News

Seventh Annual Iowa Organic Conference

Registration is now open for the 7th Annual Iowa Organic Conference to be held Nov. 19, 2007, at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. The conference will take place at the Scheman Building on the Iowa State University campus.

The Iowa Organic Conference’s reputation is growing. Martin Kleinschmit, the Center’s organic transition specialist and an organic farmer, said, “This is a very good conference, with workshops that fit the needs of those thinking about or beginning the transition to organic production.”

Deadline Set for Conservation Funds Applications

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that Dec. 14, 2007, will be the cutoff date for funding applications in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP will provide an incentive payment ranging from $30 to $70 per acre for the conversion from a conventional cropping system to an organic cropping system. The cost share rate is dependent on geographical area and whether the cropland is dryland or irrigated.

RESEARCH UPDATES

Organic Agriculture a Better Soil Builder – Emerging from a nine-year study, John Teasdale, a plant physiologist with Agricultural Research Service Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., and colleagues find organic agriculture systems research plots show higher levels of carbon and nitrogen – “soil builders” – compared to no till, cover crop based no-till system, and no-till crown vetch living mulch system.

Farewell to Kim Leval

We said a heartfelt goodbye this month to Kim Leval. Kim served on our staff for over a decade, spearheading efforts to redirect federal agriculture research programs to strengthening family farms and sustainable agriculture. Kim has also been a tireless advocate for the USDA Value Added Producer Grants Program. She helped family farmers secure funding through the program to develop high value markets for sustainable agriculture related enterprises.

KAAPA Country-Adventures Receives Grant for Expansion

Country-Adventures, a Nebraska online rural tourism site, was awarded $72,318 through a USDA Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) to expand into other states. The site, www.country-adventures.com features over 200 rural offerings, including hunting, fishing, farmer-for-a-day experiences, vineyard tours, and country lodging. The site has grown quickly over its nearly one-year period online.

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