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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 10, 2013

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

  • NSAC Launches New Food-Safety Site
  • New Tool to Spur Economic Development through Food Businesses Released
  • ERS Updates Farm Typology, Increasing Number of Small Farms and Production Share
  • Sodexo and Real Food Challenge Sign Food Chain Transparency Agreement
  • Farmer Veteran Coalition Incorporates, Names First Board of Directors
  • California Organic Variety Trial Report Released

Funding Opportunities

  • North Central Region SARE Professional Development Grant Program
  • Regional IPM Competitive Grants Program
  • Nebraska Specialty Crop Grant

Coming Events

  • Texas Organic Workshops
  • Urban Agriculture Conference
  • Southern Plains Windbreak Renovation and Innovation Workshop

News & Resources

NSAC Launches New Food-Safety Site
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has launched a new food-safety website that provides an overview and background of the Food Safety Modernization Act, information about the two proposed rules now open for public comment, and instructions on how to comment. NSAC will be adding content to the site about specific issues in the proposed rules for farmers, on-farm processors, and consumers.

New Tool to Spur Economic Development through Food Businesses Released
Communities interested in fostering economic development around local and regional food can find examples and how-to information in Food Innovation Districts: An Economic Gardening Tool. The new resource from the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments was developed in partnership with the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems and Regional Food Solutions LLC. The tool provides guidance to planners, developers, elected officials, and community advocates on supporting farm and food businesses in collaboration and innovation.

ERS Updates Farm Typology, Increasing Number of Small Farms and Production Share
USDA Economic Research Service has released Updating the ERS Farm Typology. This report revises the 15-year-old farm typology used by ERS to reflect two recent trends: commodity price inflation and a shift in production to farms with sales of $1 million or more. The revised typology adjusts for price inflation by increasing the cutoff between small and larger-scale farms from $250,000 to $350,000 and by increasing the upper bound on low-sales farms from $100,000 to $150,000. The revised typology moderately increases the share of farms classified as small and increases the small-farm share of production from 16% to 29%.

Sodexo and Real Food Challenge Sign Food Chain Transparency Agreement
Sodexo and Real Food Challenge have jointly announced an agreement that advances supply chain transparency on Sodexo-contracted campuses. The agreement puts in place a rigorous and comprehensive set of standards, defined by the Real Food Calculator, for judging the social responsibility and sustainability of Sodexo's vendors and food producers. The assessment tool lays out four key criteria for evaluating 'real food': local and community-based, fair, ecologically sound, and humane.

Farmer Veteran Coalition Incorporates, Names First Board of Directors
The Farmer Veteran Coalition has announced that it has filed articles of incorporation and will seat its first official board of directors. The Farmer Veteran Coalition provides practical skills education, career counseling, and one-on-one coaching to prepare veterans to become farmers. The coalition has grown into a network of veterans pursuing careers in agriculture in 48 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam. The new board is comprised of leaders from national farm organizations, academia, the military, and the Farmer Veteran community.

California Organic Variety Trial Report Released
Organic Seed Alliance has released the 2012 California Organic Variety Trial Report. Researchers evaluated close to 100 varieties of broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, green beans, and Japanese cucumber. The report includes detailed descriptions of trial locations, trial methods, trial result evaluations, and recommendations. The report is available for free download.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

North Central Region SARE Professional Development Grant Program
The North Central Region SARE Professional Development Grant Program (PDP) supports state professional development programs and competitive grants for training agricultural professionals. Awards range from $30,000 to $75,000. Educators with Extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and non-profit groups are eligible to apply.
Preproposals must be submitted by May 16, 2013.

Regional IPM Competitive Grants Program
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is accepting applications for the Regional IPM Competitive Grants Program (RIPM). The RIPM program supports projects that develop individual pest control tactics, integrate individual tactics into an IPM system, and develop and implement extension and education programs. The program is administered by the land-grant university system's four regional IPM Centers (North Central, Northeastern, Southern, Western) in partnership with NIFA. State agricultural experiment stations and land-grant colleges and universities are eligible to apply for grants up to $175,000.
Applications are due by May 16, 2013.

Nebraska Specialty Crop Grant
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture is currently accepting specialty crop grant proposals. Eligible projects must solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and may focus on the following topics: research, education, consumption, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant pest and disease control, or organic and sustainable production practices.
Concept proposals are due by April 19, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Texas Organic Workshops
April 10, 11, 15, 16, 18, or May 1, 14, or 17, 2013
Various Locations in Texas

Agricultural producers, partners, and those interested in organic production and soil health are encouraged to attend Organic Production, Seasonal High Tunnel, and Soil Health workshops hosted by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. These free workshops are being held to increase awareness of conservation planning for organic production and implementation of seasonal high tunnels.

Urban Agriculture Conference
May 15-17, 2013
New York, New York

The Horticultural Society of New York presents this conference. It will focus on increasing awareness of food security and will explore the potential of food production in urban environments as a prominent and viable alternative. Several themes will be explored: food and culture, community networks, sustainable urban agriculture, youth engagement, economics, local food sovereignty, policy, and more.

Southern Plains Windbreak Renovation and Innovation Workshop
May 21-23, 2013
Dodge City, Kansas
This workshop will bring together technical expertise and experience to facilitate learning and sharing about windbreak renovation. It will discuss how to incorporate innovation into the design and management of windbreaks and how to make windbreaks truly multifunctional.

>> More Events

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