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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 18, 2012

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

  • FDA Announces Strategy to Keep Antimicrobials Effective
  • Biodegradable Mulch Demonstration Results Reported
  • Working Trees Info Sheets Highlight Agroforestry Practices
  • NRCS Announces Water Bank Program for Wildlife Habitat
  • 6th National Small Farm Conference Accepting Submissions
  • Michigan Farm Families Featured on Website, Baseball Cards

Funding Opportunities

  • Farm to School
  • North Central SARE Professional Development Program
  • Kansas Component Conservation Innovation Grants

Coming Events

  • Mother Earth News Fair
  • How to Start Your Own Farm Dinner Business
  • Grassfed Beef Conference

News & Resources

FDA Announces Strategy to Keep Antimicrobials Effective
FDA has settled on a strategy to phase out production uses of medically important antimicrobials and provide that they be used only for targeted, FDA-approved animal health purposes under the supervision of a veterinarian. FDA has released three documents that outline a collaborative approach to keeping antimicrobials effective by limiting their use in animals destined for food to specific medical needs.

Biodegradable Mulch Demonstration Results Reported
Penn State Extension educators have reported on grower trials of biodegradable films made from plant starches as an alternative to black plastic mulch. Vegetable growers found that some biodegradable mulches performed well and were cost-competitive when the costs of removing and disposing of plastic mulch were considered.

Working Trees Info Sheets Highlight Agroforestry Practices
USDA National Agroforestry Center has introduced Working Trees info sheets that highlight a single issue or benefit that an agroforestry practice can address or provide. The first two info sheets, which are available online in PDF, cover forest farming and alley cropping.
Related ATTRA Publication: Agroforestry: An Overview

NRCS Announces Water Bank Program for Wildlife Habitat
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that $7 million will be available to help eligible landowners and operators in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota voluntarily enhance wildlife habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. The newly funded Water Bank Program provides landowners and operators with an alternative use for their flooded or frequently flooded lands, such as quality wildlife habitat for priority migratory bird species.

6th National Small Farm Conference Accepting Submissions
The 6th National Small Farm Conference, "Promoting the Successes of Small Farmers and Ranchers," will take place in Memphis, Tennessee, September 18-20, 2012. Conference organizers will still consider abstract submissions in specific topic areas, as listed on the conference website. In addition, organizers are seeking submissions for exhibits, success stories, and poster paper presentations.

Michigan Farm Families Featured on Website, Baseball Cards
The Michigan Land Use Institute has launched a new pilot project featuring biographical stories and photographs of 20 farm families growing food in the northwest Lower Michigan region. The biographies are being packaged as Web-based articles, posters, farmer ‘baseball cards,' and market cards to help promote the farmers and raise consumer awareness. The Know Your Farmer biographies are being posted on the Taste the Local Difference Project website.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

USDA Farm to School Grants
The USDA Food & Nutrition Service anticipates awarding up to $3.5 million in grant funding to support efforts that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. USDA is accepting applications for planning grants to fund new initiatives and for implementation grants to develop existing initiatives. Planning grants are expected to range from $20,000 to $45,000 and represent approximately 25 percent of the total awards. Implementation grants are expected to range from $65,000 to $100,000 and represent approximately 75 percent of the total awards. The applicant must provide at least a 25-percent match for the grant.
Proposals are due June 15, 2012. A suggested letter of intent to apply is due May 18, 2012.

North Central SARE Professional Development Program
The North Central Region SARE Professional Development Program offers funds for projects that provide sustainable agriculture training to agricultural professionals and educators. Projects can be up to three years in duration. A total of approximately $400,000 will be available, with a maximum of $75,000 per project.
Preproposals are due by May 16, 2012.

Kansas Component Conservation Innovation Grants
Kansas NRCS requests applications for $200,000 in Conservation Innovation Grants to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. Eligible governmental or non-governmental organizations or individuals may apply for grants of up to $50,000.
Applications must be received by April 27, 2012.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Mother Earth News Fair
June 2-3, 2012
Puyallup, Washington

The Mother Earth News Fairs are fun-filled, family-oriented, sustainable lifestyle events that feature dozens of practical, hands-on demonstrations and workshops. Workshop tracks include Animal Husbandry, Modern Homesteading, and Real Food. Presenters include Will Allen, Joel Salatin, Carol Ekarius, and many more.

How to Start Your Own Farm Dinner Business
May 5-6, 2012
Boulder, Colorado

This workshop is intended for cooks, chefs, artists and artisans, farmers, food lovers, and anyone who feels inspired by seasonal, locally grown foods—and mobile kitchens. Veronica Volny, founder of Meadow Lark Farm Dinners, and licensed contractor Bill Young will present everything you need to know to get your own farm dinner business off the ground.

Grassfed Beef Conference
May 30-31, 2012
College Station, Texas

Texas AgriLife Extension Service offers an opportunity to learn more about grassfed beef production. The conference includes sessions on defining natural, grassfed, and organic; forage-based nutrition for cattle; cattle types suited for grassfed beef; and marketing a unique product.

>> More Events

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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 was funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

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© 2012 NCAT

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