Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 5, 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
* Study Shows Nitrogen Fertilizer Depletes Soil Carbon
* Dairy Disaster Aid Available
* Cornstalk Grazing Calculator Available
* USDA Announces Appointments to Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee
* Steward of the Land Nominations Still Open
* NCR-SARE Graduate Student Grant Program
* Washington State Heritage Barn Initiative
* Pennsylvania Project Grass Mini-Grants
* Food Safety for Organic Production and Handling of Fresh Produce Conference
* Michigan Small Farm Conference
* NOFA-NY Winter Organic Farming and Gardening Conference
News & Resources
Study Shows Nitrogen Fertilizer Depletes Soil Carbon
University of Illinois soil scientists have published the results of a study showing that adding nitrogen fertilizer to soil doesn't build organic carbon. In fact, they found consistent evidence of an organic carbon decline for fertilized soils throughout the world. Research based on soil samples from the Morrow Plots, America's oldest experimental field, and other long-term trials, appears in the November/December 2007 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality, under the title "The Myth of Nitrogen Fertilization for Soil Carbon Sequestration." The researchers noted that while excessive nitrogen application rates may improve crop production, they are bad for soils and the environment.
Dairy Disaster Aid Available
Beginning December 3, 2007, eligible dairy producers can sign up for the Dairy Disaster Assistance Program (DDAP-III) at local U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) service centers. DDAP-III will help dairy producers recover production losses resulting from a variety of adverse weather conditions in the last few years. The program provides $16 million in benefits to dairy producers for production losses that occurred between Jan. 1, 2005, and Feb. 28, 2007, because of qualifying natural disasters. Contact your local Farm Service Agency office for more information or visit www.fsa.usda.gov.
Cornstalk Grazing Calculator Available
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has released an Excel spreadsheet, The Corn Stalk Grazing Calculator.The calculator estimates the number of animals that can be supported on a given field of cornstalks with a specified yield, and also has an economic evaluation including the cost to transport the livestock and check their care and conditions. Nebraska Farmer reports that one application of this tool would be to determine if the cornstalk acres leased are adequate to support the number and size of cattle for the planned grazing season.
USDA Announces Appointments to Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee
USDA has announced 7 new appointments and 13 reappointments to the Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. This committee identifies ways to increase participation between federal and state programs to provide joint financing for beginning producers. The committee meets at least once a year and the meetings are open to the public.
Steward of the Land Nominations Still Open
American Farmland Trust has extended the nomination period for its Steward of the Land award until December 10. The award recognizes the American farmer or farm family who best demonstrates leadership in protecting farmland and caring for the environment with a $10,000 cash stipend. Nominees are judged on their efforts to promote farmland protection and practice land stewardship on their farms. Applications may be submitted online.
> More Breaking News
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NCR-SARE Graduate Student Grant Program
NCR-SARE funds Graduate Student grants in Sustainable Agriculture for projects in the North Central Region that address sustainable agriculture issues and are part of the student's degree program. Officially registered graduate students (Masters and Ph.D.) enrolled at accredited colleges or universities may be eligible for grants of up to $10,000, and projects may last up to three years.
Proposals are due January 23, 2008.
Washington State Heritage Barn Initiative
The Heritage Barn Preservation Initiative is aimed at recognizing and preserving significant historic resources related to the agricultural heritage of Washington. Eligible applicants for Heritage Barn Preservation Grants include private property owners, non-profit organizations, and local governments. Funds may be requested for the stabilization and rehabilitation of barns and other associated agricultural structures that are at least 50 years old and meet other eligibility criteria.
Proposals are due January 8, 2008.
Pennsylvania Project Grass Mini-Grants
Pennsylvania Project Grass is offering a statewide mini-grant of $300 for Pennsylvania State-wide Grazing Work Shops, Field Days, Pasture Walks and Youth Education for the period of September 2007 to February 15th 2008. Six grants are available, on a first-come, first-served basis. The application form is posted online in PDF(176K).
> More Funding Opportunities
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Food Safety for Organic Production and Handling of Fresh Produce Conference
January 21-23, 2008
Pacific Grove, California
California Certified Organic Farmers presents this Eco-Farm pre-conference, with one day for small to mid-size growers and one day for large growers and handlers. Growers, industry and research professionals have collaborated to create a two-day course on the topic of Food Safety for Organic Production and Handling of Fresh Produce, with content customized specifically to address the needs and concerns of organic growers and handlers.
Michigan Small Farm Conference
January 26, 2008
"Increasing Production and Usage of Locally Grown Products" is the topic of this event celebrating the small farm success in northern Michigan and helping to shape the local food revolution.
NOFA-NY Winter Organic Farming and Gardening Conference
January 25-27, 2008
Saratoga Springs, New York
"Organic Solutions" is the theme for this conference that includes workshops, a trade show and organic marketplace, and keynote speakers. Full-day and half-day intensive workshops are offered.
> More Events
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