Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - June 23, 2004
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
* Internet-Based Farm Simulation Program Debuts July 2 in Iowa
* New Listserv Highlights Participatory On-Farm Research
* California Farmland Faces Continuing Pressure from Growth
* Tools Available to Assist Farmers, Ranchers with CSP Sign-up
* Profiles of Agricultural Energy Industries Available
* Nebraska Farmer and Processor Reflects on Organic Market
* USDA Risk Management Research & Development Program
* EPA Region 1 Food Quality Protection Act/Strategic Agricultural Initiative
* Western Integrated Pest Management Center
* Northeast Minnesota Organic Short Course for Ag Professionals
* Soil and Water Conservation Society Annual Conference
* Organic Foods: From Production to Market Symposium
News & Resources
Internet-Based Farm Simulation Program Debuts July 2 in Iowa
A new internet-based simulation program that lets farmers build their own farm and see what happens environmentally and economically will debut July 2 during the Practical Farmers of Iowa Integrated Crops and Livestock Field Day in southwest Iowa. I-FARM is a database-driven farming systems simulation model under development at Iowa State University. “Many of the existing simulation programs are just for crop or livestock operations,” said I-FARM developer Ed van Ouwerkerk. “They do not at look how they can work together in one system to reduce external inputs, conserve resources and tighten nutrient cycles to maximize efficiency.” The model has weather and soils data for 12 Midwestern states, along with data for a range of crops and crop rotations as well as associated practices such as tillage, fertilization, planting, weed control, harvesting and residue removal. Users can select options that fit their farm or interests. The model can show detailed information about soil erosion (using a model also developed in the United States) about a particular farm, the farm’s energy and labor requirements, and what’s produced in terms of crops, livestock, manure to be used as fertilizer, and residue that could be harvested for its biomass. I-FARM results also can be used in other models related to water or air quality on a landscape scale.
New Listserv Highlights Participatory On-Farm Research
The North American Farming Systems Association, one of six regional associations of the International Farming Systems Association, is being revitalized and has launched a listserv to share information and questions about projects, programs, events, opportunities, publications, materials, and ideas related to on-farm participatory research, whole farm systems approaches, and farmer learning in the United States, Mexico and Canada. To subscribe to the NA-FSA list serv: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To help get the NA-FSA Listserv started, and build the North American Farming Systems Association, please email a brief summary of your interdisciplinary, on-farm research or farmer participatory development activities or questions related to Farming Systems in North America when you subscribe.
California Farmland Faces Continuing Pressure from Growth
An Associated Press story in the Monterey Herald reports on a study from the California Department of Conservation's Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program that finds between 1990 and 2002 more than 3.2 million acres of farmland was taken out of production, primarily for development. During the same time period 166,364 acres of farmland were lost in the productive Central Valley to accommodate growth. ''The Valley is a world-class resource, and it's being developed quickly,'' said Ed Thompson of American Farmland Trust. ''The whole country depends on California agriculture, but we're not planning for agriculture in this state. We're planning for growth, and ag land is seen as more open space to put down malls.''
Tools Available to Assist Farmers, Ranchers with CSP Sign-up
Two new resources are available to prospective participants in the new federal Conservation Security Program (CSP), a voluntary program that supports continuing and improving conservation stewardship of agricultural working lands. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has released a self-assessment workbook to help farmers and ranchers determine their potential eligibility. The workbook is available online, and in hardcopy and on compact disc from local NRCS offices within the 18 selected watersheds. Because completion of the self-assessment will be mandatory for eligibility, the Center for Rural Affairs will open a “Hotline” to answer any questions about the self-assessment and to assist farmers and ranchers with the process. The Hotline's number is 402-687-2100; it will be open once the CSP sign-up begins on July 6 and will be available through the end of the sign-up period on July 30.
