Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 15, 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.
News & Resources
- USDA Reminds Historically Underserved EQIP Applicants of Advance Payment Option
- NSAC Invites Farmers and Ranchers to Sign Letter on Climate Change Solutions in Agriculture
- Proposed Rule to Address Undue Preference in Livestock and Poultry Processing
- Grazing Goats Aid California Fire Prevention
- Insect Leaf-Wounding Results in Healthier Fruit, Study Finds
- Research Report Identifies Vermont Maple Industry Opportunities
- AFRI Small and Medium-Sized Farms
- Colorado Specialty Crop Block Grants
- Oregon Specialty Crop Block Grants
- Grower's Own Farming Conference
- New Mexico Organic Farming Conference
- Managing Disease Holistically
News & Resources
USDA Reminds Historically Underserved EQIP Applicants of Advance Payment Option
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service is reminding historically underserved producers participating in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) of the advance payment option. This option allows beginning, veteran, limited-resource, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to get conservation practice payments when they have final designs and job sheets and are ready to begin their EQIP practices.
Related ATTRA Publication: Federal Conservation Resources for Sustainable Farming and Ranching
NSAC Invites Farmers and Ranchers to Sign Letter on Climate Change Solutions in Agriculture
Members of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) are inviting individual farmers and ranchers to sign on in support of the Farmer Letter on Climate Change Solutions in Agriculture. This letter will be sent to Congressional members and leaders with USDA in the spring of 2020. It lifts up farmer voices to speak about the impact of a changing climate on their communities and the solutions agriculture has to offer.
Proposed Rule to Address Undue Preference in Livestock and Poultry Processing
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a proposed rule specifying four criteria the Agency would consider when determining whether an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage has occurred in violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act. AMS invites public comment on the proposed criteria until March 13, 2020.
Grazing Goats Aid California Fire Prevention
The California city of Anaheim is using grazing goats as part of its fire-prevention plan, reports KQED. Goats are able to navigate the steep terrain of city hillsides, and they consume invasive grasses and plants that worsen fire danger. Though some challenge the effectiveness of goats for protecting homes from fire, Environmental Land Management's Johnny Gonzales notes soaring demand for goat-grazing services.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tips for Marketing Sheep and Goat Products: Vegetation Management Services
Insect Leaf-Wounding Results in Healthier Fruit, Study Finds
Scientists with Texas A&M AgriLife Research completed a study that shows plants produce healthier fruit when their leaves have been wounded by insects. Researchers found that when strawberry leaves were damaged to mimic insect feeding, plants activated a defense mechanism that resulted in more antioxidants in their fruit. This could affect the way that both conventional and organic produce is grown, by introducing pre-harvest stress tools that improve antioxidant levels.
Research Report Identifies Vermont Maple Industry Opportunities
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets commissioned market research on maple syrup and value-added maple products to determine market conditions, trends in consumer demand, and current distribution channels. The report identified a growing role for maple syrup as an alternative sweetener and recognized its health benefits. The report also noted an increasing role for maple syrup as an ingredient in food products.
Related ATTRA Publication: Maple Sugaring: An Introduction to Small-Scale Commercial Production
>>More Breaking News
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AFRI Small and Medium-Sized Farms
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) - Foundational and Applied Science Program supports grants in six program areas to advance knowledge in both fundamental and applied sciences important to agriculture. One of those program areas is Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities, and one priority within this area is Small and Medium-Sized Farms. Standard, Conference, and FASE (Strengthening Standard, New Investigator, Strengthening Conference, Seed, Equipment, and Sabbatical) grants are available for this priority area in amounts up to $500,000. Grants support research with education or extension.
Applications are due by March 5, 2020.
Colorado Specialty Crop Block Grants
Colorado Department of Agriculture is accepting concept papers for Specialty Crop Block Grants. Approximately $650,000 is available for matching grants in Colorado. Producer groups, organizations, and associations, as well as state and/or local organizations, academia, and other specialty-crops stakeholders are eligible to apply. Project priorities are listed online.
Concept papers are due February 3, 2020.
Oregon Specialty Crop Block Grants
The Oregon Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for Specialty Crop Block Grants to enhance the competitiveness of Oregon's specialty crops. Nonprofit organizations, local government entities, for-profit organizations, industry trade associations, producer groups, commodity commissions, and public and private colleges/universities are eligible to apply. A range of $25,000 to $175,000 per project is suggested. A list of funding priorities for Oregon is available online.
Proposals are due by January 31, 2020.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Grower's Own Farming Conference
February 14, 2020
The Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticide's annual Grower's Own conference encourages farmer-to-farmer exchange and helps strengthen the organic, sustainable, and regenerative farming community in Idaho.
New Mexico Organic Farming Conference
February 21-22, 2020
Albuquerque, New Mexico
New Mexico Organic Farming Conference is an annual opportunity for farmers, ranchers, and researchers from around the region to share their experiences and expertise. The agenda includes a large slate of speakers, demonstrations, and more.
Managing Disease Holistically
February 17, 2020
Alexander, North Carolina
This event is part of a Holistic Crop Management workshop series presented by Organic Growers School. This workshop takes a deep dive into ecologically based preventive, cultural, and integrated practices to reduce the impact of disease.
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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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