Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 29, 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
* USDA Publishes Proposed Organic Pasture Rule
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* Committee Begins Sustainable Agriculture Standard Development
* Risk Management Partnership Agreements Announced
* USA Today Notes Sustainable Farming Trend
* Urban Agriculture Project Launched
* Project Exploring Sustainable Food Economy in North Carolina
* Water for America: Water Marketing and Efficiency Grants
* Illinois Farmers' Market Advertising Grant
* New York State Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program
* Growing U.S. Organic Agriculture: Accessing the 2008 Farm Bill
* Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual Conference
* Kentucky Small Ruminant Grazing Conference
* Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo
News & Resources
USDA Publishes Proposed Organic Pasture Rule
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register on Oct. 24 that proposes to amend the National Organic Program (NOP) livestock standards to clarify the role pasture plays in the production of organic ruminants. The proposed rule takes into consideration previous comments from the organic industry, consumers and other organizations, as well as several National Organic Standards Board recommendations. The comment period for the proposed rule closes on Dec. 23, 2008. The proposed rule will be accessible on the NOP website at www.ams.usda.gov/nop under “Today’s News.”
Committee Begins Sustainable Agriculture Standard Development
The 50-member committee working to create a voluntary national standard for sustainable agriculture has begun discussions, says GreenBiz.com. The talks, facilitated by the Leonardo Academy, have so far identified issues that the group will tackle and laid out a course of action. Among the six steps the group plans are conducting a needs assessment for the standard and developing outreach efforts to include all stakeholders.
Risk Management Partnership Agreements Announced
USDA is awarding $8.78 million in agricultural risk management partnership agreements, including ones for outreach and education opportunities to limited-resource and other traditionally under-served farmers and ranchers, throughout the United States. As part of the award package, fifty competitively awarded partnerships will use $4,087,497 to educate women, limited-resource, and other traditionally under-served farmers and ranchers. USDA awarded 34 partnership agreements under the Commodity Small Sessions Partnerships program in amounts up to $10,000. Among the agreements are six conferences throughout the country stressing farm safety and health training. In addition, the Targeted States program is awarding 15 partnerships totaling $4,361,305 through agreements providing risk management and crop insurance education and training for historically under-served states.
USA Today Notes Sustainable Farming Trend
Sustainable farming is becoming a nationwide trend, says a feature in USA Today that cites numerous examples of how farmers around the country are changing to "greener" practices. A Minnesota greenhouse is heating its facilities with biomass, and growing its own biomass crops to eventually produce its own fuel. Livestock producers on both coasts are rotating grazing animals and using measures to prevent erosion. Rising interest in sustainable farming is driven by growing demand for locally grown, organic, and sustainable products, says the article.
Urban Agriculture Project Launched
A new program, Barnyards in Backyards, has launched in Minnesota. The basic goal of the program is to help educate urban gardeners/farmers and help those who want to raise their own food, raise it. Barnyards in Backyards is a program that works to educate and promote the many diverse ways livestock, wildlife, and other animals can contribute beneficially to the urban-human world. From supporting backyard poultry flocks, to helping legalize urban milk goats, to helping gardeners build wildlife habitats, to teaching urban youth to spin and knit wool, the possibilities of urban animals and their benefits are profound and noticeable.
Project Exploring Sustainable Food Economy in North Carolina
The Center for Environmental Farming Systems has been funded to reach out across the state of North Carolina, and ask: What will it take to build a sustainable local food economy in North Carolina? Over the next year, CEFS and its partners will be gathering information from across food system sectors: conducting regional meetings, targeted issues forums, interviews, and a statewide summit on March 2 and 3, 2009. The desired result is a Statewide Action Plan for Building the Local Food Economy, with specific steps (short- and long-term) that policy makers, Universities, government agencies, environmentalists, businesses, funding agencies, social activists, NGOs and citizens can take to make this happen. The initiative's third regional meeting for collecting information and ideas is set for Asheville, North Carolina, on the afternoon of November 12.
> More Breaking News
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Water for America: Water Marketing and Efficiency Grants
Water for America: Expand Protect, and Conserve Our Nation’s Water Resources—Water Marketing and Efficiency Grants for Fiscal Year 2009: The Water for America Initiative is focused on addressing 21st century water challenges, including decreasing water supplies caused by climate change and population growth, and securing water resources for future generations. Water for America will offer four Challenge Grant funding opportunities; two are incorporated from Water 2025: Water Marketing and Efficiency Grants and System Optimization Review Grants (SORs). Two new challenge grants are being developed: Advanced Water Treatment Grants, and Species of Concern Grants. Bureau of Reclamation, Denver Office, invites irrigation and water districts, United States Territories, States in the West, and other local entities with water delivery authority to leverage their money and resources by cost sharing up to $300,000 with Reclamation on projects that create water markets and make more efficient use of existing water supplies.
Proposals are due
January 14, 2009.
Illinois Farmers' Market Advertising Grant
This new grant program will allow Illinois farmers markets to apply for as much as $7,500 in grant funds to help with the cost of promotion and advertising for the 2009 market season. Farmers markets can apply for any advertising and/or promotional project that enhances awareness of the market. This includes, but is not limited to the following: radio, print (newspapers, flyers, posters), television ads and/or billboards.
Proposals are due December 1, 2008.
New York State Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program
The New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee invites Soil and Water Conservation Districts or groups of Districts acting jointly to submit proposals for funding under the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program. Program funds are available for nonpoint source abatement and control projects that plan (Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) Tier III) or implement (AEM Tier IV) Agricultural Best Management Practices on New York State farms.
Proposals are due January 5, 2009.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Growing U.S. Organic Agriculture: Accessing the 2008 Farm Bill
November 12, 2008
*NEW: Detailed agenda and speaker list now online!*
Space is limited at this special conference, so act soon! 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. The Organic Trade Association and the National Center for Appropriate Technology are major co-sponsors of the event.. For more information see the updated agenda at the link above, or contact Marissa Potter. Receive a registration discount by mentioning the following code: ATTRA08.
Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual Conference
January 9-10, 2009
With the theme "The Biological Harvest," this event includes keynote presentation, workshops, and plenty of networking opportunities. Sessions address saving energy, value-added products, season extension, and more.
Kentucky Small Ruminant Grazing Conference
January 6, 2009
This day-long conference offers sessions on nutrition, grazing systems, parasite control, and economic outlook. An optional training on FAMACHA is also planned.
Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo
December 9-11, 2008
Grand Rapids, Michigan
This annual event includes an informative education program for fruit and vegetable growers and farm marketers encompassing 50 sessions over 3 days. A bus tour for farm marketers is planned, as well as a trade show with more than 300 exhibitors. The North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association Conference will be held in conjunction with the Expo.
> More Events
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