Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 22, 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
News & Resources
Specialty Crop Block Grant Awards Announced
USDA has announced the award of block grants to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture. The 54 grants announced in this funding round total approximately $55 million and will fund 827 projects in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Summaries of the awards can be viewed online.
New Grazing Systems Publication Online
Minnesota Department of Agriculture has released a new publication on grazing systems that is available online as a PDF file. Improving and Sustaining Forage Production in Pastures was written by Howard Moechnig of Cannon Falls, Minnesota, who has worked for more than ten years as a grazing specialist and has planned hundreds of grazing systems. This new resource presents strategies for preparing pastures for the upcoming year and improving pasture conditions, leading to better livestock performance. "This publication provides guidance to producers for achieving a well-managed grazing system and will help them avoid common mistakes in pasture and forage management," said Minnesota Department of Agriculture grazing specialist Wayne Monsen.
Related ATTRA Publication: Pasture, Rangeland and Grazing Management
NCR-SARE to Hold Listening Sessions
North Central Region-Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education will be holding listening sessions in Nebraska and Iowa this week to engage stakeholders from many dimensions of the local food system in sharing what is foremost on their minds. The sessions are intended to assess how NCR-SARE grants and programs are reaching and benefiting recipients, and to suggest how NCR-SARE can support future programs designed to meet urban/rural community needs. The listening sessions are open to the public, at no cost. Everyone is invited to attend, especially anti-hunger and food justice advocates, educators, non-profit organizations, concerned citizens, government officials, farmers, ranchers, grocers, chefs, workers, food processors and distributors. Listening sessions will be held in Lincoln, Nebraska, September 23 and Omaha, Nebraska, September 24 and Council Bluffs, Iowa, September 24.
FDA Expected to Limit Livestock Antibiotics
FDA is expected to issue new and stronger guidelines on animal antibiotic use within months, reports The New York Times. While major livestock producer organizations are opposing stricter rules, some medical and health organizations say even stronger action to limit antibiotic use is needed. According to the article, the proposed guidelines focus on the use of antibiotics to speed growth.
Soil Data Available by Cell Phone
Growers can now get information about the properties of their soil by using their cell phones while standing in the field. The UC Davis Soil Resource Laboratory has developed a smartphone application that performs location-based queries from GPS–enabled cell phones. Using its online soil survey, the SoilWeb application allows users to identify soils and access soil survey data from any place that has cell phone coverage in the 48 contiguous states. The spatial queries are sent to the UC Davis Soil Resource Laboratory’s online interface to soil survey information. Query results are presented as a series of soil profile sketches, depicting soil horizons, series names, landscape position and taxonomic classification.
Related ATTRA Publication: Assessing the Pasture Soil Resource
Oregano Supplement Decreases Cow Methane Emissions
A Penn State dairy scientist has developed an oregano-based supplement that not only decreased methane emissions in dairy cows by 40 percent, but also improved milk production. Alexander Hristov, an associate professor of dairy nutrition, screened hundreds of essential oils, plants and various compounds in the laboratory before arriving at oregano as a possible solution. During his experiments, oregano consistently reduced methane without demonstrating any negative effects, and increased daily milk production by nearly three pounds of milk for each cow at Penn State's dairy barns during the trials. Hristov has filed a provisional patent for this work.
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Northeast SARE Sustainable Community Grants
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. The Northeast SARE region is made up of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.
Applications must be submitted online by October 19, 2010.
Annie's Homegrown Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship Program
Annie's Homegrown Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship Program is open to full time undergraduate and graduate students beginning or returning to an accredited 2 or 4 year technical or college program or graduate school in the U.S. for the 2011/2012 school year. Students must be focusing on classes in sustainable agriculture. $75,000 in scholarship funds will be offered this year.
Proposals are due December 15, 2010.
Southern SARE Large Systems Grants
Southern SARE invites established agricultural systems research teams to apply for the first round of Large Systems Grants. Aptly named, Large Systems Grants are robust awards—$100,000 per year over multiple three-year cycles—intended for interdisciplinary teams already successfully researching a particular agricultural system. If the teams continue to produce solid research results, the grants can be renewed.
Proposals are due November 1, 2010.
>> More Funding Opportunities
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Farm Aid 25
October 2, 2010
"Growing Hope for America" is the theme of the 25th annual Farm Aid concert featuring Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Mathews, which is accompanied by a range of additional events supporting family farms.
Sustainable Agriculture and Local Food Assets Workshop
October 6, 2010
The Appalachian Regional Commission plans to convene a series of workshops in several Appalachian states in the coming months to facilitate regional conversations on these issues, strengthen regional support networks, and support community economic development based on Appalachia’s agricultural and food assets. The Blairsville workshop will include five presenters and a lunch of local seasonal food.
Northeast Animal Power Field Days
October 15-17, 2010
This event is dedicated to working draft animals in enterprises that support sustainability of local communities and vital land-based economies. The annual event has become a clearinghouse for educational and operational resources, building networks, and sharing experiences around the many aspects of draft-animal power, sustainable agriculture and local food systems in the Northeast.
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