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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 2, 2011

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

  • USDA Releases Results of On-Farm Renewable Energy Production Survey
  • Monsanto Wins Reversal of Order to Destroy Sugar Beets
  • USDA Announces Changes to Value Added Producer Grant Program
  • Senate Urged to Reject House Cuts to USDA Conservation Programs
  • USDA Reviews Impact of Organic Regulations on Small Businesses
  • "A Growing Culture" Sustainable Agriculture Website Launched

Funding Opportunities

  • Farmers Market Great Barn Giveaway
  • Leopold Conservation Award, South Dakota
  • Pennsylvania Conservation Innovation Grants

Coming Events

  • Making Good Food Work
  • Food for Thought Conference
  • Breaking the Barriers - Access to Land, Capital and Equipment for Farm Start-ups

News & Resources

USDA Releases Results of On-Farm Renewable Energy Production Survey
The number of solar panels, wind turbines and methane digesters on America's farms and ranches has increased significantly over the past decade, according to the results of the 2009 On-Farm Renewable Energy Production Survey that was conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The Survey results are online at www.agcensus.usda.gov.
Related ATTRA publication: Renewable Energy Opportunities on the Farm

Monsanto Wins Reversal of Order to Destroy Sugar Beets
Monsanto Co. and the U.S. Agriculture Department won reversal of a judge's order to destroy genetically modified sugar beet seedlings planted in 2010, reports USAgNet. A three-judge federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled over the weekend that environmental and organic seed groups hadn't shown that the seedlings were likely to contaminate natural sugar beet plants.

USDA Announces Changes to Value Added Producer Grant Program
USDA has announced changes to the Value Added Producer Grant Program that will provide additional opportunities to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers. USDA is soliciting comments on the changes, as outlined in an interim rule, and anticipates a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the grants will be published soon.

Senate Urged to Reject House Cuts to USDA Conservation Programs
Thirty-five agriculture and conservation groups sent a letter March 1 to the U.S. Senate, urging senators to reject disproportionately high cuts to agriculture conservation programs in the House-passed appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2011 (H.R. 1). H.R. 1 would cut USDA and FDA discretionary spending--including critical funding for conservation technical assistance for farmers, ranchers and foresters--by 22 percent.

USDA Reviews Impact of Organic Regulations on Small Businesses
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that it is reviewing the National Organic Program (NOP) regulations (7 CFR part 205) concerning their impact on small businesses. The Agricultural Marketing Service invites the public to provide written comments, views, opinions, and other information specific to the impact of the NOP regulations on small businesses by visiting www.regulations.gov (reference document number AMS-NOP-11-0005; NOP-11-01). Comments are due April 26, 2011.

"A Growing Culture" Sustainable Agriculture Website Launched
"A Growing Culture" is a new website that seeks to empower the sustainable agriculture movement by highlighting traditional and alternative farm practices used throughout the world, while cultivating a web-based community where farmers and ecological agriculture advocates can come together for education, networking, idea exchange, ethical debate and inspiration. Phase 2 of the site will incorporate an active forum as well as a virtual map of all the farms represented throughout the world.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Farmers Market Great Barn Giveaway
Yankee Barn Homes, Farmers Market Coalition and American Farmland Trust celebrate the commitment of our nation's farmers markets to local economic development and healthy farms and food with the first-ever Farmers Market Great Barn Giveaway. The national contest invites farmers markets to share their story for a chance to win a post-and-beam barn specially designed and built by Yankee Barn Homes.
Entries are due on May 16, 2011.

Leopold Conservation Award, South Dakota
The Sand County Foundation presents the Leopold Conservation Award, in partnership with South Dakota Cattlemen, to an individual or a family committed to enhancing the natural resources that are in their care. The Leopold Conservation Award winner receives an Aldo Leopold crystal and a check for $10,000.
Application deadline is April 27, 2011.

Pennsylvania Conservation Innovation Grants
CIG funds projects targeting innovative on-the-ground conservation, including pilot projects and field demonstrations. Projects must involve landowners who meet the EQIP eligibility requirements. The maximum amount per grant under the State CIG component will be $75,000.
The deadline to submit proposals is March 31, 2011.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Making Good Food Work
April 19-21, 2011
Detroit, Michigan

This is a three-day participatory conference and incubation laboratory designed to develop innovative solutions and document best practices for distributing local and regional food, with a focus on underserved communities. This is an participant-driven, action-oriented conference, centered around the development of ten to twelve real-world projects or businesses, led by good food advocates.

Food for Thought Conference
April 14-16, 2011
Portland, Oregon

This conference at the University of Portland includes a food film festival, keynote speaker Michael Pollan, and plenary sessions on indigenous food, social justice and food, genetically modified organisms and food, and sustainable and local food.

Breaking the Barriers - Access to Land, Capital and Equipment for Farm Start-ups
April 16, 2011
Doylestown, Pennsylvania

This full-day program sponsored by Pennsylvania Farm Link will bring in experts, as well as new and experienced farmers to address the largest barriers to starting your own farm: access to land, equipment and capital.

>> More Events

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New & Updated Publications
Micro-Hydro Power: Is It Right for My Farm?

Micro-Hydro Power: A Beginners Guide to Design and Installation

An Illustrated Guide to Growing Safe Produce on Your Farm

Question of the Week
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