Home | Newsletter Archives

ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 9, 2014

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

News & Resources

  • Rodale Institute Reports on Alternatives to Black Plastic Mulch
  • USDA Releases Guide on Procuring Local Food for Child Nutrition Programs
  • New Publications Provide On-farm Organic Plant Breeding Instruction
  • New Info Sheets Explore Silvopasture on CRP, Windbreaks on Organic Farms
  • Food Consumers Prioritize Sustainability and Local Food, Says Survey Report
  • Montana Farm to School Video Released

Funding Opportunities

  • Mortgage Lifter
  • Methyl Bromide Transitions Competitive Grant Program
  • Tennessee Specialty Crop Block Grant

Coming Events

  • National Value-Added Agriculture Conference
  • Open Gate On-farm Learning Day
  • Encouraging Pollinators, Beneficial Insects, and Other Good Guys

News & Resources

Rodale Institute Reports on Alternatives to Black Plastic Mulch
Researchers at Rodale Institute have been working to develop a cover crop mulch system in which herbicides are not necessary for weed suppression. Rodale Institute has published Beyond Black Plastic, a 24-page guide that looks beyond plasticulture and evaluates the effects of different mulch systems on soil quality and fertility, weed control, yields, and waste production, as well as profitability for small to mid-size vegetable farms.

USDA Releases Guide on Procuring Local Food for Child Nutrition Programs
USDA Food and Nutrition Service's Farm to School Initiative has released Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs. The 120-page guide covers procurement basics, menu planning, where to find local products, and the variety of ways schools can purchase locally. Examples illustrate the many mechanisms available for districts to procure local food.

New Publications Provide On-farm Organic Plant Breeding Instruction
Organic Seed Alliance has announced the release of four organic plant breeding manuals that walk farmers through the methods of breeding new crop varieties on their farms. Introduction to On-farm Organic Plant Breeding provides farmers with an overview of basic genetics, farm-based experimental design, and breeding techniques appropriate for organic farms. Three other guides, How to Breed Carrots for Organic Agriculture, How to Breed Sweet Corn for Organic Agriculture, and How to Breed Tomatoes for Organic Agriculture, are also available for free download.

New Info Sheets Explore Silvopasture on CRP, Windbreaks on Organic Farms
The USDA National Agroforestry Center has released two new Working Trees Info Sheets that are available online in PDF. Can windbreaks help with organic farming? looks at how agroforestry buffers can be used to help organic farmers maintain the integrity of their products. The second two-page Info Sheet, Is converting CRP to silvopasture right for you?, explains an option that landowners with expiring CRP land may want to consider.

Food Consumers Prioritize Sustainability and Local Food, Says Survey Report
The 2014 Cone Communications Food Issues Trend Tracker reported results of a survey of more than 1,000 adult food shoppers. The survey showed that 77% of shoppers consider sustainability when deciding what food products to buy, while 74% looked for locally produced food, 69% considered animal welfare, and 67% prioritized non-GMO food.

Montana Farm to School Video Released
Lake County Community Development Corporation and Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center have released a short documentary video about farm to school and its positive economic effects in western Montana. Through key interviews, the seven-minute online video Local Farms, Local Kids tells the story of each step local food takes in the journey from the farm to the school.

>> More Breaking News

Back to top


Funding Opportunities

Mortgage Lifter
Beekman 1802 Mortgage Lifter Sauces will divide $13,264 between four promising, small American farms to help them grow into medium-size farms. One $10,000 "Lift" and three $1,088 "Mini-Lifts" are offered. The Mortgage Lifter program is open to any agricultural business that fits the USDA definition of a Family Farm and has been in operation for three years. Applications will be judged on a combination of the feasibility and innovativeness of the applicant's plans, as well as their potential for success.
Entries are due by April 22, 2014.

Methyl Bromide Transitions Competitive Grant Program
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications from colleges and universities for the Methyl Bromide Transition Competitive Grants Program. The program focuses on integrated commercial-scale research on methyl bromide alternatives and associated extension activity that will foster the adoption of these solutions. Grants up to $500,000 are available.
Applications are due by May 6, 2014.

Tennessee Specialty Crop Block Grant
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is accepting proposals for 2014 Specialty Crop Block Grant funds to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Universities, institutions, cooperatives, producers, and industry or community-based organizations may submit a proposal for funding.
Proposals are due May 8, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

Back to top


Coming Events

National Value-Added Agriculture Conference
May 13-15, 2014
Baltimore, Maryland

The conference theme is "Enhancing Food Security and Rural Viability through Innovative Food System Practices and Opportunities." The event celebrates the 10th anniversary of the MarketMaker program and offers a unique opportunity to discuss timely subjects in rural development and food security.

Open Gate On-farm Learning Day
May 17, 2014
Pescadero, California

Holistic Management International is presenting a series of farm/ranch workshops, each hosted by an experienced Holistic Management practitioner and featuring numerous innovative and sustainable agricultural topics and practices. This event focuses on "Resilience through Dry Times."

Encouraging Pollinators, Beneficial Insects, and Other Good Guys
May 17, 2014
Live Oak, Florida

UF/IFAS Small Farms Academy offers this day-long workshop on insect identification; birds, bats, and pollinator habitats; cover cropping and trap crops; insect collection and identification; and plants with extra floral nectaries.

>> More Events

Back to top


Subscribe to the Weekly Harvest

Comments? Questions? Contact us

Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives
Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

© 2014 NCAT

Back to top

Sustainable Producer Spotlight
Pure Land Organic Farm

Question of the Week
What are some options to organically deworm my cow and her calf?

Ask a Sustainable Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online

ATTRA Webinar
Register now for our April 29 webinar on feasibility and viability of urban farms. This webinar provides an analysis of differences between nonprofit and commercial urban farms, based on research by NYU, Penn State, and NCAT-ATTRA.

ATTRA Spanish Newsletter
Subscribe to Cosecha Mensual (Monthly Harvest), ATTRA's Spanish-language e-newsletter

ATTRA is on Facebook!
We feature breaking news on sustainable agriculture topics several times a week. Add us to your Facebook friends list today!

Find us on facebook

 

Follow us on Pinterest

 

 

Support the ATTRA Project


ATTRAs 25th Anniversary

Home | Newsletter Archives