Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - October 11, 2006
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
* USDA Announces Partnership Agreements for Risk Management Tools and Education
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.
* New York Study Evaluates Nitrogen Reduction on Corn
* Organic Farm Incubator Program Offers Education, Opportunity
* Brazil's Soy Crop Expected to be 50 Percent Genetically Modified
* Sustainable Agricultural Coalition Releases 2007 Farm Bill Platform
* Hawaii's Local and Sustainable Food Production Considered
* Regional Integrated Pest Management Competitive Grants Program Western Region
* Minnesota Sustainable Agriculture Grants
* Pennsylvania Offers Environmental Education Grants
* The Business of Organic
* Farmer Cooperatives Conference
* New England Greenhouse Conference & Expo
News & Resources
Announces Partnership Agreements for Risk Management Tools and
USDA has announced awards of close to $21 million in agricultural risk management partnership agreements throughout the United States. The agreements provide funds for projects to develop new risk management tools for farmers and ranchers, as well as outreach and education opportunities to limited-resource and other traditionally underserved farmers and ranchers. Four different types of projects were awarded funding. Recipients are listed online, and include a Kansas State University plan to develop a Web-based tool to provide producers facing reduced water allocations and a Michigan State University project that provides limited resource and other traditionally underserved producers programs on intensive small-scale farming skills for year-round, organic production methods of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers.
York Study Evaluates Nitrogen Reduction on Corn
fall, as they harvest corn, 13 farmers, four research farm managers,
and Cornell Cooperative Extension educators in 14 counties are
taking soil samples for Cornell University researchers, to help
evaluate ways to maximize economic gains and minimize nitrogen
loss into the environment through more precise nitrogen management.
The research project is funded by the New
York Farm Viability Institute, Inc. and the Northern New York
Agricultural Development Program. Used in excess, nitrogen can
reach nearby ground or surface waters and/or contribute to air
pollution, and, at forty cents per pound of nitrogen fertilizer,
the loss of nitrogen not used by corn crops can be an unnecessary
expense for farmers. Project results so far show that significant
economic and environmental gains can be made with a small spring
starter N application (30 lbs N/acre or less) that is sufficient
to meet, but not exceed, first-year corn N needs following either
a healthy grass or legume/grass sod.
Farm Incubator Program Offers Education, Opportunity
A nonprofit farm incubator program in North Carolina is offering a four-week course on organic growing beginning in October, reports Up & Coming Magazine. Raft Swamp Farms is an educational center that offers a demo farm and a variety of programs aimed at community education, from school field trips to beginning farmers. The center's incubator program offers the opportunity for would-be farmers to lease small tracts of cleared land. Raft Swamp Farms offers experience, support, and marketing assistance to participating farmers.
Soy Crop Expected to be 50 Percent Genetically Modified
half of the 2006-2007 Brazilian soy crop is expected to be genetically
modified, according to that country's top agriculture science
institute, Embrapa. According to the online edition of MarketWatch,
which is published by Dow-Jones, the Brazilian government approved
the use of genetically modified soy seed only last year. Monsanto
is the only authorized distributor of the Roundup Ready seed.
Some 9 million hectares of genetically modified soybeans were
planted out of a total 22 million hectares in the 2005-2006 season.
This season should see an additional 2 million hectares of genetically
modified soy, Embrapa researchers told MarketWatch. Brazil produces
about 30 percent of the world's soy and is the second leading
grower and exporter of soy behind the U.S., according to USDA
Agriculture Coalition Releases 2007 Farm Bill Platform
Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (SAC) is calling for comprehensive
reform of the upcoming 2007 Farm Bill in its new report, No Time
for Delay: A Sustainable Agriculture Agenda for the 2007 Farm
Bill. The report urges the federal government to adopt a series
of key policies that are urgently needed to help new farmers enter
agriculture, promote profitable family farms, enhance the environment,
and build healthy, diversified rural community economies.
Local and Sustainable Food Production Considered
Hawaii Business magazine published a feature that looks at the state's food system. Fruits and vegetables imported from outside the state constitute 90 percent of available produce currently. Local farmers using sustainable practices have struggled to make their operations viable, but now customers are showing more interest in local food. Restaurant chefs have played an important role in supporting specialty farms, though some organic farmers have met with success on the mass market. Small and sustainable farms mesh well with Hawaii's cultural tradition, but they will need stronger consumer demand for produce and local food to survive.
More Breaking News
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Integrated Pest Management Competitive Grants Program Western
The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) requests applications for the Regional Integrated Pest Management Competitive Grants Program for fiscal year 2007 to support the continuum of research and extension efforts needed to increase the implementation of integrated pest management (IPM) methods. The Regional IPM Competitive Grants Program supports projects that develop individual pest control tactics, integrate individual tactics into an IPM system, and develop and implement extension education programs. In FY 2007 CSREES anticipates that approximately $655,000 will be available for support of the Regional IPM Competitive Grants Program Western Region. Of this amount, approximately $420,000 is expected to be available for research projects, $70,000 for extension projects, and $165,000 for joint research-extension projects. Colleges and universities in the Western region may be eligible to apply for these grants.
Proposals are due December 11, 2006.
Sustainable Agriculture Grants
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has announced it will award up to $70,000 in grants to help innovative Minnesota farmers, researchers, and educators implement new sustainable farming systems. The MDA is now accepting applications for these grants, which are available for three-year projects that benefit the environment, increase farm net profits through cost reduction or enhanced marketing, and improve the farm family quality of life.
Proposals are due December 15, 2006.
Offers Environmental Education Grants
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania offers grant resources to improve
environmental literacy of its citizens. An Environmental Education
Grants Program supports environmental education through schools,
county conservation districts and other nonprofit conservation
or educational organizations, including colleges and universities.
The average grant amount is $5,000 and eligible organizations
include: school districts, non-profit organizations, conservation
districts, and other on-profit conservation or education organizations.
Contact (717) 705-5400 for more information.
Proposals are due December 15, 2006.
More Funding Opportunities
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Business of Organic
October 30-31, 2006
Santa Rosa, California
Strategic Research Institute presents this two-day conference that will focus on dynamic marketing techniques, the latest in organic certification, and financial aspects of running an organic and natural food & beverage business. Featured segments will include a discussion on Web marketing, understanding the organic consumer, the future of the organic and natural industry, how to survive amongst larger corporations now offering organic products, and updates from QAI and CCOF. In addition, niche segments will be explored including natural pet food, and organic wine.
November 1-2, 2006
The theme of the 9th annual Farmer Cooperatives Conference is "Opportunities for Cooperatives: Renewable Energy and Environmental Management". Renewable energy topics will focus on the future growth and impact of renewable energy; involvement of regional and local cooperatives in sourcing grain for ethanol and bio-diesel production; opportunities in marketing these fuels and by-products; and business structures to finance renewable energy ventures.
England Greenhouse Conference & Expo
November 1-3, 2006
This event includes sessions on greenhouse production, pest management, business management, greenhouse engineering, and energy. Some sessions cover organic production and renewable energy.
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