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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 6, 2013

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

  • State Food Policy Toolkit Available
  • Upper Midwest Local Food Prospectus Released
  • Food Safety Guidelines for Fresh Culinary Herbs Published
  • ERS Research Characterizes Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
  • Study Explores Grazing Winter Wheat
  • Research Evaluates Switchgrass as Dual-Purpose Crop

Funding Opportunities

  • USDA Microloans
  • Organic Farming Research Foundation Research Grants
  • Oregon Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Organic Growers School Spring Conference
  • Southwest Ohio Small Farm Conference and Trade Show
  • Farm to Cafeteria Workshops

News & Resources

State Food Policy Toolkit Available
The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic has released Good Laws, Good Food: Putting State Food Policy to Work for Our Communities, the second toolkit in a two-part series for communities seeking to make change in their food and agriculture systems. The state toolkit focuses on eight areas of law and policy most relevant to state food policy councils, including "Food System Infrastructure," "Farm to Institution," and "Food Safety & Processing." The toolkit can be downloaded online.

Upper Midwest Local Food Prospectus Released
The Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission has announced the release of Local Food Prospectus for the Tri-State Region, an analysis of the wholesale fruit and vegetable industry in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. This report is of particular interest to those involved in agriculture, local foods, and economic development. The report stems from Project Produce, an effort that has been exploring the feasibility of scaled-up fruit and vegetable production in the region.

Food Safety Guidelines for Fresh Culinary Herbs Published
Industry and academic participants have contributed to a new publication titled Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Production, Harvest, Post-Harvest, and Processing Unit Operations of Fresh Culinary Herbs. Best Practices were developed to address identified potential food safety issues. The document contains a list of reference documents that offer detailed background information regarding how to develop food safety programs. The 186-page PDF file is available online.

ERS Research Characterizes Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
USDA's Economic Research Service has released a six-page research brief titled Beginning Farmers and Ranchers at a Glance. In 2011, beginning farms and ranches accounted for 22 percent of U.S. family farms and 10 percent of the value of agricultural production by family farms. ERS found that beginning farmers and ranchers have more education and more off-farm jobs than established ones.

Study Explores Grazing Winter Wheat
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture researchers are studying the effects of cattle grazing wheat that will later be harvested for grain. In their preliminary study, 24 young beef heifers gained an average of nearly one pound per day on winter wheat. Although wheat yield decreased by seven bushels per acre compared to a non-grazed area, researchers estimate they still made $90 per acre. The researchers noted that grazing a wheat planting takes more careful management than feeding hay or grazing cool-season pastures.

Research Evaluates Switchgrass as Dual-Purpose Crop
The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation has issued a report on a three-year study to determine the effects of grazing switchgrass at different stock densities in a dual-purpose stocker cattle grazing/bioenergy feedstock system. The results of this study indicate that the most economical grazing/feedstock system depends on both feedstock and cattle prices.
Related ATTRA Publication: Switchgrass as a Bioenergy Crop

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

USDA Microloans
Microloans are direct farm operating loans with a shortened application process and reduced paperwork, designed to meet the needs of smaller, non-traditional, and niche-type operations. Microloans can be used for all approved operating expenses as authorized by the FSA Operating Loan Program. The maximum loan amount for a microloan is $35,000. Additional information on the USDA Farm Service Agency Microloan program may be obtained at local FSA offices.

Organic Farming Research Foundation Research Grants
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) offers funding of up to $15,000 per year for organic seed-quality or crops-breeding projects in certified organic settings.
The deadline for the next granting cycle is May 15, 2013.

Oregon Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The Oregon Department of Agriculture is accepting project concept proposals as part of USDA's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program for 2013. Approximately $1 million is expected to be available to agriculture industry associations, producer groups, processors, commodity commissions, non-profits, for-profits, and local government agencies in Oregon.
Concept proposals must be received by February 19, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Organic Growers School Spring Conference
March 9-10, 2013
Asheville, North Carolina

This event offers two tracks for commercial growers, a balanced mix of advanced and beginner classes, and intensive, hands-on workshops on Friday. There are also tracks for soils, livestock, permaculture, community food, and alternative energy.

Southwest Ohio Small Farm Conference and Trade Show
March 8-9, 2013
Wilmington, Ohio

Ohio State University Small Farm Program presents "Opening Doors to Success," featuring nearly 40 seminars taught by Extension professionals and industry leaders. Topics include livestock, horticulture, marketing, and natural resources.

Farm to Cafeteria Workshops
Various dates February through April 2013
Eight Minnesota locations

University of Minnesota Extension is hosting several regional Farm to Cafeteria workshops. These workshops are designed to cultivate strong partnerships between growers and buyers and offer educational opportunities to increase capacity for local food purchases by institutions.

>> 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.

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© 2013 NCAT

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New Publication
Tips for Marketing Sheep and Goat Products: Fiber

Question of the Week
Will baking soda control peach diseases?

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ATTRA Webinars
Last chance to register for the February 7 webinar, Pastured Poultry Production and Profitability, with NCAT Sustainable Poultry Specialist Terrell "Spence" Spencer.

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