Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 25, 2006
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
* Pollution Credit Programs Offer Farmers Compensation for Conservation
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* Grass the Feed of Choice for Beef and Dairy Producers
* New Loan Program Encourages Organic Dairy Farming in Vermont
* Farmer's Guide to Agricultural Credit Released
* Kentucky Farmers' Market Report Shows Growth
* Some Pollinator Populations Declining, Says Report
* Diversifying Public Markets and Farmers Markets Grants
* Regional Integrated Pest Management Competitive Grants Program Southern Region
* New Hampshire Agricultural Nutrient Management Program
* Tilth Producers Annual Conference: The Future of Food
* Small and Beginning Farmers Conference
* Third National Conference on Grazing Lands
News & Resources
Pollution Credit Programs Offer Farmers Compensation for Conservation
Farmers Union has launched a Carbon Credit Program that will provide financial incentives for farmers who adopt farming practices that promote environmental stewardship. The voluntary, private-sector carbon trading program at the Chicago Climate Exchange allows agriculture producers and landowners to earn money for cropping practices such as no-till, long-term grasslands, forestry and other practices. Farmers Union has been approved by the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) to enroll producer acreages of carbon into blocks of credits that will be traded on the CCX, much like other agricultural commodities.
Meanwhile, new federal program introduced by USDA and EPA will offer farmers and ranchers market-based incentives to improve water quality, in a water quality credit trading agreement. While reducing pollution through conservation practices, farmers and ranchers can earn credits they can trade with industrial or municipal facilities that are required by the Clean Water Act and other laws to reduce the amounts of pollution in wastewater. The agreement features a pilot project within the Chesapeake Bay basin to showcase the effectiveness of environmental markets.
Grass the Feed of Choice for Beef and Dairy Producers
Beef and dairy producers in several parts of the country are finding market niches with grass-fed products, according to recent media coverage. In Kansas, Melvin and Joyce Williams are raising grass-fed beef, says an article on Cattle Network. They obtained a SARE grant to study the effects of rotational grazing and look at sustainable fertilzation methods for hay fields, such as cover crops and interseeded legumes. While the alternatively fertilized hay was less productive, its protein content was higher. In Texas, as well, reports the Houston Chronicle, demand for grass-fed beef is growing, and producers are turning grass finishing cattle into a fine art. Meanwhile the South Bend Tribune reports that the low overhead associated with grass-based dairying and rotational grazing is helping three brothers operate viable separate dairy businesses.
Related ATTRA Publication: Rotational Grazing
New Loan Program Encourages Organic Dairy Farming in Vermont
Dairy farmers in Vermont have a new incentive to transition to organic milk production: a new state loan program. The Organic Transition Program loans farmers as much as $20,000 to help pay the costs associated with switching their dairy operations to organic, reports this piece in the Rutland Herald. The loans are available to dairy farmers who are in the final year of transitioning to organic production. The program is sponsored by the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation and the Verrmont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.
Farmer's Guide to Agricultural Credit Released
The Rural Advancement Foundation International USA has announced the release of its new Farmer's Guide to Agricultural Credit. This guide was written to help farmers understand agricultural finance, and to help them be better prepared for the credit application process. It introduces some effective planning tools farmers can use to increase their opportunities in accessing capital. Also offered are appendices containing resources for further learning. The Guide is available online in PDF.
Kentucky Farmers' Market Report Shows Growth
Kentucky has issued a report on Farmers' Markets in the state that shows the number of registered farmers' markets increased 10.2 percent and the number of vendors rose 7.7 percent from 2005 to 2006. Gross sales at Kentucky farmers' markets in 2005 totaled nearly $7 million, according to the report. The Lexington Farmers' Market became the first in Kentucky to report more than $1 million in sales in a year with a total of more than $1.8 million. The growth is credited both to increased state support of farmers' markets-through cost-share programs and technical assistance-and the passage of the 2003 legislation that allows Kentuckians to produce value-added products in their homes to sell. The full report is available online.
Some Pollinator Populations Declining, Says Report
population trends for some North American pollinators-bees, birds,
bats, and other animals and insects that spread pollen so plant
fertilization can occur-are "demonstrably downward," says a new
report from the National Research Council. However, there is little
or no population data for many pollinators, which prompted the
committee that wrote the report to call for stepped-up efforts
to monitor these creatures and improve understanding of their
basic ecology. Research indicates that shortages of pollinators
for agriculture already exist and that decreases in wild pollinator
populations could disrupt ecosystems in the future. Copies of
Status of Pollinators in North America are available
for purchase online.
> More Breaking News
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Diversifying Public Markets and Farmers Markets Grants
Project for Public Spaces, Inc. (PPS) is pleased to release their second Request for Proposals to support individual farmers markets as part of their "Diversifying Public Markets and Farmers Markets" program. This round will be awarding approximately $400,000 in funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Grants resulting from this RFP will be awarded in early 2007 and will be for one year. The 2007 public markets grant program aims to strategically support markets, especially in low- to moderate-income communities, to become more economically sustainable and community-centered.
Proposals are due November 13, 2006.
Regional Integrated Pest Management Competitive Grants Program Southern Region
CSREES requests applications for the Regional Integrated Pest Management Competitive Grants Program for fiscal year (FY) 2007 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 FY 2007, CSREES anticipates the amount available for support of the Regional IPM Competitive Grants Program-Southern Region (S-RIPM) will be approximately $827,000. Of this amount, $457,000 is expected to be available for research-only projects, $70,000 for extension-only projects, $200,000 for joint research-extension projects and $100,000 for an IPM evaluation project.
Proposals are due December 6, 2006.
New Hampshire Agricultural Nutrient Management Program
New Hampshire's Agricultural Nutrient Management (ANM) Grant Program seeks to provide financial, educational and technical assistance for livestock and agricultural land operations and related organizations with implementing Best Management Practices and such other measures necessary to prevent or mitigate water pollution. Example projects include fencing livestock out of surface water, creating controlled crossings, and developing alternatives to surface water sources. Applicants for ANM grants may apply for cost assistance of up to $2,500 per year. Applications, available from NHDAMF, may be submitted by individuals, businesses or organizations. Grants will be awarded in two rounds each year, in December and June.
Proposals are due December 1, 2006.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Tilth Producers Annual Conference: The Future of Food
November 10-12, 2006
This conference builds on three decades of efforts to transform agriculture in Washington State. The conference begins Friday with a day-long symposium, Farming for Food Quality, convened by Washington State University. Expert speakers will highlight the latest food quality research and the genetic and production issues affecting nutritional quality of crops, livestock, dairy and fruit. Speakers, workshops and celebration are also on the conference agenda.
Small and Beginning Farmers Conference
November 17-18, 2006
Meredith, New Hampshire
The third annual Northern New England Small & Beginning Farmers Conference will feature Vermont farmer and local foods advocate Pete Johnson, plus 14 practical workshops oriented toward sustainable small-scale agriculture in New England. Topics include Berry Crops, Is an LLC Right for you?, Managing Pests in Fruit & Vegetable Crops, Business Planning, Season Extension, Technical Assistance and Financial Programs for Farmers, Slaughter & Sales, Selling Farm Products, two workshops on Beekeeping, Simplifying Slaughtering, Seedsaving, and Raising Chickens & Rabbits.
Third National Conference on Grazing Lands
December 10-13, 2006
St. Louis, Missouri
This conference will provide for exchange of technical and management information, identification of research needs, marketing of products, services and other benefits of grazing. The need for sound, scientific technical assistance will be emphasized. Increased public awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of grazing is an objective.
> More Events
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