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Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 30, 2008

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.

Save the Date The National Center for Appropriate Technology and the Organic Trade Association will present "Growing U.S. Organic Agriculture: Accessing the 2008 Farm Bill" on November 12, 2008 in Chicago. Farmers, Extension agents, state departments of agriculture, organic certifiers and others can learn how access the new organic provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill. To learn more about attending, contact Marissa Potter, mpotter@ota.com

Share The Harvest: Please forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues who might be interested in the latest sustainable agriculture news, funding opportunities, and events.

News & Resources
* Farm Foundation Issues Food Price Report
* Winery Water and Energy Publication Available
* Federal Disaster Recovery Assistance Announced
* European Union Launches Promotional Campaign for Organic Food & Farming
* USDA Funds Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects
* Wisconsin Awards Local Food Grants

Funding Opportunities
* Food Quality Protection Act—Strategic Agricultural Initiative, EPA Region 1
* Animal Welfare Approved Program Grants
* Missouri Cellulosic Ethanol Feasibility Grant

Coming Events
* Biodiversity in Agriculture: Harlan II Symposium
* Taste Iowa Food Festival
* Farm Walk: Integrating Seed Into a Diversified Organic Farm

News & Resources

Farm Foundation Issues Food Price Report
What's Driving Food Prices?, a new study released by Farm Foundation, identifies three broad sets of forces driving food price increases: global changes in production and consumption of key commodities, the depreciation of the U.S. dollar, and growth in the production of biofuels. Understanding the complex and multiple factors influencing food prices today is important as future policy options are debated, according to the report. The full report, prepared by Purdue University economists, is available online.

Winery Water and Energy Publication Available
Wine Institute and the American Vineyard Foundation, in partnership with the National Grape & Wine Initiative, have published a new Comprehensive Guide to Sustainable Management of Winery Water and Associated Energy. The document gives wineries of all sizes the tools for self-assessment to make improvements in environmental performance and to lower overall production costs for water and energy use. These practices include steps to reduce source water use in cleaning and sanitation; minimize use of cleaning products and other chemicals; decrease the volume and strength of wastewater produced and associated energy required for treatment; minimize the water and energy needed for heating and cooling operations; and optimize the effectiveness of land application systems for wastewater treatment.

Federal Disaster Recovery Assistance Announced
USDA will be making $390 million available through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program for landowners and communities to cope with the aftermath of recent floods, fires, drought, tornadoes and other natural disasters. Public and private landowners are eligible for assistance through the EWP program, but they must be represented by a project sponsor. Local sponsors include any legal subdivision of state or local government, including local officials of city, county or state governments, Indian tribes, soil conservation districts, U.S. Forest Service and watershed authorities. Producers also can use the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for financial and technical assistance to restore conservation practices damaged or destroyed during the recent flooding if they were installed using this program. USDA will provide an additional $8.7 million of EQIP funds this fiscal year to six Midwest states ravaged by the recent flooding—Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan and Wisconsin.

European Union Launches Promotional Campaign for Organic Food and Farming
The European Commission announced recently that it is launching a new Organic Farming Campaign for the European Union. Under the campaign slogan: "Organic farming. Good for nature, good for you," the promotional campaign aims to inform consumers about the meaning and benefits of organic farming and food production. The campaign will focus on increasing consumer awareness and recognition of organic products. As part of the initiative, a new multilingual website for organic farming provides an electronic "toolbox" that offers marketing materials in 22 languages free of charge in order to promote organic production and farming.

USDA Funds Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects
Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer recently announced that 27 individuals and businesses in seven states have been selected to receive $6.9 million in loans and grants for renewable energy systems or to increase energy efficiency in farm and business operations. The funds are being provided under USDA Rural Development's Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program. The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency loan and grant program was established under Section 9006 of the 2002 Farm Bill to encourage agricultural producers and rural small businesses to install renewable energy systems and energy efficient improvements. The program's funding can support a wide range of technologies encompassing biomass (including anaerobic digesters), geothermal, hydrogen, solar, and wind energy, as well as energy efficiency improvements.

