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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 24, 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

  • USDA Expands Insurance Options for Farmers Transitioning to Certified Organic Agriculture
  • Agroforestry Training Handbook Available Online
  • USDA Introduces Organic Market News Summary
  • Midwest Vegetable Production Guide Updated
  • Study Explores Economic Impact of Local Food Operations
  • Database Identifies Plants for Ecosystem Services

Funding Opportunities

  • NCR-SARE Professional Development Program
  • Environmental Education Grants Program
  • Regional Conservation Partnership Project in Western Lake Erie Basin and St. Joseph River Watersheds

Coming Events

  • National Food Hub Conference
  • Good Food Festival & Conference
  • Just Food? Forum on Land Use, Rights & Ecology

News & Resources

USDA Expands Insurance Options for Farmers Transitioning to Certified Organic Agriculture
USDA has expanded a crop insurance option to allow producers to purchase insurance coverage that better reflects their product's actual value. Producers transitioning to certified organic production can now use the Contract Price Addendum to cover their crops at a higher price than traditional crops. USDA Risk Management Agency has also expanded organic premium price elections to 57 different crops.
Related ATTRA Publication: Crop Insurance Options for Specialty, Diversified, and Organic Farmers

Agroforestry Training Handbook Available Online
Southern SARE is making available a PDF download of Sustainable Agroforestry Practices in the Southeastern United States: Training Handbook. This handbook has been developed to train field-level Extension and technical assistance personnel. The handbook contains chapters on silvopasture systems, forest farming, alley cropping, riparian buffers, windbreaks, and ecosystem services.
Related ATTRA Publication: Agroforestry: An Overview

USDA Introduces Organic Market News Summary
Several USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Market News Divisions have developed a new Weekly National Organic Summary online report to highlight some of the 200 different organic commodities reported. This weekly report presents data collected by market reporters from wholesale markets, retail ads, and industry participants.

Midwest Vegetable Production Guide Updated
Land-grant universities from seven states collaborated on Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers 2016. The guide provides fertility, variety, cultural, and pest-management information for the participating Midwest states for the current year. The guide is free as a PDF. Purdue University is also making available the Midwest Vegetable Trial Report for 2015 as a free PDF. This publication includes variety reports on bok choy, sweet corn, watermelon, cantaloupe, specialty sweet peppers, hot peppers, pumpkins, winter squash, picking cucumbers, and saladette tomatoes.

Study Explores Economic Impact of Local Food Operations
University of Minnesota Extension has published Financial Benchmarks and Economic Impact of Local Food Operations. This investigation of 11 mixed-vegetable enterprises in Central Minnesota found that small farms return $232,550 more to the local economy per million dollars of output than conventional agriculture. An estimated 65 small-scale vegetable farms in the 13-county study area bring in an estimated $1.1 million in wage and proprietor income. The complete 25-page project report is available online in PDF.

Database Identifies Plants for Ecosystem Services
University of Florida's North Florida Research and Education Center has developed an Ecological Plant Identification Database that recommends plant species that provide a range of regulatory ecosystem services for each season of the year. The website will help Florida and Georgia users select plants that are suitable for services such as pollination, biological control of pests, wildlife habitat, and trap crops.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

NCR-SARE Professional Development Program
North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education's (NCR-SARE) Professional Development Program funds projects that provide sustainable agriculture training to agricultural professionals and educators. Projects can be up to three years in duration, and funding is capped at $75,000 per project.
Proposals are due April 6, 2016.

Environmental Education Grants Program
The Environmental Protection Agency seeks grant proposals from eligible applicants to support environmental education projects that promote environmental awareness and stewardship and help provide people with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. EPA expects to award three grants from each of the 10 Regional Offices, for a maximum of $91,000 each. Matching funds of at least 25% are required.
Applications are due by April 8, 2016.

Regional Conservation Partnership Project in Western Lake Erie Basin and St. Joseph River Watersheds
Through the Regional Conservation Partnership Project (RCPP), NRCS is investing in the Western Lake Erie Basin and St. Joseph River watersheds of northern Indiana to help improve water quality and strengthen agricultural operations. RCPP helps eligible producers adopt conservation practices such as no-till, nutrient management, cover crops, and others, to improve water quality.
Applications must be received by March 18, 2016.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

National Food Hub Conference
March 30 - April 1, 2016
Atlanta, Georgia
"Maintaining Values While Building Value" is presented by the Wallace Center at Winrock International. Conference tracks include mitigating risk, money, maintaining values, growth and efficiencies, cutting-edge hub models, core hub functions, and value chain facilitation. The agenda includes pre-conference full-day and half-day intensive trainings, area tours, concurrent sessions, and curbside consulting.

Good Food Festival & Conference
March 24-26, 2016
Chicago, Illinois

This multifaceted event includes the Financing & Innovation Conference, which helps food and farm businesses gain access to capital, as well as the Good Food Industry Showcase, where farmers, producers, buyers, schools, and industry stakeholders meet to access new markets, increase local sourcing, and discuss new policy developments. The public Good Food Festival features exhibitors, workshops, and chef demos.

Just Food? Forum on Land Use, Rights & Ecology
March 25-26, 2016
Cambridge, Massachusetts

This conference will bring together scholars, farmers, activists, practitioners, and other authorities to discuss growing concerns about who has access to land, how agriculture changes land, and who is marginalized or dispossessed by our current system. The event is a collaboration of the Harvard Food Law Society and Food Literacy Project.

>> 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.

Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

© 2016 NCAT

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

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

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