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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 29, 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

  • New Planning Tool to Help Transitioning Organic Farmers Save on Paperwork
  • USDA Announces Plans to Partner with Farmers and Ranchers to Address Climate Change
  • USDA Invites Comment on Proposed Rule for Transitioning Dairy Animals to Organic Production
  • North Central Region SARE Announces Grant Recipients
  • Pollinator Habitat Publications Released by Kerr Center
  • Online Farmers Market Food Safety Training Offered

Funding Opportunities

  • Southern SARE Professional Development Program Grant
  • Farm Business Management and Benchmarking Competitive Grants Program
  • Arkansas Specialty Crop Block Grant

Coming Events

  • Midwest Farm Energy Conference
  • Grow Riverside
  • Farm & Homestead Day at MOFGA

News & Resources

New Planning Tool to Help Transitioning Organic Farmers Save on Paperwork
The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) and NRCS have collaborated to provide producers working with NRCS on a Conservation Activity Plan 138 (CAP 138) with a new tool, NOP 2616: Resource Inventory Supplements. Instead of completing a full separate organic system plan, organic producers who complete a CAP 138 to apply for NRCS financial assistance may submit the CAP 138 Resource Inventory section and supplements to their certifiers.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic System Plan Template for Crop and/or Livestock Production

USDA Announces Plans to Partner with Farmers and Ranchers to Address Climate Change
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has introduced a comprehensive USDA approach to partnering with agricultural producers to address the threat of climate change. New initiatives will utilize voluntary, incentive-based conservation, forestry, and energy programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration, and expand renewable energy production in the agricultural and forestry sectors. These include efforts to promote soil health, nitrogen stewardship, rotational grazing management, and reduced emissions from livestock operations.

USDA Invites Comment on Proposed Rule for Transitioning Dairy Animals to Organic Production
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking comments on a proposed rule to clarify the requirements for the transition of dairy animals into organic production. The proposed rule requires that milk or milk products labeled, sold, or represented as organic be from dairy animals that have been organically managed since the last third of gestation, with a one-time allowance for a producer to convert conventional dairy animals to organic milk production after a one-year transitional period. The organic community, stakeholders, and consumers are invited to submit written comments by July 27, 2015.
Related ATTRA Publication: Guide for Organic Livestock Producers

North Central Region SARE Announces Grant Recipients
North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) has announced the projects recommended for funding for its Farmer Rancher, Youth Educator, and Partnership competitive grant programs in 2015. In all, more than 70 sustainable agriculture grant projects were selected to receive a total of almost $1 million. Brief descriptions of the projects selected for funding are available online.

Pollinator Habitat Publications Released by Kerr Center
The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture has released two new publications on pollinator habitat. Native Plants for Native Pollinators in Oklahoma is a full-color guidebook that provides information on 38 native plants and the pollinators that visit them. Establishing Native Pollinator Habitat Organically: Tips from Our Experience at Kerr Center is a four-page PDF. The Kerr Center has also released an eight-page publication, Cover Crops as Beneficial Insect Habitats: Observations from a Demonstration Organic Market Farm, that outlines experiences in using cover crops as beneficial insect habitat in rotational organic market farming.

Online Farmers Market Food Safety Training Offered
Four new online food safety training modules are being offered for farmers market managers and vendors through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The four modules cover pre-harvest, post-harvest, marketing and best practices at the market, and value-added products. The training is free and a completion certificate is offered.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Southern SARE Professional Development Program Grant
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) is accepting pre-proposals for Professional Development Program (PDP) grants. PDP is a "train the trainer" program. Activities may include seminars, workshops, farm tours, on-farm demonstrations, or marketing and distributing training materials.
Pre-proposals are due June 1, 2015.

Farm Business Management and Benchmarking Competitive Grants Program
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture requests applications for the Farm Business Management and Benchmarking Competitive Grants Program for fiscal year 2015. The funding is meant to improve the farm-management knowledge and skills of agricultural producers and maintain the national, publicly available farm financial management database to support improved farm management.
Applications are due by May 27, 2015.

Arkansas Specialty Crop Block Grant
The Arkansas Agriculture Department is accepting proposals for projects to enhance the competitiveness of Arkansas specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables, floriculture, and nuts. State corporations, commodity associations, non-profit organizations, state and local government entities, and colleges and universities are eligible to apply for an expected $307,000.
Applications are due by May 29, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Midwest Farm Energy Conference
June 17-19, 2015
Morris, Minnesota

This conference at the University of Minnesota's West Central Research and Outreach Center will address energy-optimized systems for dairy production and energy conservation and generation in swine facilities. It will provide practical information for agricultural producers, networking with energy experts, and renewable energy bus tours.

Grow Riverside
June 11-13, 2015
Riverside, California

This conference on The Future of Local Food, presented by Seedstock in partnership with the City of Riverside, will assist cities in examining and forming solutions to develop and strengthen their urban agriculture and local food infrastructure.

Farm & Homestead Day at MOFGA
June 13, 2015
Unity, Maine

Farm & Homestead Day at MOFGA is a free, volunteer-driven event offering hands-on workshops based on re-skilling for resiliency. Workshops this year include splicing rope, making round poles, scarfing wood joints, goat-milking, cheese-making, and more.

>> More Events

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New ATTRA Publication Managing Internal Parasites: Success Stories

Question of the Week
When moving trees from our nursery to their final locations, is it best to dig them up bare root or with a significant root ball?

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