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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 13, 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
* State Drops Organic Certification Program
* Farmers' Markets Deliver Profit to Farmers
* Biodiesel Enthusiasm at High Pitch
* Survey Shows Lack of Knowledge on GM Foods
* New Video Highlights Sustainable Food Choices
* Research Addresses Management of Sheep and Goat Parasite

Funding Opportunities
* Grow Wisconsin Dairy Grants
* Water Conservation Field Services Program
* Western SARE Research and Education Grant Program

Coming Events
* Rural Tourism Conference
* Organic Basics Workshop
* A Comprehensive Approach to Farm Business Succession Planning Workshop


News & Resources

State Drops Organic Certification Program
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has dropped its organic certification program despite strong growth in the organic sector and garnered outrage from program supporters, according to an AP article carried by the CentreDaily. Under the program, organic farmers paid $100 to have their operations certified by a state inspector. Now, farmers will have to pay private companies anywhere from $500 to $1,000 to have their crops and livestock certified as organic. Missouri also cut the state's demonstration program for sustainable agriculture.
URL: http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/business/

Farmers' Markets Deliver Profit to Farmers
USA Today recently covered a boom in farmers' markets in the United States, and what they mean financially for the farmers who participate in them. By direct marketing to customers, farmers receive a much higher return on their produce sales. Though a small part of overall food sales, farmers' markets may be playing a critical role in keeping small farms in business, helping to preserve green space and working farms in urban areas near cities. However appealing, the system is fragile, warns the article: even successful, diverse market farms can fall victim to developers as land prices rise and if consumers opt for cheaper, non-local food.
URL: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-04-07-farmers_x.htm

Biodiesel Enthusiasm at High Pitch
A biodiesel bus toured the state of Michigan on April 11, says Michigan Ag Connection, highlighting interest in biodiesel fuel made from vegetable oils or animal fats. The state's Department of Agriculture director joined the tour, commenting on the potential for the alternative fuel to provide value-added opportunities for Michigan farmers. Meanwhile, in Iowa, so many biodiesel ventures are underway that one national observer called the situation "biodiesel fever," according to Iowa Ag Connection. Numerous plants are under construction in the state, spurred in part by a biodiesel tax incentive. Representatives of the Iowa Soybean Promotion Board and the National Biodiesel Board applaud enthusiasm for the fuel, but caution investors not to get too far ahead of market demand for biodiesel. With production capacity expected to be above 100 million gallons by the end of 2005, supply could outstrip demand unless conventional petroleum prices soar higher.

Survey Shows Lack of Knowledge on GM Foods
A recent survey conducted by the Rutgers Food Policy Institute shows that Americans are uninformed about genetically modified (GM) foods, though such foods have been on the market for over a decade. According to an article in the Free New Mexican, the Rutgers survey found that less than half the people interviewed knew that GM foods were sold in supermarkets. Roughly 75 percent of processed foods in the U.S. now contain some GM ingredients. On the other hand, many respondents believe GM chicken (61%) and GM rice (45%) are already on the market, though neither product is available for sale. Titled Americans and GM Food: Knowledge, Opinion and Interest in 2004 (PDF 264 kb), the survey was the third in a series of studies examining public perception of GM foods in the U.S.
URL: http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/11869.html

New Video Highlights Sustainable Food Choices
The Sierra Club's National Sustainable Consumption Committee has a new campaign to promote sustainable food choices. The group has created a 15-minute animated educational and entertaining video about sustainable food production titled "The True Cost of Food." The campaign, video, and an accompanying discussion guide are designed to promote more informed choices about how the way we eat affects our environment and our quality of life. Free copies of the animated short may be downloaded or ordered online. Hard copies are available in VHS or DVD format.
URL: http://www.truecostoffood.org/

Research Addresses Management of Sheep and Goat Parasite
Joan Burke, Research Animal Scientist at the USDA, ARS, Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center in Booneville, Arkansas has published a paper on her work with Management of Barber pole Worm in Sheep and Goats in the Southern U.S. (PDF / 23 kb) This parasitic nematode can lead to disease and death of sheep and goats, particularly in hot, humid climates during the summer months. The parasite has been developing resistance to pharmaceutical dewormers. Burke's research looked at alternatives for management of the parasite, including selective treatment of herds to reduce development of resistance, forage choice and supplemental feeding, and improved drenching practices when chemical dewormers are used.

