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Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 3, 2007

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.

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News & Resources
* FDA Issues Draft Ruling on Meat and Milk from Cloned Animals
* Report Shows Benefits of Pasture-raised Chicken and Pork
* National Organic Program Revises Guidelines for Amendment Petitions
* Farmers Participating in Carbon Credit Exchange Program
* California Farmworkers Lack Access to Fresh Produce
* Organic Co-Op Evolves Over 30 Years into Regional Giant

Funding Opportunities
* Special Research Grants Program-Pest Management Alternatives Research
* Rural Business Opportunity Grants
* Wood Education and Resource Center Competitive Grants Program

Coming Events
* Georgia Organics 10th Anniversary Conference
* California Farm Conference
* Virginia Biological Farming Conference

News & Resources

FDA Issues Draft Ruling on Meat and Milk from Cloned Animals
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued three documents December 28 on the safety of animal cloning: a draft risk assessment; a proposed risk management plan; and a draft guidance for industry. The draft risk assessment finds that meat and milk from clones of adult cattle, pigs and goats, and their offspring, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals. The proposed risk management plan addresses risks to animal health and potential remaining uncertainties associated with feed and food from animal clones and their offspring. The draft guidance for industry addresses the use of food and feed products derived from clones and their offspring. In the draft guidance, FDA does not recommend any special measures relating to human food use of offspring of clones of any species. FDA is seeking comments from the public on the three documents for the next 90 days. Comments may be submitted online. FDA release of the documents has generated a great deal of press coverage, including a Reuters news story on Planet Ark that says a number of consumer and religious groups oppose the FDA decision.

Report Shows Benefits of Pasture-raised Chicken and Pork
The Union of Concerned Scientists recently released a report that shows how pasture-raised pork, chicken, and egg production can avoid the problems conventional production poses for water and air quality and animal and public health. The report also explains the definitions, standards, and label claims for pasture-raised foods that consumers encounter at grocery stores. The report, Greener Eggs and Ham: The Benefits of Pasture-Raised Swine, Poultry, and Egg Production, is available online in PDF. It provides an overview of alternative pork and chicken production systems and is a complementary report to UCS's Greener Pastures, which describes the benefits of grass-fed beef and dairy cattle.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Alternative Poultry Production Systems and Outdoor Access

National Organic Program Revises Guidelines for Amendment Petitions
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced December 28 that it has revised the National Organic Program (NOP) guidelines on the submission of petitions of substances for inclusion on or removal from the National List of Substances Allowed and Prohibited (National List) in Organic Production and Handling. The updated guidelines include modifications for information to be included in a petition to review a non-organic agricultural product for inclusion in the National List. The National List identifies the synthetic substances that may be used and the non-synthetic substances that may not be used in organic production and handling. Anyone may submit a petition requesting a substance to be reviewed by the NOP and National Organic Standards Board.

Farmers Participating in Carbon Credit Exchange Program
Ohio farmers are among those signing on to programs that pay them for conservation measures that capture carbon in the soil, reports The Toledo Blade. Iowa Farm Bureau and the North Dakota Farmers Union are both enrolling farmland across the Corn Belt in carbon-credit trading programs. The Farmers Union program has signed up 1.1 million acres to date, and will make its first sales on the Chicago Climate Exchange in January. Recent trading rates have compensated farmers between $2 and $4 per acre for no-till farming, grassland, and forest planting. Dairy farmers have also traded methane-capturing measures at a rate of up to $30 per cow per year. Utilities and major U.S. corporations are among the historic buyers of carbon credits since the Exchange opened 3 years ago.

California Farmworkers Lack Access to Fresh Produce
A study by the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) shows that ironically some California farmworkers don't have retail access to the produce they pick, reports the Monterey County Weekly. A community food assessment report released by ALBA showed that farmworker neighborhood groceries don't carry organic, locally grown produce. In addition to training people as organic farmers, ALBA is playing a role in making fresh, local vegetables more available in the community, by coordinating farmers' markets. These include produce stands at such unconventional locations as the local Women, Infants and Children (WIC) office and a neighborhood church on Sunday morning.

