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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 1, 2020

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.

COVID-19 Resources on ATTRA Website
To help you understand the pandemic and how it affects your farming operation, we’ve gathered some resources that can help. Links to information on food safety, business assistance, farmers market operation, alternative markets, and food security are available on our web page.

News & Resources

  • Nationwide Cover Crop Survey Underway
  • West Virginia Department of Agriculture Facilitates Ag Producer and Buyer Connections
  • USDA Seeks Public Comment on Additional Conservation Practice Standard Revisions
  • USDA Invites Nominations for Five Positions on National Organic Standards Board
  • Best Practices Manual Aids Farmers in Selecting Conservation Measures
  • Virginia MarketMaker Offers Solution for Producers Facing Market Losses

Funding Opportunities

  • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP)
  • Southern SARE Systems Research Project
  • Organic Transition Grants

Coming Events

  • Farming During COVID
  • Farm to Freezer
  • Farmers Markets Physical Redesign for COVID-19 Mitigation

News & Resources

Nationwide Cover Crop Survey Underway
The sixth nationwide cover crop survey by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, the Conservation Technology Information Center, and the American Seed Trade Association is inviting farmers to provide their insights on cover crops. Farmers experienced with cover crops, new users of cover crops, and farmers who have not planted cover crops at all are invited to participate. The online survey takes 10 to 15 minutes, and helps to guide national research, communications, and policy on cover crops.

West Virginia Department of Agriculture Facilitates Ag Producer and Buyer Connections
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) is working with local producers and farmers impacted by COVID-19 mitigation efforts by facilitating communication between producers and potential buyers. The Department will provide an ongoing directory to those who are interested in being connected with local West Virginia farmers and their products. Producers who are interested in being added to the list can reach out to the WVDA Business Development Division.

Related ATTRA Resource: ATTRA COVID Response: Alternative Marketing

USDA Seeks Public Comment on Additional Conservation Practice Standard Revisions
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking public comment on proposed revisions to 49 national conservation practice standards. The 2018 Farm Bill required NRCS to review all 169 existing national conservation practices to seek opportunities to increase flexibility and incorporate new technologies. The comment period for these revisions will be open until April 23, 2020.

USDA Invites Nominations for Five Positions on National Organic Standards Board
USDA seeks nominations of qualified individuals for five open seats on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Openings for positions beginning January 2021 include two individuals who own or operate an organic farming operation, or employees of such individuals; two individuals who represent public interest or consumer interest groups; and one individual who is a USDA-accredited certifying agent. Nominations are due by June 1, 2020.

Best Practices Manual Aids Farmers in Selecting Conservation Measures
Conservation Learning Group has released the Whole Farm Conservation Best Practices Manual to aid farmers in selecting conservation measures appropriate for their farms. The manual is designed for beginning farmers but provides information beneficial to any producer. It includes details regarding implementation and expected outcomes for tillage management, cover crops and diverse rotations, and edge-of-field practices.

Virginia MarketMaker Offers Solution for Producers Facing Market Losses
A tool that could help agricultural producers faced with the loss of markets is Virginia MarketMaker, says Virginia Tech. This online platform connects producers with markets and is part of a larger nationwide network. It allows new users to set up a profile for free, giving them access to enter business information, appear in search results for markets, and post product needs and availability. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, MarketMaker has also made it possible for individual farms to set up an online store for free.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP)
USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting sign-ups for a new pilot program that enables farmers in the Prairie Pothole region to receive payments for planting perennial cover for conservation. The new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP) pilot is available to producers in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Through SHIPP, producers have the option of three-, four-, or five-year CRP contracts to establish perennial cover on less-productive cropland in exchange for payments. This pilot enables producers to plant perennial cover that, among other benefits, will improve soil health and water quality while having the option to harvest, hay, and graze during certain times of the year.
The signup for this pilot ends August 21, 2020.

Southern SARE Systems Research Project
The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) program is releasing a special grant call in 2020 seeking Systems Research Project proposals for sustainable agriculture research that focus on a Systems Research approach. Project maximum is $1 million for activities funded for three years. Systems research provides the opportunity to probe the interrelationships of all parts of a system in a long-term environment to answer questions related to profitability, environmental stewardship, and community quality of life as the system changes over a long period of time. Applicants interested in applying for the SSARE $1 million Systems Research Grant must submit a Letter of Intent to assess if their project idea matches the objectives of the grant.
Letters of Intent are due by May 1, 2020.

Organic Transition Grants
CCOF Foundation is offering grants for organic transition in partnership with Anheuser Busch and their Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Contract for Change program. Producers of all crop types eligible for organic certification are encouraged to apply for $5,000 grants. The applicant must have a minimum of three years of farming experience and demonstrated intent to farm organically. Priority will be given to farmers with at least five years of production experience, as well as applicants who are underrepresented in the organic industry, including women, people of color, veterans, farm workers, and people with disabilities. Priority is also given for demonstrated financial need and for having a transition plan.
Applications close April 30, 2020.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Farming During COVID
April 1, 8, and 15, 2020
Online
This free webinar series is an opportunity to learn from farmers and ranchers and subject-area experts about the challenges farmers are currently facing and strategies they are implementing to navigate those challenges.

Farm to Freezer
April 2, 2020
Online
The Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network offers an opportunity to hear from three experienced panelists who sell their meats online and ship direct to consumers. Topics will include setting up an online store, meat selection, boxes, insulation, dry ice, maintaining cold chain, shipping carriers, costs, and regulations.

Farmers Markets Physical Redesign for COVID-19 Mitigation
April 6, 2020
Online
Farmers Market Coalition shares how market operators who have actually implemented a new COVID-19 practice have operationalized those new methods. This webinar will focus ONLY on the physical redesign of market spaces, not on online platforms for purchasing.

>>More Events

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COVID 19 Market Adjustments

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