Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 3, 2010
Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.
News & Resources
News & Resources
USDA Conservation Stewardship Program Deadline
Extended to Jan. 7, 2011
NRCS has announced that the ranking period deadline for the 2011 Conservation Stewardship Program has been extended to January 7, 2011. The program for agricultural producers provides conservation benefits including improvement of water and soil quality, wildlife habitat enhancement and adoption of conservation activities that address the effects of climate change. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland and non-industrial forestland. For more information, go to the NRCS website or visit the ATTRA CSP outline page.
American Goat Federation Incorporated
The American Goat Federation (AGF), the first-ever national organization devoted to the entire goat industry, announces its incorporation. The purpose of the AGF will be to build and define the U.S. goat industry on a unified front to work on issues facing the whole industry. Currently, the organization is completing membership development guidelines and seeks to actively represent the interests of more than 100 organizations and thousands of producers engaged in the sustainable production and marketing of goat milk, meat, fiber and grazing services across the United States. Founding memberships are available through December 31, 2010, and are open to individuals and organizations.
OMRI Products List Exceeds 2000 Products
The OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) Products List reached a milestone on October 7, 2010, for the first time exceeding 2000 listed products. OMRI, a global leader in materials review, performs comprehensive verification and listing of materials suitable for use in organic production. While OMRI staff may have paused to celebrate the landmark occasion, the organization is processing applications quicker than ever. A new streamlined review process has completely eliminated the initial wait time for new applications while retaining rigorous standards.
OFRF To Compile Science on Organic Farming Benefits
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has announced the launch of a sweeping research initiative to investigate the potential benefits of organic agriculture. The non-profit foundation recently hired a team to lead the inquiry and intends to release results in the spring of 2011. Initially, researchers will scope existing scientific literature and analyze data. Carolyn Dimitri, a former senior economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will direct the literature review. Loni Kemp, a Minnesota-based agriculture and conservation policy analyst, will synthesize results and offer policy recommendations on how new policies might recognize and reward benefits provided to society by organic farms. The team will also identify gaps in organic research to help set the stage for future study.
USDA Announces Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Projects
The USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded 30 grants to enhance the ability of organic producers and processors to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products. NIFA awarded more than $18 million through the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative. Additionally, more than $4 million was awarded through the Organic Transitions Program. In FY 2010, this program focused on environmental services provided by organic farming systems that support soil conservation and contribute to climate change mitigation. Practices and systems addressed include those associated with organic crops, organic animal production (including dairy) and organic systems integrating plant and animal production. A list of recipients is available online.
Grass Energy Blog Launched
The New York Biomass Energy Alliance has launched a new website for farmers, landowners, and renewable energy supporters who see grass as a potential form of available, renewable energy. The blog will focus on practical problems that need to be solved to make grass energy a reality, including managing combustion for efficiency and low emissions, alternative densification systems to facilitate efficient fuel handling, building grass-based energy businesses, and policy issues that are likely to affect the development of this form of renewable energy in the future. The grass energy blog, Grass Energy in the Northeast, can be accessed at http://grassenergy.wordpress.com.
Related ATTRA Publication: Switchgrass as a Bioenergy Crop
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Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program
The USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is now accepting grant proposals to the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program for projects to provide education, training, mentoring and internships to beginning farmers and ranchers that will help them run successful and sustainable farms. This year, fiscal year 2011, NIFA will make $19 million available through the program, for organizations that will implement programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers.
Proposals are due December 22, 2010.
1772 Foundation Funding for Agriculture and Sustainable Food
The 1772 Foundation, Inc. has announced that grant funding will be made available for sustainable food systems and agricultural endeavors in 2011. All organizations who wish to be considered should send a one-page letter of inquiry through the foundation's website. The foundation is particularly interested in the following: food hub development; historic sites that promote agricultural education; urban agriculture; farmer training; farm to cafeteria programs; innovative approaches to sustainable food systems; heritage breeds and heirloom vegetable and fruit protection and propagation; and youth farm education.
Letters of inquiry will be accepted until January 28, 2011.
North Central Region SARE Youth and Youth Educator Grants
Youth Grants of $400 maximum are for on-farm research, demonstration, or education projects by youth ages 8-18. Research and demonstration projects are for hands-on efforts to explore sustainable agriculture issues and practices. Education projects can involve teaching others about sustainable agriculture or attending a sustainable agriculture conference, workshop, or camp. Youth educator grants of $2,000 maximum are for educators to provide programming on sustainable agriculture for youth. The North Central Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Proposals are due January 14, 2011.
>> More Funding Opportunities
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Sustainable Agriculture Pest Management Conference
December 3-4, 2010
San Luis Obispo, California
The 9th Annual Sustainable Pest Management Conference will feature innovative pest management practices for sustainable agriculture. The purpose of the conference is to educate attendees on the use of innovative practices in the management of pests in sustainable agricultural systems. Special focus will be given to certified organic regulations, materials and production practices. A special Soil & Water Testing Workshop on day 2 instructs attendees on how to assess the need for, sample, and evaluate the results of basic soil and water tests.
CFSA Sustainable Agriculture Conference
December 3-5, 2010
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) is hosting its 25th annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference, with the theme "Local & Organic Arrives: Our Opportunity is Now." The agenda includes master classes, tours, classes, panels, workshops and presentations, and networking opportunities.
Western Corn Belt Conference for Organic Farmers
December 6-7, 2010
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
The conference, for organic producers and traditional agriculture producers considering a transition to organic farming, is co-sponsored by South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service, the USDA Integrated Pest Management and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education programs, and the South Dakota State University IPM Program. Conference speakers include extension specialists, educators and researchers from South Dakota, Minnesota and Illinois. Organic producers and other experts will also share their experience and expertise throughout the conference.
>> More Events
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