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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 27, 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.

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News & Resources
* ENACT Tool Offers Sustainable Food System Strategies
* New eXtension Website Launched
* Ohio Polyculture Research Demonstrates Economic Viabililty
* National Ag Law Center Offers Free E-Newsletter
* American Grassfed Association to Certify Meat Under New Grass-Fed Standard
* Project BudBurst Invites Participation in Observing Plants


Funding Opportunities
* National Extension Integrated Pest Management Special Projects Program
* New Mexico Conservation Innovation Grant
* Conservation Innovation Grants - Caribbean Area Component


Coming Events
* The Home Grown Economy 2008 - Connecting Local Foods and Economic Opportunity
* Community, Farm and New Food Systems Conference
* Direct Farm Marketing Workshop



News & Resources

ENACT Tool Offers Sustainable Food System Strategies
With funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Prevention Institute has updated the online Environmental Nutrition and Activity Community Tool (ENACT) tool to include more than 75 strategies that promote both health and a sustainable food system. The discussion of each strategy provides a wealth of information, including available research, promising policies and programs, specific tools, and organizations to assist in implementation efforts.

New eXtension Website Launched
An educational partnership of 74 land-grant universities in the United States has launched eXtension, an interactive learning website delivering research knowledge to the public. Content on the site is organized around resource areas including Community, Family, Farm, and Pest Management. The current farm resources offered relate to Beef Cattle, Dairy, Cotton, Horses, and Livestock and Poultry Environment. Additional resources are being added. eXtension is also offering online learning opportunities, such as a free online webinar on Value Added Products on March 26.

Ohio Polyculture Research Demonstrates Economic Viabililty
Midway through a six-year polyculture study, Ohio State University researcher Joe Kovach is close to gross revenue of $10 per foot row, reports Ohio Ag Connection. Kovach is studying four types of polyculture models, in 16 plots of 44' x 60'. He is growing high-value fruit and vegetable crop combinations with temporal and height variation. Innovations such as high tunnels, raised beds and landscape fabric represent initial investments that deliver paybacks in weed and pest reduction, as well as increased yield. The study is aimed at developing the most efficient and economical layout for intensive mixed plantings on small acreage that could provide food for urban areas.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Scheduling Vegetable Plantings for Continuous Harvest


National Ag Law Center Offers Free E-Newsletter
The National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas is the only agricultural law research and information facility that is independent, national and international in scope, and directly connected to the national agricultural information network. The center has expanded its coverage to include food law. A team of law and research professors, lawyers, other specialists, and graduate assistants from the University of Arkansas School of Law Graduate Program in Agricultural Law make up the centerís staff. Their free bi-monthly e-newsletter provides information about new research and important events in the agricultural and food law communities in the nation and the world. In addition, it fosters a dialogue between subscribers and the center on needed areas for research and information. To subscribe to the e-newsletter go to http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/about/newsletter/

American Grassfed Association to Certify Meat Under New Grass-Fed Standard
The American Grassfed Association (AGA) announced February 20 that its board has voted to start certifying grass-fed meat operations under a new industry-backed standard administered by Food Alliance, according to Sustainable Food News. AGA's grass-fed marketing claim standard exceeds the requirements for USDA's grass-fed standard, and specifies a total forage diet, no confinement, no antibiotics and no added hormones. The story notes that Food Alliance may start inspections under the new grass-fed standard by May.

Project BudBurst Invites Participation in Observing Plants
Project BudBurst is inviting citizen scientists to join in collecting important climate change data on the timing of leafing and flowering for native trees and flowers. The project began its second year of collecting phenological observations on February 15. Citizen science observations and records from the first year of observation were entered into the BudBurst data base. As a result of the pilot field campaign, useful data was collected in a consistent way across the country. Scientists can use the data to learn about the responses of individual plant species to climatic variation locally, regionally, and nationally, and to detect longer-term impacts of climate change by comparing with historical data.

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Funding Opportunities

National Extension Integrated Pest Management Special Projects Program
In fiscal year 2008, the National Extension Integrated Pest Management Special Projects Program (EIPM) will provide funding to advance the goals of the National Roadmap for Integrated Pest Management. EIPM will address priority national needs associated with the design, development, implementation and evaluation of Extension integrated pest management programs. Estimated total program funding is $490,000. Only Cooperative Extension Services at 1862 and 1890 Land-Grant Universities and Colleges are eligible to apply.
Proposals are due April 8, 2008.

New Mexico Conservation Innovation Grant
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) requests applications for the Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. For fiscal year 2008, up to $240,000 is available for the State of New Mexico Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. Qualifiying grants with federal matching components of $5,000 to $75,000 will be considered. Grants require non-federal match to federal funds, which can include both cash and in-kind contributions. New Mexico funds will be awarded through a statewide competitive grants process. Applications are requested from eligible government or non-government organizations or individuals for competitive consideration of grant awards for projects between one and three years in duration. For more information see the New Mexico NRCS web site.
Proposals are due April 15, 2008.

Conservation Innovation Grants - Caribbean Area Component
The NRCS office in the Caribbean Area requests applications for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. This notice announces the availability of up to $275,000 of funds during fiscal year 2008 for the Caribbean CIG program competition.
Proposals are due April 25, 2008.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

The Home Grown Economy 2008 - Connecting Local Foods and Economic Opportunity
March 30-31, 2008
Crookston, Minnesota

This conference is sponsored by Congressman Collin Peterson, with the University of Minnesota Crookston, the Northwest and West Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, the University of Minnesota Extension Service, and the Minnesota Institute of Sustainable Agriculture (MISA). The conference will include speakers addressing issues such as growth in local food economies, retail sales of local foods, and public policy matters, and will offer a showcase of exhibitors related to local foods and economic development.


Community, Farm and New Food Systems Conference
March 27, 2008
Weyers Cave, Virginia

This conference is subtitled "A Vision for Integrating Virginia Agriculture, Local Economies and Healthy Communities." Speakers include Dr. Fred Kirschenmann, Christopher Carpenter of Washington and Lee University, and Dr. Wayne Teel.


Direct Farm Marketing Workshops
April 10-11, 2008
Clarkston, Washington

Rural Roots, University of Idaho Extension and the USDA Risk Management Agency will host a two-day workshop on "Taking Your Sales to the Next Level: Increase Your Farm Direct Marketing Skills." If you are a farmer or rancher looking to start direct marketing or are exploring a new marketing outlet or you are wanting to increase your existing direct market sales, this workshop is for you!


> More Events

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