Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 28, 2006
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.
News & Resources
* Parkinson's Disease Risk Linked with Pesticide Exposure
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* Maps Show Alternative Fuel Stations
* Engine Manufacturers Issue Biodiesel Specification
* Demonstrations to Highlight Small-farm Composting
* USDA and DOE Announce National Renewable Energy Conference for October
* Washington State University to Offer Organic Ag Degree
* USDA Small Business Innovation Research
* New Hampshire Integrated Pest Management Grant Program
* Environmental Justice Small Grants Program
* Grazing America
* The Future of Agriculture: Science, Stewardship, and Sustainability
* Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance Field Days
News & Resources
Parkinson's Disease Risk Linked with Pesticide Exposure
A study published in the July issue of Annals of Neurology offers evidence of a link between pesticide exposure and Parkinson's disease, reports Scientific American. The study, which included 143,000 men and women, found that those exposed to pesticides were 70 percent more likely to develop Parkinson's than those who were not exposed. The pesticide exposures were not necessarily occupational; low-dose pesticide exposure such as from home and garden use significantly increased risk. Lead study author Alberto Ascherio of the Harvard School for Public Health commented, "I think this is one reason to be careful about using pesticides in general."
Maps Show Alternative Fuel Stations
MapMuse.com has recently introduced interactive mapping of biodiesel fuel stations and ethanol 85 fuel stations across the US. There are presently more than 650 ethanol 85 fuel stations, and 350 biodiesel fuel stations located within the maps. Site visitors may add additional stations to the maps, which offer detailed information on each station, including the specific street address.
Engine Manufacturers Issue Biodiesel Specification
The Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) has released a new specification to test and evaluate how blended biodiesel fuels perform. The EMA Test Specifications for Biodiesel Fuel define a biodiesel blend fuel with the properties and characteristics that engine manufacturers believe are needed to ensure good performance in today's engines. "The development of a test specification for a blended fuel with 20% biodiesel content is intended to jump-start the testing and evaluation process," said the Association's president. "We are hopeful that the additional research and evaluation of biodiesel fuels that meet the EMA B20 test specifications will speed the development of a national biodiesel blend fuel standard which assures satisfactory performance in all diesel engines."
Demonstrations to Highlight Small-farm Composting
The Ag Expo at Michigan State University July 18-20 will include daily demonstrations of small-farm composting, says Michigan Ag Connection. The demonstrations will highlight how owners of a few horses or other livestock can compost manure and bedding to reduce manure volume, convert manure to usable nutrients, and reduce odor problems and parasite loads. The demonstrations will focus on small-scale composting options for small farms without specialized composting equipment.
Related ATTRA Publication: Farm-Scale Composting Resource List
USDA and DOE Announce National Renewable Energy Conference for October
USDA and DOE have announced that they will co-host a national renewable energy conference to help create partnerships and strategies necessary to accelerate commercialization of renewable energy industries and distribution systems. The conference, Advancing Renewable Energy: An American Rural Renaissance, is scheduled for October 10-12, 2006, in St. Louis, Missouri. "We are hopeful this conference will identify major impediments and critical pathways to get more domestically grown, renewable energy sources out of the laboratory and into consumers' hands as soon as possible," said Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. The conference will address biomass, wind, and solar research and commercialization.
Washington State University to Offer Organic Ag Degree
Washington State University recently received approval from the state to offer this country's first organic farming degree, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported earlier this week on its online edition. The news service reports that the Organic Agriculture Systems major marks a new development for a university that holds three decades of pioneering research on organic farming and an agriculture program that owns its own organic research farm. The paper reports that Michigan State and Colorado State Universities are also on the verge of offering degrees in organic agriculture. Enrollment in traditional agriculture programs is down at WSU and many other ag programs, but interest in organic agricultural education is booming. The new major is expected to appeal not only to aspiring farmers but also to people interested in related industries, such as global marketing and direct marketing of organic food, said Cathy Perillo, coordinator of the new degree program.
> More Breaking News
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USDA Small Business Innovation Research
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) invites science-based small business firms to submit research proposals under this program solicitation entitled "Small Business Innovation Research Program, Fiscal Year 2007." USDA will support high-quality research or research and development (R/R&D) proposals containing advanced concepts related to important scientific problems and opportunities that could lead to significant public benefit if the research is successful. Proposals that focus on the following issues are encouraged: Agriculturally-related Manufacturing Technology, Bioterrorism, or Alternative and Renewable Energy. The program will be carried out in three separate phases. Phase I is to determine the scientific or technical feasibility of ideas submitted by applicants, with each award ranging up to $80,000 for a period normally not to exceed 8 months. Phase II awards will be made during fiscal year (FY) 2007 to firms with approaches that appear sufficiently promising as a result of Phase I studies, with each award ranging up to $350,000.
Due date: September 1, 2006
New Hampshire Integrated Pest Management Grant Program
This program consists of awarding small grants, up to five thousand dollars, to the best project proposals submitted to the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food. The purpose of this program is to "bring about the broadest possible application of the principles of IPM to agriculture, landscape and building maintenance, horticulture, arborculture, and any other areas in which economic poisons are employed."
Due date: November 1, 2006
Environmental Justice Small Grants Program
The EJSG program administered by the US EPA is designed to provide funding for eligible applicants working on, or planning to work on, a project that addresses a local environmental and/or public health issue within an affected community. The EJSG Program is a multi-statute program designed to help communities understand and address their exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks. The primary purposes of proposed projects should be to create and/or develop collaborative partnerships, educate the community, develop a comprehensive understanding of environmental and/or public health issues, and identify ways to address these issues at the local level. Non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for grants of up to $50,000.
Due date: October 23, 2006
> More Funding Opportunities
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July 20-22, 2006
Colorado Springs, Colorado
American Grassfed Association hosts this conference that includes ranch tours, processing tours, chef demos, and information on: Grazing/livestock management, Marketing, Connecting with your consumers, Ranch Economics, Certification programs, and more.
The Future of Agriculture: Science, Stewardship, and Sustainability
August 7-9, 2006
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Center for Hazardous Substance Research at Kansas State University, a consortium member of the Midwest Hazardous Substance Research Center (HSRC), will host the International Conference on The Future of Agriculture: Science, Stewardship, and Sustainability (Integrating Science, Technology, and Policy to Address Environmental Challenges in the Agricultural Setting). Participants will include innovative producers and processors, regulators and policy experts, environmental and remediation professionals, research and extension faculty and students, industrial exhibitors, and community leaders.
Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance Field Days
August 18-19, 2006
Durham, New Hampshire
The agenda for this event includes tours of University of New Hampshire farms and Stonyfield Farms, as well as presentations by speakers and the organization's annual producers' meeting.
> More Events
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