Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 18, 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
- New Tools Help Farmers, Ranchers Apply for Conservation Stewardship Program
- FARMDATA Records Management System for Produce Farmers Free for Download
- University of Maryland Surveying Producers on Cost Impact of FSMA Rule
- Study Documents Farmland Capacity to Sequester Carbon
- Case Studies Identify Best Practices for Using Regionally Grown Pulses and Grains in School Meals
- Reminder to Complete NASS Organic Producer Survey
- Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program
- Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program
- Washington State Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
- California Small Farm Conference
- Good Food Festival and Conference
- Greenhouse Tomato Short Course
News & Resources
New Tools Help Farmers, Ranchers Apply for Conservation Stewardship Program
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has released two free, online resources to help farmers and ranchers learn how the Conservation Stewardship Program works and navigate the application process before this year's February 27 deadline. NSAC is offering both a brief Information Alert with application and deadline details and a more comprehensive Farmers' Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program with step-by-step enrollment guidance.
Related ATTRA Publication: Federal Conservation Resources for Sustainable Farming and Ranching
FARMDATA Records Management System for Produce Farmers Free for Download
FARMDATA, an open-source, smartphone-compatible records management system for produce farmers, is available for free download. FARMDATA is a Web-based database system for entering and reporting crop-production records, including seeding, transplanting, harvest, cover crop, compost, fertilization, irrigation, pest scouting, spray activities, packing and distribution records, and customer invoicing. A free training webinar on use and installation of FARMDATA is scheduled for February 19 at 1:00 pm.
University of Maryland Surveying Producers on Cost Impact of FSMA Rule
Researchers at the University of Maryland are conducting a nationwide survey of vegetable and fruit growers to better understand how the FDA's proposed rule on produce safety under the Food Safety Modernization Act will impact them. To take the survey, go to http://www.arecdept.umd.edu/foodsafety and enter "PVGA" for the password.
Study Documents Farmland Capacity to Sequester Carbon
Long-term research by University of California scientists has documented the capacity for farmland in the San Joaquin Valley to sequester carbon. The study, begun in 1999, involved four different treatments of a tomato-cotton rotation. After eight years, soil carbon increased, eventually gaining 4.1 tons per acre in plots where cover crops were planted in the winter and the soil was not tilled.
Related ATTRA Publication: Agriculture, Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration
Case Studies Identify Best Practices for Using Regionally Grown Pulses and Grains in School Meals
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy has released Using Regionally Grown Grains and Pulses in School Meals, featuring six case studies. IATP and collaborators identified best practices for using regionally grown grains and legumes in school meals. The publication offers advice on developing partnerships, sourcing, and addressing the labor and food costs involved with local products.
Reminder to Complete NASS Organic Producer Survey
USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service has an Organic Survey underway to gather detailed data on U.S. organic agriculture production. The survey is a complete inventory of all known organic producers that are certified, exempt from certification, and transitioning to certified organic production. Farmers and ranchers can fill out the survey online at www.agcensus.usda.gov until April 3, 2015.
>> More Breaking News
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Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program
This program, known as the "2501 Program," assists eligible community-based and non-profit organizations, higher education institutions, and tribal entities in providing outreach and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers. Total available funding is $9.1 million, with a maximum grant of $400,000.
Proposals must be received by April 13, 2015.
Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture will award Community Food Projects (CFP) and Planning Projects (PP) grants. CFP grants provide a one-time infusion of federal dollars to make projects self-sustaining. PP grants are designed to assess food security needs and plan long-term solutions to help ensure food security in communities. Approximately $9 million is available. Public food program service providers, tribal organizations, and private nonprofit entities are eligible to apply.
Applications are due by March 17, 2015.
Washington State Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
Washington State Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for grant funding to enhance the competitiveness of Washington's specialty crops. WSDA is conducting a two-phase competitive process to award an estimated $4 million for 2015.
The deadline to submit a concept proposal is February 26, 2015.
>> More Funding Opportunities
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California Small Farm Conference and Field Courses
March 7-10, 2015
San Diego, California
The California Small Farm Conference is an educational conference on topics relevant to family farming, direct marketing, and issues related to agricultural sustainability. It features keynote speakers, workshops, and social events. Five different day-long field courses are offered on March 8, by separate ticket.
Good Food Festival and Conference
March 19-21, 2015
This event includes the Good Food Financing and Innovation Conference and a trade show where farmers, producers, industry, and policy stakeholders meet to access new markets, increase local sourcing, and discuss new policy developments. On March 21, the public Good Food Festival features workshops, demonstrations, and more than 100 exhibitors. An urban-farm bus tour is also offered.
Greenhouse Tomato Short Course
March 3-4, 2015
The 25th annual Mississippi Greenhouse Tomato Short Course will address components of the greenhouse system, greenhouse design and engineering, alternative heating options, marketing, budget for greenhouse growers, updates on the latest research, plant nutrition, and pest management.
>> 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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