Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 13, 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
* New Jersey Court Determines Routine Husbandry Practices Not Necessarily Humane
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* Farm Bill Program to Provide Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Elementary Students
* Grass-Fed Beef Passes Taste Test
* New Publication on Water Quality for Livestock Available
* Co-Grazing Studied in Kentucky
* USDA Accepting Comments on Proposed Animal Transport Regulations
* Organic Farming Research Foundation Education & Outreach Grants
* Northeast SARE Sustainable Community Grants
* Minnesota Dairy Business Planning Grant
* Growing Food and Justice for All
* Farm Aid 2008
* American Livestock Breeds Conservancy Conference
News & Resources
New Jersey Court Determines Routine Husbandry Practices Not Necessarily Humane
In a unanimous landmark July 30 decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court struck down the New Jersey Department of Agriculture's regulations exempting all routine husbandry practices as "humane" and ordered the agency to readdress many of the state-mandated standards for the treatment of farm animals. A broad coalition of humane organizations, farmers, veterinarians, and environmental and consumer groups, led by Farm Sanctuary, brought the case to the state's Supreme Court. The Court ruled that factory farming practices cannot be considered humane simply because they are widely used. The Court also rejected the practice of tail-docking cattle.
Farm Bill Program to Provide Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Elementary Students
USDA has announced that $49 million will be provided to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables for elementary school children this year under the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program of the 2008 Farm Bill. The new provision replaces a previous program in a limited number of states, and expands funding for fresh fruits and vegetables to selected schools in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is targeted to students in the neediest elementary schools in each state. Schools may apply for funding to operate this program on an annual basis. All students in participating schools receive fresh fruits and vegetables at no cost where a high proportion of children are eligible to receive free- or reduced-price school meals.
Grass-Fed Beef Passes Taste Test
High feed-grain prices and the growing interest in "natural" foods have spurred both consumers and farmers to consider grass-fed beef, and a recent study done by Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences researchers may reinforce this trend. According to John Comerford, associate professor of dairy and animal science, the study showed that most consumers find the taste and tenderness of grass-fed beef acceptable in blind taste tests. He recommends that producers look for ways to interest more potential customers in grass-fed beef. The study found that some of the preconceived notions held by farmers about the physical type of the cattle and the length of the grazing season needed for high-quality grass-fed beef may not be true. "The results of the study showed that most consumer evaluations of the cooked meat were not influenced by frame sizes of the cattle, weight at harvest, range of grazing period from 120-180 days, and final fat composition of the carcass," Comerford explained.
New Publication on Water Quality for Livestock Available
The University of Wyoming’s College of Agriculture, in collaboration with two state agencies, has published a comprehensive bulletin on water quality as it pertains to the health of livestock and wildlife. “The target audience is anyone with an interest in water quality as it relates to animal health, including veterinarians, livestock producers, wildlife managers, conservationists, regulatory officials, extension educators and others,” said the lead author, Merl Raisbeck, a professor in the UW College of Agriculture’s Department of Veterinary Sciences. Water Quality for Wyoming Livestock & Wildlife (PDF/2.95MB) is a review of scientific literature pertaining to the most common contaminants in Wyoming’s water and their potential effects on cattle, horses, domestic sheep, deer, elk and pronghorn antelope.
Related ATTRA Publication: Protecting Water Quality on Organic Farms
Co-Grazing Studied in Kentucky
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture specialists are sharing results of a two-year study on co-grazing with cattle and goats, conducted on Sebastian Farms in Breathitt County, reports Kentucky Ag Connection. The study introduced goats on typical pasture on a cattle farm, in a rotational grazing plan. The study found that cattle grazed with goats gained more weight than cattle grazed following goats. Fencing for the goats was one of the challenges of the study. The weed management provided by the goats has been one noteworthy outcome of the study.
Related ATTRA Publication: Multispecies Grazing
USDA Accepting Comments on Proposed Animal Transport Regulations
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposes to amend the Animal Welfare Act regulations by adding minimum age requirements for the transport in commerce of animals. Establishing minimum age requirements for the transport in commerce of animals and providing for the transport of animals that have not met the minimum age requirements are necessary to help ensure the humane treatment of these animals. Comments on the proposal will be accepted until September 2, 2008.
> More Breaking News
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Organic Farming Research Foundation Education & Outreach Grants
The Organic Farming Research Foundation will fund the development of educational opportunities and materials that are: pertinent to organic agricultural production or marketing; and aimed at organic producers and/or those considering making the transition to organic certification. OFRF will also accept proposals to fund activities that promote information sharing among organic agricultural researchers and organic farmers and ranchers. OFRF will not fund a project for more than $15,000 per year except for fruit grants, for which the maximum grant size is $20,000 per year.
Proposals are due November 17, 2008.
Northeast SARE Sustainable Community Grants
Northeast SARE and the Northeast Center for Rural Development offer grants to organizations such as community nonprofits, Cooperative Extension, local governments, educational institutions, planning boards, farming cooperatives, and incorporated citizens’ groups. The purpose of the Sustainable Community Grants program is to reconnect rural revitalization and farming. Projects can address diverse issues such as land use, nutrition, employment, markets, education, farm labor, public policy, and environmental quality. The Northeast region is made up of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Proposals are due November 27, 2008.
Minnesota Dairy Business Planning Grant
The goal of the Minnesota Dairy Business Planning Grants is to encourage dairy business planning and modernization activities of Minnesota dairy farms. The program covers 50 percent of the cost of completing a business plan for a dairy operation. Producers who have applied for this grant are exploring the feasibility of expansion, environmental upgrades, stray voltage testing or transferring the operation to the next generation producer. Applications are funded on a first come first serve basis. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture can provide 50% of eligible project costs up to a maximum of $5,000.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Growing Food and Justice for All
September 18-21, 2008
This is the First Annual Gathering of the Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative, an initiative aimed at dismantling racism and empowering low-income and communities of color through sustainable and local agriculture. The vision for this initiative is to establish a powerful network of individuals, organizations and community based entities all
working toward a food secure and just world. The conference includes open space dialogues, affinity workshops, and intensive leadership facilitator training.
Farm Aid 2008
September 20, 2008
Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. Farm Aid stages America's longest running annual concert event that unites farmers, artists, consumers, and concerned citizens to build a powerful movement for good food from family farms. The annual benefit concert will celebrate music and good food, featuring hands-on activities in the HOMEGROWN Village that will showcase the direct connection between who is growing our food and what we eat every day.
American Livestock Breeds Conservancy Conference
September 19-21, 2008
Join ALBC for a special conference with seminars that focus on integrating multi-tasking livestock for productive farms. Tillers International will be the host and venue for this conference. Friday ALBC will hold pre-conference hands-on workshops, and the conference on Saturday will have several concurrent sessions to choose from. Friday and Saturday nights will feature special meals which will include rare breeds in the menu.
> More Events
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