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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 20, 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

  • USDA Seeks Proposals on New Organic Promotion Order
  • USDA to Invest in Water Conservation, Resilience for Drought-Stricken States
  • Payment Options Increase Farmers Market Purchases, Says Study
  • Southern SAWG Offering Food Hub Starter Kit Online
  • Vineyards Practicing Sustainable Pest Management See Increase in Butterflies
  • Nomination Period for National Organic Standards Board Extended

Funding Opportunities

  • Organic Certification Cost Share
  • Northeast SARE Professional Development Grant
  • Vermont Conservation Innovation Grant

Coming Events

  • Dairy Herd Health Workshop
  • Organic Pastured Swine Field Day
  • Agroforestry Academy

News & Resources

USDA Seeks Proposals on New Organic Promotion Order
USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is inviting proposals or partial proposals from the public on a new industry-funded promotion, research, and information order for organic products. The Organic Trade Association (OTA), in collaboration with the GRO Organic Core Committee, formally petitioned USDA to begin steps to conduct a vote on and implement a research and promotion check-off program for the organic industry. Alternative proposals should be submitted to AMS by June 19, 2015.

USDA to Invest in Water Conservation, Resilience for Drought-Stricken States
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest approximately $21 million to help farmers and ranchers apply science-based solutions to mitigate the short- and long-term effects of drought. NRCS will provide technical and financial assistance through EQIP in parts of California, Kansas, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Utah. Producers and landowners are encouraged to visit the NRCS website or stop by their local NRCS office to find out if they are eligible for this new funding.

Payment Options Increase Farmers Market Purchases, Says Study
A study by Washington State University researchers showed that farmers markets could increase customer purchases by accepting credit or debit cards and electronic benefit transfer cards. Payment options didn't attract more customers to the market, but offering them increased the amount of money customers would spend.
Related ATTRA Publication: Montana Farmers Market EBT Manual

Southern SAWG Offering Food Hub Starter Kit Online
Southern SAWG is making available a new Food Hub Starter Kit for agricultural or business professionals, farmers, or community members who are exploring the development of a food hub. The kit contains a short, annotated list of resources gathered from food hub projects around the country. Presentations and webinars from Southern SAWG's food hub learning network project are also available online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Food Hubs: A Producer Guide

Vineyards Practicing Sustainable Pest Management See Increase in Butterflies
Washington State University researchers found that vineyards that create nearby natural habitats have three times the number of butterfly species and four times more butterflies than conventional vineyards. Growers planted native sage-steppe shrubbery in and around their vineyards in an effort to attract beneficial insects to prey on pests. As a side benefit, these vineyards are seeing increases in butterfly species and numbers.
Related ATTRA Publication: Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control

Nomination Period for National Organic Standards Board Extended
USDA AMS has extended the deadline for submitting nominations for the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). AMS seeks nominations for five positions: two organic farmers/producers, two public or consumer interest group representatives, and one USDA-accredited certifying agent. Nominations must be postmarked on or before June 17, 2015.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Organic Certification Cost Share
Through the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program, $11 million is available to organic farms and businesses nationwide. Through the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program, an additional $900,000 is available to organic producers in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Certified organic producers and handlers should contact their state departments of agriculture.
Funds are available through September 30, 2015.

Northeast SARE Professional Development Grant
Northeast SARE Professional Development grants are for organizations to develop and deliver sustainable agriculture training. Awards typically range from $30,000 to $150,000. Projects must be held within the Northeast SARE region.
Preproposals are due by June 30, 2015.

Vermont Conservation Innovation Grant
Up to $225,000 is available for the 2015 Vermont CIG state competition. Proposals are requested from eligible governmental or non-governmental organizations, individuals, or legal entities. For 2015, two categories are prioritized: Water Quality and Energy.
Proposals must be received by June 8, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Dairy Herd Health Workshop
June 29, 2015
Maria Stein, Ohio
Join OSU Extension veterinarian Dr. Gustavo Schuenemann for a workshop at Othmary Farm on herd health monitoring and recordkeeping. This workshop is intended for veterinarians, Extension educators, farmers, and other animal health professionals who work with certified organic farmers and dairy herds.

Organic Pastured Swine Field Day
June 24, 2015
Kutztown, Pennsylvania

Rodale Institute has partnered with The Fertrell Company and Pennsylvania Certified Organic to hold a field day for farmers focusing on integrating a pastured-swine enterprise into the farm operation.

Agroforestry Academy
July 20-24, 2015
Columbia, Missouri

This week-long training includes integrated classroom workshops, on-farm visits, and practical on-farm agroforestry planning and design. Limited scholarships are available to military veterans.

>> More Events

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New ATTRA Publication Pastured Poultry: Egg Production

Question of the Week
Can I control goat parasites with sericea lespedeza in Washington State?

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Submit questions to our professional staff online

ATTRA Webinar
May 28 ~ Food Safety for Organic Growers in Texas
Register now!
The basics of a farm safety plan and how to get GAP certified.

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