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

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Funding Opportunities

Grow Wisconsin Dairy Grants
As part of the $2 million Value Added Dairy Initiative, the Grow Wisconsin Dairy Team is offering several grant opportunities. In the Value Chain Development Pilot Grant Program, grants of up to $50,000 may be awarded to dairy business entities who are 1) introducing new dairy products or entering new markets and who demonstrate that the new product or market has potential for increased profitability; or 2) implementing innovation or efficiencies in their supply chain that have potential to significantly reduce costs. In the Local Dairy Development Pilot Grant Program, grants of up to $25,000 may be awarded to local organizations that propose programs to enhance the development of modernized dairy farming in the area served by the local organization. In the Dairy Farm Grazing or Organic Transition Pilot Program, grants of up to $7,500 may be awarded for professional services to develop financial or management plans for new or existing dairy farmers transitioning to or enhancing organic or intensively managed grazing operations. Applications may be submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection at any time. The department will review applications in the order in which they are received. Grant monies will be awarded until program funds are exhausted.
URL: http://www.growwisconsindairy.org/apply_grants/default.asp

Water Conservation Field Services Program
The Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, is making available approximately $450,000 in funding for grants and cooperative agreements for demonstration programs and pilot projects to promote and implement improved water management and conservation.  Funding may also be used for planning, designing, and constructing improvements that will conserve water, increase water use efficiency, or enhance water management through measurement or automation, at existing water supply projects within the 17 western States. Grant awards of up to $25,000 are offered. Applications are due by June 30, 2005.
URL: http://www.fedgrants.gov/Applicants/DOI/BOR/UC820/05-SF-40-

Western SARE Research and Education Grant Program
The USDA’s Western Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (Western-SARE) program is requesting proposals for Research and Education Program grants. The Western SARE Administrative Council encourages projects that: recognize the importance of whole-farm or whole-ranch systems; assess multiple components; have impacts and outcomes that can be identified, measured and disseminated; address weak links or information gaps in a whole-farm or whole-ranch system; integrate outcomes back into such systems through education and outreach; and truly incorporate research with education to accomplish SARE goals. Preproposals are required and must be received by 5:00 p.m. MDT on June 6, 2005.
URL: http://wsare.usu.edu/grants/

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

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Coming Events

Rural Tourism Conference
April 25-26, 2005
Deming, New Mexico

The Rural Tourism Conference assembles tourism professionals from a host of rural tourism specialty areas, including agri-tourism. Jane Eckert, author, "Fresh Grown Promotions, Easy Ideas To Make Money On Your Farm," and Roger Brooks, author, "The 25 Immutable Rules of Successful Tourism" will highlight this year's conference key workshop presentations.
URL: http://www.nmsu.edu/~redtt/Resources/html/AM%20link%20list.html

Organic Basics Workshop
April 26, 2005
Algoma, Wisconsin

This free evening workshop for farmers and gardeners, "Organic Basics: Introduction to Organic Production and Certification," is offered by MOSES and University of Wisconsin Extension.
URL: http://www.mosesorganic.org/misc/calendar.htm

A Comprehensive Approach to Farm Business Succession Planning Workshop
May 16 or 17, 2005
Chesapeake or Wakefield, Virginia

The North Carolina Farm Transition Network, Inc. in cooperation with North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension and Virginia Tech is conducting workshops on farm business succession planning. These workshops will provide an overview of the farm transition process for farm family members interested in learning more about the efficient transfer of farm operations between generations. The workshops will also help aspiring and beginning farmers interested in understanding the issues surrounding their partnering with an established operator. Farm business professional advisors are encouraged to attend to learn more about issues affecting their clients.
URL: http://www.ncftn.org/workshop_registration.html

More events at: http://attra.ncat.org/calendar/index.php.

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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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