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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 16, 2013

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

News & Resources

  • USDA Finalizes New Microloan Program
  • Cover Crops Survey Seeking Participants
  • University of Maine Launches Beginning Farmer Website
  • Cornell Team Works to Develop East Coast Broccoli Industry
  • Food Tank: The Food Think Tank Launched
  • Videos Promote Utilizing Cover Crops in Integrated Crop-Livestock System

Funding Opportunities

  • Source Reduction Assistance Grant Program
  • Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Investments
  • New York Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants

Coming Events

  • Georgia Organics Conference
  • Business of Farming Conference
  • Nevada Small Farm Conference

News & Resources

USDA Finalizes New Microloan Program
A new microloan program from USDA is designed to help small and family operations, beginning, and socially disadvantaged farmers secure loans under $35,000. The new program is aimed at bolstering the progress of producers through their start-up years by providing needed resources and helping to increase equity so that farmers may eventually graduate to commercial credit and expand their operations. Producers interested in applying for a microloan may contact their local Farm Service Agency office.

Cover Crops Survey Seeking Participants
NCR-SARE is collaborating with the Conservation Technology Information Center to distribute a survey to farmers who have been growing cover crops. One of the goals of the survey is to determine the impact of cover crops on cash crop yields under drought conditions. The organizations are also gathering information about factors influencing cover crop adoption, perceived benefits from cover crops, and the amount farmers are willing to pay for both cover crop seed and establishment. Farmers who have been growing cover crops are asked to take the survey online.

University of Maine Launches Beginning Farmer Website
University of Maine Cooperative Extension has introduced a new Beginning Farmer Resource Network and a question-and-answer website. Developed by a group of agricultural service providers, the Beginning Farmer Resource Network is a collaborative online effort to address concerns among beginning farmers about available services and to provide answers to commonly asked questions.

Cornell Team Works to Develop East Coast Broccoli Industry
A Cornell-led team of researchers is working to make East Coast broccoli production a year-round market worth $100 million a year. A team that includes researchers from public and private broccoli-breeding programs, production specialists, and economists is building a regional food network for broccoli. The team has been developing hybrid varieties that perform well in hot, humid summers. The team says additional expense involved in producing broccoli in the East can be offset by savings in transportation costs.

Food Tank: The Food Think Tank Launched
Food Tank: The Food Think Tank is bringing attention to the issues of obesity and malnutrition. Food Tank is planning a Change the Food System summit in 2013, conducting on-the-ground research, preparing research reports and books, highlighting road maps for sustainable agricultural systems, and building an innovations database. The Food Tank website will be posting new research and insights daily.

Videos Promote Utilizing Cover Crops in Integrated Crop-Livestock System
The North Dakota Department of Agriculture has initiated a project to create more interest in utilizing cover crops as part of an integrated system that maximizes land use and promotes soil health. Eleven short videos have been posted online, featuring the systems used by several North Dakota producers and the Integrated Crop-Livestock Study at the Dickinson Research Extension Center. The project is seeking additional producers and researchers who will participate in developing short videos.
Related ATTRA Publication: No-Till Case Study, Miller Farm: Restoring Grazing Land with Cover Crops

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Source Reduction Assistance Grant Program
EPA's Regional Pollution Prevention Program Offices anticipate having up to $147,000 per region to issue Source Reduction Assistance awards in 2013. The awards help fund environmental projects that reduce or eliminate pollution at the source. Grant projects may demonstrate pollution prevention techniques through innovative practices, surveys or studies, research, investigation, experimentation, or education and training.
Proposals are due by February 5, 2013.

Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Investments
The Working Lands Initiative is investing in and assisting local agricultural and forestry product enterprises while conserving Vermont's working lands for generations to come. Enterprise investments of $3,000 to $15,000 per project are offered. Applicants must provide a minimum 25% cash match.
Applications are due by January 24, 2013.

New York Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting applications for more than $1 million in Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants. Awards will range from $2,500 to $50,000 to help local organizations with projects that address environmental and/or public health concerns. Ten percent of the grants will be "Green Gems Grants" that award $2,500 to $10,000 to be used for community-based monitoring, stewardship, and education projects involving community gardens, parks, and other open space.
Grant applications are due April 5, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Georgia Organics Conference
February 22-23, 2013
Atlanta, Georgia

This annual conference includes eight farm tours, eight in-depth workshops, and eight educational tracks, as well as keynote speakers and exhibits. This year's theme is "Farm Rx: A Prescription for Better Health."

Business of Farming Conference
February 23, 2013
Swannanoa, North Carolina

Join Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, local farmers, agriculture professionals, and business and marketing specialists for this day-long conference with 90-minute learning sessions. The event also offers opportunities to meet with restaurant and wholesale buyers.

Nevada Small Farm Conference
February 21-23, 2013
Sparks, Nevada

The event includes four pre-conference workshops, four tracks, and 20 sessions on livestock, soil, vegetable production, and farm business topics.

>> More Events

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Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

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New Publication
Basic Accounting: Guidance for Beginning Farmers

Question of the Week
How can I treat irrigation water to meet GAPs standards? Can I use river water?

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ATTRA Webinars
January 31 - Organic Farm Conservation: A virtual tour, third of a four-part series on becoming an NRCS-approved TSP
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February 7 - Pastured Poultry Production and Profitability with NCAT Sustainable Poultry Specialist Terrell "Spence" Spencer
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