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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 27, 2016

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

  • Reviewers Sought for USDA-AMS Specialty Crop Multi-State Program
  • Pollinator Diversity Significantly Increases Productivity on Small Farms
  • Save and Grow Agriculture Paradigm Applied to Cereals in New Publication
  • Field-Tested Abrasive Weeding Found Effective
  • Report Documents, Recommends New York Farmland Protection
  • Organic Antimicrobial Wash Developed for Fresh Produce

Funding Opportunities

  • Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants (SPECA) Program
  • National Farm to Cafeteria Conference Scholarships
  • Montana Specialty Crop Block Grant

Coming Events

  • MOSES Organic Farming Conference
  • Georgia Organics Conference and Expo
  • West Virginia Small Farm Conference

News & Resources

Reviewers Sought for USDA-AMS Specialty Crop Multi-State Program
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is recruiting individuals to review proposals submitted under the USDA-AMS Specialty Crop Multi-State Program. Reviewers will be selected on the basis of their knowledge, education, and/or experience in topics related to specialty crops. The deadline for submitting reviewer applications is February 5, 2016.

Pollinator Diversity Significantly Increases Productivity on Small Farms
Research by an international team of scientists shows that on small farms, pollinator diversity can significantly increase productivity. Researchers conclude that the management of crops and surrounding areas for ecological health is likely to benefit both wild pollinator populations and farmers.

Save and Grow Agriculture Paradigm Applied to Cereals in New Publication
A new book by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) takes a close look at how the world's major cereals maize, rice, and wheat can be grown in ways that respect and even leverage natural ecosystems. Save and Grow in Practice: Maize, Rice, Wheat: A Guide to Sustainable Cereal Production illustrates how the "Save and Grow" approach to agriculture advocated by FAO is already being successfully employed to produce staple grains.

Field-Tested Abrasive Weeding Found Effective
Researchers at the University of Illinois field tested abrasive weeding, an organic weed-control method that blows abrasive grit at plants using an air compressor, and found it effective. Used in conjunction with plastic mulch, abrasive weeding reduced weed biomass by 69 to 97% compared to control plots. The study looked at a number of grit sources: walnut shells, granulated maize cob, greensand, and soybean meal.

Report Documents, Recommends New York Farmland Protection
American Farmland Trust has released Cultivate New York: An Agenda for Protecting Farmland for Growing Food and the Economy to coincide with the 20th anniversary of state funding to protect farmland in New York. The report includes recommendations to make New York a national leader in protecting farmland for growing local food and supporting the state's farm and food economy.

Organic Antimicrobial Wash Developed for Fresh Produce
A USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist and collaborators have developed an antimicrobial wash for fresh produce that reduces the danger of contamination from foodborne pathogens. The wash, being marketed as First Step+ 10 by NatureSeal, is a combination of lactic acid, fruit acids, and hydrogen peroxide in a produce rinse. The wash is certified organic and biodegradable.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants (SPECA) Program
The SPECA program seeks to promote and strengthen secondary and postsecondary education in agriscience and agribusiness and promote linkages among secondary, postsecondary, and higher education programs in food and agricultural sciences. Applications may be submitted by: (1) public secondary schools; (2) public or private nonprofit junior and community colleges; (3) institutions of higher education; or (4) nonprofit organizations.
Applications are due March 18, 2016.

National Farm to Cafeteria Conference Scholarships
Scholarship awards will cover conference and/or short course registration fees for the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, June 2-4, 2016, in Madison, Wisconsin. Scholarships are prioritized for farmers, persons of color, youth, food service professionals, farm to college/hospital providers, and early care and education providers.
Applications are due by February 29, 2016.

Montana Specialty Crop Block Grant
The Montana Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for an estimated $1.3 million in federal funding available through the Specialty Crop Block Grant program to enhance the competitiveness of Montana specialty crops. State and/or local organizations, government entities, producer associations, academia, community-based organizations, and other specialty-crop stakeholders are eligible to apply.
Proposals are due by February 24, 2016.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

MOSES Organic Farming Conference
February 25-27, 2016
La Crosse, Wisconsin
The largest event in the U.S. about organic and sustainable farming offers 65 workshop choices, an exhibit hall with 170 vendors, and 3,400 participants. Learn ways to improve your farm, discover new resources and tools, make connections, and find support. The Organic University on February 25 offers full-day pre-conference seminars.

Georgia Organics Conference and Expo
February 26-27, 2016
Columbus, Georgia

The 19th Annual Georgia Organics Conference will feature seven farm tours, eight in-depth workshops, 36 educational sessions, a Grits & Vigor Expo, and keynote by Joan Gussow. More than 1,000 attendees will learn, network, feast, and champion organic foods and farms.

West Virginia Small Farm Conference
February 25-27, 2016
Charleston, West Virginia

This conference seeks to unlock the potential of West Virginia small farms to produce food profitably and help small farms transition from commodity production to food production for community and local consumption.

>> More Events

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New ATTRA Publication
Tipsheet: Transitioning to Organic Management of Orchards

Question of the Week
Will sorghum-sudangrass cover crops have allelopathic effects on subsequent crops?

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