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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 25, 2011

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.

Our sustainable agriculture information service, ATTRA, was cut from the federal budget as part of deficit reduction efforts. We cannot maintain this project unless we can find a way to raise operating funds. You can help as we explore our options. First, make your tax-deductible donation today. You can access our online donation form at https://attra.ncat.org/donate.html. For more information, visit NCAT's website to read the most current postings about our efforts to keep this service open.

News & Resources

  • National Organic Program Announces New Tools and Documents
  • Partnership Aims to Stem Bee Losses
  • Environmental Assessments Released for Genetically Engineered Corn and Cotton
  • Organic Seed Growers Conference Invites Proposals
  • Edible Communities Receives James Beard Foundation Award
  • Minority Farmers to be Recognized

Funding Opportunities

  • Healthy Food Financing Initiative
  • Specialty Crop Block Grant Program - Farm Bill
  • Kentucky Farmers' Markets Infrastructure Competitive Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Coming Home to Farm Farmer-Veteran Retreat
  • Mid-New England Grain Conference
  • Polyface Farm Field Day

News & Resources

National Organic Program Announces New Tools and Documents
The National Organic Program and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) have developed several new tools and reference documents: Sample organic system plan templates, Sample documentation forms, and Overview of the NOP's Access to Pasture Rule. These publications have been incorporated into the NOP Program Handbook to serve as optional compliance tools for anyone exploring or undergoing organic certification, and are accessible online.

Partnership Aims to Stem Bee Losses
USDA's Agricultural Research Service has reported that total losses from managed honeybee colonies nationwide were 30 percent from all causes for the 2010/2011 winter. To help stem the tide of loss, a new nationwide network to monitor and maintain honeybee health is being created by the Bee Informed Partnership. The Partnership will use an epidemiological approach to identify common bee management practices and use them to develop best practices that can be widely shared with beekeepers.

Environmental Assessments Released for Genetically Engineered Corn and Cotton
The U.S. Department of Agricultureís Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has prepared a plant pest risk assessment and a draft environmental assessment to address a request from the Monsanto Company seeking a determination of nonregulated status for corn that has been genetically engineered for drought tolerance. APHIS has also prepared a draft environmental assessment to address a petition from Syngenta Biotechnology, seeking a determination of nonregulated status for its genetically engineered cotton that is resistant to lepidopteran insect damage. For the documents on both genetically engineered varieties, consideration will be given to comments received on or before July 11.

Organic Seed Growers Conference Invites Proposals
Organic Seed Alliance invites you to help shape the Sixth Organic Seed Growers Conference by providing suggestions for content and speakers and submitting proposals for presentations, posters, panels and roundtable discussions by July 1. Related ATTRA Publication: Seed Production and Variety Development for Organic Systems

Edible Communities Receives James Beard Foundation Award
The first-ever James Beard Foundation Publication of the Year Award has been awarded to Edible Communities Publications for the company's unique publishing model, with publications rooted in distinct culinary regions throughout the United States and Canada, celebrating local, seasonal foods with the goal of transforming the way we shop, cook, and eat.

Minority Farmers to be Recognized
If your company or organization selects a minority Farmer of the Year, you're invited to share their story with others across the country through a special issue of Minority Landowner magazine. For more information send an email to minoritylandowner@earthlink.net . The deadline for submissions is June 10, 2011.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Healthy Food Financing Initiative
For FY 2011, in coordination with the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Community and Economic Development (CED) program will provide up to $10 million to CDCs for projects located in food deserts and designed to improve access to healthy affordable foods by developing grocery stores, small retailers, corner stores, and farmers markets that will make available nutritious food in these areas.
Applications are due July 11, 2011.

Specialty Crop Block Grant Program - Farm Bill
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announces the availability of approximately $55 million in grant funds to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops. State departments of agriculture are invited to submit applications.
Applications must be submitted by July 13, 2011.

Kentucky Farmers' Markets Infrastructure Competitive Grant Program
Kentucky Agricultural Development Funds for 2011 are available for construction of new farmers' market facilities. Any one applicant may receive up to $25,000 in state funds.
The deadline for applications is June 24, 2011.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Coming Home to Farm Farmer-Veteran Retreat
July 15-16, 2011
Des Moines, Iowa

Besides tours of organic and sustainable grain, vegetable, pork and wine production, classes will be given on how to become organically certified and how to turn production techniques into marketing advantage. This retreat is free for all veterans and active-duty military personnel interested in or currently farming.

Mid-New England Grain Conference
July 14-15, 2011
Deerfield, Massachusetts

This regional event on growing grains includes educational sessions on breeding local grains, grain fertility, on-farm research trials, harvesting and processing grain, bread baking and beer brewing.

Polyface Farm Field Day
July 9, 2011
Swoope, Virginia

Listen to the Salatins explain their pastured poultry operation, how to raise Salad Bar Beef, how to put pigs to work on your farm, how to build relationships with your customers, and more.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives
Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

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.

Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

© 2011 NCAT

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New & Updated Publications
Agroforestry: An Overview

Organic and Grass-finished Beef Cattle Production

Farmer Profiles: Two Organic Grain Farm Case Studies

Question of the Week
What information can you give me on spading machines?

ATTRA Webinars
The latest webinars are available for viewing in ATTRA's Sustainable Agriculture Video Archive

ATTRA Spanish Newsletter
Subscribe to Cosecha Mensual (Monthly Harvest), ATTRA's Spanish-language e-newsletter

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