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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 26, 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

  • Our Farms, Our Future Conference Set for April 2018
  • Annual Cover Crop Survey Invites Farmer Participation
  • USDA Count of Certified Organic Operations Shows Continued Growth
  • Cover Crops May Help Agriculture Mitigate Climate Change
  • Midwest Cover Crops Council Meeting Proceedings Online
  • Economic Impact of Agritourism in Virginia Calculated in New Report

Funding Opportunities

  • Massachusetts Farm Viability Enhancement Program
  • Mississippi Conservation Technical Assistance
  • National Water Quality Initiative in Florida

Coming Events

  • Farm-Based Food Safety Training in Montana
  • Entrepreneur to Table
  • MarketReady Training

News & Resources

Our Farms, Our Future Conference Set for April 2018
USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE) and NCAT/ATTRA will host the Our Farms, Our Future conference April 3-5, 2018, in St. Louis, Missouri. Every decade, SARE hosts a conference to look at the progress of sustainability in agriculture and to understand our trajectory for the future. The event will include keynote speakers, producer panel sessions, farm tours, project posters by SARE grant recipients, breakout sessions, and a pre-conference session for military veterans.

Annual Cover Crop Survey Invites Farmer Participation
Farmers across the country are asked to share their cover crop information in the annual survey conducted by the Conservation Technology Information Center, SARE, and the American Seed Trade Association. The online survey will take most farmers five to 10 minutes. Organizers are interested in responses from farmers who use cover crops, used to plant them, or have never tried them. The survey is open until May 15, 2017.

USDA Count of Certified Organic Operations Shows Continued Growth
USDA has announced new data indicating the organic industry continues to grow, with 24,650 certified organic operations in the United States, and 37,032 around the world. The count of U.S. certified organic farms and businesses reflects a 13% increase in 2016. The complete list of certified organic farms and businesses is available through the Organic Integrity Database.

Cover Crops May Help Agriculture Mitigate Climate Change
Penn State University research says cover crops can play an important role in climate-change mitigation and adaptation. Trials in Pennsylvania and central Spain showed that cover-crop effects on greenhouse-gas fluxes typically mitigate 100 to 150 grams of carbon per square meter per year. Surface albedo change—energy from sunlight reflecting off fields—may mitigate 12 to 46 grams of carbon per square meter per year.
Related ATTRA Resources: Soils and Compost Videos

Midwest Cover Crops Council Meeting Proceedings Online
The Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) has posted the proceedings of its 2017 meeting, held in March. State reports from the MCCC business meeting are available, as well as the keynote speech on cover crop termination. Numerous presentations from the concurrent sessions on field crops, vegetable crops, and forage and grazing are also available online.

Economic Impact of Agritourism in Virginia Calculated in New Report
A new economic impact study conducted by Virginia Tech shows that Virginia's agritourism industry accounts for $2.2 billion in economic activity. The report also shows that the Commonwealth's 1,400 agritourism businesses support 22,000 jobs, contribute $840 million in income, and pay $135 million in state and local taxes.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tips for Selling with: Agritourism and "Pick-Your-Own"

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Massachusetts Farm Viability Enhancement Program
This program seeks to improve the economic viability and environmental integrity of Massachusetts farms through the development and implementation of farm viability plans. The program offers farmers environmental, technical, and business-planning assistance to expand, upgrade, and modernize their existing operations. Capital for implementing improvements is available in exchange for an agricultural covenant on the farm property for a fixed term of five or 10 years.
The deadline for applications is May 15, 2017.

Mississippi Conservation Technical Assistance
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Mississippi is offering $2 million in Cooperative Agreements to increase the participation of Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers, including Beginning Farmers, Limited Resource producers, Socially Disadvantaged Landowners, and Veterans, in USDA programs while increasing their access to and awareness of present and future conservation programs and practices. NRCS requests applications from qualified individuals and organizations that share a common interest in the conservation and restoration of natural resources throughout Mississippi.
Applications are due May 5, 2017.

National Water Quality Initiative in Florida
Agricultural producers in three Florida watersheds can apply for financial assistance from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. The watersheds are Deep Creek and Clarks Creek on the Lower St. Johns River and the Little Scurlock Creek Watershed on the Lower Choctawhatchee River. The National Water Quality Initiative helps farmers and ranchers adopt conservation practices such as improving soil nutrient management, planting cover crops, using conservation cropping systems, establishing filter strips, and monitoring water quality.
Applications must be submitted by May 19, 2017.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Farm-Based Food Safety Training in Montana
May 19, 2017
Power, Montana

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is organizing this workshop at Prairie Heritage Farm, designed for fresh-produce growers who want to enter into wholesale markets that may require a food-safety plan.

Entrepreneur to Table
June 1-2, 2017
Brattleboro, Vermont
The Slow Living Summit and Windham Grows present this free summit focusing on how to start or grow a conscious small business. The Summit tracks are farm to table, entrepreneurship, and permaculture.

MarketReady Training
May 31, 2017
New Orleans, Louisiana

This training is one in a series offered by LSU AgCenter across the state for those interested in selling products to restaurants, grocers/wholesalers/retailers, and schools/institutions.

>>More Events

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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page 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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New ATTRA Publication
Farm to School Sales: Profiles of Ranches Making It Work

Question of the Week
Can I plant milo or corn using a no-till drill after timothy grass has run its course in late May?

Ask an Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online or by calling 1-800-346-9140

Planning for Success for Vegetable Producers
Two consecutive day-long, free workshops in Perryville, Arkansas on May 10 and 11, 2017. Register now!

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