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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 19, 2019

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

  • Agritourism Checklists Help Measure Risk
  • New Partnership Will Grow Farm to School Efforts
  • Rural Energy for America Program Grant Awards Announced by USDA
  • Native Bees Key for Southern Blueberry Pollination
  • Farmers' Guide to Disaster Assistance Updated with Second Volume
  • Ranchers Find Benefit in Native Prairie Pasture

Funding Opportunities

  • Agroforestry Outreach
  • Texas Regional Conservation Partnership Program EQIP Initiative
  • Conservation Innovation Grants in Montana

Coming Events

  • Organic Agronomy Training Series (OATS)
  • Northern Nut Growers Association and North American Fruit Explorers Annual Meeting
  • Silvopasture Field Day

News & Resources

Agritourism Checklists Help Measure Risk
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has put together six checklists that help agritourism operators be aware of liability risks. The checklists cover bio-security, emergency preparedness, food safety, pesticide safety, play area safety, and negligence mitigation. The checklists are available online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tips for Selling with: Agritourism and "Pick-Your-Own"

New Partnership Will Grow Farm to School Efforts
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) are pleased to announce their partnership with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service's Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) to develop farm to school trainings for agricultural producers. The goal of the partnership is to help agricultural producers build their capacity to launch or expand efforts to market to schools.

Rural Energy for America Program Grant Awards Announced by USDA
USDA has announced 58 grants for projects in 17 states and Puerto Rico through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Recipients can use REAP funding for energy audits and renewable energy systems. Funding can also be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation, and cooling systems; for insulation; and to improve lighting and refrigeration. Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019.

Native Bees Key for Southern Blueberry Pollination
Scientists with USDA Agricultural Research Service have found that pollination by native blueberry bees or managed honey bees increases fruit set in rabbiteye blueberries in Mississippi and Louisiana from less than 30% without bee pollination to 70% or more. The researchers say blueberry growers can promote pollination by providing woodland habitat that encourages native blueberry bee populations on the edges of their fields.
Related ATTRA Publication: Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees

Farmers' Guide to Disaster Assistance Updated with Second Volume
Farmers' Legal Action Group (FLAG) has released the second volume in its updated seventh edition of the Farmers Guide to Disaster Assistance. Volume 2: Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program is the second in FLAG's series of guides that describe the rules for federal disaster-assistance programs that aid farmers. The publication is available free online.
Related ATTRA Resource: Disaster Assistance for Ag Producers

Ranchers Find Benefit in Native Prairie Pasture
A prairie restoration movement is growing on the Great Plains, reports The Christian Science Monitor. Ranchers are finding value in the diversity of native prairie that increases soil health, allows them to grow healthy feed for cattle, and offers ecotourism opportunities. Reversing conversion of grassland to cropland means management changes for producers, such as rotating grazing and removing invasive species, as well as encouraging diversity.
Related ATTRA Publication: Converting Cropland to Perennial Grassland

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Agroforestry Outreach
The USDA National Agroforestry Center requests proposals to substantially expand and accelerate the availability of science-based information to inform landowner decisions on the adoption and design of agroforestry systems. Proposals awarded will create regionally applicable and practice-specific agroforestry educational materials based on producer production information, experiences, and testimonies. Awards up to $45,000 are anticipated.
Proposals are due by July 15, 2019.

Texas Regional Conservation Partnership Program EQIP Initiative
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) as part of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program efforts supported by the Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture—Grassland Restoration Incentives Program Partnership. EQIP assists landowners and producers who voluntarily implement conservation and management practices that aim to improve the conservation elements of their agriculture and grazing lands. This special RCPP EQIP initiative is open to applicants in designated Texas counties.
Application deadline is July 8, 2019.

Conservation Innovation Grants in Montana
NRCS is accepting applications for Conservation Innovation Grants, which generally fund pilot projects, field demonstrations, and on-farm conservation research. Applicants can request a maximum of $75,000 for projects lasting one to three years. Projects should address one or more identified resource concerns: soil health, water quality and quantity, and range health.
Applications will be accepted until July 1, 2019.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Organic Agronomy Training Series (OATS)
July 24-25, 2019
Crawfordsville, Indiana
OATS is a collaboratively managed, science-based, train-the-trainer program for agricultural professionals working with organic or transitioning producers. The program will build participants' knowledge base in all key areas of certified organic production.

Northern Nut Growers Association and North American Fruit Explorers Annual Meeting
July 28-31, 2019
Iowa City, Iowa
This joint annual meeting of the Northern Nut Growers Association and North American Fruit Explorers is open to all people with an interest in nut and fruit trees. The agenda includes two full days of technical presentations and an all-day field trip.

Silvopasture Field Day
July 25, 2019
Goldsboro, North Carolina
The Center for Environmental Farming Systems and numerous partners are presenting this day-long workshop on silvopasture, the intentional practice of integrating forages, animals, and trees.

>>More Events

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New ATTRA Publication
Livestock as a Tool: Improving Soil Health, Boosting Crops

Question of the Week
How do I choose grape cultivars for high tunnel production in the Southeast?

Ask an Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online or by calling 1-800-346-9140

The Impacts of Integrating Livestock into Cropping Systems
June 26, 2019
Bozeman, Montana
Free. Learn more.

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