Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 10, 2008
Weekly 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
* Leopold Center Releases Local Food Survey Results
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* Organic Farm Awarded Judgment in Pesticide Contamination Case
* Report Looks at California Agricultural Water Use Efficiency
* Wisconsin Local Food Marketing Guide Released
* Local Foods Initiative Launched in North Dakota
* Report Released on Anaerobic Digesters
* Strategic Agricultural Initiative, EPA Region 2
* Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants Program
* Western North Carolina AgOptions
* Growing U.S. Organic Agriculture: Accessing the 2008 Farm Bill
* Farmer Education Resource Day
* Agroforestry Workshop
News & Resources
Leopold Center Releases Local Food Survey Results
Rising fuel and food prices, coupled with increased concern about environmental impacts and safety of the food supply, are changing the perceptions of American consumers, according to a recent nationwide survey conducted by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. The survey showed that consumers are re-assessing their shopping and eating habits to cut fuel use, would consider carbon food labels as long as their costs do not increase, worried more about natural habitat loss than greenhouse gas emissions, and were much more likely to view local food as having traveled 100 miles or less from the farm to point of sale than coming from their state or region. The survey results are summarized in a new Leopold Center report, "Food, Fuel and the Future: Consumer perceptions of local food, food safety and climate change in the context of rising prices."
Related ATTRA Publication: Food Miles: Background and Marketing
Organic Farm Awarded Judgment in Pesticide Contamination Case
A jury has awarded $1 million in damages to a Santa Cruz, California organic farm whose crops were contaminated by evaporative drift of organophosphate chemicals sprayed on neighboring land. Jacobs Farm filed suit against pesticide applicator Western Farm Service, Inc., to halt spraying and recover damages for herb crops it could not sell as organic. Western Farm Service says it followed label instructions and county permit regulations when applying the pesticides, and said it is likely to appeal the decision.
Report Looks at California Agricultural Water Use Efficiency
California farmers can grow more food and fiber with less water, according to a new Pacific Institute report. More with Less: Agricultural Water Conservation and Efficiency in California – A Special Focus on the Delta (PDF/1.7MB) offers a comprehensive analysis of how to maintain a strong agricultural economy while improving the efficiency of water use and reducing groundwater overdraft and water withdrawals from the critically threatened Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The study finds agricultural water-use efficiency can be improved through careful planning, adopting existing, cost-effective technologies and management practices, and implementing feasible policy changes. Funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, this report is the first part of a larger effort to determine the potential for agricultural water efficiency statewide, to be released early 2009.
Related ATTRA Publication: Measuring and Conserving Irrigation Water
Wisconsin Local Food Marketing Guide Released
A new resource is available in Wisconsin as part of a workshop project designed to help producers sell to local markets. Wisconsin Local Food Marketing Guide: A Producer's Guide to Marketing Locally Grown Food is a 122-page publication available online in PDF in its entirety or by chapter from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. Two workshops on local food selling are planned for November 12 in Stevens Point and November 14 in Viroqua, utilizing the guide and presentations from local food entrepreneurs.
Related ATTRA Publication: Direct Marketing
Local Foods Initiative Launched in North Dakota
A series of regional meetings has been scheduled in October to implement a new initiative encouraging North Dakotans to enjoy a healthier diet by buying locally grown and distributed food products. "The local foods movement is sweeping the nation, and we hope ‘Going Local North Dakota’ will help the citizens of our state readily access food and food products produced by their neighbors and friends," said Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson. The North Dakota Department of Agriculture has scheduled four regional meetings for community leaders, local producers, nutritionists, farmers' markets and other interested groups and individuals to learn how to develop and sustain local foods programs and systems. Meetings are set for October 13 in Mandan, October 14 in Minot, October 15 in Valley City, and October 16 in Devils Lake.
Report Released on Anaerobic Digesters
Focus on Energy has released the Wisconsin Agricultural Biogas Casebook (PDF/2.3MB), an online report which includes case studies of 17 dairy farm anaerobic digesters that produce renewable energy. Wisconsin currently leads the nation in the number of operating dairy farm digesters that produce electricity and heat from cow manure and other organic materials. The report offers a historical snapshot of the current operating digester systems on Wisconsin farms and is meant to give those interested in digesters some insight on how to implement their own system.
Related ATTRA Publication: Anaerobic Digestion of Animal Wastes: Factors to Consider
> More Breaking News
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Strategic Agricultural Initiative, EPA Region 2
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 is soliciting applications to help implement the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) and to support efforts by the agricultural community to transition away from high risk pesticides to the use of less and reduced risk pesticides, alternative methods of agricultural pest control, and sustainable practices in food production. The program supports grants for education, extension, demonstration, and studies for FQPA transition and reduced risk practices for pest management in agriculture. EPA Region 2 serves New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Proposals are due December 11, 2008.
Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants Program
The purpose of the Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge (SPECA) Grants Program is to: enhance curricula in agricultural education; increase faculty teaching competencies; interest young people in pursuing higher education in order to prepare for scientific and professional careers in the food and agricultural sciences; promote the incorporation of agriscience and agribusiness subject matter into other instructional programs, particularly classes in science, business, and consumer education; facilitate joint initiatives by the grant recipient with other secondary schools, institutions of higher education that award an associate's degree, institutions of higher education that award a bachelor's degree, and nonprofit organizations supporting agriscience and agribusiness education, to maximize the development and use of resources, such as faculty, facilities, and equipment, to improve agriscience and agribusiness education; support other initiatives designed to meet local, State, regional, or national needs related to promoting excellence in agriscience and agribusiness education; and support current Agriculture in the Classroom programs for grades K-12.
Proposals are due December 15, 2008.
Western North Carolina AgOptions
WNC AgOptions, a program established in 2004 and managed by N. C. Cooperative Extension Centers in the West District, will continue assisting mountain farmers transitioning from tobacco and other crops through 2011. In 2009, WNC AgOptions will award demonstration contracts valued at $3,000, $6,000 or $9,000 through a competitive application and review process. Awards will total $225,000 each year within 17 western North Carolina counties and the Cherokee Reservation. The grants offer incentive for farmers to try new ventures—encouraging the sustainability of their operation, as well as demonstrating new methods to the larger agriculture community.
Proposals are due January 23, 2009.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Growing U.S. Organic Agriculture: Accessing the 2008 Farm Bill
November 12, 2008
NEW LOCATION: Indianapolis, Indiana
Farmers, state departments of agriculture, extension agents, organic certifiers and others are invited to this workshop on how to access the new organic provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill. Organic Trade Association and the National Center for Appropriate Technology are co-sponsors of the event. For more information, contact Marissa Potter, firstname.lastname@example.org. Receive a discount by putting the following code on your registration: ATTRA08
Farmer Education Resource Day
November 8, 2008
Maryland Small Farm Cooperative presents a day designed to promote education (including MDA approved Nutrient Management credit hours) and networking among small farm producers. Seminars will include: three producers discussing and answering questions on their Ag enterprises; on-farm processing and sale of value-added food in MD; farm waste management (including carcass and manure composting); applying alternative nutrients (such as organic, poultry litter pellets) to the soil. Pre-registration is required by October 27.
November 7, 2008
Learn about sustainable agriculture, land stewardship, diversified farm income, and new market opportunities. The University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry, one of the world's leading centers contributing to the science underlying agroforestry, will present a free day-long workshop. The event will include an overview of the five practices of agroforestry, with more detailed presentations on silvopasture (the intentional combination of trees, forage and livestock managed as a single integrated practice); biomass for energy production and conservation; medicinal herbs and mushrooms; and nut production.
> More Events
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