Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 8, 2010
Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.
News & Resources
News & Resources
CSP Farmer Profiles Available Online
With the January 7 sign-up deadline for this year's Conservation Stewardship Program nearing, several organizations are featuring profiles of successful CSP farmers and program applicants. Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Missouri Rural Crisis Center and Michael Fields Agricultural Institute have all posted case studies of farmers who are participating in the program. Case studies (many as PDFs) are available online for these farmers:
Matt Russell and Patrick Standley-Iowa
Fred and Vicki Abels-Iowa
Ben and Dave Avis-Missouri
Richard de Wilde-Wisconsin
Karl and Robert Klessig-Wisconsin
Top 100 Questions of Importance to the Future of Global Agriculture Published
The International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability has published what a panel of authors deem the top 100 questions of importance to the future of global agriculture, in an attempt to improve dialogue and understanding between agricultural research and policy. These have been compiled using a horizon-scanning approach with leading experts and representatives of major agricultural organizations worldwide, as part of the UK Government's Foresight Global Food and Farming Futures project. The full PDF text of the article is available free online.
Citrus Industry Turns to Genetic Modification in "Greening" Battle
A Special Report by Planet Ark says that the U.S. citrus industry is in an all-out battle against the world's most destructive citrus disease, known as "greening" and spread by the citrus psyllid. Growers are cooperating in their fight against the disease, removing infected trees and coordinating pesticide applications. They are also putting vast amounts of money into research on the disease, including citrus genome sequencing that could help develop resistant citrus varieties in the future. The industry and the U.S. government are also investing in development of genetically modified citrus that would be immune to the disease, but to date the biotech industry has had only limited success in using genetics to develop resistance to bacterial diseases. Researchers characterize the situation as critical, predicting that without a treatment or resistance breakthrough, Florida's large-scale citrus industry could be gone within a decade.
Child Nutrition Act Includes Organic Pilot Program
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 passed by Congress includes a $10 million Organic Pilot Program, reports the Organic Trade Association. Under the Organic Pilot Program, competitive grants favoring socially disadvantaged schools will be offered for schools to increase organic offerings in their meal programs. Because the Organic Pilot Program is not mandatory, the Appropriations Committee will decide on funding for the program. In addition to the Organic Pilot Program, the bill includes a $40 million Farm-to-School Program. This mandatory funding will provide a robust competitive grant and technical assistance program in the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase the use of local foods from small- and medium-sized farms in schools.
Judge Orders GM Sugar Beets Removed from Ground
Federal District Judge Jeffrey S. White ordered November 30 that all the Roundup Ready sugar beet stecklings planted be destroyed, citing "significant risk that the plantings pursuant to the permits will cause environmental harm." In particular, the judge was worried about the "contamination" of other related species, including table beets and chard, with the glyphosphate tolerance gene through cross-pollination. The stecklings, plants that are destined to produce sugar beet seed, don't have to be destroyed until December 6. Monsanto has already announced it will appeal the ruling. USDA is accepting comments until December 6 on an environmental assessment examining whether the GM sugar beets should be granted a "partial deregulation" pending a full environmental impact statement.
Grassland Reserve Program Final Rule Published
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has issued the final rule for the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP), which defines requirements for participants and incorporates changes to program implementation requested by the public. GRP is a voluntary program available in all 50 states and territories that helps landowners restore and protect grassland, rangeland, pastureland, scrubland, and other lands, and provides assistance for rehabilitating grasslands. The program supports working grazing operations, enhancement of plant and animal biodiversity, and protection of grassland and land containing shrubs and forbs under the threat of conversion. Participants agree to limit future development and cropping uses of the land. They retain the right to conduct common grazing practices and operations; this is subject to certain restrictions during nesting seasons of bird species that are in significant decline. A grazing management plan is required for all participants. Applications are accepted continuously.
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Conservation Innovation Grants
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is announcing availability of Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. Applications are accepted from all 50 States, Caribbean Area, and the Pacific Islands Area. NRCS anticipates that the amount available for support of this program in FY 2011 will be approximately $25 million. Applications are requested from eligible governmental or non-governmental organizations or individuals for competitive consideration of grant awards for projects between 1 and 3 years in duration. Funds will be awarded through a two-phase nationwide competitive grants process which will include a pre-proposal for all applications, and a full proposal package only for competitively selected pre-proposal applications.
Applications for the pre-proposal phase must be received by December 28, 2010.
Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative
NIFA requests applications for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) for fiscal year (FY) 2011 to solve critical organic agriculture issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research and extension activities. 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 agricultural products. The amount available for support of this program in FY 2011 is anticipated to be approximately $19 million. Eligible applicants include colleges and universities, federal agencies, private organizations and individuals. Matching funds are required.
Applications are due February 10, 2011.
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Competitive Grants Program
UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP) is pleased to announce the release of the Request for Proposals for the 2010 Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Competitive Grants Program. Total available funding is $200,000 divided among four types of projects: planning grants, education & outreach grants, research grants, and graduate student research grants. UC SAREP will consider proposals in the following three Priority Areas: 1) Agriculture, Resources and the Environment 2) Food and Society 3) Social Learning in Agriculture and Food Systems. Eligible applicants include those affiliated with California non-profit, tax-exempt organizations, state and local government agencies, and California public and private institutions of higher education.
Proposals are due December 13, 2010.
>> More Funding Opportunities
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Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms
January 19-22, 2011
The popular pre-conference events begin on Wednesday and include one-and-a-half day intensive short courses as well as several half-day field trips and mini courses on Thursday. The general conference, to be held on Friday and Saturday, offers 56 one and a half hour sessions on a broad range of topics. These sessions will provide sustainable production and marketing information for commercial horticultural and livestock producers, enterprise management lessons, farm policy education and community food systems development information. The general conference also offers 13 information exchange sessions, 13 state networking sessions, a trade show, a silent auction, a virtual farm tour extravaganza show, a Taste of Tennessee dinner and more.
Ecological Farming Conference
January 26-29, 2011
Pacific Grove, California
With over 60 workshops featuring prominent speakers on the latest advances in agricultural techniques, marketing strategies, research and other important food system issues, along with organic meals and lively entertainment, the EcoFarm Conference is the largest sustainable agriculture gathering in the western United States. The 31st Annual Ecological Farming Conference — Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, e-Lectrical — celebrates the fact that a holistic, ecological view of food and farming is driving a national conversation about personal, public and environmental health.
Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference
January 22, 2011
The Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference serves as a vehicle to promote and build a local vibrant agriculture community, to equip the small farm community with the tools to be successful, and to be a forum for the open exchange of ideas within the small farm community. This year's theme is "Walking the Walk: Bold Steps Toward a Regional Food System."
Using Multi-Species Cover Crops to Improve Soil Health
December 16, 2010
This free ATTRA webinar addresses how multi-species cover crops improve soil health, increase biological diversity, and contribute to the bottom line in no-till grain operations. Register online to attend.
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