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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 27, 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 Begins Issuing Grass Fed Lamb and Goat Market Report
  • Grants Support Organic Dairy Farm Succession Initiative
  • Yale-Led Study Says Healthy Soil Helps Buffer Impacts of Global Warming
  • Farmers Market Pricing Study Shows Competitive Prices
  • Tree Fruit Pest and Beneficial Insect Search Tool Online
  • Broccoli Production Proving Viable on East Coast

Funding Opportunities

  • Farm Service Agency Direct Farm Ownership Loan Program
  • Regional Center Grants to Enhance Food Safety
  • Conservation Innovation Grants in Arkansas

Coming Events

  • Production Systems for Successful Urban Farming
  • Bobwhite Quail Management in Modern Agriculture Field Day
  • Montana Organic Association Farm Tour: Lassila Farm

News & Resources

USDA Begins Issuing Grass Fed Lamb and Goat Market Report
USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service began releasing a new National Monthly Grass Fed Lamb and Goat Meat Report on May 13, 2015. With this market report, USDA aims to assist farmers and ranchers who are considering converting and those already producing grass-fed lamb and goat products. In addition to market commentary, the new report includes prices for wholesale grass-fed lamb and direct-to-consumer grass-fed lamb and goat.

Grants Support Organic Dairy Farm Succession Initiative
Land For Good (LFG) has launched an initiative aimed at successfully transferring working organic dairy farms in New England to next-generation farmers. LFG received grants from Clif Bar Family Foundation and Organic Valley's Farms Advocating For Organics Fund to support the initiative. Project partners will conduct farmer focus groups and work with farms on transfer planning.

Yale-Led Study Says Healthy Soil Helps Buffer Impacts of Global Warming
In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international team of researchers showed that a healthy and diverse soil community can buffer natural ecosystems against the damaging impacts of global warming. This study showed that in healthy soils with a diversity of small soil animals, the animals fed on microorganisms, helping control the potential for increased carbon emissions from decomposition and limiting feedback effects.

Farmers Market Pricing Study Shows Competitive Prices
A comparison in West Central Minnesota found that farmers market prices during peak growing season were highly competitive with regional grocery store prices. The study will help vendors and farmers market organizers with pricing strategies. Information on how market vendors can apply the study findings is contained in the final report, available online in PDF.

Tree Fruit Pest and Beneficial Insect Search Tool Online
A new search engine for tree fruit diseases, insect and mite pests, and beneficials is now online at the Michigan State University Integrated Pest Management website. Searches can be conducted by name or category. The search engine currently covers tree fruit crops and expansion to other crops is planned for the future.
Related ATTRA Publication: Apple Insect Pests Identification Sheet

Broccoli Production Proving Viable on East Coast
Cornell has released a study showing that new regional production of broccoli in the eastern United States is economically viable. The economic analysis found that although production costs are higher in the east, transportation costs would be lower. A challenge for eastern producers is finding broccoli varieties that withstand the region's heat and humidity. The Cornell project also includes testing to identify suitable varieties.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Farm Service Agency Direct Farm Ownership Loan Program
Through the FSA direct farm ownership program, eligible farmers and ranchers can borrow up to $300,000 to buy farmland, construct or repair buildings, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation. New farmers and ranchers, military veterans, and underserved farmers and ranchers are encouraged to apply. Contact your local FSA office to apply.
Applications must be approved by September 30, 2015, to take advantage of the funding available this fiscal year.

Regional Center Grants to Enhance Food Safety
This program is designed to develop and implement a comprehensive food safety training, education, and technical assistance program for those affected by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Total estimated program funding is $2.3 million. Matching funding is required.
Applications are due by June 29, 2015.

Conservation Innovation Grants in Arkansas
NRCS in Arkansas has approximately $300,000 in funding available through the Conservation Innovation Grants program to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. State, tribal, and local governmental entities; non-governmental organizations; and individuals may apply for matching grants up to $75,000.
Project proposals are due by June 15, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Production Systems for Successful Urban Farming
June 28, 2015
Dayton, Ohio

This event sponsored by OEFFA is part of the 2015 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop series. It will compare and contrast different bed and production systems and share inexpensive post-harvest handling setups for urban growers.

Bobwhite Quail Management in Modern Agriculture Field Day
June 27, 2015
Columbia, Missouri

This event will showcase management practices and techniques farmers and ranchers can use to improve bobwhite habitat and increase populations on their property.

Montana Organic Association Farm Tour: Lassila Farm
June 26, 2015
Great Falls, Montana

This free tour at the farm operated by Daryl and Linda Lassila will focus on innovative approaches to soil, nutrient, and moisture management in an organic cropping system. Participate in discussions about crop rotations, nutrient and weed management practices that have been working while improving crop yields, moisture retention, and reducing weed, disease, and pest issues.

>> More Events

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© 2015 NCAT

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Updated ATTRA Publication
Flea Beetle: Organic Control Options

Question of the Week
What can you tell me about direct marketing specialty melons?

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

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