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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 8, 2015

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.

Join NCAT's Team for the Summer!
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is accepting applications for summer internships in its offices in Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Montana. Spend your summer working with professionals on sustainable agriculture projects. Find more information at our website.

News & Resources

  • Input Requested for Whole-Farm Revenue Protection Survey
  • Guide Introduces African and Asian Crops to U.S. Farmers
  • Report Provides Information on Pesticide Use in Produce
  • Seed Treatments Responsible for Increase in Neonicotinoid Insecticide Use
  • Photo Project Showcases On-farm Practices Protecting Water Quality
  • Scientists Find Prickly Lettuce Has Potential for Rubber Production

Funding Opportunities

  • Beekman Mortgage Lifter
  • Agricultural Conservation Easement Program
  • Western SARE Graduate Student Grants

Coming Events

  • Sound and Sensible Organics, Part II
  • National Value Added Agriculture Conference
  • Louisiana Farm to School Conference

News & Resources

Input Requested for Whole-Farm Revenue Protection Survey
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is working with the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI) to better understand agricultural producers' experiences with crop insurance and with a new product called Whole-Farm Revenue Protection. RAFI and NCAT have created a brief online survey and are inviting farmers to participate. By completing the survey, participants will help RAFI, NCAT, and other organizations advocate for changes that improve Whole Farm Revenue Protection.
Related ATTRA Publication: Crop Insurance Options for Specialty, Diversified, and Organic Farmers

Guide Introduces African and Asian Crops to U.S. Farmers
The UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture's New American Farmer program has partnered with the New Farms for New Americans program of the Association of Africans Living in Vermont to publish Global Food, Local Food: Guide to Growing, Harvesting & Preserving African & Asian Crops in the Northeast. The guide tells the story of eight crops with significant potential for being integrated into the Northeastern U.S. food system. The publication is available for free download.
Related ATTRA Publication: Specialty Melon Production for Small and Direct-Market Growers

Report Provides Information on Pesticide Use in Produce
Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center has issued From Crop to Table: Pesticide Use in Produce. The 53-page report describes how pesticides are used in produce production, explores the risks of pesticide use to particular populations and the environment, and offers guidance to consumers on choosing fruits and vegetables with the lowest risk of pesticide contamination. The report is posted online in PDF.

Seed Treatments Responsible for Increase in Neonicotinoid Insecticide Use
Researchers at Penn State found that use of neonicotinoids has increased dramatically in recent years, driven almost entirely by the use of treated corn and soybean seeds. The team found that in 2000, less than 5% of soybean acres and less than 30% of corn acres were treated with an insecticide, but by 2011, at least a third of all soybean acres and at least 79% of all corn acres were planted with neonicotinoid-coated seed.

Photo Project Showcases On-farm Practices Protecting Water Quality
Iowa Food & Family Project is showcasing practices dedicated to improving soil and water quality on Iowa farms. The photo project depicts environmental improvements used by farmers, including reduced tillage, cover crops, grassed waterways, and water-retention ponds. To participate, snap a photo of a conservation practice or landscape you observe and post to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with #FarmersCoverIowa. An ongoing album will be featured on the Iowa Food & Family Project Facebook Page.
Related ATTRA Publication: Protecting Riparian Areas: Farmland Management Strategies

Scientists Find Prickly Lettuce Has Potential for Rubber Production
Washington State University scientists say that the common weed prickly lettuce has potential as a cash crop. Parts of the plant's genetic code are linked to rubber production and, with breeding for desired traits, the plant could become an economically viable source for sap used to make natural rubber.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Beekman Mortgage Lifter
A portion of profits from Beekman's Mortgage Lifter pasta sauces is donated to assist small farms that have a viable, future focused, growth-oriented business strategy. Beekman 1802 will provide one $15,000 "Lift" and three $1,049 "Mini-Lifts" to small American farms. The program is open to agricultural businesses that fit the USDA definition of a Family Farm and have been in business for three years.
Entries are due by April 30, 2015.

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program
NRCS is making $332 million in financial and technical assistance available to eligible partners for purchasing Agricultural Land Easements that protect the agricultural use and conservation values of eligible land. Eligible partners include Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs.
Applications must be submitted by May 15, 2015, to be considered for fiscal year 2015 funding.

Western SARE Graduate Student Grants
Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is accepting applications for Graduate Student Grants of up to $25,000. Projects must include both research and education and address issues in sustainable agriculture of current and potential importance to the region. Masters or Ph.D. students enrolled full time at accredited colleges or universities in the Western region are eligible to apply.
Proposals are due May 13, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Sound and Sensible Organics, Part II
April 28, 2015 ~ Homestead, Florida
April 30, 2015 ~ Tallahassee, Florida
May 6, 2015 ~ Atlanta, Georgia
May 7, 2015 ~ Commerce, Georgia
May 12, 2015 ~ Toney, Alabama
May 27, 2015 ~ Hermanville, Mississippi

NCAT's Gulf States office is continuing its free workshop series about organic certification for producers in the Gulf States region. This half-day training is designed to help farmers understand what types of records and information are required during an inspection of an organic farm, as well as the ways inspectors verify that all applicable farm activities are in compliance with the national organic standards.

National Value-Added Agriculture Conference
May 18-20, 2015
Austin, Texas

This conference addresses food security, rural development, and value-added agriculture. The theme is "The Future of the U.S. Food System: Providing Nutritious, Sustainable, and Healthy Food for All Americans." The conference will include breakout sessions and tours and will feature innovative businesses.

Louisiana Farm to School Conference
May 27, 2015
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

LSU AgCenter will host a statewide farm-to-school conference to bring together school administrators, teachers and parents, food service managers, farmers, food distributors, and others involved with Louisiana agriculture, school gardens, and healthy school meals.The conference will center on education, gardening, and procurement.

>> More Events

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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page 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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© 2015 NCAT

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New ATTRA Publication
Specialty Melon Production for Small and Direct-Market Growers

Question of the Week
How can I get rid of Pleasing fungus beetles with natural predators or organic pesticides?

Newly Online in Our Webinar Archive
Selling to Institutional Markets: Strategies and Considerations for Montana Producers

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