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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 12, 2012

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.

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News & Resources

  • Winter Farmers Markets on the Increase
  • Researchers Seek Input from Pastured Poultry Producers
  • Agriculture R&D Influenced by Agricultural Input Firms
  • Publication Promotes Conservation Practices to Benefit Grassland Birds
  • FLAG Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Overturn Minnesota Ruling on Pesticide Drift
  • New Scrapie Test Approved by European Commission

Funding Opportunities

  • Rivers and Ranches Project
  • Indiana Livestock Market Development Grant
  • Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association's Organic Farmer Loan Fund

Coming Events

  • Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference
  • Illinois Cover Crops: Practical Strategies for Your Farm
  • Winter Green-Up Grass-Fed Grazing Conference

News & Resources

Winter Farmers Markets on the Increase
The number of winter markets listed in USDA's National Farmers Market Directory has increased 52 percent, from 1,225 in 2011 to 1,864 in 2012. Winter markets now account for roughly 24 percent of the 7,865 farmers markets listed in the USDA national directory. USDA reports that cost-effective options, such as hoop houses and eco-friendly greenhouse energy use, have helped many small and mid-sized farmers expand their growing seasons while keeping overhead costs down.
Related ATTRA Publication: Farmers Markets: Marketing and Business Guide

Researchers Seek Input from Pastured Poultry Producers
Researchers at the University of Arkansas are seeking to assess the economic feasibility of pastured poultry processing using mobile processing units (MPU) versus other types of processing. The SARE-funded project is trying to collect survey data from pastured poultry farmers regarding production costs and processing costs at USDA-inspected facilities and on-farm set-ups. The information will aid in determining the cost-effectiveness and benefits of using MPUs. Pastured poultry producers are invited to complete an online survey.

Agriculture R&D Influenced by Agricultural Input Firms
The largest agricultural input firms are responsible for a large and growing share of global agricultural research and development (R&D), says an article in USDA Economic Research Services's Amber Waves magazine. According to the article, the largest firms account for most of the investment in (and ownership of) new innovations in the agricultural input industries. The article notes that five of the top seed companies—Syngenta, Bayer, Dow, Dupont, and Monsanto—are also market leaders in agricultural chemicals.

Publication Promotes Conservation Practices to Benefit Grassland Birds
Agricultural Practices that Conserve Grassland Birds (available in PDF from the Michigan Natural Features Inventory) provides an overview of conservation practices that can be implemented to benefit grassland birds and other wildlife while sustaining or enhancing agricultural production. Conservation practices such as delayed mowing and grazing, planting warm-season grasses, use of flushing bars, mowing from the inside out, rotational mowing, and removal of invading brush are documented.

FLAG Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Overturn Minnesota Ruling on Pesticide Drift
Representing Minnesota organic farmers Oluf and Debra Johnson, Farmers' Legal Action Group, Inc. (FLAG) has filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn part of a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling. The court decision, according to the Johnsons, creates a diminished standard for toxic chemical contamination of USDA-certified organic products in Minnesota compared to other states and foreign nations.

New Scrapie Test Approved by European Commission
Prionics reports that its new scrapie test, Prionics®-Check PrioSTRIP SR, has been approved by the European Commission for use in TSE (scrapie and mad cow disease) testing in small ruminants. According to the company, the test can detect scrapie earlier than conventional tests. The test is based on immunochromatography, using antibody-mediated detection of scrapie and BSE prions.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Rivers and Ranches Project
Rivers & Ranches is a multi-year project that offers financial assistance to private California landowners for installing grazing management practices that benefit water quality. Examples of the types of projects that can be funded include vegetated buffer strips, range and critical-area planting, exclusion fencing, livestock crossings, and wetland creation. Applicants are required to provide a 25% funding match.
The deadline for submitting applications is March 1, 2013.

Indiana Livestock Market Development Grant
Indiana State Department of Agriculture invites project proposals for value-added feasibility studies, research projects, market development, or other projects that encourage the development of business and industry related to livestock production, processing, and distribution. The Livestock Market Development Grant will reimburse up to 50% of activities and projects.
Applications are due by February 1, 2013.

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association's Organic Farmer Loan Fund
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association's Organic Farmer Loan Fund is intended to help organic farmers establish a credit history for their farms. Loans of $5,000 to $20,000 may be used for working capital or farm equipment. MOFGA-certified organic farmers, farmers transitioning to organic production, and current participants and graduates of MOFGA's Journeyperson Program are eligible to apply.
Applications must be postmarked by January 25, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference
January 26, 2013
Grayling, Michigan

"Regenerative Farms, Resilient Communities" is the conference theme. This conference promotes and builds a vibrant local agriculture community, equips the small farm community with the tools to be successful, and offers a forum for the open exchange of ideas within the small farm community.

Illinois Cover Crops: Practical Strategies for Your Farm
January 29-30, 2013
Decatur, Illinois

This meeting presented by the Soil and Water Conservation Society will provide a forum for farmers to exchange information, discuss opportunities for collaboration, and learn about new and successful practices related to cover crops. Case study presentations will identify and discuss strengths and pitfalls of real applications. Speakers will include farmers, crop consultants, and university researchers.

Winter Green-Up Grass-Fed Grazing Conference
January 25-26, 2013
Latham, New York

This annual conference deals with custom grazing, low-cost frost-free watering, animal and human health, grass-fed beef and dairy, and pasture lambing. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Albany County presents the conference, which features numerous guest speakers.

>> More Events

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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

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