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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 30, 2016

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

  • New USDA Toolkit Helps Measure Economic Impact of Local Foods
  • Farmers Asked to Complete Cover Crop Survey
  • USDA Seeks Grant Program Reviewers
  • Native-Language Videos Introduce New American Farmers to USDA Programs
  • Cornell Research Finds Smaller Bees in Intensively Farmed Landscapes
  • California Study Looks at How Climate Change Affects Crops Grown

Funding Opportunities

  • Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program
  • Connecticut Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
  • Utah Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Recordkeeping for Organics: Tips, Tricks & Questions Answered
  • Virginia Grazing School
  • Vets Growing Berries

News & Resources

New USDA Toolkit Helps Measure Economic Impact of Local Foods
USDA has released The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments and Choices, a new resource created with Colorado State University. The toolkit helps communities reliably measure and assess the economic impact of investing in local and regional food systems.

Farmers Asked to Complete Cover Crop Survey
The Conservation Technology Information Center, in conjunction with SARE and the American Seed Trade Association, is urging farmers to participate in the fourth annual national cover crop survey, now underway. The 15-minute survey seeks insight from growers around the country—whether or not they plant cover crops. The survey can be taken online until May 1, 2016.

USDA Seeks Grant Program Reviewers
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is seeking reviewers to evaluate grant applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program and the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program. Reviewers for both programs will receive a stipend. Applications to serve as a reviewer are available online and are due by May 2, 2016.

Native-Language Videos Introduce New American Farmers to USDA Programs
UVM Extension Center for Sustainable Agriculture has released a series of videos in different languages to give new American farmers a glimpse into the process of working with USDA Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service. English-language and Kirundi videos are available on YouTube, and versions in Nepali and May May will be available soon.
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

Cornell Research Finds Smaller Bees in Intensively Farmed Landscapes
Cornell University research discovered that Andrena nasonii bees in intensively farmed areas are smaller than elsewhere. The smaller bees don't carry as much pollen and can't fly as far, raising concerns that they won't be able to feed their offspring adequately. A. nasonii bees are the most important pollinators of strawberries. The researchers are now investigating whether planting strips of native perennial wildflowers within agricultural landscapes will positively affect bee size.
Related ATTRA Publication: Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control

California Study Looks at How Climate Change Affects Crops Grown
University of California agricultural economists have published a study that examines how climate change affects crop choices. In a case study of Yolo County agriculture, warmer winter temperatures would extend the growing season for some crops. However, warmer winters would potentially reduce yields for crops like walnuts, which require chill hours, unless growers changed to varieties that required fewer chill hours.
Related ATTRA Publication: Climate Change and Perennial Fruit and Nut Production: Investing in Resilience in Uncertain Times

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service requests applications for projects that explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the U.S. marketing system. Approximately $1 million is available. Eligible applicants are State departments of agriculture, State agricultural experiment stations, and other agencies from States and U.S. Territories.
Applications are due May 12, 2016.

Connecticut Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture is soliciting concept proposals for projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. The maximum award is $75,000. Commodity groups, agricultural organizations, colleges and universities, municipalities, State agencies, and agricultural nonprofits are all eligible for this grant program.
Concept proposals are due April 6, 2016.

Utah Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is accepting applications for projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and provide a benefit to more than just the applicant. Funds will be available to interested local, State and Federal government agencies, non-profit and for-profit organizations, and universities. Approximately $275,000 is available.
Applications are due April 29, 2016.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Recordkeeping for Organics: Tips, Tricks & Questions Answered
May 3, 2016
Online
This webinar from Oregon Tilth will help producers understand what records are required to apply for organic certification. The webinar will also share "sound and sensible" recordkeeping practices. It begins at noon Pacific Time.

Virginia Grazing School
May 2-3, 2016
Raphine, Virginia
Virginia Forage and Grassland Council presents an event for both beginning and experienced producers. This intensive course will teach you everything you need to know to better manage grazing on your farm.

Vets Growing Berries
April 23, 2016
Binghamton, New York
Cornell Cooperative Extension will host a workshop on growing and marketing berries, followed by an on-farm, hands-on component at a local farm. Priority will be given to veterans, but others are welcome as space permits.

>> More Events

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New ATTRA Tutorial
Sustainable Irrigation, a Beginner's Guide

Question of the Week
What advice do you have for planting and growing alliums without tillage?

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