Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 8, 2020
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.
Staying Up-to-Date with Voices from the Field Podcast
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News & Resources
- Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Courses Offered Online
- Penn State Extension Develops Food Safety Training Materials for Plain-Sect Growers
- Soil Solarization Offers Organic Weed-Control Option
- Guideline for Labels with Animal-Raising Claims Updated
- Report Explores Feasibility of Phosphorus Recycling in Midwest
- Kansas Provides Website to Assist with Ag-Related Stress
- Organic Transitions Program
- New York Climate Resilient Farming Round 5
- Michigan Specialty Crop Block Grants
- Oklahoma Farmers Market and Agritourism Conference
- Organic Seed Growers Conference
- OEFFA Conference
News & Resources
Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Courses Offered Online
Managed Grazing Innovation Center (MGIC), an online school created by Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, is opening its courses to the general public beginning Spring Semester 2020. MGIC is offering six classes: Dairy Cattle Health and Wellness; Milk Quality; Dairy Cattle Nutrition, Feeds and Feeding; Soil and Water Resources Management; Farm Business Management; and Managed Grazing Systems for Dairy Cattle. The one-credit classes began January 6, 2020, and run through March 28, 2020.
Penn State Extension Develops Food Safety Training Materials for Plain-Sect Growers
Penn State Extension has developed food safety training curriculum materials tailored specifically for Amish and Mennonite growers. The educational materials are designed to be presented in a way that reflects the unique farming practices and learning preferences of these farmers. They include a FSMA Produce Grower Training slide set and a Training Flip Chart for Amish Harvesters and Handlers of Fresh Produce.
Related ATTRA Tutorial: An Illustrated Guide to Growing Safe Produce on Your Farm
Soil Solarization Offers Organic Weed-Control Option
Oregon State University plant pathologist Jennifer Parke found that soil solarization may offer Northwest organic farmers an effective way to control soil pathogens and weeds, reports Organic Farmer. Parke tried using new, non-condensing film made for the greenhouse industry, which heated the soil enough to kill pathogens but not beneficial microorganisms. Field testing showed healthier plants and dramatic reductions in weeds.
Related ATTRA Publication: Soil Solarization and Biosolarization
Guideline for Labels with Animal-Raising Claims Updated
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued an updated guideline on documentation needed to support animal-raising claims made on meat or poultry product labeling. The updated guideline, which was published on December 27, 2019, includes changes made in response to public comments. The guidance addresses the use of label claims such as "vegetarian-fed," "grass-fed," and "raised without the use of antibiotics."
Report Explores Feasibility of Phosphorus Recycling in Midwest
A report from the University of Illinois explored the feasibility of regional phosphorus recycling in the Midwest. The study found that phosphorus can be recovered from water and altered into a plant-accessible form, but the cost of doing so exceeds the current cost of mined phosphorus. Nonetheless, the researchers believe a circular phosphorus economy is ultimately feasible for the Midwest, noting that phosphorus trading schemes similar to carbon credits could be part of the solution.
Kansas Provides Website to Assist with Ag-Related Stress
The Kansas Department of Agriculture and partners unveiled KansasAgStress.org, a new website to provide resources and support. The website addresses challenges that Kansas farmers, ranchers, and their families face that can lead to mental and emotional distress, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and even suicide. Visitors to the website can find local and national resources for those issues, as well as support in areas ranging from stress management to financial and legal challenges.
>>More Breaking News
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Organic Transitions Program
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications for the Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program—Organic Transitions (ORG). ORG will continue to prioritize environmental services provided by organic farming systems in the areas of soil conservation, pollinator health, and climate change mitigation, as well as the development of educational tools for Cooperative Extension personnel and other agricultural professionals who advise producers on organic practices, and development of cultural practices and other allowable alternatives to substances recommended for removal from the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. All projects should integrate research, education, and extension activities.
Applications are due by February 27, 2020.
New York Climate Resilient Farming Round 5
The New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee invites Soil and Water Conservation Districts to submit proposals to the Climate Resilient Farming Program. Funds are available for projects that mitigate the impact of agriculture on climate change and enhance on-farm adaptation and resiliency to projected climate conditions. Applications must be for one of the following: Agricultural Waste Storage Cover and Flare Systems, Water Management, or Healthy Soils NY.
Applications are due by March 2, 2020.
Michigan Specialty Crop Block Grants
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is accepting proposals for the Michigan Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Grants have a maximum of $100,000 for research proposals and $125,000 for marketing, training, and education proposals. Funding priority will be given to projects with a focus on Market Enhancement (Market Expansion and Access and Farm to Institution); Research (Health, Pest Management, Farm Sustainability); and Training and Education (Food Safety, Environmental Sustainability, Workforce/Labor). Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations; local, state, and federal government entities; and for-profit organizations.
Grant proposals must be emailed by February 27, 2020.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Oklahoma Farmers Market and Agritourism Conference
February 10-12, 2020
The free Oklahoma Farmers Market and Agritourism Conference covers topics of interest for farmers market managers, producers, community support organizations, and agritourism site managers. Pre-conference workshops and post-conference tours are on the schedule.
Organic Seed Growers Conference
February 12-15, 2020
The Organic Seed Growers Conference brings together farmers, plant breeders, researchers, certifiers, food companies, seed companies, and others. The agenda includes presentations, panel discussions, networking, farm tours, and short courses.
February 13-15, 2020
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association presents "A Climate for Change." The agenda includes keynote speakers, tours, workshops, exhibits, and social events. NCAT's Jeff Schahczenski is one of the featured speakers.
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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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