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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 17, 2016

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

  • Regional Conservation Partnership Program Announces Second-Round Selections
  • Purdue Offers Livestock Budgeting Tools for Small-Scale Producers
  • Survey Evaluating Soil Amendment Use in Organic and Sustainable Agriculture
  • Research Helps Identify Unprofitable Farmland, Encouraging Other Uses
  • New Tool Connects Prospective Interns to Montana Farms and Ranches
  • California Small Farm Conference Photo Contest Invites Entries

Funding Opportunities

  • New York New Farmer Profit Teams
  • Wisconsin Nutrient Management Farmer Education Grants
  • Michigan Specialty Crop Block Grant

Coming Events

  • Poultry School at Stone Barns Center
  • Farmer-Fisher-Chef Connection
  • Grass-Fed Beef Conference

News & Resources

Regional Conservation Partnership Program Announces Second-Round Selections
USDA has announced 84 projects selected for the second round of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. USDA and partners across the nation will direct $720 million towards conservation projects that will help communities improve water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat, and protect agricultural viability. This round of awards includes the Mississippi Grazing Land Management project led by the National Center for Appropriate Technology.

Purdue Offers Livestock Budgeting Tools for Small-Scale Producers
Purdue Extension has developed a pair of Web-based, interactive resources to help small-scale livestock producers make critical budgeting decisions. The Purdue Comparative Decision Support matrix (PCDS) includes a spreadsheet tool that allows users to create an operating budget based on their own fixed and variable costs, cash flow, and expected revenue. The PCDS2 profit/loss analysis function uses cost and price information to calculate potential earnings. Both tools are available online.

Survey Evaluating Soil Amendment Use in Organic and Sustainable Agriculture
A group of researchers, stakeholders, and extension faculty is seeking assistance to better understand the scope, needs, and current practices used by the organic agricultural industry, related to manure and compost use and rotational grazing. This study is gathering information about the use of animal-based soil amendments in organic and sustainable agriculture in order to identify potential food-safety risks related to microbial contamination. The online survey will take about 30 minutes to complete.

Research Helps Identify Unprofitable Farmland, Encouraging Other Uses
A new study shows that significant portions of Iowa farmland consistently lose money, based on the amount of input they require and the low yield they produce. This study focused on identifying acreage that was a net loser for corn and soybean crops. Researchers hope their work will encourage farmers to consider alternate and beneficial uses for unprofitable land, such as converting it to perennial grasses.

New Tool Connects Prospective Interns to Montana Farms and Ranches
Farm Link Montana is a new, free online resource that connects prospective interns with Montana farms looking for an extra hand. The website features a map displaying farms with available internships, information about each farm, and a common application form.
Related ATTRA Resource: Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships

California Small Farm Conference Photo Contest Invites Entries
Each year, the California Small Farm Conference holds a photo contest to celebrate the beauty of California's small farms. The categories are Farmer Portraits, Images of Small Farms, Intergenerational Farming, and Farm to Fork. Photos must be submitted by the photographer and taken in California. The entry deadline has been extended until February 22, and photos may be submitted online as jpg files.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

New York New Farmer Profit Teams
Beginning farmers in New York State who have been farming for at least three years can apply to receive support for a New Farmer Profit Team that provides customized, one-on-one guidance from farm professionals over an 18-month to two-year period. The project has up to $2,000 in matching funds available to 16 farms.
The application deadline is March 15, 2016.

Wisconsin Nutrient Management Farmer Education Grants
This program awards funding to agencies and other organizations to train farmers in nutrient management. Tier I grants fund projects that offer incentive payments to farmers. These grants are capped at $20,000. Tier II grants fund projects that educate farmers about soil testing and nutrient management. These grants are capped at $2,500.
Applications are due April 15, 2016.

Michigan Specialty Crop Block Grant
Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development is accepting proposals for projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and that benefit the specialty crop industry as a whole. The maximum award is $100,000. Organizations must be legal entities recognized by the IRS and registered vendors with the State of Michigan.
Proposals must be received by March 31, 2016.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Poultry School at Stone Barns Center
March 19-20, 2016
Pocantico Hills, New York
Virtual Grange is offering a two-day intensive of classroom and hands-on workshops, guest speakers, and forums. The event will explore current issues and technologies, share expertise, and bring together leading experts on raising, caring for, and processing poultry. Workshops are designed for those raising poultry as part of a farm business.

Farmer-Fisher-Chef Connection
March 21, 2016
Kenmore, Washington

The Farmer-Fisher-Chef Connection brings regional food and beverage producers and buyers together to learn from each other, work together to continue to develop the region's local food economy, network, and enjoy the best lunch of the year. Bastyr University, just outside of Seattle, will host the event.

Grass-Fed Beef Conference
March 17, 2016
Spring Hill, Tennessee

This new conference sponsored by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture offers livestock producers a specialized understanding of grass-fed beef production systems, as well as training from UT AgResearch faculty and Extension specialists.

>> More Events

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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page 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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New ATTRA Publication
Tipsheet: Organic Poultry Production for Meat and Eggs

Question of the Week
How can I calculate the break-even point on my products to help with pricing?

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

ATTRA Events
Farm Foundations: Planning for Success
March 5, 2016
Williamson, West Virginia

Conservation on the Farm Field
March 6, 2016
Sacramento, California

ATTRA Spanish Newsletter
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