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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 7, 2018

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.

Exhibit at Our Farms, Our Future
Would you like to exhibit at Our Farms, Our Future April 3-5, 2018, in St. Louis? This once-in-a-decade national conference looks at the progress of sustainability in agriculture and helps to understand our trajectory for the future. It is hosted by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and NCAT's ATTRA program. Learn more.

News & Resources

  • Assessment of Weeds on New England's Organic Vegetable Farms Completed
  • Managed Grazing Sequesters Carbon to Offset Greenhouse-Gas Emissions
  • Organic Grass and Legume Dairy-Cow Diet Enhances Milk Nutrition
  • Study Highlights Natural Pest Controls
  • National Organic Standards Board Accepting Public Comment for Spring Meeting
  • Study Affirms Value of Food Hubs to Suppliers

Funding Opportunities

  • North Central Region SARE Graduate Student Grant Program
  • Conservation Innovation Grants in California
  • Grow Wisconsin Dairy Processor Grants

Coming Events

  • Our Farms, Our Future
  • Farmers Market Workshops
  • Promoting Beneficial Insects in Vineyards for Conservation Biological Control

News & Resources

Assessment of Weeds on New England's Organic Vegetable Farms Completed
Scientists from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have completed the first comprehensive assessment of weeds found on organic vegetable farms in northern New England. Scientists sampled weed seedbanks and measured soil characteristics on 77 organic farms. They found 113 weed species, though just a handful of these accounted for almost three-quarters of the total number of weeds. Temperature-related variables correlated consistently with weed seedbank composition.
Related ATTRA Publication: Sustainable Weed Management for Small and Medium-Scale Farms

Managed Grazing Sequesters Carbon to Offset Greenhouse-Gas Emissions
Michigan State University scientists analyzed the amount of greenhouse-gas emissions from beef finishing using adaptive multi-paddock grazing, including carbon sequestration impacts. They report that soil carbon sequestration from well-managed grazing may help to mitigate climate change because emissions from the grazing system were offset completely by soil carbon sequestration.
Related ATTRA Publication:
Building Healthy Pasture Soils

Organic Grass and Legume Dairy-Cow Diet Enhances Milk Nutrition
A collaborative international research project found that cows fed a 100% organic grass- and legume-based diet produce milk with elevated levels of omega-3 and CLA, providing a healthier balance of fatty acids. The study contrasted milk from organic "grassmilk" cows, cows fed a mixed diet of organic forage and grain, and cows fed a conventional mix of forage and grain. Grassmilk provided by far the highest level of omega-3s.

Related ATTRA Publication: Dairy Production on Pasture: An Introduction to Grass-Based and Seasonal Dairying

Study Highlights Natural Pest Controls
A study led by Michigan State University highlights examples of farmers turning to natural vertebrate controls to reduce pesticide use and increase yields. Pest-consuming vertebrates can be attracted to agricultural areas with habitat enhancements. One example is nest boxes that attract kestrals to blueberry fields and cherry orchards where they reduce damage from grasshoppers, rodents, and birds.

National Organic Standards Board Accepting Public Comment for Spring Meeting
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) invites the public to submit written comments and/or provide oral comments at its Spring 2018 business meeting in Tucson, Arizona, April 25-27, 2018. Written comments or requests for three-minute oral comment slots must be received by April 4, 2018. The Board will also hear comments during two webinars, on April 17 and 19, 2018. Instructions for accessing the webinars are online.

Study Affirms Value of Food Hubs to Suppliers
A study led by the University of Vermont showed that food hubs provide a service and a market outlet for the small manufacturers and farmers who supply them. Surveys revealed that suppliers value the market and supplier development that food hubs provide as part of their mission.
Related ATTRA Publication: Food Hubs: A Producer Guide

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

North Central Region SARE Graduate Student Grant Program
North Central Region SARE’s (NCR-SARE) Graduate Student Grant Program is a competitive program to fund graduate-student projects that address sustainable agriculture issues. Graduate Student Grant awards can be up to $12,000, and at least 15 projects are funded each year in the 12-state region. NCR-SARE strongly encourages students to involve farmers and ranchers in their projects.
Proposals are due April 12, 2018.

Conservation Innovation Grants in California
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in California is accepting proposals for Conservation Innovation Grants up to $75,000. Projects should augment existing NRCS technical tools to better facilitate conservation on farms and ranches. In 2018, NRCS is prioritizing proposals that address soil and water quality, wildlife habitat, water conservation, forest health, air quality, waste recycling, and energy conservation. Eligible applicants include state and local government, nongovernment organizations, Tribal governments, eligible private businesses, and individuals.
Proposals are due by April 17, 2018.

Grow Wisconsin Dairy Processor Grants
Wisconsin dairy processors are invited to apply for grants intended to foster innovation, improve profitability, and sustain the long-term viability of Wisconsin's dairy processing facilities. Grants can be used to hire consultants to address a wide range of business needs, including food safety, staff training, or modernization. Up to $50,000 is available per dairy processor, per year. The dairy processor is required to provide a 20% match.
Proposals are due by April 13, 2018.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Our Farms, Our Future
April 3-5, 2018
St. Louis, Missouri

This national event will bring together our diverse agricultural community to look at the progress of sustainability in agriculture and to understand our trajectory for the future. The agenda includes farm tours, networking, plenary and breakout sessions, and local food.

Farmers Market Workshops
April 6-7, 2018
Spokane, Washington

Washington State Farmers Market Association will host in-depth training for farmers market leaders on specific operational topics.

Promoting Beneficial Insects in Vineyards for Conservation Biological Control
April 3, 2018
Online

In this free webinar presented by NRCS, learn about the needs of beneficial insects that provide conservation biological control, and how conservation practices can sustain natural pest management.

>>More Events

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Weekly Harvest Archives
Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest newsletters are available online.

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.

© 2018 NCAT

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New ATTRA Presentation
Beekeeping: Considerations for the Ecological Beekeeper

Question of the Week
I want to raise sheep. What is the best breed to buy?

Ask an Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online or by calling 1-800-346-9140

Armed to Farm in New Hampshire
Apply by April 27 for sustainable agriculture training for veterans in Troy, New Hampshire, June 11-15, 2018.

ATTRA Spanish Newsletter
Subscribe to Cosecha Mensual (Monthly Harvest), ATTRA's Spanish-language e-newsletter

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