Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - May 25, 2005
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
* Study Shows Antibiotic Use in Chickens Contributes to Resistance
* Shiitake Mushroom Farm Showcases Sustainable Practices
* Value-added Pork Breeds Success
* 'Select Michigan' Program Promotes State Food
* GM Food Study Raises Human Health Concerns
* Editorial Supports Development of Regional Food Policies
* Native Plant Conservation Initiative
* Energy Trust Biomass Energy RFP
* Pennsylvania Public Grazing Education
* Range Field Day: Sustaining the Land, Sustaining the People
* CSA Budgeting and Labor Management Workshop
* Midwest Specialty Grains Conference & Trade Show
News & Resources
Study Shows Antibiotic Use in Chickens Contributes to Resistance
Mounting evidence indicates that the use of antibiotics in the poultry
industry is contributing to antibiotic resistance in strains of
foodborne bacteria that infect humans. Campylobacter is one bacterium
that causes food poisoning as a result of eating undercooked contaminated chicken.
A new study published in the May 2005 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives looked
at Campylobacter isolates in chicken products from four companies: two
that had once used the antibiotic fluoroquinolone for flock-wide treatment and
two that never had. Researchers found antibiotic-free products were not more
likely to carry Campylobacter, that a high percentage of conventional
brands were contaminated with fluoroquinolone-resistant bacteria, and that conventional
brands had significantly higher odds of carrying resistant strains of Campylobacter compared
with antibiotic-free products. The abstract and full
article are available online.
Shiitake Mushroom Farm Showcases Sustainable Practices
The Columbia Missourian recently ran a feature on Ozark Forest
Mushrooms, highlighting the sustainable practices used by growers
Nicola Macpherson and Dan Hellmuth. Ozark Forest Mushrooms produces
shiitake mushrooms on oak wood harvested from their own land. Some
trees are cut each year on the property, as part of an agroforestry
plan. The logs are sold and the branch wood is used to grow mushrooms.
When the logs can no longer grow mushrooms, they are used as fuel to
heat a greenhouse that helps extend the farm's mushroom-producing
season. The farm is certified organic.
Related ATTRA Publication: Mushroom
Cultivation and Marketing
Value-added Pork Breeds Success
Small-scale hog producers are seeking out niche
markets in order to compete in an industry dominated
by large-scale production and a few big packers,
according to an AP article carried by Forbes. Hog
farmers are engaging in direct marketing to consumers,
offering natural and organic pork, and assuring that
their hogs are raised humanely in order to capture
markets not likely to be filled by larger producers.
Farmers also are raising more heirloom breeds, such as
Berkshire hogs, which grow more slowly and produce
smaller litters but fetch higher prices at market.
'Select Michigan' Program Promotes State Food
Michigan has launched its 2005 "Select Michigan" promotion aimed at increasing
awareness and consumption of Michigan-grown, processed or manufactured food products,
says Michigan Ag Connection. Select Michigan encourages purchase of state agricultural
products as a means of strengthening local economies, supporting farm businesses,
and preserving the state's agricultural heritage. The program uses a logo to
help consumers identify agricultural products originating in the state. This
year Select Michigan is working with retailers to promote the state's soybeans,
asparagus, peaches, carrots and apples, and will also sponsor a December promotion
of holiday foods from the state.
GM Food Study Raises Human Health Concerns
Confidential internal research carried out by Monsanto has raised
concerns that eating genetically modified (GM) corn may harm human
health, reveals The Independent. The research shows rats fed a heavy
diet of GM corn developed smaller kidneys and changes in the
composition of their blood. The same changes were not observed in a
control group of rats fed non-GM food. The disclosures come as the
European Union prepares to vote on whether to allow the sale of MON
863, a product that is genetically modified to protect against corn
rootworm. Monsanto has dismissed the furor over the study results,
according to Reuters,
claiming the differences are inconsequential. Scientists and British ministers,
however, are calling for further studies. MON 863 has been grown commercially
in the United States since 2003.
