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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 25, 2015

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

  • Report on Bio-Extensive Market Farming Published
  • Survey Collecting Input on Food Safety at Farmers Markets
  • Terminating Cover Crops with Sheep Benefits Organic Farmers
  • NRCS Spreadsheet Tool Helps Farmers Determine Economics of Cover Crops
  • Western SARE Introduces Western Sustainability Pioneer Award
  • World Health Organization Releases Assessment of Carcinogenicity of Organophosphate Pesticides

Funding Opportunities

  • Farmers Market Promotion Program
  • Kaiser Conservation Endowment
  • Montana Specialty Crop Block Grant

Coming Events

  • National Hmong American Farmers Annual Farm Conference
  • Piedmont Farm Tour
  • California Farm to School Conference

News & Resources

Report on Bio-Extensive Market Farming Published
The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture has released Market Farming with Rotations and Cover Crops: An Organic Bio-Extensive System. The 70-page report outlines how to control grasses and weeds and build soil life, health, and fertility organically through cover crops and rotations.

Survey Collecting Input on Food Safety at Farmers Markets
The Farmers Market Food Safety Program is seeking input from market vendors and managers regarding their opinions and experiences with food safety at farmers markets. This program seeks to enhance food-safety practices at farmers markets by developing educational materials and operational tools. To give your valuable input on food safety at farmers markets, you can take an online survey.

Terminating Cover Crops with Sheep Benefits Organic Farmers
Preliminary results of a study released by Montana State University show the benefits of using sheep, rather than tillage, to manage and terminate cover crops. The study found that farmers who grow organic crops may save money, reduce tillage, manage weeds and pests, and reduce the risk of soil erosion by using domestic sheep to graze farmland for cover crop termination and weed control.
Related ATTRA Publication: Integrating Livestock and Crops: Improving Soil, Solving Problems, Increasing Income

NRCS Spreadsheet Tool Helps Farmers Determine Economics of Cover Crops
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has developed The Cover Crop Economic Decision Support Tool, a spreadsheet that helps farmers, landowners, and others make informed decisions when considering whether to add cover crops to their systems. The tool offers a partial budget analysis, derived from data that farmers enter.

Western SARE Introduces Western Sustainability Pioneer Award
To bring increased awareness to sustainable agriculture leaders and their work, Western SARE has announced that it is accepting nominations for its first Western Sustainability Pioneer Award. Nominations for this award may be made by anyone and are due May 15, 2015.

World Health Organization Releases Assessment of Carcinogenicity of Organophosphate Pesticides
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency of the World Health Organization, has assessed the carcinogenicity of five organophosphate pesticides. In the IARC evaluations, the herbicide glyphosate and the insecticides malathion and diazinon were classified as probably carcinogenic to humans. The insecticides tetrachlorvinphos and parathion were classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Farmers Market Promotion Program
The Farmers Market Promotion Program offers grants to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets. The maximum grant is $100,000; the minimum award is $15,000.
Applications are due May 14, 2015.

Kaiser Conservation Endowment
Washington State University and University of Idaho are soliciting proposals to the Verle Kaiser Conservation Endowment for promotion and demonstration of conservation practices targeting soil erosion. Proposals are sought on the training of college and K-12 students and constituents, including curriculum development, field trips, teaching aids, audio/visual or other educational-related activities. Funds are open to Washington State University, University of Idaho, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Conservation Districts, and colleges in Washington and Idaho.
Proposals are due by April 10, 2015.

Montana Specialty Crop Block Grant
Montana has $1.3 million in federal funding available through the Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) program to enhance the competitiveness of Montana specialty crops. Eligible projects include education on the value of specialty crops, improving efficiency of distribution systems, assisting entities in the development of good agricultural practices, pest and disease control, improving variety development, and sustainable production practices.
Proposals are due by April 22, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

National Hmong American Farmers Annual Farm Conference
April 30, 2015
Fresno, California

National Hmong American Farmers, Inc. will focus this conference on "Coming Together in the Asian American Pacific Islander Farming Community." They have invited Latino and Latina farmers, beginning farmers, and farm workers to join in this sixth national event.

Piedmont Farm Tour
April 25-26, 2015
Alamance, Chatham, Durham, Orange, and Person counties, North Carolina

Learn about the Triangle region's local and organic farm and food scene. This self-guided tour offers the opportunity to visit any of 40 participating stops over the course of two afternoons.

California Farm to School Conference
May 4-6, 2015
Pacific Grove, California

This conference will offer a series of workshops, panels, and discussions. Farmers, distributors, government representatives, procurement officers, educators, and food program administrators will attend.

>> More Events

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Upcoming Webinar
Texas Drought and Disaster Assistance Programs ~ April 9, 2015
This webinar is sponsored by Farm Aid, NCAT, and Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association

Question of the Week
How can I propagate blackberries and figs?

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