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Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 17, 2007

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
* National Farm to School Network Launches Web Site
* Ethanol Production May Affect Water Quality
* Study Says Bt Corn Could Harm Aquatic Ecosystems
* Forest Owners May Be Eligible for Carbon Credit Payments
* UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute Receives Campbell Soup Company Contribution

Funding Opportunities
* Western SARE Professional + Producer Grant
* FQPA/Strategic Agricultural Initiative, EPA Region 10
* IR-4 Biopesticide Research Program

Coming Events
* Oklahoma Agritourism and Alternative Agriculture Conference
* Community Food Leaders Forum
* Farmer Education and Resource Day

News & Resources

National Farm to School Network Launches Web Site
As a means to support community-based food systems, strengthen family farms, and improve student health by reducing childhood obesity, the National Farm to School Network launched its new and improved Web site. Farmtoschool.org is the portal for farm to school information in the U.S, including extensive content with easy access for submitting information about programs, upcoming events, news and funding opportunities, and online discussion forums to dialog on issues facing farm to school programs. An exciting new feature includes a state profile for each of the 34 states with active farm to school programs.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Bringing Local Food to Local Institutions

Ethanol Production May Affect Water Quality
The National Research Council released a report that revealed if projected increases in the use of corn for ethanol production occur, the harm to water quality could be considerable, and water supply problems at the regional and local levels could also arise. A National Research Council committee was convened to look at how shifts in the nation's agriculture to include more energy crops, and potentially more crops overall, could affect water management and long-term sustainability of biofuel production. The committee that wrote the report examined policy options and identified opportunities for new agricultural techniques and technologies to help minimize effects of biofuel production on water resources. Full report--Water Implications of Biofuels Production in the United States

Study Says Bt Corn Could Harm Aquatic Ecosystems
A study led by an Indiana University researcher suggests that genetically engineered corn has the potential to harm aquatic ecosystems, reports ScienceDaily. The researcher found that when residue from a widely grown variety of Bt corn was present, one variety of caddisfly grew more slowly than usual, and another variety experienced increased mortality. The caddisfly is a key food source in the aquatic food chain. Studies on the corn before it was licensed did not take into account the potential for pollen, leaves and cobs of the genetically modified corn to travel significant distances out of fields and into surface water, nor did they specifically study effects on the caddisfly.

Forest Owners May Be Eligible for Carbon Credit Payments
Family forest owners in Minnesota may be eligible to receive significant carbon credit payments for acres planted or converted to forest after 1990. Because wood is about 50% carbon, growing trees pull carbon out of the atmosphere through a process called carbon sequestration. Carbon credits are now traded on the Chicago Climate Exchange. Forest owners committed to long-term forest growth can sell carbon credits on these markets. MyMinnesotaWoods.org reports forest owners will need very detailed records of tree planting activities in order to receive carbon credits.

UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute Receives Campbell Soup Company Contribution
The Agricultural Sustainability Institute at the University of California Davis has received a $250,000 contribution from Campbell Soup Company, reports Western Farm Press. According to the article, the company is focusing on the support of sustainable agriculture research, education and outreach with the establishment of an endowed fund. "We are thrilled to receive this donation, and ready to work with Campbell's on education and outreach projects that can address child nutrition issues, as well as research projects on crop rotations, cover crops and nitrogen uptake," said Tom Tomich, ASI director and director of the statewide UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP).

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Western SARE Professional + Producer Grant
Western SARE's Professional + Producer Grant (PDF/103KB) is where an ag or natural resource professional, working with one or more producers, develops an application to conduct research, on-farm demonstration and/or educational outreach in an area of sustainable agriculture. The goal is to achieve results that can be communicated to producers and professionals – information that can improve income, the environment, communities and quality of life for all citizens.
Proposals are due December 7, 2007.

FQPA/Strategic Agricultural Initiative, EPA Region 10
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 10 (Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska) is continuing a small-grant program to help implement the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) and support "transition" efforts by growers. The program supports innovative efforts that enable growers to reduce their reliance on pesticides reviewed under FQPA while maintaining or enhancing their present income. The program is administered by American Farmland Trust’s Center for Agriculture in the Environment through a cooperative agreement with EPA. They are looking for projects that focus on results or actual on-the-ground changes, rather than activities. Each award will be up to $100,000.
Proposals are due November 30, 2007.

IR-4 Biopesticide Research Program
The IR-4 Biopesticide Research Program announces a request for grant proposals for funding of efficacy research in 2008. 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 $5,000 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 November 12, 2007.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Oklahoma Agritourism and Alternative Agriculture Conference
November 6-7, 2007
Ardmore, Oklahoma

This conference includes farm tours and an "Oklahoma Grown" dinner. Sessions address financing, promotion and insurance for agritourism operations, and farm diversification into alternative crops.

Community Food Leaders Forum
November 6-7, 2007
Jasper, Alabama

Join Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network for two days of sharing ideas, meeting new people, setting goals, and learning about successful projects and effective ways to improve the way our food is produced, distributed, and eaten. The agenda features guest speakers from Alabama and from around the Southeast, including Kentucky’s Community Farm Alliance.

Farmer Education and Resource Day
November 3, 2007
Frederick, Maryland

The Maryland Small Farm Cooperative is sponsoring an event to promote both education and networking among small farm producers in Maryland. Anyone who farms or is interested in having an Ag enterprise is invited. Educational sessions include presentations on three small farm operations, discussing production, marketing strategies, problems and successes, and implementation of government programs. Pre-registration is required by 10/20/07. Contact Andy at wwmfarm@fred.net or 301-845-2614 to request a registration form & event brochure.

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