Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - June 16, 2004
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
* Science Magazine Publishes Special Issue on Soils
* Wendell Berry Speaks on Local Economies and Connection to Place
* Sustainable Ag Comparison Evolves into Conservation Tillage Study
* American Corn Growers Survey Finds Support for Wind Power Incentives
* EU Adopts Plan to Promote Development of Organic Ag Sector
* Report Looks at Role of Small Farms
* EPA Food Quality Protection Act/Strategic Agricultural Initiative Program
* Rural Business-Cooperative Service Value-Added Producer Grants
* RMA Community Outreach and Assistance Partnership Program
* Sustainability Fair 2004
* Rodale Institute Field Day: Building Healthy Soil--Building Healthy Farms
* Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society Summer Symposium
News & Resources
Science Magazine Publishes Special Issue on Soils
The June 11, 2004, issue of Science focuses on "Soils--The Final Frontier." Articles include a feature and reviews on soil ecology, commentary on carbon sequestration in soil, and an article on soil damage. Some of the material is available online, including an interactive map, "Soil and Trouble," that depicts barriers to productive farming posed by soil and climate conditions, including erosion risk--as well as focusing on a few "hot spots" experiencing intense soil degradation. A list of web resources on soils and food security is also available.
Wendell Berry Speaks on Local Economies and Connection to Place
Sojourners magazine is making available online the full text of an interview that associated editor Rose Marie Berger conducted with Wendell Berry early this spring. In the interview Berry, the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and essays, answers questions about the history of his farm, local economic models, genetic engineering, and points from several of his works. Berry also addresses the issue of rural poverty, saying, "You've got to see the connection between the poverty of the people and the impoverishment of the place. If you buy the products, and you don't give an adequate payment in money, then that means that the producer doesn't give adequate care.
Sustainable Ag Comparison Evolves into Conservation Tillage Study
A new location and purpose for a successful 16-year-old farming comparison project at University of California at Davis will be revealed at a field day June 24. The study of alternative practices, which has helped change the way Sacramento Valley farmers grow field crops, has evolved into a farming systems experiment focused on conservation tillage. Some of the most important results from the original Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems project showed where growers can reduce synthetic fertilizer inputs; how to manage cover crops, crop residue and soil organic matter; and how to manage weeds and pests with fewer pesticides, Horwath said. The project, which began in 1988 with funding from SAREP, developed a much clearer understanding of the economic opportunities and limitations of organic farming practices."The new project has a different focus," Horwath said. "Now we're studying the effects of conservation tillage and cover cropping on the way sediment, nutrients and pesticides are transported off conventional, cover-cropped and organic farming systems."
American Corn Growers Survey Finds Support for Wind Power Incentives
A recently-completed national survey of corn producers commissioned by the American Corn Growers Foundation (ACGF) has found a strong, majority level of support among farmers on a range of critical issues related to the future growth of the U.S. wind industry. Five hundred farmers were polled in sixteen top corn-producing states with over 90 percent of 2004 planted corn acreage based on USDA data. “U.S. corn farmers are unified to the tune of seventy, eighty or ninety percent on the essential federal and state wind energy policies needed to realize the tremendous community-based renewable energy and rural economic development potential that wind energy offers,” said Dan McGuire, CEO of the ACGF.
EU Adopts Plan to Promote Development of Organic Ag Sector
The European Commission has adopted a plan to encourage the ongoing development of organic farming in the European Union. Titled European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming, the plan includes 21 concrete policy measures that are designed to improve information, make public policy more effective, strengthen research in organics and improve production standards. The plan was developed in response to a rapid increase in production of and demand for organic foods. The next step will be to present the plan to the Agriculture Council for approval.
Report Looks at Role of Small Farms
A report released this spring considers the value and role of small farms, in light of national statistics on declining farm numbers. A Matter of Scale: Small Farms in the North Central Region was prepared by Diane Bell Mayerfeld at the University of Wisconsin Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, and may be accessed online. The report not only defines small farms and looks at their importance, but also discusses what can be done in support of small farms. The document is also filled with profiles and case studies of farms throughout the North Central Region, including dairies, livestock, and vegetable operations.
more news and resources, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture
Information Service Web site: Breaking News section: http://attra.ncat.org/management/geninfo.html.
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EPA Region 2 Food Quality Protection Act/Strategic Agricultural Initiative
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Region 2, Division of Enforcement and Compliance Assistance, Pesticides and Toxic Substance Branch is seeking proposals from eligible organizations that will reduce the exposure to toxic pesticides through the adoption of farm pest management practices that transition away from the use of high-risk pesticides. The in-field adoption by farmers of already identified potential low-risk integrated crop or pest management tools and strategies is a priority. For this competition, the Program anticipates awarding one proposal for up to $118,300. Proposals must be received by July 27, 2004.
Rural Business-Cooperative Service Value-Added Producer Grants
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) announces the availability of $13.2 million in competitive grant funds for fiscal year (FY) 2004 to help independent agricultural producers enter into value-added activities. RBS requests proposals from eligible independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer or rancher cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures interested in a competitively-awarded grant to fund one of the following two activities: (1) Planning activities needed to establish a viable value-added marketing opportunity for an agricultural product (e.g. conduct a feasibility study, develop a business plan, develop a marketing plan); or (2) acquire working capital to operate a value- added business venture that will allow producers to better compete in domestic and international markets. In order to provide program benefits to as many eligible applicants as possible, applications can only be for one or the other of these two activities, but not both. The maximum award per grant is $500,000 and matching funds are required. Applications are due July 30, 2004.
RMA Community Outreach and Assistance Partnership Program
The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), operating through the Risk Management Agency (RMA) announces the availability of up to approximately $4 million in fiscal year 2004 for collaborative outreach and assistance programs for women, limited resource, socially disadvantaged and other traditionally under served farmers and ranchers who produce agricultural commodities covered by the noninsured crop disaster assistance program; specialty crops; and underserved commodities. Awards under this program will be made on a competitive basis for projects of up to one year. Eligible applicants include educational institutions, community based organizations, community based organizations, associations of farmers, ranchers and other nonprofit organizations with demonstrated capabilities in developing and implementing risk management and other marketing options for priority commodities. Applications are due July 8, 2004.
For additional funding opportunities, visit http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.
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Sustainability Fair 2004
July 10, 2004
Corporation for the Northern Rockies hosts this annual event that celebrates choices for sustainable living. Features include produce and meat from local farms and ranches, weed eradication without chemicals, and more. URL l
Rodale Institute Field Day: Building Healthy Soil--Building Healthy Farms
July 16, 2004
Featured topics for this event include: Organic No Till, Cover Cropping Strategies, Increasing Crop Yields with Mycorrhizae, and Benefits and Use of Compost Tea.
Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society Summer Symposium
July 16, 2004
Canistota, South Dakota
This full-day event includes three farm tours that will cover Poultry and Livestock Production on a rotational grazing system, organic crop production and cattle and hog production, and currant and wine grape production. Speakers will address weed ecology and management and rotational grazing. For more information, contact Sandra Sussman at NPSAS, 701-883-5616.
More events at http://attra.ncat.org/cgi-bin/event/calendar.cgi.
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Business-Cooperative Service. Visit the NCAT
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