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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 25, 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

  • Sign-up Period for Conservation Stewardship Program Extended to March 13
  • Preliminary Analysis Explores USDA Investment in Organic Agriculture Research
  • Study Investigates How to Utilize Pasture Nutrition for Poultry
  • Nutrient-Runoff Mitigation Guide Recommends Conservation Based on Topography
  • USDA Announces Agriculture Stakeholder Workshop on Coexistence
  • Technical Bulletin Focuses on Ecological Control of Insect Pests of Apples in Northeast

Funding Opportunities

  • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Foundational Program
  • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Water for Agriculture Challenge Area
  • Iowa Agriculture in the Classroom Local Support Grants

Coming Events

  • Southeastern Sustainable Livestock Conference
  • "Planting a Legacy, Growing a Future" 2015 Small Farms Week
  • California Climate & Agriculture Summit

News & Resources

Sign-up Period for Conservation Stewardship Program Extended to March 13
USDA has extended the sign-up period for the 2015 Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) until March 13, reports the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Farmers and ranchers interested in enrolling in CSP for 2015 now have two additional weeks to go to their local NRCS office and complete an initial application.
Related ATTRA Publication: Federal Conservation Resources for Sustainable Farming and Ranching

Preliminary Analysis Explores USDA Investment in Organic Agriculture Research
Since 2002, USDA has invested more than $142 million into 188 organic farming studies, successfully targeting issues of vital concern to organic farmers, according to a preliminary analysis conducted by the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF). These preliminary findings represent the first phase of a two-year analysis of USDA's investments in organic farming research. The analysis aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the agency's organic research program, gauge its alignment with farmer priorities, and help set priorities for future research.

Study Investigates How to Utilize Pasture Nutrition for Poultry
A USDA-ARS Arkansas study funded by Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) looked at the various ways pasture can be used as a resource in ecological poultry production. The results of the study, "Integrating Free Range Poultry with Ruminant and Agroforestry Production in a Systems Approach," are available online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Pastured-Raised Poultry Nutrition

Nutrient-Runoff Mitigation Guide Recommends Conservation Based on Topography
Researchers with the Iowa Geological Survey, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Environmental Defense Fund have created a comprehensive nutrient-runoff mitigation guide for farmland in both the Ohio and Upper Mississippi River Basins. The guide helps farmers identify a best-practice solution for optimal runoff mitigation based on soil type, land slope, crops grown, and nutrients used.

USDA Announces Agriculture Stakeholder Workshop on Coexistence
USDA has announced an agricultural coexistence workshop on March 12-13, 2015, at North Carolina State University. The objective of the workshop is to advance an understanding of agricultural coexistence and discuss proposals for making coexistence more achievable for all stakeholders. Attendance at the workshop is by invitation only, but the public is invited to listen to or watch the workshop, which will be streamed online.

Technical Bulletin Focuses on Ecological Control of Insect Pests of Apples in Northeast
The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program has released a new online technical bulletin titled Ecological Management of Key Arthropod Pests in Northeast Apple Orchards. The free bulletin highlights SARE-funded research that demonstrated viable ecological management strategies for plum curculio, apple maggot, codling moth, and other key apple pests.
Related ATTRA Publication: Apple Insect Pests Identification Sheet

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Foundational Program
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is requesting applications for six AFRI priority areas through the Foundational Program for FY 2015. These priority areas are plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition, and health; renewable energy, natural resources, and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities. Approximately $116 million will be available for new projects in FY 2015.
Application deadlines vary by program area from March 31 through June 24; some program areas require submission of a letter of intent to apply.

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Water for Agriculture Challenge Area
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Water for Agriculture Challenge Area. NIFA anticipates $30 million will be available to help solve critical water problems in rural and agricultural watersheds. In FY 2015, approximately $9 million will support new awards under this program. Eligibility is linked to project type.
A letter of intent to apply is due by April 9, 2015.

Iowa Agriculture in the Classroom Local Support Grants
The Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation is offering grants of up to $1,000 each to support agriculture education programs that impact students or adults and help develop an understanding of agriculture and the agriculture industry.
Applications are due by March 15, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Southeastern Sustainable Livestock Conference
March 28, 2015
Atlanta, Georgia

This annual conference to promote sustainably produced meat from livestock raised under high animal-welfare standards will feature Temple Grandin and Mary Berry as speakers, as well as a farm tour of White Oak Pastures. Sessions are organized into consumer, producer, and business tracks.

"Planting a Legacy, Growing a Future" 2015 Small Farms Week
March 22-28, 2015
Greensboro, North Carolina

The 29th annual observance of Small Farms Week, sponsored by Cooperative Extension at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, features workshops, tours, demonstrations, and the announcement of the 2015 Small Farmer of the Year.

California Climate & Agriculture Summit
March 24-25, 2015
Davis, California

This Summit explores the science, policy, and practice of climate change and sustainable agriculture in California. Participants will include farmers and ranchers, agency staff, technical service providers, policymakers, and advocates concerned with climate change challenges and opportunities for California agriculture.

>> More Events

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New ATTRA Video
Whole-Farm Revenue Protection
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