Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 14, 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
* ATTRA Launches New Local Food Directory Resource
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.
* USDA Announces Energy Strategy to Help Producers with High Costs
* Persistent Pesticides Found in Organic Vegetables
* Can Cattle Confinement be Environmentally Friendly?
* Organic Trade Association Envisions Industry's Future
* Biofuel Imports Raise Concerns
* Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program
* Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program – Methyl Bromide Transitions
* Kentucky 2006 Agri-tourism Competitive Awards Program
* North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association Annual Convention
* Soil & Weeds Workshop
* Community Food Security Coalition Evaluation Program Workshop
News & Resources
ATTRA Launches New Local Food Directory Resource
Across the country there's renewed interest in locally grown food.
People are eager to find high-quality, fresh foods grown in their own
communities. At the same time, many farmers and ranchers are beginning
to market their products directly to consumers. Agencies and
organizations across the country are helping producers and consumers
connect with each other through a variety of published and online local
food directories and other promotional programs. ATTRA has assembled an online
database of local food directories, useful for producers and consumers
alike. The Local Food Directory Resource includes national,
regional, state and community directory resources for all 50 states. We welcome suggestions of additional directory
USDA Announces Energy Strategy to Help Producers with High Costs
In response to requests from producers struggling with high energy costs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has unveiled a comprehensive energy strategy to help farmers and ranchers mitigate the impact of high energy costs and develop long-term solutions. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced the formation of the USDA Energy Council to examine departmental programs and authorities, ensuring they fit into a comprehensive energy strategy. Johanns also announced that USDA is interested in creating risk management tools that would help producers to manage the adverse impacts of high energy and energy-related input costs. Another part of USDA's effort to mitigate energy costs in the short term is the availability of a newly revised on-line energy calculator. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service developed the Energy Estimator to calculate the diesel fuel usage and costs associated with various tillage practices, which can help producers to make practical, money-saving decisions. Conservation practices such as nutrient management, crop residue management, irrigation management, windbreaks, and contour farming also help to reduce the nation's dependence on fossil fuels while saving farmers money and helping to protect soil and water resources. USDA is also intensifying efforts to support the development, production and use of renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, through an array of research, loan and grant programs.
Persistent Pesticides Found in Organic Vegetables
When an undergraduate chemistry student recently tested bunches of organic and non-organic retail carrots, she found pesticide residues in both, reports Science News. The results of testing by the senior at Chatham College mirrored those of a study done by another student on potatoes. The students theorize that pesticides that take decades to break down may be lingering in soil that is now certified as organic. All the carrots tested in the study showed a breakdown product of DDT, and many also showed the pesticide chlordane. Some also showed heptachlor. The pesticides were present in trace amounts, with higher concentrations in the skin of the vegetables than in the flesh.
Can Cattle Confinement be Environmentally Friendly?
South Dakota ranchers plan a 77,000 square-foot confinement facility that will house 1800 feeder cattle, a practice that Fran Ingalls, district manager of the state of South Dakota’s Turner Conservation District at Parker, S.D., says could become the wave of the future. Proponents say the facility will be friendly to the cattle as well as to the environment.
Organic Trade Association Envisions Industry's Future
The Organic Trade Association recently released results of a survey that asked industry research organizations and long-time member companies to envision the organic industry in 2025. Survey respondents predicted that the organic industry would continue to grow, though at a slower pace than the current annual 20 percent increase in sales. The survey results also predicted that organic products would move more into the mainstream, with organic versions of more consumer products becoming available and consumers buying a higher percentage of organic goods on a regular basis. Complete survey results are available online in PDF.
Biofuel Imports Raise Concerns
A growing enthusiasm over biofuels has led to increased development of domestic processing capacity and legislation that provides incentives for biofuel production and use. However, when a ship loaded with South American biodiesel recently arrived in the U.S. and qualified for a new federal tax break, both farmers and lawmakers were upset, says an article in St. Paul Pioneer Press. They say the intent of biofuel incentives is to lessen dependence on foreign fuels, not subsidize foreign alternatives to petroleum. Both the biodiesel and ethanol industries, upon which many farmers were pinning their hopes for an economic boom, are now facing competition from imports, according to the article.
> More Breaking News
Back to top
Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is inviting state departments of agriculture and other appropriate state agencies to submit proposals for matching grant funds under the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP). FSMIP funds may be requested for a wide range of research projects that help to market, transport and distribute U.S. food and agricultural products. USDA anticipates that approximately $1.3 million will be available for FSMIP grants in fiscal year 2006.
Proposals are due February 10, 2006.
Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program – Methyl Bromide Transitions
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, announces the availability of grant funds and requests applications for the Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program – Methyl Bromide Transitions for fiscal year 2006 to support the discovery and implementation of practical pest management alternatives to methyl bromide uses for which the U.S. is requesting critical use exemptions. Critical Use Nominations for 2007 include the following uses: cucurbits; eggplant; fruit, nut, and flower nursery; food facilities; forest seedling; ham; orchard replant; ornamental; peppers; post harvest; strawberry fruit; strawberry nursery; tomato; and turf. The program is focused on commercial or field scale (not small plot) research that targets short- to medium-term solutions that will develop new alternatives or result in registration and application of new alternatives, or that minimize methyl bromide emissions. The amount available for support of this program in FY 2006 is estimated to be $3,106,000.
Proposals are due February 20, 2006.
Kentucky 2006 Agri-tourism Competitive Awards Program
Kentucky will make available $1 million in state funds for the 2006 Agri-tourism Competitive Awards Program. Any producer engaging in an on-farm Agri-tourism Business, or any Regional Agri-tourism Organization engaging in marketing and promotion for Agri-tourism Businesses in multiple counties is eligible to apply for a grant up to $50,000. All projects require a 50% match from the applicant.
Proposals are due February 1, 2006.
> More Funding Opportunities
Back to top
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."
Soil & Weeds Workshop
February 8-10, 2006
Saratoga, New York
Sustainable Farmers' Network presents a 3-day farmer-to-farmer workshop, with experienced growers sharing their expertise. This is an advanced-level workshop for market growers.
Community Food Security Coalition Evaluation Program Workshop
March 13-15, 2006
New Orleans, Louisiana
This is a comprehensive, interactive, two-and-a-half-day workshop focused on outcome-based evaluation strategies, tools, analysis and results and designed expressly for Community Food Project (CFP) grantees and other CFP practitioners. This workshop is open to anyone interested in program evaluation for their community food security project.
> More Events
Back to top
to the Weekly Harvest
Comments? Questions? Email the Weekly Harvest Newsletter editor John Webb at
Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives Available Online
Digital versions of recent Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters
are available online. ATTRAnews is the bi-monthly newsletter
of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and is funded under a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Visit the NCAT Web site for more information on our sustainable agriculture projects.
© Copyright 2005 NCAT
Back to top