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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 29, 2017

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

  • Study on Farm to College in New England Released
  • FDA Considering Simplifying FSMA Standards for Water
  • National Cover Crop Research Initiative Launched
  • Report Examines Implementation of Conservation Reserve Program's Transition Incentives Program
  • Texas Study Shows Multi-Paddock Grazing Reduces Runoff, Enhances Water Retention
  • Local Food Fact Sheet Series Supports Minnesota Farmer Sales

Funding Opportunities

  • Future Organic Farmer Grant
  • Farm Business Management and Benchmarking Competitive Grants Program
  • Nevada Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Empowering Women Veterans: Business, Agriculture and Well-Being Conference
  • Grass-Fed Beef Conference
  • Healthy Hives, Healthy Lives, Healthy Land

News & Resources

Study on Farm to College in New England Released
Farm to Institution New England has released Campus Dining 101: A Benchmark Study on Farm to College in New England, a report that highlights data collected from college dining operators in the region. It presents in-depth findings and makes recommendations for institutions of higher education as well as government officials, funders, and institutions. Twenty-one colleges with self-operated food programs purchased 55% of the $57 million regional colleges spent on local food over the last year.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tips for Selling to Institutional Markets

FDA Considering Simplifying FSMA Standards for Water
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it is exploring ways to simplify the microbial quality and testing requirements for agricultural water established by the Food Safety Modernization Act's (FSMA's) produce safety rule while still protecting public health. FDA announced that it intends to work with stakeholders as these efforts related to the water standards proceed.

National Cover Crop Research Initiative Launched
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation have launched a $6.6 million research initiative that will promote soil health through the development and adoption of new cover crops. The focus of the initiative will be to identify small grains, annual legumes, and brassicas with the greatest potential to improve soil health and evaluate them over a broad geography. Short-term goals are to identify the best cover crop species and varieties currently available, promote them to farmers and ranchers, and increase effective options within the marketplace.

Report Examines Implementation of Conservation Reserve Program's Transition Incentives Program
The Center for Rural Affairs has released Pathways to Land Access, a 17-page report on implementation of the Conservation Reserve Program - Transition Incentives Program (CRP-TIP) in Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Authors found that several factors affect CRP-TIP usage: knowledge of the program, relationship between the prospective farmer or rancher and landowner, and the agricultural economy. The report outlines findings and recommendations.

Texas Study Shows Multi-Paddock Grazing Reduces Runoff, Enhances Water Retention
A Texas A&M AgriLife Research study published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment evaluated the influence of continuous and multi-paddock grazing practices on runoff, sediment, and nutrient losses at both the ranch and watershed scales. Watershed-scale adoption of multi-paddock grazing reduced runoff and nutrient loads by about one-third and increased annual subsurface flow by 48%. Meanwhile, reduced streamflow during high-flow conditions reduced downstream flooding.
Related ATTRA Resource: Managed Grazing Tutorial

Local Food Fact Sheet Series Supports Minnesota Farmer Sales
The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and Minnesota Farmers' Market Association have released a new Local Food Fact Sheet Series for farmers and sellers of local food. The series provides a comprehensive look at ways that locally grown foods can be sold. There are six fact sheets: four of them cover options for sale of red meat, poultry, eggs, and produce and discuss regulations that apply to each. Other titles are Aggregation of Farmers' Produce and Approved Water Supply for Rural Food Businesses.
Related ATTRA Publications: Marketing Tip Sheets

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Future Organic Farmer Grant
The CCOF Foundation gives grants to higher education and vocational students pursuing organic agriculture programs, to help with tuition and educational expenses. Applicants must be enrolled in educational programs in the United States that will benefit their careers in organic agriculture, including vocational training/certificate programs, junior college/two-year degree programs, and bachelor's/four-year undergraduate degrees. Up to 33 awards of $2,500 are available.
Application deadline is May 15, 2017.

Farm Business Management and Benchmarking Competitive Grants Program
National Institute of Food and Agriculture is requesting applications to improve the farm management knowledge and skills of agricultural producers, and applications to maintain the national, publicly available farm financial management database to support improved farm management. The anticipated amount available for grants in FY 2017 is approximately $1.35 million.
Applications are due April 17, 2017.

Nevada Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The Nevada Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for approximately $250,000 in grant funding for projects that promote and enhance specialty crops through research, marketing, education, and production. Individual agricultural producers, non-profit and tribal organizations, minority groups, disadvantaged farmers, agricultural associations, industry groups, community-based organizations, and academic institutions are encouraged to apply.
Letters of intent are due by April 14, 2017.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Empowering Women Veterans: Business, Agriculture and Well-Being Conference
May 3-5, 2017
Santa Rosa, California

Farmer Veteran Coalition announces a conference with the goal of equipping women veterans with the business and farming tools necessary to be successful in their agricultural endeavors. The conference is open to all active duty and veteran women, as well as women who farm with veterans.

Grass-Fed Beef Conference
May 2-3, 2017
College Station, Texas

Learn about grass-fed beef production from pasture to plate at this conference at Texas A&M University. Topics include production systems, forage, herd health, carcass fabrication, and marketing.

Healthy Hives, Healthy Lives, Healthy Land
April 28-29, 2017
Minneapolis, Minnesota

The 35th National Pesticide Forum will focus on the adoption of policies to protect human health and the environment, and organic land- and building-management strategies.

>>More Events

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New ATTRA Resource
Ecological Fisheries and Ocean Farming

Question of the Week
Can I successfully transplant fruit trees in mid-May?

Ask an Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online or by calling 1-800-346-9140

Farm Finances Workshop
Register now for our free one-day workshop in Raymond, Mississippi, April 6, 2017.

Public Outreach Internship
NCAT seeks a student with interest in sustainable agriculture and public outreach to work in our Butte, Montana, office. Apply by April 16, 2017.

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