UPDATED April 13, 2006

    Manure study links antibiotics to veggies; alerts processors to monitor crop sourcing

    Farmers demand USDA enact real grazing rules with real enforcement for all organic dairies

    More farm subsidies going to larger operations

    NE-SARE grants awarded for biodiesel training, soil quality testing

    New primer advises small-scale farmers on avian flu risks, outlines special situations for free-range poultry farmers

    Guide collects grants, programs and other support for starting, promoting and running farmers’ markets

Manure study links antibiotics to veggies;
alerts processors to monitor crop sourcing

Livestock antibiotics in manure may end up in vegetables in levels that could impact human health, according to a University of Minnesota study published in the Journal of Environmental Quality.

Journal article

An account in MeatProcess.com said the study will add to consumer anxiety about the safety of food, and increases the importance of vigilant sourcing of vegetables by food processors.

Online story


Farmers demand USDA enact real grazing rules
with real enforcement for all organic dairies

The nation’s largest organic dairy farmer organization has issued a call for US organic standards to require at least 120 days of pasture per growing season during which cows will consume at least 30 percent of their feed through grazing.

The Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA) and its counterparts in the Midwest and West put out these numbers ahead of the meeting April 19 of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) in State College, Pennsylvania. The groups also went on record calling for all animals brought into an organic dairy herd be certified organically raised from the last third of their gestation, with all young stock being kept under continuous organic management.

In its advanced rulemaking notice posted in Federal Register today (April 13), the USDA provides background showing it has received farm comments contesting these minimum requirements, which are precisely what the NOSB recommend in February be part of the official Organic System Plan for each certified organic dairy.

NOSB site tracking its meeting, and comments submitted:
www.ams.usda.gov/nosb/meetings/meetings.html

Federal Register entry


More farm subsidies going to larger operations

New number crunching shows that in 2003 (the latest year analyzed), half of all federal crop subsidies went to farms with household incomes of more than $75,772. This is up from $55,607 in 1997 and $47,121 in 1991, after adjusting for inflation, according to USDA report.

The Des Moines Register reported that in Iowa, one-fourth of the subsidies went to households making more than $137,625 in 2003.

"More and more production is starting to shift into some very large operations," said James MacDonald, who led the USDA study.

Full story


NE-SARE grants awarded for biodiesel training, soil quality testing

Projects to teach farmers how to make biodiesel fuel and to work with farmers on soil quality testing and management were part of $2.8 million in grants announced recently by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program.

Other types of funded projects include training for extension agents how to teach tactical agriculture and funds to develop a curriculum in ecologically based weed management.

Full list


New primer advises small-scale farmers on avian flu risks,
outlines special situations for free-range poultry farmers

Dead Birds Don’t Fly: An Avian Flu Primer for Small-Scale Farmers, by Lindsey Hillesheim, Ph.D., is designed for farmers with free-range or pasture poultry operations. It covers the basic biology of avian influenza in birds and humans to help evaluate the risk of an avian flu infection in flocks. This primer offers a basic description of H5N1 Avian flu, how it can spread, how to reduce risks of infection of poultry and workers, and appropriate responses in the event of an outbreak.

The publication comes from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

The primer can be found at: www.iatp.org


Guide collects grants, programs and other support
for starting, promoting and running farmers’ markets

The new Farmers’ Market Resource Guide lists grants, programs and other financial and information resources available from public and private organizations. The 53-page publication by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service gives details about more than 100 projects and grants available to help start or improve farmers markets.

Topic areas include logistics and promotion of markers, producer training, customer education and ways to link markets with local communities.

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