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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 21, 2014

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

News & Resources

  • StrikeForce Funds to Assist Conservation Efforts in Rural Poverty Areas
  • Bee Biodiversity Boosts Blueberry Crop Yields
  • Rodale Institute Calls for Regenerative Agriculture with New White Paper
  • Aquaculture Videos Offered Online
  • Survey Shows Fewer Bee Colony Losses over Winter
  • Organic Sales Set New Record in 2013

Funding Opportunities

  • Rural Business Opportunity Grant
  • Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program
  • Ohio Specialty Crop Promotion Program

Coming Events

  • American Grassfed Association Ranch Day
  • Reinventing the Hudson Valley Breadbasket
  • NMPAN Webinar: The Business of Dry Curing

News & Resources

StrikeForce Funds to Assist Conservation Efforts in Rural Poverty Areas
USDA has announced that $15 million in targeted assistance will be provided as part of its StrikeForce initiative to help farmers, ranchers, and private forest owners in rural areas of 20 states that experience "persistent poverty." StrikeForce funds, provided through the USDA Environmental Quality Incentives Program, can be used for conservation activities, including water conservation improvements and soil protection. Applications are being accepted at local USDA Service Centers.

Bee Biodiversity Boosts Blueberry Crop Yields
Research by North Carolina State University shows that blueberries produce more seeds and larger berries if they are visited by more diverse bee species. The researchers identified five types of bees and found that visits from each additional type accounted for an increase of $311 worth of yield per acre.
Related ATTRA Publication: Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees

Rodale Institute Calls for Regenerative Agriculture with New White Paper
Rodale Institute has launched a global campaign to generate public awareness of soil's ability to reverse climate change when the health of the soil is maintained through widely available and inexpensive organic management practices. A white paper entitled Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change: A Down-to-Earth Solution to Global Warming is the central tool of the campaign. The full white paper is available online in PDF.

Aquaculture Videos Offered Online
A free, five-part video series that offers an in-depth look at key issues in fish farming in a short, succinct, easy-to-understand format is now available online. The series was produced by the Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development.
Related ATTRA Publication: Aquaculture Enterprises: Considerations and Strategies

Survey Shows Fewer Bee Colony Losses over Winter
A yearly survey of beekeepers shows fewer colony losses occurred in the United States over the winter of 2013-2014 than in recent years, but beekeepers say losses remain higher than the level that they consider to be sustainable. Total losses of managed honey bee colonies from all causes were 23.2% nationwide.

Organic Sales Set New Record in 2013
Sales of organic products in the United States jumped to $35.1 billion in 2013, up 11.5% from the previous year, according to the latest survey on the organic industry from the Organic Trade Association (OTA). The OTA survey predicts that growth rates over the next two years will at least keep pace with the 2013 clip and even slightly exceed it.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Rural Business Opportunity Grant
The Rural Business Opportunity Grant program administered by USDA Business and Cooperative Programs promotes sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs. Grants of up to $100,000 are offered for governmental entities, nonprofit corporations, institutions of higher education, and Indian tribes.
Applications are due June 13, 2014.

Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program
The Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program provides matching funds to State agencies to assist in exploring new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products, and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the marketing system. Awards from $25,000 to $150,000 are available.
Applications are due June 16, 2014.

Ohio Specialty Crop Promotion Program
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is soliciting projects to enhance the competitiveness of Ohio specialty crops. Grant awards will range from $25,000 to $150,000. Applications will be accepted from food and agricultural non-profit organizations, cooperatives, associations, or commodity groups, universities, and research institutions that represent specific specialty-crop sectors.
Applications are due June 6, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

American Grassfed Association Ranch Day
June 23, 2014
Strasburg, Colorado

American Grassfed Association, in collaboration with Savory Institute, will hold a ranch day at Flying B Bar Ranch. The day will include a pasture walk with grazing and grassfed experts and a talk by Allan Savory.

Reinventing the Hudson Valley Breadbasket
June 23, 2014
Tivoli, New York

Join Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County for their second annual Hudson Valley small grains field day. The program will cover research and developments related to renewed market interest in sourcing Hudson Valley-grown small grains for emerging artisan baking, brewing, distilling, and specialty culinary markets.

NMPAN Webinar: The Business of Dry Curing
June 25, 2014
Online

This free webinar from the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network will cover the growth of artisan cured meats and the basics of the business. Two charcuterie processors will talk about how they got started, their day-to-day operations, and the costs and revenue for dry curing. The webinar will focus specifically on the economics of charcuterie. To attend, log in as a guest five to 10 minutes before start time 1 p.m. Eastern.

>> More Events

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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

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New ATTRA Publication
Marketing Manure: A Value-Added Product for Small Operations

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