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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 29, 2020

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.

COVID-19 Resources on the ATTRA Website
NCAT has a new video series that offers ideas for building food security and resiliency at home and in your communities. Find it on our COVID-19 web page, along with links to other publications and information for farmers and ranchers on food safety, business assistance, and alternative markets.

News & Resources

  • Specialty Crop Multi-State Program Awards $9.5 Million in Grants
  • Grass-Cast Tool Helps Predict Productivity
  • New Varieties of Organic Beans Released by UC Davis
  • UMass Amherst to Investigate Food Safety of Washing Machines as Greens Dryers
  • New Blog Series Explores How Organic Community is Navigating Coronavirus Pandemic
  • Resource Helps Rangeland Managers Support Monarchs

Funding Opportunities

  • Native American Agriculture Fund
  • Rapid Response Research on COVID-19 Impacts on Agriculture
  • California Biologically Integrated Farming Systems (BIFS) Program

Coming Events

  • Goat and Sheep Management Webinar Series
  • Cultivating Leadership: Creating a Powerful Team Webinar
  • Livestock Guardian Dog Field Day: Online

News & Resources

Specialty Crop Multi-State Program Awards $9.5 Million in Grants
USDA announced the award of $9.5 million in grants through the Specialty Crop Multi-State Program. A total of 11 collaborative projects received funding. Projects address topics such as food safety in cover crop grazing, increasing pomegranate yields, enhancing avocado production, laser scarecrows, and chestnut genetics. A full list of grant recipients, with project descriptions, is available online.

Grass-Cast Tool Helps Predict Productivity
The Grassland Productivity Forecast, or "Grass-Cast," is an online tool developed by USDA scientists to predict whether grasslands are likely to produce above-normal, near-normal, or below-normal amounts of vegetation. The tool covers the Northern Plains, the Southern Plains, and soon New Mexico and Arizona. Grass-Cast will now be providing forecasts for individual 6-mile x 6-mile areas. Grass-Cast maps will be updated every two weeks to incorporate newly observed weather data until the end of August.

New Varieties of Organic Beans Released by UC Davis
University of California, Davis, released six new varieties of beans for organic growing. The varieties were selectively developed from traditional and heirloom varieties for improved yield and disease resistance. The new varieties are UC Tiger's Eye, similar to Tiger's Eye; UC Southwest Gold, similar to Zuni Gold; UC Sunrise, similar to Zuni Gold; UC Southwest Red, similar to Anasazi; UC Four Corners Red, similar to Anasazi; and UC Rio Zape, similar to Rio Zape. Seeds are available through the UC Davis Foundation Seed Program.

UMass Amherst to Investigate Food Safety of Washing Machines as Greens Dryers
University of Massachusetts Amherst food scientists are investigating the food safety of using retrofitted washing machines to spin water off of leafy greens after washing them. Although the practice is common among small growers in the Northeast, scientists say that the method has not yet been well tested regarding food safety. A grant-funded project will allow researchers to assess microbial contamination potential and communicate the results of that work to farmers.

New Blog Series Explores How Organic Community is Navigating Coronavirus Pandemic
CCOF has introduced We Are Essential, a blog series that explores how the organic community is navigating the coronavirus pandemic. Each week, the blog shares a new story that highlights how organic farms, ranches, and businesses are critical to the global response. For example, a post from Jamie Collins, owner of Serendipity Farms, describes measures used to promote safety in the field and at the farmers market.
Related ATTRA Resources: ATTRA COVID-19 Response

Resource Helps Rangeland Managers Support Monarchs
Best Management Practices for the Monarch Butterfly in Oklahoma Rangelands is available free online from the Lands Working Group of the Oklahoma Monarch and Pollinator Collaborative. The PDF publication compiles best practices for monarch habitat, addressing grazing, prescribed burning, brush management, forage harvest, weed control, and habitat establishment and maintenance.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Native American Agriculture Fund
The Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) is accepting applications to support projects that provide business assistance, agricultural education, technical support, and advocacy. NAAF is looking for projects that deliver developed content with practical application to the success of Native farmers and ranchers or that assist individuals in applying the results of research to improve their operations. Nonprofit and educational organizations and federally recognized tribes may apply.
Applications are due June 1, 2020.

Rapid Response Research on COVID-19 Impacts on Agriculture
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is investing up to $9 million in research on the impact of COVID-19 on American agriculture. NIFA is accepting applications for research or extension activities that focus on developing and deploying rapid, reliable, and readily adoptable COVID-19 agricultural strategies across the food and agriculture enterprise: health and security of livestock; food and food processing; well-being of farm workforce, food service providers, and rural Americans; and economic security.
Applications are due June 4, 2020.

California Biologically Integrated Farming Systems (BIFS) Program
California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications for its Biologically Integrated Farming Systems (BIFS) Program. The $1 million program funds on-farm demonstration and evaluation of innovative, biologically based farming systems that employ IPM strategies. The program provides for outreach of innovative, biologically integrated plant-based farming systems that reduce chemical insecticide inputs.
The application deadline has been extended until June 30, 2020.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Goat and Sheep Management Webinar Series
May 5, 7, 12, and 14, 2020
Online
University of Minnesota Extension is hosting a four-part evening webinar series on goat and sheep management for farmers, 4-H'ers, and anyone with goats or sheep.

Cultivating Leadership: Creating a Powerful Team Webinar
May 8, 2020
Online

In Penn State Extension's webinar, learn how to alleviate farm stress and cultivate a productive mindset, strategies to provide better mentoring practices with your agricultural workers, tips for maintaining a motivated workforce on the farm, information and strategies to enhance your agricultural operation's cultural competence, and practical skills to promote team performance.

Livestock Guardian Dog Field Day: Online
May 1, 2020
Online
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will host a free online Livestock Guardian Dog field day on the Zoom meeting platform.

>>More Events

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New ATTRA Video
COVID-19 Local Food Solutions: New Braunfels, Texas, Farmers Market

Question of the Week
How can I boost a commercial potting mix?

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Herbs: The New Commodity
Weekly Wednesday Workshop series
April 29, 2020
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