Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 11, 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
- Post-Harvest Handling Presentation Available Online
- Publication Assesses Northeast Land Link Programs
- USDA Accepting Applications for Rural Energy for America Program
- Research Reveals that Endophytes Help Protect Barley
- Sustainable Iowa Land Trust Debuts
- MIT Examines How Raindrops Spread Pathogens Among Plants
- NCR-SARE Professional Development Program
- Southern SARE Graduate Student Grant
- Texas Young Farmer Grant
- Just Food Conference
- Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Week
- Local Specialty Crop Trade Show & Local Food Trade Show
News & Resources
Post-Harvest Handling Presentation Available Online
The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture is making a presentation available online on post-harvest handling for produce. The presentation covers harvest, cleaning and cooling, packing area infrastructure, sorting and grading, storage, transport, and more. Companion handouts are also available online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Postharvest Handling of Fruits and Vegetables
Publication Assesses Northeast Land Link Programs
A publication titled Land Link Programs in the Northeast US: A Program Assessment and Lessons Learned is now available on the Northeast SARE website. The publication is the work of Penn State Rural Sociology program graduate student Leslie Pillen, who identifies where land link programs are most successful and areas for improvement.
Related ATTRA Publication: Finding Land to Farm: Six Ways to Secure Farmland
USDA Accepting Applications for Rural Energy for America Program
Rural agricultural producers and small business owners can now apply to USDA for resources to purchase and install renewable-energy systems or make energy-efficiency improvements. USDA announced that it is making more than $280 million available to eligible applicants in the form of grants and loans through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Application deadlines vary by project type and the type of assistance requested.
Research Reveals that Endophytes Help Protect Barley
Botanists at Trinity College Dublin published research that shows how fungal endophytes have a symbiotic relationship with barley, protecting it from common seed diseases. The lead author notes that this discovery could help reduce the chemical input costs for barley crops worldwide and help prevent environmental damage and biodiversity loss caused by chemicals used on the crop.
Sustainable Iowa Land Trust Debuts
The Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) officially launched January 28, created to protect land to grow healthy food. SILT is seeking land and development rights to land around Iowa cities and towns, working with landowners to meet their needs and wishes, while preserving land to grow healthy food forever. SILT will offer qualified farmers long-term, inheritable leases on land owned by the trust.
MIT Examines How Raindrops Spread Pathogens Among Plants
Researchers from MIT and the University of Liege, in Belgium, captured high-speed images of raindrops splashing down on leaves coated with contaminated fluid. The images show how raindrops can act as a dispersing agent. Researchers say understanding the relationship between a plant's mechanical properties and the spread of disease may help farmers plant more disease-resistant fields.
>> More Breaking News
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NCR-SARE Professional Development Program
North Central Region SARE's Professional Development Program provides funds for professional development projects that provide sustainable agriculture training to agricultural professionals and educators. Projects can be up to three years in duration, and funding level is capped at $75,000.
The deadline for proposals is April 2, 2015.
Southern SARE Graduate Student Grant
The Southern SARE program is accepting applications for Graduate Student Grants. Research projects that address issues of sustainable agriculture of current and potential importance to the Southern region are eligible for submission. The maximum grant is $11,000 for up to three years of work.
Proposal submission deadline is May 4, 2015.
Texas Young Farmer Grant
The Texas Department of Agriculture administers this program, which provides matching grant funds to agricultural producers age 18-46 who are engaged in creating or expanding an agricultural business in Texas. Grant awards range from $5,000 to $10,000, and the program is offered twice per year.
Applications for the spring round are due March 10, 2015.
>> More Funding Opportunities
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Just Food Conference
March 15, 2015
New York, New York
This annual event attracts organizers, community leaders, CSA members, local food advocates, urban and rural farmers, food professionals, entrepreneurs, and members of the press to participate in trainings, panels, policy discussions, and good food. Conference programming will cover over 40 different topics.
Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Week
March 7-14, 2015
East Lansing, Michigan
Michigan State University hosts this annual, multifaceted event, which includes the Michigan Farmers Market Conference, How to Start a Successful Cottage Food Business workshop, the Organic Farming Intensives Initiative, the Great Lakes Forage and Grazing Conference, the Organic Reporting Session, Michigan Herb Associates Annual Conference, and a day-long workshop on Sheep and Goats for Small Farms.
Local Specialty Crop Trade Show & Local Food Trade Show
March 10, 2015
The Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts is offering its 4th Local Food Trade Show. The event is designed to facilitate connections and stimulate business relationships between producers and wholesale buyers of local food, with a focus on specialty crop food products in Massachusetts.
>> More Events
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ATTRA was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
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