Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 3, 2019
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
- Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Helps Protect Agricultural Lands and Grasslands
- Issue Paper Examines Impacts of Groundwater Depletion on Agriculture
- FDA Announces Agricultural Water Compliance Dates
- Uncommon Crops Featured in Mini-Documentary
- Southern SARE Seeks Producer Nominations for Administrative Council
- Small-Grain Role in Organic Transition Highlighted in Enterprise Budgets
- Southern SARE Small Ruminant Research
- Minnesota AGRI Dairy Farm Improvement Grant
- King Conservation District's Regional Food System Grant Program
- Pastured Broilers and Processing
- Value-Added Meat Marketing and Regulations Workshop
- Piedmont Regional Goat and Sheep Conference
News & Resources
Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Helps Protect Agricultural Lands and Grasslands
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to invest $450 million this year through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program to help private landowners, tribes, land trusts, and other groups wanting to restore and protect critical wetlands and protect agricultural lands and grasslands. NRCS provides funds to eligible entities including state or local agencies, nonprofits, and tribes to purchase easements on private working lands.
Related ATTRA Publication: Federal Conservation Resources for Sustainable Farming and Ranching
Issue Paper Examines Impacts of Groundwater Depletion on Agriculture
The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology has published a new issue paper, Aquifer Depletion and Potential Impacts on Long-term Irrigated Agricultural Productivity. This issue paper reviews the causes and consequences of groundwater depletion, with a focus on impacts to agriculture as the largest sector of groundwater use. Highlights include an exploration of mitigation efforts to reverse groundwater depletion.
FDA Announces Agricultural Water Compliance Dates
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a statement regarding the FSMA Produce Safety Rule's agricultural water requirements. FDA has introduced a final rule to formally extend agricultural water compliance dates for large farms to January 2022, small farms to January 2023, and very small farms to January 2024. The delay is giving the agency time to factor in the diversity of how farmers source water used in growing, harvesting, packing, and holding produce.
Uncommon Crops Featured in Mini-Documentary
Savanna Institute has posted Persistence, a 15-minute video on Midwestern farmers who are growing uncommon and perennial fruit and nut crops. Numerous farmers discuss the wide variety of crops that they produce, the benefits of these crops, and the challenges in marketing unfamiliar crops to American consumers. Farmers also candidly discuss difficulties with establishing perennial crops, weather-related risks, and cash flow.
Related ATTRA Publication: Fruit Trees, Bushes, and Vines for Natural Growing in the Ozarks
Southern SARE Seeks Producer Nominations for Administrative Council
The Administrative Council of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) program is seeking nominations of producers to fill three Administrative Council seats. Producer nominations from all 13 states in the southern region, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be considered. Members serve a three-year term. Nominations and self-nominations can be submitted online.
Small-Grain Role in Organic Transition Highlighted in Enterprise Budgets
Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) has posted enterprise budgets created from operations that utilized an oat-corn rotation during the three-year organic transition. According to PFI, growing a lower-input small grain crop during transition is a way to ease the higher management costs that are incurred before crops can be marketed as organic. Enterprise budgets for a crop-only rotation and a grazing rotation are discussed in PFI's blog post.
Related ATTRA Publication: Planning for Profit in Sustainable Farming
>>More Breaking News
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Southern SARE Small Ruminant Research
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education has released a special grant call for research teams interested in small ruminant production. The Large Systems Research Grant is intended for systems research teams who have established expertise in sustainable meat goat production and marketing across the Southern region. Grants can be up to three years with additional three-year grant extensions. Projects should address factors that limit large-scale production of goat meat in the region, such as availability of arable land, best forage species, best management practices, costs of nutrition, and restrictions on marketing and processing.
Proposals are due by May 3, 2019.
Minnesota AGRI Dairy Farm Improvement Grant
The AGRI Dairy Farm Improvement Grant assists dairy producers in maximizing their profitability through investments necessary to produce Grade A milk. Eligible applicants must be principal operators of dairy cow operations that are currently producing Grade B milk or are Grade A milk producers who need to make capital or operational improvements to ensure continued compliance with the Grade A requirements. This grant program only reimburses the cost of equipment, services, or physical improvements. Minnesota Department of Agriculture anticipates awarding at least 25 grants between $1,000 and $10,000.
Applications are due by May 1, 2019.
King Conservation District's Regional Food System Grant Program
King Conservation District's Regional Food System Grant Program provides a catalyst for making local food production in King County, Washington, more ecologically and economically sustainable. The program offers matching funding for projects that contribute to the economic viability of local farmers, encourage new farmers, expand acreage in food production, improve food access, and increase demand for King County farm products. Individual farmers, producer networks, marketing cooperatives, farmers markets, businesses, schools, special districts, nonprofit organizations, tribes, and jurisdictions within KCD's service area may apply. Priority topics are listed online.
Pre-proposals are due by April 23, 2019.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Pastured Broilers and Processing
May 17, 2019
Santa Rosa, California
This workshop from University of California Cooperative Extension and partners including NCAT is geared towards farmers interested in raising broiler flocks free-ranged or on pasture. The workshop will also feature a hands-on processing workshop.
Value-Added Meat Marketing and Regulations Workshop
Various dates, May 6-15, 2019
12 locations in Tennessee
University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture is presenting a free workshop where participants will learn about the permits and regulations needed to market individual cuts of meat direct to customers and how to minimize business risks when selling live animals to consumers for local processing.
Piedmont Regional Goat and Sheep Conference
May 11, 2019
Pittsboro, North Carolina
This conference will address internal parasites, deworming, goat carcass evaluation, starting your enterprise, nutrition, finishing meat goats, small-scale budgets, pasture management, and ethnic holiday marketing.
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ATTRA was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
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