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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 6, 2019

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

  • Wild Farm Alliance Releases Resource for Managing Wild Birds
  • Farm Commons Introduces Community Forum for Problem Solving
  • Scientists Outline Agenda for Soil Carbon Sequestration
  • National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Explores 2018 Farm Bill
  • Study Catalogs Pollinator-Protection Efforts of State Governments
  • New England Beef Farmers Invited to Participate in Skills Survey

Funding Opportunities

  • California State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)
  • Blooming Prairie Foundation
  • Rhode Island Agricultural Energy Program

Coming Events

  • Midwest Organic Pork Conference
  • Organic Growers School Spring Conference
  • Healthy Soils, Healthy Region Workshop

News & Resources

Wild Farm Alliance Releases Resource for Managing Wild Birds
Wild Farm Alliance has released Supporting Beneficial Birds and Managing Pest Birds, a free PDF publication. This resource discusses the pest-control role of beneficial birds and how they can help farmers reduce pest-control costs when habitat is provided for them. It also explores how to manage and co-exist with pest birds.

Farm Commons Introduces Community Forum for Problem Solving
Non-profit organization Farm Commons, known for its legal-education services to farmers, is introducing the CommonsCall. This open, monthly call will offer a way for the farm community to come together to engage in farm-law problem solving. Calls will be held the third Wednesday of every month, beginning February 20, 2019, with a session on food safety. Registration is available online.

Related ATTRA Videos: Food Safety

Scientists Outline Agenda for Soil Carbon Sequestration
An international group of scientists published a commentary in Nature Sustainability that suggests a global plan for implementing soil carbon sequestration. The commentary outlines the need to develop an overarching case and vision for action, create a strong business case for sequestration, and establish a track record of sequestration success. The scientists also wrote that farmers and land managers must incorporate building soil organic carbon within their day-to-day management activities.

Related ATTRA Publication: Agriculture, Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Explores 2018 Farm Bill
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has released a series of blog posts that examines how the 2018 Farm Bill affects sustainable agriculture policies and programs. Posts detail how the new farm bill is likely to impact working-lands conservation (CSP and EQIP), local/regional food programs, nutrition-incentive and anti-hunger programs, and beginning/socially disadvantaged farmers.
Related Publication: Federal Conservation Resources for Sustainable Farming and Ranching

Study Catalogs Pollinator-Protection Efforts of State Governments
Researchers at the University of Missouri have catalogued pollinator protection policies enacted by state governments from 2000-2017. The resulting database of information provides an opportunity to study how lawmakers in 36 states have addressed pollinator decline with 109 pieces of legislation that take varying approaches to the problem. "We are seeing encouraging policy innovations, but there is no momentum in state legislatures to adequately monitor this crisis," Assistant Professor Damon Hall said.

New England Beef Farmers Invited to Participate in Skills Survey
The University of Massachusetts-Amherst is surveying experienced beef-cattle producers in New England. The survey is designed to identify and prioritize the specific knowledge and skill sets needed by entry-level beef-cattle farmers, to help UMass and other regional universities and technical schools make sure that students are well prepared for entering the beef industry. The voluntary, confidential, online survey takes about 20 minutes.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

California State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)
California's State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program provides financial assistance in the form of grants to implement irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water on California agricultural operations. Eligible system components include soil moisture monitoring, drip systems, switching to low-pressure irrigation systems, pump retrofits, variable-frequency drives, and installation of renewable energy to reduce on-farm water use and energy.
Grant applications are due by March 8, 2019.

Blooming Prairie Foundation
The Blooming Prairie Foundation works to further the health of people, the planet, and the cooperative business model by supporting development, research, and educational efforts in the organic industry and the cooperative community. Nonprofit organizations can apply for grants to support developmental, research, and education efforts in the organic industry and the cooperative community; development of organic and natural products or services; or cooperative development in the natural-products or organic industry.
Applications are due by March 1, 2019.

Rhode Island Agricultural Energy Program
The Rhode Island Agricultural Energy Program (RIAgEP) is a competitive grant program that funds agricultural energy projects in an effort to improve energy efficiency and to facilitate the adoption of alternative clean-energy technologies by Rhode Island farms. RIAgEP grants will fund projects up to $20,000. All farm-related energy-efficiency and renewable-energy projects that meet the program requirements will be considered, although selected technologies are prioritized.
Applications are due by March 29, 2019.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Midwest Organic Pork Conference
March 8-9, 2019
Waterloo, Iowa

The Midwest Organic Pork Conference is dedicated to presenting the best resources and information available to help expand opportunities for organic and niche pork production and distribution. The conference is being hosted by the Iowa Organic Association.

Organic Growers School Spring Conference
March 8-10, 2019
Mills River, North Carolina

Organic Growers School's Spring Conference includes several full-day, pre-conference workshops, followed by classes in 18 different tracks, including beginning farmer, experienced farmer, livestock, poultry, mushrooms, pollinators, and permaculture.

Healthy Soils, Healthy Region Workshop
March 12-14, 2019
Pendleton, Oregon

The Healthy Soils, Healthy Region Workshop is a region-wide approach to bring together agricultural professionals and producers from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to improve awareness of existing, new, and evolving regional soil-health practices and assessment methods.

>>More Events

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New ATTRA Podcast
Growing and Processing Oilseed and Hemp

Question of the Week
What advice can you give on using liquid fertilizer to increase hay quality and volume?

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Do Organic Farmers Want Crop Insurance?
Free webinar February 21, 2019. Learn more and register.

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