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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 21, 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

  • Regional Conservation Partnership Program Funding Awards Announced
  • Texas Summit to Address Extreme Drought Conditions
  • Onions Successfully Overwintered in Low Tunnels
  • Campaign Aims to Recognize Farming as a Public Service
  • Report Details Opportunities For Agricultural Businesses To Grow Northeast Regional Economies
  • Israeli Research Shows Encouraging Birds of Prey Reduces Rodenticide Use

Funding Opportunities

  • Grants to Enhance Food Safety: National Training, Education, Extension, Outreach, and Technical Assistance Competitive Grants Program
  • Florida Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
  • California Dairy Digester Research and Development Program

Coming Events

  • Georgia Organics Annual Conference & Expo
  • New Mexico Organic Farming Conference
  • Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference and Trade Show

News & Resources

Regional Conservation Partnership Program Funding Awards Announced
USDA has announced that 115 projects across all 50 states and Puerto Rico will receive more than $370 million as part of the new USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). RCPP competitively awards funds to conservation projects designed by local partners specifically for their region. A complete list of the funded projects is available on the NRCS website.

Texas Summit to Address Extreme Drought Conditions
Farm Aid plans to convene a full-day Texas drought summit on January 29 in San Antonio, immediately prior to the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association annual conference. The summit will bring farmers, ranchers, and service providers together to focus on immediate drought-response needs, as well as strategies for building long-term resilience. Farmers who wish to apply for a scholarship to cover conference registration and travel expenses can do so online.

Onions Successfully Overwintered in Low Tunnels
Researchers with the University of New Hampshire report they have successfully grown bulbing onions planted in fall for a spring harvest with the aid of inexpensive low tunnels. Cultivar, planting date, and the interaction between the two had significant effects on the percentage of bolting and bulb diameter at harvest. The results appeared in the December 2014 issue of HortTechnology.

Campaign Aims to Recognize Farming as a Public Service
The National Young Farmers Coalition has launched a campaign to have farming included in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. This federal program incentivizes recent graduates into high-need, low-income positions by allowing them to make income-based student loan payments and eventually forgiving loan balances. The National Young Farmers Coalition is currently collecting the stories of young farmers with student-loan debt to bolster its argument.

Report Details Opportunities For Agricultural Businesses To Grow Northeast Regional Economies
Northern Community Investment Corporation recently released Creating Job Growth in Agriculture and Food Production: Opportunities and Realities. The report details factors that influence and are influenced by the food and agriculture sectors, specifically those related to job development and economic development within Northern Tier communities of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Israeli Research Shows Encouraging Birds of Prey Reduces Rodenticide Use
An eight-year project in Israel encouraged farmers to use birds of prey to control pest populations, instead of using commercial pesticides. The project placed more than 3,000 nesting boxes in farming areas to encourage the presence of barn owls, as well as kestrels. Over four years, permit applications for rodenticide dropped by 50 to 90%.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Grants to Enhance Food Safety: National Training, Education, Extension, Outreach, and Technical Assistance Competitive Grants Program
FDA requests applications to address the needs of small and medium-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, small processors, or small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers, especially as they relate to the implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Projects must not exceed $600,000 over three years. The program anticipates making one new award.
A letter of intent to apply is due by February 16, 2015.

Florida Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services anticipates making available $4.5 million in 2015 Specialty Crop Block Grant Funds for projects that enhance the competitiveness of Florida specialty crops. Proposals will be accepted from non-profit organizations, producer organizations, government agencies, and universities.
Applications must be received by February 27, 2015.

California Dairy Digester Research and Development Program
The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications for an estimated $11 million to provide financial assistance for the installation of dairy digesters that result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions and provide other environmental benefits.
Applications must be submitted by February 23, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Georgia Organics Annual Conference & Expo
February 20-21, 2015
Athens, Georgia

Join farmers, health advocates, gardeners, and others to learn, network, feast, and champion organic foods and farms at "Recipe for Change." The conference includes eight Food and Farm tours, 14 in-depth workshops, 36 educational sessions, the famous Farmer's Feast, and a keynote from chef and author Hugh Acheson.

New Mexico Organic Farming Conference
February 20-21, 2015
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Organized annually through a collaboration between Farm to Table, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture's Organic Program, and the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service, this conference provides producers and researchers from around the Southwest an opportunity to share their experiences and expertise.

Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference and Trade Show
February 25-26, 2015
Sturbridge, Massachusetts

This one of New England's largest agricultural marketing conferences, held biennially. It includes breakout sessions in focused tracks, general sessions with keynote speakers, and a full industry trade show.

>> More Events

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New ATTRA Publication
Apricot Diseases Identification Sheet

Question of the Week
How do I know when my lambs are correctly finished?

Ask a Sustainable Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online

ATTRA Webinars
Last chance! New Whole-Farm Revenue Protection Policy ~January 21, 2015
The National Center for Appropriate Technology, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the Rural Advancement Foundation International discuss the Risk Management Agency's new Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) insurance policy.

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