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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 5, 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

  • Iowa State Study Shows Soil-Building Benefits of Organic Practices
  • Community and Local Food Resources Website Launched
  • USDA Seeks Sign-ups for Wetlands, Grasslands Conservation Programs
  • Small Ruminant Conference Proceedings Now Available Online
  • Programs Increasing Access to Farmers Market Produce
  • Guidance Offered on Researching Economic Impact of Local Foods

Funding Opportunities

  • Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program
  • Rural Cooperative Development Grants
  • Massachusetts Farm Viability Enhancement Program

Coming Events

  • North Carolina Egg Grading School for Small Producers: Organic/Range
  • Seed Savers Exchange Conference and Campout
  • Getting Started in Mob Grazing Farminar

News & Resources

Iowa State Study Shows Soil-Building Benefits of Organic Practices
Producers making the switch to organic crops not only fetch premium prices, according to a recent study; they also build healthy soil and sequester carbon. The study, published in Crop Management in April, summarizes results from the Long-Term Agroecological Research (LTAR) Experiment at Iowa State University. The study showed changes in soil quality: organic plots had up to 40 percent more biologically active soil organic matter. Organic soils also had lower acidity and higher amounts of carbon, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, and calcium.

Community and Local Food Resources Website Launched
A new Community and Local Food Resources website is available to assist in rural community food system development. This website is a partnership between Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, but most resources are applicable for any rural community. This website provides resources to support communities just beginning to build their community food systems as well as those whose local food systems are already strong. Topics addressed include local food policy, affordability, marketing, production, food safety, and organizational structure.
Related ATTRA Resource: Local and Regional Food Systems

USDA Seeks Sign-ups for Wetlands, Grasslands Conservation Programs
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications from landowners interested in the nationwide Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and Grassland Reserve Program (GRP). A new round of funding authorizes $255 million to enroll up to 100,000 additional acres into WRP and $47 million to enroll up to 200,000 additional acres into GRP. Anyone interested in these voluntary programs should contact their state or local NRCS office. Sign-up dates and deadlines vary by state.

Small Ruminant Conference Proceedings Now Available Online
The American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control held its 10th Anniversary Conference in May. Conference proceedings are now available online. Speakers discussed the development of anthelmintic resistance, treatment alternatives, genetics of parasite resistance, and pasture management.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tools for Managing Internal Parasites in Small Ruminants: Animal Selection

Programs Increasing Access to Farmers Market Produce
In Michigan, Fair Food Network's Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) offers a monetary incentive to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to spend their food assistance benefits at farmers markets. When a recipient spends SNAP funds at a participating market, DUFB matches the purchase with up to $20 per market visit. A new report on the program reveals dramatic increases in healthy food purchases at participating local farmers markets by low-income citizens in Michigan and Ohio.
In New York, Citizens' Committee for Children (CCC) has released a report titled From Farm to Table: The Use of Federally-Funded Food Programs at New York City Farmers' Markets. CCC surveyed regional farmers who sell produce in local farmers markets on how program usage contributed to their sales and about the strengths and barriers they experienced with WIC, SNAP, and the Farmers Market Nutrition Program. The report offers recommendations to increase the use of these programs in New York City's farmers markets.

Guidance Offered on Researching Economic Impact of Local Foods
Guidance on conducting research on the economic impact of local and regional food commerce is outlined in a brief released by the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems and the Union of Concerned Scientists' Food & Environment Program. Economic Analysis of Local and Regional Food Systems: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead considers necessary elements of a robust economic impact analysis of local food and identifies questions those commissioning a study will want to ask.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program
The Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services invites competitive grant applications for projects under the Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program (RAPP). Grant applications should propose strategies that incorporate agriculture and food systems to improve the lives of refugee families. Total program funding is $1 million, with estimated grant awards of up to $85,000.
Applications are due by July 2, 2013.

Rural Cooperative Development Grants
USDA's Rural Cooperative Development Grants of up to $200,000 are awarded to Rural Cooperative Development Centers, which in turn provide technical assistance to individuals and entities. Nonprofit corporations or institutions of higher education can apply for matching funds to establish and operate centers for rural cooperative development.
Application deadline is July 15, 2013.

Massachusetts Farm Viability Enhancement Program
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources is accepting applications from farmers for the Farm Viability Enhancement Program. This is a business-planning and technical-assistance program that provides management advice and grants from $25,000 to $100,000 to implement farm growth and sustainability strategies.
The deadline for submitting applications is June 18, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

North Carolina Egg Grading School for Small Producers: Organic/Range
July 16, 2013
Raleigh, North Carolina

This class from North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension is directed at small producers of natural/organic eggs, extension agents, and purchasers of locally grown products. The class will include both lecture material and hands-on laboratories on proper methods of grading and evaluating the internal and external quality of shell eggs. It will include a review of egg law that applies to small producers.

Seed Savers Exchange Conference and Campout
July 19-21, 2013
Decorah, Iowa

Join the Seed Savers Exchange community at the 33rd Annual Conference and Campout. This event brings together experts and amateurs to share seed-saving knowledge and stories. Workshops, a seed swap, and social events are planned.

Getting Started in Mob Grazing Farminar
July 15, 2013
Online
In this Farminar, PA-WAgN Specialty Mentor Judi Radel will describe the transition process adopted at her farm and describe her fencing, watering, and movement systems. She will review the benefits of mob grazing and discuss the possibilities for increased production.

>> 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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