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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 20, 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

  • Five Million Acres of Farm and Ranch Lands Protected by Easements, Say Surveys
  • Survey of Urban and Peri-Urban Farms Seeks Participants
  • Food Alliance To Cease Operations
  • NRCS Announces Investment in Mississippi River Health
  • Hispanic and Women Farmers Claims Period Open until March 25
  • Cotton Farmers Changing Tactics to Cope with Resistant Weeds

Funding Opportunities

  • Organic Farming Research Foundation Education and Outreach Grants Program
  • Iowa Farm Energy Grants
  • South Dakota Specialty Crop Block Grant

Coming Events

  • Start2Farm Together: 3rd Annual Beginning Farmer and Rancher Conference
  • Organic Animal Health Symposium
  • Iowa Local Food Conference: Road Map for Resilience

News & Resources

Five Million Acres of Farm and Ranchlands Protected by Easements, Say Surveys
According to new data from American Farmland Trust's Farmland Information Center, at least five million acres of U.S. farm and ranch land have been permanently protected by state and local purchase of agricultural conservation easement (PACE) programs and private land trusts. The survey results also highlight issues that create barriers for agricultural landowners and impede efforts to protect farm and ranch land.

Survey of Urban and Peri-Urban Farms Seeks Participants
A study led by New York University, Pennsylvania State University, and the National Center for Appropriate Technology seeks to examine the state of urban and peri-urban farming in the United States. The study concerns the following topics: (1) technical assistance and information needs; (2) production, management, and marketing risks; and (3) increased awareness of the benefits of urban farming. A national outreach and technical assistance program will be developed based on the results of this research. Farmers who complete the 20-minute survey will qualify for a drawing to win one of 10 gift cards worth $75. Farmers in or around Philadelphia are asked to complete a special online survey that covers additional aspects of interest to Penn State Extension staff.

Food Alliance To Cease Operations
The Food Alliance Board of Directors has announced they will cease services and operations of the organization. The 501(c)(3) organization will continue to exist, and a revised board will oversee the intellectual property and investigate ways in which the value inherent in the Food Alliance standards and criteria can be appropriately updated and applied in practice. Certification clients are permitted to use the Food Alliance Certified seal on products through December 31, 2013.

NRCS Announces Investment in Mississippi River Health
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is investing $59 million this year for the health of the Mississippi River basin, making a total of approximately $289 million for the initiative that reduces nutrient and sediment run-off. Under this initiative, producers and landowners are working with NRCS to begin voluntary conservation practices to improve water quality, restore wetlands, enhance wildlife habitat, and sustain agricultural profitability in the basin.

Hispanic and Women Farmers Claims Period Open until March 25
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has reminded Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who allege discrimination by USDA in past decades that the filing period for claims closes March 25, 2013. The voluntary claims process will make available at least $1.33 billion for cash awards and tax relief payments, plus up to $160 million in farm debt relief, to eligible Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers.

Cotton Farmers Changing Tactics to Cope with Resistant Weeds
A survey by the Cotton Incorporated Economics and Conservation Tillage Workgroup indicates that cotton producers are changing the way they farm in response to resistant weeds, reports Delta Farm Press. Glyphosate-resistant pigweed was the most frequently cited problem by farmers, for the seven out of 10 farmers who indicated they had one or more resistant weeds. Nine out of 10 farmers with resistant weeds reported using hand hoeing as a management practice. Other tools for managing resistance were cultural practices, such as crop rotation and cover crops, and to a lesser extent chemical or mechanical tillage.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Organic Farming Research Foundation Education and Outreach Grants Program
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) offers funding of up to $15,000 per year for organic seed-quality or crop-breeding projects. This funding is available thanks to a partnership with Seed Matters. OFRF Education and Outreach Grants are intended to fund development of educational activities and resources on certified organic production. OFRF will consider proposals for media or interactive outreach.
Proposals are due by May 15, 2013.

Iowa Farm Energy Grants
Farmers with small to mid-sized operations may apply for grants to incorporate energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable-energy measures to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. The grants of up to $2,000 are offered through the Farm Energy Working Group funded by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. The grant funding can pay for the farmer's time for installation, administration, and report writing.
Application deadline is February 28, 2013.

South Dakota Specialty Crop Block Grant
People involved in the specialty crop industry in South Dakota can now apply for funding for projects that enhance the competitiveness of fruits, dried fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, nursery crops, and horticulture. The funds can be used for projects that involve research, food safety, nutrition, promotion, distribution, best management practices, and other uses to advance the specialty crop industry in South Dakota. Priority areas are school/institutional promotion, local foods initiatives, industry education, and food safety.
Applications are due by April 9, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Start2Farm Together: 3rd Annual Beginning Farmer and Rancher Conference
March 16-18, 2013
Raleigh, North Carolina

This conference will be a forum for the improvement of beginning farmer and rancher development. This forum will feature a national conversation about the needs and opportunities of beginning farmers of all types throughout the country.

Organic Animal Health Symposium
March 18, 2013
Columbus, Ohio

Two Ohio State University programs will host a symposium focusing on the health of livestock in organic farming systems, including discussions of practices and of needs in future research and education. Admission is free and open to anyone interested in organic farming and livestock health.

Iowa Local Food Conference: Road Map for Resilience
March 19-20, 2013
Ames, Iowa

This conference will bring together the Regional Food Systems Working Group, Iowa Food System Working Group, Local Food and Farm Initiative Program, and the Leopold Center Marketing and Food Systems Initiative. Learn what's happening with local foods from three different avenues: business, food incentives (Farm to School and Farm to Institution), and beginning and minority farmers.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives
Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

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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© 2013 NCAT

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