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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 13, 2013

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

News & Resources

  • USDA Report Indicates Effect of Climate Change on Agriculture
  • Guide to Urban Farming Released
  • Cover Crops Tailored to Organic Vegetable Production
  • NOP Releases Fact Sheet on Organic Livestock Requirements
  • National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative Announces Grants Program
  • Georgia Survey Shows Farmers Interested in Forming Food Hubs

Funding Opportunities

  • USDA Farm to School Grants
  • Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program—Organic Transitions
  • North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation—Tennessee Valley Authority Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Good Food Festival and Conference
  • CSA Expert Exchange
  • Sustainable Agriculture Conference

News & Resources

USDA Report Indicates Effect of Climate Change on Agriculture
The USDA Office of the Chief Economist has released a synthesis of scientific literature, Climate Change and Agriculture: Effects and Adaptation, that indicates increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, rising temperatures, and altered precipitation patterns will affect agricultural productivity. Climate change will exacerbate the stresses already occurring from weeds, insects, and disease. Increases in the incidence of extreme weather events will have an increasing influence on agricultural productivity.

Guide to Urban Farming Released
The Cornell Small Farms Program has released Guide to URBAN Farming in NYS. The 105-page resource guide includes tips for advocating for urban agriculture, engaging communities, and dealing with contaminated soils. It also addresses intensive growing techniques, urban composting, site security, urban livestock, direct marking options, accepting food stamps, grant and financial opportunities, and more. The guide is available as a free PDF download.

Cover Crops Tailored to Organic Vegetable Production
USDA Agricultural Research Service is providing organic lettuce and broccoli growers with information about how to use cover crops to fine-tune their crop production. A long-term investigation examined several different cover-cropping strategies: rye, mustard, and a legume-rye mix. The legume-rye and rye cover crops produced approximately 25 percent more dry matter biomass than the mustard crops. But effectively suppressing weeds with the legume-rye crops required seeding at three times the typical rate.

NOP Releases Fact Sheet on Organic Livestock Requirements
The USDA National Organic Program has released a two-page fact sheet titled Organic Livestock Requirements, which summarizes standards for all livestock, allowed and prohibited substances, ruminant pasture requirements, and benefits of organic and pasture-based management. The fact sheet is available for download.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Standards for Livestock Production

National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative Grants Program Announced
The National Sustainable Strawberry Initiative is a new, competitive grants program of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Center for Agriculture and Rural Sustainability (CARS), with funding from the Walmart Foundation. The purpose of the program is to move sustainable production forward throughout the country by supporting multidisciplinary projects focused on outreach, education, and demonstration of innovative and new technologies. Land-grant colleges and universities will be eligible to apply for grant awards of $50,000 to $200,000 after a Call for Proposals is released February 15.

Georgia Survey Shows Farmers Interested in Forming Food Hub
A University of Georgia survey of 216 farmers showed that 91% were interested in working with other farmers to meet the local demand for their produce or products. The bulk of the responding farmers were interested in using a food hub to market their produce to local restaurants, retailers, and schools. Meanwhile, 62% wanted a food hub to provide refrigerated storage and labeling equipment.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

USDA Farm to School Grants
This year, three different USDA Farm to School grant types will be available. Planning grants are intended for schools just getting started on farm to school activities, while implementation grants are available for schools seeking to augment or expand existing efforts. Additionally, eligible non-profit entities, Indian tribal organizations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers or groups of producers may apply for support service grants in order to conduct trainings, create complementary curriculum, or further develop supply chains, among other activities. In this funding cycle, USDA anticipates awarding up to $5 million in grants.
Proposals are due April 24, 2013.

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program—Organic Transitions
The overall goal of the Organic Transitions Program is to support the development and implementation of research, extension, and higher education programs to improve the competitiveness of organic livestock and crop producers, as well as those who are adopting organic practices. Colleges and universities are eligible to submit applications. Prospective applicants are asked to email a notice of intent to submit an application by March 1, 2013.
Applications are due April 5, 2013.

North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation—Tennessee Valley Authority Grant Program
County governments and nonprofit conservation groups pursuing agricultural development and farmland preservation projects in 17 western counties can apply for funding assistance from the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation—Tennessee Valley Authority grant program.
Applications are due by March 22, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Good Food Festival and Conference
March 14-16, 2013
Chicago, Illinois

The Good Food Festival and Conference includes a financing conference, trade show for businesses and buyers, school food and food policy summits, and a Saturday festival that celebrates Good Food.

CSA Expert Exchange
March 15, 2013
Online

This one-day online conference will bring farmers together to learn about CSA issues important to them. Topics to be addressed include member retention, member education, certification, and equipment. Elizabeth Henderson will give a keynote address about the importance of community involvement in creating strong and healthy CSAs.

Sustainable Agriculture Conference
March 12-14, 2013
Fairbanks, Alaska

This conference includes pre-conference workshops, a tour, producer presentations, and sessions on topics including agritourism, marketing, harvesting rainwater, and agricultural policy.

>> More Events

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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

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