Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 25, 2016
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.
Enter the ATTRAGRAM Photo Contest!
As part of our 40th anniversary celebration,
National Center for Appropriate Technology is sponsoring a photo contest celebrating the beauty of sustainable agriculture.
Enter your images of small farms and livestock operations, portraits of farmers and farming families, and photos of local food marketing by June 15 to compete for a $200 prize in each category. There's a youth division for photographers under age 16, as well.
News & Resources
- Results of National Food Hub Survey Available Online
- European Study Shows Benefits from Crop Diversification into Legumes
- Organic Industry Survey Shows Record Sales
- Rural Enterprise Development Resources Offered
- Survey Assessing Animal Health Needs of Small-Scale and Urban Livestock and Poultry Producers
- University of Kentucky Develops Mechanized System for Organic Vegetable Production
- Agriculture and Food Research Initiative--Water for Agriculture Challenge Area
- Northeast SARE Professional Development Grants
- Conservation Innovation Grants in California
- Organic Small Grains Production and Marketing
- Growing Blackberry Production and Sales in Missouri
- Rotational Grazing Field Day
News & Resources
Results of National Food Hub Survey Available Online
MSU Center for Regional Food Systems and the Wallace Center at Winrock International have released Findings of the 2015 National Food Hub Survey. The report details findings on the financial state of food hubs, the numbers and types of farmers and ranchers that they work with, and the types of customers they serve. Overall, the survey indicates that variations on the food hub model can be financially successful.
European Study Shows Benefits from Crop Diversification into Legumes
Research carried out as part of the European Union project Legume Futures shows environmental and economic benefits from introducing legumes into agricultural cropping systems that are dependent upon small grains. Tests confirmed the environmental benefits of introducing legumes: overall nitrous oxide emissions reduced by 20 to 30% and fertilizer use down by almost 40% in some cases. Furthermore, gross margins increased in all of the forage agriculture systems modelled.
Organic Industry Survey Shows Record Sales
The Organic Trade Association's 2016 Organic Industry Survey reveals that total organic product sales hit a new benchmark of $43.3 billion, up 11% from the previous year's record level. Nearly 5% of all the food sold in the United States in 2015 was organic. The survey also reported that supply issues challenged the industry as demand outstripped organic production, particularly for dairy and grains.
Rural Enterprise Development Resources Offered
NOFA-VT has recently released a collection of resources for farmers and communities about land-use issues for rural enterprises. The four free online publications include an overview document that outlines land-use topics and resources farmers should be aware of when making business decisions. Case studies share how two different farms and communities have addressed these challenges.
Related ATTRA Publication:
Evaluating a Farming Enterprise
Survey Assessing Animal Health Needs of Small-Scale and Urban Livestock and Poultry Producers
University researchers are conducting a needs assessment regarding animal health concerns on small-scale farms and urban agriculture operations in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington state. The 15-minute online survey aims to identify the needs of livestock and poultry owners related to animal health, animal husbandry, and food safety, and the role that veterinarians play on small farms.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tips for: Working with a Veterinarian
University of Kentucky Develops Mechanized System for Organic Vegetable Production
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education reports that University of Kentucky researchers have designed a low-cost, mechanized system for organic vegetable production. Researchers retrofitted an old three-wheeled tobacco harvesting aid with furrow guidance to help small-scale growers reduce their labor costs, increase their scale of operations, reduce input costs, and increase production. Design plans for the machine, a parts spreadsheet, and costs for materials and parts are available online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Equipment & Tools for Small-Scale Intensive Crop Production
>> More Breaking News
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Agriculture and Food Research Initiative--Water for Agriculture Challenge Area
This Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Challenge Area addresses critical water resources issues. Funding will be used to develop management practices, technologies, and tools for farmers, ranchers, forest owners and managers, public decision makers, public and private managers, and citizens to improve water resource quantity and quality. Approximately $10.7 million is available.
Application deadline is August 4, 2016.
Northeast SARE Professional Development Grants
The Professional Development program funds outcome-based projects that train Cooperative Extension educators and other agricultural service providers in the Northeast SARE region in sustainable techniques and concepts. Awards typically range from $30,000 to $150,000.
Pre-proposals are due June 23, 2016.
Conservation Innovation Grants in California
USDA NRCS in California is now accepting proposals for $375,000 in Conservation Innovation Grants. Projects should augment existing NRCS technical tools to better facilitate conservation on farms and ranches. Eligible applicants include state and local government, nongovernment organizations, Tribal governments, private businesses, and individuals.
Proposals are due by June 17, 2016.
>> More Funding Opportunities
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Organic Small Grains Production and Marketing
July 7, 2016
Lone Rock, Wisconsin
Spend the morning at Dolan Farms with Dave Dolan, who will share his knowledge of organic, food-grade grain production. In the afternoon, tour Lonesome Stone Milling. This is the first of four field days MOSES is hosting with OGRAIN, the Organic Grain Resources And Information Network at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Growing Blackberry Production and Sales in Missouri
June 29, 2016
St. Joseph, Missouri
Join local and nationally known blackberry specialists and farmers for this afternoon workshop to gain expertise on a wide range of blackberry topics.
Rotational Grazing Field Day
June 26, 2016
This field day will give participants a comprehensive view of successful rotational grazing strategies being practiced in Central Illinois. See pasture rotations in action and see how successful farmers use fencing, forage, feed, and careful planning to tap into the high-demand local meat and dairy market.
>> More Events
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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.
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