Profiles of Agricultural Energy Industries Available
The Agricultural Marketing Research Service has released several new and updated reports related to ag energy. Brief industry profiles provide an overview of each industry, and discuss demand, production, competitiveness, government regulations and industry resources. Profiles on biodiesel (PDF / 117 kb), ethanol (PDF / 120 kb), wind (PDF / 133 kb) and solar (PDF / 113 kb) are available.
Nebraska Farmer and Processor Reflects on Organic Market
The Omaha World-Herald recently reported on an agronomy field day at The Grain Place, where organic farmer and processor Dave Vetter talked about his long involvement in the organic market and forces that drive that market today. Vetter and his family started The Grain Place near Marquette, Nebraska, in 1978 to clean and bag whole grains. Now the $1 million processing facility processes 4 million pounds of grain per year, selling whole grains and flaked grains, as well as value-added products such as popcorn and bird feed. The company is also working on a dog food line. Vetter says growing involvement of corporate players in the organic industry is changing the nature of the organic market.
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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USDA Risk Management Research & Development Program
The purpose of this program is to fund partnership agreements that assist producers, minimize their production risks, and/or develop risk management tools. The agreements are for the development of risk management tools for use directly by agricultural producers. To aid in meeting these goals each partnership agreement awarded through this program will provide the recipient with funds, guidance, and the substantial involvement of RMA to carry out these risk management initiatives. Risk management tools may include: financial management tools to mitigate price and production risks; tools to enhance measurement and prediction of risks in order to facilitate risk diversification; tools to improve production management, harvesting, record keeping or marketing. Applications are due July 8, 2004.
EPA Region 1 Food Quality Protection Act/Strategic Agricultural Initiative
The EPA Region 1 Pesticide Program 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 project will work towards achieving the adoption of reduced-risk alternatives and /or ecologically-based IPM or biologically integrated farming approaches that are economical and have positive impacts on soil health and water. The Program has $92,000 available for grants under this request for proposals, and anticipates awarding 2-3 proposals. Assistance under this program is generally available to any State, U.S. territories or possession, federally recognized Indian tribal governments, and Native American Organizations, public and private universities and colleges, commodity organizations and agricultural grower groups, hospitals, laboratories, other public or private non-profit institutions and individuals. Projects must be located in the Region 1 states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont. Proposals must be received by August 17, 2004.
Western Integrated Pest Management Center
The Western Integrated Pest Management Center announces the availability of funds and requests proposals for projects that address critical issues in IPM and support the goals of the Western Integrated Pest Management Center. Approximately $300,000 is available for this competitive program, to fund both research and outreach projects within the Center's general priority areas and special emphases areas. The primary project director must be from within the Western Region; however, collaboration with individuals outside the region is encouraged. Proposals must be received by the Western Region Integrated Pest Management Center by August 19, 2004.
For additional funding opportunities, visit http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.
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Northeast Minnesota Organic Short Course for Ag Professionals
July 19, 2004
This introductory training course, offered in six different Minnesota locations, helps agricultural professionals learn about opportunities in organic agriculture and serve clients interested in organic production, processing, and business. The course introduces organic practices, motivations, and regulations, and includes farm visits. Call 218-720-5225 ext. 6 for more information.
Soil and Water Conservation Society Annual Conference
July 24-28, 2004
St. Paul, Minnesota
"Headwaters of Conservation" is the theme this year for the annual conference that brings together researchers, practitioners, and policymakers at all levels of government, along with a broad cross-section of other interest groups, to explore current issues in natural resource management and planning.
Organic Foods: From Production to Market Symposium
August 3, 2004
This special event is being held during The American Phytopathological Society meeting July 31 - August 4. The symposium will examine organic agriculture from a plant pathology perspective and address questions regarding funding sources for organic agricultural research, plant diseases and control methods, and the function of the National Organic Standards Board. A Sustainable Agriculture Day is also planned for Tuesday, August 3 at the Anaheim Convention Center. This one-day event will be devoted to the discussion of new developments in sustainable agriculture and will bring into focus the roles and accomplishments of APS members in this area.
More events at http://attra.ncat.org/cgi-bin/event/calendar.cgi.
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