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NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Project

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 18, 2012

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

Considering applying for the EQIP Organic Initiative?
Help is at hand! The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), with help from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, is offering online information on Accessing the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) Organic Initiative for Conversion or Expansion. Learn how the application process works, find tips for submitting a successful application, and access application forms.

News & Resources

  • Meat Nutrient Data Sets Available for Download
  • Quivira New Agrarian Conference Presentations Online
  • European "Climate Farmers" Share Information
  • National Organic Program Sunset Review 2012 Posted
  • Illinois Announces Tools to Help Increase Local Food Distribution
  • CSA Membership Grows Exponentially in California's Central Valley

Funding Opportunities

  • USDA Mississippi River Basin Partnership Project
  • Conservation Innovation Grants - Water Quality Markets
  • National Science Foundation Sustainable Energy Pathways

Coming Events

  • MOSES Organic Farming Conference
  • Soil Quality Network 2012
  • Diversified Agriculture Conference

News & Resources

Meat Nutrient Data Sets Available for Download
USDA Agricultural Research Service Nutrient Data Laboratory is making available nutrient data sets for beef and pork cuts. The data will help producers comply with federal rules that require 40 of the most popular cuts of meat and poultry to carry nutrition information by March 1, 2012. "The USDA Nutrient Data Set for Retail Beef Cuts, Release 2.0" and "The USDA Nutrient Data Set for Fresh Pork from SR, Release 2.0" are presented as free downloadable PDF or Microsoft Excel files.
Related ATTRA Publication: Pork: Marketing Alternatives

Quivira New Agrarian Conference Presentations Online
The Quivira Coalition has posted audio files, PowerPoint presentations, and You Tube videos of speakers at its recent conference, "New Agrarians: How the Next Generation of Leaders Tackle 21st Century Challenges." Presenters included Bill McKibben, Deborah Madison, and Jim Gerrish, as well as many young agrarians.

European "Climate Farmers" Share Information
Europe's Climate Farmers campaign has gathered a compendium of good practices aimed at reducing the impact of agriculture on climate change and is sharing them via a new website. The site contains a database of proven practices used in European dairy and arable farms, as well as case studies.

National Organic Program Sunset Review 2012 Posted
The National Organic Program has published a proposed rule in the Federal Register regarding the 2012 Sunset Review of substances on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. This proposed rule would amend the exemptions or prohibition for seven substances and remove the exemption for three substances on the National List. Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted by mail or online until February 13, 2012.

Illinois Announces Tools to Help Increase Local Food Distribution
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announces the release of Building Successful Food Hubs: A Business Planning Guide for Aggregating and Processing Local Food in Illinois. The guide includes descriptions of key functions, best practices, and “how-to” strategies for establishing and operating food hubs. DCEO has also announced a new website to help farmers navigate larger market channels, which often have complex regulatory requirements. The site http://isupply.illinois.edu/ connects producers directly to market requirements and resources, as well as entities that may already have an interest in purchasing their products.

CSA Membership Grows Exponentially in California's Central Valley
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is growing rapidly in California's Central Valley and surrounding foothills, according to a new study published in the January–March 2012 issue of the University of California's California Agriculture journal. Membership in 46 CSAs studied grew from 672 members in 1990 to 32,938 members in 2010. Gross average sales for the CSAs surveyed were $9,084 per acre in 2009.
Related ATTRA Publication: Community Supported Agriculture

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

USDA Mississippi River Basin Partnership Project
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is soliciting proposals from potential partners for conservation projects addressing water quality and wetland conservation in the Mississippi River Basin. Accepted projects would support conservation efforts already underway on agricultural operations in the basin, improve the overall health of the Mississippi River, and help reduce hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. NRCS is providing up to $37 million for projects in 54 priority watersheds.
Proposals are due by March 19, 2012.

Conservation Innovation Grants - Water Quality Markets
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is providing up to $10 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) for water quality market projects. NRCS requests proposals for projects that support the completion of state water quality market rules and infrastructure; deploy and test tools and metrics needed for crediting and verifying the effectiveness of conservation practices on agricultural lands; establish certification, registry, and reporting systems; and provide education and outreach to agriculture and other sectors.
Proposals are due March 2, 2012.

National Science Foundation Sustainable Energy Pathways
Sustainable Energy Pathways (SEP) is part of the NSF-wide initiative on Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability. The SEP solicitation considers scalable approaches for sustainable energy conversion to useful forms, as well as its storage, transmission, distribution, and use. NSF expects to award up to $500,000 per year for up to four years per project.
Proposals are due by February 1, 2012.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

MOSES Organic Farming Conference
February 23-25, 2012
La Crosse, Wisconsin

Organized by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), the Organic Farming Conference (OFC) is an extraordinary, farmer-centered event, and the largest organic farming conference in the country. With over 65 informative workshops, 160 exhibitors, locally sourced organic food, and inspirational keynote speakers, the OFC is celebrated as the foremost educational and networking event in the organic farming community.

Soil Quality Network 2012
February 23-24, 2012
Portland, Oregon

At this workshop for agricultural professionals and land managers, participants will gain an appreciation for the role soil quality plays in crop productivity and the viability of agriculture operations. The workshop will help agriculture consultants and planners develop strategies and actions to support farmers interested in improving soil quality.

Diversified Agriculture Conference
February 22-24, 2012
Layton, Utah

This conference is designed to benefit agricultural producers who would like more tools to help manage their business. The conference focuses on more than just traditional agriculture, including recreation, tourism, direct marketing, farmers' markets, and further processing.

>> More Events

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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Project was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

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