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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 29, 2014

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

News & Resources

  • Online Course Helps Beginning Farmers with Business Planning
  • Farm to School Legislation Summarized in Survey
  • Cover Crop Guide Rounds out Organic Series
  • Farm to School Resource Tool Introduced
  • Comprehensive Guide for Shiitake Growers Available Online
  • Gathering Captures Organic Farming Wisdom from Agrarian Elders

Funding Opportunities

  • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Foundational Program
  • Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30x20 Processor Grant
  • Paul C. and Edna H. Warner Grants for Sustainable Agriculture

Coming Events

  • California Small Farm Conference
  • Organic Growers School Spring Conference
  • Sustainable Agriculture Conference

News & Resources

Online Course Helps Beginning Farmers with Business Planning
The National Center for Appropriate Technology, with funding from the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, has launched Getting Started in Farming: An Introduction to Farm Business Planning. This free, eight-lesson online course guides students through the process of imagining and planning a successful farming enterprise. Although the course was developed for North Carolina, it is accessible and useful for people in any part of the country.
Related ATTRA Publication: Getting Into Farming - A Workbook for Beginning Farmers in North Carolina

Farm to School Legislation Summarized in Survey
The National Farm to School Network and Vermont Law School's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems have released State Farm to School Legislative Survey 2002-2013. The PDF publication summarizes state farm to school legislation enacted, still pending, or defeated since 2002. The survey presents charts categorizing bills by type.

Cover Crop Guide Rounds out Organic Series
A newly released publication, Cover Crop in Organic Systems: Western State Implementation Guide, provides an overview of how cover crops can be used on organic operations, different purposes for the use of this conservation practice, design considerations, and related National Organic Program (NOP) regulations. The publication is part of a five-guide series developed by Oregon Tilth's Organic Conservation Program, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), the Xerces Society, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The five guides enable the Federal Environmental Quality Incentives (EQIP) Program, especially the EQIP Organic Initiative, to be more responsive to and valuable for organic farmers.

Farm to School Resource Tool Introduced
Healthy Community Food Systems has introduced its sixteenth free food-system resource tool, Farm to School. The six-page booklet explores the concept, context, and promise of Farm to School to help local schools and their communities reap the multiple benefits of these programs. A page of online resources is also available.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tips for Selling to Institutional Markets

Comprehensive Guide for Shiitake Growers Available Online
Cornell Cooperative Extension, in collaboration with UVM Extension's Center for Sustainable Agriculture and a team of farm advisors, has released Best Management Practices for Log-Based Shiitake Cultivation in the Northeastern United States. The complete guide is available online for free download. The guide is the culmination of a three-year research and education project.
Related ATTRA Publication: Mushroom Cultivation and Marketing

Gathering Captures Organic Farming Wisdom from Agrarian Elders
Two dozen "agrarian elders," experienced organic farmers from across the country, recently gathered for a week-long retreat designed to document their farming wisdom and discuss how it could be passed to the next generation, reports The New York Times. Michael Ableman and Eliot Coleman organized the event. The participating farmers shared marketing tips, discussed challenges, and contemplated retirement.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Foundational Program
Under USDA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, the Secretary of Agriculture makes competitive grants for fundamental and applied research, education, and extension to address food and agricultural sciences in six priority areas. These include: 1) plant health and production and plant products; 2) animal health and production and animal products; 3) food safety, nutrition, and health; 4) renewable energy, natural resources, and environment; 5) agriculture systems and technology; and 6) agriculture economics and rural communities. Approximately $275 million will be available in FY 2014. Eligibility depends on the project type. Eligible entities may include colleges and universities, research organizations, federal agencies, private organizations or corporations, and individuals.
Program application deadlines range from April 9 to September 30, 2014. Letter of intent to apply deadlines vary by program; the earliest is February 5, 2014.

Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30x20 Processor Grant
Wisconsin dairy processors can now apply for grants up to $50,000 to foster innovation, improve profitability, and facilitate operational changes. The applicant must provide at least 20% of the total grant award as a matching contribution.
The application deadline is February 21, 2014.

Paul C. and Edna H. Warner Grants for Sustainable Agriculture
The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) Sustainable Agriculture Team and Agroecosystems Management Program offer interdisciplinary grants up to $5,000 to promote on-farm research in sustainable agriculture. Proposals must come from OSU CFAES faculty and extension personnel. A mandatory criterion is collaboration with Ohio farmers who are identified in the proposal. Farmers or other organizations can receive help in connecting with an appropriate principal investigator.
Proposals are due March 3, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

California Small Farm Conference
March 9-11, 2014
Rohnert Park, California

The California Small Farm Conference is the state's premier gathering of small farmers, agricultural students, farmers market managers, and others involved in the small farm industry. The three-day educational conference includes day-long short courses and on-farm tours, focused workshops, engaging keynote addresses, and numerous networking opportunities.

Organic Growers School Spring Conference
March 8-9, 2014
Asheville, North Carolina

This large conference offers 1.5-hour sessions organized in 15 thematic tracks, including soils, livestock, alternative energy, permaculture, pollinators, poultry, and two for commercial farmers.

Sustainable Agriculture Conference
March 11-13, 2014
Fairbanks, Alaska

The agenda features a pre-conference full-day workshop on Participatory Plant Breeding. There will be conference sessions on sustainable agriculture practices, emerging markets, starting a farm, meat and fiber production, Alaska needs and activities, and plant breeding and variety selection.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives
Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

© 2014 NCAT

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New Publication
Life-Cycle Assessment in Agricultural Systems

Question of the Week
Can I use my livestock watering system throughout the winter? How can I keep it from freezing?

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ATTRA Webinars
"Cover Crops and Crop Insurance: Q and A on USDA's Cover Crop Termination Guides" is now available in our Sustainable Agriculture Video Archive.

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