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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 4, 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
* USDA Offers Policy Statements on Controversial NOP Items
* Natural Meat Retailer Announces 'Eco-Project 2015'
* SARE Publishes 2005 Highlights
* Biofungicide Registered for Rust Control on Organic Soybeans
* Free Listings Available on New Agritourism Web Site
* Extension Agents Offer Forage Strategies

Funding Opportunities
* North Dakota Farmers' Market Grants
* Food Quality Protection Act /Strategic Agricultural Initiative, Region 8
* Minnesota Sustainable Agriculture Loan Program

Coming Events
* Weed Control on Organic Farms Workshop
* Nebraska Ranch Practicum
* Tree Fruit Production and Eco-Tourism, Tour of Fieldstone Farms


News & Resources

USDA Offers Policy Statements on Controversial NOP Items
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program (NOP) has responded publicly to several recommendations made by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) related to fishmeal, inerts, antibiotics, and the NOP's scope of authority. The NOP will allow fishmeal preserved with natural substances to be used as a feed additive or feed supplement and will allow only approved known inert ingredients in pesticide formulations. Antibiotics will continue to be prohibited for use in organically produced livestock. The NOP also determined that personal care products may not use the USDA organic seal at this time, although individual ingredients may be listed as NOP-certified. The Organic Consumers Association has expressed concern that the new directive will reduce the demand for organic ingredients and feed stocks from organic farmers. Read the NOP's complete policy response (PDF 45 kb).
URL: http://www.ota.com/news/press/171.html

Natural Meat Retailer Announces 'Eco-Project 2015'
Coleman Natural Foods, the largest natural meat company in the United States, has announced the launch of a decade-long conservation program, "The Coleman Eco-Project 2015," to address the critical need to protect U.S. working farms and ranches and restore America's forests. Coleman is partnering with American Farmland Trust, the U.S. Forest Service, and American Forests in the effort. Coleman has made a commitment to plant 1 million trees and challenged companies and individual citizens to help plant 9 million more. The U.S. Forest Service will match each tree planted by Coleman, its retailers and customers. In addition, The Coleman Eco-Project 2015 will work with American Farmland Trust's Education and Outreach Project to undertake an education and training program to protect 100 million acres of working farms and ranches. This partnership will produce the Rocky Mountain Agricultural Landowners' Guide to Conservation and Sustainability in Fall 2005.
URL: http://www.farmland.org/news_2005/042905_corp.htm

SARE Publishes 2005 Highlights
Before adopting promising new agricultural strategies, producers want evidence of success. To that end, the 2005 SARE Highlights, a new 16-page publication from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, features a dozen practical, profit-enhancing ideas that have been researched and tested at universities and on farms and ranches across the nation. Implementing innovative pest management measures, raising meat for unique markets, developing niche agroforestry products, and demonstrating soil management techniques are just a few of the successful strategies highlighted in this publication.
URL: http://www.sare.org/highlights/2005/

Biofungicide Registered for Rust Control on Organic Soybeans
AgraQuest, Inc. has announced the launch of Ballad™ Biofungicide for control of Asian soybean rust on organic soybeans and other legumes, according to a PR Newswire press release. Ballad is based on a naturally occurring patented strain of the bacterial species Bacillus pumilus, which produces natural pesticidal compounds that destroy the cell walls of the rust pathogen. Ballad is AgraQuest's first entry into the large-acreage row crops. To date, the company has targeted high value fruits, nuts, vegetables, and home gardens. While there are several chemicals that are approved or under emergency exemption for control of soybean rust in conventional soybeans, Ballad is currently the only product approved for organic soybeans.
URL: http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/

Free Listings Available on New Agritourism Web Site
New York small farmer Chris Grant has launched a new Web site that serves as a directory for agritourism farms. Agritourism World (www.agritourismworld.com) features free listings for farms, farmhouses, ranches, B&Bs, wineries, vegetable or fruit farms, and other land-based enterprises. The site also features agritourism news, an agritourism blog, and a comprehensive search engine to help tourists find farms by keyword, location, or a wide range of categories, including food production type, animal type, amenities, activities, and more.
Related ATTRA Publication: Entertainment Farming & Agri-Tourism

