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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 8, 2012

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Project website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

News & Resources

  • Value-Added Producer Grant Recipients Announced
  • Camelina Production Fact Sheet Available
  • USDA Announces CRP General Sign-up
  • Pop-Up Art Shows to Spur Local Food System Dialog
  • Cover Crops Case Study Posted
  • New Farmers Finding Favorable Climate

Funding Opportunities

  • Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Grant
  • Pennsylvania Specialty Crop Grant Program
  • Kansas Savor the Season Program

Coming Events

  • Nevada Small Farm Conference
  • West Virginia Small Farm Conference
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources Week

News & Resources

Value-Added Producer Grant Recipients Announced
USDA has selected 298 recipients in 44 states and Puerto Rico to receive $40.2 million in business development assistance through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. Funds may be used for feasibility studies or business plans, working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products, and farm-based renewable energy projects. A complete list of recipients is available online in PDF.

Camelina Production Fact Sheet Available
Camelina Production in the Dryland Pacific Northwest is a new publication by researchers at Washington State University and Oregon State University. The free online PDF fact sheet describes the biofuel oilseed crop camelina and its uses, provides information on expected yields and planting methods, and offers guidance on weed control, fertilization, pest control, and harvest.

USDA Announces CRP General Sign-up
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will conduct a four-week Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up, beginning on March 12 and ending on April 6. CRP is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to help them use environmentally sensitive land for conservation benefits. In return, USDA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance.

Pop-Up Art Shows to Spur Local Food System Dialog
The Lexicon of Sustainability Project is inviting community leaders, students, farmers, activists, gardeners, cooks, and others to host Pop-Up art shows, spurring dialog about how people can have a positive impact on their local food systems. The project will select 100 curators from across the country to coordinate public art shows that feature photo collages introducing the new language of sustainability in the words of its foremost practitioners in food and farming.

Cover Crops Case Study Posted
The Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems has posted a case study on the Gary Sommers Farm, sharing the experience of a Wisconsin farmer who has been growing cover crops on his cash grain farm for 20 years. Farmers and researchers can use this information as a starting point to explore how they might develop cover crop systems to meet their own goals.
Related ATTRA Publication: Overview of Cover Crops and Green Manures

New Farmer Demographic Benefits from Government Support
Beginning farmers in the United States are finding government support, says a Reuters article. A new demographic of family farmers is emerging, according to the article, from families moving out of cities to begin careers as farmers. Government financing and training programs are helping to launch these new farm enterprises, many of which focus on sustainable or organic production.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Grant
The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet is seeking proposals involving renewable energy and energy-efficiency applications. Eligible projects include agricultural and forestry sector use and production of renewable energy and carbon sequestration; projects to conserve energy in building; and installation of photovoltaic cells and/or solar thermal systems on buildings.
Proposals are due by March 19, 2012.

Pennsylvania Specialty Crop Grant Program
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announces Specialty Crop Block Grant Program—Farm Bill funds for projects that enhance the competitiveness of Pennsylvania's specialty crops. Over $1 million in grant awards is available through a two-phase competitive solicitation process.
Concept proposals are due February 29, 2012.

Kansas Savor the Season Program
Through Kansas Rural Center's "Savor the Season" Program, both farmers markets and producers can receive funding and other assistance for promoting specialty crops. Savor the Season offers mini-grants up to $250 targeted at new or smaller markets interested in testing a special events program. For markets with existing special events programs, cost-shares will match up to $400 for specialty crop promotions.
The application deadline for both programs is March 15, 2012.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Nevada Small Farm Conference
March 8-10, 2012
Fallon, Nevada

Explore old and new methods of farming and local food distribution to achieve the best results in bringing food from the farm to the family dinner table. Pre-conference intensive workshops are scheduled, as well as conference sessions that include business planning and marketing, soil fertility and composting, organic farming, small-scale cheese operations, pest management, and local food distribution.

West Virginia Small Farm Conference
March 1-3, 2012
Morgantown, West Virginia

March 1 will offer a selection of intensive day-long workshops. March 2-3 will offer shorter sessions on topics from beekeeping to backyard flocks and from farm tax information to non-timber forest crops.

Agriculture and Natural Resources Week
March 2-10, 2012
East Lansing, Michigan

Agriculture and Natural Resources Week (ANR Week), presented by Michigan State University and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, involves more than 75 programs and annual association meetings. Events include the Michigan Organic Reporting Session, a small flock poultry workshop, renewable energy seminars, and the Great Lakes Forage and Grazing Conference.

>> More Events

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New Publication
Guía Ilustrada para Producir Alimentos Seguros en su Granja: Buenas Prácticas Agrícolas

Question of the Week
What can you tell me about composting poultry litter?

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