Home | Newsletter Archives

ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 7, 2012

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.

Remember, the ATTRA program is back, offering technical assistance services for farmers and ranchers at no charge. If you have questions about your farming or ranching operation, call our toll-free help line at 800-346-9140.

News & Resources

  • USDA Unveils Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass
  • Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Healthy Food Initiatives, Local Production, and Nutrition
  • New Conservation Reserve Program Initiative to Restore Grasslands, Wetlands, and Wildlife
  • "Revitalizing Vermont's Dairy Industry" Caps Farm to Plate Strategic Plan
  • Food Alliance Announces Growth in Certification
  • NSAC Compiles Environmental Benefits Scores for CSP Conservation Activities

Funding Opportunities

  • Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program
  • Wisconsin Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Grant Program
  • West Virginia Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Growing the Appalachian Food Economy
  • Greenhouse Crop Production & Engineering Design Short Course
  • Iowa Local Food Summit

News & Resources

USDA Unveils Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has unveiled the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass, an interactive web-based document and map highlighting USDA support for local and regional food projects and successful producer, business, and community case studies. Among the themes covered are Local Food Infrastructure, Farm to Institution, Careers in Agriculture, Stewardship and Local Foods, Local Meat and Poultry, Healthy Food Access, and Local Food Knowledge.

Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Healthy Food Initiatives, Local Production, and Nutrition
The United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry is holding a hearing on Healthy Food Initiatives, Local Production, and Nutrition on March 7. This hearing explores innovative opportunities in agriculture through policies that assist the development of local markets for farmers connecting them to the growing consumer demand for locally produced, healthy food options. Testimony will be posted following the hearing.

New Conservation Reserve Program Initiative to Restore Grasslands, Wetlands, and Wildlife
USDA has announced the opportunity for producers to enroll a total of 1 million acres of land in a new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) initiative to preserve grasslands and wetlands. USDA's Farm Service Agency will set aside acres within CRP for specific enrollments that benefit duck nesting habitat, upland birds, wetlands, pollinators, and wildlife. Producers whose land meets eligibility criteria can enroll at any time, with Signing Incentive Payments of $150 per acre.

"Revitalizing Vermont's Dairy Industry" Caps Farm to Plate Strategic Plan
The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) announced the release of the final Appendix of its Farm to Plate Strategic Plan. "Appendix B: Revitalizing Vermont's Dairy Industry" describes and analyzes issues that have an impact on Vermont's dairy industry, and suggests strategies for improving its sustainability over the next ten years. The appendix is available for download.

Food Alliance Announces Growth in Certification
Food Alliance recently published a list of food and farm products certified to its Sustainability Standards for Agricultural Production and Food Handling Operations. Forty-six new farms and food handling operations became certified in 2011, for a current total of 330 operations. The 2012 Certified Products list, an interactive map, and a search tool are available online.

NSAC Compiles Environmental Benefits Scores for CSP Conservation Activities
Farmers and ranchers who applied by January 27 for enrollment in the 2012 Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) can now determine how many points the various conservation activities offered under the program will be worth. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has compiled a chart that ranks the environmental benefits score of each activity.

>> More Breaking News

Back to top


Funding Opportunities

Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program
USDA is seeking applications for loans and grants under the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program to help rural businesses create jobs and spur economic development. Eligible recipients are USDA rural utilities program borrowers. Maximum requests are $1 million for loans and $300,000 for grants. USDA plans to award up to $79 million in loans and $10 million in grants through the program.
The deadline for submitting applications is the last business day of each month through September 30, 2012.

Wisconsin Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Grant Program
The Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative is offering grants in two categories in 2012: technical assistance and education. Education grants support the activities of grazing networks and support grazing schools, workshops, and conferences. Technical assistance grants provide funds for grazing specialists to work with farmers. Eligible applicants include county, state, and federal agriculture and natural-resource agencies; colleges and universities; nonprofit organizations; grazing networks; and farmers.
Applications must be postmarked by April 23, 2012.

West Virginia Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is requesting proposals for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Funding for 2012 is approximately $170,000. The grant program encourages cooperative efforts to integrate technology at the farm level, improve marketing and promotion of locally-grown specialty crops, and increase production efficiency through research projects. Projects that encourage youth agriculture entrepreneurship, beginning/young farmer initiatives, and farm-to-school efforts are also encouraged.
Deadline for application is March 16, 2012.

>> More Funding Opportunities

Back to top


Coming Events

Growing the Appalachian Food Economy
April 3-4, 2012
Asheville, North Carolina

The Appalachian Regional Commission is hosting a forum on local food systems and sustainable agriculture. The forum will provide an opportunity for community leaders; economic development officials; farmers; food producers, processors, and distributors; and public and private funding partners to share ideas and learn practical ways local food systems can increase employment opportunities, spark entrepreneurial ventures, and build local wealth in Appalachian communities.

Greenhouse Crop Production & Engineering Design Short Course
April 9-14, 2012
Tucson, Arizona

The University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center presents this annual course. This year's theme is controlled environment agriculture for food production within traditional rural and non-traditional urban farms, with special concerns for water, energy use, and environmental stewardship.

Iowa Local Food Summit
April 3, 2012
Ames, Iowa

The summit will engage participants from various sectors of the local food economy in a lively discussion on logical next steps toward the development of a more vibrant food system in Iowa.

>> More Events

Back to top


Subscribe to the Weekly Harvest

Comments? Questions? Contact us

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 The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project was 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.

© 2012 NCAT

Back to top

Featured Publication
Potatoes: Organic Production and Marketing

Question of the Week
When should I supplement my pasture-grazed livestock?

Webinars
Our latest webinars are available for viewing in the Sustainable Agriculture Video Archive

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

Find Us on Facebook!
We feature breaking news on sustainable agriculture topics several times a week. Add us to your FaceBook friends list today!

Find us on Facebook

 



Home | Newsletter Archives