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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 14, 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.

News & Resources

  • Policies for Nutritious Food and Sustainable Agriculture Could Transform Food System, Says UCS
  • USDA and Interior Announce Working Lands for Wildlife Partnership
  • Newly Formed Western Agriculture and Conservation Coalition Unites Interests on Farm Bill Conservation Title
  • Report Finds Illness, Death in Animals Exposed to Gas Drilling Operations
  • Feature Film on Soil to Premiere at DC Film Festival, Screen in Iowa
  • Research Reveals Benefits of Rain-fed Winter Cover Crops

Funding Opportunities

  • Organic Transitions Program
  • Nevada Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
  • Ohio Conservation Innovation Grants

Coming Events

  • Earth Day Food & Wine Festival Weekend
  • Flavors of the Valley
  • The Small Farmerís Journal Horsedrawn Auction and Swap

News & Resources

Policies for Nutritious Food and Sustainable Agriculture Could Transform Food System, Says UCS
Forward-thinking agriculture policies focused on local foods, conservation, and research can transform the current food system into one that prioritizes nutritious foods and sustainable farming practices, according to a policy brief issued by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The four-page policy brief, "Toward Healthy Food and Farms," makes recommendations for the 2012 Farm Bill derived from UCS's science-based vision for the U.S. farming and food system.

USDA and Interior Announce Working Lands for Wildlife Partnership
USDA and the Department of Interior have announced a new $33 million partnership with farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to use innovative approaches to restore and protect habitats for wildlife. Landowners can sign up to manage and restore high-priority habitats for seven designated wildlife species. Interested producers and landowners in targeted areas can enroll in the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) on a continuous basis at their local NRCS field offices.

Newly Formed Western Agriculture and Conservation Coalition Unites Interests on Farm Bill Conservation Title
The Irrigation Association, California Farm Bureau Federation, Trout Unlimited, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, the Nature Conservancy, Arizona Public Lands Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Family Farm Alliance, and the Public Lands Council have announced the formation of the Western Agriculture and Conservation Coalition. The Coalition brings together diverse interests working to achieve a workable, effective conservation title for the Farm Bill. The goals of the Coalition are to support the common interests of agriculture and conservation through targeted education, advocacy, and outreach and to engage decision makers and resource managers in the spirit of collaboration to further a shared vision for a rural West that is economically and environmentally sustainable.

Report Finds Illness, Death in Animals Exposed to Gas Drilling Operations
A new report by Cornell University researchers has found that illness, death, and reproductive issues in livestock, wildlife, and humans could be the result of exposure to gas drilling operations. The paper's authors cited 24 cases where animals were potentially affected by gas drilling.

Feature Film on Soil to Premiere at DC Film Festival, Screen in Iowa
Symphony of the Soil, a feature film that examines soil in all its complexity and mystery, premieres at the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, DC, and then screens in Iowa on March 28. The film looks at how soil is formed, its life cycle, human uses and misuses, and its role in addressing global issues.

Research Reveals Benefits of Rain-fed Winter Cover Crops
Even farmers in areas with just seven inches of rain per year can reap the benefits of winter cover crops without irrigation, University of California research has found. Growing a winter cover crop helps retain soil nitrogen, improves water infiltration, reduces runoff, increases soil organic matter, and boosts long-term soil fertility.
Related ATTRA Publication: Overview of Cover Crops and Green Manures

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Organic Transitions Program
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture is requesting applications from public and private colleges and universities for the Organic Transitions Program (ORG). ORG supports the development and implementation of research, extension, and higher education programs to improve the competitiveness of organic livestock and crop producers. In FY 2012, ORG will focus on environmental services provided by organic farming systems that support soil conservation and contribute to climate change mitigation.
Applications are due by April 25, 2012.

Nevada Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
Nevada State Department of Agriculture (NDOA) receives grant funding from the United States Department of Agriculture to enhance the competitiveness of Nevada's specialty crops. Grants support projects in research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, increased consumption, improved efficiency, sustainable farming systems, school garden programs, and product development.
A letter of intent to apply is due by April 9, 2012.

Ohio Conservation Innovation Grants
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Ohio announces the availability of Conservation Innovation Grants funds to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. The maximum award amount for an individual project is $75,000.
Applications are due by April 2, 2012.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Earth Day Food & Wine Festival Weekend
April 20-22, 2012
Templeton, California

Numerous farm tours and tasting events are scheduled throughout the weekend, including a Farm to Fork Dinner and Tour. The main event is Saturday's Earth Day Food & Wine Tasting, with over 200 purveyors of sustainably produced foods and wine.

Flavors of the Valley
April 15, 2012
White River Junction, Vermont

Flavors of the Valley is a tasting, informational, and buying event for locally grown foods, open to the chef, gardener, consumer, and wholesale or retail buyer. Dozens of local farmers and chefs will answer questions about their food and farm products, including meats, produce, maple, dairy, baked goods, and prepared foods.

The Small Farmerís Journal Horsedrawn Auction and Swap
April 18-21, 2012
Madras, Oregon

In addition to the auction of horsedrawn farm equipment, this event includes demonstrations, clinics, and workshops presented by The Small Farms Conservancy on organic soils, cultivating, teamstering, and more.

>> More Events

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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.

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© 2012 NCAT

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