Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 11, 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
NCAT Releases Whole Farm Insurance Assessment Tool -- Seeks Farmer Evaluators
Kathleen Hadley, Executive Director of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), announced the release of a new tool for farmers to assess the usefulness of a federally subsidized whole farm insurance product called Adjusted Gross Revenue Lite (AGR-Lite). The tool, which was designed and tested by farmers using an advanced software development process, is the culmination of a three-year project supported by the United States Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency (RMA). The user-friendly software tool simplifies access to this relatively new kind of insurance that protects the revenue of the farm rather than the specific commodities produced. This tool is available in CD format from NCAT by calling 1-800-346-9140. In addition, NCAT is seeking farmers who will formally evaluate the new tool. Selected farmer evaluators will be paid for up to $280 for no more than six hours of work in evaluating the tool. Farmers interested in helping us evaluate the tool can contact Jeff Schahczenski at 406-494-4572 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farmers' Market Management Resource Available
In celebration of National Farmers' Market Week (August 1-7), the Farmers' Market Coalition and the Wallace Center at Winrock International are excited to share their newly released series of Market Management FAQs. Over the next four weeks, they'll highlight some of the most important issues facing market managers: Market Fundamentals; Market Operations; Market Growth, Outreach, and Evaluation; and Increasing Access at the Market.
Related ATTRA Publication: Farmers' Markets: Marketing and Business Guide
National Farmers' Markets Directory Released
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the 2010 National Farmers Market Directory lists 6,132 operational farmers markets, representing 16 percent growth over 2009 when the agency reported 5,274. The 2010 National Farmers' Market Directory results are being released as part of National Farmers' Market Week declared by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack between Aug. 1-7, 2010. "Seeing such continued strong growth in the number of U.S. farmers markets indicates that regional food systems can provide great economic, social and health benefits to communities across the country," said Vilsack. The USDA National Farmers' Market Directory can be found at http://farmersmarkets.usda.gov. Farmers' markets can be searched by state, county, zip code and participation in federal nutrition assistance programs.
Pastures to Encourage Bee Populations Studied
Beautiful wildflowers might someday be planted in "bee pastures," floral havens created as an efficient, practical, environmentally friendly, and economically sound way to produce successive generations of healthy young bees. The pesticide-free pastures could be simple to establish, and - at perhaps only a half-acre each - easy to tend, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist James H. Cane. Cane and colleagues have studied wildflowers that might be ideal for planting at bee pastures in California. The research, funded by ARS and the Modesto-based Almond Board of California, resulted in a first-ever list of five top-choice, bee-friendly wildflowers for tomorrow's bee pastures in almond-growing regions.
Related ATTRA Publication: Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees
Research Shows Productivity of Organic Systems
Data presented by University of Minnesota Extension Corn Agronomist Dr. Jeff Coulter during the U of M's Organic Field Day, held July 8, 2010, at the SWROC near Lamberton, demonstrates the long-term productivity of organic cropping systems. Alfalfa yields were highest and least variable with organic management. Oat yields and yield variability were similar for organic and high-input systems. Corn yields with the 4-yr organic rotation were among the highest and least variable. The challenge in organic management will be to increase soybean yield and reduce variability in soybean yield across years. You can read more about this research here and download Dr. Coulter's presentation here (PDF/12.6MB).
Targeted Grazing Webinar Available Online
A Targeted Grazing Webinar was hosted on Thursday, July 22, 2010. Instructors for the webinar were Nevin Dawson, Forest Stewardship Educator; Susan Schoenian, Sheep & Goat Extension Specialist; and Brian Knox, Supervising Forester for Eco-Goats. The webinar discussed how goats and sheep can be a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly method of controlling invasive weeds on your property. The webinar can now be viewed online.
New Marketplace Listserv Available
Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) has established a new online discussion group, SustAgMarket. This is a place where farmers and sustainable ag-related businesses can share information about goods and services for sale or trade. SustAgMarket is a Listserv that functions like our other lists, Sustag and HealthyDebate: if you have something to sell or something you are looking for, simply post a message to the list. Posts will be archived online, but this Listserv does not have many of the features of online sales websites.
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Agriculture and Food Research Initiative -- Food Safety Grant
The purpose of AFRI is to support research, education, and extension as well as integrated programs by awarding grants that address key problems of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of agriculture, including farm efficiency and profitability, ranching, renewable energy, forestry (both urban and agroforestry), aquaculture, rural communities and entrepreneurship, human nutrition, food safety, biotechnology, and conventional breeding. In the Food Safety Challenge Area RFA, specific program areas are designed to achieve the long-term outcome of reducing food-borne illnesses and deaths through a safe food supply.
Proposals are due September 22, 2010.
Buy Local Buy Wisconsin Grant
The Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin (BLBW) grant program provides competitive grants for projects that are likely to stimulate Wisconsin's agricultural economy by increasing the purchase of Wisconsin grown or produced food by local food buyers. Individuals, groups, businesses and organization involved in Wisconsin agriculture, agritourism, food retailing, processing, distribution or warehousing are invited to apply. Projects need to show how they will stimulate Wisconsin's agricultural economy by increasing the purchase of Wisconsin grown or produced food.
Proposals are due August 23, 2010
Northeast SARE Sustainable Community Grant
Sustainable Community Grants make a direct connection between community revitalization and farming. Projects must address specific key issues such as farm finance, marketing, land use, water use, enterprise development, value-added product development, or other delineated topic areas. Applicants must be affiliated with Cooperative Extension, NRCS, a municipality, a state department of agriculture, a college or university, a community organization, or other institutional entity.
Proposals are due October 19, 2010
>> More Funding Opportunities
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Federation of Southern Cooperatives Meeting
August 20-21, 2010
This is the annual meeting of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives. It will feature exhibits, cooperative, agroforestry, and conservation workshops and Agtours. Guest speakers will include Ms. LeAnn Oliver, Deputy Administrator, USDA Cooperative Programs; Mr. Dave White, Chief, NRCS; Mr. Tom Tidwell, Chief, USDA Forest Service, and Mr. Johnathan Coppess, Administrator, Farm Service Agency.
Calculate Pasture Dry Matter Intake on Your Organic Dairy Farm Webinar
August 20, 2010
This webinar by Sarah Flack will help you predict the dry matter demand (DMD) of your animals, and walk you through the steps of determining dry matter intake (DMI) from different types of feed, especially from pasture. The webinar will also teach you how to calculate the percent DMI from pasture.
Mechanization on Vegetable Farms Workshop
August 22, 2010
A hoe and a rototiller can get the job done in a home vegetable garden, but this workshop explores the more complex tools needed by commercial and direct-market growers to produce and move larger volumes of vegetables to marketp. The workshop will look at machines that market farmers use for tillage, planting seeds and transplants, removing weeds, harvesting crops and processing them in the packing house.
>> More Events
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Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
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