Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - September 22, 2004
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
* Land Institute Releases Annual Report and Staff Bibliography
* Internet Training to Assist Southern Producers with Marketing Efforts
* Energy and Agriculture Papers and Presentations Available Online
* Report Suggests Strategies to Preserve Ohio Farmland
* Where Some Farmers See Weeds, Chefs See High-End Food
* USDA Grant Helps Rodale Institute Promote Nontoxic No-Till Technology
* Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture Oklahoma Producer Grant Program
* Bullitt Foundation Conservation and Stewardship in Agriculture Program
* Missouri Dairy Early Planning Grants
* Share the Harvest
* BioFach America Organic Products Expo
* Community Food Security Coalition Annual Conference
News & Resources
Land Institute Releases Annual Report and Staff Bibliography
The 2003-2004 annual report for the Land Institute is now available on the Institute's Web site. Featuring an update on its pioneering work in
Natural Systems Agriculture, the report includes information on its efforts in agroecology and plant breeding as well as a bibliography of 15 Land Institute staff publications for 2003-2004.
Internet Training to Assist Southern Producers with Marketing Efforts
The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will be sponsoring an Internet Training Opportunity, offered through a partnership with the USDA Risk Management Agency. As a result of the training, Limited Resource Producer organizations in the South should be able to help their farmers effectively use the Internet to improve their production and enhance their markets. Selected organizations will receive a $1,000 stipend. The one-day trainings will be held at our near recipients’ facilities. Applications for the training must be postmarked by October 15, 2004. For complete application information, contact Jean Mills of SSAWG at email@example.com, or phone 205-333-8504.
Energy and Agriculture Papers and Presentations Available Online
Papers and presentations from a USDA conference held this summer on agriculture’s need for and ability to produce energy are now available online. The conference, Agriculture as a Producer and Consumer of Energy, was the first major comprehensive examination of agriculture’s energy role in a decade. Conference speakers included the authors of four commissioned papers: Vern Eidman of the University of Minnesota, John Marinowski of Iowa State University, Otto Doering of Purdue University, and Kevin Lindemer, director of strategy and business development for Irving Oil Ltd. Other featured speakers included Keith Collins, Chief Economist, USDA; and C. Boyden Gray of the Energy Future Coalition. The program is available, as well as summaries of plenary session presentations, and selected paper sessions.
Report Suggests Strategies to Preserve Ohio Farmland
A recent report by American Farmland Trust finds that Ohio has lost over seven million acres of farmland since 1950. Yet, agriculture still employs one in seven Ohioans and is vital to the state and local economies. If the current trend of farmland loss continues, concludes the study, farmland loss could result in severe consequences on the economic stability, environmental health, and cultural identity of the state. Titled Preserving Ohio’s Farmland: A Report of Recommendations to the Ohio House Subcommittee on Growth and Land Use (PDF / 1 mb), the report offers several suggestions for developing a comprehensive farmland preservation agenda for Ohio, including reauthorization of the Clean Ohio Fund, increased funding for the Agricultural Easement Purchase Program, creation of a state agricultural viability program, increased legislation, and development of incentives and guidelines for local comprehensive land use planning.
Where Some Farmers See Weeds, Chefs See High-End Food
The Associated Press reports that some Chicago chefs see delectable food sources in what farmers have long considered weeds, chief among them lambs quarters and purslane. Chicago chef and cookbook author Rick Bayless said he'd sampled them in Mexico and found them to be "incredibly delicious" when boiled, and sauteed with onions and garlic and served with red chile salsa and blue corn tortillas. Still, Illinois farmers were astounded when he requested them.
"They couldn't understand why we would want the stuff -- until we cooked them up and then they couldn't believe how delicious they were," Bayless said. "People pull out lamb's quarters from their garden and consider them a horrible infestation," Bayless says. "I think they taste so wonderful, I want to bring them to my house." Now for his restaurant, Bayless buys 50 pounds a week (at $8 a pound) of organically grown "weeds."
USDA Grant Helps Rodale Institute Promote Nontoxic No-Till Technology
A $541,050 federal grant will enable researchers at The Rodale Institute (TRI) to demonstrate how a new spin on old technology could reduce the need for toxic herbicides in American agriculture. "Our new 'no-till' technology could eliminate the use of 30 million pounds of herbicides every year in the U.S.," said David Ward, vice president of program development for TRI, which has developed a new tractor implement to reduce herbicide use in major crops such as soy, corn and cotton. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, 52.5 million acres -- or 17.5 percent of all U.S. planted cropland -- were in no-till management in 2000. While traditional cultivation techniques leave the soil prone to water and wind erosion, no till systems plant seeds without ripping the soil apart, preventing soil from water and wind erosion. However, the tradeoff has been the application of chemical herbicides to kill weeds that would otherwise be uprooted by more aggressive plowing methods. TRI's modified no-till technology adds mechanical rollers, which kill weeds by running over them. Collaborators in 10 areas across the United States have agreed to cooperate in demonstrating this technology on farms.
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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Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture Oklahoma Producer Grant Program
The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture is soliciting grant proposals from producers across Oklahoma who are interested in conducting research or demonstration projects. This is a competitive grant program. The goal of the program is to advance the use of sustainable farming/ranching practices by Oklahoma producers. Educational programs should be a key component of any proposal submitted. All research and demonstration projects should have measurable outcomes. The program is based upon the recognition that farmers know their land best and are eager to innovate if given support and encouragement. This program is designed to provide producers with an avenue to utilize new sustainable practices and learn from each other. Preproposals are due October 27, 2004.
Bullitt Foundation Conservation and Stewardship in Agriculture Program
Based in the Northwest,
the Bullitt Foundation supports efforts to promote conservation and stewardship of agricultural lands. These efforts include: adoption of agricultural practices that reduce soil loss and water pollution, minimize pesticide use, conserve biodiversity, promote the efficient and non-polluting use of water, as well as efforts to preserve farmland. It seeks to promote and satisfy consumer demand for food grown on farms employing such practices. Next deadline for proposals is November 1, 2004.
Missouri Dairy Early Planning Grants
The goal of the Early Planning Grant (PDF / 157 kb) is to improve profitability, increase production, encourage and facilitate start-up, modernization, and expansion of Missouri dairy farms. The grant can provide 75 percent of eligible project costs up to a maximum of $3,000. The actual amount of funds awarded to any applicant is based upon fund availability. Proceeds from an award may only be used to contract with a pre-approved qualified, independent third party* *to provide professional services necessary to assist the applicant in evaluating start-up, modernization, expansion, or increased production of a Missouri dairy farm. Complete applications must be received by October 1, 2004.
For additional funding opportunities, visit http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.
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Share the Harvest
October 7, 2004
For this Northeast Organic Farming Association-Vermont event, participating restaurants and stores donate a percentage of the day's sales to benefit the Vermont Farm Share Program.
BioFach America Organic Products Expo
October 15-17, 2004
This large international trade show focuses on introducing a range of organic products to the American market.
Community Food Security Coalition Annual Conference
October 17-19, 2004
The 2004 gathering, Celebrating a Decade of Community Food Security, co-hosted by Milwaukee's own Growing Power, is an unparalleled opportunity to connect with food activists and practitioners from across the continent to share experiences and learn about building just and healthy food systems in your community.
More events at http://attra.ncat.org/cgi-bin/event/calendar.cgi.
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Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives Available Online
Digital versions of recent Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters
are now available online. ATTRAnews is the bi-monthly newsletter
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
Web site for more information on our sustainable agriculture
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