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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 4, 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

  • 'Armed to Farm' Sustainable Agriculture Training for Veterans Slated for Texas
  • USDA Reports to Congress on Growth in U.S. Local and Regional Food Systems
  • Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Grant Awards Announced
  • Harvesting Clean Energy Calls for Presentations and Student Projects
  • Guide Helps Farmers Work with Land Trusts to Gain Land Access
  • USDA Accepting Conservation Stewardship Program Applications

Funding Opportunities

  • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Food Security Challenge Area
  • Idaho Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
  • Texas Agricultural Water Conservation Grant

Coming Events

  • Organic Growers School Spring Conference
  • Organic Association of Kentucky Annual Conference
  • Modern Wood Heating for Healthcare Facilities

News & Resources

'Armed to Farm' Sustainable Agriculture Training for Veterans Slated for Texas
The National Center for Appropriate Technology is organizing an Armed to Farm (ATF) training event for April 13-17 in Castroville, Texas, for Texas veterans. ATF is a dynamic blend of farm tours and hands-on experience with classroom instruction. Participants will learn about business planning, budgeting, recordkeeping, marketing, livestock production, fruit and vegetable production, and more. Applications are due by March 6, 2015. The event will be free, and lodging and most meals will be provided.

USDA Reports to Congress on Growth in U.S. Local and Regional Food Systems
USDA Economic Research Service has issued Trends in U.S. Local and Regional Food Systems: A Report to Congress. The report details the latest economic information on local food producers, consumers, and policy, relying on findings from several national surveys and recent literature. The study found that producer participation in local food systems is growing, and the value of local food sales appears to be increasing.

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Grant Awards Announced
USDA has announced more than $18 million in grants through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). BFRDP provides organizations with grants to implement workshops, educational teams, training, and technical assistance to support those who have farmed or ranched less than 10 years. A fact sheet with a complete list of awardees and project descriptions is available on the USDA website.

Harvesting Clean Energy Calls for Presentations and Student Projects
The National Center for Appropriate Technology invites submissions for presentations at the 2015 Annual Harvesting Clean Energy Conference to be held in Billings, Montana, September 30–October 2, 2015. This premier gathering of the agriculture, forestry, and energy industries will help advance rural economic development through clean energy development, maximizing profits by practicing good stewardship. Proposals are due March 1, 2015. Harvesting Clean Energy will also offer an opportunity for students to showcase approved posters. Student proposals must be submitted by March 31, 2015.

Guide Helps Farmers Work with Land Trusts to Gain Land Access
The National Young Farmers Coalition has released a new guide for farmers. The Farmer's Guide to Working with Land Trusts provides an introduction to land trusts and explains how these groups can be powerful partners in a farmer's search for affordable farmland. It provides detailed information about the process of working with a land trust. The guide can be downloaded online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Financing Your Farm: Guidance for Beginning Farmers

USDA Accepting Conservation Stewardship Program Applications
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will make available $100 million this year through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Although applications are accepted all year, farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners should submit applications to local NRCS offices by February 27, 2015, to ensure they are considered for this year's funding.
Related ATTRA Publication: Federal Conservation Resources for Sustainable Farming and Ranching

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Food Security Challenge Area
The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture has issued a request for applications for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Food Security Challenge Area. This program invests in agricultural production research, education, and extension programs for more sustainable, productive, and economically viable plant and animal production systems. Approximately $16.8 million is anticipated to be available in FY 2015. Eligible applicants include institutions of higher education, private organizations or corporations, and individuals.
A letter of intent to apply is due by April 2, 2015.

Idaho Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
Applications are currently being accepted by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Funds will be available to interested local, state, and federal government agencies; non-profit and for-profit organizations; and universities for projects that enhance the competitiveness of U.S.-grown specialty crops.
Applications are due March 27, 2015.

Texas Agricultural Water Conservation Grant
The Texas Water Development Board is accepting applications from confirmed groundwater conservation districts for $1.49 million in Agricultural Water Conservation Monitoring Grants. The funding is to be used to offset the cost of metering devices.
Applications are due by March 11, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Organic Growers School Spring Conference
March 7-8, 2015
Asheville, North Carolina

The 22nd annual Spring Conference offers practical, regionally appropriate workshops on organic growing, permaculture, homesteading, urban farming, and rural living, plus a trade show, seed exchange, silent auction, children's program, and pre-conference, on-farm events. More than 70 sessions per day are offered.

Organic Association of Kentucky Annual Conference
March 5-7, 2015
Shepherdsville, Kentucky

The OAK 2015 conference gathers respected farmers and practitioners who will share their wisdom and experience about no-till, managing diversified livestock, crop sequencing, effective recordkeeping, managing dairy animals in an organic system, low-tunnel winter growing, and more.

Modern Wood Heating for Healthcare Facilities
March 5, 2015
Online

This interactive webinar will provide an introduction to how modern wood biomass energy systems can benefit a healthcare facility—saving money in operations while investing in the local community. Healthcare facility administrators, operation and maintenance managers, and staff in Montana and Idaho are the target audience, but all are welcome. Contact jkies@mt.gov with questions.

>> More Events

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© 2015 NCAT

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New ATTRA Publication
Plum Diseases Identification Sheet

Question of the Week
What should I look for when buying a used manure spreader?

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