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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 12, 2014

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 Announces Efforts to Expand Support for Small and Mid-Sized Farmers and Ranchers
  • Report Shows Family Farms Can Feed the World While Protecting Environment
  • FLAG Offers Farmers Guide to Microloan Program
  • Farm to School Youth Leadership Curriculum Connects Students with Local Food
  • Research Shows Plant Extracts Benefit Pigs with E. Coli, PRRS
  • Survey Shows Organic Farmers Concerned About and Experiencing GMO Contamination

Funding Opportunities

  • Minor Crop Pest Management Program Interregional Research Project
  • South Dakota Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
  • Conservation Innovation Grants in South Carolina

Coming Events

  • 7th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
  • Mother Earth News Fair
  • Food Sovereignty Summit

News & Resources

USDA Announces Efforts to Expand Support for Small- and Mid-Sized Farmers and Ranchers
USDA has announced new and expanded efforts to connect small- and mid-sized farmers and ranchers with USDA resources that can help them build stronger businesses, expand to reach new and larger markets, and grow their operations. New efforts include changes to the Farm Storage and Facility Loan Program to help small- and mid-sized fruit and vegetable producers access the program for cold storage and related equipment. In addition, USDA will soon announce an additional $15 million for hoop houses in persistent-poverty counties in 19 states. USDA is developing a whole farm insurance policy that will better meet the needs of highly diversified producers. USDA is also increasing support for farm to school and has broadened the National Farmers Market Directory to include CSAs, on-farm stores, and food hubs. USDA launched Small Scale Solutions for Your Farm, a series of educational resources designed for both small livestock and fruit and vegetable producers. Additional support efforts are listed online.

Report Shows Family Farms Can Feed the World While Protecting Environment
A new report, Food Tank by the Numbers: Family Farming, highlights research showing how family farms can nourish the world while protecting the environment. The report shows that millions of family farmers are using agroecological approaches to combat climate change and create resilience to food price shocks, natural disasters, and conflict. According to the report, by planting diversified and indigenous crops, family farmers can produce 20 to 60% more yields than farmers who produce only one type of crop.

FLAG Offers Farmers Guide to Microloan Program
Farmers' Legal Action Group (FLAG) has announced the release of the Farmers' Guide to the Farm Service Agency Microloan Program, written to help farmers understand the new microloans offered by the USDA Farm Service Agency. The guide is available for free download.

Farm to School Youth Leadership Curriculum Connects Students with Local Food
A new curriculum released by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) connects high school students with local foods and farmers, while giving them a leadership role in developing their schools' Farm to School programs. It takes students through the tasks of evaluating school lunch menus, partnering with food service staff, talking to farmers, and sourcing local foods. The curriculum is available online.

Research Shows Plant Extracts Benefit Pigs with E. Coli, PRRS
Research at the University of Illinois showed beneficial effects from adding plant extracts to the diets of pigs to combat porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) and E. coli. Researchers used garlic botanical extracted from garlic, turmeric oleoresin extracted from ginger, or capsicum oleoresin from pepper. Pigs with E. coli that had been fed any of the three plant extracts had a lower frequency of diarrhea and were more efficient in feed use. The research was published in the Journal of Animal Science.

Survey Shows Organic Farmers Concerned About and Experiencing GMO Contamination
Food & Water Watch, in partnership with the Organic Farmers' Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM), released survey results that show contamination from GMO crops is happening and burdening organic farmers with higher costs and more work. The survey of farmers across 17 states showed that five out of six responding farmers are concerned about GMO contamination and one out of three have dealt with GMO contamination on their farm.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Minor Crop Pest Management Program Interregional Research Project
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is accepting applications from state agricultural experiment stations and eligible colleges and universities. The IR-4 program helps enable the crop protection industry to provide safe, effective, and economical products for growers and consumers of minor/specialty crops. Grant awards up to $4,800,000 are available.
Applications are due by April 14, 2014.

South Dakota Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
South Dakota Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Proposals to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops will be accepted from non-profit organizations, producer organizations, government agencies, universities, individuals, and other organizations related to South Dakota's specialty-crops industry.
Applications are due by April 4, 2014.

Conservation Innovation Grants in South Carolina
NRCS in South Carolina is accepting applications for matching grants up to $75,000 for the Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) State Component. Proposals should focus on nutrient management, energy conservation, soil health, wildlife, water quality, water management, farm bill program outreach, air quality, silvopasture, or forestry.
Applications are due by May 5, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

7th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 15-18, 2014
Austin, Texas

The National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Powering Up will convene a diverse group of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement for field trips, workshops, speakers, and networking.

Mother Earth News Fair
April 12-13, 2014
Asheville, North Carolina

Mother Earth News Fairs are fun-filled, family-oriented, sustainable-lifestyle events. The fair features practical, hands-on demonstrations and workshops on renewable energy, small-scale agriculture, gardening, animal husbandry, and more.

Food Sovereignty Summit
April 14-17, 2014
Green Bay, Wisconsin

The Food Sovereignty Summit is a forum for sharing and collaboration to build healthy food systems within First Nations communities. Training tracks include applied agriculture, outreach strategies, and a heritage track that includes field tours.

>> More Events

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Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

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 is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

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