Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 24, 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
Searchable Database of Certified Organic Operations Available
The National Organic Program (NOP) is making available a complete listing of organic operations certified by U.S. Department of Agriculture accredited certifying agents during the 2009 certification year. For the first time, the listing can be searched by keywords, name of operation, certifying agent, certificate numbers, primary and secondary scopes of certification, country, state, and products produced. The database will serve as a useful tool to increase marketing opportunities for certified organic operations, and will also help consumers better locate sources of certified organic product. NOP plans to update the database when 2010 information is collected.
Pigford Settlement Funding Passes Senate
On November 19, the Senate passed funding approval for the $1.25 billion Pigford settlement, reports Delta Farm Press. The settlement, which was announced last February, relates to a class-action suit brought almost a decade ago by black farmers who claim long-time discrimination by the USDA. Pigford class members must now await House approval before President Obama can sign the legislation.
National Farm-City Week Observed
National Farm-City Week began November 19 and continues until Thanksgiving. In his Proclamation of the observance, President Barack Obama noted, "During National Farm-City Week, we recognize the myriad contributions our Nation's farmers and ranchers make toward furthering the health and well being of our country." The Proclamation continues, "The connection between rural industries and urban markets is stronger than ever, and Americans across the country are finding ways to participate in and celebrate the importance of agriculture and related industries. Rising interest in local and regional food highlights farmers' contributions in connecting urban, suburban, and rural areas." The President concludes, "During National Farm-City Week, as the bounty of agriculture moves from America's farms to our tables, we honor all who foster our healthier future."
Researchers Explore Economics of Naturally Raised Beef
Researchers at the University of Illinois have discovered that naturally raised beef can be produced effectively for a niche market as long as a substantial premium is offered to cover additional production and transportation costs. Naturally raised beef is produced without hormones or antibiotics. Researchers studied the effects of finishing management (confinement versus pasture) and production system (traditional versus naturally raised) on performance, carcass and economic characteristics. The study revealed that naturally raised steers can be produced effectively in either confinement or with a pasture finishing system, but they require a substantial premium of $110 with today's feed prices to justify the costs and returns. The study found that pasture finishing is $35 more profitable than confinement feeding using current feed prices, making it an attractive option for producers interested in raising locker beef for local markets with either natural or traditional production systems. This research, "Confinement vs. Pasture and Traditional vs. Naturally Raised Finishing Influences Performance, Carcass, and Economic Characteristics of Early-Weaned Steers," was published in The Professional Animal Scientist.
Related ATTRA Publication: Beef Marketing Alternatives
National Sustainable Agriculture Standard Development Effort Proceeds
Leonardo Academy has announced the new officers of the National Sustainable Agriculture Standards Committee. They are Brian McElroy of Driscoll's Strawberry Associates, Chair; Mike Wanless of Tate Dog Wines, Vice Chair; Grace Gershuny of GAIA Services, Secretary; and Will Healy of Ball Horticultural, Vice Secretary. Leonardo Academy also announced that Jason Wadsworth, Corporate Sustainability Coordinator with Wegmans Food Markets, has been selected as a new member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Standards Committee in the User Category. The 58-member Standards Committee is working to develop a national standard for sustainable agriculture under the rules of the American National Standards Institute. Applicants are currently being recruited for the open seats in the Producer, User, and General Interest categories of the Standards Committee. The National Sustainable Agriculture Standards Committee meeting has been rescheduled to March 2011.
National Farmers Market Directory Enhanced
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a series of enhancements to the USDA National Farmers Market Directory, including a mapping feature and reformatted data sets. The USDA Farmers Market Directory is the Department's official tally of the nations operating farmers markets. Farmers markets can be found by state, county, zip code and participation in federal nutrition assistance programs through the search function. In 2010, the USDA Farmers Market Directory listed 6,132 operational farmers markets in the United States. The new mapping feature and reformatted datasets include a list of farmers markets geographic coordinates that can be particularly useful for application designers. This reformatted dataset, which also includes farmers market names and physical street locations, is available as a downloadable Excel file for additional use.
>> More Breaking News
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8th Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as part of the P3 Award Program, is seeking applications proposing to research, develop, and design solutions to real world challenges involving the overall sustainability of human society. Approximately 64 Phase I grants of up to $15,000 each will be available. Upon the successful completion of Phase I, grant recipients will have the opportunity to apply for a P3 Phase II grant of up to $90,000 total for two years. Public nonprofit institutions/organizations (limited to degree-granting public institutions of higher education) and private nonprofit institutions/organizations (limited to degree-granting private institutions of higher education) located in the U.S. are eligible to apply.
Proposals are due December 22, 2010.
Southern Extension Risk Management Education Grants Program
The Southern Risk Management Education Center (SRMEC) announces a funding opportunity for projects that help farm and ranch families succeed through targeted risk management strategies. Grant awards will normally not exceed $50,000, with a range of $5,000 to $50,000. Organizations eligible and encouraged to apply for grants are private and public groups, organizations and institutions including land grant colleges and universities, Cooperative Extension, other colleges and universities, and qualified public and private entities in the region with a demonstrated capacity to develop and deliver educational programs for agricultural producers and their families. The SRMEC serves Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Pre-proposals are due by December 9, 2010.
Wyoming Youth Grow Your Own
The Youth Grow Your Own Grant is designed to get youth involved in gardening and growing food. This project is twofold. The second goal of the grant is to boost vendors at Wyoming farmers markets and give youth an opportunity to start their own business. The Youth Grow Your Own Grant Program pays up to $500 to Wyoming residents under the age of 18 to start a market garden. The amount of the grant will depend on the size of the garden. It is a requirement of the grant that the grantee grows a garden and sells their produce at a Wyoming farmers market. Grants will be awarded to organized groups or individuals that are members of an organized group.
The grant application must be received by January 1, 2011.
>> More Funding Opportunities
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Great Plains Growers Conference
January 6-8, 2011
St. Joseph, Missouri
The Great Plains Vegetable and Mid-America Fruit Conferences are combining into one event. The agenda includes full-day workshops in several different tracks over the course of three days. Topics include organic production, beginning growers, CSA, high tunnel production, and agritourism.
Meeting Renewable Energy Goals: Role of Bioenergy Crops
January 12, 2011
This 2nd annual Agroforestry Symposium will be held at the University of Missouri. It is free and open to the public, and includes a day of presentations on biomass crops followed by a poster session.
NOFA Vermont Direct Marketing Conference
January 8, 2011
South Royalton, Vermont
NOFA Vermont holds an annual Direct Marketing Conference to provide a networking and educational opportunity for farmers' market managers and vendors and farmers marketing through Community Supported Agriculture and farm stands.
>> More Events
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