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Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 5, 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
* Organic Handler Supply Report Available
* 'Organic Solution' Education Campaign to Debut
* CSP Fact Sheet Released
* CIAS Releases Grazing Reports
* EPA Finalizes CAFO Rule on Manure Management
* Livestock Labor Program Starts in Texas

Funding Opportunities
* Arizona Specialty Crop Block Grant
* Iowa State University On-Farm Research and Demonstration Grant
* FARRMS Transition Loan Program

Coming Events
* Organic Soil Fertility Management Symposium
* Connect Locally: Food, Farms and Community
* Minnesota Organic Conference & Trade Show

News & Resources

Organic Handler Supply Report Available
The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) has published a new report, "Using Vertically Controlled Relationships to Overcome Tight Supply in the Organic Market." (PDF/1.11M) This report details a survey of organic handlers and includes information on how they deal with supply issues.

'Organic Solution' Education Campaign to Debut
The Organic Center and Rodale Institute have announced that they are partnering to launch the Organic Solution campaign. The new movement centers around increasing awareness among consumers, media, researchers, educators, policy makers and thought leaders about how organic food and farming can quickly and inexpensively resolve our current health, environmental and hunger issues by changing the way we grow, buy and eat our food. The campaign will kick off with an evening event at New York's Chelsea Art Museum on November 11, "Ripe for Revolution: The Organic Solution."

CSP Fact Sheet Released
The Land Stewardship Project has just released its ninth fact sheet on the Conservation Stewardship Program. CSP: The New & Improved Conservation Stewardship Program (PDF / 169K) is a 2-page fact sheet that details changes and highlights of CSP under the 2008 Farm Bill. Significant changes to the program are that enrollment is now continuous, on a whole-farm basis, and open to any farmers nationwide. The fact sheet also describes the process USDA is expected to follow in releasing the interim final rule on the revised CSP.

CIAS Releases Grazing Reports
The Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) recently published two grazing-related reports. "How does managed grazing affect Wisconsin's environment" covers what scientific studies have shown about the effects of managed grazing on the environment. This report presents results from papers which are the most relevant to managed grazing systems in Wisconsin and similar regions. "Forage Fescues in the Northern USA" discusses the background and latest research on meadow fescue, tall fescue and festulolium. Special emphasis is on productivity and performance in the northern USA.

EPA Finalizes CAFO Rule on Manure Management
U.S. EPA has finalized a rule helping to protect the nation's water quality by requiring concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to safely manage manure. EPA estimates CAFO regulations will prevent 56 million pounds of phosphorus, 110 million pounds of nitrogen, and 2 billion pounds of sediment from entering streams, lakes, and other waters annually. This is the first time EPA has required a nutrient management plan (NMP) for manure to be submitted as part of a CAFO's Clean Water Act permit application. The plan will be reviewed by the permitting authority and conditions based on it will be incorporated as enforceable terms of the permit. The proposed NMP and permit will be available for public review and comment before going final. The regulation also requires that an owner or operator of a CAFO that actually discharges to streams, lakes, and other waters must apply for a permit under the Clean Water Act.

Livestock Labor Program Starts in Texas
The Texas AgriLife Extension Service has created the Agricultural Workforce and Community Development Program to address one of the key issues identified at the High Plains Livestock 2027 Conference--farm labor. The pilot program has five basic components including targeted training opportunities to enhance skills based on employer needs; a longer-term vocational workforce program to prepare individuals to enter the workforce; a family and youth educational program designed to assist workers and their families become more integrated into the community; and analysis and support related to community impacts.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Positive Practices in Farm Labor Management

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Arizona Specialty Crop Block Grant
The purpose of this program is to promote the increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, and nuts and to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in Arizona. For purposes of the program, specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and nursery crops (including floriculture). USDA has allocated $159,294.43 of 2008 funds toward the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program in Arizona to be distributed in the fiscal year 2009 funding cycle. State and/or local organizations, producer associations, academia, community based organizations, and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply either as single entities or in combined efforts.
Proposals are due December 1, 2008.

Iowa State University On-Farm Research and Demonstration Grant
Ideas and proposals are sought for a unique program that pairs farmers with Iowa State University researchers to work on topics related to conservation and sustainability. Proposals are due December 17 for the 2009 ISU On-Farm Research and Demonstration Grant Program (PDF/45KB). This is the fourth annual call for proposals under the program, which is a partnership of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Practical Farmers of Iowa. The program addresses the opportunities and challenges facing agriculture through collaborative, on-farm research. A total of $50,000 will be awarded in 2009 as one-time individual grants of up to $5,000, or up to $7,000 if more than one producer is involved. Meaningful involvement of both producers and ISU researchers or extension staff should be demonstrated in the proposal and project execution.
Proposals are due December 17, 2008.

FARRMS Transition Loan Program
The Foundation for Agricultural and Rural Resources Management and Sustainability (FARRMS) offers a Transition Loan Program in North Dakota that may pay for any expenses that would be unique to a farm operation that is transitioning to organic agriculture, up to a value of $14.00 per acre for each of three years required for transition. The Loan will be determined on the basis of the operatorís transition plan in agreement with the FARRMS Loan Committee. Payback of the Loan for someone completing a successful transition will be deferred until the fourth year when the operator is fully organic. The terms of the payback may be a combination of funds, service and materials depending upon FARRMS needs for its transition loan program and negotiations with the operator.
Proposals are due March 1, 2009.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Organic Soil Fertility Management Symposium
January 15, 2009
Davis, California

The Vegetable Research & Information Center at UC Davis presents a one-day program on the latest technical information on nutrient dynamics in organically-managed soils with practical results of on-farm nutrient management research. The program is intended for growers, consultants, students, and government agency personnel who work with people in this fast-growing segment of agriculture. Speakers will be drawn from throughout California, and the information discussed will be relevant to a wide range of production environments.

Connect Locally: Food, Farms and Community
January 16-17, 2009
Frederick, Maryland

Future Harvest-CASA's 10th Annual Conference will include keynote speaker Nina Planck, in-depth pre-conference workshops on soil health and agritourism, and conference sessions led by the areaís best researchers, extension experts and experienced farmers. Topics to be addressed include marketing, economics, grass-based systems, and sustainable production.

Minnesota Organic Conference & Trade Show
January 16-17, 2009
St. Cloud, Minnesota

This conference provides great information about organic agriculture to excite experienced organic producers as well as people new to this farming system. Besides the keynote speakers there will be more than 30 breakout sessions on organic production of crops, dairy, livestock, fruits and vegetables, marketing, and many more topics.

> More Events

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