Extension Agents Offer Forage Strategies
Two University of Illinois Extension specialists recently discussed the problem of winterkill in alfalfa fields and offered strategies to mitigate the damage. According to Extension crops educator Jim Morrison, "Factors that contribute to winterkill are lack of snow cover, lack of crop residue, lack of winter-hardinesss, low soil fertility, and low soil pH." Affected plants have soft, fibrous crowns and taproots, and a distinct brown line is often visible across the taproot a few inches below the soil surface. Dairy producers, in particular, need to understand the implications of winterkill. If an alfalfa crop is damaged, sorghum-sudangrass hybrids, corn silage, red clover, or small grains may be planted for forage, depending on the season.
URL: http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/news/stories/news3142.html

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

North Dakota Farmers' Market Grants
Three grant programs to promote farmers' markets within the state are now available through the North Dakota Farmers' Market and Growers Association (NDFMGA). Established farmers' markets can apply for a $100 grant for advertising, entertainment and point-of-sale materials to promote a specific event. They can also apply for a $200 grant to purchase signage. Farmers' markets in their first year of operation can apply for a $300 market development grant. The grant can be used for advertising, permanent signage, printing, licenses and permits, and canopies. Grants are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The deadline for applications is May 31, 2005. More information and application forms are available from Donna Thronson at the North Dakota Department of Agriculture at (800) 242-7535 or dthronson@state.nd.us.
URL: http://www.northdakotaagconnection.com/story-state.cfm?Id=287&yr=2005

Food Quality Protection Act /Strategic Agricultural Initiative, Region 8
EPA Region 8 is soliciting proposals to help implement the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) and to support efforts by the agricultural community to “transition” to using less pesticides and lower risk pesticides in food production. The program supports grants for education, extension, demonstration, and implementation projects for FQPA transition and reduced-risk practices for pest management in agriculture. The EPA Region 8 Strategic Agricultural Initiative anticipates having approximately $92,000 in 2005 to award to eligible applicants. Projects up to $60,000 will be considered for funding. Grant funds are available to public and private non-profit organizations, including commodity groups/associations, farmers groups, individual farmers, State agencies, Tribes, local governments, universities and colleges. All proposals must be postmarked on or before June 24, 2005.
URL: http://www.fedgrants.gov/Applicants/EPA/OGD/GAD/EPA-GRANTS-

Minnesota Sustainable Agriculture Loan Program
The purpose of the Minnesota Sustainable Agriculture Loan Program is to enable farmers to adopt practices that will lead them to a more sustainable farming system. The loans are for capital purchases, which enhance the environmental and economic viability of the farm. Eligible purchases may include: rotational grazing systems, tree plantings, on-farm energy production, composting equipment, solar-powered equipment, low-cost livestock housing, hoop buildings, breeding livestock, processing equipment, no herbicide weed control, equipment to handle cover crops, alternative fertilizer management equipment, soil conserving equipment, and more. The maximum loan per farm family is $25,000. Applications are accepted and reviewed throughout the year.
URL: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/esap/esaploan.htm

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

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Coming Events

Weed Control on Organic Farms Workshop
May 26, 2005
Bolinas, California

The challenge of controlling weeds on organic row crop operations is the subject of this workshop, "The War on Weeds." The presenters will provide information and options for organic and sustainable farmers to battle the ongoing struggle of weed control in organic operations. The workshop will include demonstrations of flaming and other mechanized weed control tactics. The workshop will be held in the field at Star Route Farms.
URL: http://cemarin.ucdavis.edu/Custom_Program600/

Nebraska Ranch Practicum
June 14-15, July 14, September 7-8, November 10, 2005 and January 4-5, 2006
Lincoln, Nebraska

The Nebraska Ranch Practicum is a three-season, hands-on educational program designed to give participants the skills and education needed in today’s complex ranching industry. By attending the Practicum, participants will: improve their decision-making skills needed to manage more efficiently; enhance stewardship of natural resources; improve critical thinking skills. Participants must attend at least 7 of 8 sessions.
URL: http://www.panhandle.unl.edu/ranchpracticum/

Tree Fruit Production and Eco-Tourism, Tour of Fieldstone Farms
August 1, 2005
Overbrook, Kansas

This evening event is part of the Growing Growers series of workshops. For more information, contact 913-488-1270 or growers@ksu.edu.
URL: http://www.growinggrowers.org/workshop.htm

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

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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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