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Home > Feature Articles > Agriculture & Organic Production

Organically Certified Biodegradable Mulch Mat Made from Waste Paper as Alternative to Plastic

EcoCover technology provides mulching cover for agricultural crops with the manufacturing technology easily transferred globally -- and production handled locally.

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EcoCover Plant Sale Goes to Oz

The first EcoCover manufacturing plant sale to Australia was confirmed last week and will be officially announced within the next week. The purchaser is a non-profit organization that provides employment to physically and mentally disadvantaged folks. The operation of the plant will provide additional opportunities for gainful employment to these special workers. And, the substantial profits from the sale of EcoCover products will help fund other charitable activities that don't pay their own way in a self-endowing enterprise. Self-endowment is the goal of almost every nonprofit? It is certainly so in my experience serving on the boards of more than a few.

The organization has been successfully marketing EcoCover in Australia for a year, one recent example being the sale of 84,000 square meters of Weed Squares for a Queensland highway department tree planting project.

$19 Million in Grants for Value-Added Ag Ventures (like EcoCover)

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2007 - Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced the availability of $19.5 million to help independent agricultural producers enter into value-added activities. Potential uses include a wide range of products that allow the producer to enhance the revenue stream generated from their crops and other production. Examples include conversion to organic production, processing of raw commodities to a finished product, and the conversion of farm crops to create renewable energy sources.

"These grants are a vital tool to help support rural businesses, create new markets for agricultural products and help the United States become more energy independent," Johanns said. "They represent the exciting new direction we're proposing for the energy and rural development titles of a new farm bill this year."

Value-Added Agricultural Product Market Development Grants

Value-Added Agricultural Product Market Development grants, also known as Value-Added Producer Grants, are available to help agriculture producers develop business plans to produce biobased products from agricultural commodities. Awards may be made for planning activities or for working capital expenses, but not for both. The maximum grant amount for a planning grant is $100,000. The maximum grant amount for a working capital grant is $300,000. Applicants must provide matching funds at least equal to the amount of the grant requested.

The grants may be used for planning activities, such as feasibility studies, marketing and business plans needed to establish a viable value-added marketing opportunity for an agricultural product. They also may be used to provide working capital for operating a value-added business venture, marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based renewable energy projects. Applicants must be an independent producer, agriculture producer group, farmer or rancher cooperative, or majority-controlled producer-based business.

Since 2001, USDA has funded $139 million in value-added grants for more than 940 recipients nationwide, including $25 million to develop and market renewable energy projects in 33 states. Renewable energy projects include biodiesel, ethanol or wind energy production, or the use of biomass to generate energy.

The deadline for applications is May 16. An application guide and other materials may be obtained at or by contacting the applicant's USDA Rural Development State Office.

USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. Rural Development has invested more than $76.8 billion since the beginning of the Bush Administration to provide equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. As a result, more than 1.5 million jobs have been created or saved through these investments. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA's web site at

What's Up with EcoPins?

An apparently insatiable demand for EcoPins in New Zealand (over 100,000 sold to date - all we can make) combined with a record high value of the New Zealand dollar versus the USA dollar has caused us to delay the importation of EcoPins to North America. Small quantities can be purchased online here or we can quote you a direct from New Zealand delivery in the interim. Pardon the delay.

Buy EcoCover Sample Material Online

There are lots of folks who are interested in trying EcoCover and we are having brisk sales on samples delivered directly from New Zealand. You can order online. The number of Canadians purchasing samples is almost equal to Yanks. It will be interesting to see how EcoCover works up north and elsewhere. We are looking forward to your feedback.

Ron Castle
EcoCover Business Development
North American Office
EcoCover Developments Limited (NZ)
326 Cedar Mountain Place
Decherd, Tennessee 37324-4540 USA
Phone 931.967.2053
FAX 931.962.1659 in NZ

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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