Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 4, 2016
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.
NCAT Is Recruiting for Two Sustainable Agriculture Staff Positions
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is
seeking an experienced manager to coordinate a groundbreaking food justice project in Mississippi and
an experienced manager to develop and help coordinate sustainable agriculture projects in Montana and nationally. Applications will be accepted through May 22, 2016.
News & Resources
- USDA Unveils Urban Agriculture Toolkit
- USDA Equipment Loan Program Expanded to Help Small-Scale Farmers Get Products to Market
- New USDA Resource to Help Food Hubs Improve Financial Performance
- Interactive Cover Crops Website Now Includes Kansas
- New Partnerships to Link Underserved Farmers to FSA Programs
- Study Shows Most Retiring Farmers in New England Have No One to Take Over the Farm
- Western SARE Research & Education Grants
- Massachusetts Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture Program
- North Dakota Honey Bee Research and Promotion Grant
- Mother Earth News Fair
- Farming with Native Pollinators: Creating a Place for Bees and Bugs
- In Her Boots: Beginning Livestock and Grazing
News & Resources
USDA Unveils Urban Agriculture Toolkit
USDA's new Urban Agriculture Toolkit is an electronic document that helps urban and small farms navigate more than 70 helpful resources, including technical assistance and financing opportunities. It focuses on some of the most pressing challenges confronting urban producers, such as land access, soil quality, water resources, capital and financing, infrastructure, market development, production strategies, and applying for federal, state, or private foundation grants.
Related ATTRA Resource: Urban Agriculture
USDA Equipment Loan Program Expanded to Help Small-Scale Farmers Get Products to Market
USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) will provide a new financing option through the Farm Storage Facility Loan program to help farmers purchase portable storage and handling equipment, such as mobile coolers or refrigerated trucks. Changes to the program also include a smaller microloan option for applicants seeking less than $50,000, with lower down payments.
Farms and ranches of all sizes are eligible.
New USDA Resource to Help Food Hubs Improve Financial Performance
USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service has released a new resource to help food hubs improve their financial performance. Running a Food Hub: Assessing Financial Viability provides modules and best practices for food hubs to maximize profits and control costs. Part of a multi-volume series published by USDA Rural Development, the report provides technical assistance for food hubs at different stages of development.
Interactive Cover Crops Website Now Includes Kansas
The online Midwest Cover Crops Council Decision Tool has been expanded to include Kansas. This interactive tool helps farmers evaluate cover-crop options for specific situations and locations. Farmers enter their locations, soil types, cash crops, planting and harvesting dates, and indicate their top three cover-crop priorities. The tool generates a ranked list of cover crop options for that specific situation, including planting information.
New Partnerships to Link Underserved Farmers to FSA Programs
USDA has announced cooperative agreements with 55 partners to educate historically underserved farmers and other producers about FSA programs that provide financial, disaster, or technical support. Nearly $2.5 million will go to nonprofits, associations, universities, and foundations that will provide training and information on agricultural best practices, local networking opportunities, and more. FSA is also accepting proposals until July 11, 2016, for the second evaluation period of the Outreach and Education initiative.
Study Shows Most Retiring Farmers in New England Have No One to Take Over the Farm
A study released by American Farmland Trust and Land For Good says that nearly 30% of New England's farmers are likely to exit farming in the next 10+ years, and nine out of 10 are farming without a young farmer alongside them. The year-long study sheds new light on what will be needed to facilitate the transition of farms and farmland in New England to a next generation of farmers.
>> More Breaking News
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Western SARE Research & Education Grants
These grants support scientists, producers, and others using interdisciplinary approaches to address issues related to sustaining agriculture in the Western SARE region. Agricultural producers must be partners in the project. Funding generally does not exceed $250,000. Projects must incorporate both research and education.
Pre-proposals are due June 1, 2016.
Massachusetts Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture Program
This program helps Massachusetts farmers who have been in business for at least one, but no more than five, years acquire equipment and other non-land assets or make infrastructure improvements that can help ensure the financial viability of their farm businesses. Matching funds up to $10,000 are available to implement improvement strategies after individual business review and analysis provided through the program.
The deadline for applications is June 8, 2016.
North Dakota Honey Bee Research and Promotion Grant
The North Dakota Department of Agriculture is seeking grant proposals for approximately $100,000 available to fund research and promotion of honey bees. There are five research priorities relating to bee health and problem-solving. Proposals for honey promotion and outreach projects must have a direct benefit to North Dakota producers.
Grant applications must be received by June 1, 2016.
>> More Funding Opportunities
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Mother Earth News Fair
June 4-5, 2016
This event features keynote speakers, workshops, demonstrations, vendors, and exhibitors on modern homesteading, animal husbandry, organic gardening, green building, natural health, renewable energy, and real food.
Farming with Native Pollinators: Creating a Place for Bees and Bugs
June 4, 2016
This full-day workshop, led by the Xerces Society, will focus on protecting and enhancing populations of pollinators, especially bees, in agricultural landscapes. The course will provide an overview of bee natural history and discuss protecting and creating habitat, modifying horticultural practices, and managing pests while protecting pollinators.
In Her Boots: Beginning Livestock and Grazing
June 3, 2016
This workshop offers a unique opportunity to explore integrating livestock from a female-farmer point of view. A team of seasoned female farmers show participants how to care for diverse livestock—hogs, goats, sheep, and poultry—on pasture. The day-long workshop includes a tour of a farrow-to-finish hog operation.
>> More Events
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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.
Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.
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