Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - October 4, 2006
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet
by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture
Information Service Web site. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is
also available online.
News & Resources
* USDA Awards Community Food Project Grants
Share The Harvest: Please forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues who might be interested in the latest sustainable agriculture news, funding opportunities, and events.
* USDA to Fund Program to Revitalize Iraq's Agriculture
* Venerable Organic Farming Tradition Grows in Maine
* Local and Sustainble Foods Change College Dining
* Investigators May be Closing in on Source of Spinach Contamination
* Montana Organic Farmer Grows and Distributes Produce
* Oklahoma Producer Grants
* North Central Region SARE Farmer Rancher Grant
* Illinois Opportunity Returns AgriFIRST Grants
* Sierra Nevada Small Farm Progress Days
* Renewable Energy from Organics Recycling
* Mid-Atlantic Dairy Grazing Conference
Awards Community Food Project Grants
USDA has announced that 32 grants totaling $4.6 million have
been awarded to community organizations to help low-income Americans
to eat healthfully. This year, for the first time, small grants
of up to $25,000 were awarded for planning projects to help
communities assess local needs and build collaborations that
will lead to community food security projects. The CFP grants,
first administered in 1996, help eligible private, nonprofit
entities that need a one-time infusion of funds to carry out
community food projects. Projects are funded for one to three
years in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $300,000. A list of
recipients is posted online.
to Fund Program to Revitalize Iraq's Agriculture
Secretary Mike Johanns has announced that USDA will provide
nearly $8 million in funding to help strengthen Iraq'a agriculture
system. According to this USDA press release, the Iraq Agricultural
Extension Revitalization Project (IAER) will provide extension
training programs for Iraqi nationals with a goal of enhancing
agricultural management, production and marketing for small
and medium-sized enterprises. The effort was launched in August
when Johanns and Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Salamm Zukam
Ali Al-Zawba'i signed a joint statement of intent in Baghdad.
Training will be provided through partnerships built between
U.S. land-grant universities and Iraqi agricultural universities.
Organic Farming Tradition Grows in Maine
farming isn't a new idea in Maine, reports the Morning Sentinel.
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association celebrates
its 35th birthday this year, having grown to 5,000 members and
now certifying more than 300 organic farms in the state, with
25,000 acres. Though this is only a small percentage of the state's
agricultural land, it represents steady growth over the past couple
of decades, and shows organic food entering the mainstream market.
The state now has more than 60 farmers' markets, and many of its
dairy farmers are converting to organic production, with estimates
that one in four may be organic by next year. With all the growth,
however, comes some disagreement over organic standards and how
they apply to small producers.
and Sustainble Foods Change College Dining
service at colleges and universities across the country is changing,
says a story in USA Today, as cafeterias serve up more local,
organic and sustainable foods. The change is driven in part
by student requests. A change in food procurement isn't always
easy for large universities or their food service providers,
since obtaining local produce requires dealing with more suppliers,
and can mean more food preparation labor. The effort is appreciated
by many students, according to the story, which relates how
Yale handles and identifies locally grown food, and how popular
it is with students.
Related ATTRA Publication: Bringing
Local Food to Local Institutions
May be Closing in on Source of Spinach Contamination
bags of spinach collected from the Wisconsin homes of patients
infected with a dangerous strain of E. coli add to mounting
evidence that the the source of the national outbreak is a work
shift on August 15 at a packing plant in San Juan Bautista,
California. The Seattle
Post-Intelligencer reports over its online edition on Thursday
that the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services
matched the brand of baby spinach and confirmed it by DNA testing.
Inspectors seeking the source of the E. coli outbreak are looking
at the packing plant and nine California farms that supplied
it with fresh spinach. Meanwhile, the deputy director of the
Division of Foodborne, Bacterial, and Mycotic diseases at the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a reporter from
the online magazine Salon.com
earlier this week that it's likely the outbreak will be linked
Organic Farmer Grows and Distributes Produce
farmer Joe Hamill is not only growing organic produce, but has
established a distribution chain stretching across the southern
half of the state, reports the Billings Gazette. From a small
start just a few years ago, Hamill has built an operation that
sells to restaurants and retailers, as well as individual customers.
