Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 22, 2006
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.
News & Resources
* New USDA Tool Estimates Energy Use in Animal Housing
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.
* Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference to Feature Organic Research Poster Session
* Natural Predators Play Important Role in Soybean Aphid Control
* More Universities Serving Local and Organic Food
* Studies Highlight Renewable Energy Potential
* Country Marks National Farm-City Week November 17-23
* Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund
* New Hampshire Agricultural Promotion Mini-Grant Program
* California Water Conservation Field Service Program
* Harvesting Clean Energy Conference VII
* Guelph Organic Conference
* Texas Conference on Organic Production Systems
News & Resources
New USDA Tool Estimates Energy Use in Animal Housing
USDA has unveiled a Web-based energy awareness tool designed to help agricultural producers reduce energy costs related to animal housing. The "Energy Estimator for Animal Housing" evaluates the energy use and costs associated with heating, lighting and ventilating poultry, swine and dairy housing. This is the fourth energy estimator tool USDA has developed as part of its overall energy strategy to reduce the impacts of high energy costs and to help develop long-term solutions for producers. According to USDA, producers with animal feeding operations can save up to $250 million annually nationwide by regularly maintaining their ventilation and heating systems and using more energy-efficient fixtures and equipment. An individual producer may realize up to 50 percent savings in energy use by maintaining ventilation and heating equipment regularly.
Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference to Feature Organic Research Poster Session
The Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference, set for February 22-24, 2007, in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, will feature for the first time poster presentations designed to recognize and advance research in organic agriculture production, marketing and development. They are looking for posters featuring both academic and on-farm research which are relevant to the Upper Midwest. The research must address organic producers' needs and offer practical information that can benefit the organic farming community. A "call for posters" is open through December 15, 2006. You may submit your proposal via e-mail to Holly Born. Please include your contact name, title, address and email and a short (250 words or fewer) description of the poster research.
Natural Predators Play Important Role in Soybean Aphid Control
Research by a Purdue University entomologist and a cooperating team reveals that natural predators are an effective control for soybean aphids, and that farmers could save money on insecticides, reports Indiana Ag Connection. The soybean aphid was first discovered in U.S. fields in 2000, and has caused an estimated $500 million in crop damage since then. However, research showed that natural predators, particularly the minute pirate bug and the Asian lady beetle, can keep the pest below economic thresholds. Farmers can not only save money by reducing insecticide expenditures, but should be careful not to apply insecticides that reduce their population of natural predators.
Related ATTRA Publication: Biointensive Integrated Pest Management
More Universities Serving Local and Organic Food
The number of schools and colleges across the country that serve local and organic food is rising. Dining Services at Washington State University has been working to serve more sustainable food since 2001, reports The Daily Evergreen. Their efforts focus on local food, as well as foods grown using less or no pesticides, antibiotics, and growth hormones. Dining Services obtains 10 to 15 percent of its food locally from November to March, including foods such as flour, potatoes, chicken and beef. Meanwhile, in Kansas, the University Daily Kansan reports that the school is making a cautious start. Dining Services has chosen to offer organic food for retail sale at its market in the student union building. Their Dining Services department looks on the offering as a test of the demand for organic food, and an indicator of whether they should look at integrating it in the dining hall menus.
Studies Highlight Renewable Energy Potential
Two new studies released by the 25 x '25 coalition indicate the strong potential for renewable energy adoption in the U.S. First, a RAND Corporation study shows that increasing the use of renewable energy may lower the country's total future energy costs relative to our current path, under the right conditions regarding energy prices and technology improvements. The RAND Corporation used energy demand and supply projections prepared by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and ran 1,500 separate analyses, varying future costs and rates of technological change for both fossil fuels and renewable energy. The RAND analysis found that renewable energy could produce 25% of U.S. electric power and motor vehicle fuels by 2025 at no additional cost to the economy, as long as renewable technology continues to improve at least 20% in the next 20 years relative to fossil fuel technologies. The second study, an economic analysis conducted by researchers at the University of Tennessee, outlines how America's vast natural resources can be tapped to produce 25 percent of the nation's energy supply from renewable sources by 2025. With continued advancements in technology and significant shifts in cropping patterns, U.S. farmers, ranchers and foresters can all contribute to this energy goal while still providing abundant supplies of food, feed and fiber, according to the scenarios outlined in the report.
Related ATTRA Publication: Renewable Energy Opportunities on the Farm
Country Marks National Farm-City Week November 17-23
Each year Farm-City Week highlights and celebrates the connections between farm families and urban residents, and between urban and rural industries. The President has proclaimed this year's Farm-City Week as November 17-23. Communities across the country mark the event with special celebrations and activities, including observances in Florida, Alabama, and even a career-swap day in Pennsylvania.
> More Breaking News
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Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund
The goal of the Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund is to help farmers continue to farm and to sustain rural communities. The Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund has been set up by RAFI-USA to help farmers and communities develop enterprises that can supplement or replace tobacco income. The Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund offers technical support and cost-share grants of up to $10,000 for individuals and up to $18,000 for groups to farmers, farm organizations, or community groups attempting to develop new on-farm enterprises to replace lost tobacco income. Farmers, farm organizations, and community groups in Alamance, Carteret, Franklin, Granville, Hoke, Jones, Onslow, Robeson, Rockingham, and Stokes counties of North Carolina may meet eligibility requirements.
Proposals are due January 26, 2007.
New Hampshire Agricultural Promotion Mini-Grant Program
The Agricultural Promotion Mini-Grant Program offers matching grants of up to $1,000 to organizations that wish to conduct a project focused on promoting New Hampshire agriculture. Organizations or commodity groups involved in production, marketing or promotion of New Hampshire agricultural products are eligible to apply.
Proposals are due January 15, 2007.
California Water Conservation Field Service Program
The Mid-Pacific Region of the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) proposes to provide financial assistance supporting activities that promote the preparation of written water management/conservation plans, demonstrate new or previously unknown water management technologies and practices, implement activities identified in written water management plans and promote improved understanding of good water use practices and principles. Total program funding is $1 million; up to 70 awards with an award ceiling of $50,000 are possible. Eligibility to apply is unrestricted, but there is a cost-share requirement.
Proposals are due February 14, 2007.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Harvesting Clean Energy Conference VII
January 28-30, 2007
The Harvesting Clean Energy Conference is the Northwest's premiere gathering for agriculture and energy interests working to advance new opportunities for agriculture producers and rural communities in clean energy production. Clean energy offers real solutions-financial and practical-for our farmers, ranchers, rural utilities and towns, tribes, and regional economy.
Guelph Organic Conference
January 25-28, 2007
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Canada's premiere organic event offers four full days of incredible workshops and seminars-novice to expert, an outstanding trade show filled with organic exhibits, a public forum, and more. The theme for this 26th conference is "Next Generation Organics," focusing on youth, local organics, and the survival of a movement started by pioneers.
Texas Conference on Organic Production Systems
January 24-27, 2007
This 6th annual conference has the theme "Local Food Revolution: Bringing Texas Home." It will include speakers, farm tours, a trade show, and a new farmers workshop.
> More Events
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