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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 27, 2013

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.

Join NCAT's Sustainable Agriculture Team!
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) currently has openings for a Poultry Specialist, a Horticulture Specialist, an Agronomy/Cropping Systems Specialist, and a Community Outreach Coordinator/Regional Director. These positions are open in NCAT offices in Des Moines, Iowa; Forty Fort, Pennsylvania; San Antonio, Texas; or Jackson, Mississippi. Applications will be accepted through April 8, 2013, or until suitable candidates can be identified. Application information is available at the NCAT website.

News & Resources

  • Food Service Operators Pledge to Increase Local and Sustainable Food Procurement
  • NOP Updates List of Certified Organic Operations
  • Petition Seeks to Prohibit Antibiotic Use in Ethanol Byproduct Sold as Livestock Feed
  • Mississippi Research Reveals Benefits of Native Forage
  • Workbook Helps Farmers Manage Recreation Risk
  • Videos on Soil, Hoophouses, and Coolers Available in Hmong and Spanish

Funding Opportunities

  • Northeast SARE Graduate Student Grant
  • Florida Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
  • Texas Conservation Innovation Grants

Coming Events

  • Piedmont Farm Tour & Special Tour for Beginning Farmers
  • Planning for Agriculture in the Puget Sound Region
  • Open Gate On-Farm Learning Series

News & Resources

Food Service Operators Pledge to Increase Local and Sustainable Food Procurement
At its Good Food Trade Show held in Chicago on March 15, FamilyFarmed.org announced that foodservice operators from Chicago Public Schools (CPS), McCormick Place, Midway Airport, and Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality have all agreed to substantially increase the amount of local and sustainable food served in their venues. Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality, the foodservice provider for the Chicago Public Schools, has purchased more than $4.2 million in produce from regional farmers over the past three school years and is working with FamilyFarmed.org to expand this program to all schools in its system, a 35% increase.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tips for Selling to Institutional Markets

NOP Updates List of Certified Organic Operations
The USDA National Organic Program has published the updated 2012 list of certified organic operations. This searchable list provides information such as operation name and location, the scope of organic certification (crops, livestock, wild crops, handling), the operation's certifier, and a listing of products.

Petition Seeks to Prohibit Antibiotic Use in Ethanol Byproduct Sold as Livestock Feed
The Center for Food Safety and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) have submitted a petition to FDA, asserting that antibiotic use in ethanol production is illegal, unnecessary, and adds to the catastrophic public health threat from antibiotic-resistant infections in humans. IATP writes that ethanol producers widely use antibiotics as a tool to manage bacterial outbreaks in their fermentation vats. According to FDA and university testing, those same antibiotics remain present in distillers grains with solubles (DGS) when it is repurposed and sold as livestock feed.

Mississippi Research Reveals Benefits of Native Forage
Researchers at Mississippi State University are finding that when it comes to providing forage for livestock, native grasses may be best. University research is examining the benefits of native grasses for wildlife and investigating challenges and benefits of establishing native, warm-season grasses for grazing livestock. Although establishing native grasses can be costly, in the long run they are more productive than bermudagrass, improve soil health, last many years without significant inputs, and are better for the environment.

Workbook Helps Farmers Manage Recreation Risk
The University of Arkansas, Mississippi State University, and others have collaborated in the development of an online workbook titled Using Alternative Enterprises and Recreational Development to Bolster Farm Incomes. The workbook is divided into six separate learning modules addressing developing an alternative enterprise, legal risk, business planning, and more. The workbook is available online as a 156-page PDF.

Videos on Soil, Hoophouses, and Coolers Available in Hmong and Spanish
Spring Rose Growers Cooperative in Madison, Wisconsin, has released three different educational videos available in both Hmong and Spanish via YouTube. The short videos are titled "How to build a low cost hoophouse," "How to make an organic soil mix," and "How to build a low cost cooler."
Related ATTRA Publication: The Organic Chronicles No. 1: Mysteries of Organic Farming Revealed (Hmong language version) Phau ntawv qhia txog kev ua liaj teb tsis ywg tshuaj

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Northeast SARE Graduate Student Grant
Grants of up to $15,000 are available for graduate students researching topics in sustainable agriculture that will serve the interests of farmers and agricultural service providers--extension staff, NRCS personnel, and others in the agricultural community. Projects should explore the themes of good stewardship, profitability, and quality of life for farmers and the farm community.
Applications are due by May 21, 2013.

Florida Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will receive an estimated $4.2 million in 2013 Specialty Crop Block Grant funds. Proposals will be accepted from non-profit organizations, producer organizations, government agencies, universities, and other organizations related to Florida's specialty crop industry. Individuals, individual producers, for-profit businesses, or commercial entities may submit proposals that focus on research, education, or demonstration and benefit the specialty crop industry in a manner that can be adequately replicated by other organizations.
Applications are due by April 12, 2013.

Texas Conservation Innovation Grants
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the availability of Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) up to $75,000. The grants are to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies for environmental enhancement and protection in conjunction with agricultural production. For FY 2013, NRCS in Texas will consider CIG in the following areas: nutrient management, water conservation, soil health, and wildlife conservation.
Grant proposals are due by April 12, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Piedmont Farm Tour & Special Tour for Beginning Farmers
April 27-28, 2013
Carrboro, North Carolina

Learn about the Triangle's local and organic farm and food scene. Meet local farmers and tour their farms during a two-afternoon, self-guided tour with 39 participating destinations. In conjunction with the tour, CFSA is providing a special tour for beginning farmers, visiting three farms in a day. Participants will get to learn from experienced growers and see their operations, as well as network with other beginning farmers.

Planning for Agriculture in the Puget Sound Region
April 26, 2013
Seattle, Washington

Join local elected officials, planners, and food system advocates at a conference on planning for the future of local farms and food in the Puget Sound region. The event will explore the wide range of planning and policy tools that can be used to support and strengthen the region's local farms and food system.

Open Gate On-Farm Learning Series
May 10, 2013
Paicines, California, or Boeme, Texas
Holistic Management International is launching its Open Gate On-Farm Learning Series with two field days hosted by experienced holistic management practitioners. The field day at Paicines Ranch focuses on increasing profit, production, and performance for a sustainable ranch operation. The field day at Spring Creek Ranch in Texas focuses on grazing practices to mitigate drought.

>> 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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Consejos para vender a través de Internet

Question of the Week
Our farm is located between conventionally farmed corn and soy fields and a college sports field. We are not certified organic but we are growing to organic standards. What is the buffer zone required between conventional and organic farming operations?

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