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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 16, 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

  • Michigan State University Studies Wild Pollinator Habitat Investment Payback
  • Farming for Improved Ecosystem Services Seen as Economically Feasible
  • Researchers Explore Restaurant Managers' Connection to Local Food
  • RMA Answers Frequently Asked Questions on Cover Crop Management
  • Indiana Joins USDA Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program
  • USDA Economic Research Service Updates Organic Agriculture Information

Funding Opportunities

  • Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
  • Southern SARE Professional Development Program Grants
  • Colorado Specialty Crop Block Grant

Coming Events

  • Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network Webinar: HACCP in an Hour
  • Maine Pollination Workshops
  • New Markets for Bioenergy Crops

News & Resources

Michigan State University Studies Wild Pollinator Habitat Investment Payback
Michigan State University research reported in the Journal of Applied Ecology shows that investing in wild pollinator habitat can improve crop pollination and pay farmers back within four years. Researchers found that, after two years, blueberry fields adjacent to wild pollinator habitat showed higher populations of wild bees and more and larger berries.
Related ATTRA Publication: Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees

Farming for Improved Ecosystem Services Seen as Economically Feasible
By changing row-crop management practices in economically and environmentally stable ways, U.S. farms could contribute to improved water quality, biological diversity, pest suppression, and soil fertility while helping to stabilize the climate, according to an article in BioScience. Researchers with the Long Term Ecological Research Network at the Kellogg Biological Station in southwest Michigan investigated the yields and the environmental benefits achievable in systems that used cover crops, reduced chemicals, and no-till techniques. They also found that farmers appear willing to provide ecosystem services in exchange for payments.

Researchers Explore Restaurant Managers' Connection to Local Food
Researchers at Penn State report that restaurant chefs and food purchasing managers who have bought local foods in the past are more likely to continue adding them to menus and store shelves. In a study, managers and chefs indicated the importance of producer response time as a key factor in local purchasing. Clear labeling was another selling point. Food purchasers also indicated that they would not stock local food just because it is local, but that the food needed a unique selling point.
Related ATTRA Publication: Selling to Restaurants

RMA Answers Frequently Asked Questions on Cover Crop Management
The USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) has released Frequently Asked Questions on cover crop management and the Natural Resources Conservation Service Cover Crop Termination Guidelines. RMA made changes to provide more flexibility for cover crop management due to changing weather conditions and changes in cover crop practices for the 2014 crop year.

Indiana Joins USDA Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program
Indiana has become the fourth state to join USDA's Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program. The program allows inspected and approved small, state-inspected meat processors to bear an official USDA Mark of Inspection and ship meat and poultry across state lines.

USDA Economic Research Service Updates Organic Agriculture Information
Consumer demand for organically produced goods has shown double-digit growth for well over a decade, providing market incentives for U.S. farmers across a broad range of products, says USDA Economic Research Service (ERS). ERS has posted a section on Organic Agriculture that includes an updated Organic Market Overview, information on certification and trade, and organic provisions of the Farm Bill.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is an education, training, technical assistance, and outreach program designed to help farmers, ranchers, and managers of non-industrial private forest land—specifically those aiming to start farming and those who have been farming or ranching for 10 or fewer years. The National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will competitively award more than $19 million in grants to organizations conducting programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers.
Applications are due June 12, 2014.

Southern SARE Professional Development Program Grants
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) is accepting pre-proposals for the Professional Development Program (PDP) Grants. PDP is a "train the trainer" program. Activities may include seminars, workshops, farm tours, on-farm demonstrations, or the marketing and distributing of training materials.
Pre-proposals are due by June 2, 2014.

Colorado Specialty Crop Block Grant
Colorado Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for an estimated $700,000 in specialty crop block grants to enhance the competitiveness of Colorado-grown specialty crops in either domestic or foreign markets. Producer groups, organizations, and associations, as well as state and/or local organizations, academia and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply.
Proposals must be received by May 1, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network Webinar: HACCP in an Hour
May 29, 2014
Online

This webinar covers the basics of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). If you're a farmer or rancher who brings animals to an inspected processor, if you're thinking you might want to get into the processing business, or if you just want to know what HACCP actually is, this webinar is for you.

Maine Pollination Workshops
May 20, 27, or 28, 2014
Monmouth, Warren, or Jonesboro, Maine

Researchers from the University of Maine are hosting a series of free pollination workshops for fruit and vegetable growers. These workshops will provide instruction for apple and blueberry growers on assessing bees' impact on fruit set and identifying wild bees. They will also include information on strategies to improve habitat for wild bees.

New Markets for Bioenergy Crops
May 21, 2014
State College, Pennsylvania

Join Penn State Extension for this short course exploring the non-energy market opportunities for bioenergy crops in the region. Industry experts and researchers will present the current and future state of markets for biomass crops as feedstock for packaging, building materials, mulch, bedding, sorbents, and substrate material.

>> More Events

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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.

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New ATTRA Publication
Cherries: Organic Production

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How can I treat frothy bloat in my cow?

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