Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 2, 2018
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
- Analysis Shows FSA Loans Important to Beginning Farmers
- New Tools Help Farmers Calculate Food Waste to Reduce Losses
- Infographic and Guide Help Build Farm to Early Care Programs
- Kerr Center Publication Shares Lessons Working with Walk-Behind Tractors
- Seaweed Farming Offers Range of Benefits
- Pennsylvania Law Eases Regulations for High Tunnels
- Southern SARE Professional Development Program
- Acer Access and Development Program
- Michigan Local Food Council Network Seed Grant Program
- The Grassfed Exchange
- Minnesota Agroforestry Institute
- Minority Landowner Magazine's Farmers and Landowners Conference
News & Resources
Analysis Shows FSA Loans Important to Beginning Farmers
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is continuing its analysis of FSA loan-program usage. The latest results, released in a blog post, show that FSA loan programs have been crucial for beginning farmers, who often have difficulty securing credit elsewhere because of limited assets and experience. FSA provides both direct and guaranteed loans, for both land purchase and operating expenses.
Related ATTRA Publication: Financing Your Farm: Guidance for Beginning Farmers
New Tools Help Farmers Calculate Food Waste to Reduce Losses
North Carolina State University researchers are developing tools and other educational resources to help farmers calculate on-farm produce losses. The project has released videos that help farmers estimate losses in cucumbers and sweet potatoes. The website Whole Crop Harvest communicates project progress. In addition, an eight-page PDF guide, How to Determine the Potential to Increase Vegetable Yield Through Estimating and Reducing Field Losses, helps farmers increase produce quality and yield.
Infographic and Guide Help Build Farm to Early Care Programs
Communities wishing to launch farm to early care programs that introduce young children to healthy, locally grown food and support local farmers can make use of new tools from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. A colorful infographic and a step-by-step guide, available online or downloadable in PDF, present sequential, seasonal steps for developing and operating a farm to early care program.
Kerr Center Publication Shares Lessons Working with Walk-Behind Tractors
The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture has a new publication for sale, Farming with Walk-Behind Tractors. The report, written by George Kuepper, relates10 years of experience using walk-behind tractors at the Cannon Horticulture Project. It provides background information for people trying to decide whether two-wheel tractors are a fit for their own operations and works as a basic how-to manual, offering tips on the use of several implements.
Seaweed Farming Offers Range of Benefits
CBS News 60 Minutes explored the benefits of seaweed farming in a feature story. Seaweed farming can not only provide meaningful alternative livelihoods for people who fish, but it offers a low-input means of producing food, livestock feed, and even energy feedstock. In addition, kelp farms can promote a less-acidic ocean environment where shellfish thrive.
Related ATTRA Resource: Ecological Seafood and Aquatic Plant Farming
Pennsylvania Law Eases Regulations for High Tunnels
A new Pennsylvania law means that farmers who use high tunnels will no longer have to meet state regulations intended for commercial and residential development, reports Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. The law prevents municipalities from requiring farmers to submit stormwater management plans on high tunnel structures that meet guidelines.
Related ATTRA Publication: High Tunnels in Urban Agriculture
>>More Breaking News
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Southern SARE Professional Development Program
The Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Professional Development Program is requesting pre-proposals for projects one to two years in duration that provide training on sustainable agriculture for agricultural professionals, educators, and mentor farmers who serve farmers and other interested people in USDA's Southern Region.
Pre-proposals are due June 1, 2018.
Acer Access and Development Program
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has announced $3 million in competitive grant funding available for the Acer Access and Development Program. This program supports the work of states, tribal governments, and research institutions to promote American maple syrup products through market development and promotion projects and improve knowledge, awareness, and understanding of the maple-syrup industry.
Applications are due June 8, 2018.
Michigan Local Food Council Network Seed Grant Program
The Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University is offering grants of up to $5,000, or $6,000 with matching funds, to Michigan local food or food policy councils. Seed grants can be used for a variety of capacity-building activities including hiring staff or consultants, conducting strategic planning, and attending conferences and events.
Proposals are due by May 17, 2018.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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The Grassfed Exchange
June 20-22, 2018
Rapid City, South Dakota
This is a gathering of regenerative ranchers, dairymen, and sustainable food supporters from across the world who come together to network and exchange ideas. The event seeks to help producers and consumers grow in knowledge of the grassfed industry.
Minnesota Agroforestry Institute
June 19-21, 2018
This training hosted by University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center includes classroom workshops and on-farm visits. Learn more about windbreaks, alley cropping, silvopasture, riparian buffers, and forest farming in Minnesota.
Minority Landowner Magazine's Farmers and Landowners Conference
June 14-16, 2018
El Paso, Texas
This conference will connect farmers, ranchers, and landowners to agricultural resource professionals at the federal, state, university, community-based, and private-sector levels.
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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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