He even purchased his own refrigerated truck. He connected with
another organic operation in the western part of the state,
and the two stage a weekly meet to swap organic produce for
meat, poultry, and eggs. This allows both businesses to provide
their customers more variety.
More Breaking News
The Kerr Center is soliciting grant proposals from producers across Oklahoma who may be interested in conducting research or demonstration projects. This year's grant focus is on growing crops beyond the traditional harvest season or using season extension techniques. Two-year grants may be funded up to $3,500. A pre-proposal is required for the application process.
Proposals are due October 23, 2006.
Central Region SARE Farmer Rancher Grant
The North Central Region (NCR) SARE program of the USDA has allocated about $400,000 for the 2006 Farmer/Rancher Grant 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 (three or more independent and separate operations) of farmers and ranchers interested in exploring sustainable agriculture. Farmers/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 farmers/ranchers; develop new technologies; or create or modify equipment.
Proposals are due December 1, 2006.
Opportunity Returns AgriFIRST Grants
Illiinois' Fiscal Year 2007 budget includes $564,480 in AgriFIRST incentives to promote valued-added agricultural ventures, or projects that turn raw commodities into marketable products and enable farmers to earn a larger share of the consumer dollar. The program helps defray the start-up costs of qualified projects. Three types of AgriFIRST grants are available:
1) Technical assistance grants cover up to 75 percent of the cost of developing a "value-added" project. The maximum award is $25,000. 2) Competitive assessment grants pay up to 50 percent of the cost of feasibility studies, business and marketing plans and consulting services, with a cap of $300,000 per project. 3) Capital grants cover up to 10 percent of a qualified project's construction cost, including the purchase of land, buildings and equipment. The amount received cannot exceed $5 million.
Proposals are due December 15, 2006.
More Funding Opportunities
Back to top
Nevada Small Farm Progress Days
October 20-21, 2006
Grass Valley, California
The first annual Sierra Nevada Small Farm Progress Day will be held at Loma Rica Ranch Organic Farm October 20. It will feature field demonstrations of tillage and cultivation equipment, manure and fertilizer spreading equipment, planting and transplanting implements, harvesting equipment, farm-scale logging equipment and portable mills, livestock equipment, and irrigation systems. The organizers will also demonstrate a variety of appropriately scaled traction systems, including small tractors, walking tractors, horses and mules. Finally, the event will feature grower workshops and a tradeshow. On the following day (October 21), Loma Rica Ranch Organic Farm will hold its second annual Harvest Festival.
Energy from Organics Recycling
October 30 - November 1, 2006
This sixth annual BioCycle conference offers sessions on: Opportunities Growing In Commercial Biomass Use; Energy Independence And Bioenergy-Based Local Economies; Wastewater, Biosolids, Food Industry; Creating Bioproducts And Renewable Energy; Anaerobic Digester Performance On Farms; Business Of Biofuels.
Dairy Grazing Conference
October 31 - November 1, 2006
Goldsboro, North Carolina
The 2006 Mid-Atlantic Dairy Grazing Conference will provide dairy graziers throughout the region opportunities to learn about the latest research underway at North Carolina State University, Clemson University, and Virginia Tech. The conference will also feature talks and discussions led by successful dairy graziers from throughout the United States. The conference presentations kick off at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, and will feature highlights of recent applied research work at the CEFS dairy unit.
Back to top
to the Weekly Harvest
Comments? Questions? Email the Weekly Harvest Newsletter editor Tiffany Nitschke at
Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives
Digital versions of recent Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters
are available online. ATTRAnews is the bi-monthly newsletter
of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and is 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 projects.
© Copyright 2006 NCAT
Back to top
|ATTRA Spanish Newsletter
Subscribe to Cosecha
Mensual (Monthly Harvest), ATTRA's new Spanish-language e-newsletter