Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 1, 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.
News & Resources
- ATTRA Users Invited to Provide Feedback
- Publication Series Helps Landowners Talk with Tenants about Conservation Practices
- California Biochar Study Results Published
- National Agricultural Statistics Service Begins Organic Survey
- Documentary on Contract Farming to Premiere
- Local Foods College Offers Online Classes
- Farmers Market Promotion Program
- Washington State Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
- North Dakota Conservation Innovation Grants
- Indiana Small Farm Conference
- Alaska State Farmers Market Organizers Conference
- California Climate and Agriculture Summit
News & Resources
ATTRA Users Invited to Provide Feedback
ATTRA is conducting an external review of the resources and services that we offer to the sustainable agricultural community, and we need your help. Tell us what you think about the ATTRA resources that you've used (like this newsletter) by completing a short online survey. All answers are anonymous and will be used to support and improve ATTRA's work going forward. The survey will be open through the end of February 2017.
Publication Series Helps Landowners Talk with Tenants about Conservation Practices
Iowa Learning Farms has created a new publication series to help tenants and landlords begin discussing conservation practices. The series presents talking points and relevant research findings about a variety of practices: in-field practices like cover crops, no-tillage, and strip-tillage, and edge-of-field practices such as denitrifying bioreactors and wetlands. The four-part series is available online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tips for Farm Leases and Contracts: Creating Smart, Effective Documents
California Biochar Study Results Published
A four-year study at UC Davis showed that adding biochar to productive soils is different from adding it to more weathered, acidic soils. This study used biochar made from walnut shells in a plot that rotated tomatoes and corn. The biochar affected potassium, phosphorous, and calcium in the soil, causing an 8% increase in corn yields in the second year. However, the benefits declined to nothing by year four. Researchers noted that biochar from other sources could perform differently, and that long-term effects may still be unrecognized, so study will continue.
Related ATTRA Publication: Biochar and Sustainable Agriculture
National Agricultural Statistics Service Begins Organic Survey
USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is conducting the 2016 Certified Organic Survey to gather new data on certified organic crops and livestock commodities in the United States. The survey asks producers to provide information on acreage, production, and sales, as well as production and marketing practices. The agency asks participants to respond by February 19, 2017.
Documentary on Contract Farming to Premiere
Rural Advancement Foundation International has announced the premiere of Under Contract: Farmers and the Fine Print. In the full-length documentary, contract farmers tell their stories and industry experts reveal how the corporate production model pits farmer against farmer. A 40-page PDF viewer's guide is available online.
Local Foods College Offers Online Classes
University of Minnesota Extension's 6th annual Local Foods College webinar series offers free weekly online classes available to anyone interested in strengthening food systems. Classes run through March 14, 2017, and are archived. Sessions include Crop Disease Management in a High Tunnel, Postharvest Handling, Sheep on a Small Farm, Soil Health, Cottage Food Law, Accessing Capital for Growing Your Commercial Scale Production, Seed Saving, and Raising Poultry for Fun or Profit.
>>More Breaking News
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Farmers Market Promotion Program
USDA is accepting applications for $50,000 to $500,000 through the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP). FMPP is designed 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 include agricultural businesses and cooperatives, CSA networks and associations, economic development corporations, local and Tribal governments, nonprofit corporations, producer networks and associations, public benefit corporations, and regional farmers market authorities.
Applications are due by March 27, 2017.
Washington State Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The Washington State Department of Agriculture is accepting proposals for innovative projects to support the state’s fruit, vegetable, and nursery industry through the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Private and non-profit organizations, commodity commissions, and other public entities may request funds for projects ranging from $25,000 to $250,000.
Concept proposals are due by February 15, 2017.
North Dakota Conservation Innovation Grants
NRCS Conservation Innovation Grants stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. Eligible applicants include Indian Tribes, State and local units of government, non-governmental organizations, and individuals. North Dakota estimates total program funding at $150,000, with individual awards not to exceed $75,000.
Applications are due March 14, 2017.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Indiana Small Farm Conference
March 2-4, 2017
The conference begins with four options for full-day workshops. On Friday and Saturday, there are concurrent sessions on topics ranging from vegetable and livestock production to farm management and marketing. There is also a trade show.
Alaska State Farmers Market Organizers Conference
March 2-4, 2017
Homer Farmers Market is convening a statewide conference, gathering farmers market organizers from across the state to come together and share resources and information.
California Climate and Agriculture Summit
February 28 - March 1, 2017
Learn about the latest science, policy, and practice of climate-friendly farming in California and network with a diverse group including growers, researchers, policymakers, agricultural professionals, and advocates.
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ATTRA was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
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