Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 7, 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
* USDA Community Food Project Grants Awarded
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.
* Preliminary Study Results Indicate More Beneficial Compounds in Organic Food
* USDA Announces Grants for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers
* USDA Announces CSP Payments
* Yale Introduces Food and Agriculture Concentration
* Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Competitive Grants Program
* 2008 Extension Risk Management Education Grants Program
* California Dairy Water Quality Improvement Grant
* Ecological Farming Conference
* Oregon Tilth Annual Conference
* Sustainable Agriculture Pest Management Conference
News & Resources
USDA Community Food Project Grants Awarded
USDA has announced the award of $4.8 million to 34 organizations in 20 states as part of the USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service's (CSREES) Community Food Projects (CFP) program. The CFP program has been meeting the food needs of low-income people for the past 11 years while increasing the self-reliance of communities in providing for their own food, farm and nutrition issues and needs. The program administers three types of projects: community food projects, training and technical assistance projects and planning projects. A list of recipients is available online.
Preliminary Study Results Indicate More Beneficial Compounds in Organic Food
Preliminary results of a multi-year European Union-funded study indicate that organic produce contains more beneficial compounds than conventionally produced food, reports The Times. A study led by Newcastle University in the UK on a 725-acre farm compared compounds in food grown using conventional and organic methods side-by-side. Though the study has yet to be peer reviewed, and there was variability, the general trend shows that the organic food has more of certain beneficial compounds such as vitamins and antioxidants—up to 40% more for vegetables and 90% more for milk. The findings run counter to government agency claims that organic purchasing is a lifestyle choice, rather than nutritionally justified. Meanwhile, the produce industry has responded critically to release of preliminary study results before peer review had been completed, in a piece posted on Freshinfo.
USDA Announces Grants for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers
USDA is awarding more than $5 million to institutions and organizations who conduct training, outreach and technical assistance to assure increased opportunities for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as part of the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (OASDFR) program. USDA reports that OASDFR grants have had many positive local and regional impacts, as program participants form production and marketing cooperatives, participate in local policy-making, improve environmental quality and improve profitability and sustainability. A list of this year's award recipients is available online.
USDA Announces CSP Payments
The USDA recently announced that nearly $257 million in Conservation Security Program (CSP) payments are being readied for all 19,393 contracts with eligible landowners and producers. The payments announced are for current contracts in all 280 CSP watersheds. CSP program participants should contact their local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office so their payments can be processed. CSP is a voluntary program established as part of the 2002 Farm Bill to support ongoing conservation stewardship on private agricultural working lands and enhance the condition of the nation's natural resources.
Yale Introduces Food and Agriculture Concentration
Yale University officially introduced a food and agriculture concentration within its Environmental Studies degree program this semester, according to Yale Daily News. Students had been informally concentrating in food and agriculture topics within the program before, but the new official concentration offers students some guidance in selecting courses. The director of the Yale Sustainable Food Project helped compile the list of courses for the concentration. She commented that Yale is at the forefront of agrarian studies, and is drawing students who choose the school specifically for that reason.Yale Daily News also reports that the school hosted a "Real Food" summit this past weekend. The conference drew more than 175 students from
47 colleges and universities around the Northeast. The energetic participants agreed to
work for more local food and sustainable agriculture programs on their campuses.
> More Breaking News
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Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Competitive Grants Program
CSREES anticipates the availability of grant funds and requests applications for the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Competitive Grants Program (OASDFR). This program provides outreach and technical assistance to encourage and assist socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to own and operate farms and ranches and to participate equitably in agriculture programs. Contingent on Congressional action, CSREES anticipates that approximately $5.9 million will be available in Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 to support this program. The funding limit is up to $100,000 per year for a maximum project period of three years.
Proposals are due December 14, 2007.
2008 Extension Risk Management Education Grants Program
The Northeast Center for Risk Management Education, in conjunction with the North Central, Southern and Western regional Centers, announces a funding opportunity for projects that help farm and ranch families succeed through targeted risk management strategies. In addition to crop insurance, effective risk management involves selecting tools and approaches that reduce the financial effects of the uncertainties of weather, yields, prices, government policies, global markets and other factors that can cause wide swings in farm income or threaten economic viability. The application process is conducted in two stages, with a pre-proposal to be submitted online.
Proposals are due December 13, 2007.
California Dairy Water Quality Improvement Grant
Applications are now available for Central Valley dairy producers interested in receiving grant funds that will assist them in implementing water quality improvement projects. Western United Resource Development, Inc. is administering the Water Quality Improvement Project. Its objectives are to assist dairies in becoming certified by the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program and to assist at least ten dairies in implementing projects to improve water quality. Funding will assist producers who are trying to meet the challenges of the recently enacted Waste Discharge Requirements and need to make improvements in order to remain in compliance.
Proposals are due November 26, 2007.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Ecological Farming Conference
January 23-26, 2008
Pacific Grove, California
The theme for the 28th annual conference is "Root Values: Connecting Ecology, Community and the Land." The agenda includes bus tours of organic farms or school gardens, an extensive workshop schedule that includes some workshops in Spanish, and plenary sessions.
Oregon Tilth Annual Conference
January 18-19, 2008
"Organic Integrity: Principles, Practices, and Opportunities" will offer a rich variety of topics relevant to anyone involved with food systems, organic agriculture and livestock, sustainability, advocacy, and many other issues. It is also a wonderful opportunity for consumers and the general public to learn about sustainable agriculture and organic food production.
Sustainable Agriculture Pest Management Conference
November 30 - December 1, 2007
San Luis Obispo, California
The 6th Annual Sustainable Pest Management Conference features innovative pest management practices for sustainable agriculture, including tools for biologically-integrated pest control, pesticide resistance management strategies, non-toxic vertebrate pest control, and many other topics.
> More Events
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of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
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