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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 30, 2014

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.

ATTRA Publications Now Available on Amazon
ATTRA has begun placing many of its more than 400 publications on Amazon, where they can be downloaded to e-readers. Publications range from organic production to building a micro-hydro system and obtaining crop insurance. Enter "ATTRA" under the "Kindle Store" search option on the Amazon site. Publications are still available on the ATTRA website, as well.

News & Resources

  • USDA Announces Additional Support for Small and Mid-Sized Farmers and Ranchers
  • Sustainable Food Trade Association Says Members Reducing Environmental Footprint
  • NOP Accepting Comments on Post-Harvest Handling Guidance
  • Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture Releases Research Results
  • USDA Updating National Farmers Market Directory
  • IATP Releases Interactive Food System Tour

Funding Opportunities

  • USDA Market Access Program
  • Conservation Innovation Grants in Kansas
  • Mississippi Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Strolling of the Heifers Weekend
  • From Service to Stewardship: A Workshop for Veterans on Farming with Heritage Breeds of Livestock and Poultry
  • Alternative Agriculture Field Day

News & Resources

USDA Announces Additional Support for Small and Mid-Sized Farmers and Ranchers
USDA has announced several new programs and resources for small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers. This support includes $7 million in university research grant awards to develop programs that will assist small and medium-sized farmers in growing their operations, enhancing their production, and becoming economically viable. USDA is also providing $8.8 million in technical assistance for small, socially disadvantaged producers and Rural Cooperative Centers. In addition, USDA announced a new marketing certification program for small and very small grass-fed beef producers. More information is available on USDA's Small and Mid-Sized Farmer Resources webpage.

Sustainable Food Trade Association Says Members Reducing Environmental Footprint
According to the Sustainable Food Trade Association's (SFTA) second annual Member Sustainability Progress Report, the organic food industry is taking giant strides to reduce its footprint in 11 areas from farm to retail. The report highlights 64 member companies' use of renewable energy, packaging reduction, and community involvement.

NOP Accepting Comments on Post-Harvest Handling Guidance
The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) has published a draft guidance that provides information on substances that may be used in post-harvest handling (washing, cooling, sorting) of raw organic products. Public comment on the draft guidance is being accepted until June 24, 2014, via Regulations.gov.

Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture Releases Research Results
Summaries of six recently completed projects sponsored by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture are now available. The projects concern bird use of prairie conservation strips, school gardens and children's diets, increasing farm resiliency, partnerships for growing farmers, recordkeeping education for fruit and vegetable producers, and results from the Long-Term Agro-ecological Research (LTAR) experiment.

USDA Updating National Farmers Market Directory
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has begun its annual updating process for the USDA National Farmers Market Directory. Market listings can be added and updated at www.usdadirectoryupdate.com. The complete directory will be released for National Farmers Market Week, the first week of August.

IATP Releases Interactive Food System Tour
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) has released Justice and Health: Missing Ingredients in the U.S. Food System, an interactive tour of the U.S. food system. The online presentation explores increasing concentration in the food market, compares prices paid to farmers with retail prices, and reveals statistics on minority farmers.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

USDA Market Access Program
Through the Market Access Program (MAP), USDA Foreign Agricultural Service enters agreements with U.S. agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state regional trade groups, and small businesses to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products and commodities. Program funding for FY 2015 is $200 million.
Applications are due by May 19, 2014.

Conservation Innovation Grants in Kansas
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has announced the availability of $200,000 for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) in Kansas. Priority will be given to applications that relate to nutrient management, energy conservation, soil health, air quality, climate change, wildlife, economics, sociology, environmental markets, food safety, historically underserved groups, or assessments of past CIG projects.
Applications must be received by May 16, 2014.

Mississippi Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce is accepting grant applications from state and local organizations, academia, producer associations, industry or community-based groups, and other specialty-crop organizations for projects that will significantly and positively impact the specialty-crop industry in Mississippi.
Applications must be received by May 15, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Strolling of the Heifers Weekend
June 6-8, 2014
Brattleboro, Vermont

This event encompasses a weekend of activities honoring farmers and celebrating local food, built around the world-famous Strolling of the Heifers Parade. A Slow Living Summit will take place June 4-6.

From Service to Stewardship: A Workshop for Veterans on Farming with Heritage Breeds of Livestock and Poultry
June 6-7, 2014
Warrenton, Virginia

Join Virginia Cooperative Extension, The Livestock Conservancy, and the Farmer Veteran Coalition for an intensive workshop that will address poultry, sheep, cattle, hogs, and heritage-breed marketing. The agenda includes a full day in the classroom with local farmers, followed by a day of farm visits.

Alternative Agriculture Field Day
June 4, 2014
Jefferson City, Missouri

Lincoln University Cooperative Extension presents this afternoon field day promoting sustainable and organic agriculture for small farms. Topics will include integrated pest management, prairie restoration, solar energy, native plants, and pollinators.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives
Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

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 is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

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