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Weekly Harvest Newsletter


Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 4, 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
* Webcast Available of 2007 Farm Bill Discussion
* New Publication on Organic Transitions in California
* Group Receives Money to Research Colony Collapse Disorder
* Handbook of Forage and Rangeland Insects Now Available
* Agriculture and Climate Change
* Vineyards Go Biodynamic


Funding Opportunities
* New Mexico Specialty Crops Funding
* New York Conservation Innovation Grant
* Colorado Agricultural International Trade Promotion Program


Coming Events
* BioCycle West Coast Conference
* The Role of Raised Beds in the Farm Organism
* Forestry on the Grow Conference



News & Resources

Webcast Available of 2007 Farm Bill Discussion
Author Michael Pollan moderates this discussion of the 2007 U.S. Farm Bill. Pollan thinks this could be the year that the bill will inspire widespread heated national public debate. 700 people attended this event, which was presented by the UC Berkeley School of Journalism. Speakers include Dan Imhoff, author of Food Fight: A Citizen's Guide to the Farm Bill; George Naylor, Iowa corn farmer and president of the National Family Farm Coalition; Ann Cooper, Director of Nutrition Services for the Berkeley, California, school system; Carlos Marentes, founder of the Sin Fronteras Border Agricultural Workers Project; and Ken Cook, president of Environmental Working Group. A webcast is available to watch the full discussion.

New Publication on Organic Transitions in California
The California Institute for Rural Studies has just published Conventional, Mixed and "Deregistered" Organic Farmers: Entry Barriers and Reasons for Exiting Organic Production in California (PDF/174.5 KB). Organic agriculture accounts for less than 1% of California farmland and approximately 2% of all farms. The report investigates why growth rates of approximately 20% in the organic food sector have not been accompanied by similar growth in organic farms and farmland.

Group Receives Money to Research Colony Collapse Disorder
The National Honey Board (NHB) has awarded an additional $100,000 to the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) Working Group. In late 2006, some beekeepers began reporting large losses in honey bee colonies. Although bee experts have identified several possible causes, a prevailing theory has yet to emerge. The CCD Working Group is composed of university faculty researchers, state regulatory officials, cooperative extension educators and industry representatives who are working to better understand Colony Collapse Disorder and find ways to prevent further loses from CCD.

Handbook of Forage and Rangeland Insects Now Available
Handbook of Forage and Rangeland Insects is a comprehensive text that examines agricultural pest management from all angles magnifying practical field strategies for growers, updating growers on the latest protection techniques, and preventing needless crop loss as a result of outdated pest control procedures. This book will help individuals (producers, land managers, consultants, extension personnel, researches, teachers, and students) to identify arthropods and to outline methods for the management of both beneficial and harmful species.

Agriculture and Climate Change
How can managers of agricultural operations reduce their greenhouse gas emissions? What opportunities exist under the Conservation Title of the 2007 Farm Bill to enhance climate change mitigation opportunities from the U.S. agricultural sector? A new report from the World Resources Institute analyzes these questions and makes four policy recommendations linking farm energy, conservation and climate change. The report was written by Evan Branosky and Suzie Greenhalgh.

Vineyards Go Biodynamic
Many viticulturists are turning to biodynamic practices for their vineyards. Many advocates say that wines produced from grapes grown under biodynamic conditions have more vibrant flavors and longer cellar lives, and better represent the "spirit" of the earth in which they were grown. The Capital Times reports there are more than 300 biodynamic wineries worldwide, with about 50 of those in the U.S.

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Funding Opportunities

New Mexico Specialty Crops Funding
The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) announced that funding will be available under the New Mexico Specialty Crops Program. Funds are available to New Mexico organizations and individuals that have a long-term commitment to improving the economic viability of New Mexico's rural economy or have projects with a significant value added potential. The Specialty Crops Act provides limited funding for marketing projects, promotional activities, and specialty crop production demonstrations for high-value specialty crops. High-value products are agricultural crops which have a value-added component, are unique, provide alternatives to existing crops, promote sustainable development, and have potential to enhance New Mexico's rural economy.
Proposals are due May 15, 2007.

New York Conservation Innovation Grant
The New York Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) requests applications for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. Grants up to $75,000 will be awarded.
Proposals are due June 1, 2007.

Colorado Agricultural International Trade Promotion Program
The Colorado Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Colorado Economic Development Commission, has developed the Agricultural International Trade Promotion Program (AITPP). The purpose of this program is to increase exports of Colorado food and agricultural products by encouraging greater participation of Colorado companies in international trade and promotion events. Under the AITPP, the Markets Division of the Colorado Department of Agriculture will reimburse to the successful applicant up to fifty percent (50%) of expenses directly attributable to the applicant's participation in the trade show (up to $1,750 per show). Reimbursable direct expenses include only those expenses attributable to promoting agricultural and food products which originate within the state of Colorado.
Proposals are due December 31, 2007.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

BioCycle West Coast Conference
April 16-18, 2007
San Diego, California

Composting, organics recycling and renewable energy are covered by this conference. Specific topics include food safety and compost pathogen sampling protocols, large-scale digester systems for dairies and food processors, agricultural waste management, and more.


The Role of Raised Beds in the Farm Organism
April 21, 2007
Chestnut Ridge, New York

The Pfeiffer Center presents the first in a series of spring workshops. This comprehensive workshop covers the principles and practical details of biodynamic raised bed field and garden vegetable production. The workshop is hands-on. Participants will experience handwork methods and work up to larger scale tractor techniques.


Forestry on the Grow Conference
May 9-11, 2007
Wagoner, Oklahoma

Forestry on the Grow is the 12th Annual Oklahoma Forest Utilization Conference and Equipment Exposition for Exploring Opportunities and New Technologies for Natural Resources Management and the Wood Products Industry. The purpose of the conference and expo is sharing information with those currently involved in the forest industry and those considering opportunities in this growing segment of the economy.


> More Events

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