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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 28, 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

  • Grant Workshops Offered for Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program
  • Biological Controls Stabilized by Systems Approach
  • Animal Welfare Approved Introduces 'Certified Grassfed' Label
  • Alyssum Intercropping with Lettuce Provides Pest Control
  • Sowing Patterns, Crop Density Aid in Weed Control
  • Maps Total Global Cropland, Measure Field Size

Funding Opportunities

  • Conservation Innovation Grants
  • Frontera Farmer Foundation
  • Good Food Financing Fair

Coming Events

  • MOSES Organic Farming Conference
  • Western Regional Grazing Conference: Grazing for Change
  • West Virginia Small Farm Conference

News & Resources

Grant Workshops Offered for Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and National Institute for Food and Agriculture have announced a partnership through the Agricultural Marketing Service Technical Assistance Project to conduct workshops that will help potential grant applicants understand, develop, and submit their applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program. A list of upcoming grant workshop dates and locations in all regions of the country can be found online.

Biological Controls Stabilized by Systems Approach
A new study from University of Michigan researchers suggests that intraguild predation, or competition between different biological controls, strengthens and stabilizes biological control systems. This study, published in Nature Communications, shows that separately unstable control agents can combine to create an effective pest-management program with a stability that is similar to natural systems.

Animal Welfare Approved Introduces 'Certified Grassfed' Label
Animal Welfare Approved has announced the availability of a new standard and label for grassfed meat. The "Certified Grassfed" label guarantees that food products come from animals fed a 100% grass and forage diet, raised outdoors on pasture or range for their entire lives, and managed according to the highest welfare and environmental standards in the U.S. and Canada.

Alyssum Intercropping with Lettuce Provides Pest Control
The Organic Farming Research Foundation reported on the work of USDA researcher Dr. Eric Brennan, who has developed an "additive intercropping" technique for aphid control in lettuce. Brennan established that planting one or two alyssum plants per every 50 lettuce plants provides adequate aphid control without reducing yields.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic IPM Field Guide

Sowing Patterns, Crop Density Aid in Weed Control
Research from the University of Copenhagen suggests that weed control can be conducted more sustainably by adjusting sowing patterns and crop density. Studies demonstrate that modified sowing patterns and closer crop spacing results in a reduction of total weed biomass. The trick is to increase crop-weed competition and utilize the crop's head start, so that it gains a large competitive advantage over the neighboring weeds.
Related ATTRA Publication: Sustainable Weed Management for Small and Medium-Scale Farms

Maps Total Global Cropland, Measure Field Size
Two new maps provide insight into the amount of land used for crops globally, says Live Science. To create the maps, information from satellite images, regional maps, video, and geotagged photos was compiled by volunteers in a crowdsourced, online game called "Cropland Capture." One of the new maps reveals the world's agricultural lands to a resolution of one kilometer, showing the amount of cropland worldwide in 2005. The other provides the first look at the sizes of fields worldwide.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Conservation Innovation Grants
USDA is accepting applications for up to $20 million in Conservation Innovation Grants through a national competition. For 2015, approximately half of the funding is available for environmental markets and conservation-finance projects that engage agricultural producers. USDA is also soliciting proposals for projects to stimulate natural resource improvements. Non-Federal governmental or nongovernmental organizations, Tribes, or individuals may apply. A webinar for potential applicants will be held February 4.
Pre-proposals are due February 24, 2015.

Frontera Farmer Foundation
The Frontera Farmer Foundation will award capital improvement grants of up to $12,000 to small and medium-size, individually owned farms that sell their food products to customers in the Chicago area. Farmers must have been in business for at least three years and must demonstrate how the grant will improve both their farm's viability and the availability of locally grown food products.
Grant applications must be received by March 1, 2015.

Good Food Financing Fair
Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 Good Food Financing Fair at the Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference that will be held March 19 in Chicago. This is a juried fair, and farm and food businesses must apply to participate. Companies participating in the conference the past three years have raised more than $8 million in debt and equity financing.
Applications are due February 2, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

MOSES Organic Farming Conference
February 26-28, 2015
La Crosse, Wisconsin

The MOSES Conference is the largest event in the U.S. about organic and sustainable farming. Expand your farming knowledge, discover new resources and tools, make connections, and find support. The event includes an Organic University, keynote speaker John Jeavons, and numerous workshops and roundtables. It is preceded February 25-26 by the first Organic Agriculture Research Symposium.

Western Regional Grazing Conference: Grazing for Change
February 27-28, 2015
Chico, California

Meet leading holistic management practitioners, scientists, and agricultural "solutionaries" and learn how these leaders are using livestock to improve soil, decrease dependence on water, grow more grass, and improve profits. Gain access to their methods through small breakout workshops and hands-on learning opportunities.

West Virginia Small Farm Conference
February 26-28, 2015
Charleston, West Virginia

This year the conference includes 11 tracks with more than 180 classes, covering meat, fruit, certification, energy, season extension, farmers markets, and much more.

>> More Events

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New ATTRA Publication
Drought and Disaster Resources for Texas Producers

Question of the Week
Can I dig up fruit trees and pot them in very early spring to sell in the fall?

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

ATTRA Webinars
Now on our website: New Whole-Farm Revenue Protection Policy
NCAT, NSAC, and RAFI-USA discuss the Risk Management Agency's new Whole Farm Revenue Protection insurance policy.

ATTRA Spanish Newsletter
Subscribe to Cosecha Mensual (Monthly Harvest), ATTRA's Spanish-language e-newsletter

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