Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 8, 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.
News & Resources
- Comment Period Extended for Proposed Rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices
- SARE Offers Free Online Sustainable Agriculture Courses
- ERS Report Examines Changes in Organic Price Premiums
- Experts Urge Shift from Industrial Agriculture to Diversified Agroecological Systems
- Finger Millet Could Serve as Water-Efficient Dairy Feed
- Hudson Valley Farm and Food Business Accelerator Launched
- Agricultural Marketing Service Organic Certification Cost Share Programs
- Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant
- Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
- Grazing Livestock Nutrition Conference
- International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy
- North American Prairie Conference
News & Resources
Comment Period Extended for Proposed Rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has extended the comment period until July 13, 2016, for the proposed rule to amend organic livestock and poultry practices. The organic community, stakeholders, and consumers are invited to submit written comments on the proposed rule online or by mail.
SARE Offers Free Online Sustainable Agriculture Courses
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is offering three free, online, self-paced sustainable agriculture courses. These include Sustainable Agriculture Principles and Concept Overview, Strategic Farm/Ranch Planning and Marketing, and a new course on Agricultural Ecosystem Management. This program is open to farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural professionals nationwide.
ERS Report Examines Changes in Organic Price Premiums
USDA Economic Research Service has released Changes in Retail Organic Price Premiums from 2004 to 2010. This study found that retail-level organic price premiums were more than 20% of the nonorganic price for all but one of the 17 products analyzed. The share of organic product sold increased steadily during the study for all products.
Related ATTRA Publication: Planning for Profit in Sustainable Farming
Experts Urge Shift from Industrial Agriculture to Diversified Agroecological Systems
The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems has issued From Uniformity to Diversity: A paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems. In the report, a group of the world's foremost experts on food security, agro-ecosystems, and nutrition say that to put global food systems on sustainable footing, we must diversify agriculture and reorient it around ecological practices.
Finger Millet Could Serve as Water-Efficient Dairy Feed
USDA researchers have been evaluating finger millet as a potential feed for dairy cattle in the Southern High Plains. Studies show that finger millet uses 10 to 20% less water than sorghum and grows on marginal land. Testing showed that finger millet contained significant levels of important nutrients but produced lower forage yields than corn or sorghum. However, researchers concluded that feeding finger millet to dairy animals as a supplement to corn could save water.
Hudson Valley Farm and Food Business Accelerator Launched
Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation has announced its inaugural Farm and Food Business Accelerator Program, an intensive training designed to help farmers and food entrepreneurs develop the necessary skills and materials to scale their businesses, build sales, and access financial sources. The six-month curriculum will begin in October 2016. Applications are being accepted through August 15, 2016.
>> More Breaking News
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Agricultural Marketing Service Organic Certification Cost Share Programs
Two organic certification cost share programs assist certified organic operations in defraying up to 75% of their certification costs, not to exceed $750. The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program is available to producers and handlers in all 50 states and U.S. territories. The program provides $10.7 million in fiscal year 2016. The Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program is available to certified organic producers in 16 states designated by Congress. This program provides $932,000 in assistance in fiscal year 2016.
Applications must be received by July 5, 2016.
Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant
USDA is seeking applications for grants to provide assistance to socially disadvantaged business groups in rural areas. Eligible applicants include groups of cooperatives, individual cooperatives, and cooperative development centers that serve socially disadvantaged groups. USDA is making $3 million available in grants up to $175,000.
Applications must be submitted by August 5, 2016, or electronically by August 1, 2016.
Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has available approximately $62.6 million to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. State departments of agriculture within the 50 states or U.S. territories are eligible to apply. Interested individuals should contact state departments of agriculture for more information.
Applications are due by July 6, 2016.
>> More Funding Opportunities
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Grazing Livestock Nutrition Conference
July 17-19, 2016
Park City, Utah
This meeting will focus on enhancing management, production, and sustainability of grazing ruminants in extensive landscapes.
International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy
July 18-20, 2016
University Park, Pennsylvania
The Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State University will be hosting this conference on translating the results of recent research advances in the biology and health of pollinators into solutions that can be applied in the field to conserve and expand pollinator populations.
North American Prairie Conference
July 17-20, 2016
"From Cemetary Prairies to National Tallgrass Prairies" includes sessions on landscape-scale restoration and on status of grassland birds, as well as innovative ideas on working lands.
>> 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.
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