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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 1, 2013

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.

NCAT Seeks Midwest Regional Office Director
Put your education and experience to work helping American farmers and ranchers. The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is seeking a full-time Sustainable Agriculture or Marketing Specialist to direct program work in our Midwest Regional office in Des Moines, Iowa. Application information is available online.

News & Resources

  • ERS Reports Characteristics of Women Farm Operators
  • Report Documents North Central Universities' Organic Activities
  • USDA, Dairy Producers Renew Sustainability Agreement
  • Report Identifies Obstacles to Adoption of Beneficial Management Practices on California Farms
  • Minnesota Turkey Farm Tests Energy-Efficient Lighting
  • Garden Gleaning Toolkit Available Online

Funding Opportunities

  • Western SARE Graduate Student Grants in Sustainable Agriculture
  • Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - Methyl Bromide Transitions
  • Alabama Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Armed to Farm
  • Farm & Homestead Day
  • Urban Grown Farms and Gardens Week

News & Resources

ERS Reports Characteristics of Women Farm Operators
USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) has released Characteristics of Women Farm Operators and Their Farms, based on Census of Agriculture data from 1978 through 2007. ERS reports that women-operated farms increased in all sales classes, but noted that most women-operated farms are very small. Nearly half of farms operated by women specialized in grazing livestock; however, women-operated farms specializing in poultry, specialty crops, grains, or dairy had the most sales. There were 306,200 women reported as principal farm operators.

Report Documents North Central Universities' Organic Activities
The Ceres Trust has released Organic Research and Outreach in the North Central Region. The 99-page PDF report identifies organic activities at 12 land grant universities. The report finds more than 1,475 acres of university land being used for organic research. Six universities offer organic, sustainable, or agroecology minors or concentrations to undergraduates, and all 12 universities in the North Central Region offer graduate student organic research opportunities. Eight have student farms that use organic methods.

USDA, Dairy Producers Renew Sustainability Agreement
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack has renewed a historic agreement with U.S. dairy producers to accelerate the adoption of innovative waste-to-energy projects and energy-efficiency improvements on U.S. dairy farms. One objective is to increase the construction of anaerobic digesters and explore innovative ways to use products previously considered waste streams from dairy production, processing, and handling.

Report Identifies Obstacles to Adoption of Beneficial Management Practices on California Farms
According to a new study from American Farmland Trust, specialty crop growers in California are increasingly adopting beneficial management practices (BMPs); however, significant up-front costs and perceived loss of crop yield are limiting wider adoption. Encouraging California Specialty Crop Growers to Adopt Environmentally Beneficial Management Practices for Efficient Irrigation and Nutrient Management highlights effective incentives and outlines recommendations for encouraging more widespread BMP adoption.

Minnesota Turkey Farm Tests Energy-Efficient Lighting
The Minnesota Project is working with a turkey farmer to document the performance of LED lighting in poultry barns. The LED lamps are 87 percent more efficient than 100-watt incandescents. A mid-point report shows the bulbs holding up under typical turkey barn conditions. The LED lamps give farmers more control over color and brightness, allowing them to simulate natural light patterns that may improve flock health and productivity.
Related ATTRA Publication: Energy-Efficient Lighting for the Farm

Garden Gleaning Toolkit Available Online
Hennepin County's Healthy Eating Minnesota Project has released Garden Gleaning: A Toolkit for Growers and Food Shelves. For gardeners, this toolkit provides resources and advice for how to best partner with a nearby food shelf, including figuring out what to grow, how to pack produce for donation, setting up a donating system, legality and liability, safe food handling, and more. For food shelves, the toolkit is a handy guide for starting or developing a gleaning program.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Western SARE Graduate Student Grants in Sustainable Agriculture
Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program has issued a call for proposals for Graduate Student Grants. Masters or Ph.D. students enrolled full-time at accredited colleges or universities in the Western Region are eligible to apply for a maximum of $25,000. Grants are offered for projects that provide readily adaptable technologies and information suitable to the adoption of sustainable farming and ranching systems by producers in the Western Region.
Proposals are due by May 16, 2013.

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - Methyl Bromide Transitions
The Methyl Bromide Transitions program focuses on integrated commercial-scale research on methyl bromide alternatives and associated extension activity that will foster the adoption of these solutions. Applications may be submitted to the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture by colleges and universities.
Applications are due by May 21, 2013.

Alabama Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries is accepting proposals for the 2013 Specialty Crop Block Grant program. Commodity groups, ag organizations, colleges and universities, producers, municipalities, state agencies, Native American Tribal Organizations, and agricultural nonprofits and for-profits are eligible to apply. Awards range from $5,000 to $25,000.
Applications are due by May 10, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Armed to Farm
June 17-22, 2013
Fayetteville, Arkansas

The National Center for Appropriate Technology is presenting Armed to Farm to provide veterans and their spouses an opportunity to see sustainable, profitable, small-scale farming enterprises. Veterans will examine farming as a viable career and will learn about the capital, labor, and risks involved in farming, as well as the return on investment that is realistically possible. The free course will be a dynamic blend of farm tours and hands-on experience with classroom instruction. Participants will learn about business planning, budgeting, recordkeeping, marketing, livestock production, fruit and vegetable production, and more. Applications to participate are due May 10.

Farm & Homestead Day
June 15, 2013
Unity, Maine

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) presents a free, hands-on skill-sharing event. Come and learn all you need to know and more about living in rural Maine.

Urban Grown Farms and Gardens Week
June 15-23, 2013
Kansas City, Missouri
This week-long series of events includes a crop mob; workshops on urban growing, eggs, and beekeeping; speaker Mark Bittman; and a two-day tour featuring 60 urban farms and gardens.

>> 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.

© 2013 NCAT

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