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Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 29, 2004

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
* Innovative Project Feeds the Hungry, Supports Family Farmers
* Jamaica to Invest $20 Million to Develop Organic Farming Industry
* Organic Cotton Sales Increase, But Production Declines
* New ATTRA Section on Water Quality and Conservation Debuts
* AMS to Begin Purchasing Native American Bison Products
* European Union Explores Collaboration in Organic Research

Funding Opportunities
* Special Research Grants - Pest Management Alternatives Research
* Conservation Partnership Initiative
* Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP)

Coming Events
* Guelph Organic Conference
* Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference
* Minnesota Organic and Grazing Conference


News & Resources

Innovative Project Feeds the Hungry, Supports Family Farmers
Several projects nationwide are trying to build food bridges between people who can’t afford high quality fresh food and family farmers looking for stable markets amid the low prices of the global food economy. A feature article by the Michigan Land Use Institute highlights one such project, the Fresh Food Partnership. Launched in 2003, the Partnership raises funds to buy products from local farmers, and volunteers then distribute the food to soup kitchens and food pantries in a seven-county area. This year the Fresh Food Partnership raised and spent $21,000 purchasing 13 tons of fresh food from 26 farmers and served 6,500 people.

Jamaica to Invest $20 Million to Develop Organic Farming Industry
The Jamaica Observer reports that the Jamaica Organic Agriculture Movement has backed a government plan to invest $20 million over the next three years to develop the nation's organic farming industry. With the hope of entering rapidly growing international organic market, the government will develop a national policy on organic agriculture and offer technical support to farmers.
URL: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news

Organic Cotton Sales Increase, But Production Declines
U.S. organic cotton production in 2003 dropped to less than half that recorded for 2001, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) announced recently. According to an OTA survey funded by a grant from Cotton Incorporated and additional information supplied by the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative, U.S. growers harvested at least 4,628 bales of organic cotton in 2003. Excluded from the 2003 figure, however, were data for 80 acres for which the number of bales harvested went unrecorded. A 2002 OTA study of organic production showed a total of 9,897 bales harvested in 2001. Despite the drop in production, overall U.S. sales of organic fiber finished products, predominantly made from organic cotton, grew 23 percent in 2003, to reach $85 million, according to OTA's 2004 Manufacturer Survey released earlier in the year. Meanwhile, U.S. acreage planted to organic cotton in 2003 was less than half that planted the previous year, according to survey findings.
URL: http://www.ota.com/news/press/159.html

New ATTRA Section on Water Quality and Conservation Debuts
A new section on water quality and conservation recently debuted in the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site. The section addresses water use, water quality, and water conservation. Topics range from created wetlands to water quality in organic production to irrigation in the arid West.
URL: http://attra.ncat.org/water_quality.html

AMS to Begin Purchasing Native American Bison Products
USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has issued an announcement that it will begin purchasing bison products for distribution to the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). Part of this program will be the purchase of live bison from Native American bison producers and cooperatives. The purchased bison must meet specific departmental criteria. Producers who may be interested in the program are asked to complete a pre-survey form to be used in estimating the number of bison available.
URL: http://www.ams.usda.gov/lscp/OtherRedMeat/
BISONNTD-Native American 12-23-04.pdf
(PDF / 22 kb)
Related ATTRA Publication: Bison Production

European Union Explores Collaboration in Organic Research
In 2002, a European Union-hosted seminar asked the question: what is the status of organic food and farming (OF&F) research, and what can be done to improve transnational co-operation in the field? Two years later, scientists and policy-makers assembled a second time to review what, if any, progress has been made and to recommend areas for further co-operation. The findings and conclusions are available in a recently compiled report [254Kb] During the recent seminar, delegates agreed a set of recommendations – to be addressed to European funding agencies – for boosting transnational R&D co-operation in OF&F. Europe needs to improve its “technical innovation and methodological development”, including for example, application of genomics to facilitate plant and animal selection and breeding. It needs to develop appropriate tools to boost “rural development”, and to pay attention to the safety and quality of the whole food chain in view of its “impact on human and animal health”. Research should also “support policy” and provide the scientific basis for revising regulations across Europe.
URL: http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/headlines/

For more news and resources, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site: Breaking News section: http://attra.ncat.org/management/geninfo.html.

