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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 11, 2014

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

  • Growing Farm Profits Online Course Available from Southern SAWG
  • White House Rural Council Announces Local Food, Local Places Initiative
  • Final Results of USDA Farm to School Census Released
  • CRP Signup and Beginning Farmer Transition Incentive Announced by USDA
  • IATP Calls for New Metrics for Local Food Systems
  • Sustainability Issue Focuses on Organic Farming

Funding Opportunities

  • Risk Management Education Partnership Program
  • Crop Insurance Education in Targeted States
  • Organic Cost-Share Programs

Coming Events

  • Seeding the Next Generation of Farmers
  • Beef, Pork, Poultry, and Lamb/Goat 100 Short Courses
  • Festival of Farms

News & Resources

Growing Farm Profits Online Course Available from Southern SAWG
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group is now making its Growing Farm Profits training course and materials available free online. The course has a vegetable production slant but many of the concepts and principles discussed will be informative to other producers, as well. Eight short video tutorials demonstrate how to use the Veggie Compass Whole Farm Profit Management tool to understand some of the hidden factors influencing profitability. The course also includes recordkeeping spreadsheets, reference documents, and PowerPoint presentations.

White House Rural Council Announces Local Food, Local Places Initiative
The White House Rural Council has announced Local Food, Local Places, a Federal initiative that will provide direct technical support to rural communities to help them build strong local food systems as part of their community's economic action plans. Under this effort, a team of agricultural, transportation, environmental, and regional economic experts will work directly with local communities to develop comprehensive strategies that use local food systems to meet a variety of needs.

Final Results of USDA Farm to School Census Released
Final results of the USDA Farm to School Census are now available, including more than 1,500 new and updated responses from a total of 9,896 school districts. The total investment in local communities through farm to school programs during the 2011-2012 school year was $385 million. Census infographics with national and state information are available for download.

CRP Signup and Beginning Farmer Transition Incentive Announced by USDA
USDA began continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup on June 9 and also announced that retiring farmers enrolled in CRP could receive incentives to transfer a portion of their land through the Transition Incentives Program (TIP). TIP provides two additional years of payments for retired farmers and ranchers who transition expiring CRP acres to socially disadvantaged, military veteran, or beginning producers who return the land to sustainable grazing or crop production.

IATP Calls for New Metrics for Local Food Systems
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) launched a project in 2012 to begin establishing a research framework for a new set of indicators that would better represent the diverse benefits of local, agroecological food systems and that could be tracked over time. IATP's report, Measuring Success: Local Food Systems and the Need for New Indicators, presents the findings of the project and provides contextual analysis and suggested next steps.

Sustainability Issue Focuses on Organic Farming
The open-access journal Sustainability has assembled a special issue on "Organic Farming and a Systems Approach to Sustainable Agroecosystems." Twelve papers have been published in the special issue and are available online. They include a paper from Washington State University researchers analyzing pesticide residues found in organic foods.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Risk Management Education Partnership Program
USDA Risk Management Agency has announced the availability of $2 million for the Risk Management Education Partnerships Program, which provides funding for the development of general nationwide crop insurance education and other risk management training programs. Awards range from $20,000 to $99,999.
Applications are due June 30, 2014.

Crop Insurance Education in Targeted States
The USDA Risk Management Education Targeted States program supports delivery of crop-insurance education and information to U.S. agricultural producers in states where there is a low level of Federal crop insurance participation and availability. These states are Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The program will offer $5 million, with individual awards up to $700,000.
Applications are due by June 30, 2014.

Organic Cost-Share Programs
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has announced that approximately $13 million is available for organic certification cost-share assistance and invites states to submit their applications. Once funds have been distributed to the states, individual organic producers and handlers will apply for up to $750 in payment for certification-related expenses.
States must apply for funding by June 20, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Seeding the Next Generation of Farmers
July 12, 2014
Fairbury, Illinois

Spence Farm Foundation is partnering with the Central Illinois Sustainable Farming Network to host a field day that will feature four young farmers sharing the challenges and successes of entering the agriculture business world.

Beef, Pork, Poultry, and Lamb/Goat 100 Short Courses
July 10-11, 2014
Castle Rock and Bremerton, Washington

Washington State University Extension and Department of Animal Sciences are offering day-long courses in sustainable beef, pork, poultry, and lamb and goat production. Each course helps farmers and ranchers increase their knowledge on the safe production of high-quality food animals in an environmentally sound and humane manner.

Festival of Farms
July 12, 2014
Across Minnesota

Sustainable Farming Association chapters are presenting farm tours and educational events in locations across Minnesota. Festival of Farms is an opportunity to learn about sustainable agriculture, network within the community, and have fun. Details of regional events are available online.

>> More Events

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New ATTRA Publication
Nutrient Management Plan (590) for Organic Systems

Question of the Week
What can you tell me about using weeder geese as a sustainable weed control method in my asparagus field?

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