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Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 20, 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
* Southern SARE Project Index Online
* Study Examines Effects of Genetically Modified Crops on Beneficial Insects
* Farm Service Agency County Committee Nominations Begin
* EPA Creates Rules Web Site
* Missouri Exchange Web Site Connects Buyers with Sellers
* Farm Beginnings Course Scheduled

Funding Opportunities
* Biomass Research and Development Initiative
* Farm Aid Grant Program
* Farm Credit AgEnhancement Program

Coming Events
* Farm and Market Tour
* Rodale Institute Annual Field Day
* Short Course on Mycorrhizal Fungi

News & Resources

Southern SARE Project Index Online
The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) 2007 Index of Active Projects (PDF/1.14MB) is now online. This index not only lists current projects and summaries of research results but also has additional practical resources. This index summarizes the Southern SARE funded projects as well as the tools and resources that have been developed as a result.

Study Examines Effects of Genetically Modified Crops on Beneficial Insects
The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at UCSB has announced the results of a study on the effects on beneficial insect populations of genetically engineered corn and cotton crops that contained a Bt gene inserted for its insecticidal properties. The study found that organisms such as ladybird beetles, earthworms, and bees in locales with "Bt crops" fared better in field trials than those within locales treated with chemical insecticides. The study authors suggest that their results mean that genetically engineered crops hold promise for sustainable agriculture, though the lead study author notes, "When Bt crops are compared to crops sprayed with insecticides, the Bt crops come out looking quite good. But when Bt crops are compared to crops without insecticides, there are reductions of certain animal groups that warrant further investigation."
Related ATTRA Publication:   Transgenic Crops

Farm Service Agency County Committee Nominations Begin
Farmer and rancher candidate nominations began June 15 for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees. The nomination period continues through August 1, 2007. To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate. FSA county committee members make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other important agricultural issues.

EPA Creates Rules Web Site
The California Farmer reports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a new web site that provides a lookup tool listing federal environmental regulations that could impact agriculture. The new EPA Agriculture Laws page lists the most important regulations that affect the agriculture community. It also has a new regulatory matrix titled, "Major Existing EPA Laws and Programs That Could Affect Agricultural Producers" (PDF/887KB) that provides a succinct, general description of EPA’s requirements for both regulatory and voluntary programs.

Missouri Exchange Web Site Connects Buyers with Sellers
The Missouri Exchange Web site launched in January is helping to connect buyers and sellers of local agricultural, forest, and value-added products, says Ag Opportunities newsletter. The site is a free service that allows sellers of Missouri-grown products to post listings of products for sale, and lets would-be buyers post "wanted" announcements, as well. The site doesn't conduct sales, but merely connects potential buyers and sellers. Missouri Exchange will host a free workshop on using the site and offer tips for selling local products on July 19 at the University of Missouri campus, in Columbia, Missouri. To register, contact Julie Rhoads, Events Coordinator, at 573-882-3234 or rhoadsj@missouri.edu by July 10.

Farm Beginnings Course Scheduled
Stateline Farm Beginnings® is a successful, farmer-led training and support program designed to help people plan and launch farm businesses that are economically and environmentally sustainable. The program, now in its third year in Illinois, links farmer-trainees with successful entrepreneurial farmers, currently operating sustainable farm businesses, via a comprehensive one-year program. Training starts October 20 and extends through March 6, with nine sessions/seminars taught by Illinois and Wisconsin farmers and business professionals that cover topics like planning for profit, multiple marketing strategies, and building a business plan. In the spring and summer, participants go through mentoring in one-on-one settings and during field days at local farms where they can learn a variety of skills—from animal care to vegetable/fruit production. The course is sponsored by Angelic Organics Learning Center. For information contact Annette Meach, annette@csalearingcenter.org.

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Biomass Research and Development Initiative
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly solicit applications for financial assistance addressing research and development of biomass based products, bioenergy, biofuels and related processes. This joint USDA/DOE solicitation for FY07 reflects the technical areas identified in the Biomass Research and Development Act of 2000 as amended by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. These technical areas will assist DOE and USDA in developing and maintaining a balanced portfolio of activities under the Federal Government’s Biomass program to effectively advance cost effective utilization of biomass for the production of biobased fuels and products. DOE and USDA will have separate funding allocations and make separate awards under this Notice. Up to $4 million in DOE funding and up to $12 million in USDA funding is available for new awards under this Solicitation. The maximum amount for an individual award made under this Solicitation is $1 million.
Proposals are due July 11, 2007.

Farm Aid Grant Program
The mission of Farm Aid is to keep farmers on their land and to bring together family farmers, citizens, and consumers to restore family farm-centered agriculture. The Farm Aid grant program supports organizations that work to maintain a family farm system of agriculture and that promote solutions to the challenges facing rural communities. Farm Aid grants are awarded in the following categories: Farm Resources, Farm Action, Food Systems, and Farm Policy. Grants range from $1,000-$40,000, with most being from $3,000-$7,500.
Proposals are due August 31, 2007.

Farm Credit AgEnhancement Program
Each year, Northeast agricultural credit associations award grants to help organizations promote awareness of agriculture in the six New England states, New York and New Jersey and CoBank. Funds are provided as part of the Northeast Farm Credit AgEnhancement program, an ongoing educational campaign that supports the food and fiber industries in the Northeast. Awards range from $1,000 to $5,000. Proposals for Northeast Farm Credit AgEnhancement grant funding will be considered three times per year: April 1, August 1 and December 1.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Farm and Market Tour
June 27, 2007
Hattiesburg, Lumberton and Petal, Mississippi

The National Center for Appropriate Technology is sponsoring this full-day tour as part of the Growing Farmers–Small Farm Initiative that seeks to strengthen local food systems. The tour includes stops at a market, micro-grocery, organic farm, packing facility, and vegetable farm. It is free and transportation is provided.

Rodale Institute Annual Field Day
July 20, 2007
Kutztown, Pennsylvania

The 2007 Annual Field Day at The Rodale Institute will focus mainly on mechanical cover crop management for organic no-till, addressing the many benefits of this management system and the challenges encountered by farmers and researchers around the country. Topics to be included will feature results from the first three years of a large-scale research project on no-till systems focused on building and testing a second generation of no-till rollers under various field conditions, in diverse geographic areas and with different crops/cover crop combinations.

Short Course on Mycorrhizal Fungi
July 23-25, 2007
Gainsville, Florida

This training course at the University of Florida is designed for scientists, organic farmers, and others interested in the practical and theoretical aspects of using mycorrhizal fungi to enhance plant growth and nutrient cycling. Practical laboratory sessions will be supported by lectures and discussions.

> More Events

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Digital versions of recent Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

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