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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 25, 2010

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

News & Resources

Funding Opportunities

Coming Events

News & Resources

Synthetic Methionine Use Extended for Organic Poultry Producers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program (NOP) today announced an amendment to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. The amendment extends the use of methionine in organic poultry production. Published in the Federal Register as an interim rule with request for comments, it extends the allowance for methionine in organic poultry production until Oct. 1, 2012, with the following maximum allowable limits of methionine per ton of feed: 4 pounds for layers, 5 pounds for broilers, and 6 pounds for turkeys and all other poultry. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) determined that the loss of the use of synthetic methionine would disrupt the organic poultry market and cause substantial economic hardship to organic poultry operations.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine

Food Safety Bill Amended
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee released a copy of the "manager's amendment" to the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) which is, in essence, the bill as reported out of the HELP Committee late last year as modified by a long and arduous set of negotiations that have taken place since that time to work out particular issues. The manager’s amendment will be adopted if and when the bill comes to the Senate floor in September when Congress returns from its summer recess. Most sustainable agriculture and family farm groups think the Senate bill is a very significant improvement over the companion bill passed by the House of Representatives (HR 2749) last year.

Farmer of the Year Nomination Deadline Approaching
Each year the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) recognizes a Farmer of the Year. The MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year Award is given to an organic farmer practicing outstanding land stewardship, innovation and outreach. Criteria for a farmer nomination are: 1) Current organic certification, 2) Innovations in organic farming/livestock management, including crops and crop rotations; weed, pest and disease management strategies; development of value added products; and marketing, 3)  Excellence in enhancing farm resources such as soil, water, wildlife, and biodiversity, and 4) Inspiration and education of organic farmers, consumers and others in the organic community. Nominations are due September 15, 2010.

Updated Slaughter Facility Maps Available
A little over three months ago, the USDA made available maps showing the densities of small livestock and poultry producers per county and the locations of establishments available to slaughter their animals. They have updated these maps (PDF/1.3MB) and are now releasing second versions. These new maps show updated slaughter facility data, including locations of additional State-inspected establishments. They've also simplified the maps to make them more illustrative. USDA will continue updating the maps into the future, with both improved slaughter facility and production data, and possibly other features to aid in interpretation.

National Goat Conference Offering Scholarships
Scholarships are now available for goat and sheep producers to attend the National Goat Conference in September. The National Goat Conference is scheduled for Sept. 12-15, 2010 at the Leon County Civic Center in Tallahassee, Fla. If you are selected to receive a scholarship, your conference registration and one night stay at the Doubletree Hotel or the Holiday Inn will be paid. To apply for a scholarship, fax your application to (850) 875-8558 or e-mail it to joy1.dixon@famu.edu. Scholarships are limited, so please apply today.

Food Policy Audit Tool Available
Researchers and students at the University of Virginia have developed a Food Policy Audit and are sharing the Audit Tool with other communities. The audit process is designed to assess the strengths, gaps and opportunities in local food system policies, and to identify community priorities for next steps to strengthen the local food system. Students used the audit to identify existing policies directly related to food production, distribution and access, as well as community activities that might foster food systems goals. The audit reveals the community's existing policy infrastructure only, not whether the policies have been implemented and achieved their desired effects. As part of the audit process, students met with relevant community members, both government and non-government, to compare audit findings with what is actually happening on the ground. Through this engagement process, students increased community awareness of food system planning and "ground-truthed" their research to increase its relevance and usefulness to the community. An overarching goal of the audit process was to advance the food system conversation and provide a starting point for the region to work together to achieve common goals.

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Funding Opportunities

North Carolina Organic Farmer Assistance Program
This program is designed to assist the organic grower with the cost of becoming certified under the National Organic Program. For a farm to be eligible for this program it must be located within the state of North Carolina and must be certified by a business or organization that is accredited by the USDA to certify organic operations. The NCDA & CS will pay 75% of the cost of certification up to a maximum of $750 to the certifying agency for any certification occurring between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010.
Proposals are due September 30, 2010.

People's Garden School Pilot Program
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the United States Department of Agriculture has $1 million available in Fiscal Year 2010 for a People's Garden School Pilot Program. FNS is requesting applications to enter into a cooperative agreement for the purposes of awarding grants to develop and run community gardens at eligible high-poverty schools. The projects should include teaching the students about agriculture production practices, diet, and nutrition; contributing produce to eligible schools, student households, local food banks, or senior center nutrition programs; and conducting an evaluation of the school garden impacts. 
Proposals are due October 8, 2010

Minnesota Organic Cost Share Program
Organic farmers and handlers certified to the National Organic Program (NOP) by a USDA-accredited certifier are eligible to receive a reimbursement of 75% of their NOP certification costs (maximum of $750 per operation) if: 1. Certification was awarded or renewed/updated between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010, and 2. The certified operation is located in Minnesota.
Proposals are due October 30, 2010

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Coming Events

Introduction to Grape Growing Workshop
September 6, 2010
Wolcott, Vermont

Want to get into growing grapes? Not sure how to get started? Come and learn how to plan, prepare, plant and maintain your own home vineyard. This will be an interactive workshop that will help you determine the varieties, materials, tools, etc. needed to grow grapes with success in Northern Vermont.

Plant Propagators Meeting
September 8-11, 2010
Bellingham, Washington

Members and non-members will come together for four days at the Western Region's annual meeting--an intensive program of lectures with papers presented by experts in the field of horticulture alternating with behind-the-scenes tours of the region's finest nurseries and botanical gardens.

September 9-11, 2010
Calhoun, Georgia

This event will feature educational sessions for beginning and experienced goat producers. It will also include an auction of Kiko goats.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives
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.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page 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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New & Updated Publications
Assessing the Pasture Soil Resource

Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) Farm Internship Curriculum and Handbook

Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine

Question of the Week
What information can you give me on using compost teas to control brown rot on stone fruits?

Ask a Sustainable Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online

ATTRA on the Radio
Learn more about nationwide programs to encourage local food distribution by tuning into next week's Sustainable Agriculture Spotlight: Federal Support for Fresh, Local Food-- the USDA Farmers' Market Promotion Program.
Tuesday, August 31
10 a.m. PDT/1 p.m. EDT

ATTRA Spanish Newsletter
Subscribe to Cosecha Mensual (Monthly Harvest), ATTRA's Spanish-language

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