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News Notes

  • According to the March 2000 Kiplinger Agriculture Letter, two new programs from USDA are designed to help organic farmers. A pilot federal crop insurance program is the beginning of an effort to get full coverage for organic farmers. The pilot program will be implemented in the areas of the country with existing state or private organic certification systems. The second project is a marketing order program. Similar to marketing order programs for other commodities, organic farmers will receive help in promoting their organic fruits and vegetables from the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service and other project cooperators.
  • UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors across the state are conducting research on potential new crops for small scale farmers. New and ongoing research studies focus on crops including capers, lychees and longhans, blueberries, edamame, chili peppers, and herbs. Learn more about these crops by calling the Small Farm Center at (530) 752-8136.
  • Free seed is available in limited quantities for use in educational, agricultural research, or breeding purposes from the USDA Agriculture Research Service National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS). NPGS is a plant genebank network that collects germplasm (seeds) worldwide to maintain a constant source for scientific study. The NPGS collection is distributed from its web site at http://www.ars-grin.gov/npgs/
  • The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) recently asked certifying agencies how many farmers they were certifying. OFRF found that at the end of 1999, 6,600 U.S. farmers were certified as organic farmers, an increase from 1,300 farmers during the previous two years. The findings were part of an update of the National Organic Certifiers Directory compiled by OFRF. The directory is available on the OFRF website at http://www.ofrf.org/about_organic/certifier.html
  • Farmers involved in agri-tourism are invited to submit a free listing in the upcoming Small Farm CenterÕs online agri-tourism directory. For details about submitting your agri-tourism operation information, see the related story on page 5. A group of California farmers looking for a way to cooperatively advertise their CSA projects has created a new web site called Local Harvest. The site provides consumers with a national database to locate CSAs, farmersÕ markets, farm stands, and U-pick operations in their areas. Farmers also can create, for free, an extensive listing about their farms. Visit the web site at http://www.Localharvest.com
  • The Organic Materials Review Institute has released its Brand Name Product List, which provides the OMRI recommendation on the acceptability of certain products used for organic production, processing, and handling. The Brand Name Product List is available on the Internet athttp://www.omri.org