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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 19, 2005

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

News & Resources
* New Organic Farming Compliance Handbook Available Online
* California Ag Journal Explores Alternatives to Organophosphates
* Maine-Grown Grains Star in Local Bread
* Family Cheese Company Exemplifies Place-based Foods
* Essayist Calls for Bipartisan Effort to Help Farm-to-School Programs
* Northeast SARE Administrative Council Nominees Sought

Funding Opportunities
* 2005 Organic Center Proposal Preparation Small Grant Program
* Conservation Innovation Grants RFP
* Food and Ag Sciences Fellowships Research Travel Allowances

Coming Events
* Farming for the Future Conference
* 2005 Midwest Small Farm Conference
* ASAP Marketing Opportunities for Farmers Conference


News & Resources

New Organic Farming Compliance Handbook Available Online
As the number of organic farmers and ranchers continues to increase and acreage in certified organic production expands in the SARE Western Region, more Cooperative Extension professionals and federal agency field personnel are being asked questions related to certified organic production practices, particularly with regard to allowable materials, and certification rules and procedures. A new manual, the Organic Farming Compliance Handbook, offers materials for use by agricultural professionals interested in what methods, materials, and practices are compatible and consistent with organic standards. Materials were assembled from the most current national, regional, and local sources. The resource guide was developed as part of an educational project funded by the Western Region USDA SARE program. 
URL: http://sarep.ucdavis.edu/organic/complianceguide/

California Ag Journal Explores Alternatives to Organophosphates
A special 48-page issue of the University of California's (UC) peer-reviewed California Agriculture journal (January-March 2005) explores the range of alternatives to organophosphate pesticides. Athough inexpensive and easy-to-use, these insecticides are also toxic to many nontarget species, including humans and wildlife, and their uses are being severely curtailed as the result of a major overhaul of federal pesticide regulations triggered by the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996. Fortunately, the demise of organophosphate insecticides -- including well-known products like diazinon, chlorpyrifos and malathion -- has resulted in a trend toward less-toxic and more environmentally friendly insect control on California farms. This includes innovative and technologically advanced methods such as the use of pheromones to disrupt insect mating, "biological control" of nonnative pest insects using their natural enemies, and applications of less-toxic and more insect-specific alternative pesticides. The special issue of California Agriculture also explores novel strategies such as microorganisms (including widely used Bacillus thuringiensis), beneficial nematodes, petroleum oils and particle films, genetically modified plants, and "natural" products well known to organic growers (including sulfur, pyrethrum, and neem oil). These occupy a small but important niche in insect control for California agriculture.
URL: http://californiaagriculture.ucop.edu/default.htm

Maine-grown Grains Star in Local Bread
A feature in Mother Earth News documents several businesses in Maine that are collaborating to produce a local bread made from a locally grown grain. Borealis Breads purchases 60,000 pounds of fresh, organic whole-wheat flour from a group of northern Maine grain growers, to star in a signature bread that contains only wheat, water and salt. Meanwhile, others in the state are growing different varieties of wheat, oats and corn for their distinctive flavors and regional suitability.
URL: http://www.motherearthnews.com/article/2154/1/3/
Related ATTRA Publication: Grain Processing

Family Cheese Company Exemplifies Place-based Foods
National Public Radio's Morning Edition recently carried a feature on Maytag Farms blue cheese production. The family-owned dairy farm's employees make a million pounds of cheese a year by hand in Newton, Iowa. The operation typifies "place-based" food production that has been garnering increased interest in Iowa and elsewhere.
URL: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4245627

Essayist Calls for Bipartisan Effort to Help Farm-to-School Programs
An essay featured in the Michigan Land Use Institute Web site calls for a bipartisan Congressional effort to fund provisions of the federal Child Nutrition Act that would bolster farm-to-school efforts. " If funded, the bill would provide two-year, $100,000 grants to approximately 100 school districts annually," writes Diane Conners. "With the money, schools could buy food from local farms, purchase equipment to store and process it, plan menus based on seasonally available food, train staff, develop business relationships with farmers, and improve food and farm education programs." And despite an increasingly difficult funding picture, Conners is optimistic because the measure's " common-sense approach to healthy farms and kids transcends the sharp liberal-conservative divide in politics."
URL: http://www.mlui.org/growthmanagement/fullarticle.asp?fileid=16783