Editorial Supports Development of Regional Food Policies
An editorial by Neil Peirce in the Houston Chronicle asks whether
America is ready for a metropolitan agriculture policy and examines
some of the issues that impact the answer. Peirce notes that Rep. Earl
Blumenauer, D-Ore., has called for a shift in federal farm subsidies
from supporting big commodity crops to supporting sustainable
agriculture, creating a farmer's market in every community, and
embracing conservation goals. There are several reasons the time is
ripe to support a dramatic restructuring of agricultural policy, argues
Peirce, including a growing demand for fresh local food at
universities, mounting health concerns, and the success of the organic
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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Native Plant Conservation Initiative
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, in partnership with the
Plant Conservation Alliance, is pleased to announce a Request for
Proposals for the 2005 Native Plant Conservation Initiative (NPCI).
Through this initiative, grants of federal dollars will be provided to
non-profit organizations and agencies at all levels of government to
promote the conservation of native plants. NPCI grants are modest,
ranging from $5,000 to $40,000 with an average grant size of $15,000.
It is expected that all grant funds will be matched by non-federal
contributions from project partners. There is a strong preference for
"on-the-ground" projects that involve local communities and citizen volunteers
in the restoration of native plant communities. Projects that include a pollinator
conservation component are also encouraged. Pre-proposals for the next funding
round are due August 15, 2005.
Energy Trust Biomass Energy RFP
Energy Trust of Oregon, Inc., seeks proposals for projects that will
generate electricity from certain biomass resources. Eligible projects
must produce electric power from wood waste, manure digestion, landfill
gas, or other eligible sources of biomass. Projects must be
grid-connected and located in the service territory of Portland General
Electric Co. (PGE) or the Oregon territory of PacifiCorp. Or, if they
are located elsewhere, they must secure a power purchase agreement with
one of those utilities and arrange power delivery. Energy Trust has a
strong preference for Oregon-based projects. Up to $4.7 million in
funding will be available. Round 1 proposals are due June 24, 2005.
Pennsylvania Public Grazing Education
The Natural Resources Conservation Service, Pennsylvania State Office,
is soliciting proposals from interested parties to increase the
awareness of landowners and the general public of the benefits of properly
grazed lands by promoting grazing knowledge throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Under the solicitation, two grants of up to $30,000 can be awarded for entities
to assist the NRCS in educational programs within Pennsylvania, through activities
such as newsletters, a Web site, news releases, field days, and conferences.
Applications must be received by 4:00 PM on June 22, 2005.
additional funding opportunities, visit: http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.
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Range Field Day: Sustaining the Land, Sustaining the People
June 28, 2005
Oregon State University's range field day is a cooperative effort of
the Department of Rangeland Resources and the Eastern Oregon
Agricultural Research Center. Featured presentations include monitoring
riparian zones, new techniques for managing rangelands, impacts of
western juniper on watersheds, and new ideas about how grazing
influences soil compaction. Afternoon topics include riparian grazing
research, managing forests for timber and forage, and an overview of
research on the riparian ecosystems of Catherine Creek.
CSA Budgeting and Labor Management Workshop
June 30, 2005
Glen Rock, Pennsylvania
This event in the PASA Farm-based Education series offers an in-depth
look at how to create a realistic budget, plan for labor and make the
most of volunteers in your CSA. Presenters will provide examples of
record keeping and give tips on managing surplus trading. The event is
hosted by Sproutwood Farm, a 26 acre educational non-profit farm with a
Midwest Specialty Grains Conference & Trade Show
August 23-25, 2005
The Midwest Shippers' Association (MSA), a regional cooperative
association consisting of specialty grain growers and processors, is
hosting the 2nd annual conference, "Enhancing Relationships in the Global Marketplace." Attendees
at the Midwest Specialty Grains Conference will have a great opportunity to meet
a multitude of specialty grain growers, processors and end-users, brought together
to learn from one another and to be exposed to the current trends and challenges
facing the emerging specialty grain industry.
events at: http://attra.ncat.org/calendar/index.php.
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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
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