Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 30, 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
* Local Planning for Agriculture is Focus of New Guide
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.
* Native Foods Find New Generation of Support
* Soybean Rust Found in Kentucky
* Report Details Potential for Biofuels and Wind
* Swiss Approve 5-year GMO Farming Ban
* Katahdin Sheep Offer Tobacco Alternative for Tennessee County
* Private Stewardship Grants Program
* Small Business Innovation Research Program: Phase II
* New York Farmland Protection Implementation Project Grants
* Agriventure Two Part Workshop
* Illinois Organic Production Conference
* Eco-Farm 2006: Savoring Connections from Seed to Table
News & Resources
Local Planning for Agriculture is Focus of New Guide
American Farmland Trust's new Guide to Local Planning for Agriculture in New York helps communities engage farmers and rural landowners in local planning efforts; assess current town policies and their effectiveness; and understand the range of tools available to help New York towns support local farms. The guide contains more than 30 case studies demonstrating how towns and municipalities are successfully planning for agriculture. In addition, more than 100 relevant publications, state laws, local plans and ordinances are available on a CD of reference materials that accompanies the hard-copy version of the guide.
Native Foods Find New Generation of Support
An article in The New York Times reports on fledgling efforts across the nation to revive American Indian foods. On the Tohono O'odham Reservation southwest of Tucson, farmer Noland Johnson grows tepary beans, which were once a staple of the Tohono O’odham diet but now are hard to find. Chefs nationwide are beginning to incorporate native foods—wild rice, squash, beans, corn, Pacific salmon, bison, and persimmons, for example—into their menus. On the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, an economic development company called Lakota Express wants to create an entire food line under the Native American Natural Foods label. Several other projects are encouraging a return to traditional agriculture and foodstuffs, including the White Earth Land Recovery Project, Native Seeds/SEARCH, and Renewing America’s Food Traditions (RAFT).
Soybean Rust Found in Kentucky
USDA has confirmed that soybean rust was found in Western Kentucky, reports Kentucky Ag Connection. This brings the number of states where the infection has been found to nine. The incidence of rust in Caldwell County, Kentucky is the furthest north the disease has been found. Earlier in November soybean rust was found in Texas for the first time.
Related ATTRA Publication: Asian Soybean Rust: Notes and Organic Control Options for Farmers
Report Details Potential for Biofuels and Wind
A new report says that biofuels and wind power together have strong potential to replace gasoline and revitalize rural communities. The New Harvest: Biofuels and Wind Power for Rural Revitalization and National Energy Security was co-authored by Climate Solutions' Research Director Patrick Mazza and Energy Foundation President Eric Heitz. The report contains findings that show advanced biofuels made from plant matter including grasses and crop residues can replace gasoline in the U.S. light duty vehicle fleet by mid-century, and that one-quarter of the nation sustains wind speeds capable of generating competitively priced electricity. The report offers public policy agendas to support the growth of wind power and advanced biofuels. The entire report is available online in PDF.
Swiss Approve 5-year GMO Farming Ban
In a national referendum Sunday, Swiss voters adopted a five-year moratorium on GMO crops and the import of genetically modified animals, reports Reuters. The measure approved by 55 percent of voters is one of the toughest stances in Europe on GMOs. In related news covered by EUobserver, Austria has said it will launch a European Union-wide debate on GMOs when it takes over EU's rotating presidency in January. Austria already has a ban of its own on GMO plants.
Katahdin Sheep Offer Tobacco Alternative for Tennessee County
In Scott County, Tennessee, a significant number of tobacco farmers looking for an alternative crop have turned to raising Katahdin hair sheep for their meat, says an article in the the Kingsport Times-News. The Katahdin is an American breed developed in the 1960s that is disease resistant, low maintenance, and produces good meat. The Scott County Hair Sheep Association is one of the largest in the nation, representing a concentration of growers in the area. About two years ago the Katahdin producers in Scott County began working with a local grocery chain to provide locally grown lamb. They now furnish 50 lambs per week to about 30 Food City stores. The retailer has said it would buy more, and offer local lamb at more stores, if it were available from producers.
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Private Stewardship Grants Program
The Private Stewardship Program provides grants and other assistance on a competitive basis to individuals and groups engaged in local, private, and voluntary conservation efforts that benefit federally listed, proposed, or candidate species, or other at-risk species. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is soliciting project proposals for Federal assistance under the PSGP. The amount available for fiscal year 2006 is approximately $6.5 million. Eligible projects include those by landowners and their partners who need technical and financial assistance to improve habitat or implement other activities on private lands. A PSGP proposal must include at least 10 percent cost sharing on the part of the landowner or other non-Federal partners involved in the project. Grant proposals must be submitted to regional offices.
Proposals are due January 23, 2006.
Small Business Innovation Research Program: Phase II
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is soliciting research proposals under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, Fiscal Year 2006. New this year for SBIR is a Small and Mid Sized Farms topic area. Projects dealing with agriculturally related manufacturing technology are encouraged across all 2006 SBIR topic areas. Estimated total program funding is $19.4 million..
Proposals are due February 2, 2006.
New York Farmland Protection Implementation Project Grants
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets invites proposals for funding to implement certain farmland protection implementation activities described in agricultural and farmland protection plans that have been developed by counties and municipalities. Proposals for funding will be accepted from only: (1) county agricultural and farmland protection boards in counties with an approved county plan developed pursuant to Section 324 of Article 25-AAA of the Agriculture and Markets Law; or (2) any municipality which has in place a local farmland protection plan, provided the proposed project is endorsed for funding by the agricultural and farmland protection board for the county in which the municipality is located. State funds to a municipality shall not exceed 75 percent of the total project cost. Applicants will be required to provide a local match, utilizing other public or any private sources, equal to at least 25 percent of the total project cost.
Proposals are due January 23, 2006.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Agriventure Two Part Workshop
December 6 and 13, 2005
Norwich, New York
This workshop for farmers and potential farmers to explore distribution options to make their venture more successful is titled "Distribution Options for Farm Ventures: Getting Your Products to Market." It is sponsored by the Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship (CADE) and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chenango County.
Illinois Organic Production Conference
January 11-12, 2006
This second annual conference provides practical, science-based information and extensive networking opportunities for any farmer interested in learning more about organic agriculture, whether they have organic experience or not. Organic methods, certification and marketing will be covered for livestock, grain and specialty crops.
Eco-Farm 2006: Savoring Connections from Seed to Table
January 25-28, 2006
Pacific Grove, California
This annual four-day winter forum is the world's premier sustainable agriculture conference. Eco-Farm features prominent keynote speakers and more than 50 workshops on the latest advances in agricultural production, marketing, research, and important issues. Farm tours and exhibitors are also scheduled.
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