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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

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

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

News & Resources

  • Farm Commons Offers Podcast Series on COVID-19 Effects on Farms
  • USDA Seeks Peer Reviewers for Grant Programs
  • Organic No-Till Soybeans Competitive, Says Penn State Study
  • Western Farmers Invited to Participate in Cover Crop Survey
  • USDA Invites Public Input on Ag Innovation Agenda
  • Payroll Protection Program Funds Available to Farmers

Funding Opportunities

  • CIG On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials
  • Eat the Change Impact
  • Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Graduate Student Grant

Coming Events

  • Marketing: The Tables Have Turned
  • Non-timber Forest Products in the United States: Access, production, markets, and market values
  • Disaster Recovery for the Food System

News & Resources

Farm Commons Offers Podcast Series on COVID-19 Effects on Farms
Farm Commons has created a special series of six podcasts addressing COVID-19's effect on farm businesses. These free podcasts of approximately 30 minutes each cover the legal ramifications of topics such as sick leave, unemployment, social distancing, diversifying sales, and online sales.

USDA Seeks Peer Reviewers for Grant Programs
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service seeks subject matter experts as peer reviewers to objectively evaluate grant applications. Programs seeking grant reviewers include the Farmers Market Promotion Program, Local Food Promotion Program, Regional Food Systems Partnerships, and others. Reviewers should expect to commit approximately six weeks to complete the reviews, by phone and e-mail. Non-federal reviewers will receive a stipend. Application instructions are available online.

Organic No-Till Soybeans Competitive, Says Penn State Study
A new study by Penn State researchers showed that using no-till and reduced-tillage production methods on soybeans can achieve yields similar to tillage-based production at competitive costs. Reduced-tillage soybeans resulted in 50% less soil disturbance and had lower input costs, which offset slightly lower yields. Researchers hope the finding will help promote more domestic production of no-till organic soybeans.

Related ATTRA Resource: No-Till Case Study, Brown’s Ranch: Improving Soil Health Improves the Bottom Line

Western Farmers Invited to Participate in Cover Crop Survey
The University of Idaho, Oregon State University, and Boise State University, on behalf of the Western Cover Crops Council, are conducting a survey to improve understanding of cover crop use throughout the U.S. West, Guam, and Micronesia. Whether you plant cover crops now, planted them in the past, or have never planted them, your perspective is important. This brief survey will take approximately five to 10 minutes to complete.

USDA Invites Public Input on Ag Innovation Agenda
USDA announced it is seeking public and private sector input on the most important ag innovation opportunities to further its work on the Agriculture Innovation Agenda. Using input provided, USDA will identify common themes across the agriculture customer base to inform research and innovation efforts. USDA is accepting public comments and written stakeholder input through August 1, 2020.

Payroll Protection Program Funds Available to Farmers
Under the Paycheck Protection Program administered by the Small Business Administration, farmers with fewer than 500 employees and earning less than $1 million in annual revenues can receive federal emergency relief. Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) explains that eligible operations can receive an emergency loan equal to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs. A post from CSFA offers instructions on how to apply and details on how the program works.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

CIG On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting proposals for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials. NRCS will invest up to $25 million for On-Farm Trials in 2020. This funding is designed to offer, through partners, technical and financial assistance to producers to help compensate for any risks associated with implementation of new conservation practices, systems, and approaches. NRCS is seeking proposals that address at least one of its main priorities: Irrigation Management Technologies; Precision Agriculture Technologies and Strategies; Management Technologies and Strategies; and Soil Health Demonstration Trials.
Proposals are due by May 11, 2020.

Eat the Change Impact
Eat the Change (ETC) is supporting nonprofit leaders who work to raise awareness about climate-friendly diets. ETC expects to award eight grants of $20,000 each to national organizations focused on educating consumers about the link between diet and climate impact, and 15 to 20 grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 to local organizations focused on educating and mobilizing consumers to adopt more planet-friendly diets. All applicants must be 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.
Applications are due by May 15, 2020.

Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Graduate Student Grant
The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program is accepting applications for Graduate Student Grants. Research projects that fully address issues of sustainable agriculture of current and potential importance to the Southern Region are eligible for submission. The maximum award is $16,500 for two years' work.
Proposals are due by May 1, 2020.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Marketing: The Tables Have Turned
April 9, 2020
Online
This webinar from Understanding Ag with Dr. Allen Williams will explore how the recent coronavirus pandemic has impacted the agricultural and food markets and how you can take advantage of these markets and plan for the future.

Non-timber Forest Products in the United States: Access, production, markets, and market values
April 14, 2020
Online
In this free webinar, NC State University Extension Forestry and USDA Forest Service explore access, production, markets, and market values of non-timber forest products in the United States, including the continuum of production from wild-harvesting to forest farming.

Disaster Recovery for the Food System
April 15, 2020
Online

The Council of Development Finance Agencies Food Systems Finance Webinar Series showcases how development finance agencies are investing in local food systems. This series explores how the development finance toolbox can be used to generate investment for different focus areas.

>>More Events

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The ATTRA Blog
Rethinking Crop Insurance in the Time of Pandemic: Risk and Uncertainty by Jeff Schahczenski, NCAT Agricultural and Natural Resource Economist

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