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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 4, 2020

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

  • 'Accelerating Soil Health' Case Studies Posted
  • Farmers Markets and Direct-Marketing Farmers Can Apply for SNAP Processing Equipment
  • USDA Announces Crop Insurance to Protect Against Hurricane-Force Winds
  • Cover Crops Boost Soil Microbial Abundance, Says Study
  • Special Report Highlights Contributions of Conservation Stewardship Program
  • Report Showcases SARE Grantees Shaping Agriculture's Future

Funding Opportunities

  • Natural Climate Solutions Accelerator Grant Program
  • California Alternative Manure Management Program
  • Oklahoma Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Soil Health Innovations Conference
  • Alaska Farmers Market Association Conference
  • AR/OK Produce Safety Tour: On-Farm Walkthrough & Workshop

News & Resources

'Accelerating Soil Health' Case Studies Posted
American Farmland Trust has released four "Accelerating Soil Health" case studies to assist farmers who are curious about soil health and technical service providers who want to help farmers adopt soil health practices. The two-page case studies feature California almond growers, Illinois corn and soybean farmers, an Ohio corn and soybean farmer, and New York beef and crop farmers.
Related ATTRA Tutorial: Soil Health

Farmers Markets and Direct-Marketing Farmers Can Apply for SNAP Processing Equipment
The National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP) is accepting applications from markets and direct-marketing farmers for free electronic benefit transfer (EBT) processing solutions. Equipment is provided by the MarketLink program, through a USDA Food and Nutrition Services Cooperative Agreement. MarketLink assists farmers and markets with accepting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and electronic payments.

Related ATTRA Publication: How to Accept SNAP Payments: A Guide for Montana CSA Farms

USDA Announces Crop Insurance to Protect Against Hurricane-Force Winds
USDA Risk Management Agency announced a new crop insurance endorsement, Hurricane Insurance Protection—Wind Index (HIP-WI). HIP-WI covers a portion of the deductible of the underlying crop insurance policy when a county, or adjacent county, is within the area of sustained hurricane-force winds. HIP-WI provides coverage for 70 different crops and is available in counties in the vicinity of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, as well as Hawaii. The deadline to purchase coverage for this crop year is April 30, 2020.
Related ATTRA Publication: Crop Insurance Options for Specialty, Diversified, and Organic Farmers

Cover Crops Boost Soil Microbial Abundance, Says Study
A global analysis by the University of Illinois shows that planting cover crops after row-crop harvest can significantly boost soil microbial abundance, activity, and diversity. Across 60 field studies around the world, there was a consistent 27% increase in microbial abundance in fields with cover crops. The study also found that microbial activity increased 22% with cover crops, and microbial diversity increased 2.5%.
Related ATTRA Video: No-Till Case Study, Bauer Farm: Cover Crop Cocktails on Former CRP Land

Special Report Highlights Contributions of Conservation Stewardship Program
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition published a special report that analyzes the Conservation Stewardship Program's (CSP) contribution to conservation-minded producers and landowners. In addition to enrollment, renewal, and land-use trends, the report analyzes the use of various conservation practices and enhancements, and it documents CSP's role in supporting conservation efforts across diverse farmer groups. The 24-page Analysis of CSP Enrollment in FY2018 is available online in PDF.

Report Showcases SARE Grantees Shaping Agriculture's Future
Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) released 2019/2020 Report from the Field, highlighting how SARE grantees are improving the sustainability of U.S. agriculture. The 20-page report showcases projects across the country. Topics range from soil health and weed management to how farms can contribute to local communities. The complete report is available online or in print.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Natural Climate Solutions Accelerator Grant Program
The U.S. Natural Climate Solutions Accelerator's grant program focuses on helping kick-start innovative and scalable approaches for reducing emissions and storing more carbon on natural and working lands. The program is accepting pre-proposals up to $200,000 for its third round. Recipients will be offered mentorship and connection to networks and new partnerships. The selection committee is interested in proposals from nonprofits for novel approaches for scaling climate solutions in a range of natural and working lands (forests, agricultural lands and grasslands, and wetlands) and geographies.
Pre-proposals are due by March 13, 2020.

California Alternative Manure Management Program
The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications for the Alternative Manure Management Program. The program provides financial assistance for the implementation of non-digester manure-management practices. There are two grant opportunities: an Incentives Program and Demonstration Projects. "Advancing Practices Farmer-to-Farmer" will fund projects that demonstrate the implementation of alternative manure-management practices on California dairy and livestock operations.
Applications are due by March 27, 2020.

Oklahoma Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry is accepting applications for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Projects will be evaluated on how well they enhance the competitiveness of Oklahoma's specialty crops, soundness and quality of the project plan, measurable outcomes, and return on investment.
Proposals are due by March 19, 2020.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Soil Health Innovations Conference
March 30-31, 2020
Bozeman, Montana
NCAT, in cooperation with USDA Rural Development, SARE, and Montana State University, is holding the Soil Health Innovations conference. Panelists, keynotes, roundtables, and forums address the hard questions about soil health and the future of agriculture from the standpoint of researcher, industry professional, and producer.

Alaska Farmers Market Association Conference
April 2-4, 2020
Anchorage, Alaska
The Alaska Farmers Market Association conference, "Buy Local, Grow Local," highlights how markets are a vital piece of local economies. Join market organizers and supporters, farmers, and vendors for a weekend devoted to growing your farmers market. Share ideas, develop new skills, and strengthen your support network.

AR/OK Produce Safety Tour: On-Farm Walkthrough & Workshop
April 4, 2020
Perryville, Arkansas
Join the National Young Farmers Coalition, National Farmers Union (NFU), Heifer International, and the Arkansas Young Farmers Coalition at Heifer Ranch for an On-Farm Produce Safety Walkthrough and Wash & Pack Station Design Workshop.

>>More Events

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