Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 24, 2007
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
* USDA Establishes Grass Fed Marketing Claim Standard
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.
* New Publication Focuses on Disaster Readiness for Organic Farmers
* EPA Creates Ag Advisory Committee
* National Organic Standards Board to Meet
* Washington State Farmland Preservation Task Force Appointed
* Regional Integrated Pest Management Competitive Grants Program - Western Region
* FQPA/Strategic Agricultural Initiative Program Grants, EPA Region 5
* Arizona Citrus Research Council Research Grant
* Iowa Organic Conference
* Focus on Farming Conference IV
* Risk Management and Community Outreach Conference
News & Resources
USDA Establishes Grass Fed Marketing Claim Standard
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a voluntary standard for grass (forage) fed marketing claims. The grass fed standard states that grass and/or forage shall be the feed source consumed for the lifetime of the ruminant animal, with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning. The diet shall be derived solely from forage and animals cannot be fed grain or grain by-products and must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season. The proposed standard will establish the minimum requirements for those producers who choose to operate a USDA-verified program involving a grass (forage) fed claim. Industry response to the new standard has been issued by the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and by the American Grassfed Association.
New Publication Focuses on Disaster Readiness for Organic Farmers
The Farmers' Legal Action Group, Inc.(FLAG) has released a new publication, Disaster Readiness and Recovery: Legal Considerations for Organic Farmers (PDF/1.1MB). The new article focuses on aspects of federal disaster assistance that are of particular relevance for organic farmers. The first part of the article discusses steps that organic farmers may take to reduce the impact of natural disasters that may occur in the future. The second part of the article discusses federal programs that provide assistance to farmers in order to recover from natural disaster. The article concludes with information about how natural disaster and disaster recovery may affect farmers’ organic certification. This article is a supplement to Farmers’ Guide to Disaster Assistance.
EPA Creates Ag Advisory Committee
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the establishment of the first-ever Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee. The committee will advise the administrator on environmental policy issues impacting farms, ranches and rural communities. The committee will be made up of large and small farmers, ranchers and rural communities; rural suppliers, marketers and processors; academics and researchers who study environmental issues impacting agriculture; tribal agricultural groups; and environmental and conservation groups. USAgNet reports the EPA's request for member nominations will be posted in the Federal Register.
National Organic Standards Board to Meet
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet November 28-30 in Arlington, Virginia. All sessions are open to the public. NOSB committees will present recommendations to the full board for a vote concerning the use or prohibition of five petitioned substances and 11 sunsetting substances due to expire in Nov. 2008 under review for the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances; revisions to the NOSB policy and procedures manual and the Guide for New NOSB Members; proposed organic standards for pet food; guidance on the certification of operations involved in crops research and guidance on temporary research variances; the standardization of certificates; guidance for accredited certifying agents regarding annual commercial availability determinations for ingredients listed on § 205.606 and organic seed sourcing by farmers under § 205.204; and on the certification of multi-site operations, including community grower groups.
Washington State Farmland Preservation Task Force Appointed
An 18-member task force has been appointed to provide the first statewide guidance for farmland preservation in Washington. Formed in response to a bill passed in the last legislative session, the Farmland Preservation Task Force consists of six farmer representatives from around the state along with legislators, county commissioners and key officials from local, state and federal agencies. The same legislation that created the task force also created the Office of Farmland Preservation within the State Conservation Commission. The Task Force will provide policy input to that office as it pursues several farmland-preservation goals outlined by lawmakers.
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Regional Integrated Pest Management Competitive Grants Program - Western Region
CSREES anticipates the availability of grant funds and requests applications for the Regional Integrated Pest Management Competitive Grants Program for FY 2008 to support the continuum of research and extension efforts needed to increase the implementation of integrated pest management (IPM) methods. The Regional IPM Competitive Grants Program supports projects that develop individual pest control tactics, integrate individual tactics into an IPM system, and develop and implement extension education programs. In 2008, CSREES anticipates that approximately $650,000 will be available for support of the Regional IPM Competitive Grants Program – Western Region. Of this amount, approximately $420,000 is expected to be available for Research projects, $70,000 for Extension projects, and $160,000 for Joint Research-Extension projects.
Proposals are due December 7, 2007.
FQPA/Strategic Agricultural Initiative Program Grants, EPA Region 5
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 is continuing a small-grant program in Fiscal Year 2008 to help implement the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) and support “transition” efforts by growers. The program supports innovative efforts that enable growers to reduce their reliance on pesticides reviewed under FQPA while maintaining or enhancing their present income. Each award will be up to $62,500. This grant opportunity is open to non-profit organizations, including commodity groups/associations and farmers’ groups, extension and university programs, state and federal government agencies, and tribes. The projects must be located within EPA Region 5, which includes the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and/or Wisconsin.
Proposals are due January 4, 2008.
Arizona Citrus Research Council Research Grant
The Arizona Citrus Research Council has established a grant program to assist the Arizona Citrus producers in identifying solutions to production issues. The Council requests that applicants focus proposals in the following five areas:
Proposals are due November 5, 2007.
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- Pest Eradication including insects, weeds and disease;
- Citrus production, harvest and post-harvest techniques;
- Citrus Varietal Development;
- Technology Enhancements; or
- Any other proposal the Council deems appropriate.
Iowa Organic Conference
November 19, 2007
This 7th annual Iowa Organic Conference will include sessions on:
Transitioning to Organic Farming, Improving Organic Livestock Health, and Marketing Organic Products. This year will also kick off a new campaign for "Local Organic." Local foods will be highlighted, including a class on cooking with organic products. A trade show of organic products and services will be held during the conference with ample time for visiting.
Focus on Farming Conference IV
November 29, 2007
The fourth annual Focus on Farming Conference, "From Soils to Sales," features keynote speakers, a local food lunch created by Northwest chefs, and tracks with sessions on marketing, water, risk management, local and organic food, and more.
Risk Management and Community Outreach Conference
November 15-16, 2007
The Small Farms Research Center at Alabama A&M University will hold its 5th Annual Risk Management and Community Outreach Conference, "Healthy Land, Profitable Family Farms, and Sustainable Future." The Risk Management Conference is free to Alabama producers, landowners, agricultural professionals and Extension personnel, but everyone must register.
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