Wisconsin Awards Local Food Grants
Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle recently announced $225,000 for seven projects to increase local food sales and grow the state’s economy. The funding is from the state’s first-ever "Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin" grant program aimed at keeping food spending in local communities. Funded projects include the Chippewa Valley Buy Local Consortium, which will bring together farms from 11 Northwestern Wisconsin counties and institutions looking to buy and sell local food; Badgerland Produce Co-op Auction; an expanded Buy Fresh, Buy Local Southern Wisconsin program; and funds for the Nourishing Northern Wisconsin project to develop a cooperative to market local foods and to provide education and outreach to consumers.

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Funding Opportunities

Food Quality Protection Act—Strategic Agricultural Initiative, EPA Region 1
EPA Region 1 Pesticide Program is seeking applications from eligible organizations that will facilitate the implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act. The program supports efforts to reduce the exposure to toxic pesticides through the adoption of production agriculture pest management practices that transition away from the use of high-risk pesticides in minor crops. The project or projects selected for funding will work towards achieving the adoption of reduced-risk alternatives and /or ecologically-based IPM or biologically integrated farming approaches that are economical. Estimated total program funding of $110,000 is available.
Proposals are due September 8, 2008.

Animal Welfare Approved Program Grants
The Animal Welfare Approved Program announces a new initiative that will offer grants of up to $10,000 for the sole purpose of improving animal welfare on farms. Current Animal Welfare Approved farmers and those who have applied to join the program are eligible to apply for these grants. Examples of eligible projects include conversion of buildings; fencing and paddock division; silviculture; improvement of water services; mobile housing; farm planning; farm health visits from recognized practitioners; alternative identification methods; alternative genetics; innovative chick transportation; alternatives to antibiotic use; and improvements in the slaughter process. Eligible costs include design fees, contractor costs, materials, slaughter equipment, new mobile housing, and incubators.
Proposals are due October 15, 2008.

Missouri Cellulosic Ethanol Feasibility Grant
The Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) is currently accepting applications for the Cellulosic Ethanol Feasibility Grant Program. This grant is for a feasibility study that involves developing and evaluating the use of woody biomass as an input for the production of fuel ethanol and other energy sources. All research for the feasibility study should include fostering sustainable forest management practices in using woody biomass as a fuel or energy source. The projects may include evaluating processes such as harvesting, transporting and processing, as well as evaluating existing technology in order to determine the viability of using woody biomass as a feedstock for cellulosic ethanol production.
Proposals are due August 10, 2008.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Biodiversity in Agriculture: Harlan II Symposium
September 14-18, 2008
Davis, California

Agricultural biodiversity plays a crucial role in the sustainable production of food, fiber, and feed for humanity. An international symposium was held in Aleppo, Syria in May 1997, dedicated to Jack R. Harlan, 1917–1998, evolutionary biologist and plant explorer. To review progress, assess the current status of agricultural biodiversity, and chart directions for its future, a new symposium, Harlan II, will be held by the University of California, Davis. In addition to its international perspective, Harlan II will also examine the role and impact of agricultural biodiversity on California agriculture.

Taste Iowa Food Festival
September 5-6, 2008
Conrad, Iowa

Grundy National Bank, the Northern Iowa Food and Farm Partnership and the Iowa Farm to School program are sponsoring a "Taste Iowa!" food festival, in support of the value that local farmers and food production have to communities. In addition to the food festival and vendor's market, Saturday's events will include producer, consumer and children workshops, a celebrity chef demonstration, Food for Thought recipe contest, and an Iron Chef contest. The finale for this event will be an all-Iowa meal sourced from local growers.

Farm Walk: Integrating Seed Into a Diversified Organic Farm
September 8, 2008
Sequim, Washington

Growing seed on-farm is a viable diversification strategy that can build farm financial and environmental sustainability. Micaela Colley from Organic Seed Alliance will join Nash and the crew at Nash's Organic Produce to lead a Farm Walk demonstrating the benefits of on-farm seed production. Farm Walks are jointly sponsored by Tilth Producers of Washington and WSU Small Farms Team.

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