Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 6, 2008
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
* USDA Issues Interim Rule on Country of Origin Labeling
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* Committee Named for National Sustainable Agriculture Standard
* USDA Funds Agricultural Market Research
* Online Sustainable Crop Management Course Taking Registrations
* Farm Energy Efficiency Publication Available
* New Yorkers Challenged by Ag Commissioner to Eat Local
* Western SARE Sustainable Ag Tours Grant
* Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Grant Program
* Emerging Markets Program
* Common Ground Country Fair
* Food for Thought Festival 2008
* Oklahoma Women in Agriculture & Small Business Conference
News & Resources
USDA Issues Interim Rule on Country of Origin Labeling
The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued an interim final rule July 29 for the mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) program that will become effective on Sept. 30. The rule covers muscle cuts and ground beef (including veal), lamb, chicken, goat, and pork; perishable agricultural commodities (fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables); macadamia nuts; pecans; ginseng; and peanuts. Commodities covered under COOL must be labeled at retail to indicate their country of origin. Ingredients in processed food items are exempt, and food service establishments are exempt from COOL.
Committee Named for National Sustainable Agriculture Standard
Leonardo Academy, the neutral, third-party ANSI-accredited organization facilitating the development process of a national sustainable agriculture standard, has announced that the Standards Committee that will drive the standard forward for ANSI approval has been selected. Due to an overwhelming number of applications to serve on the committee, the size of the standards committee was increased to 58 members. A list of the members, including producers, users, environmentalists, and general interest parties, is posted online in PDF (13K).
USDA Funds Agricultural Market Research
USDA has announced matching grants under the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program totaling over $1.3 million, to support agricultural market research in 24 states and territories. A grant in Delaware will help assess consumer willingness to pay for locally grown, organic and natural produce in a 5-state region. In Kentucky, funding will help identify new niche market opportunities for sheep and goat products. A funded project in Maine will utilize word-of-mouth marketing strategies that can help farmers expand their customer base and increase sales of locally produced agricultural products, while a Maryland project will seek to promote use of local foods in hospitals. A full list of funded projects, with brief descriptions, is available online.
Online Sustainable Crop Management Course Taking Registrations
Registration is underway for a workshop on sustainable crop management practices in the Northern Great Plains presented by the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at Montana State University. The course will focus on important factors of sustainability, nutrient management, diverse cropping systems, pest management strategies and farm economics. The eight-week Web-based workshop is limited to 25 students. Registration will end Oct. 1 or when the class is full.
Farm Energy Efficiency Publication Available
The North Dakota State University Extension Service has a new publication to help crop and livestock producers make their operations more energy efficient. The free publication, “Farmstead Energy Audit,” (587 KB) is meant to be a reference guide and starting point to look at ways to save money and resources on the farm and ranch. Topics covered include tractor and field operations, grain drying, indoor and outdoor lighting, irrigation, livestock watering, livestock buildings, farm shops and the home. Each section contains simple tips to reduce costs and more involved management suggestions that farmers and ranchers can try in their efforts to get more money out of their energy budget.
New Yorkers Challenged by Ag Commissioner to Eat Local
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker has challenged all New Yorkers to "eat local" for at least one day this week, National Farmers’ Market Week and the peak of fresh summer produce. "Here’s the challenge," the Commissioner said. "Pick a day this week and try to eat only locally grown or made products for breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snacks in between. This simple task has tremendous benefits for everyone in New York. Buying and eating local foods supports our hard working farmers, keeps farmland open and productive, reduces food miles which saves on gas and can cut greenhouse gas emissions, and last but not least, it tastes great as it is picked at the peak of harvest and offers not only excellent flavor, but maximum nutrition."
> More Breaking News
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Western SARE Sustainable Ag Tours Grant
With a Sustainable Agricultural Tour Grant (PDF/188KB), farmers and ranchers will be able to network with other producers, researchers and other sustainable agricultural professionals in seeing and learning about sustainable agricultural production systems. These grants are targeted for producers to attend specific on-farm demonstration and/or educational outreach tours in an area of sustainable agriculture. The goal is to achieve results that can be transferred to producers that can improve income, the environment, communities and quality of life for all citizens. Applications will be considered on a first-come basis.
Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Grant Program
The Illinois Department of Agriculture is seeking proposals through its Sustainable Agriculture Grant Program to carry out research, education, and on-farm demonstration projects that address one or more of the purposes listed in the Sustainable Agriculture Act. Competitive grants may be awarded to individuals for up to $10,000 and units of government, non-profit groups, institutions or organizations may apply for up to $25,000 per project in any one year. Guidelines and an application form are available online in PDF
Proposals are due October 15, 2008.
Emerging Markets Program
The Emerging Markets Program is designed to assist U.S. entities in developing, maintaining, or expanding exports of U.S. agricultural commodities and products by providing partial funding for technical assistance activities that promote U.S. products in emerging foreign markets. Any United States private or Government entity with a demonstrated role or interest in exports of U.S. agricultural commodities or products may apply to the program. Total program funding is $10,000,000, with individual awards of up to $500,000.
Proposals are due August 15, 2008.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Common Ground Country Fair
September 19-21, 2008
MOFGA, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Alliance, celebrates its 32nd Common Ground Country Fair this year. The Fair allows fairgoers to make connections with a rapidly expanding base of organic farms in the state of Maine. Hundreds of vendors, exhibitors and demonstrators, more than 1,000 volunteers, and roughly 50,000 fairgoers will gather to: share knowledge about sustainable living; eat delicious, organic, Maine-grown food; buy and sell beautiful Maine crafts and useful agricultural products; compete in various activities; dance; sing and have a great time.
Food for Thought Festival 2008
September 19-20, 2008
The annual Food for Thought Festival is a fun, festive forum that explores and celebrates opportunities to eat more pleasurably, healthfully and sustainably. This tenth anniversary festival includes a Friday forum with Michael Ableman, a guest chef and a guest farmer. A variety of Saturday events, including a recipe contest, highlight the festival.
Oklahoma Women in Agriculture & Small Business Conference
September 18-19, 2008
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
This fifth annual statewide conference is presented by the Great Plains Resource Conservation and Development Association along with the USDA Risk Management Agency. This year's theme is "Managing Risk Successfully." This conference will address personal, family, business and agriculture issues that present unique challenges to women.
> More Events
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