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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 27, 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.

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News & Resources
* Terra Madre Invites Participation in Online Forums
* New Publication Highlights Digital Food System Tools
* Idaho Offering Course for Beginning Farmers
* Animal Welfare Approved Program Announces Poultry Working Group
* Carbon Credit Program Climate Impact Questioned
* FDA to Allow Irradiation of Spinach and Lettuce


Funding Opportunities
* Southern SARE Sustainable Community Innovation Grant
* IR-4 Biopesticide Research Program
* New York Anaerobic Digester Gas to Electricity Grant


Coming Events
* Transition to a Bioeconomy: Environmental and Rural Development Impacts
* North Central Tri-state Meat Goat Conference
* Living on the Land Training



News & Resources

Terra Madre Invites Participation in Online Forums
The Terra Madre World Meeting is set for October 23-27, 2008, in Turin, Italy. It brings together food communities, cooks, academics and youth delegates for four days to work towards increasing small-scale, traditional, and sustainable food production. Even if you aren't attending in person, there's an opportunity to participate. Each of the Earth Workshops scheduled for the event has an online forum that began in July. The idea of the forums is to allow people all over the world to express their thoughts about Terra Madre. The full list of workshops is posted online, with instructions for joining the forum for each workshop. Workshops broadly address products, networks, development, markets and strategies, with a wide range of specific topics.

New Publication Highlights Digital Food System Tools
Cultivating the Web, a new publication from Eat Well Guide (EWG), shows how digital tools are being used to do everything from support local farmers to lobby giant players in the food industry, as online communities reject industrial food. EWG will distribute 20,000 copies of Cultivating the Web at Slow Food Nation, the four-day gathering planned for Labor Day weekend in San Francisco. In addition, the publication is available free online in PDF , where EWG says it will be maintained as an up-to-date resource for everyone working to promote a future of good, local, sustainable food for all.

Idaho Offering Course for Beginning Farmers
The University of Idaho Canyon County Extension office is hosting “Sustainable Small-acreage Farming and Ranching”. This 12-week course is part of the Cultivating Success Program, a collaboration of University of Idaho Extension, Washington State University’s Small Farms Team and the non-profit Rural Roots. The course provides a broad overview of production and marketing options, along with a chance for participants to network with sustainable and organic farmers. “Sustainable Small-acreage Farming and Ranching” is also offered for college or continuing education credit.

Animal Welfare Approved Program Announces Poultry Working Group
The Animal Welfare Approved program has announced the formation of a poultry working group to provide recommendations to its standards board and to assist in planning its growing poultry program. The poultry working group will focus first on genetics that maintain high-welfare traits. The working group will make recommendations to assist farmers who want to breed and hatch their own flocks, eliminating the shipping of live birds through the postal service and helping farmers manage genetics appropriate for their region in pasture-based systems. The group is chaired by Anne Fanatico, Ph.D., Southeast Regional Office Director for the National Center for Appropriate Technology.

Carbon Credit Program Climate Impact Questioned
The National Farmers Union reported in July that no-till and seeded grassland offsets generated $5,876,825 in income for producers for their 2006 and 2007 practices. Yet critics of the program say that these measures have done little to stop global warming, because they are actions producers would have taken anyway. An analysis on Planet Ark says the image of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) may be harmed by paying agricultural producers for what some call "anyway tons" that do not represent a change in practices or decrease the overall amount of carbon released. Some predict that as the U.S. carbon market matures, the market for "non-additional" credits like those from no-till farming will decline.

FDA to Allow Irradiation of Spinach and Lettuce
In a Federal Register notice published August 22, the Food and Drug Administration announces that it is amending the food additive regulations to provide for the safe use of ionizing radiation for control of food-borne pathogens, and extension of shelf-life, in fresh iceberg lettuce and fresh spinach. This rule is effective August 22, 2008. Written or electronic objections must be submitted by September 22, 2008. Meanwhile, coverage posted on MercuryNews.com reports on varied expert, industry, producer and consumer response to the ruling.

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Funding Opportunities

Southern SARE Sustainable Community Innovation Grant
The Southern SARE Program and the Southern Rural Development Center are interested in investing in Sustainable Community Innovation Grants: projects that work to strengthen both agriculture and Southern communities by building explicit linkages between sustainable agriculture and community development. Any individuals, non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, governmental organizations and/or educational organizations in Southern Region states may apply for a Sustainable Community Innovation Grant of up to $10,000. The Southern region consists of: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Proposals are due October 1, 2008.

IR-4 Biopesticide Research Program
The IR-4 Biopesticide Research Program announces a request for grant proposals for funding of efficacy research in 2009. IR-4 is especially interested in proposals containing biopesticides as resistance management tools, rotated with conventional products. Project proposals will be accepted in Early, Advanced and Demonstration stage categories. The total amount of funding available will be around $400,000. Most successful grants have generally ranged from $10,000 to $25,000. The primary objective of the IR-4 Biopesticide Research Program is to further the development and registration of biopesticides for use in pest management systems for specialty crops or for minor uses on major crops.
Proposals are due October 10, 2008.

New York Anaerobic Digester Gas to Electricity Grant
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), administrator of the New York State Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program, is accepting applications to receive financial incentives to support the purchase, installation, and operation of Anaerobic Digester Gas (ADG)-to-Electricity Systems. $11 million is available for financial incentives to support the installation and operation of anaerobic digester gas (ADG)-to-electricity systems in New York State, with up to $1 million available per ADG System. Funding is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Proposals are due May 30, 2009.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Transition to a Bioeconomy: Environmental and Rural Development Impacts
October 15-16, 2008
St. Louis, Missouri

Environmental and rural development issues will be the focus of the third conference in the series, Transition to a Bioeconomy. These conferences are a collaboration of Farm Foundation, USDA Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, and USDA Economic Research Service. This series of conferences is designed to inventory current knowledge, highlight lessons learned to date, identify future possibilities and determine future information needs.


North Central Tri-state Meat Goat Conference
September 26-28, 2008
Alexandria, Minnesota

The North Dakota State University, University of Minnesota and South Dakota State University Extension Services have teamed up to sponsor the second annual North Central Tri-state Meat Goat Conference. This conference is open to anyone with an interest in meat goat production, including new and experienced meat goat producers, Extension educators, veterinarians, agricultural businesses, 4-H and FFA members and team leaders, and university researchers. Topics that will be covered include goat health, nutrition, breeding management and artificial insemination, selection of meat goats for breeding stock, show tips and techniques, and Midwest marketing strategies and opportunities.


Living on the Land Training
September 30 - October 1, 2008
Albuquerque, New Mexico

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension provides a 2-day training for educators and conservationists interested in using the "Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages" curriculum for educating small acreage owners. By attending the training, you’ll become familiar with the content of the curriculum (marketing and economics of small acreage properties; wildfire threat reduction; ponds; wildlife; irrigation systems; the whole farm approach; and more); you’ll gain competencies in identifying learning styles, engaging adult learners, implementing small-acreage programs, including understanding and targeting your audience, marketing your program, and improving your delivery methods, and evaluating and assessing your program. Request a brochure and registration form from Sue Donaldson, donaldsons@unce.unr.edu


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