Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 7, 2015
Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.
News & Resources
- NSAC Looks at Growth in FSA Microloan Program
- FAO Calls for Sustainable Cereal-Based Farming
- Michigan Food Hub Network Case Study Published
- USDA Celebrates International Year of Soils
- Pick A Carrot Helps Farmers Compare and Locate Seeds
- Guide for Local Food Entrepreneurs Available Online
- REAP Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grant
- Lakewinds Organic Field Fund
- California Fertilizer Research and Education Program
- Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference
- OEFFA Conference: Sustainable Agriculture: Renewing Ohio's Heart and Soul
- Northwest Washington Farm-To-Table Trade Meeting
News & Resources
NSAC Looks at Growth in FSA Microloan Program
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition recently compared the results of the USDA Farm Service Agency's microloan program in 2014
with 2013, the first year of the program.
In 2014, more loans were made, for both a higher total value and a higher average amount.
The vast majority of states made fewer than 100 microloans in 2014, but some states are using the microloan program for a significant portion of their total FSA farm loans.
FAO Calls for Sustainable Cereal-Based Farming
Experts at a recent meeting convened by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that
increasing the annual production of maize, rice, and wheat
over the next 35 years could only be accomplished with eco-friendly agriculture. The experts called for agricultural methods that achieve higher productivity while conserving natural resources, adapting to climate change, and delivering economic benefits to the world's 500 million small-scale family farms.
Michigan Food Hub Network Case Study Published
The Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems has released The Michigan Food Hub Network: A Case Study in Building Effective Networks for Food System Change. The 24-page publication relates some of the key lessons the Michigan Food Hub Network has learned, detailing considerations for food hubs and partners in starting a food hub network.
USDA Celebrates International Year of Soils
In 2015 the USDA is joining in observing the International Year of Soils, highlighting the importance of healthy soils for food security, ecosystem functions, and resilient farms and ranches. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service is coordinating activities, working with the Soil Science Society of America and other partners.
Pick A Carrot Helps Farmers Compare and Locate Seeds
Pick A Carrot is a customized search engine that helps farmers and gardeners search and compare varieties of seeds from dozens of catalogs. The site features a dedicated search tool that focuses on organic seeds. The service is free to users.
Guide for Local Food Entrepreneurs Available Online
Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture has released A Guide to Regulations for Local Food Entrepreneurs. The Guide will aid food entrepreneurs in dealing with complex regulatory systems. The 54-page publication starts with an overview of the federal, state, and local regulatory framework that deals with food.
>> More Breaking News
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REAP Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grant
USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service is accepting applications under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants. The grants fund programs to assist agricultural producers and rural small businesses with evaluating energy efficiency and the potential to incorporate renewable energy technologies into their operations.
Applications must be received by February 12, 2015.
Lakewinds Organic Field Fund
Lakewinds Organic Field Fund provides grants for farmers who are working on the development and sustainability of organics through research and development, attaining organic certification, creating new farms, and creating land trusts for organic farms. Preference will be given for farmers and farming organizations in Minnesota, northern Iowa, and western Wisconsin.
Application deadline is February 6, 2015.
California Fertilizer Research and Education Program
The California Department of Food and Agriculture's Fertilizer Research and Education Program is currently accepting proposals for research that advances the environmentally safe and agronomically sound use of fertilizing materials.
Concept proposals are due by January 16, 2015.
>> More Funding Opportunities
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Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference
February 12, 2015
Rocky Mount, North Carolina
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association presents this 5th annual training event for commercial-scale growers. The conference offers a place to network with growers and buyers while learning to improve the productivity and profitability of your larger-scale farm.
OEFFA Conference: Sustainable Agriculture: Renewing Ohio's Heart and Soul
February 13-15, 2015
Ohio's largest sustainable food and farm conference will feature keynote speakers; approximately 100 workshops on sustainable farming, gardening, homesteading, cooking, and livestock; a trade show; full-day pre-conferences; and more.
Northwest Washington Farm-To-Table Trade Meeting
February 9, 2015
Farms, food artisans/processors, grocery buyers, restaurant owners, chefs, and distributors are invited to join in a day-long conference. The event offers opportunities to learn and connect, networking, buyer/producer consultations, engaging panel discussions and workshops, and a delicious local lunch.
>> More Events
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ATTRA was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
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