Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 24, 2008
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
* USDA Creates Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets
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* Publication Helps New Goat Producers
* NOSB Recommendations Posted
* Organic Corn Performance Results Released
* Book Available on Feeding Distillers Grain
* Organic Farm Plan Workbook Available
* Community Outreach and Assistance Partnership Program
* Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program
* Heir Property Initiative
* Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society Winter Conference
* Empire State Fruit & Vegetable Expo
* PlacerGROWN Food and Farm Conference
News & Resources
USDA Creates Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets
Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced intent to establish a new USDA Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets and the creation of a federal government-wide Conservation and Land Management Environmental Services Board. The Board will assist the Secretary of Agriculture in the development of new technical guidelines and science-based methods to assess and promote markets for ecosystem services including carbon trading to mitigate climate change.The first ecosystem services to be examined will be carbon sequestration.
Publication Helps New Goat Producers
Kidding season is a challenging and highly critical time for new meat goat producers. The success of these first kidding seasons often determines whether new goat farms survive. A new booklet titled “Kidding with Confidence” is designed to help new producers pair up with experienced producers to set up a mentoring situation. The idea is that knowledgeable, experienced farmers are often the best teachers or coaches for new farmers. The book can be ordered through the Cornell Sheep and Goat Extension Program or downloaded as a PDF (1.1MB).
Related ATTRA Publication: Goats: Sustainable Production Overview
NOSB Recommendations Posted
The National Organic Program has posted final recommendations on numerous topics, as submitted by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) in November 2008. The recommendations, available online in PDF, address issues including fish food and net pens in aquaculture, pet food, and certifying operations with multiple sites. NOSB also issued recommendations relating to updating the Policy and Procedures Manual and the New Members Guide.
Organic Corn Performance Results Released
In 2008, the Ohio State University continued evaluations of corn hybrids marketed for organic producers at the Hirzel Sustainable Systems site, a certified organic farm located near Bowling Green in Wood County and on certified organic land at OARDC Badger Farm, near Apple Creek in Wayne County. Also studied was a transitional site near South Charleston in 2008. For 2008, four open pollinated (OP) varieties, three OP varietal crosses and two conventionally produced, untreated hybrids were included in the tests. The results for the 2008 Organic Corn Performance Test can be viewed at: http://agcrops.osu.edu under the corn tab on the left hand side.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Field Corn Production
Book Available on Feeding Distillers Grain
The Midwest Agribusiness Trade Research and Information Center (MATRIC) at Iowa State University has published a book on using distillers grains, a co-product of biofuels production, as a feedstuff for livestock and poultry. The book is only available online at http://www.matric.iastate.edu/DGbook and is free for downloading. Chapters cover nutrition and live animal performance of beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine and poultry when fed various distillers grain products. Storage, shelf life and transportation issues are included, as are new technologies on the horizon and challenges remaining in the use of distillers grains. Two chapters discuss the trade value of U.S. distiller grains in small and large international markets.
Organic Farm Plan Workbook Available
Ohio State University’s Organic Food and Farming Education and Research (OFFER) Program has released the "Organic Whole Farm Planning Workbook." The new book serves as a companion volume to OFFER’s "A Transition Guide to Certified Organic Crop Management", which came out earlier this year. The workbook supports the transition process by guiding the user through developing a holistic transition plan and producing a completed organic farm plan as required by certifying agencies.
> More Breaking News
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Community Outreach and Assistance Partnership Program
Community Outreach and Assistance Partnership Program announces the availability of approximately $3.4 million in fiscal year 2009 for collaborative outreach and assistance programs for limited resource, socially disadvantaged and other traditionally under-served farmers and ranchers, who produce Priority Commodities. The purpose of this program is to fund projects that provide limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and other traditionally underserved producers with training, informational opportunities and assistance necessary to understand: (1) The kind of risks addressed by existing and emerging risk management tools; (2) The features and appropriate use of existing and emerging risk management tools; and (3) How to make sound risk management decisions.
Proposals are due February 13, 2009.
Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program
The purpose of the USDA Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grants (BRAG) Program is to assist Federal regulatory agencies in making science-based decisions about the effects of introducing genetically engineered organisms into the environment. Investigations of effects on both managed and natural environments are relevant. Applications to the USDA BRAG Program must seek partial funding for a conference or address one of the following areas: 1) Identify and develop practices to minimize risks associated with genetically engineered organisms; 2) Research methods to monitor the dispersal of genetically engineered organisms; 3) Research to increase knowledge about the characteristics, rates, and methods of gene transfer that may occur between genetically engineered organisms, and related organisms; 4) Perform assessments to provide analysis which compares impacts of organisms modified through genetic engineering to other types of production systems; 5) Other areas of research designed to further the purposes of the USDA BRAG program.
Proposals are due January 30, 2009.
Heir Property Initiative
Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Douglas Faulkner announced that $230,000 in funding will be made available to develop pilot programs addressing the “heir property” issue, which has contributed to an ongoing, multi-generational trend of land loss by African-American farmers. Nonprofit organizations may apply for cooperative agreements of up to $20,000.
Proposals are due January 5, 2009.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society Winter Conference
February 13-14, 2009
Huron, South Dakota
At this 30th annual winter conference the keynote speaker will be Karl Kupers, farmer and co-founder of Shepherd's Grain. He will speak on "Marketing Sustainability". Julie Garreau will speak on "Sheyenne River Youth Project". Additional sessions and activities are planned.
Empire State Fruit & Vegetable Expo
February 10-12, 2009
Syracuse, New York
This premier educational event brings 1500 attendees to central New York to participate in meetings and classes that span fruit and vegetable commodities as well as current technologies and events which affect agriculture as a whole. Specialists will provide growers with the latest in growing and production techniques, harvesting and storage options, and plenty of up-to-date and innovative research. The large trade show will feature many businesses specifically devoted to the fruit and vegetable industry, with equipment for all sizes of growing operations.
PlacerGROWN Food and Farm Conference
February 7, 2009
The keynote speaker this year is Michael Dimock, the president of Roots of Change, who has been working on sustainable agriculture issues for a long time. The day-long event includes workshops for beginning farmers and livestock producers, as well as sessions on marketing, interns and the business of farming.
> More Events
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