Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - August 17, 2005
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
* Research Shows Shade Trees Can Protect Forage Plants
* California Legislation Proposes Farm-to-School Program
* Organic Labeling Regulations Stir Industry
* Michael Pollan's Eco-Farm Address Available Online
* Drought Impact Tool Offered Online
* Kentucky Promotes Meat Sales at Farmers' Markets
* Organic Valley/CROPP Northeast Transition to Organic Fund
* Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA)/Strategic Agriculture Initiative Grant Program, EPA Region 4
* Rural Community Development Initiative
* Pests, Diseases, and Weeds Workshop
* Multi-tasking Livestock and Poultry for Sustainable Farmsteads with ALBC
* WSU Master Goat Farmer Program
News & Resources
Research Shows Shade Trees Can Protect Forage Plants
Using trees to shade forage can be beneficial for plants and animals and profitable for farmers, according to research conducted by scientists at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Soil scientist Charlie Feldhake, agronomist Dave Belesky, and animal scientist Jim Neel have been raising lambs on oak and conifer silvopastures for the past four years at the ARS Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center in Beaver, West Virginia. Partially shaded forage has more protein than open pasture during July and August, found Neel, and silvopastures buffer drought and other seasonal extremes. Feldhake found that buffering helps forage plants warm up about two weeks earlier than usual in the spring and hold off hard frost until later in the fall. Read the complete article, "A Sylvan Scene in Appalachia," in the August 2005 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
Related ATTRA Publication: Sustainable Pasture Management
California Legislation Proposes Farm-to-School Program
Assembly Bill 826, now making its way through the state legislature in California, would institute a farm-to-school program in the state, reports Capital Press. Under the legislation, the state would offer seed grants to school districts and nonprofits, and the Department of Education would be required to offer school food service staff training on buying and using locally grown produce in school meal preparation. The bill has been working its way through the legislature since April, and is now in the Appropriations Committee.
Organic Labeling Regulations Stir Industry
The Chicago Tribune recently took a look at how a court ruling earlier this year regarding organic labeling is affecting the organic food industry. The ruling stemmed from an appeal in a lawsuit brought by an individual 73-year-old blueberry grower who represented himself in court. Arthur Harvey argued that under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, products labeled organic shouldn't be allowed to contain synthetic substances or the 5 percent non-organic ingredients permitted by the National Organic Program. Organic food producers have said that the ruling will make organic food more expensive, or cause them to lose sales as they are forced to exchange the desirable "organic" label for a "made with organic ingredients" label. The National Organic Standards Board will consider ways to reconcile the labeling disagreement during its August meeting.
Michael Pollan's Eco-Farm Address Available Online
An edited version of the keynote address given by Michael Pollan at the 2005 Ecological Farming Conference in Asilomar, California, in January is available on the New Farm Web site. In a speech titled "Following the Food Chain: the High Cost of Cheap Food," Pollen talks a lot about corn - its productive success, what qualities make it a perfect capitalist plant, how it responds to chemicals and hybrids - and the impact growing corn has had on family farms, nutrition, and the environment. The first part of the speech is available now, with part two scheduled to go online September 2. Audio tapes of Eco-Farm Conference sessions are available from the Ecological Farming Association.
Drought Impact Tool Offered Online
The National Drought Mitigation Center is offering a new online tool that provides information on the impacts of drought nationally, reports Nebraska Ag Connection. The Drought Impact Reporter features a map that helps quantify drought impacts. It's a companion to the Center's Drought Monitor that tracks drought severity. "The Drought Monitor was developed to assess the physical nature of drought, while this tool was designed to capture the human, or social, side of droughts," said a climatologist at the Center. "The Drought Impact Reporter should enable us to better educate decision makers and others ... as they see impacts linger on the map well after the physical aspects of the drought itself are gone."
Kentucky Promotes Meat Sales at Farmers' Markets
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture wants consumers to have the opportunity to buy more than just vegetables at farmers' markets, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. The Department will be sponsoring cooking demonstrations in August and September, in which a chef will prepare dishes using Kentucky-grown meat and fish. To promote sales of state meat and fish at more farmers' markets, the Department of Agriculture is offering a free trailer and freezer to producers who sell at markets and provide the department with sales data that they can use to help other potential producers.
more news and resources, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture
Information Service Web site's Breaking News section: http://attra.ncat.org/news/.
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Organic Valley/CROPP Northeast Transition to Organic Fund
Organic Valley/CROPP, the nation's largest independent farmer-owned organic dairy cooperative, has announced that its membership support services will now include a financial empowerment program for dairy producers who are making the transition to organic. The transition premiums have been made possible through a partnership between Organic Valley/CROPP and Stonyfield Farm, the provider of the majority of the funds. Farmers in the greater Northeast (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania) may be eligible for transition funds in a three-tier payment structure.
Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA)/Strategic Agriculture Initiative Grant Program, EPA Region 4
EPA Region 4 is soliciting proposals to help implement the FQPA and to support efforts by the agricultural community to transition to using less pesticides and lower risk pesticides in food production. The program supports grants for education, extension, demonstration and implementation projects for FQPA transition and reduced-risk practices for pest management in agriculture. Priority is placed on project proposals that include a "whole systems" approach by integrating pest, soil, and crop management practices, addressing an array of commodities, focusing on sustainable agriculture, incorporating conservation planning, and are submitted by applicants that have a proven track record of grower participation and adoption of sustainable pest management practices. A total of $288,000 is expected to be available for funding. Implementation of all projects must occur within one or more of the eight states of EPA Region 4: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Rural Community Development Initiative
The Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program provides grants to qualified intermediary organizations that will provide financial and technical assistance to recipients to develop their capacity and ability to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development. Approximately $6 million of grant funds is available for the RCDI program through USDA Rural Housing Service. Qualified private, nonprofit and public (including tribal) intermediary organizations proposing to carry out financial and technical assistance programs will be eligible to receive the funding. Applicants must provide matching funds in an amount at least equal to the Federal grant.
additional funding opportunities, visit: http://attra.ncat.org/funding/.
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Pests, Diseases, and Weeds Workshop
August 21, 2005
This event is part of the Growing Growers workshop series. The East Wind Garden will provide an ideal setting for this day-long workshop, with classroom space near the market garden, which will serve as a living laboratory for discussion of prevention and control of diseases, pests and weeds.
Multi-tasking Livestock and Poultry for Sustainable Farmsteads with ALBC
August 27, 2005
Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania
PASA presents this event as part of its Farm-based Education Series. It includes a brief tour of FiskeSanger Farm and a discussion led by part-owner Barbara Corson, discussing why she chose certain breeds. The afternoon session takes a closer look at a variety of breeds raised at FiskeSanger Farm and other American Livestock Breed Conservancy (ALBC) members' farms, with animals on hand to view. Veterinarian Don Bixby discusses the genetic characteristics of livestock and poultry suited for dual-purpose use and how to select animals to help meet your production goals.
WSU Master Goat Farmer Program
September 16, 17 and 24, 2005
Washington State University presents this 3-day program covering herd health and nutrition, pasture management, milking management, meat goats, reproduction and genetics.
events at: http://attra.ncat.org/calendar/.
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