Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 26, 2005
Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site.
News & Resources
* Polyculture Modules Tested for Offering More Profit, Fewer Pests
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* National Organic Standards Board Meeting Set
* Minnesota Wins Federal Funding to Create New Organic Programs
* University of Hawaii Introduces Organic Agriculture Web Site
* Can ‘Slow Food’ Improve Fare for the Homeless?
* Ag Committee Supports $3 Billion in Cuts
* Environmental Education Grants Program
* Pesticide Misuse Initiative, EPA Region 3
* National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program
* Organic Matters on the Prairies
* Risk Management Agency Northern Region Outreach Conference
* Sustainable Agriculture Pest Control Advisor (PCA) Conference
News & Resources
Polyculture Modules Tested for Offering More Profit, Fewer Pests
Ohio State University researchers are testing four polyculture systems, or modular ecological designs, appropriate for small acreages to find which system offers the best yields, fewest pests, and best profits. Four systems that have been planted for testing each combine a mix of high-value fruits and vegetables, annuals and perennials, tall crops and short ones, into 45-by-60-foot plots. Each system contains the same crops in a different arrangement, and researchers will track which performs best, all with the goal of achieving retail sales of $10 per linear foot, or $90,000 to $100,000 per acre.
National Organic Standards Board Meeting Set
USDA's National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet Nov. 16-17, 2005, in Washington, DC. Meeting sessions will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Nov. 16 and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. on Nov. 17. All sessions are open to the public. NOSB committees (Crops, Livestock, and Handling) will present and propose, to the full board, recommendations concerning the continued use or prohibition of substances being reviewed under the Organic Food Production Act’s sunset provisions for the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. Time has been scheduled on Nov. 16, 9:40-11:45 a.m., for public input on sunset review. On Thursday, Nov. 17, 3:00-5:00 p.m., time has been scheduled for public input on pasture for organic livestock.
Minnesota Wins Federal Funding to Create New Organic Programs
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has announced that it will create two new organic agriculture projects using nearly $290,000 in two funding awards from the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA). The first project will create a voluntary directory of organic producers in order to inform brokers, processors, and distributors about the availability of raw organic products in the state and to help growers identify underserved market opportunities. The other project will pay 80 percent of the cost for certified organic Minnesota farmers to enroll in the statewide Farm Business Management program.
University of Hawaii Introduces Organic Agriculture Web Site
The University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources has posted a new organic agriculture Web site, reports The Honolulu Advertiser. According to an agroecologist from the college, the new site seeks "to demonstrate the benefit of promoting ecological processes in all agricultural systems and to make (the college) the premier resource for ecological farming research and training in the Asia-Pacific region." The site features links for organic farming events and resources, and sponsors a listserv that people interested in organic farming in the state can use for communicating with each other.
Can ‘Slow Food’ Improve Fare for the Homeless?
Recently Carlo Petrini, founder of the international Slow Food movement, discussed with Mayor Gavin Newsom the idea of bringing better food and the principles of the Slow Food movement to a homeless shelter in San Francisco, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The conversation followed a speech earlier in the week by Petrini at a $90 a head benefit for Slow Food at a Sonoma County vineyard. Critics of Slow Food and similar organizations have accused them of being elitist and ignoring the issue of whether people with poor or moderate incomes have access to quality food. The idea to improve shelter food sprang up after Mayor Newsom mentioned how many complaints he gets about the food at San Francisco’s second-largest homeless shelter, Next Door.
Ag Committee Supports $3 Billion in Cuts
The Senate Agriculture Committee has voted to approve a Congressional budget resolution that will cut approximately $3 billion from the agriculture budget over the next five years, reports Agriculture Online. Ag Committee chairman Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) claims the plan will generate savings from farm commodity programs while maintaining the basic structure of the farm program created by the 2002 Farm Bill. The bill includes a 2.5 percent ($1.3 billion) across-the-board cut to commodity programs and reductions in conservation spending of about $1 billion over five years. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) plans to offer a commodity program payment limitation amendment on the floor of the Senate next month, and Ferd Hoefner, Policy Director for the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, noted the amendment would “allow the Senate to restore many of the most egregious cuts contained in the farm and conservation sections of the reconciliation package."
> More Breaking News
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Environmental Education Grants Program
The Environmental Protection Agency is soliciting grant proposals to support environmental education projects that promote environmental stewardship and help develop aware and responsible students, teachers, and citizens. This grant program provides financial support for projects which design, demonstrate, or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques. Approximately $3 million is available for awards under this announcement. Headquarters awards grants larger than $50,000 in federal funds and the 10 EPA Regional Offices fund the smaller grants. Any local education agency, college or university, state education or environmental agency, nonprofit organization, or noncommercial educational broadcasting entity may submit a proposal. A 25% match of non-federal funds is required.
Proposals are due November 23, 2005.
Pesticide Misuse Initiative, EPA Region 3
EPA Region 3 is soliciting proposals to help implement the Pesticide Misuse Initiative and to support the proper use and storage of pesticides in residential and agricultural settings. The program supports innovative efforts that enable homeowners and farmers to be better educated and trained on the use of consumer and agricultural pesticide products. State governments, institutions of higher education, nonprofits and individuals are eligible to receive grants of up to $75,000. Region 3 comprises Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
Proposals are due November 30, 2005.
National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program
Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) requests applications for the National Research Initiative (NRI) Competitive Grants Program for fiscal year (FY) 2006 to support: (1) high priority fundamental and mission-linked research of importance in the biological, environmental, physical, and social sciences relevant to agriculture, food, and the environment, and (2) competitively awarded research, extension, and education grants addressing key issues of national and regional importance to agriculture, forestry, and related topics. In FY 2006, CSREES anticipates that approximately $180 million will be available for support of this program. Applications must be received by the date appropriate to the program area listed at the end of the FY 2006 Request for Applications.
The earliest application due date is November 30, 2005.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Organic Matters on the Prairies
November 12-13, 2005
Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
This event includes a conference and trade show for organic farmers and consumers, featuring Dr. Elaine Ingham, Pat Mooney and a panel of international development experts. In addition, a two-day workshop on Making a Successful Transition to Organic Farming is offered, which will unveil the new "Gaining Ground" handbook of the Canadian Organic Growers. Topics include soil building, planting, pest management, the certification process and economics. A trade show is also featured.
Risk Management Agency Northern Region Outreach Conference
November 15-16, 2005
"Risk Management Success Strategies for Small and Limited Resource Farmers and Ranchers" will provide a venue for public and private agricultural organizations, land grant universities, community based organizations, farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders to identify, develop and promote successful risk management strategies, that small and limited resource farmers and ranchers can utilize to remain economically viable in a rapidly changing agricultural environment. Leading specialists will focus on six primary areas of agricultural risk management: Financial, Legal, Production Marketing, Environmental, and Human Resources.
Sustainable Agriculture Pest Control Advisor (PCA) Conference
December 2-3, 2005
San Luis Obispo, California
California Certified Organic Farmers and Cal Poly State University's Sustainable Agriculture Resource Consortium co-sponsor this fourth annual event. This conference addresses a wide variety of issues and provides an excellent forum for PCAs and farmers from all areas of agriculture to expand their knowledge about sustainable agriculture. Continuing education credits are offered.
> More Events
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