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Funding Opportunities

Special Research Grants - Pest Management Alternatives Research
The Special Research Grants Program - Pest Management Alternatives Research (PMAP) supports projects that develop and implement integrated pest management practices, tactics and systems for specific pest problems while reducing human and environmental risks. Potential applicants should note that the PMAP Request for Applications outlines research, and in some cases outreach, priorities specific to the North Central, Northeastern, Southern, and Western regions of the country. Proposals are due Feb. 28, 2005.
URL: http://fedgrants.gov/Applicants/USDA/CSREES/OEP

Conservation Partnership Initiative
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announces the availability of up to $1,000,000 through the Conservation Partnership Initiative, a mechanism to foster partnerships that will focus technical and financial resources on conservation priorities in watersheds or airsheds of special significance. First, applicants apply through NRCS State Conservationists for project planning funds. State Conservationists may forward up to one in-State and one multi-State proposal to the NRCS Chief for evaluation and award consideration. Following successful completion of the project planning phase, project implementation may begin using funding secured or provided by project partners. The RFP is available online (PDF / 130 kb). Applications must be received in the NRCS State Office in the State where the proposed project is located by 5 p.m. (local time) on Thursday, February 17, 2005.
URL: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/cpi/

Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP)
FSMIP provides matching funds on a competitive basis to State departments of agriculture, State Experiment Stations and other similar State agencies to conduct studies or develop innovative approaches related to the marketing of agricultural products.  Approximately 25 to 30 projects are funded annually and the average award is $50,000.  FSMIP funds are awarded for a period of 1 to 2 years.   While all proposals which meet the matching funds requirement and fall within FSMIP guidelines are considered, States are especially encouraged to develop projects that reflect a collaborative approach among States, academia, and the farm sector.  States are also urged to consider developing proposals that have regional or national significance, and that address challenges and opportunities in following areas: market analysis; transportation and distribution; competitiveness and new markets; and quality and variety. Proposals are due Feb 13, 2005.
URL: http://fedgrants.gov/Applicants/USDA/AMS/

For additional funding opportunities, visit http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.

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Coming Events

Guelph Organic Conference
January 20-23, 2005
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
This year’s theme is “Local Organic—A Global Solution.” The event includes four days of seminars and workshops, speakers, and the Organic Expo Canada.
URL: http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/~asap/conf/index.htm

Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference January 21-23, 2005
New Orleans, Louisiana
This 14th annual event hosted by the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SAWG) is created by and for farmers and others working toward a more sustainable agriculture for family farms, our environment and our society. In the planning are nearly 50 sessions on sustainable production, direct marketing and community food systems, plus field trips, food, exhibits and informal opportunities to visit with folks with common interests, cutting edge information and practical experience. The American Pastured Poultry Producers Association will hold their national meeting in conjunction with this conference, and the creators of the New Orleans Crescent City Farmers Market are planning a two-day pre-conference training session on farmers market management.
URL: http://www.ssawg.org/conference-.html

Minnesota Organic and Grazing Conference
January 21-22, 2005
St. Cloud, Minnesota
Growers wanting to explore grass-based livestock production strategies or organic agriculture opportunities should plan to attend the conference. With six concurrent tracks offering more than 35 breakout sessions, as well as an expansive trade show featuring the latest in services and products, the conference will provide ideas and information for producers on many levels from beginners to experts.
URL: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/esap/organic/default.htm

More events at http://attra.ncat.org/cgi-bin/event/calendar.cgi.

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Digital versions of recent Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are now available online. ATTRAnews is the bi-monthly newsletter of ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
URL: http://attra.ncat.org/newsletter/archives.html

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home pageThe National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is the Web site of the ATTRA project created and managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), and 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.

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