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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 7, 2018

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

  • Farmers Market Legal Toolkit Available Online
  • Resource to Aid Conservation Stewardship Program Applicants
  • Penn State Studies Alternative Production Methods for Heritage Turkeys
  • USDA Unveils Farmers.gov Website
  • New Web Tool Predicts Onset of Spring
  • FruitGuys Community Fund Seeks Volunteers for Grant Review

Funding Opportunities

  • Minnesota Value Added Grant Program
  • New York Climate Resilient Farming Round 3
  • Kentucky Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Organic Growers School Spring Conference
  • Midwest Cover Crops Council Annual Meeting
  • Farmers Guild-Raising

News & Resources

Farmers Market Legal Toolkit Available Online
Vermont Law School Center for Agriculture & Food Systems has partnered with Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont and the Farmers Market Coalition to create The Farmers Market Legal Toolkit. This toolkit is a free, online resource that provides market managers with open-source legal tools. It includes legal resources, best practice recommendations, and case studies on selecting and enhancing business structures, accepting SNAP benefits, and managing common risks.
Related ATTRA Publication: Farmers Markets: Marketing and Business Guide

Resource to Aid Conservation Stewardship Program Applicants
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has released its free, online CSP 2018 Information Alert, which includes step-by-step guidance and enrollment information for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The cutoff date to apply for 2018 enrollment is March 2, 2018. The Information Alert includes details on all changes that were made to CSP as part of its reinvention last year, including new ranking and eligibility tools and expanded options for enhancements and practices.
Related ATTRA Publication:
Federal Conservation Resources for Sustainable Farming and Ranching

Penn State Studies Alternative Production Methods for Heritage Turkeys
Researchers at Penn State are studying methods producers can use to raise heritage-breed turkeys. The first phase of their research showed that when 15% of heritage breeds' commercial feed ration was replaced with natural feedstuffs such as insects, mushrooms, forages, berries, and nuts, the birds weighed essentially the same as control turkeys. Next, the group will study raising heritage turkeys in a silvopasture system where they can forage on berry and nut plantings.

Forthcoming Related ATTRA Publication: Pastured Turkey Production

USDA Unveils Farmers.gov Website
USDA has unveiled farmers.gov, a new interactive one-stop website for producers. The website gathers the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency functions together. The site will allow agricultural producers to make appointments with USDA offices, file forms, and apply for USDA programs.

New Web Tool Predicts Onset of Spring
The Emergent Climate Risk Lab at Cornell University has developed a Web tool called Springcasting that predicts the onset of spring well in advance. The tool uses phenology models, quantitative indices of spring onset, to predict when to expect spring in different regions of the country. The new tool features a map of the continental United States that shows in color where this year's spring will be early, late, or on schedule.

FruitGuys Community Fund Seeks Volunteers for Grant Review
FruitGuys Community Fund is seeking volunteers to join its annual grant-review committee. The fund offers small farm grants used to preserve and enhance innovative, ecologically sustainable farming practices. Volunteers review and score project proposals and meet with other reviewers via conference call to finalize award recommendations. People interested in volunteering can complete an online form.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Minnesota Value Added Grant Program
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will award $2.5 million to increase sales of Minnesota agricultural products by diversifying markets, increasing market access, and increasing food safety of value-added products. Grant funds reimburse up to 25% of the total project cost for equipment purchases or physical improvements. Level 1 projects range from $1,000 to $200,000 and Level 2 projects from $200,001 to $1 million. Level 2 projects must provide significant economic impact to a region of the state.
Applications must be received by March 9, 2018.

New York Climate Resilient Farming Round 3
The New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee invites Soil and Water Conservation Districts to submit proposals to the Climate Resilient Farming Program. Program funds are available for projects that mitigate the impact of agriculture on climate change and enhance on-farm adaptation and resiliency to projected climate conditions. A total of $2 million is available in three funding tracks.
Proposals must be submitted by February 26, 2018.

Kentucky Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) administers the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which provides grants to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in Kentucky. KDA anticipates that approximately $200,000 will be awarded. Proposals should be initiated by organizations, industry groups, or academic institutions, or should involve collaboration between producers, industry groups, academics, or other organizations.
Concept proposals are due by March 1, 2018.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Organic Growers School Spring Conference
March 9-11, 2018
Asheville, North Carolina

This conference offers regionally specific workshops on organic growing and sustainable living. The event includes three pre-conference, full-day workshops and more than 150 conference workshops in 17 tracks.

Midwest Cover Crops Council Annual Meeting
March 13-14, 2018
Fargo, North Dakota

This event includes state and partner updates, keynote speakers, and a wide range of breakout sessions on cover crop research, production, grazing, and economics.

Farmers Guild-Raising
March 9-10, 2018
Davis, California

The 5th annual Farmers Guild-Raising includes a pre-conference Farm Law 101 workshop, followed by tours, presentations, roundtables, demonstrations, a keynote speech, and the Agrarian Lovers Ball.

>>More Events

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New ATTRA Tutorial
Produce Safety

Question of the Week
Will rotating crops help reduce weeds?

Ask an Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online or by calling 1-800-346-9140

Pastured and Free Range Poultry Course
February 22, 2018
San Diego, California
Learn more.

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