Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 14, 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
* WSU to Offer Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture
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.
* Value-Added Farm Products Offer Profits and Challenges
* Illinois Fairs to Require Premises ID
* Texas State Agency Pilots Local Food Program
* Women's Agricultural Network Aids Female Farmers
* Illinois AgriFIRST Program
* Iowa State University On-Farm Research and Demonstration Grant
* Maryland Farm Drought and Weather Event Recovery Assistance Loan Fund
* Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference
* Connecting Farms, Food and Communities—Developing the Producer, Market, Table Link
* "Grow Your Own Nitrogen" Workshop Utilizing Cover Crops
News & Resources
WSU to Offer Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture
The Daily Evergreen reports that the Washington State University Graduate School will offer a certificate in sustainable agriculture to graduate students who want to research the viability of the environment in relation to food production. Faculty and student groups together supported the proposed certificate in an effort to improve the university’s agricultural program options. Students who participate in the program will gain a broad background in the study of environmental health and the processes and policies of agriculture.
Value-Added Farm Products Offer Profits and Challenges
A Maryland dairy family has branched out into offering value-added cheeses, reports the Business Gazette. They are among a growing number of producers venturing into adding value to their products to increase profits. These producers are finding a ready market for locally grown and prepared products. Adding value also adds risk and effort, producers report, as they must comply with food safety standards and must aggressively market their products.
Related ATTRA Publication: Keys to Success in Value-Added Agriculture
Illinois Fairs to Require Premises ID
The Prairie Farmer reports that the Illinois Department of Agriculture is requiring all swine, cattle, sheep, goats, equine, poultry, rabbits and llamas shown at an Illinois state, county, 4-H or FFA fair to have a premises identification number, starting in 2008. Premises registration is the first step in the setup of a National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Because the identification number corresponds to the location where an animal is raised, it does not have to be issued in the exhibitor's name. The number must be obtained and included on entry forms, however, before fairs will allow an animal to compete.
Related ATTRA Publication: The National Animal Identification System: What it is, and how to participate in the process ( online only)
Texas State Agency Pilots Local Food Program
The Texas Department of State Health Services is offering their employees the opportunity to sign up for weekly deliveries of fresh food grown by a local farmer, according to an Associated Press story in the Houston Chronicle. The agency worked with the Sustainable Food Center of Austin to arrange the program, which allows employees to order a $25 basket of produce online and have it delivered to their workplace. Participation in the program has grown to 171 employees in the first few weeks.
Women's Agricultural Network Aids Female Farmers
The Women's Agricultural Network, founded in 1994 in Vermont, now serves 5,000 members across the U.S., and in Canada and Mexico, according to an article on Women's eNews. The group formed to serve what it perceived as an unmet need for information on the part of women engaged in farming. In this story one of the group's founding board members relates her experience raising organic poultry over the past 30 years, and how the Women's Agricultural Network offers help to women working in operations like hers and in other diverse sustainable agriculture and food enterprises.
> More Breaking News
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Illinois AgriFIRST Program
Applications are now being accepted for the AgriFIRST program, which assists Illinois producers in the development of value-added agricultural ventures. The Fiscal Year 2008 budget includes $536,000 in AgriFIRST incentives to promote "value-added" agricultural ventures, or projects that turn raw commodities into marketable products and enable farmers to earn a larger share of the consumer dollar. Technical assistance grants cover up to 75 percent of the cost of developing a "value-added" project. AgriFIRST also provides up to 50 percent of the cost for feasibility studies, competitive assessments or consulting and productivity services. A final option provides up to 10 percent of construction costs or capital expenditures.
Proposals are due December 11, 2007.
Iowa State University On-Farm Research and Demonstration Grant
Ideas and proposals are sought for a unique program pairing farmers with Iowa State University researchers to work on topics related to conservation and sustainability. ISU faculty, extension, staff or graduate students must be involved in proposed projects. Farmers with ideas for proposals, or who are interested in participating in on-farm research, are encouraged to contact Rick Exner, ISU-PFI Farming Systems Coordinator at (515) 294-5486, firstname.lastname@example.org. Exner assists in project development by matching scientists and farmers and by providing suggestions on proposal development.
Proposals are due December 17, 2007.
Maryland Farm Drought and Weather Event Recovery Assistance Loan Fund
Maryland Agricultural & Resource Based Industry Development Corporation has established the 2007 Farm Drought and Weather Event Recovery Assistance Loan Fund to provide special assistance to producers and other rural businesses to help manage drought or weather-related lost production and lost income challenges. This program aims to help agricultural businesses maintain viability and recover from production and revenue losses due to the 2007 drought or other weather-related event. Loans of up to $75,000 are available.
Proposals are due December 15, 2007.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference
January 16-19, 2008
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group presents its annual conference, featuring Pre-conference Intensive Courses, Field Trips, 64 Conference Sessions, Taste of Kentucky Dinner, Wendell Berry, Joel Salatin and much more.
Connecting Farms, Food and Communities—Developing the Producer, Market, Table Link
December 6, 2007
Virginia Cooperative Extension is hosting a one-day conference to discuss, and explore the development of Virginia-based local, regional and statewide food systems.
"Grow Your Own Nitrogen" Workshop Utilizing Cover Crops
January 12, 2008
This is an opportunity to reduce costly inputs and learn how to "Grow Your Own Nitrogen," produce organic matter and build your farm's soil health. This workshop discusses sustainable agriculture with application for organic systems. Learn about the effects of flaming on weeds and crops. Find out how the Healthy Farm Index will help you evaluate your farm's economic and ecological health.
> More Events
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