Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - August 31, 2005
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
* USDA Reverses Decision on Organic Seals for Non-food Products
* Organic Dairy Pasturing Debate Continues
* Entrepreneur Driving Organic Floral Industry
* Conservation Security Program Watersheds for 2006 Announced
* September Named National Organic Harvest Month
* Humane Farm Animal Care Achieves ISO Accreditation
* North Central SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Program
* Pennsylvania Extension Integrated Pest Management Program Grant
* Maine Agricultural Development Grant Program
* Grazing Cattle Workshop
* Team Agriculture Georgia Fall Workshop
* 27th Annual Prairie Festival
News & Resources
USDA Reverses Decision on Organic Seals for Non-food Products
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reversed its decision to have the "USDA Organic" seal removed from soaps, lotions, cosmetics, and other personal care products that contain certified organic ingredients, according to an Associated Press article carried by Forbes. In April, Department officials decided they did not have the authority to regulate personal care products under the National Organic Program (NOP) and ordered companies to remove the USDA seal from their products. Then on August 23, Barbara Robinson, head of the NOP, sent a memo to certifying agents telling them that cosmetics and personal care products that use organic ingredients and meet NOP standards may continue to carry the distinctive seal. No reason has been given for the reversal, but at least one complaint had been filed against the USDA in federal court.
Organic Dairy Pasturing Debate Continues
Debate continues over how much access to pasture should be required for organic dairy cows, reports the Des Moines Register. While some large dairies contend that giving cows organic feed should be adequate for production of organic milk, others disagree and say cows must be provided with access to pasture. The National Organic Standards Board has recommended that dairy cattle get 30 percent of their rations from pasture at least 120 days a year. Some dairy farmers say this is impractical and will drive up costs for organic milk, but others say it is integral to the idea of organic production. [The National Organic Program delayed ruling on the recommendations in August, returning them to the National Organic Standards Board saying the language was unclear.]
Entrepreneur Driving Organic Floral Industry
The San Francisco Chronicle recently profiled Gerald Prolman, an entrepreneur trying to cultivate both demand and supply for organic cut flowers with his business Organic Bouquet. While skeptics say an organic market for something people don't eat is unlikely to develop, supporters say the time is right for an organic cut flower industry that is safe for the environment and for workers. Florists who say they don't see a demand for organic flowers may be underestimating the market-building clout of an entrepreneur with proven experience promoting organic produce.
Conservation Security Program Watersheds for 2006 Announced
USDA has announced that 110 watersheds, with at least one in all 50 states, Guam and Puerto Rico, will be eligible for the 2006 Conservation Security Program (CSP). These watersheds represent nearly 137,000 of the nation's potentially eligible farms and ranches, covering more than 50 million acres that are evenly split between cropland and grazing land. The sign-up period will take place early in fiscal year 2006. A map of the 2006 watersheds appears on the CSP Web site.
September Named National Organic Harvest Month
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has designated September as National Organic Harvest Month, to highlight organic agriculture and the growing organic products industry. A range of special events are planned across America, and OTA has a calendar of these events available online, as well as suggestions for how consumers and retailers can mark the month.
Humane Farm Animal Care Achieves ISO Accreditation
Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC), a non-profit organization that certifies the humane treatment of animals raised by meat, poultry, egg or dairy producers, has received accreditation under ISO Guide 65. This standard specifies requirements for organizations operating third-party product certification systems, verifying that the system is operated in a consistent and reliable manner based on internationally recognized methods, which facilitates their acceptance on a national and international basis furthering international trade. HFAC is the first certification body evaluated that applies and certifies animal welfare standards.
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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North Central SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Program
The North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR SARE) program has issued a call for proposals for the 2005 Farmer Rancher Grant Program. NCR SARE has allocated about $400,000 for the program. Competitive grants of up to $6,000 are available for individual farmers and ranchers, and grants up to $18,000 are available for groups of farmers and ranchers interested in exploring sustainable agriculture. Farmers and ranchers are invited to submit proposals that test, evaluate, and adapt sustainable agriculture practices for their operations; conduct learning circles, educational events, field days or demonstrations to further disseminate information to farmer/ranchers; develop new technologies; or create or modify equipment. Applicants must identify specific problems and potential solutions to those problems. The twelve states in the North Central Region are: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Proposals are due December 1, 2005.
Pennsylvania Extension Integrated Pest Management Program Grant
The purpose of the PA IPM Grants Program is to facilitate the adoption of environmentally-sound and sustainable pest management practices by Pennsylvania farmers, rural and urban pest managers, and homeowners/renters. The PA IPM Grants Program is open to extension and research personnel, but must be outreach oriented. It is anticipated that the average amount approved per project in FY 2005/2006 will be in the $2,000 to $5,000 range. The Request for Proposals is posted online as a PDF file (25 kb). Proposals are due by October 14, 2005.
Maine Agricultural Development Grant Program
The Maine Department of Agriculture is soliciting proposals for the Agricultural Development Grant Program. The ADG program is a competitive grant program, solicited twice a year, which funds market research, market promotion and new technology projects.
additional funding opportunities, visit: http://attra.ncat.org/funding/.
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Grazing Cattle Workshop
September 10, 2005
This workshop is part of Innovative Farmers of Ohio's "Learning in the Field" series. The workshop takes place at Pleasantview Farm, a 525-acre operation transitioning to dairy grazing. Topics include pasture establishment and renovation, including demonstrations with no-till and Britton seeders, understanding forage analysis and selection, designing and building fencing, design of calving barns and equipment, and more.
Team Agriculture Georgia Fall Workshop
September 22, 2005
Team Agriculture Georgia presents a one-day workshop for small, beginning and limited resource farmers. Topics include goats, grass-fed beef, organic vegetables, medicinal herbs, risk management and more.
27th Annual Prairie Festival
September 23-25, 2005
The Land Institute's Prairie Festival features headline speakers, a festival supper, and entertainment. The Land Institute's scientists will give a research update and founder Wes Jackson will present his annual inspirational.
events at: http://attra.ncat.org/calendar/.
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