Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 9, 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
* New Nebraska Food Cooperative Aims for Virtual Farmers' Market
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.
* Audubon Highlights Conservation Success Stories
* Article Provides Background on Dairy Farm Energy Projects
* Biomass Evaluated as Transportation Fuel
* Kirschenmann Asked to Resign as Director of Leopold Center
* Input Sought on Developing Online Sustainable Agriculture Course
* Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program
* Nebraska Organic Transition Incentive Program
* Integrated Organic Program
* Professional Agricultural Workers Conference
* North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association Annual Convention
* Facilitating Sustainable Agriculture: A Participatory National Conference on Post-Secondary Education
News & Resources
New Nebraska Food Cooperative Aims for Virtual Farmers' Market
A new group forming in Nebraska, the Nebraska Food Cooperative, seeks to promote locally grown food, says the Daily Nebraskan. The group kicks off their efforts with a banquet of local food on November 4. Eleven state producers will supply poultry and vegetables for the banquet. The group has set its sights on launching a Web site that will connect farmers and consumers, based on the model of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. Consumers order online, and farmers deliver their produce to a central location, where it is sorted for individual customers.
Audubon Highlights Conservation Success Stories
An article in the November 2005 issue of Audubon provides an overview of the six main conservation programs funded through the farm bill, and discusses how important good land management practices on working lands are for restoring endangered species. The feature article also profiles farmers and ranchers who are concerned about wildlife and enrolled in one of the federal conservation programs. The profiles include a grass-fed beef producer, a partnership of private landowners, a lumber retailer, and a prairie seed producer.
Related NCAT Publication: Building Better Rural Places
Article Provides Background on Dairy Farm Energy Projects
An article in the September/October 2005 issue of the journal Distributed Energy examines the push to encourage onsite power production at dairy farms across the country and provides a cautionary tale for dairy owners thinking about investing in bio-based energy systems. Titled "DG Down on the Farm," the article discusses the state of the technology for on-farm digester/generation systems and outlines various state programs and the reasons for their varied success in encouraging installation of energy systems at dairies. The article also provides examples and perspectives from both dairy producers and the utility companies, which can play an important role in how successful a bio-based energy program will be.
Related ATTRA Publication: Anaerobic Digestion of Animal Wastes: Factors to Consider
Biomass Evaluated as Transportation Fuel
An article in the November issue of Environmental Health Perspectives reports on research by Oak Ridge National Laboratory that looked at the potential for biomass to fuel transportation. Biomass as Feedstock for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry: the Technical Feasibility of a Billion-Ton Annual Supply was released in April 2005. According to the report, with some changes in land use and agricultural and forestry practices American acreage could produce enough biomass to displace at least 30 percent of the country’s current consumption of petroleum fuels by 2030. Advanced conversion technologies could raise the potential displacement total higher, to 50 percent. The report concluded that farms could potentially contribute 998 million dry tons of biomass annually, much of that in the form of crop residues such as corn stover and even perennial crops managed with no-till production techniques. The report noted that for sustainable production, biomass harvest should not diminish soil fertility or increase erosion.
Kirschenmann Asked to Resign as Director of Leopold Center
Fred Kirschenmann, who was director of Iowa State University's (ISU) Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture for the past five years, was asked to resign last week. Wendy Wintersteen, the interim dean of ISU's College of Agriculture, made the executive decision, apparently to clear the way for a new director who will be more focused on Iowa agricultural issues. Jerry DeWitt, former coordinator of agricultural Extension services at the university, has been appointed interim director, and Kirschenmann will remain with the Center as a distinguished fellow.
Input Sought on Developing Online Sustainable Agriculture Course
Montana State University's Integrated Pest Management Center is conducting a survey of agricultural professionals to inform the development of a new online course on sustainable agriculture. The Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at MSU plans to offer an online continuing education course on sustainable crop management practices in Fall 2006 and Fall 2007. The course will focus on weed management, nutrient management, farm economics, and cropping systems, relying heavily on experiences and knowledge of producers and agricultural professionals who participate. The course will cost $60 and the first 25 respondents to the survey questionnaire will receive a 50% discount. The online survey can be found in the "SARE, IPM" section of the MSU IPM Center Web site.
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Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program
The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) announces the availability of grant funds and requests applications for the Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education (HSI) Grants Program for fiscal year (FY) 2006 to promote and strengthen the ability of Hispanic-Serving Institutions to carry out higher education programs that attract, retain, and graduate outstanding students capable of enhancing the nation’s food and agricultural scientific and professional work force. CSREES anticipates the amount available for support of this program in FY 2006 will be approximately $5,600,000.
Proposals are due
February 1, 2006.
Nebraska Organic Transition Incentive Program
The Nebraska Natural Resources & Conservation Service (NRCS) is launching an Organic Incentives Program option for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which will provide financial incentives, statewide, for farmers and ranchers to convert conventional cropland and grassland to certified organic status. The program authorizes an annual payment of $50 per acre for three years, for up to at least 120 acres of cropland. Compliance with USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) is required annually. Acres in any phase of the conversion process are eligible for the incentive payment; however, farmers and acreages already certified organic are not eligible. Applications can be submitted any time at county NRCS offices. The first ranking/review deadline is November 30, 2005.
Integrated Organic Program
Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) requests applications for the Integrated Organic Program for fiscal year (FY) 2006, to solve critical organic agriculture issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research, education, and extension activities in two program areas: (1) Organic Transitions Program (ORG); and (2) Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). ORG funds the development and implementation of research, extension and higher education programs to improve the competitiveness of organic producers. OREI funds research and extension programs that enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic food, feed, and fiber. CSREES anticipates the amount available for support of this program in FY 2006 will be approximately $1.8 million for ORG and $2.9 million for OREI. Institutions of higher education, nonprofits, for-profit businesses, and individuals are eligible to apply.
Proposals are due
December 20, 2005.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Professional Agricultural Workers Conference
December 4-6, 2005
The PAWC serves as a forum where participants review and discuss relevant topics on improving the quality of rural life for people in the South and the nation in general. This year’s theme is: "Strategies to Influence the 2007 Farm Bill and Rural Policies: Impact on Diverse Cultures, Rural Communities and Underserved Farmers." Workshops, presentations, and a poster session are scheduled.
North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association Annual Convention
January 9-16, 2006
This major event includes pre- and post-conference tours, a trade show, and presentations in seven tracks. Tracks include two on Farmers' Markets, Ecotourism, Best Management Practices, and more. The conference theme is "Discover Potential."
Facilitating Sustainable Agriculture: A Participatory National Conference on Post-Secondary Education
January 24–25, 2006
Pacific Grove, California
The UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences & Student Farm and the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems are jointly convening a national sustainable agriculture education conference. The goal of the conference is to facilitate a national, cross-disciplinary dialogue on learning and teaching that informs and promotes the continued development of educational programs in sustainable agriculture.
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