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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 25, 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

  • USDA Unveils New Food Hub Resource Guide
  • Vermont New Farmer Project Offers The Guide to Financing the Community Supported Farm
  • Initial Draft of Sustainable Agriculture Standard Released
  • Farmers Market Advocacy Toolkit Online
  • Guide to Starting a Commercial Goat Dairy Released
  • Survey Shows Southeast Farmers Need Organic Seed Research, Education

Funding Opportunities

  • EQIP Organic Initiative Application Period 3
  • Risk Management Education in Targeted States
  • Grow Wisconsin Dairy Grant

Coming Events

  • Organic On-farm Plant Breeding Short Course
  • Retail Farm Market School
  • Summer Practicum in Sustainable Farming & Food Justice

News & Resources

USDA Unveils New Food Hub Resource Guide
The U. S. Department of Agriculture has released its first Regional Food Hub Resource Guide, a reference designed to help expand market opportunities for small and mid-sized producers. The guide is an extensive collection of information and resources, providing background on everything needed to develop or participate in a regional food hub. The guide outlines funding opportunities, support resources, best practices, strategies to address challenges, and more.

Vermont New Farmer Project Offers The Guide to Financing the Community Supported Farm
The University of Vermont Center for Sustainable Agriculture's New Farmer Project is making The Guide to Financing the Community Supported Farm available online. The free 62-page guide addresses legal, accounting, environmental, and social considerations relevant to pursuing customized financial agreements, and contains case study examples of farms that have used alternative financing.
Related ATTRA Publication: Financing Your Farm: Guidance for Beginning Farmers

Initial Draft of Sustainable Agriculture Standard Released
An initial draft of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard (LEO-4000) has been released for review by the Sustainable Agriculture Standard Committee. While this working draft has been prepared for review and revision internally, the opportunity to review the document is open to the public. It is available as a PDF on the Sustainable Agriculture Standard website.

Farmers Market Advocacy Toolkit Online
The Farmers Market Coalition has posted a Farmers Market Advocacy Toolkit, including three brief guides to aid in communicating with legislative leaders about farmers markets. The guides address lobbying, bonding with your legislator, and the Farm Bill. In addition, Farmers Market Coalition has prepared a general Farmers Market Promotion Program Fact Sheet, along with two success stories of past projects.

Guide to Starting a Commercial Goat Dairy Released
A Guide to Starting a Commercial Goat Dairy, a new publication from the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture, is available free online. The book covers what beginning goat dairy farmers should consider, including such topics as time and financial management, recordkeeping, goat selection, the cost of raising replacements, nutrition, grazing, and marketing. Additional chapters offer material on equipment, barn and cheese facilities, udder health, out-of-season breeding, and milk measurement recording.
Related ATTRA Publication: Dairy Goats: Sustainable Production

Survey Shows Southeast Farmers Need Organic Seed Research, Education
Organic Seed Alliance has released preliminary findings from a survey in the Southeast, showing enormous interest in strengthening seed systems in the region to address the needs of the organic community. The survey collected responses from nearly 500 farmers. Nearly half report saving seed for on-farm use, and more than 75 percent report turning to other farmers for seed-related questions. Based on the overwhelming response to the survey, a project committee made up of farm organizations, universities, and farmers is planning upcoming work in the Southeast.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

EQIP Organic Initiative Application Period 3
The 2012 Organic Initiative provides financial assistance for organic producers to implement conservation practices. Assistance is limited to $20,000 per year and $80,000 during a six-year period. Applications for the EQIP Organic Initiative are accepted on a continuous basis, but NRCS has established application deadlines when eligible applications will be ranked and approved for funding. Find information online about how ATTRA can help applicants meet the application deadline.
The Application Period 3 submission deadline is June 1, 2012.

Risk Management Education in Targeted States
The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation intends to award approximately $5 million to fund cooperative agreements under the Risk Management Education in Targeted States Program. The purpose of the program is to deliver crop insurance education and information to agricultural producers in states where there is a low level of Federal crop insurance participation and availability. These states are Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Deadline for applications is May 18, 2012.

Grow Wisconsin Dairy Producer Grant
The Grow Wisconsin Dairy Producer Grant is a flexible, customizable grant available to producers to retain farms, facilitate operational changes, improve profitability, and yield more milk. This grant can be applied to hire consultants to address specific business needs. The Planning & Preparation Teams program offers up to $5,000 to be applied towards business development and expansion needs. The Dairy Profit Teams grant of up to $5,000 develops an on-farm management team to assist dairy producers in improving management and identifying opportunities to improve profit.
Grant applications must be received by May 7, 2012, for FY 2012 consideration.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Organic On-farm Plant Breeding Short Course
June 4-5, 2012
Port Townsend, Washington

Learn the fundamental skills to develop and adapt seed varieties for your organic farm conditions at this workshop hosted by the Organic Seed Alliance. Organic plant breeding specialist Dr. John Navazio will discuss the biology of seed production, seed harvest and cleaning, choosing appropriate seed crops for your system and climate, maintaining genetic integrity, conducting variety trials, and basic on-farm breeding techniques.

Retail Farm Market School
May 24, 2012
Allentown, Pennsylvania

Penn State Extension offers a day-long course designed for retail farm and farmers market employees. The course provides basic knowledge in the science of produce and the art of produce marketing. The material is valuable for anyone who handles, processes, or merchandises fresh market produce.

Summer Practicum in Sustainable Farming & Food Justice
May 31 - June 26, 2012
Ithaca, New York

Tompkins Cortland Community College and Groundswell offer this program for students from any discipline or non-students. The course meets Monday through Thursday to explore the issues affecting social justice and sustainability of agriculture and food systems through readings, discussion, lectures, field trips, labs, and immersion in the actual work of operating a successful and sustainable small farm.

>> 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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Updated Publication
Organic Standards for Crop Production: Excerpts of USDA's National Organic Program Regulations

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