Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - September 1, 2004
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
* Survey Finds Farmers Want Strict Organic Standards Maintained
* Growing Organic Co-op Retains Founding Values
* New York Dairy Farmers Recognized for Environmental Stewardship
* Filmmaker Creates Food for Thought
* Organic Farmers Get Creative to Meet Demand
* Cafeteria Management Chain Opts to Support Sustainable Agriculture
* Food Quality Protection Act Strategic Agricultural Initiative RFP
* Minnesota Organic Certification Cost Share
* NY Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program
* Sustainable Energy Systems on the Farm
* Southeast Biodynamic Gardening Conference & Harvest Festival
* Agroecology Online Course: Principles & Practice
News & Resources
Survey Finds Farmers Want Strict Organic Standards Maintained
Farmers taking part in a survey conducted by the Iowa State University Organic Program in collaboration with the Organic Trade Association (OTA) voiced strong support for maintaining high standards for organic production and processing to ensure consumer confidence, according to an OTA press release. Launched in late 2003, the survey was designed to determine the impact of the National Organic Program (NOP) on Iowa farmers. When asked specifically about NOP, farmers said the new requirements for keeping logs concerning compost and the necessity of obtaining organic seed were their key concerns. Some respondents reported the challenges of doing paperwork for organic certification, as well as marketing, competition, increased workloads, more difficult farm practices and enforcement. Citing difficulty in growing enough product to meet demand, almost 40 percent of respondents said they plan on increasing their organic acreage.
Growing Organic Co-op Retains Founding Values
An article in The Seattle Times looks at the history and development of Organic Valley, the nationís largest organic cooperative. Based in tiny La Farge, Wisconsin, the dairy cooperative had sales of $156 million last year, up 25 percent from the previous year. Despite rapid growth, the cooperative has remained true to its mission and only accepts new members when there is more demand for its dairy products. That practice also ensures that the cooperative can keep prices for milk stable, despite pressure from big distributors. "So many farmers retire and their buildings are deserted. We aren't seeing that in organic farming," said dairy director Jim Wedeberg. "We're seeing the next generation."
New York Dairy Farmers Recognized for Environmental Stewardship
The Matthew and Nancy Beckerink family of Findley Lake, Chautauqua County, recently received the 2004 Environmental Stewardship Award from Governor George E. Pataki, reports New York Ag Connection. The annual award is given to a New York farm family that implements exceptional conservation measures. The Beckerinks use several Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) best practices on their farm and have installed a bunk silo leachate containment system and a barnyard water management system. Their 1,000-acre dairy operation also features an integrated crop management plan, an integrated pest management plan, a nutrient management plan, and a manure treatment system that recycles sand for bedding.
Filmmaker Creates Food for Thought
Filmmaker David Kaplowitz is working on a new documentary that explores humankindís relationship with food and the earth, according to the Fairfax Times. Titled Food on Earth, the film will contrast small-scale, organic production with industrial agribusiness practices. Kaplowitz cites growing food safety concerns as one reason for making the film, which will also explore the effects of pesticides and genetically modified foods on human health. For more information on the film, which Kaplowitz expects to release next year, visit Third Stone Productions.
Organic Farmers Get Creative to Meet Demand
An Associated Press article carried in Madison Daily Leader reports that organic producers in northern Wisconsin cannot keep up with market demands. Doug Anderson is one of three producers who provides Scottish Highland beef to a restaurant in Superior, Wisconsin. Soon after returning to farming, he realized there was a bigger market than he could supply, so he helped three neighbors get started with brood cows and bulls. Mary and David Falk produce specialty cheeses from sheep milk but also have trouble producing enough to supply all of their customers. They are looking into an extended label program to meet demand while helping new farmers gain access to established markets.
Cafeteria Management Chain Opts to Support Sustainable Agriculture
Bon Appetit Management Company, a major cafeteria management chain, has changed its mission statement to emphasize sustainable agriculture, according to an AP article carried on Environmental News Network. Begun as a catering company, Bon Appetit now serves 1 million meals each week at on-site restaurants for more than 150 corporations. The company is asking its chefs to use locally grown produce and meat free of hormones, antibiotics, and genetically modified feed. It also plans to recycle used oil to produce biodiesel fuel and will serve only wild salmon and dolphin-safe tuna.
more news and resources, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture
Information Service Web site: Breaking News section: http://attra.ncat.org/management/geninfo.html.
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Food Quality Protection Act Strategic Agricultural Initiative RFP
The Environmental Protection Agencyís Region III is requesting proposals that will help implement requirements of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) and support the transition to using less and lower risk pesticides in food production. The program supports innovative efforts that enable growers to decrease reliance on agricultural pesticides while maintaining economical outcomes, by developing, demonstrating and/or applying reduced risk alternatives and ecologically based integrated approaches to pest management. Region III includes Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Approximately $200,000 in funding is available. Proposals must be postmarked on or before October 29, 2004.
Minnesota Organic Certification Cost Share
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is now accepting applications from certified organic Minnesota growers and handlers for organic certification cost-share payments. Both certified organic farmers and certified organic handlers (processors, distributors and retailers) may participate. Applicants are eligible for reimbursement of 75 percent of their certification costs, with a maximum of $500 per farm or company. To qualify, applicants must provide copies of a valid organic certificate and itemized costs incurred for certification between October 1, 2003, and September 30, 2004. Applicants must be postmarked by November 15, 2004.
NY Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program
The New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee invites Soil and Water Conservation Districts or groups of Districts acting jointly to submit proposals for funding under the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program. Program funds are available for nonpoint source abatement and control projects that plan (AEM Tier III) or implement (AEM Tier IV) Agricultural Best Management Practices on New York State farms. All projects must consist of activities that will reduce, abate, control, or prevent nonpoint source pollution originating from agricultural sources. Applications must be for one of the following: planning activities (AEM Tier III) or implementation (AEM Tier IV). Availability of funding for this program is contingent upon legislative approval for the State Fiscal Year 2004-2005 Budget. Proposals must be received by 5:00 p.m. EST on October 25, 2004.
For additional funding opportunities, visit http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.
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Sustainable Energy Systems on the Farm
September 23, 2004
Sandy Lake, Pennsylvania
This PASA Farm-based Educational Program looks at conservation strategies and environmentally friendly energy production in agricultural applications, including passive and active solar greenhouse management and photovoltaic applications on the farm.
Southeast Biodynamic Gardening Conference & Harvest Festival
September 24-26, 2004
Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee
The event includes three days of intensive workshops, gourmet meals, one-on-one discussions, and social activities, all at the Long Hungry Creek Farm.
Agroecology Online Course: Principles & Practice
October 4 - November 28, 2004
This web-based eight-week course on the the design of biodiverse and sustainable agroecosystems is offered to agricultural professionals (farmers, researchers, extension agents and advanced students). The course will cover the practical aspects of sustainable agriculture such as the role of biodiversity in agriculture, ecological pest management, organic soil management and the design of sustainable agricultural systems through crop diversification schemes. Registration deadline is September 24.
More events at http://attra.ncat.org/cgi-bin/event/calendar.cgi.
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of ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is the Web
site of the ATTRA project created and managed by the National
Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), and funded under a grant
from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural
Business-Cooperative Service. Visit the NCAT
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