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NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Project

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 25, 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.

Sustainable Agriculture Expert Wanted
Here's your chance to join the our team! The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has an opening for the Director position in its Northeast Regional Office in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. This excellent employment opportunity requires experience in sustainable agriculture and significant outreach efforts across Pennsylvania and neighboring states. Find application information online.

News & Resources

  • FSA Announces Land Contract Guarantee Program, Beginning Farmer Opportunity
  • Vermont Law School Launching Center for Agriculture and Food Systems
  • Technical Bulletin on No-Till Management for Organic Systems Available Online
  • Ohio Resource Links Specialty Crop Growers with Institutional Buyers
  • Video Highlights Agricultural Role in Conserving Ogallala Aquifer Water
  • Farm School for Women Extends Registration for Residential On-farm Training Program

Funding Opportunities

  • Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Assistance
  • Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative
  • Lakewinds Organic Field Fund

Coming Events

  • Georgia Organics + ASAN Conference & Expo
  • North Central Kansas Commercial Enterprises: Production, Marketing and Management Workshop
  • Just Food Conference

News & Resources

FSA Announces Land Contract Guarantee Program, Beginning Farmer Opportunity
USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced a new rule that expands loan opportunities for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The rule allows FSA loan officers to consider all prior farming experience, including on-the-job training and formal education, when determining eligibility for farm operating and ownership loans. FSA also established a Land Contract Guarantee Program for all 50 states, designed to encourage farmers and ranchers to sell their property to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers through the use of seller financing.
Related ATTRA Publication: Financing Your Farm: Guidance for Beginning Farmers

Vermont Law School Launching Center for Agriculture and Food Systems
Vermont Law School announced that it has received a $1.25 million grant to support its new Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, which advocates for community-based agriculture across the United States. The center focuses on legal and policy issues including the regulation of food, the Farm Bill and agricultural subsidies, energy-efficient food production, energy independence for farmers, and other issues that are key to retaining a successful working landscape for rural communities.

Technical Bulletin on No-Till Management for Organic Systems Available Online
Rodale Institute recently posted a 16-page Technical Bulletin that offers information and resources for implementing an organic no-till system. The bulletin, based primarily on past project findings drawn from Rodale Institute research, provides details on a system that allows organic farmers to capture the benefits of no-till and conventional farmers to decrease or eliminate the need for herbicides.
Related ATTRA Webinar: Innovative No-Till: Using Multi-Species Cover Crops to Improve Soil Health

Ohio Resource Links Specialty Crop Growers with Institutional Buyers
A new book titled Ohio's Specialty Crops: A Boost to Food Service Menus is now available free online. The book is intended for farmers and for food buyers—specifically, food buyers for institutions, such as colleges, restaurants, hospitals, and nursing homesand addresses issues on both sides of the supply chain. The book includes sections on making connections, local food success stories, food safety information, and seasonal availability charts.
Related ATTRA Publication: Bringing Local Food to Local Institutions

Video Highlights Agricultural Role in Conserving Ogallala Aquifer Water
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) and its video production partner Cooking Up a Story have released a documentary in which lead researchers and producers discuss the plight of the Ogallala aquifer, regional agriculture, and how they are working together to find water conservation solutions that hold real promise. Texas Coalition for Sustainable Integrated Systems Research (TeCSIS) is using a holistic approach that integrates production crops with less water-intensive forages and livestock.

Farm School for Women Extends Registration for Residential On-farm Training Program
NC Women of the Land Agricultural Network is offering The Farm School for Women, a residential on-farm sustainable agriculture training program. The ten-month program from March - October 2012 is located on Genesis Farm near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Application forms and more information are available online.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Assistance
USDA has announced that $880,000 of Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) funds will be available for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance in fiscal year 2012. The maximum energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grant is $100,000.
Applications are due by February 21, 2012.

Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture is requesting applications for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) for fiscal year 2012. OREI funds research and extension programs that enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high-quality organic agricultural products. Approximately $19 million is available for this program in FY 2012.
Application deadline is March 9, 2012.

Lakewinds' Organic Field Fund
The goal of Lakewinds' Organic Field Fund is to support local farmers and farming associations that are working on the development and sustainability of organics through research and development, organic certification, transitioning farms from conventional to organic, creating new farms, and land trusts for organic farms. Lakewinds' Organic Field Fund is open to all farmers and farming associations, but preference will be given to those located in Minnesota, northern Iowa, and western Wisconsin.
Application deadline is February 10, 2012.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Georgia Organics + ASAN Conference & Expo
February 24-25, 2012
Columbus, Georgia

Georgia Organics and Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network are partnering on "Plow Forward." The agenda includes Georgia Farm to School Summit, farm and food tours, keynote speaker Will Allen, an Alabama Food Policy meeting, and educational sessions.

North Central Kansas Commercial Enterprises: Production, Marketing and Management Workshop
February 25, 2012
Washington, Kansas

This day-long workshop addresses production, management, and marketing of vegetables and fruit on a commercial scale. Sessions include moving your hobby into a business, direct-marketing strategies, vineyard and grape production, growing raspberries and blueberries, no-till vegetable production, high tunnel production, marketing at a roadside stand, and marketing to restaurants and other institutions.

Just Food Conference
February 24-25, 2012
New York, New York

Join Just Food for two days of hands-on workshops, discussions, skills-building sessions, and good food. Learn about cooking and food preservation techniques, CSA trends, and the food justice movement in New York City and beyond, as well as ways you can mobilize to create good food projects in your own community.

>> 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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