UPDATED February 16, 2006

    Cooperative effort launches new nation-wide effort to market food
    from sustainable family farms

    BLAST youth ag initiative seeks nominations of young leaders revolutionizing
    the way food is grown to kick off new publication

    Organic dairy competitors announce drives to support new family farm conversions to certified organic production

    Organic pioneers named to organic research, outreach posts in Minnesota

    USDA’s single-repository, mandatory animal ID proposal dealt setback

    Restaurant students help grow food for college eatery, work with local farmers to understand seasonal highlights, challenges

    Salatin speaks out against Virginia law that could target pasture poultry flocks

 

Cooperative effort launches new nation-wide effort to market food
from sustainable family farms

There’s a new force championing the viability of family farms with sustainable attributes. The American Association of Family Farms [www.associationoffamilyfarms.org ] is the product of collaboration between the Leopold Center’s “Agriculture of the Middle” task force organized by Fred Kirschenmann and a U.S. Department of Agriculture initiative launched in 2003 by California extension leader Larry Yee.

Launched with grants from foundations and food businesses, the AFF plans to develop standards for its own label to identify eligible farms cooperating nationwide to serve the growing market for source-identified, values-added food.

www.leopold.iastate.edu/pubs/nwl/2005/2005-4-leoletter/middle.htm


BLAST youth ag initiative seeks nominations of young leaders revolutionizing
the way food is grown to kick off new publication

BLAST, a national initiative of The Food Project, is starting an online magazine called reap/sow. This publication will be a forum for creative thinking and expression, both for and by young people working to change the food system.

An early story will celebrate young people who are revolutionizing the way that food is grown, distributed, and eaten. The article in the premiere issue will share innovative models with the larger network. Give someone – or yourself – the recognition they deserve by Monday, February 20 at the URL below.

http://hotpepper.thefoodproject.org/blog/?p=93


Organic dairy competitors announce drives to support new
family farm conversions to certified organic production

Organic Valley, America's largest cooperative of organic farmers, has launched “Generation Organic,” its attempt to nurture the next generation of organic farmers. Offerings include a nationwide program of "barn meetings" and workshops, a farmers speakers bureau, web resources, a farmers’ hotline, financial and technical support for farmers transitioning to organic, partnerships with university-based farmer training programs, organic school curriculum, a farmer ambassador program to heighten public awareness of organic farmers and, an organic farmer mentoring and internship program.

OV, which had 723 farmers in 22 states in 2005, says its “Gen-O” agenda includes saving family farmers from extinction, honoring farmer wisdom from past generations, creating respect for farmers as food producers and food safety based on sustainable production practices.

www.organicvalley.coop/newsroom/article.html?cat=1&id=201

Horizon Organic, the nation’s leading marketer of organic milk and a brand of Dean Foods Company, supports more than 130 transitional dairy farmers through its Horizon Organic Producer Education (HOPE) program. It says it will spend $500,000 to $1 million annually for several years to assist these farmers with organic feed purchases and other transition costs. It announced in December it will invest $10 million in its original dairy farm in Idaho to significantly expand its organic pasture land by 1,400 acres, construct new barns and build a state-of-the-art milking parlor.

Currently 75 percent of Horizon Organic's milk is supplied by more than 300 certified organic family dairy farms. It will be working with Holistic Management International [www.holisticmanagement.org ] to develop best practices for its Idaho farm, including a holistic grazing plan and new techniques designed to regenerate and improve the health of the land and increase biodiversity.

www.horizonorganic.com/aboutus/press/2005_12_06.html


Organic pioneers named to organic research, outreach posts in Minnesota

Jim Riddle (former chair of the National Organic Standards Board and a NewFarm.org colulmnist) and Carmen Fernholz (recognized as 2005 Farmer of the Year by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Organic Services) are joining the staff of The University of Minnesota’s Southwest Research and Outreach Center.

Fernholz, from Madison, Minn., will be the organic agriculture coordinator for research management; Riddle, who lives in Winona, Minn., will be the organic agriculture coordinator for outreach.

www.misa.umn.edu/sites/2e889d49-6a82-4b7e-8d7a-c1c383aa1d65/uploads/
SWROC_orgcoord.doc


USDA’s single-repository, mandatory animal ID proposal dealt setback

There won't be a mandatory U.S. animal identification program by 2009, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has dropped a 6-month-old plan for contracting with a privatized central database to launch the cattle segment of ID. Critics had questioned the USDA's intention to concentrate the data with a system the National Cattlemen's Beef Association organized, then spun off as a free-standing nonprofit organization.

Instead of a single database, USDA, state and tribal animal health agencies will use multiple databases, relying on those who contract with the USDA to furnish livestock tracking information.

www.capitalpress.info/main.asp?SectionID=67&SubSectionID=782&
ArticleID=22499&TM=32515.85


Restaurant students help grow food for college eatery, work with local farmers to understand seasonal highlights, challenges

Twenty four students in Colorado State University’s restaurant operations classes work 8 hours each week in the Aspen Grille, a campus eatery that serves as their “working classroom.” The business model of the restaurant and the intention behind the classroom rests on the use of local, organic products wherever possible. The restaurant works with the university’s Specialty Crops Program to grow much of its produce.

Meanwhile, students travel to local organic farms, dairies, and sheep and bison ranches building personal relationships and working directly with local farmers and livestock providers to seasonally source the best produce and meats. In the process, they get to know the struggles of small farmers and develop greater awareness of the efforts and inputs required to produce organic food. The classroom restaurant is now in its second year of operation and has reached profitability ahead of the timeline in its business plan.

www.coloradoan.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050921
/ENTERTAINMENT0301/509210317/1024/LIFESTYLE
&template=printart


Salatin speaks out against Virginia law that could target pasture poultry flocks

Internationally known grazing pioneer Joel Salatin of Swoop, Virginia, opposes the law, which has been proposed as public health measure to regulate live bird markets, even though none now exist in the state. He said it fails to distinguish between the squalid conditions of poultry pens in Asia where highly contagious avian flu has been recorded and the healthfulness of well-operated outdoor systems. The Cornucopia Institute is aiding Virginia group that champions local food production in channeling grassroots sentiments to the state’s officials.

http://cornucopia.org/index.php/90#more-90