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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 25, 2017

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.

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News & Resources

  • USDA Announces Organic Livestock and Poultry Final Rule
  • USDA Seeks Comments on Proposal to Establish a New Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order
  • Wheat Virus Can Harm Perennial Native Grasses
  • Research Finds Sustainable Agriculture Yield Gap at Field Scale
  • Call-in Conversations Offered on Microbe-Containing Biostimulants and Biofertilizers
  • Whole Farm Revenue Protection Purchase Deadlines Approaching

Funding Opportunities

  • Local Food Promotion Program
  • Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program
  • Conservation Innovation Grants in Missouri

Coming Events

  • MOSES Organic Farming Conference
  • ASAP's Business of Farming Conference
  • Western Slope Soil Health Conference

News & Resources

USDA Announces Organic Livestock and Poultry Final Rule
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has announced a final rule that clarifies production requirements for organic livestock and poultry. The rule clarifies how producers and handlers must treat livestock and poultry to ensure their health and well-being throughout life, specifies which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production, and establishes minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Poultry Production

USDA Seeks Comments on Proposal to Establish a New Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order
USDA is seeking comments on a proposal for a new industry-funded research and promotion program that would cover certified organic products. Under the proposed framework, producers and handlers with gross organic sales greater than $250,000 for the prior marketing year would pay .1% of net organic sales. A 60-day public comment period on the proposed rule extends until March 20, 2017.

Wheat Virus Can Harm Perennial Native Grasses
A multi-year university field study in Kansas has shown that barley yellow dwarf virus can affect switchgrass, reducing its vitality by 30%. The study results have implications as far as other crop diseases affecting native plants. "Crop fields were once considered tiny islands in a sea of wild vegetation, so farmers and scientists focused on protecting crops from wild pathogens," said the co-lead author of the study. "Now, around the world, the situation has reversed, and diseases from agricultural fields affect not only crops, but also substantially harm native plants, such as switchgrass."

Research Finds Sustainable Agriculture Yield Gap at Field Scale
Research led by Michigan State University's Long-Term Ecological Research team found that sustainable agriculture practices were more likely to have a yield gap compared with conventional practices at commercial field scale than in experimental plots. The researchers found a significant yield gap between conventional and both low-input and organic practices at the field scale, which they attribute to the difficulty of scaling up practices that require more time and care.

Call-in Conversations Offered on Microbe-Containing Biostimulants and Biofertilizers
The Vegetable Production Systems Laboratory at The Ohio State University is conducting a three-month series of Call-in Conversations on research- and experience-based information regarding microbe-containing biostimulants and biofertilizers (MCBSFs) and their use in commercial vegetable production. Remaining calls in the series are set for February 8 and March 10, 2017.

Whole Farm Revenue Protection Purchase Deadlines Approaching
Deadlines for purchasing Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) in 2017 are January 31, February 28, or March 15, depending on location. The Center for Rural Affairs has developed six webinars on how WFRP works. Titles include Insuring Diversified Fruit and Vegetable Production under Whole Farm Revenue Protection, Insuring Commodity Production under Whole Farm Revenue Protection, and Insuring Livestock under Whole Farm Revenue Protection. WFRP is a new crop insurance product available across the country that rewards on-farm diversity by insuring the revenue of the operation.
Related ATTRA Publication: Crop Insurance Options for Specialty, Diversified, and Organic Farmers

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Local Food Promotion Program
The Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) offers matching funds for planning and implementation grants. These grants support the development and expansion of local and regional food business enterprises to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets. Eligible applicants support local and regional food business enterprises that process, distribute, aggregate, or store locally or regionally produced food products.
Grant applications are due by March 27, 2017.

Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program
The Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program provides about $1 million in matching funds to state agencies and state colleges and universities. Funds will support research projects to address challenges and opportunities in marketing, transporting, and distributing U.S. agricultural products domestically and internationally. Proposals must have a strong marketing focus, must involve research, and the primary beneficiaries must be agricultural producers and agribusinesses.
Applications are due March 27, 2017.

Conservation Innovation Grants in Missouri
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Missouri is accepting applications for $100,000 in grants to fund projects that could stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. Individual grants up to $50,000 can be used to fund up to 50% of total project cost. Projects should address one of four identified resource concerns: data analytics for natural resources conservation; pay-for-success models to stimulate conservation adoption; precision conservation approaches; and water management technologies and approaches to maximize agricultural production efficiency and minimize off-site impacts.
Applications are due by March 1, 2017.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

MOSES Organic Farming Conference
February 23-25, 2017
La Crosse, Wisconsin

Innovative farmers, experienced educators, and farming professionals will present 65 workshops offering practical information about field crops, livestock, dairy, vegetables, and specialty crops. Additional workshops will focus on soil health, farming issues, and strategies to help farmers manage and grow their businesses.

ASAP's Business of Farming Conference
February 25, 2017
Asheville, North Carolina

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project offers a day of learning and networking for beginning and experienced farmers, as well as those considering farming. The conference features business and marketing workshops.

Western Slope Soil Health Conference
February 23-24, 2017
Delta, Colorado
This conference is designed to educate producers, government officials, and the broad community about ways to increase organic matter and soil health through cover crops, green manure, grazing, compost, entomology, and other sustainable practices.

>>More Events

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Farm Energy Efficiency Tutorial

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What are the basic steps in starting a community orchard?

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Free Farm-Finance Workshop
February 2, 2017
Biloxi, Mississippi
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