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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 13, 2015

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

  • Instructor's Manual for Teaching Small-Farm Marketing Updated
  • U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards for 2015 Presented
  • Soil Scientists Summarize Precarious State of Soil Resources
  • Tilth Producers of Washington Introduces Wiki for Farmers
  • Guide and Videos Support Marketing Healthy Food to Schools
  • New Version of Farmers' Guide to Value-Added Producer Grant Funding Available

Funding Opportunities

  • Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG)
  • Regional Conservation Partnership Program
  • Farmers Market SNAP Support Grants

Coming Events

  • Whole-Farm Revenue Protection Field Day in Eastern Iowa
  • Grazing Field Day
  • Missouri Dairy Grazing Conference

News & Resources

Instructor's Manual for Teaching Small-Farm Marketing Updated
The Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems has released Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors, 2nd Edition. The 400-page manual, available free online or at cost in print, draws on nearly 50 years of experience teaching skills to beginning organic farmers and gardeners at the UC Santa Cruz Farm & Garden Apprenticeship. The new edition includes lectures, student exercises, and resources.

U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards for 2015 Presented
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has presented the 2015 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards, recognizing and honoring outstanding dairy farms, businesses, and partnerships for socially responsible, economically viable, and environmentally sound practices. Dorrich Dairy in Glenwood, Minnesota, and Nobis Dairy Farms in St. Johns, Michigan, were recognized for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability.

Soil Scientists Summarize Precarious State of Soil Resources
Leading soil scientists have released a review of scientific literature that summarizes the precarious state of the world's soil resources and the possible ramifications for human security. The paper published in the journal Science outlines threats to soil productivity and food production due to soil erosion, nutrient exhaustion, urbanization, and climate change.

Tilth Producers of Washington Introduces Wiki for Farmers
Tilth Producers of Washington has introduced Wiki for Farmers, an online resource dedicated to organic and sustainable agriculture. Farmers, agricultural experts, researchers, and farm advocates are invited to author articles, which may be edited and discussed by other users. Instructions for joining and for submitting articles are online.

Guide and Videos Support Marketing Healthy Food to Schools
The Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems has released Marketing Healthy Foods in Wisconsin K-12 Schools. This comprehensive resource includes suggestions for creating promotions, using the menu as a marketing tool, and capitalizing on social media. The guide also includes the Healthy Food and Farm to School Marketing Self Assessment. The 51-page guide is available online, as are three video training sessions.

New Version of Farmers' Guide to Value-Added Producer Grant Funding Available
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has released an updated version of its Farmers' Guide to Value-Added Producer Grant Funding. The guide includes changes to the program from the 2014 Farm Bill. The guide also provides clear information on the program's application requirements, including a step-by-step description of the application and ranking processes.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG)
USDA is making $30 million available through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) to farmers, ranchers, and food entrepreneurs to develop new product lines. Independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer or rancher cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures are eligible to apply.
Electronic applications are due July 2, 2015. Hard-copy applications are due July 7, 2015.

Regional Conservation Partnership Program
Through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), USDA NRCS seeks to co-invest with partners in innovative, workable, and cost-effective approaches to benefit farming, ranching, and forest operations, local economies, and the communities and resources in a watershed or other geographic area. This will be the second round of projects funded through RCPP with $225 million in funding anticipated.
Pre-proposals are due July 8, 2015.

Farmers Market SNAP Support Grants
USDA Food and Nutrition Service has announced the availability of $3.3 million in Farmers Market SNAP Support Grants in fiscal year 2015. Grant funds must be used to conduct tasks that are necessary for SNAP to operate at farmers markets, and to increase the number and effectiveness of farmers market participation in SNAP. Grants up to $250,000 are offered.
A letter of intent to apply is due May 18, 2015; applications are due June 18, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Whole-Farm Revenue Protection Field Day in Eastern Iowa
June 28, 2015
Tripoli, Iowa

This field day will begin with a presentation of the new Whole-Farm Revenue Protection crop insurance program by Jeff Schahczenski of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). Diversified producer Rob Faux will speak about the role of the Iowa Organic Association and lead a tour of his Genuine Faux Farm.

Grazing Field Day
June 27, 2015
Caldwell, Idaho

This day-long event will cover grass finishing, pastured dairy, grazing management, genetics, water conservation, cover crops, soil health, profitability, and regenerative agriculture.

Missouri Dairy Grazing Conference
July 7-8, 2015
Springfield, Missouri

Farm tours will visit local pasture-based dairy operations. Presentations will be given by university faculty, industry, and dairy producers on the latest information related to dairy grazing systems.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest Archives
Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest newsletters are available online.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page 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.

© 2015 NCAT

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New ATTRA Publication Tips for: Preventing Internal Parasites

Question of the Week
Should I consider a solar energy system to reduce my dairy farm's electric costs?

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ATTRA Webinar
May 21 ~ NCAT's Jeff Schahczenski looks at how Whole-Farm Revenue Protection crop insurance may improve coverage and lower insurance costs.
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