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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 12, 2020

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

  • Video Highlights Benefits of Grassfed Livestock Production
  • New Model Predicts Profitability of On-Farm Sustainable Energy Projects
  • Western SARE Launches 'Fresh Growth' Podcast
  • Applications Invited for Food Systems Leadership Retreat in Oregon
  • North Carolina Awards Grants for Bioenergy and New Crops
  • Research Exploring Benefits of Biochar as Cattle Feed Supplement

Funding Opportunities

  • Massachusetts Agricultural Energy Grant Program
  • Maryland Value Added Producer Matching Grant
  • New Hampshire Agricultural Promotion Mini-Grant Program

Coming Events

  • National Good Food Network Conference
  • Western PA Spring Grazing Conference
  • Indigenous Permaculture Training Course

News & Resources

Video Highlights Benefits of Grassfed Livestock Production
FutureHarvest debuted an 18-minute video highlighting the benefits of grassfed livestock production, Go Grassfed. In the video, farmers and food-system professionals explain how grassfed beef helps protect the environment and keep money in the local economy, as well as being healthier for the consumer and keeping farmers on the land. They explain how keeping land in permanent pasture builds soil and protects water quality.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic and Grass-finished Beef Cattle Production

New Model Predicts Profitability of On-Farm Sustainable Energy Projects
Researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a model that could boost investment in farm-based sustainable energy projects by more accurately predicting whether a project will turn a profit. The computational model tells users where a system should be located, what its capacity should be, and how large a geographic area it should serve. The model runs repeated simulations that account for variation in each area of uncertainty.

Related ATTRA Publication: Anaerobic Digestion of Animal Wastes: Factors to Consider

Western SARE Launches 'Fresh Growth' Podcast
Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) debuted a new podcast series, Fresh Growth: Approaches to a More Sustainable Future from Western Ag Practitioners. The podcast introduces listeners to farmers and ranchers from around the western United States who are finding innovative sustainable practices that enrich natural resources.
Related ATTRA Resource: Voices from the Field podcasts

Applications Invited for Food Systems Leadership Retreat in Oregon
Applications close on February 24, 2020, for the Food Systems Leadership Retreat hosted by the Wallace Center's Food Systems Leadership Network in Canby, Oregon, April 27-30, 2020. The retreat is a 2.5-day facilitated convening of food systems leaders that digs deep into the tools of systems leadership and systems thinking for social change. Participants are guided through hands-on, experiential workshops.

North Carolina Awards Grants for Bioenergy and New Crops
The North Carolina Bioenergy Research Initiative and the New and Emerging Crops Program awarded grants for 15 projects aimed at boosting bioenergy opportunities and crop production. Bioenergy grants will explore energycane breeding, develop wood-fiber products and fuels, and investigate the synergy between anaerobic digestion and biochar. Meanwhile, grants for new crops include research on hemp, purple carrots, goumi berries, muscadines, purple sweet potatoes, specialty melons, and ethnic crops.
Related ATTRA Publication: Specialty Melon Production for Small and Direct-Market Growers

Research Exploring Benefits of Biochar as Cattle Feed Supplement
Field research in Australia is exploring how using biochar as a cattle feed supplement might reduce methane emissions, reports BBC Future Planet. Cattle producer Doug Pow first became interested in biochar as a way to improve soil health and sequester carbon, and decided to use his cattle as a distribution system for the material. However, he had to import dung beetles to incorporate the biochar-containing cattle manure in the soil.
Related ATTRA Publication: Biochar and Sustainable Agriculture

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Massachusetts Agricultural Energy Grant Program
The Agricultural Energy Grant Program funds projects to improve energy efficiency and the adoption of alternative energy by Massachusetts farms. Funding from $25,000 to $100,000 is provided for agricultural energy projects geared toward one of the following: capital infrastructure improvements that promote energy efficiency; the purchase or expanded use of renewable energy technologies; tools to address barriers to economic growth, including business-management technical assistance and the purchase of more efficient equipment and technology; or tools and technologies to facilitate sustainability and new product development.
Applications are due by February 28, 2020.

Maryland Value Added Producer Matching Grant
Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation offers grant funding to encourage Maryland's agricultural producers to engage in value-added activities and pursue financial support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Value Added Producer Grants Program (USDA-VAPG). Maryland Value Added Producer Matching Grants of 15% of the amount of a USDA-VAPG award help an eligible applicant meet the one-for-one non-federal financial matching requirement. Matching grants are capped at $25,000.
The application deadline is February 20, 2020.

New Hampshire Agricultural Promotion Mini-Grant Program
New Hampshire's Agricultural Promotion Mini-Grant Program offers matching grants up to $1,000 to organizations that wish to conduct a project focused on promoting New Hampshire agriculture. Applications will be accepted from organizations or commodity groups engaged in production, marketing, or promotion of New Hampshire agricultural products. Mini-grants are intended to match organizational funds.
Applications are due by February 21, 2020.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

National Good Food Network Conference
March 10-13, 2020
New Orleans, Louisiana
The 2020 National Good Food Network Conference is taking food-systems change and movement building to the next level. It offers an opportunity to move towards "A More Just Vision: Collaborating on the Future of Good Food."

Western PA Spring Grazing Conference
March 11-12, 2020
Clarion, Pennsylvania
Headwaters RC&D and numerous partners present the 23rd annual Spring Grazing Conference, featuring keynote speakers Glenn Elzinga and Dr. Allen Williams, breakout sessions, and a trade show.

Indigenous Permaculture Training Course
March 7, 14-21, and 28, 2020
Tahlequah, Oklahoma
Northeastern State University's Center for Tribal Studies is conducting a "Restoring and Reclaiming Indigenous Agriculture" project that combines mainstream permaculture design curriculum with indigenous knowledge and practice. Limited spots are available for the course, which includes an eight-day intensive residential training and two additional training days.

>>More Events

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New ATTRA Podcast
Direct Marketing Meat with Dave and Jenny Scott.
Part 4: FAQs

Question of the Week
How can I develop a grazing schedule?

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Practices Supporting Sustainable and Economic Cotton Production
March 5, 2020
Online
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