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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 6, 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

Funding Opportunities

Coming Events


News & Resources

Beginning Farmer Training Slots Open
More and more organizations across the country are offering training programs to help beginning farmers successfully launch their businesses. These popular programs often include technical and business planning instruction, as well as tours of established farms and presentations or mentoring by experienced farmers. Several programs starting this month still have openings for enrollment. The South Dakota Farm Beginnings class will continue to accept applications until the course fills. Classes begin October 30 in Brookings. For links to Farm Beginnings programs in other regions, visit the Land Stewardship Project's Farm Beginnings website. Another program, New Mexico Building Farmers, offers a series of 8 evening classes designed to help new farmers explore agriculture as a business. It will also provide more experienced producers with tools and ideas to refine and enhance their business management, production, and marketing skills. Classes start October 26. The Cultivating Success program offers courses in locations across Idaho and Washington. Start dates vary by location, with several set for this fall.

Court Rules in Favor of Dairy Producers' Right to Label
In a unanimous decision by a three-judge panel released October 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed a district court decision that would have allowed the state of Ohio to ban the use of compositional claims on dairy product labels and dictate the placement of disclaimer statements. Specifically, the Appeals Court found that the rule's absolute ban on compositional claims, such as "rbST Free," and the prohibition against using an asterisk to connect any claim to any disclaimer violated processors' First Amendment rights. The International Dairy Foods Association, which filed a lawsuit against the state of Ohio more than two years ago to protect its members' right to label, called the decision a victory for dairy processors and consumers.

State Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchases Increase
According to new statistics released by American Farmland Trust's Farmland Information Center, state governments' efforts to protect agricultural land through purchase of agricultural conservation easement (PACE) programs accelerated in 2009 despite funding shortfalls. PACE programs pay farmers and ranchers to permanently protect their land with a conservation easement that limits future development and keeps the farmland available for agriculture. The survey of PACE programs in 26 states found that they acquired seven percent more easements and protected seven percent more acres than in 2008. Overall, states spent $234,932,161 to protect 128,665 acres of farm and ranch land in 2009. However, state budget shortfalls have resulted in reduced funding for farmland protection, even in states with typically well-funded programs. States report that they will have $9.5 million less to work with in the upcoming year.
Related ATTRA publication: Conservation Easements

High Tunnel Webinar Series Offered
The Great Lakes Vegetable Working Group and the University of Illinois are organizing a Season Extension Pest Management webinar series to begin November 1st. The five webinars are each one to two hours long and are intended for growers, educators, and NRCS staff. There is a $30 registration fee for this webinar series whether you participate in one or all five of the webinars. The November 1 topic is Introduction to Pest Management for Season Extension; November 3 is Pest Management of Tomatoes in High Tunnels; November 8 is Pest Management in Winter Crops; November 16 is Nutrition, Water, and Soil Management in High Tunnels; and November 18 is Interpreting NRCS High Tunnel Project Guidelines.

Online Market Planner Helps Farmers Determine Product Demand
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Iowa State's Institute for Transportation have teamed up to create the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Market Planner, an online tool to help Iowa farmers assess the market for their products. The Planner shows rates of demand for 80 different crops based on food availability data reported each year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service and U.S. Census data for consumers in the target market. Users can target specific regions, consumers by age group, different time frames and product mixes. Target market demand can be compared with state-level production to see where the greatest opportunities exist for farmers. "We think the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Market Planner will be used by local food groups and county and city governments as they develop planning strategies to increase local food commerce," said Leopold Center Associate Director Rich Pirog. The developers of the tool are working on a technical guide that explains how to set up a similar application for other states and regions, to be available later this year.

European Farm Ministers Delay GMO Crop Rule Decision
European Union Farm Ministers met in Brussels September 27 to debate a proposed rule change that would allow officials to accelerate authorizations for 15 new transgenic crops while letting member countries who want to keep them off their territories do so. A decision on the Commission's proposal to allow member countries to individually decide on GMO cultivation was delayed pending an opinion from legal experts on the compatibility of the proposal with World Trade Organization rules.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Southern Region SARE Producer Grant
The Southern Region SARE Producer Grant program is requesting grant proposals from producers or producer organizations interested in conducting research or marketing projects related to sustainable agriculture. Projects must be developed, coordinated and conducted by farmers and/or ranchers or a producer organization. Producers or producer organizations must complete a proposal describing their project and explaining how it will help other producers understand and adopt sustainable agriculture practices. Projects may be funded up to two years for a project maximum of $10,000 for an individual producer or $15,000 for a producer organization. The Southern Region includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Proposals are due November 15, 2010.

Vermont Value-Added Agriculture Market Development
The Vermont Agriculture Innovation Center has announced the release of an RFP to enhance value-added agriculture in Vermont through market development. The funds available for Market Development are $150,000 total and $5,000 - $30,000 per project. The goals of this project area are to build local and regional markets for value-added Vermont products, support emerging product lines through collaboration along every point of the supply chain, and support greater producer control in establishing market outlets and price. Applications in this category are being encouraged from farmers, processors, distributors, organizations, businesses and/or individuals to offer specific market development projects based on the value-added product and the producers' goals along the full supply chain.
Proposals are due October 13, 2010.

Ohio Agricultural Action and Awareness Grants
The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation is offering a new series of Agricultural Action and Awareness Grants for the 2010-11 program year. The competitively awarded $1,000 - $3,000 grants are earmarked to support programs and projects focusing on agricultural education, environmental and/or economic development. The Foundation hereby requests program proposals from community service groups in rural, suburban and/or urban settings, independent producers and/or agricultural producer groups. Matching funds and/or resources are required.
Proposals are due November 15, 2010.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Women in Sustainable Agriculture Conference
November 1-3, 2010
Fairlee, Vermont

The 2010 Women in Sustainable Agriculture Conference will bring together farmers, ranchers, educators, agricultural service providers and activists to build production and business skills, share educational and organizational strategies, and forge new connections all aimed at expanding the success of women in sustainable agriculture. The conference includes workshops, intensive skill-building clinics, farm tours and roundtables. A special Grow Your Business track is offered for established farmers. While this conference will be open to everyone, it is uniquely oriented to women farmers' interests and learning preferences.

North Florida & South Georgia Farm Tour
October 23-24, 2010
Tallahassee, Florida area

Thirty-six farms are opening their doors and inviting you to come see local farms in action. Families can enjoy tours that include barnyard animals, fresh-baked goods and refreshments. Visit working cattle and goat ranches, a dairy or a winery. And of course, purchase amazingly fresh goods directly from the farm. Numerous farm tour workshops will be offered at participating sites. Several suggested tours group participating farms into itineraries.

Agritourism Rolling Workshop
October 18, 2010
Bismark, North Dakota

The North Dakota AgriTourism Partnership will be hosting the first-ever "Rolling Workshop" on October 18th for individuals interested in starting or expanding agritourism businesses. This workshop experience, conducted by partners from the ND Tourism Division, Ag Department and NDSU Extension Service combines the unique combination of a bus tour with educational seminars.

>> More Events

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Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

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