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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 26, 2009

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.

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News & Resources
* New Conservation Program Available to More Farmers
* Illinois Passes Locally Grown Food Law
* Community Garden Publication Now Available
* School Now Offers Food Law Program
* Farm Beginnings Program Seeks First Participants
* USDA Seeks Comments on Conservation Reserve Program


Funding Opportunities
* Western SARE Professional + Producer Grant
* Pasture Dairy Cooperator Farmer Contract
* Northeast SARE Sustainable Community Grant


Coming Events
* Egg Production in a Range Setting Workshop
* Soil and Soil Health Workshop
* Recognizing Farmer Stress Webinar



News & Resources

New Conservation Program Available to More Farmers
Bill Gorman is glad to finally be able to apply for the CSP, reports Agri News. Gorman, a Goodhue, Minnesota dairy farmer, has been hoping to enroll in the program since it first came out in the 2002 farm bill. But the Conservation Security Program was never offered in his watershed. The program was only offered in selected watersheds nationwide and only 20 million total acres were enrolled. Plans for the newly minted Conservation Stewardship Program are much larger. The program will have continuous signup with periodic cutoffs for rankings by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The first cutoff for rankings is Sept. 30. Producers can visit their NRCS office through that date to enroll for this fiscal year.
Related ATTRA Publication:
Accessing the New Conservation Stewardship Program


Illinois Passes Locally Grown Food Law
Governor Pat Quinn recently signed into law legislation that will help put more Illinois-grown food on Illinois tables. The law is designed to increase demand for locally grown food by building a reliable market for it at state agencies and facilities that receive significant state support.

Community Garden Publication Now Available
AERO has released a new publication on community gardening. Building Community Gardens in Montana (PDF/10.5MB) contains tools, examples, resources and strategies for developing, funding and leading a community garden project in Montana. Based on the experience of Helena VISTA Volunteer organizers – this manual offers insight on how to approach and work with a broad array of community members, government officials and private businesses to develop community gardens.

School Now Offers Food Law Program
The agriculture law LL.M. Program at the University of Arkansas School of Law has been revamped and is now the LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law. Since 1980, the U of A has been the only U.S. law school offering an LL.M. degree (Master of Law) in Agricultural Law, and they are now leading the way with the only LL.M. in Food Law. The program will offer specialized Food Law courses in addition to regular agricultural law curriculum, and food law will be integrated into the existing agricultural law courses. This addresses the full spectrum of law and policy issues surrounding our food system, from the perspective of the farmer, the processor, the wholesaler, the retailer, and ultimately the consumer.

Farm Beginnings Program Seeks First Participants
Hawthorne Valley Farm will be offering a new program, Hudson Valley Farm Beginnings, starting this October. This program will include nine classroom sessions in farm goal setting, strategic and business planning, marketing, and financial management, for those interested in developing or expanding farming enterprises. Hudson Valley Farm Beginnings is based on curricula developed by the Land Stewardship Project and Angelic Organic’s Learning Center, programs which have graduated over 500 farm entrepreneurs in past years.

USDA Seeks Comments on Conservation Reserve Program
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), has asked the public for comments on the Conservation Reserve Program and scheduled nine public meetings from Sept. 15 through Oct. 8 to solicit comments on the program. The meetings will be held in Washington, Montana, Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Topics to be discussed at the public meetings include provisions dealing with cropping history requirements, crop rotation practices, contract incentives, program enrollment terms and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) enrollment authority of 32 million acres established for the remainder of the 2008 Farm Bill. You can submit comments online at: public.geo-marine.com or Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov; E-mail comments to: CRPcomments@tecinc.com; Mail or hand deliver comments to: CRP SEIS, c/o TEC Inc., 8 San Jose Dr., Suite 3-B, Newport News, VA 23606; or Fax comments to: (757) 594-1469.

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Western SARE Professional + Producer Grant
These one- or two-year grants are similar in concept to the Farmer/Rancher grants with a few key differences. Instead of a producer serving as the project coordinator, an agricultural professional — from Cooperative Extension or the Natural Resources Conservation Service — coordinates the project. A farmer or rancher serves as the technical adviser. Applicants can seek up to $50,000 and must have a minimum of five producers involved.
Proposals are due
December 4, 2009.

Pasture Dairy Cooperator Farmer Contract
Michigan State University is developing a pasture-based dairy research and outreach center at the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) in southwest Michigan. To support the research and outreach activities being conducted at KBS, a Cooperator Farmer Contract program (PDF/77KB) has been established to fund on-farm, farmer driven research, demonstration, and outreach activities. Michigan dairy producers utilizing pasture as part of their dairy management are eligible to apply to this program. An individual may submit multiple proposals.
Proposals are due January 16, 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. To apply, you 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 November 24, 2009.


> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Egg Production in a Range Setting Workshop
September 2, 2009
Goldsboro, North Carolina

This workshop is geared towards small producers of shell eggs who are using the extensive range management system.


Soil and Soil Health Workshop
September 2, 2009
Marshfield, Vermont

We’ll look at soil structure, explore the profile of a soil pit to identify compaction or root limiting layers, examine soil health tests, and discuss how they can be valuable to farmers.


Recognizing Farmer Stress Webinar
September 3, 2009
Webinar

Farming can be stressful in the best of times. Financial worries, unpredictable weather, plant pests, livestock diseases, and isolation all contribute to farmers' anxiety. To assist farmers and their families who are experiencing stress, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension has organized a Web seminar and assembled a Web page filled with a variety of resources. The webinar, “Recognizing Farmer Stress, Anger, Depression, and Suicide: Thinking and Knowing What to Do Next,” will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3 and will be presented by Dr. Robert Fetsch, an Extension specialist and professor of Human Development at Colorado State University.


> More Events

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