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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 4, 2006

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site.

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News & Resources
* New Publication Highlights Business Options for Poultry Producers
* U.S. Organic Market is Affected by Undersupply, Says Research Firm
* New Tool Helps Potato Growers Select Crop Rotations
* Good Records Important for Farm Financing
* Organic Cooperative Introduces 'Generation Organic' Campaign
* Soybean Rust Proceedings Now Available


Funding Opportunities
* P3 Award: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity, and the Planet
* Scientific Cooperation Exchange Program with China
* FQPA/Strategic Agricultural Initiative Program Grants


Coming Events
* Is Organic Farming Right for Me? Workshop
* National Biodiesel Conference & Expo
* 9th Annual Georgia Organics Conference



News & Resources

New Publication Highlights Business Options for Poultry Producers
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has published a new resource for Midwestern farmers who are thinking about starting or modifying a poultry operation. Poultry Your Way is a free, 124-page book that provides an overview of poultry production systems for meat and eggs, including breed selection, marketing, and processing alternatives. It also describes various management options, including organic, semi-confinement, day-range pasture, pasture using movable pens, and industrial. Print copies can be ordered by calling the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at 608-262-5200. The book is also available online (PDF / 2.5 MB).
Related ATTRA Publication:
Sustainable Poultry: Production Overview

U.S. Organic Market is Affected by Undersupply, Says Research Firm
The consulting firm Organic Monitor says the U.S. organic market is being stunted by undersupply, reports FoodNavigator.com. Recent hurricanes that hit Florida have depleted organic orange and grapefruit juice stocks, and organic citrus is too expensive to import. Other organic supply problems, such as within the meat and dairy industries, have persisted for much longer, and American suppliers have resorted to looking to other countries for raw materials in order to meet demand.

New Tool Helps Potato Growers Select Crop Rotations
Agricultural Research Service scientists in New England have developed a new tool to help potato producers develop profitable crop rotations. Their "Potato Systems Planner" software incorporates all of their research findings on possible crop rotations for potatoes, looking at factors such as yield, level of nitrogen recycling, soil microorganism activity, disease, and economic feasibility. Crops in the Brassica genus have shown particular promise because they produce natural sulfur compounds that help combat common potato diseases, such as the fungus that causes stem canker and black scurf.

Good Records Important for Farm Financing
In a recent column for the Springfield News-Leader, David Burton cites new research by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension program that shows how important it is for agricultural producers to keep good records, particularly when seeking financing. Lenders typically want to see at least three years of financial statements. Yet lenders participating in the research reported only four of ten agricultural loan applicants prepare financial statements and fewer than two in ten prepare a business plan.
Related ATTRA Content:
Successful Record Keeping for Sustainable Agriculture

Organic Cooperative Introduces 'Generation Organic' Campaign
Organic Valley Family of Farms, America's largest cooperative of organic farmers, has introduced a campaign designed to bring new farmers into organic agriculture. "Generation Organic" has a five-point agenda, including saving the family farmer, keeping diversity in agriculture, preserving farmer wisdom and knowledge, unifying rural and urban communities, and offering hope for a safe and healthy future. Organic Valley is implementing a program of initiatives aimed at advancing this agenda, including education, information and networking efforts.

Soybean Rust Proceedings Now Available
Proceedings from the first National Soybean Rust Symposium are now available. Organized by the American Phytopathological Society, the symposium was held in Nashville, Tennessee, in November. The purpose of the symposium was two-fold: to provide the best research and latest information on soybean rust acquired during North America's first crop season with the disease, and to identify national priorities for strategic response and research planning on soybean rust. Poster abstracts and PowerPoint presentations from 43 speakers are available online.
Related ATTRA Publication:
Asian Soybean Rust: Notes and Organic Control Options for Farmers

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

P3 Award: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity, and the Planet
The P3 competition will provide grants to teams of college students to research, develop, and design solutions to challenges to sustainability. P3 highlights people, prosperity, and the planet—the three pillars of sustainability—as the next step beyond P2 or pollution prevention. Grants are available for up to $10,000 per Phase I grant for one year including direct and indirect costs. Upon the successful completion of Phase I, Phase I grant recipients will have the opportunity to apply for Phase II funding of up to $75,000 for one additional year. Public nonprofit institutions/organizations and private nonprofit institutions/organizations located in the U.S. are eligible to apply to become the recipient of a grant to support teams of undergraduate and/or graduate students.
Proposals are due February 20, 2006.

Scientific Cooperation Exchange Program with China
The Scientific Cooperation Exchange Program with the People’s Republic of China (SCEP) supports international exchanges that promote agricultural development and economic growth, and mitigate animal and plant health issues that impede trade. Under a special USDA Scientific Technological Exchange Agreement with the PRC, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture specifically tailors two-week visits to China to meet the scientific objectives of each team. U.S. teams are responsible only for their international airfare to and from China. In 2006, the SCEP will accept proposals for sustainable plant and animal production, food safety, animal and plant health, agricultural biotechnology and other emerging technologies, food and non-food product development, and natural resources management.
Proposals are due January 25, 2006.

FQPA/Strategic Agricultural Initiative Program Grants
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regions 5 and 10 are continuing a small-grant program in Fiscal Year 2006 to help implement the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) and support "transition" efforts by growers. The program supports innovative efforts that enable growers to reduce their reliance on pesticides reviewed under FQPA while maintaining or enhancing their present income. The program is administered by American Farmland Trust’s Center for Agriculture in the Environment through a cooperative agreement with EPA. They are looking for projects that focus on results or actual on-the-ground changes, rather than activities.
Proposals are due January 15 for Region 5 and February 1 for Region 10.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Is Organic Farming Right for Me? Workshop
January 24, 26, 31 and February 2, 2006
Vinton, Ottumwa, Storm Lake, and Corning, Iowa

This half-day workshop is presented in locations across Iowa as part of a series of Value-added Agriculture workshops offered by Iowa State University Extension Value Added Agriculture Program. Find out about organic farming and the transition to it. A companion afternoon workshop on flax production and marketing is offered on the same days in the same locations.


National Biodiesel Conference & Expo
February 5-8, 2006
San Diego, California

The conference program offers several educational tracks: Technical, Fuel Distribution, Policy/Regulation, Markets and Users. More than 40 sessions will cover everything from fuel quality standards, federal and state legislation updates, and European marketing strategies, to trends in BioHeat and opportunities in agricultural uses of biodiesel.


9th Annual Georgia Organics Conference
February 10-11, 2006
Mansfield, Georgia

"Down and Dirty: Sustainable Growing in Times of Change" will include more than 25 cutting-edge workshops, in-depth educational sessions, farm tours, children's programs, a trade show and the ever-popular Organic Banquet, featuring local foods and the culinary talents of Atlanta area chefs.


> More Events

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