Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - September 7, 2005
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
* Research Shows Organic Soil Management Enhances Water Infiltration
* Fuel Efficiency Tips Offered for Harvest
* Study Says Roundup Ready Wheat Costs Outweigh Benefits
* Article Explores Reasons for High Organic Food Cost
* EPA Releases Watershed Protection Handbook
* Ikerd Essay Outlines Benefits of Eating Locally
* Southern SARE 2006 Producer Grants
* Food Quality Protection Act/Strategic Agriculture Initiative Program
* Matching Grants for Conservation on Private Lands
* Farm Aid 2005
* Extraordinary Results in Ordinary Communities Conference
* National Small Farm Trade Show and Conference
News & Resources
Research Shows Organic Soil Management Enhances Water Infiltration
Research by scientists of the Institute of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science and the Institute of Organic Farming at the Federal Agricultural Research Centre (FAL) in Germany investigated water infiltration capacity of soils, says an article on www.uni-protokolle.de. While conservation tillage is known to promote better water infiltration capacity than conventional tillage, the FAL found that organically managed soils performed even better. They showed approximately seven times more earthworms and infiltration rates twice as high as conventionally managed soils, indicating that organic soil management could be an aid in preventing flooding.
Fuel Efficiency Tips Offered for Harvest
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension engineer Paul Jasa offered tips to help farmers save on fuel during harvest time, in a Nebraska Ag Connection article. Jasa suggests waiting to harvest until crops are drier, to reduce energy that has to be used to dry them. He also stresses the importance of considering grain hauling costs when marketing the crop. One final tip is to shred corn stalks with the combine during harvest, eliminating fall tillage.
Study Says Roundup Ready Wheat Costs Outweigh Benefits
Harvest at Risk—Impacts of Roundup Ready Wheat in the Northern Great Plains, a report published by the Western Organization of Resource Councils, says introduction of genetically modified wheat would lower income for wheat growers and the wheat industry. The report says that if Roundup Ready wheat is introduced, increased seed and herbicide costs and reduced wheat prices would outweigh the operating cost savings from Roundup Ready wheat's simplified weed management by as much as $37 per acre. Even farmers who didn't plant the wheat would see increased costs and lower wheat prices, according to the report's findings. The study considered nine factors: emergence of resistance, gene flow, disease pressure and related problems, impacts on seed plus herbicide expenditures, market rejection, dockage, yields, grain quality, and wheat prices.
Article Explores Reasons for High Organic Food Cost
Amidst a rash of articles reporting on the high cost of organic food, a feature in Grist explores some of the reasons behind that cost. Though demand for organic food is growing rapidly, that hasn't driven costs down the way some expected it would. For some products, demand is outstripping supply, driving prices up. In addition, organic products aren't reaching an economy of scale because many organic producers are small operations committed to staying small. However, prices on processed organic food, which are markedly higher than those for conventional foods, could come down if economies of scale are reached. In Europe, governments have offered incentives to organic producers to help build a market that would reach an economy of scale. The article also notes that conventional food prices are artificially cheap due to government subsidies and externalities.
EPA Releases Watershed Protection Handbook
A new Environmental Protection Agency handbook released at the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation in St. Louis addresses questions about managing pollution runoff, increasing wildlife habitat and controlling invasive species in the nation's estuaries. Community-Based Watershed Management: Lessons from the National Estuary Program focuses on estuaries, but EPA says its principles and examples are relevant to any organization involved in watershed management. The 98-page handbook is available for download from EPA.
Ikerd Essay Outlines Benefits of Eating Locally
In June 2005, John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia, was the keynote speaker at The Eat Local Challenge event in Portland Oregon. The full text of his speech, titled "Eating Locally: A Matter of Integrity," is now available online. Ikerd cites multiple examples of how Americans are creating a new food culture and includes a list of his top ten reasons for eating local food. Transcripts of several other recent talks by Ikerd are also available on his Web site.
more news and resources, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture
Information Service Web site's Breaking News section: http://attra.ncat.org/news/.
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Southern SARE 2006 Producer Grants
The Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program has issued a call for proposals for its 2006 Producer Grant Program. Projects must be developed, coordinated and conducted by farmers and/or ranchers or a producer organization. Producer organizations should be comprised primarily of farmers/ranchers and must have majority farmer representation on their governing board. Producers or producer organizations must complete a proposal describing their project and explaining how it will help other producers understand and adopt sustainable agriculture practices. The Southern Region includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Proposals are due November 15, 2005.
Food Quality Protection Act/Strategic Agriculture Initiative Program
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Region 2, Division of Enforcement and Compliance Assistance, Pesticides and Toxic Substance Branch is soliciting 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. For this competition, the Program anticipates funding one proposal for up to $96,200. Proposed projects must take place in one or more Region 2 States (New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands). Proposals are due October 14, 2005.
Matching Grants for Conservation on Private Lands
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Natural Resources Conservation Service have formed a partnership to support high quality projects that engage private landowners, primarily farmers and ranchers, in the conservation and enhancement of fish and wildlife and natural resources on their lands. Matching grants will be awarded through a competitive process to eligible grant recipients including state and local governments, education institutions, and nonprofit organizations. Grants typically range from $10,000-$150,000, based upon need, and each dollar awarded by the Foundation must be matched with at least one non-federal dollar or goods and services of equal value. Electronic pre-proposals are due September 15, 2005.
additional funding opportunities, visit: http://attra.ncat.org/funding/.
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Farm Aid 2005
September 9-18, 2005
Tinley Park, Illinois
Farm Aid's 20th Anniversary concert follows a week of farm and food festivities in the Chicago area. September 13-15, join chefs, local musicians and food activists at select farmers markets across Chicago. A film festival, special restaurant meals, and Farm Aid caravan are planned. Farm Aid president and founder Willie Nelson and board members Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews will perform at Farm Aid's 20th anniversary show on September 18th.
Extraordinary Results in Ordinary Communities Conference
October 20-22, 2005
Conway County, Arkansas
Conway County Vision 2020 presents a conference led by Dr. Vaughn Grisham and backdropped by a number of top educators and consultants, with a medley of presenters chock-full of community leaders who have "been there, done that" when it comes to developing extraordinary communities out of seemingly hopeless situations. Learn about five community development success cases directly from the community leaders, and join a dynamic network of communities actively engaged in community development.
National Small Farm Trade Show and Conference
November 3-5, 2005
"Profit from Small, Hobby, Family and Lifestyle Farms" is the theme for this 13th national event, billed as the largest annual small farm conference and trade show in the country. The trade show features over 270 exhibitors, and a variety of educational sessions are on the agenda.
events at: http://attra.ncat.org/calendar/.
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