Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 29, 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
Dairy Industry Completes Carbon Footprint Study on Fluid Milk
The U.S. dairy industry has completed a carbon footprint study that measured the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with a gallon of milk in the United States. Researchers followed the journey of a gallon of milk from the beginning of the life cycle when crops are grown to feed cows; milk is produced and delivered to processors; through processing, packaging and distribution; all the way to the purchase and disposal of the gallon of milk by the consumer. The completion of the study is a significant first step for the dairy industry in a comprehensive, science-based approach to measure and improve its environmental footprint. The carbon footprint study, together with data from additional studies measuring GHG emissions, helps validate that total U.S. dairy GHG emissions are approximately 2 percent of total U.S. emissions. The carbon footprint study identifies opportunities for efficiency and innovation across the fluid milk supply chain, including feed efficiency, manure management, energy management and fuel efficiency.
USDA Seeks Public Feedback on Organic Recommendations
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is inviting the public to participate in the biannual meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), Oct. 25–28, 2010, in Madison, Wisconsin. The meeting is an opportunity for the organic community to provide recommendations and discuss topics concerning organic agriculture. USDA encourages the public to provide comments on recommendations concerning those materials petitioned for inclusion on the National List of Allowable and Prohibited Substances. Individuals can submit comments either electronically or in-person at the meeting. Written comments may be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov (preferred) or by contacting Lisa Ahramjian, NOSB Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or
(202) 720-3252. Electronic comments must be received by Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010.
Economic Impact of Local Food for Schools Studied
Filling school lunch trays with fresh, locally grown foods that are easy to incorporate into school menus can contribute as much as $430,000 annually to a regional economy, according to new research from University of Minnesota Extension. The recent study examined the potential economic impact of farm-to-school programs, focusing on a five-county area of central Minnesota. The range of economic impact in the region varied greatly depending on the schools’ level of involvement—from $20,000 if every school featured one locally grown meal per month up to $430,000 if they sourced a large amount of certain products from local farmers. The analysis concentrated on foods most easily added to school menus right away and available from local farmers: apples, beef hot dogs, cabbage, carrots, oatmeal, potatoes, sweet corn and wild rice.
Related ATTRA publication: Bringing Local Food to Local Institutions
Farm Aid Celebrates 25 Years
September 22 marked the 25th anniversary of the first Farm Aid concert organized to help family farmers stay on their land. Farm Aid leaders say the organization is going strong. To mark its official anniversary, Farm Aid published 25 milestones that represent major accomplishments by the organization. These milestones range from the passage of landmark legislation that kept thousands of family farmers on the land, to building a movement for good food from family farms. The accomplishments represent the many victories of family farmers and Farm Aid in their efforts to build a stronger food system centered on family farms. The full list of Farm Aid's 25 milestones can be viewed online.
National Poultry Improvement Plan Amendments Proposed
Proposed changes to the National Poultry Improvement Plan were posted September 20 in the Federal Register. The proposed amendments stem from recommendations approved by the voting delegates to the National Plan Conference that was held in June 2008. Among other issues, the amendments set out conditions for the payment of indemnity for costs associated with poultry that are infected with avian influenza, set out testing requirements for Mycoplasma bacteria, and set out provisions for the U.S. Salmonella Monitored classification for primary meat-type chicken breeding flocks and the hatching eggs and chicks produced from it. This provision requires feed to be processed, stored, and transported to prevent contamination with Salmonella, as well as requiring certain conditions for the maintenance of flocks and hatcheries. Comments on the proposed changes will be accepted in writing or electronically until November 19, 2010.
Organic Farmer Garners Attention in Iowa Ag Secretary Race
Organic dairy farmer Francis Thicke's campaign for the post of Agriculture Secretary in Iowa has drawn national attention to sustainable agriculture in a farm bloc state. Thicke is a long-time sustainable agriculture advocate who has authored a book, A New Vision for Iowa Food and Agriculture, and is an active dairy farmer who also processes the products his farm produces. Grist magazine recently interviewed Thicke about the campaign, and discussed what implications the race may have for sustainable agriculture on the national scale.
NCAT Webinar on Grass-finished Beef Production and Marketing
Grass-finished beef is part of a growing niche market of farm products that can command higher market prices and bring more to a farmer's bottom line. During this hour-long webinar you'll learn how farmers, large and small, are using more pasture and less grain to produce high-quality meat products and how they compete in the marketplace. The webinar, presented by ATTRA specialists, is October 20, 2010 at 12:00 PM CDT. More information about the webinar and registration are available online.
>> More Breaking News
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Arizona Reduced Risk Pesticide Use Grants
Arizona Department of Agriculture is seeking grant applications from eligible organizations for projects that will promote the transition to reduced-risk pest management practices in agriculture to protect human health and the environment. These resources are for minor agricultural crop production using hand labor and field workers to bring the crop to the market. Funding is for Arizona only and is available to: federally recognized Indian tribal governments and Native American Organizations, universities and colleges, other public or private nonprofit institutions, and individuals. The total funding available for this competitive grant opportunity is $55,000.
Proposals are due October 15, 2010.
Nebraska Value-added Agriculture Grant
Under the Agricultural Opportunities And Value-Added Partnership Act, communities, counties, agencies, non-profit organizations, cooperatives, districts, and some farming and ranching operations may apply for grants of up to $75,000 for projects that create new private enterprises or expand existing enterprises. Funded activities include education, market development, research, and purchase of electronic point-of-sale devices for food and nutrition program benefits at farmers’ markets. Matching funds are required.
Proposals are due October 14, 2010.
Ohio Vineyard Expansion Assistance Grants
The Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program (VEAP) was created by the Ohio Grape Industries Committee and funded through the United States Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant program. The program encourages the establishment of new vineyards or expansion of existing grape vineyards in Ohio. VEAP funding will cover only the cost of the grape vines planted. Each grower may apply for up to $2,000 per acre with a maximum of three acres or $6,000.
Proposals are due October 22, 2010.
>> More Funding Opportunities
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Community Food Security Coalition Conference
October 16-19, 2010
New Orleans, Louisiana
At "Food, Culture, & Justice: The Gumbo That Unites Us All", you will have the opportunity to see first-hand the unique regional and multi-cultural approach to food organizing taking place in New Orleans. Session topics will include rebuilding local food economies, ending poverty and increasing food access, outcomes of the US Social Forum, environmental justice, public health links, food policy councils, urban agriculture, and more.
2010 Bioneers Conference
October 15-17, 2010
San Rafael, California
The Bioneers Conference is a leading-edge forum presenting breakthrough solutions for people and planet. At this year's conference, social and scientific innovators focus on solutions inspired by nature and human ingenuity. A satellite feed of the entire main stage Bioneers program is offered through the Dish Satellite Network, and is beamed to sites across the country, in conjunction with local Bioneers events.
Tri-State Meat Goat Conference
October 8-10, 2010
Brookings, South Dakota
The fourth annual Tri-State Meat Goat Conference is organized through a cooperative effort of the Extension services of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The three-day event includes FAMACHA training open to both sheep and goat producers. Other topics include goat health, nutrition, reproduction and breeding management, the selection of meat goats for breeding stock, carcass evaluation, grazing and pasture management, marketing strategies and opportunities, and fencing.
>> More Events
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