due November 10, 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
Outreach Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Competitive Grant
The Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO) requests applications for the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Competitive Grants Program (OASDFR). This announcement seeks applications from partnerships of eligible organizations able to provide outreach and technical assistance services within a defined geographic area in a linguistically and culturally appropriate manner. The intent of this portion of the OASDFR program is to focus specifically on connecting socially disadvantaged producers to USDA agricultural programs delivered at the USDA Service Center level, starting with outreach to identify the barriers to equitable participation.
Proposals are due August 9, 2010
>> More Funding Opportunities
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NOFA Summer Conference
August 13-15, 2010
This conference will feature 200 workshops on organic farming, gardening and land care, homesteading, sustainability, nutrition, spirituality, food politics, activism, and much more.
Midwestern Bio-Ag Field Day
August 17, 2010
Lone Rock, Wisconsin
Presentations on Forages & Forage Quality, Dairy, Raising Calves & Heifers, Corn & Beans, Organic Production, How to Get Started in Biological Farming, Guest Speakers, Field Talks, Forage Plots Farm Walk with Gary Zimmer, Tillage Demos, Booths & More!
Sustainable Livestock Summit
August 17, 2010
This workshop will present information on alternative livestock production systems in Oklahoma.
>> More Events
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