Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 27, 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
* Watersheds Announced for 2007 Conservation Security Program
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.
* Local Economic Impact of Ethanol Plants Studied
* NOP Posts Amendments to List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances
* ARS Study Informs Recommendations on Compost Tea
* California Spinach Farmers Weigh Losses
* Article Explores Urban Agriculture Potential
* Sustainable Sacramento Grants Program
* Biopesticide Research Program Grants
* Kentucky Horticulture Market Development Cost Share Program
* Managing Agricultural Landscapes for Environmental Quality
* Opportunities and Challenges in Agricultural Water Reuse
* Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Sustainable Agriculture Conference
News & Resources
Watersheds Announced for 2007 Conservation Security Program
USDA has announced the 51 watersheds selected as eligible for the 2007 Conservation Security Program (CSP). A map of the eligible watersheds by state is available online. The watersheds were selected based on proposed funding for the program in the Presidential budget, since Congressional appropriations have not yet been made. CSP is a voluntary program that supports ongoing conservation stewardship on private agricultural working lands and enhances the condition of the nation's natural resources. Under this program, USDA rewards producers who practice good stewardship on agricultural lands and offers incentives to increase the use of conservation practices.
Local Economic Impact of Ethanol Plants Studied
Iowa State University recently released a study in which researchers examined how many local jobs are created when new ethanol plants are constructed. They found that job creation varied by several factors; particularly the percentage of the plant that is under local ownership. "While...values vary by level of local ownership and the overall characteristics of the local economy in which the individual plant resides, higher levels of local ownership yield higher job impacts for rural areas-so long as returns to investors are robust and competitive with other investment alternatives," said David Swenson, lead author of the study. Swenson added a note of caution. "It is important to remember, however, that the econometrics in these modeling exercises work in reverse. Losses in plants that are locally owned resulting in sharply reduced or no payments to investors will be felt as job losses in regional economies, and those losses will be numerically greater in areas with higher local ownership."
NOP Posts Amendments to List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances
September 11 the National Organic Program published in the Federal
Register final rule Amendments to the List of Allowed and Prohibited
Substances for Crops and Processing. The rule adds three substances
to Section 205.601, Synthetic Substances Allowed for Use in Organic
Production, and numerous substances to Section 205.605, Nonagricultural
Substances Allowed as Ingredients in or on Processed Products
Labelled "Organic" or "Made with Organic Ingredients." The Federal
Register publication is posted online in PDF
ARS Study Informs Recommendations on Compost Tea
New recommendations for making compost tea are being offered, based on research conducted by USDA's Agricultural Research Service. Studies by ARS showed that additives sold for making compost tea-such as soluble kelp, fish hydrolysates, humic acid, rock dust and proprietary nutrient solutions-can spur the growth of bacteria. Ingredients commonly added to compost tea may promote growth of a variety of microbes, including pathogens that can cause illness in humans. Recommendations and guidelines for safe production and use of compost tea have been developed by the Compost Tea Task Force, formed by the National Organic Standards Board.
California Spinach Farmers Weigh Losses
Some spinach farmers in California's Salinas Valley are plowing under their crops while others are attempting to wait out the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) health warning for fresh spinach, the Associated Press reported September 20th. An outbreak of E. coli has been linked to spinach from the Salinas Valley. The FDA continues to advise consumers against consuming fresh spinach or salad mixes containing fresh spinach. Each day the FDA warning stays in place costs the valley an estimated $1 million in lost sales, local agriculture officials told the AP. It takes 35 days for spinach to mature in the valley, so some producers think there may be enough time for a modest recovery if the scare ends quickly. The spinach crop was worth $188 million to the valley last year. Spinach was a $325 million industry in the U.S. in 2005, and California produced 74 percent of the nation's fresh crop and 67 percent of the spinach that gets frozen or canned. The Salinas Valley, where the greens are the seventh-most valuable crop, accounts for roughly three-quarters of the state's share, according to the AP story.
Article Explores Urban Agriculture Potential
The Tyee posted an article from Simon Fraser University's student newspaper The Peak that explores some of the growing worldwide interest in urban agriculture. While combining the terms "urban" and "agriculture" may be a new concept for many, the fact is that community gardens can help provide city dwellers with important access to fresh foods. This helps improve health and food security, and reduces the environmental and social costs of food transport. Cities around the world are setting examples of successful urban agriculture, and discovering the social, as well as the culinary, benefits of community gardens.
> More Breaking News
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Sustainable Sacramento Grants Program
The Sacramento Area Earth Day Network (SAEDN) is delighted to offer the community support for sustainable living practices and projects. Organizations are encouraged to develop and conduct an educational activity or project that helps bring elements of sustainable living to their neighborhood, school, church, or community. Applicants may submit project proposals with budgets of up to $1,500. One of the program focus areas is Food: sustainable agriculture, promotion of organic foods and gardening, food selection that has low impact on the Earth's resources.
Proposals are due December 1, 2006.
Biopesticide Research Program Grants
The IR-4 Project is funded by the USDA agencies CSREES and ARS and
receives support from the directors of state agricultural experiment
stations. IR-4 is an applied research program whose mission is
to assist specialty crop producers to obtain safe and effective
pest control products. 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 invited
for Early Stage as well as Advanced Stage biopesticides. 2007
priorities for the program are posted online. Guidelines and application
forms are posted online in MS Word.
are due November 14, 2006.
Kentucky Horticulture Market Development Cost Share Program
This program, funded by the Kentucky Horticulture Council, provides cost-share grants to assist producers of emerging diverse horticulture products. Successful applicants may receive grants to attend appropriate educational opportunities (conferences, workshops, etc.) up to the amount of the registration fee. Two funding rounds are offered each year.
are due September 29, 2006.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Managing Agricultural Landscapes for Environmental Quality
October 11-13, 2006
Kansas City, Missouri
The Soil and Water Conservation Society is organizing this workshop designed to bring together individuals in the technical and scientific communities who are working to quantify the environmental benefits of conservation practices on agricultural land at landscape and/or watershed scales. Participants will share their research findings and lessons learned and discuss key issues regarding work at landscape or watershed scales.
Opportunities and Challenges in Agricultural Water Reuse
October 29-31, 2006
Santa Rosa, California
The WateReuse Association, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Washington State University invite you to attend "Opportunities and Challenges in Agricultural Water Reuse," a specialty conference that will cover success stories in agricultural water reuse, the USDA's role in water management, regulations and health aspects of the use of recycled water on edible and nonedible crops, economics, technology, and public perception.
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Sustainable Agriculture Conference
October 27 - 29, 2006
Spartanburg, South Carolina
The Sustainable Agriculture Conference (SAC) is CFSA's primary educational and inspirational event. Over the past 21 years, the SAC has emerged as a catalyst for change in developing a local and organic food community through providing valuable resources for new and practicing organic and sustainable farmers, researchers, consumers, educators, gardeners, extension agents and local food advocates. This year's theme, "Gathering the Ingredients for a Sustainable Food System" focuses attention on the many ingredients that go into the recipe of a food system that is good for our families, our farmers, and our environment; soil, water, seed, farmers, infrastructure, and consumers.
> More Events
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