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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 22, 2015

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

  • USDA Reports Record Number of Organic Producers
  • Case Studies Highlight Local Government Support for Local Food
  • Net Houses Help High Tunnel Growers Manage Pests
  • Wyoming Passes Food Freedom Law
  • Farmers Find Niche Market in Non-GMO Crops
  • Organic Industry Survey Shows Record Growth

Funding Opportunities

  • Southern SARE Research & Education Grants
  • Iowa State Soil Conservation Committee Research and Demonstration Grant Program
  • Conservation Innovation Grants in Idaho

Coming Events

  • Strolling of the Heifers
  • HMI Open Gate Learning Day: Triple Cross Farm
  • Mother Earth News Fair

News & Resources

USDA Reports Record Number of Organic Producers
USDA has announced that the organic industry continues to show remarkable growth domestically and globally, with 19,474 certified organic operations in the United States. According to data released by the Agricultural Marketing Service's National Organic Program, the number of certified organic operations in the country increased by more than 5% over the last year.

Case Studies Highlight Local Government Support for Local Food
The Center for Regional Food Studies at the University of Michigan and the International City/County Management Association's Center for Sustainable Communities have released Growing Local Food Systems: A Case Study Series on Local Governments. This report features four case studies highlighting local government support for food systems in North Carolina, Georgia, Maine, and Michigan.

Net Houses Help High Tunnel Growers Manage Pests
High Tunnel Pest Exclusion System: A novel strategy for organic crop production in the South, produced by Alabama Cooperative Extension and supported by Southern SARE, provides preliminary research data and field observations. Shade cloths, also called net houses, are installed on the sidewalls and endwalls of a high tunnel and are designed to exclude pests while supporting beneficial insect populations.

Wyoming Passes Food Freedom Law
Wyoming's new Food Freedom Act allows consumers to buy processed produce, poultry, eggs, and unpasteurized milk direct from the cook or farmer, reports Wyoming Public Radio. Some of the state's producers are reporting a surge of interest in local products following passage of the law.

Farmers Find Niche Market in Non-GMO Crops
The Des Moines Register reports that some Iowa farmers are finding a niche market in growing non-GMO corn and soybeans. The market for non-GMO food products has increased seven-fold since 2011. The article reports that farmers growing non-GMO crops were recently receiving $2 a bushel more than market price for soybeans and $0.35 more per bushel for non-GMO corn, and that non-GMO seed may also save farmers money.

Organic Industry Survey Shows Record Growth
The Organic Trade Association has released the results of its latest Organic Industry Survey. Sales of organic food and non-food products in the United States totaled a record-breaking $39.1 billion, up 11.3% from the previous year.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Southern SARE Research & Education Grants
The Southern Region of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program is accepting pre-proposals for the 2015 Research & Education Grants program. Grants support systems research and education activities that address sustainable agriculture issues of current and potential importance to the region and nation.
Pre-proposals are due June 1, 2015.

Iowa State Soil Conservation Committee Research and Demonstration Grant Program
Iowa's State Soil Conservation Committee Research and Demonstration Fund has $150,000 available to support research or education/demonstration projects that explore sustainable agriculture and projects focused on reducing nonpoint pollution. Funds are available to collaborative teams of scientists, farmers, institutions, soil and water conservation districts, and educators. Individual grants cannot exceed $50,000.
Applications are due by May 22, 2015.

Conservation Innovation Grants in Idaho
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Idaho is offering $150,000 through the 2015 Conservation Innovation Grant program, which funds projects that demonstrate innovative, on-the-ground conservation techniques and strategies. Priorities for Fiscal Year 2015 funds are projects that address erosion or Greater Sage-Grouse habitat. The maximum grant is $75,000.
Applications are due by May 15, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Strolling of the Heifers
June 3-7, 2015
Brattleboro, Vermont

This multifaceted event celebrates local food systems. It includes the fifth annual Strolling of the Heifers Slow Living Summit, the Strolling of the Heifers parade and Slow Living Expo, the Farmers Breakfast, and Tour de Heifer bike rides.

HMI Open Gate Learning Day: Triple Cross Farm
June 6, 2015
Fruitvale, Texas

The Open Gate Learning Series from Holistic Management International consists of farm/ranch field days hosted by an experienced Holistic Management practitioner. Attendees have the opportunity to identify common challenges and discuss creative solutions. This event is titled "Improving Water and Nutritional Cycles for Land, Animal and Human Health."

Mother Earth News Fair
June 6-7, 2015
Albany, Oregon

The Mother Earth News Fair is a fun-filled, family-oriented, sustainable-lifestyle event featuring more than 150 practical, hands-on demonstrations and workshops and products and services from hundreds of regional and national vendors.

>> More Events

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