Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 20, 2006
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.
News & Resources
* Targeted Grazing Handbook Available Online
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* UN Says Globalization Threatening Livestock Diversity
* Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program Final Rule Published
* Cornell University Joins Local Foods Movement
* University of Arkansas Extension Introduces Organic Production Resource Manual
* Iowa Organic Association Holds Inaugural Meeting
* Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program
* Minnesota Sustainable Agriculture Loans
* Warner Endowment Fund for Sustainable Agriculture On-farm Research
* Understanding Organics: Livestock Management and Health
* Diversified Agriculture Conference
* Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota Annual Conference
News & Resources
Targeted Grazing Handbook Available Online
A new handbook that focuses on using sheep and goats to manage vegetation and enhance landscapes was recently completed in a collaborative effort by researchers, educators, and producers from across the United States. Targeted Grazing: A Natural Approach to Vegetation Management and Landscape Enhancement is available online in its entirety. The handbook covers topics such as using targeted grazing to control invasive species of weeds and using sheep and goats to create fire breaks. It also includes grazing prescriptions that can be used to target specific plant species and examples of how sheep and goats are being used to manage vegetation.
UN Says Globalization Threatening Livestock Diversity
The United Nations has warned that around 20 percent of domestic animal breeds worldwide are at risk of extinction, with a breed lost each month. The organization blames globalization and a focus on high-production breeds for the loss of 190 breeds in the past 15 years, and says 1,500 more breeds are at risk of extinction. The UN notes that many traditional breeds are multi-purpose animals, while modern breeds are highly specialized. The organization cautions that the existing gene pool holds valuable resources for future food security and agricultural development, particularly in harsh environments. An international conference set for Switzerland in September is to adopt a plan to help stop the loss of genetic diversity in domestic animal breeds.
Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program Final Rule Published
Final regulations for the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) were published in the Federal Register on December 12. The SFMNP provides low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods at farmers' markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs through grants awarded to States, United States territories, and federally recognized Indian tribal organizations. A total of 46 State agencies administered the SFMNP during FY 2006.
Cornell University Joins Local Foods Movement
Cornell University joins the growing list of colleges and universities offering fresh, local foods in their dining halls. The university initiated a pilot program five years ago, which offered students at North Star dining facility a kiosk with fresh and, when available, local produce. The local foods initiative didn't really grow until last fall, however, when students investigated the feasibility of increasing local foods available in campus cafeterias. The students then worked with dining services to increase local produce to record levels. The university estimates spending about 20 percent more on local foods this year, compared to last year, and those involved with the program hope to see that figure grow each year. "I think [our goal is] 100 percent when it's reasonable, and it's in season," said Anthony Kveragas, senior executive chef for Cornell's retail operations.
University of Arkansas Extension Introduces Organic Production Resource Manual
University of Arkansas Extension Service announces the release
and publication of its first Organic Production Resource Manual.
The document was constructed to assist extension workers, ag-professionals,
consultants and growers in Arkansas and the region with fundamental
questions and resources for organic production. The document's
development and contents were based upon research on the information
needs of various clientele groups, and compiled as part of a graduate
student thesis. The 110-page Resource Manual is available
online in PDF (598K) and will be available in hardbound/notebook
copies in the future.
Iowa Organic Association Holds Inaugural Meeting
A new association dedicated to enhancing the growth organic farming and food production in Iowa was launched at the sixth annual Iowa Organic Conference, held in November. According to AgriNews coverage, the Iowa Organic Association is seeking to advance organic opportunities by fostering education, research, promotion and market development and policy.
> More Breaking News
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Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program
CSREES and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) request applications for the Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program (BRAG) for fiscal year (FY) 2007 to support environmental assessment research concerning the introduction of genetically engineered organisms into the environment. The amount available for support of this program in FY 2007 is approximately $3.0 million. Applications may be submitted by any United States public or private research or educational institution or organization.
Proposals are due February 15, 2007.
Minnesota Sustainable Agriculture Loans
The state of Minnesota has a standing allocation of $1 million dollars in a "revolving fund" to facilitate the adoption of alternative management practices that will enhance farm profitability, benefit the rural environment, and provide a more sustainable farming system. The loans may be for capital purchases, which include: rotational grazing systems, on-farm energy production, composting equipment, solar-powered equipment, hoop buildings, reduced or no herbicide weed control, and more. The maximum loan per farm family is $25,000 and fixed interest is at 3 percent over a term not to exceed seven years. Questions about the program can be directed to Mary Hanks (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 651-201-6277, or write to Sustainable Agriculture Loan Program, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, 625 Robert Street North, St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-2538.
Proposals are due February 15, 2007.
Warner Endowment Fund for Sustainable Agriculture On-farm Research
The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES)and the Sustainable Agriculture Program are offering an interdisciplinary grant program to promote on-farm research in sustainable agriculture. This program is made available through the Paul C. and Edna H. Warner Endowment Fund established specifically for on-farm research in sustainable agriculture related to crop (agronomic and horticultural) and animal production systems, that are ultimately intended for human consumption. Proposals must come from OSU CFAES faculty and extension personnel as principal investigators. Interested farmers, graduate students, and members from other agricultural or environmental organizations are strongly encouraged to contact OSU faculty and extension agents in their communities to suggest or initiate collaborative research projects.
Proposals are due January 15, 2007.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Understanding Organics: Livestock Management and Health
February 14-16, 2007
Alfred, New York
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT), in partnership with Quality Milk Production Service of Cornell University, is pleased to announce a 3-day conference on Organic Livestock Health and Management designed to provide continuing education to extension agents, veterinarians, and other professionals working with Northeast organic or transitioning producers. This conference, and one that follows March 6-8 in Durham, NH, will focus on the comprehensive nuts and bolts of organic livestock production.
Diversified Agriculture Conference
February 21-23, 2007
The Diversified Agriculture Conference is designed to benefit agriculture producers who are interested in more than just traditional agriculture, including recreation, tourism, direct marketing, farmers' markets, further processing, and more. Information to be presented at the conference will include the methods and ideas from innovative producers and information from professionals on legal issues, financial issues, and marketing.
Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota Annual Conference
February 17, 2007
St. Peter, Minnesota
The Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota (SFA of MN) announces its 16th Annual Conference: "Sustainable Farming Systems: State of the Art." The conference will feature cutting edge topics in sustainable agriculture, numerous food and agriculture exhibits, and an array of delicious locally produced foods.
> More Events
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