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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 13, 2018

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

  • Report Identifies Economic and Health Benefits of Local Food
  • Research Successfully Extends Season for High-Tunnel Spinach
  • Tomato Grafting and High-Tunnel Growing Improve Yields
  • North Dakota Introduces Local Foods Map
  • Iowa State University Research Farm Results Available Online
  • International Study Predicts Environmental Change Will Reduce Production of Vegetables and Legumes

Funding Opportunities

  • Farm Credit East AgEnhancement Grant
  • California Agricultural Water Efficiency Funding
  • Agricultural Conservation Easement Program in Indiana

Coming Events

  • Fruits of the Heartland
  • Kneading Conference
  • Organic Food & Farming Summit

News & Resources

Report Identifies Economic and Health Benefits of Local Food
A new report from American Farmland Trust and The New York Academy of Medicine found that if the State University of New York's (SUNY) 64 campuses were to allocate 25% of their annual food budget toward New York-grown and minimally processed foods, it would create $54 million of economic activity in the state. On the Plate at SUNY: Growing Health, Farms, and Jobs with Local Food also says that increasing foods from New York farms has the potential to provide greater food security and improve student health.

Research Successfully Extends Season for High-Tunnel Spinach
Utah State University research has shown how growers can extend the season for high-tunnel spinach further into the early spring and late fall, reports the American Society for Horticultural Science. The researchers explored adding small amounts of targeted heat to the spinach rootzone and found that this, as well as low tunnels or row covers, extended the season for high-tunnel spinach at minimal cost. They suggest that these methods might also help extend the high-tunnel season for other cool-season vegetables.
Related ATTRA Publication: Season Extension Techniques for Market Gardeners

Tomato Grafting and High-Tunnel Growing Improve Yields
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center has been exploring potential yield improvements in tomatoes from grafting and use of a protected-environment production system, or high tunnel. The study demonstrated that both strategies have the potential to significantly increase production. Researchers plan to explore grafting potential for other high-value vegetable crops and to identify rootstocks for grafting that are drought-tolerant or respond well to environmental stress.

Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Tomato Production

North Dakota Introduces Local Foods Map
North Dakota Department of Agriculture has announced a new interactive Web-based map to help consumers find local foods in North Dakota more easily. The map shows farmers markets, on-farm sales, roadside stands, CSAs, u-picks, vineyards, produce donation sites, and more. The map is mobile-responsive and will be updated frequently.

Iowa State University Research Farm Results Available Online
Results of more than 120 agricultural research trials conducted last year at Iowa State University's 13 research and demonstration farms are available online free of charge. These reports offer updates on agricultural research and agricultural-related scientific activities. The reports can be searched by subject and by date. Numerous reports address organic and sustainable agriculture research.

International Study Predicts Environmental Change Will Reduce Production of Vegetables and Legumes
A study led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine examined how increases in temperature and reduced water availability could affect the production and nutritional quality of common crops. The researchers estimate that environmental changes predicted to occur by mid- to end-century would reduce average yields of vegetables and legumes by 35% and 9% respectively. Researchers say innovations to improve agricultural production must be a priority in order to offset these losses.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Farm Credit East AgEnhancement Grant
Each year, Northeast agricultural credit associations and CoBank award grants ranging from $500 to $10,000 to help organizations promote awareness and strengthen agriculture, commercial fishing, and forest products in the six New England states, New York, and New Jersey. There are three application deadlines each year.
The next application deadline is August 1, 2018.

California Agricultural Water Efficiency Funding
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California, in partnership with DOI's Bureau of Reclamation, is providing $2.5 million in funding to improve the efficiency of agricultural water use in portions of six water/irrigation districts. On-farm projects that address insufficient water, water quality degradation, or inefficient energy use will be considered for financial assistance through NRCS's Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Eligible conservation practices include cover crops, sediment basins, fencing, irrigation systems, livestock pipelines, and other practices.
The cutoff date for this funding is July 27, 2018.

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program in Indiana
Indiana's USDA NRCS is accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). ACEP restores and protects Indiana's critical wetlands and grasslands, which helps productive farms remain in agriculture and provides important habitat for wildlife and plant species. This program includes both Wetland Reserve Easements and Agricultural Land Easements.
Applications for the 2019 fiscal year must be submitted on or before August 17, 2018.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Fruits of the Heartland
July 26-27, 2018
Danville, Illinois

This is a joint conference of the North American Fruit Explorers, the Midwest Fruit Explorers, and the Savanna Institute. Presentations will cover a wide range of topics on growing and marketing fruit.

Kneading Conference
July 25-27, 2018
Clinton, Maine

Maine Grain Alliance presents its annual gathering of farmers, bakers, millers, researchers, oven builders, and others to explore the ways and means of reestablishing regional grain economies.

Organic Food & Farming Summit
July 27-28, 2018
Gainesville, Florida

This event from Florida Organic Growers will include farm tours and on-farm workshops, in-depth educational sessions, classroom workshops, a trade show, and more.

>>More Events

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