Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 23, 2005
Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site.
News & Resources
* Report Shows Growth in Organic Acreage
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.
* Factory Animal Farms and Human Health Link Explored in Report
* Heritage Turkeys Hit Media Spotlight
* Farm-City Week Marks 50-Year Milestone
* SARE Seeks Presenters for August Conference
* Ohio Cooperative Taps Premium Beef Niche
* Outdoor Classroom Grant Program
* 1890 Institution Teaching and Research Capacity Building Grants Program
* Graduate Student Grant Program
* Future of Our Food and Farms Summit
* Facilitating Sustainable Agriculture: A Participatory National Conference on Post-Secondary Education
* Midwest Value Added Conference: Enhancing Profit on the Farm
News & Resources
Report Shows Growth in Organic Acreage
USDA Economic Research Service has released a report that documents growth in organic production from 1992-2003. The report illustrates the extent of growth in certified organic production with 57 tables showing the change in U.S. organic acreage and livestock numbers during the period. By 2003, farmers in 49 States dedicated 2.2 million acres of cropland and pasture to organic production systems. Nearly 1.5 million acres were used for growing crops, with California, North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, Colorado and Iowa leading the list. Texas, Alaska and California had the largest amount of organic pasture and rangeland. The report notes that while adoption of organic farming systems showed strong gains between 1992 and 2003 and the adoption rate remains high, the overall adoption level is still low—only about 0.4 percent of all U.S. cropland and 0.1 percent of all U.S. pasture was certified organic in 2003.
Factory Animal Farms and Human Health Link Explored in Report
A new report from the World Society for the Protection of Animals says that growth of industrial-style animal production could lead to human health impacts. The report says that factory farm conditions can make ideal breeding grounds for disease, and predicts that risk from zoonotic diseases will further increase as industrial agriculture continues to move into tropical environments. The report recommends a halt to the expansion of factory farms, the adoption of humane and sustainable forms of farming, and a global ban on the use of antibiotic growth promoters and production enhancing hormones.
Heritage Turkeys Hit Media Spotlight
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, heritage turkey breeds are grabbing media attention from coast to coast. Advocates of turkeys such as American Bronze, Bourbon Reds, Narragansetts, Royal Palms and Spanish Blacks say they taste better and are healthier birds than the standard white turkey. Promoters of the rare breeds say its important to build a market for them, so that their genetic diversity can be maintained. Their efforts seem to be succeeding, with heritage turkey selling for prices of $5 per pound, or even as much as $199 for a delivered bird. Articles on raising, purchasing, and preparing heritage breeds of turkeys appeared recently in New York's Newsday, the Los Angeles Times, and the Kansas City Star, among other publications.
Farm-City Week Marks 50-Year Milestone
The week that includes Thanksgiving has been proclaimed by the President as National Farm-City Week in the United States. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the event, notes American Farm Bureau. National Farm-City week is designed to bring city and country dwellers closer together, to understand and appreciate one another. A variety of activities are scheduled in locations across the country to mark the event, including luncheons, exhibits, tours and banquets. Counties and cities in Alabama, Florida, and elsewhere have scheduled activities.
SARE Seeks Presenters for August Conference
The North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program is seeking presenters for the National SARE conference to be held August 15-17, 2006, in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. SARE is looking for presenters to share research findings, educational successes, and on-farm experiences related to innovative agriculture, community development, renewable energy, and more. Titled "A Midwest Homecoming: Sharing a New Tradition of Sustainability," the conference will celebrate successes in agriculture and look ahead to advance systems that are profitable, environmentally sound, and good for communities. The deadline for consideration for presenters is December 30, 2005. For questions regarding submissions, contact Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant at (217) 968-5512 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ohio Cooperative Taps Premium Beef Niche
Fifteen Ohio ranchers formed a cooperative in 2001 to market their beef locally, reports Reuters. Since then Ohio Family Farm Beef Industry Network has grown into a statewide enterprise with two branded products, Ohio Signature Beef and Ohio Heritage Beef. The brands showcase premium beef products from family farms, and highlight that the animals are raised humanely and without hormones or antibiotics. The Ohio cooperative has been able to tap into increasing consumer demand to know where their meat comes from and how it was produced. This market climate has encouraged the development of several branded beef products that are winning producers price premiums.
> More Breaking News
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Outdoor Classroom Grant Program
Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation, International Paper and National Geographic Explorer! classroom magazine have partnered to create an outdoor classroom grant program to provide schools with additional resources to improve their science curriculum by engaging students in hands-on experiences outside the traditional classroom. All K-12 public schools in the United States are welcome to apply. This school year, the program will award grants up to $2,000 to at least 100 schools. In some cases, grants for up to $20,000 may be awarded to schools or school districts with major outdoor classroom projects. Some outdoor classrooms will be small gardens for growing flowers and vegetables. Other outdoor learning spaces will include a butterfly garden, a small pond or bog, a nature trail, animal tracking boxes or a bird sanctuary. More elaborate outdoor learning environments include a laboratory for testing water and soil quality, a greenhouse, wetlands, an arboretum, or a shelter.
1890 Institution Teaching and Research Capacity Building Grants Program
The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service requests applications for the 1890 Institution Teaching and Research Capacity Building Grants Program for fiscal year 2006 to stimulate the development of high quality teaching and research programs at 1890 Land-Grant Institutions and Tuskegee University and West Virginia State University to build their capacities as full partners in the mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and to provide more and better trained professionals for careers in the food and agricultural sciences. Estimated total program funding is $12.4 million.
Proposals are due
January 31, 2006.
Graduate Student Grant Program
North Central Region (NCR) SARE has issued a call for proposals in the Graduate Student Grant Program. This program provides funds to students enrolled in graduate programs or in veterinary medicine residence programs at accredited colleges or universities in the North Central region (Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) who are exploring some aspect of sustainable agriculture as part of their educational program. Approximately $150,000 will be available to fund 15 to 16 grant projects, with individual grants not to exceed $10,000.
Proposals are due January 10, 2006.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Future of Our Food and Farms Summit
December 14, 2005
The Future of Our Food and Farms Summit is the annual meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Food and Farm Coalition. Each year the Summit convenes hundreds of community leaders to promote sustainable food systems, learn about trends in food distribution, promote nutrition education, and reduce hunger in the Mid-Atlantic region. The 7th Annual Future of Our Food & Farms Summit, in conjunction with the 2nd Annual Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Commodity Processing Food Show, presents "Farms and Schools: Growing Our Future."
Facilitating Sustainable Agriculture: A Participatory National Conference on Post-Secondary Education
January 24–25, 2006
Pacific Grove, California
The UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences & Student Farm and the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems are jointly convening a national sustainable agriculture education conference. The goal of the conference is to facilitate a national, cross-disciplinary dialogue on learning and teaching that informs and promotes the continued development of educational programs in sustainable agriculture.
Midwest Value Added Conference: Enhancing Profit on the Farm
January 27-28, 2006
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
At this annual conference, learn from those who have explored new ways of marketing their products.
> More Events
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