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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 13, 2020

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

  • FSA Reminds Producers of WHIP+ Payments for Drought or Excess Moisture in 2018 or 2019
  • Cover Crops Improve Biological Health of Hot and Semiarid Soils
  • ERS Explores How Healthier Diets Would Affect Natural Resource Use
  • Online Resources Help in Starting Grassfed Meat Buying Clubs
  • USDA Invites Farmers to Submit Photos for #Plant2020
  • Cornell University Offers Online Produce Safety Training

Funding Opportunities

  • USDA Urban Agriculture & Innovative Production
  • Urban Agroforestry RFP
  • Western SARE Research & Education Grants

Coming Events

  • Innovative Direct Marketing for Farmers
  • How Mediation Can Help Farmers
  • Heirs Property: Standing on a Lot of Love

News & Resources

FSA Reminds Producers of WHIP+ Payments for Drought or Excess Moisture in 2018 or 2019
USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) is reminding producers about Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program – Plus (WHIP+) payments to agricultural producers who suffered eligible losses because of drought or excess moisture in 2018 and 2019. Signup for these causes of loss opened March 23, 2020, and producers in qualifying counties who suffered losses can still apply for assistance through WHIP+. Producers who suffered losses should contact their FSA county office.

Cover Crops Improve Biological Health of Hot and Semiarid Soils
A study led by a New Mexico State University researcher showed that cover crops can increase the biological health of soils on hot and dry semiarid lands. The five-year study tested combinations of grasses, legumes, and brassicas. By the third and fourth years, cover crops increased the biological health of soils. Legumes and legume mixes were the most effective in improving soil biology, while oats and oat mixes were most effective in increasing organic matter.

Related ATTRA Publication: Cover Crop Options for Hot and Humid Areas

ERS Explores How Healthier Diets Would Affect Natural Resource Use
USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) reported on how adopting a healthier American diet would change natural resource use in the U.S. food system. The study found that adoption of the Federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans would decrease use of agricultural land, fossil fuels, and forest products by the food system. Meanwhile, greenhouse gas emissions would remain essentially unchanged, but more freshwater would be withdrawn from rivers, lakes, and aquifers.

Online Resources Help in Starting Grassfed Meat Buying Clubs
Future Harvest CASA has posted collections of resources for both farmers and consumers on how to start a buying club for grassfed meat. The resource collections include links to references on the nutritional benefits of grassfed meat, the cuts that a carcass furnishes, pricing information for farmers, and cooking information for customers.

USDA Invites Farmers to Submit Photos for #Plant2020
USDA is inviting the public to join in following the progress of the 2020 planting season through the #Plant2020 campaign. Farmers can submit photos or short videos of their planting for an interactive story map on Farmers.gov. Send a landscape-format photo or video of less than 15 seconds to sharingoursuccesses@usda.gov with a photo descriptions, your city and state, and your Twitter handle.

Cornell University Offers Online Produce Safety Training
Cornell University has begun offering the Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training course in an online format. The course helps produce growers comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule by developing and implementing a farm food safety plan. Participants will earn a completion certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials and the Produce Safety Alliance.
Related ATTRA Resource: On-Farm Food Safety and FSMA

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

USDA Urban Agriculture & Innovative Production
USDA has announced the availability of $3 million for grants through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The competitive grants will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production through Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. USDA is making available $1 million for Planning Projects that initiate or expand efforts of farmers, gardeners, citizens, government officials, schools and other stakeholders in urban areas and suburbs. Projects may target areas of food access, education, business and start-up costs for new farmers, and development of policies related to zoning and other needs of urban production. Meanwhile, $2 million is for Implementation Projects that accelerate existing and emerging models of urban, indoor, and other agricultural practices that serve multiple farmers. Projects will improve local food access and collaborate with partner organizations and may support infrastructure needs, emerging technologies, educational endeavors, and urban farming policy implementation.
Applications are due by July 6, 2020.

Urban Agroforestry RFP
The U.S. Forest Service requests proposals to substantially expand and accelerate the availability of evidence-based information to support community decisions on the adoption and design of urban agriculture that includes agroforestry practices. These projects will support the new USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. Proposals awarded will create educational and outreach materials that support agroforestry practices in urban agriculture systems. Awards are anticipated to be up to $50,000, with a minimum of $25,000 for any one project.
Proposals are due by June 1, 2020.

Western SARE Research & Education Grants
Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) is accepting applications for its Research & Education Grant Program. This grant program involves scientists, agricultural producers, and others using interdisciplinary approaches to advance sustainable agriculture at local and regional levels. Projects are limited to $350,000 for up to three years.
Pre-proposals are due May 22, 2020.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Innovative Direct Marketing for Farmers
May 26, 2020
Online
This webinar is part of the CCOF Foundation's Farmers Marketing: Tools for Success series. Jamie Collins, owner of Serendipity Farms, will highlight techniques she's used to draw in customers and maintain her business in an ever-changing market.

How Mediation Can Help Farmers
May 20, 2020
Online

In this AgriSafe Network webinar, learn how mediation engages farmers in problem solving that can meet their needs and make the world more manageable. The program will describe how mediation can help during the COVID-19 crisis.

Heirs Property: Standing on a Lot of Love
May 21, 2020
Online
Through this session, gain an understanding of the legal structure of heirs property, the values around this ownership model, and opportunities for engagement with heirs property owners that support natural resource conservation and community.

>>More Events

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New ATTRA Blog Post
Adaptive Grazing—You Can Do It

Question of the Week
How do I choose seed for Montana's cold climate?

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May 13, 2020
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