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Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 18, 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
* Leopold Center Releases 2006 Report
* Major Study Explores Causes Of Cancer Among Farm Families and Commercial Pesticide Applicators
* Local Food Store Revitalizes Economy
* Great Lakes Agritourism Experience
* Oneida Tribe Offers Organic Take On Farming
* Agriculture Market Concentration is Increasing

Funding Opportunities
* Value-Added Producer Grant
* Connecticut Agriculture Viability Grant
* Rhode Island Conservation Innovation Grant

Coming Events
* How to Organize a Local Food Cooperative Workshop
* Farm-to-Fork A Celebration of Local Foods and Local Farms
* Livestock Industry and Renewable Fuels Conference

News & Resources

Leopold Center Releases 2006 Report
New and thriving research programs, major leadership changes, and significant progress by research initiatives marked the past fiscal year at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and are summarized in the Center's new annual report. Balancing Change and Sustainability (PDF/3.31 MB) showcases the Center's long-term commitment to organic agriculture research conducted by Iowa State University, and the Center's continuing support of on-farm investigations carried out in cooperation with Practical Farmers of Iowa. The Center also collaborated on a critical ISU agroecology project and the stateís budding grape and wine program. The publication also reports on the exciting work done by the Centerís research initiatives, both their competitive grant research efforts and special projects in policy, ecology, and marketing and food systems.

Major Study Explores Causes Of Cancer Among Farm Families and Commercial Pesticide Applicators
Over 89,000 individuals are participating in the Agricultural Health Study, directed by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Research suggests that while agricultural workers are generally healthier than the general U.S. population, they may have higher rates of some cancers, including leukemia, myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and cancers of the lip, stomach, skin, brain, and prostate. Other conditions, like asthma, neurologic disease, and adverse reproductive outcomes may also be related to agricultural exposures. Begun in 1994, this long-term study looks at farm families and pesticide applicators in Iowa and North Carolina. Many papers with preliminary findings have already been published and are available on the website.

Local Food Store Revitalizes Economy
The opening of a local food store has help revitalize the economy in Woodbury County, Iowa. In December Floyd Boulevard Local Foods Market opened. It is located next door to Sioux City's Organic Farmer's Market, the store is close to the Interstate and it is part of the downtown revitalization work going on in Sioux City. Agri News reports that the market has 15 vendors that bring items in. The items vary from milk in glass bottles to grassfed beef to pickled garlic. There are handmade items such as soaps, rugs and candles. Rob Marqusee, the county director of rural economic development, said "In Woodbury County we're revitalizing the rural economy by putting people back on the farm producing food."

Great Lakes Agritourism Experience
Michigan Farm Marketing and Agri-Tourism (MI-FMAT) Association, The Fruit Growers News and The Vegetable Growers News are sponsoring the Great Lakes Agritourism Experience, a farm market bus tour set for June 12-13. Michigan Ag Connection reports the tour will visit several of southwestern Michigan's finest farm markets and agritourism operations in what promises to be an engaging and educational experience for those interested in learning more about the ins and outs of managing a successful and profitable farm market or agritourism business. The tour will provide a forum to share ideas and network while visiting a variety of farm markets and agritourism operations throughout the state.

Oneida Tribe Offers Organic Take On Farming
The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports on a culturally based agricultural program of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. Located on an 83-acre certified organic site with a farm, cannery and retail store, the program began as a food processing and preservation center in the 1970s. At that time the community's women wanted to provide the Oneida community with the ability to can and preserve its own garden products. They obtained a state grant to establish a canning facility. Over the years, the program has grown to provide more services to the community. Manager Jeff Metoxen says that a particular focus of the farm has been the production of white corn, "One of the Three Sisters we are responsible for."

Agriculture Market Concentration is Increasing
Agricultural market concentration is rising steadily, according to a study released by National Farmers Union (NFU). NFU released the findings of a NFU-commissioned study conducted by Drs. Mary Hendrickson and William Heffernan of the University of Missouri on the concentration of agricultural markets. The statistics revealed increased concentration in every industry except ethanol production. "This study supports what we have long known," NFU President Tom Buis said. "In the absence of public policy intervention, consolidated and non-competitive markets flourish, while independent family farmers disappear. Congress must take action to restore competition in the marketplace. The 2007 Farm Bill is the perfect opportunity to make that happen."

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Value-Added Producer Grant
The primary objective of this grant program is to help eligible independent producers of agricultural commodities, agricultural producer groups, farmer and rancher cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures develop strategies to create marketing opportunities and to help develop business plans for viable marketing opportunities. These grants will facilitate greater participation in emerging markets and new markets for value-added products. Grants will only be awarded if projects or ventures are determined to be economically viable and sustainable.
Proposals are due May 16, 2007.

Connecticut Agriculture Viability Grant
The Agriculture Viability Grants Program (AVGP) encompasses two separate grants. The first grant is called the Farm Transition Grant. Producers, non-profits, and agriculture cooperatives may apply for this grant and may receive up to $50,000 matching. Non-profits who apply may use in-kind services as their match. The second grant is called the Farm Viability Grant and may only be used by municipalities, regional planning agencies, and association of municipalities.
Proposals are due November 16, 2007.

Rhode Island Conservation Innovation Grant
The purpose of CIG is to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. 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. CIG funds projects targeting innovative on-the-ground conservation, including pilot projects and field demonstrations.
Proposals are due May 18, 2007.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

How to Organize a Local Food Cooperative Workshop
May 17-19, 2007
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Food Cooperative will host a three day workshop on how to organize and operate a local food cooperative internet-based order and delivery system. Topics to be covered include organizing campaigns, producer issues, financial accounting, computer systems, customer and volunteer issues. The event will be held in conjunction with the May delivery day of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, and attendees will participate in all aspects of that activity.

Farm-to-Fork A Celebration of Local Foods and Local Farms
May 22-23, 2007
Raleigh, North Carolina

Carlo Petrini, founder of the international Slow Food Movement, will be the featured speaker at the inaugural Sustainable Agriculture Lecture of North Carolina's Center for Environmental Farming Systems. Petrini will speak on the Slow Food philosophy of good, clean, and fair food: that the food we eat should taste good, that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health, and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work.

Livestock Industry and Renewable Fuels Conference
May 23-24, 2007
Urbana, Illinois

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will hold a major conference on the impact of using soybeans and corn for fuel production on the size of the livestock and poultry industries. Major topics will include synergies between the livestock industry and renewable fuels, new developments in processing grains for renewable fuels, and co-product feeds in swine, poultry, dairy, and beef cattle.

> More Events

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