Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 19, 2017
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.
News & Resources
- CoBank Report Predicts Bright Future for Organic Milk
- Grazing-Contract Fact Sheet Available Online
- Organic Farming Research Foundation Awards Research Grants
- High Tunnels Tested for Berry Production in University of Arkansas Study
- ERS Report Identifies Key Drivers for School Districts that Serve Local Food Daily
- Texas Stewardship Week Highlights Importance of Voluntary Stewardship in Protecting Water
- Western SARE Graduate Student Grants
- NIFA Crop Protection and Pest Management
- Kansas Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
- Planning for Success
- National Farm Viability Conference
- Specialty Crop Field Days
News & Resources
CoBank Report Predicts Bright Future for Organic Milk
A new report from CoBank points to a bright future for the U.S. organic milk industry, leading a record number of dairies to transition to organic milk production. The report notes that organic milk prices offer a substantial premium to producers, and year-long contracts common for organic production may temper monthly price volatility.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tipsheet: Organic Cattle, Sheep, and Goats for Dairy
Grazing-Contract Fact Sheet Available Online
Pasture and Grazing Arrangements for Beef Cattle, a two-page fact sheet from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, outlines considerations for both landowners and renters when negotiating yearly or long-term grazing-land leases. It provides an overview of four common types of arrangements, along with suggestions on how to structure agreements for the benefit of both parties.
Related ATTRA Publication: Grazing Contracts for Livestock
Organic Farming Research Foundation Awards Research Grants
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is awarding its 2017 research grants to five innovative projects. The projects include using soil protein as an indicator of soil health; developing a no-till system for small-scale vegetable producers; testing organic grain productivity; evaluating organic strawberry transplants; and managing corn earworm in sweet corn. Results of OFRF-funded projects are available online.
High Tunnels Tested for Berry Production in University of Arkansas Study
A Southern-SARE funded study by the University of Arkansas found that high tunnels can increase berry yields, extend the season, and improve fruit quality, but that pest management can be a challenge. Southern SARE also reports that the researchers developed economic tools and a Sustainable Blackberry and Raspberry Self-Assessment Workbook to help growers' decision-making.
Related ATTRA Publication: Brambles: Organic Production
ERS Report Identifies Key Drivers for School Districts that Serve Local Food Daily
USDA Economic Research Service has published Daily Access to Local Foods for School Meals: Key Drivers. The report found that 19% of all school districts served at least one locally sourced food item daily. School districts with enrollment above 5,000, urban districts, and those districts in counties with higher density of farmers markets were more likely to serve local foods daily. The full report is available online.
Texas Stewardship Week Highlights Importance of Voluntary Stewardship in Protecting Water
A number of Texas agencies and organizations have joined in "No Land No Water™," a campaign to highlight the importance of voluntary land stewardship. Soil and Water Stewardship Week is April 30 through May 7, 2017. Organizers point out that voluntary stewardship and innovative agricultural practices increase the quantity and improve the quality of water, and that rural working lands are crucial to protecting and preserving water resources. The campaign has its own website.
Related NCAT Resource: Soil for Water
>>More Breaking News
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Western SARE Graduate Student Grants
Western SARE is accepting applications for Graduate Student Grants in Sustainable Agriculture. Masters or Ph.D. students enrolled full time at accredited colleges or universities in the Western region can apply for a maximum of $25,000 for projects up to two years in duration. Proposals must address sustainable agriculture issues of importance to the region and must involve agricultural producers.
Applications are due by May 17, 2017.
NIFA Crop Protection and Pest Management
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture requests applications to address critical integrated pest management (IPM) needs to ensure food security and respond effectively to other major societal pest-management challenges. In FY 2017, NIFA will competitively solicit only the Applied Research and Development Program Area and the Extension Implementation Program Area applications. Approximately $4.1 million is available for ARDP and $8.0 million for EIP. Colleges and universities are eligible to apply.
The application deadline is May 9, 2017.
Kansas Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
Kansas Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for projects to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Approximately $295,000 is expected to be available. Applications should show how the project potentially impacts the specialty crop industry and/or the public and produces measurable outcomes.
Applications are due by May 12, 2017.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Planning for Success
May 10 and/or 11, 2017
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and Heifer International are offering this free workshop. Participants can attend either or both days. Day one will focus on sustainable vegetable production and the second day will focus on small-scale equipment and scaling up production.
National Farm Viability Conference
May 22, 2017
Albany, New York
This conference is focused on strengthening farm sustainability, building stronger and more resilient local food systems, and supporting the long-term profitability of farming and agri-entrepreneurs, from start-ups to generational businesses.
Specialty Crop Field Days
May 24-25, 2017
Growers interested in learning about specialty crop growing techniques in northern Wisconsin are invited to visit four local farms where specialty crops including strawberries, blueberries, tree fruits, and nuts are grown.
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ATTRA was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
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