Northeast SARE Administrative Council Nominees Sought
Nominations will be accepted for three openings to begin this summer on the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Administrative Council. Administrative Council members set program policy, review and evaluate grant applications, and offer their expertise in shaping overall program direction. The three positions to be filled are for a representative from an organization involved in rural development, a representative from the business community providing support to farmers, and a representative from agricultural lending or from a commercial bank with strong agricultural interests. Nominations for these openings should consist of a brief description of the candidate, a statement of why he or she would be a good addition to the Northeast SARE Administrative Council, a profile of the organization the candidate works for, and specifics on where the candidate can be reached. Send nominations via email by February 4 to Fred Magdoff, Regional Coordinator, Northeast SARE, nesare@uvm.edu.

For more news and resources, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site: Breaking News section: http://attra.ncat.org/management/geninfo.html.

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Funding Opportunities

2005 Organic Center Proposal Preparation Small Grant Program
The Organic Center for Education and Promotion is offering grants up to $5,000 for research teams working to develop proposals for submission to public or private research programs. A major goal of the Center’s small grant proposal preparation program is to encourage scientists carrying out research focusing on one dimension of the performance of farming systems and/or food quality and safety to diversify and broaden research teams, experimental designs, and laboratory methods to allow additional hypotheses to be tested relevant to the actual or potential future benefits of organic food and farming systems. Letters of application may be submitted to the Center at any time during 2005 and may support the preparation of a proposal for submission in a 2006 program cycle.
URL: http://www.organic-center.org/science.htm?articleid=53

Conservation Innovation Grants RFP
The purpose of Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) is to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production.  CIG projects are expected to lead to the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches (such as market-based systems) into NRCS technical manuals or guides, or to the private sector. NRCS will accept applications for single- or multi-year projects, not to exceed three years, submitted from eligible entities, including Federally-recognized Indian Tribes, State and local governments, and non-governmental organizations and individuals. A total of $15 million is available to fund an estimated 40 grants. Applications are due by March 28, 2005.
URL: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/cig/

Food and Ag Sciences Fellowships Research Travel Allowances
CSREES announces the availability of grant funds and requests applications for the Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate Fellowships Grants Program - Special International Study or Thesis/Dissertation Research Travel Allowances (Fellowships-IRTA) for fiscal year (FY) 2005 to provide support for USDA Fellows to conduct thesis/dissertation research or to undertake studies at a site outside of the United States. The amount available for support of this program in FY 2005 is approximately $100,000. Applications are due September 30, 2005.
URL: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/funding/rfas/national_needs_intl.html

For additional funding opportunities, visit http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.

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Coming Events

Farming for the Future Conference
February 3-5, 2005
State College, Pennsylvania
This annual conference sponsored by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) brings together an audience of over 1,400 farmers, processors, consumers, students, environmentalists, and business and community leaders. Workshops, speakers, a marketplace and youth programming are included in the conference.
URL: http://www.pasafarming.org/conferences/confinfo.htm

2005 Midwest Small Farm Conference
February 12, 2005
Greencastle, Indiana
"Food for Health" is touted as a premier educational event for organic, natural and biological farmers and consumers who choose to eat food produced in this manner. Sessions on production and marketing are planned.
URL: http://www.sustainableearth.net/conferenceprogram.htm

ASAP Marketing Opportunities for Farmers Conference
February 26, 2005
Swannanoa, North Carolina
Local markets are a growing and promising outlet for area farmers. Join the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), local farmers, agriculture professionals, and food representatives from diverse marketing areas for a day-long conference on marketing.
URL: http://www.asapconnections.org/special/marketing/2005Marketing.htm

More events at http://attra.ncat.org/cgi-bin/event/calendar.cgi.

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives Available Online
Digital versions of recent Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are now available online. ATTRAnews is the bi-monthly newsletter of ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
URL: http://attra.ncat.org/newsletter/archives.html

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home pageThe National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is the Web site of the ATTRA project created and managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), and funded under a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Visit the NCAT Web site for more information on our sustainable agriculture projects.

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