Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 9, 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.
ATTRA Returning to Full Strength!
NCAT’s ATTRA project has been funded for fiscal year 2008. ATTRA’s funding was part of the omnibus appropriations bill funded by Congress and signed by the President on December 26, 2007.
Our toll-free phone lines (1-800-346-9140) are now staffed from 7 am Central to 7 pm Central, Monday through Friday. During busy times when our specialists are on the phone with others, you may get our voice mail---please DO leave a message so that they can call you back, or keep trying.
Once again, we are able to accept research questions about sustainable agriculture and we have begun updating and writing new publications to assist farmers, ranchers and others in obtaining up-to-date, cutting edge information on sustainable agriculture. Our website is once again dynamic, and you can submit questions there 24/7.
After a year with significantly cut budgets and services, we are looking forward to working with our ATTRA clients to provide the information and services you want and need.
Special thanks to our Weekly Harvest readers. Thank you for your donations and your kind words of support and encouragement. The money you sent allowed us to keep the website up and running, the phones answered for a few hours each day, and allowed us to write and send the Weekly Harvest throughout the year. We look forward to continuing to bring you new information and ideas each week—without you it would not have been possible!
Share The Harvest: Please forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues who might be interested in the latest sustainable agriculture news, funding opportunities, and events.
News & Resources
* Organic Cotton Acreage Increases
* Pesticide Contact May Increase Asthma Risk for Farm Women
* Michael Fields Agricultural Institute Announces 2008 Workshop Schedule
* Grow Your Farm Courses Being Held in Missouri
* MOSES Seeking Applicants for Organic Farmer Mentoring Project
* NOP Sunset Process Comments Sought
* Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grant
* Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - Methyl Bromide Transitions
* Integrated Pest Management: Crops at Risk and Risk Avoidance and Mitigation Competitive Grants Program
* Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society Winter Conference
* Organic Dairy 101: A workshop for dairy support professionals
* PlacerGROWN Farm Conference
News & Resources
Organic Cotton Acreage Increases
U.S. acreage planted to organic cotton in 2006 increased from that planted the previous year, according to a 2007 survey conducted by the Organic Trade Association and funded by a grant from Cotton Inc. Survey results indicated a 14% increase in the number of acres planted in organic cotton from 2005 to 2006. Surveyed farmers project continued growth in organic cotton acreage in 2008. USAgNet reports the survey also revealed a price increase in organic upland cotton from 2005 to 2006, with the average price per pound ranging from $.85 to $1.25 in 2006.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Cotton Production
Pesticide Contact May Increase Asthma Risk for Farm Women
A study appearing in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine says that farm women who handle pesticides may be at increased risk of developing allergic asthma, says an Environment News Service story. The study assessed more than 25,000 farmwomen in North Carolina and Iowa, and found that those who applied or mixed pesticides had an increase of 50 percent in the prevalence of allergic asthma. Interestingly, the rate was lower among women who grew up on farms than among those who now work on farms but did not grow up there. Researchers say this protective effect is still poorly understood.
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute Announces 2008 Workshop Schedule
The Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin, has announced its 2008 workshop schedule, featuring more than 40 individual workshops presented by farmers and other agricultural professionals. Workshop dates begin in February and extend throughout the year. Workshop offerings appeal to both beginning and experienced farmers, and take a whole-farm approach. Some workshops are designed specifically for consumers. Workshop offerings are organized into four topic areas: The Land courses address organic matter and farm fertility; The Farm trainings are tools for all farmers; Tools of the Trade workshops teach profitable practices, and business skills, and The Community workshops teach traditional farm life skills to consumers.
Grow Your Farm Courses Being Held in Missouri
Grow Your Farm is designed for prospective farmers, beginners with some experience and seasoned farmers who want to make a "new beginning" with alternative farming methods. University of Missouri Extension specialists and experienced, innovative farmers teach the sessions. Grow Your Farm meets 11 times over a 16- to 18-week time frame. Classes include eight seminars with three farm tours. The course focuses on setting goals for your family and farm, business planning, and networking with other producers. Grow Your Farm courses are starting in late January, and are being held throughout Missouri.
MOSES Seeking Applicants for Organic Farmer Mentoring Project
The Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) has started an organic mentoring project that will pair an organic farmer with one or two transitioning-to-organic farmers, to help these new to organic farmers negotiate the various USDA regulations on organic and modify their operations to meet organic standards. Mentors will also share practical information on day-to-day chores and activities on the farm, which are somewhat different for an organic farmer than a conventional farmer. Applications for farming mentors and transitioning farmers are due by January 11.
NOP Sunset Process Comments Sought
The National Organic Program (NOP) has published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking with request for comments in the Federal Register. This ANPR announces the sunset of 11 exempted substances and 1 prohibited substance added to the National List on November 3 and 4, 2003. This ANPR establishes November 3, 2008, as the date by which the sunset review and renewal process must be concluded. This advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) also begins the public comment process on whether the identified existing exemptions or prohibitions should be continued. Comments must be submitted on or before January 28, 2008.
> More Breaking News
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Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grant
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 modified organisms into the environment. Applications to the USDA BRAG Program must 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 February 28, 2008.
Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - Methyl Bromide Transitions
USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service requests applications for the Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program Methyl Bromide Transitions (MBT) for fiscal year 2008. This program supports the discovery and implementation of practical pest management alternatives to methyl bromide uses or minimize methyl bromide emissions for which the United States is requesting critical use exemptions. The program is focused on integrated commercial or field scale research that targets short- to medium-term solutions and associated extension activity that will foster the adoption of these solutions. The anticipated amount available for support of this program in FY 2008 is approximately $2,950,000. Applications may be submitted by colleges and universities.
Proposals are due February 22, 2008.
Integrated Pest Management: Crops at Risk and Risk Avoidance and Mitigation Competitive Grants Program
USDA CSREES anticipates the availability of grant funds for fiscal year 2008 and requests applications for the following programs:
1) Integrated Pest Management: Crops at Risk Competitive Grants Program(CAR); or the
2) Integrated Pest Management: Risk Avoidance and Mitigation Competitive Grants Program (RAMP).
Both of these are Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Programs designed to support integrated, multifunctional/multidisciplinary agricultural research, extension, and education activities that address complex pest management priorities in United States agriculture. The anticipated amount available for support of CAR in FY 2008 is approximately $1,300,000. The anticipated amount available for support of RAMP in FY 2008 is approximately $4,200,000. Applications may be submitted by colleges and universities.
Proposals are due February 29, 2008.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society Winter Conference
February 8-9, 2008
Mandan, North Dakota
The Winter Conference agenda includes keynote speakers and workshops on livestock, bread making, estate planning, pesticides, organic no-till, junk yard wars and more. A book exchange and seed exchange are also offered, as well as workshops for kids.
Organic Dairy 101: A workshop for dairy support professionals
February 5, 2008
The Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota and partners present this workshop addressing certification, livestock health and nutrition, economics, and performance. Increase your knowledge about what successful organic dairying is all about and how you can serve this growing clientele. This workshop is also offered on additional dates in February and March in locations across Minnesota.
PlacerGROWN Farm Conference
February 2, 2008
The theme for the 2008 PlacerGROWN Farm Conference is finding the next generation of local agriculture and getting them on the land. Keynote speakers are from the Growing Growers program. The audience will participate in assessing the current agricultural situation as it relates to production, post-harvest handling, storage, distribution, marketing, economics, and availability of local food in an interactive town hall meeting format using inputpad devices. Over 25 workshops will held in addition to the keynote address, including some following on the theme of developing local internship programs.
> More Events
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