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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 29, 2013

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

  • CSP Application Deadline Extended to June 14
  • Seasonal Cooking Information Offered for Use by Farmers, Markets
  • Internet Increases Small Farm Incomes, Says Study
  • USDA Introduces Annual Forage Pilot Insurance Plan
  • Crowdfunding Offers Farm Financing Option
  • Updated Farm Subsidy Database Launched

Funding Opportunities

  • Rural Business Opportunity Grant Program
  • Western SARE Research & Education Grants
  • Vermont Conservation Innovation Grant

Coming Events

  • Festival of Farms
  • Conservation in Action Tour
  • Farming for Beneficial Insects: Pollinators, Predators and Parasitoids

News & Resources

CSP Application Deadline Extended to June 14
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced an extension of the deadline to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) this year. Although CSP applications are accepted all year, farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners should submit applications by June 14 to their local NRCS office to ensure they are considered for this year's funding.

Seasonal Cooking Information Offered for Use by Farmers, Markets
Secrets of a Seasonal Cook is a new series of 26 vegetable profiles and over 30 recipes available free to media outlets, bloggers, farmers' markets, and farmers for publication online or in print. Secrets of a Seasonal Cook is a part of the Farm Fresh Now! program of The Land Connection. Register to receive an article each week from May 20 through November 18, 2013.

Internet Increases Small Farm Incomes, Says Study
Researchers at Louisiana State University say that small farms with access to the Internet earned approximately $2,200 to $2,700 more in gross farm income compared to small farms without Internet access, reports AgWired. The researchers used data from a nationwide USDA survey of farm households in 2010.

USDA Introduces Annual Forage Pilot Insurance Plan
USDA has released a new pilot federal crop insurance plan that utilizes a rainfall index to provide coverage for annual forage crops. The Rainfall Index-Annual Forage Insurance Plan is being tested in six states and covers crops planted annually and used for livestock feed or fodder. It is available in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. The sales closing dates for this insurance are July 15 for crops planted in the fall, and December 15 for crops planted next spring.

Crowdfunding Offers Farm Financing Option
When experienced organic farmer Rebecca Bloomfield wanted to start her own farm, she turned to crowdfunding—soliciting donations over social media with a video—to help raise needed funds, according to a USA Today story. The story reports that small businesses are increasingly using crowdfunding to try to raise needed capital.
Related ATTRA Publication: Financing and Planning Your Farm and Enterprises

Updated Farm Subsidy Database Launched
Environmental Working Group (EWG) has launched the 2013 version of its Farm Subsidy Database. EWG collects and publishes USDA data on those who receive farm payments. The new data detail $292.5 billion in subsidies paid from 1995 through 2012, including $53.6 billion in crop insurance subsidies.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Rural Business Opportunity Grant Program
USDA announces the availability of approximately $2.6 million through the Rural Business Opportunity Grant Program for Fiscal Year 2013. The primary objective of the program is to promote sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs. Public bodies, nonprofit corporations, institutions of higher education, Indian tribes, and rural cooperatives may apply for up to $100,000. Approximately $2.6 million is available.
Application deadline is June 28, 2013.

Western SARE Research & Education Grants
Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program has issued a call for pre-proposals for Research & Education Grants. These grants involve a team of scientists, producers, outreach specialists, and others using interdisciplinary approaches to address issues related to sustaining agriculture.
Pre-proposals are due June 5, 2013.

Vermont Conservation Innovation Grant
USDA NRCS in Vermont will provide up to $196,000 in grants to help develop and demonstrate cutting-edge ideas to improve conservation on private lands. The three categories of natural resources concerns in the Vermont program in 2013 are water quality, forestry/wildlife, and energy.
Applications are due June 7, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Festival of Farms
July 13, 2013
Various Locations, Minnesota

This event is an opportunity to learn about sustainable agriculture, network within the community, and have fun at various farms across the state. Festival events are unique to each of the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota's nine chapters.

Conservation in Action Tour
July 9-10, 2013
Livingston County, Illinois

Join the Conservation Technology Information Center for this annual event as it explores innovative conservation practices in and around the Indian Creek watershed. Celebrating the theme of Community 4 Conservation, this year's tour will bring together agriculture leaders from all over the country to learn and share conservation practices.

Farming for Beneficial Insects: Pollinators, Predators and Parasitoids
July 11, 2013
Online
Participate in this webinar from USDA NRCS East National Technology Support Center to learn how to support pollinators and natural enemies of crop pests by providing diverse habitat and protection from pesticides.

>> 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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