Organic Co-Op Evolves Over 30 Years into Regional Giant
In 1978, the small growers who made up the fledgling organic farming industry in Oregon's Willamette Valley were, in the words of grower David Lively, "knocking the hell out of each other in the marketplace." So they decided to band together, founding an agricultural marketing cooperative. Nearly 30 years later, that grass-roots nonprofit cooperative has evolved into a for-profit corporation, the Organically Grown Co., the largest distributor of organic produce in the Northwest, reports Tim Christie for The Register-Guard in Eugene. Trends in organic produce have spurred dramatic growth for Organically Grown Co. The volume of produce it shipped has nearly doubled in the past three years, from 23 million pounds in 2003 to 50 million pounds this year, Lively --- now the company's marketing director --- told the Guard-Register. Sales in the first eight months of 2006 increased 35 percent over the same period in 2005. Oregon Tilth recently named the company "Outstanding Visionary of the Year" for its efforts. The company donates 2.5 percent of its net profits to organizations focused on organic agriculture and sustainability.

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Special Research Grants Program-Pest Management Alternatives Research
CSREES announces the availability of grant funds and requests applications for the Special Research Grants Program-Pest Management Alternatives (PMAP) for fiscal year 2007 to address needs in integrated pest management (IPM) for food, feed, fiber, forest, livestock, and ornamental commodities resulting from the implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 and related regulatory actions. The amount available for support of this program in FY 2007 for the four regions (North Central, Northeastern, Southern, and Western) of the United States is approximately $1.4 million. Specific objectives have been identified for PMAP projects from the four regions. Applications may be submitted by State agricultural experiment stations, all colleges and universities, other research institutions and organizations, Federal agencies, private organizations or corporations, and individuals.
Proposals are due February 15, 2007.

Rural Business Opportunity Grants
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS), an Agency within the Rural Development mission area, announces the availability of grants of up to $50,000 per application from the Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) program for fiscal year (FY) 2007. The purpose of this grants program is to promote sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs. This is accomplished by making grants to pay costs of providing economic planning for rural communities, technical assistance for rural businesses, or training for rural entrepreneurs or economic development officials. To be eligible for a Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) applicants must be a public body, nonprofit corporation, Indian tribe, or cooperative with members that are primarily rural residents.
Proposals are due March 30, 2007.

Wood Education and Resource Center Competitive Grants Program
The USDA Forest Service, Wood Education and Resource Center (WERC), located in Princeton, WV, is accepting applications for cost-share demonstration projects that assist the WERC in meeting its mission of facilitating interaction and information exchange with the forest products industry that will enhance opportunities for sustained forest products production in the eastern hardwood forest region. A number of priority project areas have been identified, and in addition to these, proposals focused on sustainable forest management related to biomass supply and low-impact utilization options will be accepted.
Proposals are due February 15, 2007.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Georgia Organics 10th Anniversary Conference
March 8-10, 2007
Douglas, Georgia

"Connecting at the Crossroads-New Directions for Farms, Foods & Communities" will include more than 25 cutting edge workshops, in-depth educational sessions, farm tours, an on-farm field day and the ever-popular Organic Banquet.

California Farm Conference
March 4-6, 2007
Monterey, California

The California Farm Conference is the state's premier gathering of small farmers and those who support them. The three day educational conference includes on-farm tours, focused workshops, general educational sessions and opportunities for peer networking.

Virginia Biological Farming Conference
February 2-3, 2007
Harrisonburg, Virginia

The conference theme is "Healthy Farms, Healthy Soil, Healthy Food." Tracks include livestock, vegetable production (including help for beginners), and the business and marketing side of farming. The conference is intended for a broad range of folks, including commercial farmers and farm managers, educators, government agricultural professionals, urban farmers, master gardeners, young people, and just plain consumers.

> More Events

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