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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 8, 2019

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

  • National Organic Program Launches Organic Integrity Learning Center
  • Life Cycle Analysis Shows Ecosystem Approach to Livestock Can Be Carbon-Negative
  • Design Manual for Riparian Restoration Available
  • Enterprise Budget for Cherry Tomatoes Published by PFI
  • USDA Amends National List for Organic Livestock and Handling
  • Wisconsin County Offers Incentive for Continuous Cover

Funding Opportunities

  • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Sustainable Agricultural Systems
  • Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grant Program
  • Special Research Grants Program Aquaculture Research

Coming Events

  • BattleGround to Breaking Ground Agriculture Business Workshop
  • From Grain to Plate Field Day
  • Farmer to Farmer Field Day: Riverhill Farm

News & Resources

National Organic Program Launches Organic Integrity Learning Center
USDA National Organic Program has launched an online Organic Integrity Learning Center that provides free training for organic professionals. Initial courses include the following: Introduction to the USDA Organic System; Sound and Sensible Organic Certification; Fundamentals of Inspection; Compliance and Enforcement: Adverse Actions, Appeals, and Reinstatements; and Import Oversight Essentials. Each training lesson includes assessments to track learning progress.
Related ATTRA Resources: Organic Farming

Life Cycle Analysis Shows Ecosystem Approach to Livestock Can Be Carbon-Negative
A Life Cycle Analysis conducted by Quantis at White Oak Pastures in south Georgia showed that the farm is storing more carbon in the soil than its cows emit during their lives. General Mills funded the study, which compared soil in fields that had been holistically managed for 0 to 20 years. The results showed that farmer Will Harris' grazing methods are adding soil organic matter and sequestering more carbon than the cows produce.

Related ATTRA Publication: Nutrient Cycling in Pastures

Design Manual for Riparian Restoration Available
The Sage Grouse Initiative has released a free manual for riparian restoration. Low-Tech, Process-Based Restoration of Riverscapes Design Manual outlines restoration strategies using low-tech tools. It gives practitioners step-by-step instructions for how to plan, design, and build low-tech structures and also lays out 10 principles that guide the whole approach. This restoration is widely applicable for wadeable rural streams and, due to its low cost, large areas.

Enterprise Budget for Cherry Tomatoes Published by PFI
Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) has published an enterprise budget for cherry tomato production based on the experiences of Buffalo Ridge Orchard and Echollective Farm in 2018. Each farm reported on yield, revenue, net income, expenses, and labor. Both farms showed that cherry tomatoes were a profitable crop, but the enterprise budget reveals the high labor cost of this crop. It also shows how differences in production methods affect yields per square foot, and how yield and price factors together determine income.
Related ATTRA Publication: Planning for Profit in Sustainable Farming

USDA Amends National List for Organic Livestock and Handling
USDA published a final rule in the Federal Register, amending the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. This amendment allows elemental sulfur to be used in organic livestock production as a topical treatment to repel mites, fleas, and ticks. It also reclassifies potassium acid tartrate from a nonagricultural substance to an agricultural substance, requiring handlers to use the organic form when it is commercially available. The amendments take effect May 30, 2019.
Related ATTRA Publication: Guide for Organic Livestock Producers

Wisconsin County Offers Incentive for Continuous Cover
Dane County, Wisconsin, is providing $750,000 in incentives for farmers to convert land that is currently in an annual crop into perennial cool-season grass mix, native prairie mix, or grazing mix, for a 15-year contract period. The payment is between $1,650 and $2,500 per acre, depending on the type of cover selected. The initiative is designed to help curb agricultural runoff into lakes and streams, and it allows for harvesting and grazing of the cover. Applications are being accepted until May 31, 2019.
Related ATTRA Publication: Converting Cropland to Perennial Grassland

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Sustainable Agricultural Systems
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is accepting letters of intent for the Sustainable Agricultural Systems portion of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program. Applications must focus on systems approaches that promote transformational changes in the U.S. food and agricultural system within the context of the long-term goals outlined in the program area priority description. The amount available for new grants in FY 2019 is $90 million, for awards of up to $10 million each.
Letters of intent are due by June 4, 2019.

Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grant Program
USDA NIFA is accepting applications for the Food Safety Outreach Program, which provides funding for food safety training and education for small and mid-sized producers and processors affected by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In FY 2019, NIFA will fund Community Outreach Projects that will support the development of food safety education and outreach programs in local communities and the expansion of existing food safety education programs that address the needs of small, specialized audiences whose education needs have not previously been adequately addressed. In FY 2019, NIFA will also fund Collaborative Education and Training Projects that will support the development of multi-county, state-wide, or multi-state programs.
Applications are due by June 6, 2019.

Special Research Grants Program Aquaculture Research
USDA NIFA is accepting applications for the Special Research Grants Program - Aquaculture Research. This program funds applied aquaculture research projects to address issues related to the following four topics: 1) Genetics of commercial aquaculture species; 2) Critical disease issues impacting commercial aquaculture species; 3) Design of environmentally and economically sustainable commercial aquaculture production systems; or 4) Economic research for increasing commercial aquaculture profitability. Approximately $1.2 million is available in fiscal year 2019.
Applications are due by May 28, 2019.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

BattleGround to Breaking Ground Agriculture Business Workshop
June 29, 2019
Seguin, Texas
This free, one-day workshop is designed for military veterans, beginning farmers and ranchers, individuals with disabilities, and anyone interested in starting an agriculture business. Sessions will include rural business ideas, business planning, farming/ranching with a disability, and an introduction to support resources.

From Grain to Plate Field Day
June 30, 2019
Ridgeway, Wisconsin
Join the Uplands Watershed Group and Pecatonica Pride Watershed Association at Meadowlark Organic Farm for an exploration of the importance of small grains like wheat, barley, oats, and rye. Tour small-grain fields, see how different crops and field practices affect erosion and infiltration with a rainfall simulator, and engage with terrific speakers.

Farmer to Farmer Field Day: Riverhill Farm
May 30, 2019
Nevada City, California
This Wild Farm Alliance Field Day visits Riverhill Farm, where Alan Haight and Jo McProud transformed a dry grassland with a couple of ponds into a profitable farm and an oasis for birds and other wildlife. They have sculpted the farm using crops, native vegetation, and permeable fencing.

>>More Events

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Soil Health and the Five Soil Health Principles

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