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Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 15, 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.

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News & Resources
* Food Alliance Issues National Standard for Sustainable Sheep and Goat Production
* Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program Seeking Input
* Farm Bill Measures for Native Pollinators Explained
* Researchers Studying Management of Biofuel Feedstocks
* Farm Labor Television Program to Air
* Black Walnut Production Resources Developed

Funding Opportunities
* Western SARE Professional + Producer Grant
* P3 Award Program
* Quaker Simple Harvest Farmers Education Fund

Coming Events
* FamilyFarmed EXPO
* Focus on Farming Conference
* Risk Management and Community Outreach Conference

News & Resources

Food Alliance Issues National Standard for Sustainable Sheep and Goat Production
Sustainable food certifier Food Alliance has unveiled comprehensive national standards for sustainable sheep and goat production with strict criteria for raising and treating the animals. Food Alliance’s new standard replaces one previously used by the organization to certify Northwest sheep growers, and now applies to goats and both meat and wool producers, and accommodates conditions throughout North America. The new standard covers a wide variety of animal welfare issues, including: animal health and nutrition; handling practices and facilities; pasture management; nutrient management; pest and weed management; and hazard reduction and sanitation.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Small Ruminant Sustainability Checksheet

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program Seeking Input
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Competitive Grants program has developed several opportunities for stakeholders to provide input on program development and implementation. Input for the 2009 funding cycle will be accepted until November 14, 2008. The Request for Applications is expected to be released in January 2009 with a 60-day open period.

Farm Bill Measures for Native Pollinators Explained
The Xerces Society has released a fact sheet that provides a concise summary of the 2008 Farm Bill pollinator provisions. 2008 Farm Bill: Benefits to Pollinators notes that this new legislation encourages the incorporation of pollinator habitat into Farm Bill conservation programs, and authorizes $20 million per year in pollinator research funding. Another publication, Using Farm Bill Programs for Pollinator Conservation offers guidelines on how Farm Bill conservation programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentive Program or the Conservation Reserve Program, can be used to restore or enhance habitat for pollinators on working farms and private lands.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees

Researchers Studying Management of Biofuel Feedstocks
Many agricultural products can be converted into feedstocks for alternative fuel. Now analysis from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) suggests that they can be used this way without reducing the nation's food supply, soil production capacity or environmental quality. ARS scientists are collaborating with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service to assess the economic impact of feedstock production. At locations around the United States, ARS scientists are evaluating how individual and combined management decisions influence different farming systems.

Farm Labor Television Program to Air
A Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) produced television program that spotlights farm labor and its potential impact on Pennsylvania farmers, consumers and local communities will be broadcast nationally on RFD-TV. Entitled "Bountiful Harvests on Borrowed Time," the half-hour program relates how the lack of a reliable immigrant farm worker program creates an uncertain future for agriculture and our nation's food supply. Pennsylvania farmers dispel myths about the complex farm labor issue and offer suggestions toward a possible solution.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Positive Practices in Farm Labor Management

Black Walnut Production Resources Developed
The University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry is offering three resources related to production of black walnuts. The new black walnut financial model is a simplified decision model designed to assist potential growers in making decisions about tree spacing, nut harvest, and whether to use improved (grafted) or unimproved trees. In addition, an interactive Web site, Flowering and Fruit Characteristics of Black Walnuts: A Tool for Identifying and Selecting Cultivars, allows growers to compare two actual walnuts side by side by cultivar. A 16-page fact sheet on Growing Black Walnut for Nut Production (PDF/ 1.5M) is also available online.

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Western SARE Professional + Producer Grant
With an Enhanced Professional + Producer Grant (PDF/175KB), an agricultural or natural resource professional, working with one or more producers, develops an application to conduct research, on-farm demonstration and/or educational outreach in an area of sustainable agriculture. The goal is to achieve results that can be communicated to producers and professionals–information that can improve income, the environment, communities and quality of life for all citizens.
Proposals are due December 5, 2008.

P3 Award Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of the P3 Award Program, is seeking applications proposing to research, develop, and design solutions to real world challenges involving the overall sustainability of human society. The P3 competition highlights the use of scientific principles in creating innovative projects focused on sustainability. Public nonprofit institutions/organizations (limited to degree-granting public institutions of higher education) and private nonprofit institutions/organizations (limited to degree-granting private institutions of higher education) located in the U.S. are eligible to apply. Up to $10,000 per Phase I grant for one year is available. Upon the successful completion of Phase I, Phase I grant recipients will have the opportunity to apply for Phase II funding of up to $75,000 for two additional years.
Proposals are due December 23, 2008.

Quaker Simple Harvest Farmers Education Fund
Through grant support and comprehensive teaching, Earth Pledge is working to ensure the financial viability of the American farmer, the health of our local communities and the important shift towards low impact farming. Specifically, Earth Pledge is working to accelerate the transition towards low impact planting, growing and harvesting whereby carbon emissions are reduced, soil quality is much improved and the production of crops is cleaner and healthier. This program is made possible due to a grant from Quaker Simple Harvest. This program will award grants to farmers, share ongoing research, provide materials and hands-on help to farms of different size, location and crop. Grant applications from farmers are now being accepted.
Proposals are due October 15, 2008.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

FamilyFarmed EXPO
November 21-23, 2008
Chicago, Illinois

The 2008 FamilyFarmed EXPO is a three-day gathering of farmers, producers, trade buyers and fans of locally grown and responsibly produced food and artisan goods. The agenda includes a symposium, workshops, exhibits, a "meet the buyer" opportunity, and a fall harvest festival.

Focus on Farming Conference
November 20, 2008
Lynnwood, Washington

Snohomish County's Focus on Farming program presents its fifth annual conference, "Breaking New Ground." The schedule includes keynote speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities.

Risk Management and Community Outreach Conference
November 20-21, 2008
Huntsville, Alabama

The Small Farms Research Center at Alabama A&M University will hold its 6th Annual Risk Management and Community Outreach Conference targeting agricultural producers who own or operate small farms in Alabama's underserved communities, often with limited resources. The conference is free for all Alabama's farmers, land owners and extension personnel. Registration is $100 for out-of-state individuals. The conference will be preceded by a farm field day on November 19. For more information, please call 866-858-4970 or contact duncan.chembezi@aamu.edu.

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

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