Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 5, 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.
News & Resources
* National Farmers' Market Week Underway
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.
* Site Helps with Post-Harvest Handling Decisions
* Calculator Developed for Farm Sustainability
* USDA Opens Roof-top Garden
* Nebraska Researchers Developed 'Healthy Farm Index'
* Dairy Grazing Conference Proceedings Available
* Dudley Smith Initiative Grants
* Western SARE Farmer Rancher Grant
* North Central SARE Youth & Youth Educator Grant
* Apple Production and Marketing Field Day
* Nebraska Grazing Conference
* Adding Value to Dairy Workshop
News & Resources
National Farmers' Market Week Underway
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack encouraged consumers to visit their local farmers' markets in honor of National Farmers' Market Week, August 2-8. "One of the Obama Administration's top priorities is to make sure that all Americans – especially children – have access to fresh, nutritious food, and USDA's ongoing support of farmers' markets is important to reaching that goal," Secretary Vilsack said. "At the same time, farmers' markets help support small family farms, help revitalize rural communities, and often promote sustainable agricultural practices."
Site Helps with Post-Harvest Handling Decisions
The Post-harvest Handling Decision Tool contains information on how to handle different crops after harvest, equipment and packing shed considerations, and food safety. This information was developed by Chris Blanchard of Rock Spring Farm in Decorah, Iowa. The tool is a project of the Fruit and Vegetable Working Group affiliated with the Value Chain Partnerships program. This project was funded by the Iowa State University Extension Value Added Agriculture program and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Blanchard conducted case studies of three Iowa vegetable operations to gather information for this decision tool.
Related ATTRA Publication: Postharvest Handling of Fruits and Vegetables
Calculator Developed for Farm Sustainability
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have just completed a research project called the Illinois Farm Sustainability Calculator. The Calculator is a very extensive Excel spreadsheet designed to calculate fuel consumption and production, greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration, nitrate runoff and capture, among many other things. It was designed to be user-friendly for farmers.
USDA Opens Roof-top Garden
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan cut the ribbon to open the roof-top garden project atop the offices of USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) in Washington, D.C. The project is part of USDA's 'People's Garden' initiative, launched earlier this year, which aims to create a community garden at USDA facilities across the country and worldwide to set an example of environmentally friendly, sustainable landscapes.
Nebraska Researchers Developed 'Healthy Farm Index'
While profits and yields often are the bottom line for farmers, a new University of Nebraska-Lincoln tool called the Healthy Farm Index is designed to help farmers take into account the benefits of nature. An integral part of UNL's organic farming project, the tool will help farmers and landowners measure their farm's ecological health and maintain or improve crop productivity. "It will help farmers find a balance between maintaining profits and yields while enhancing the farm ecosystem," said John Quinn, a third-year doctoral student at UNL leading the project's research. "We really want this to be a tool for farmers interested in looking at a broader spectrum of their farm based on the best science available."
Dairy Grazing Conference Proceedings Available
Proceedings from the recent "Missouri Dairy Grazing Conference" are now available online. The conference featured presentations from university faculty, industry and dairy producers as well as farm tours to local pasture-based dairy operations.
Related ATTRA Publication: Dairy Production on Pasture
> More Breaking News
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Dudley Smith Initiative Grants
The Dudley Smith Initiative invests in research and outreach activities that exploit knowledge and technology to strengthen the Illinois agricultural system, including the communities that support it. The DSynergy Program is for single-year projects for groups seeking to define how their research and outreach can be integrated across disciplinary boundaries. The Dudley Smith Initiative has the capacity to fund one DSynergy grant in 2010 at an average funding level of $25,000 per project. The DSystems Program is a multi-year, multi-disciplinary program focused on broad agriculture and community systems (up to five years). The scope of the DSystems Program is unconstrained, provided that the broad focus is on agriculture and community systems.
Proposals are due August 28, 2009.
Western SARE Farmer Rancher Grant
These one- or two-year grants are conducted by agricultural producers with support and guidance from a technical advisor. Individual farmers or ranchers may apply for up to $15,000, and a group of three or more producers may apply for up to $30,000. Producers typically use their grants to conduct on-site experiments that can improve their operations and the environment and can be shared with other producers. Grant recipients may also focus on marketing and organic production.
Proposals are due December 4, 2009.
North Central SARE Youth & Youth Educator Grant
Youth and Youth Educator grants are an exciting new part of the Farmer Rancher Grant program. Their purpose is to provide opportunities for youth in the North Central Region to learn more about Sustainable Agriculture. Youth grants are for on-farm research, demonstration, or education projects by youth ages 8-18. Youth educator grants are for educators to provide programming on sustainable agriculture for youth.
Proposals are due September 15, 2009.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Apple Production and Marketing Field Day
August 8, 2009
The Organic Tree Fruit Association and Fox Ridge Farm invite you to an apple production and marketing field day on August 8th at Fox Ridge Farm in Solon, Iowa from 9:00 AM to 3 PM. The field day will focus on sustainable and organic apple production, and particularly the high-density planting of disease resistant apple varieties.
Nebraska Grazing Conference
August 11-12, 2009
The conference features livestock grazing and grassland management specialists from multiple states as well as experienced graziers from Nebraska. As you can see from the program, speakers will address animal production and marketing as well as multiple-use resource issues that may play a role in grazing decisions. There will be much for beginning and experienced graziers and land managers to learn from these presenters.
Adding Value to Dairy Workshop
August 12, 2009
At Milky Way Farm, We'll tour the milking barn, processing areas, restaurant, and enjoy a home-cooked local foods lunch. Then we'll take a pasture walk and discuss fencing, watering, nutrition, pasture maintenance, and controlled grazing, including grazing standing green corn.
> More Events
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This week's Sustainable Agriculture Spotlight will explore some of the approaches to sustainable agriculture and farm life that were common in the 1940s and talk about how we can learn from those lessons to keep our farm families and farming communities sustainable today. Listen to the show.