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NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Project

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 7, 2011

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Project website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

Pest Management in Organic Production Systems Webinar
Rex Dufour, Agriculture Program Specialist from the National Center for Appropriate Technology, will present an hour-long webinar December 13, as part of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service East and West National Technology Support Centers series on Understanding Organic Agriculture. The free webinar begins at 3 pm EST.

News & Resources

  • FAO Calls for Energy-Smart Agriculture
  • New Members Appointed to National Organic Standards Board
  • USDA Announces 2012 Ranking Dates for EQIP Initiatives
  • New Publication Helps Farmers Evaluate Payback and Energy Savings
  • Food Safety Guidelines Developed for Farm Direct Marketing
  • California Farm Academy Accepting Applications

Funding Opportunities

  • NCR-SARE Graduate Student Grants
  • Growing Green Awards
  • New York Energy Management and Bioenergy Grants

Coming Events

  • Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms
  • Heart of America Grazing Conference
  • Northeast Organic Research Symposium

News & Resources

FAO Calls for Energy-Smart Agriculture
Energy-Smart Food for People and Climate, a new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, says the global food system needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels to succeed in feeding a growing world population. Steps that can be taken at the farm level include the use of more fuel efficient engines, the use of compost and precision fertilizers, irrigation monitoring and targeted water delivery, adoption of no-till farming practices, and the use of less-input-dependent crop varieties and animal breeds.
Related ATTRA Resource: Farm Energy Alternatives

New Members Appointed to National Organic Standards Board
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has appointed five new members to the National Organic Standards Board. The new members include Carmela Beck (Producer), Andrea (Zea) Sonnabend (Scientist), Tracy Favre (Environmentalist), Harold V. Austin, IV (Handler), and Jean Richardson, Ph.D. (Consumer / Public Interest).

USDA Announces 2012 Ranking Dates for EQIP Initiatives
USDA has announced multiple 2012 ranking dates for conservation initiatives that offer technical and financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. There will be three ranking periods for the Organic, On-Farm Energy, and Seasonal High Tunnel initiatives, ending on February 3, March 30, and June 1, 2012. Ranking periods for the Air Quality Initiative end February 3 and March 30, 2012.

New Publication Helps Farmers Evaluate Payback and Energy Savings
A new publication from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Estimating Payback for Energy Efficiency, gives examples for comparing the payback periods of energy-related purchases. Examples include a lighting project, replacing an electric motor, and upgrading a farm truck. Using simple payback calculations, these examples estimate the time it would take for energy savings to equal initial cost.
Related ATTRA Publication: Energy-Efficient Lighting for the Farm

Food Safety Guidelines Developed for Farm Direct Marketing
The Farmers Market Federation of New York and Cornell Cooperative Extension have developed guidelines for farmers and farmers market managers, to ensure that foods sold in direct-marketing outlets will be protected from potential contamination. The project team has developed a curriculum for farm service providers to use in training farmers and market managers in assessing the risks in their retail operations and adopting guidelines that will minimize those risks. The curriculum can be found at the Farmers Market Federation of New York website.

California Farm Academy Accepting Applications
The Center for Land-Based Learning announces that the California Farm Academy is accepting applications through December 9 for its inaugural session. California Farm Academy trains, mentors, and leases land to beginning farmers. Classes are set to begin in mid-February 2012 and run through early August.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

NCR-SARE Graduate Student Grants
North Central SARE has issued a call for proposals for its 2012 Graduate Student Grants. Graduate students enrolled at colleges or universities in the North Central Region can submit proposals for up to $10,000 to fund sustainable agriculture projects.
Proposals are due by January 26, 2012.

Growing Green Awards
The Natural Resources Defense Council Growing Green Awards recognize individuals who have demonstrated original leadership in the field of sustainable food. Cash prizes of $10,000, $2,500, and $2,500 will be awarded in the Food Producer, Food Justice Leader, and Young Food Leader categories, respectively.
Nominations will be accepted until December 9, 2011.

New York Energy Management and Bioenergy Grants
New York Farm Viability Institute is accepting proposals for Energy Management & Bioenergy projects that focus on practical, applied research and outreach education on energy issues from the farmer's perspective. Projects may include on-farm energy conservation, bioenergy feedstock production, balance and integration of energy systems and animal agriculture, integrated food and energy systems, and bioenergy systems optimization for New York state farmers and agriculture.
Proposals are due by January 15, 2012.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms
January 18-21, 2012
Little Rock, Arkansas

This annual Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group conference includes pre-conference short courses, field trips, and mini courses. Fifty-six general sessions will provide organic and sustainable production and marketing information for commercial horticultural and livestock producers, enterprise management lessons, farm policy education, and community food systems development information.

Heart of America Grazing Conference
January 25-26, 2012
Mount Vernon, Illinois

The conference includes sessions on grazing horses, dairy, and grass-fed beef. Additional sessions cover aspects of pasture management and grazing practices.

Northeast Organic Research Symposium
January 19-20, 2012
Saratoga Springs, New York

Learn about up-to-the-minute organic agricultural research at NOFA-NY's inaugural Organic Farming Symposium. Engage in in-depth discussions with researchers and practitioners exploring the latest techniques for a successful organic farm. Share your own experiments and best practices with researchers and farmers.

>> More Events

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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Project was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

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New Publication
Planning for Profit in Sustainable Farming

Question of the Week
What can you tell me about processing sunflower seeds on-farm for poultry and pigs?

Webinars
Our latest webinars are available for viewing in the Sustainable Agriculture Video Archive

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