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News Notes

  • AB 1258, a California legislative bill passed this summer, paves the way for more farmers and ranchers to offer tourists overnight visits. The bill exempts farms and ranching operations that offer overnight stays from the more stringent requirements of operating a commercial restaurant. To qualify for the overnight stays, the farms and ranches must produce agricultural products as their primary source of income. Additionally, farmers are limited to six guest rooms and 15 visitors a night, less than the amount allowed for a bed and breakfast operation.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) budget passed by Congress in October for Fiscal Year 2000 includes an $8 million appropriation for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE); $1.5 million for Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) and $2.5 million for the Community Food Security Act (CFSA).
  • The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) has developed a catalog of allowed and regulated products in organic agriculture, and a seal for organic farmers and processors that identifies the OMRI-approved products they use in their organic operations. For more information, contact OMRI, P.O. Box 11558, Eugene, OR 97440-3758; (541) 343-7500; info@omri.org
  • A USDA campaign, "Farming for Profit, Stewardship & Community," is built around 10 tip sheets that list free and low-cost resources on topics including soil quality, pest prevention, marketing, alternative crops, organic production, and low-cost livestock systems. The tip sheets, which direct producers to books, bulletins, and web sites for information, are available at http://www.sare.org/san/tipsheet/index.htm or by calling Valerie Berton at (301) 405-3186.
  • According to the October issue of the Kiplinger Agriculture Letter, Canadians will ease hog import requirements under a recent agreement. The changes include CanadaÕs agreement to relax certification rules for hog shipments and to allow more time for producers to slaughter hogs once their shipments have reached Canada. The U.S. now expects to export 50,000 hogs next year, worth $4 million, to Canada.