Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - December 6, 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
* USDA Awards Grants to Assist Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers
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.
* Sustainable Table Website Revised
* Local Foods Businesses Cluster in Sioux City
* University of Wisconsin-River Falls to Offer Sustainable Ag Option
* Avoiding Excess Phosphorus Fertilizer Could Improve Grain Nutrition
* ABC News Series Explores Organic Food Market
* EPA Region III Strategic Agricultural Initiative
* Organic Center Proposal Preparation Small Grant Program
* Photovoltaic Incentive Program
* Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society Winter Conference
* Ecological Pest Management Conference
* Michigan Family Farms Conference
News & Resources
USDA Awards Grants to Assist Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers
USDA has announced the award of 21 competitive grants totaling more than $5.6 million to strengthen efforts aimed at serving minority and disadvantaged farmers. The grants are part of the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers program, administered by USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES). A list of recipients and grant amounts is available online.
Sustainable Table Website Revised
The Sustainable Table project has launched a newly revised website to better educate about healthy eating choices. The website includes a number of useful tools, including the Eat Well Guide, which identifies stores, restaurants, and farms that offer sustainably produced eggs, poultry, dairy and meat products; and shopping guides that can help select healthier foods, help understand food labels, and support sustainable agriculture.
Local Foods Businesses Cluster in Sioux City
A co-op of local food producers are progressing with plans to turn a block of Sioux City, Iowa, into a local foods campus, reports the Sioux City Journal. The project includes a grocery store featuring local products and crafts that is set to open soon, as well as a substantial renovation of a restaurant that is committed to serving locally grown and organic foods. These businesses are housed next to a store featuring free-range meats produced by a consortium of 36 local growers. As the weather improves, the co-op will add an open-air farmers' market space to the mix. Future plans for the block include the addition of a processing plant for local produce.
University of Wisconsin-River Falls to Offer Sustainable Ag Option
After more than two years of planning, a sustainable agriculture option will be offered through the University of Wisconsin-River Falls College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences program. The Wisconsin Ag Connection reports the initiative was approved during a recent faculty senate meeting. "Students will study economically viable production systems that promote land productivity, energy efficiency, environmental stewardship, and rural community viability," said Mike Crotser, professor of plant and earth science.
Avoiding Excess Phosphorus Fertilizer Could Improve Grain Nutrition
Agricultural Research Service researchers in Idaho have found that giving too much phosphorus fertilizer to wheat and barley can increase phytate levels in the grain, according to a recently published study covered in the Prairie Star and elsewhere. When the phosphorus is stored as phytate, it is in a less-digestible form for humans and animals, meaning that other nutrients in the grain are not available, and that phytate-containing manure may contaminate groundwater. The study provides an incentive to use less phosphorus fertilizer on crops, a strategy that could extend limited supplies.
ABC News Series Explores Organic Food Market
ABC World News launched a series of stories on organic food this week with a piece on November 27 about how growth in the organic market is driving the industry from small-scale to large-scale production. Additional stories in the series looked at the globalization of organic food, and on whether organic food is better for consumers from a health perspective.
> More Breaking News
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EPA Region III Strategic Agricultural Initiative
EPA Region III is soliciting proposals to help implement the Food Quality Protection Act and to support efforts by the agricultural community to "transition" away from high risk pesticides to the use of less and reduced risk pesticides, alternative methods of pest control and sustainable practices in food production. The program supports grants for education, extension, demonstration, and field projects for FQPA transition and reduced risk practices for pest management in agriculture. The EPA Region III Strategic Agricultural Initiative anticipates having approximately $150,000 in 2007 to award to eligible applicants. Projects up to $75,000 will be considered for funding. Region III serves Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Proposals are due December 29, 2006.
Organic Center Proposal Preparation Small Grant Program
The Organic Center is offering grants up to $5,000 for research teams working to develop proposals for submission to public or private competitive grant programs. To be eligible for consideration, the scientific focus of requests for a proposal preparation grant must fall within the Center's 2006 research priorities. A major goal of the Center's small grant proposal preparation program is to encourage scientists carrying out research focusing on one dimension of the performance of farming systems and/or food quality and safety to diversify and broaden research teams, experimental designs, and laboratory methods to allow additional hypotheses to be tested relevant to the actual or potential future benefits of organic food and farming systems. Letters of application may be submitted to the Center at any time during 2006.
Proposals are due December 31, 2006.
Photovoltaic Incentive Program
The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources is offering incentives of up to $3.50/watt for eligible new photovoltaic renewable projects located in Rhode Island. For-profit and non-profit entities located in the Narragansett Electric or Pascoag Utility District service territories are eligible. Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) generated as a result of a project's installation are to be delivered to the Rhode Island renewable energy credit market where they may be allocated towards the renewable energy credit requirements under the Renewable Energy Standards Act. The 2007 fiscal year budget is $200,000 for the program. For more information, contact RIOER, One Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908-5890; Phone: (401) 222-3370 or email: JulieC@gw.doa.state.ri.us.
Proposals are due December 16, 2006.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society Winter Conference
February 9-10, 2007
Aberdeen, South Dakota
"Revitalizing our Farm Communities" is the theme for this conference, which features keynote speakers Dr. John Ikerd and Dr. Paul Dettloff.
Ecological Pest Management Conference
February 4-6, 2007
The Association of Applied IPM Ecologists presents this event, which includes their 41st annual meeting. The agenda includes the meeting, a keynote address, and concurrent sessions on several IPM topics.
Michigan Family Farms Conference
January 13, 2007
Battle Creek, Michigan
The Farm Research Cooperative (FRC), in partnership with the USDA Risk Management Agency (USDA RMA), is holding a conference titled "21st Century Practices for Sustainable Family Farms." They are inviting small and limited-resource family farmers together to learn about government programs to help farmers, environmental stewardship, marketing tactics and value-added production practices. Breakout sessions include Small-Scale Marketing, Production, Business Management and Spanish-Speaking tracks to cover all the bases when it comes to sustainable agriculture and running the family farm.
> More Events
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