November 13, 1998

Methyl bromide alternatives, farming grants available from UC

DAVIS -- New money to fund alternatives to the agricultural fumigant methyl bromide may be even more significant in the wake of the recent delay in the federal phase-out deadline for the ag chemical, says Robert Reginato, interim director of the systemwide UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP).

"We've received $1 million from the state legislature specifically to find alternatives to methyl bromide, and another $1 million to demonstrate biologically integrated farming systems (BIFS)," Reginato said. "That's in addition to the $225,000 we're awarding for our regular agricultural production and community development projects."

New California legislation and continued support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state legislature are allowing SAREP to offer a new cycle of funding for production- and community-agriculture projects, and a whole new grants program for methyl bromide alternatives research. "We've gained four more years to support creative research and demonstration efforts into alternatives to this ozone-depleting agri-chemical," Reginato says.

SAREP is releasing three separate Requests for Proposals (RFPs) with different emphases for California researchers, institutions, commodity groups, nonprofit and for-profit organizations:

*Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grants are available to researchers affiliated with California public and private institutions of higher education or with California nonprofit organizations. These proposals are due Jan. 6, 1999.

*Biologically Integrated Farming Systems (BIFS) projects are available to individuals and institutions based in California to lead large, collaborative demonstration projects on biologically integrated management of field crops, row crops, orchards, vineyards or livestock. Optional pre-proposals are due Dec. 11, 1998, with full proposals due Mar. 15, 1999.

*Research to Develop Alternatives to Methyl Bromide for Pre-Plant Soil Fumigation and for Post-harvest Treatment of Commodities grants are available to California researchers and institutions. Optional pre-proposals are due Dec. 11, 1998, with full proposals due Feb. 17, 1999.

Copies of the RFPs are available for printing from SAREP's website at or by contacting SAREP grants manager Bev Ransom at (530) 754-8546 or baransom@ Since 1988, SAREP has awarded more than $3.8 million to approximately 290 basic and applied research projects, community development and public policy projects, seminars, field demonstrations and graduate student awards. Additionally, the program will have provided almost $1.5 million for six multi-year large-scale BIFS projects in winegrapes, cotton and vegetable crops, prunes, walnuts, rice and citrus since 1994.

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