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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 20, 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.

Lead the NCAT Team!
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is seeking an energetic, passionate, experienced, and collaborative Executive Director to provide visionary leadership to NCAT, its staff, board, and partners. The position will be located in NCAT’s Headquarters Office in Butte, Montana. Applications will be accepted through June 30, 2018, or until suitable candidates can be identified. Learn more.

News & Resources

  • Scorecard Ranks States on Health and Sustainability of Food Systems
  • CoBank Predicts More Solar Energy Use on Farms
  • Farming-Systems Comparison Shows Organic Yield Gap Decreasing over Time
  • Economic Impacts of Agriculture and Food Systems Measured in Report
  • Publication Offers Recommendations for Managing Spotted Wing Drosophila on Organic Berries
  • Clemson Experts Highlight Benefits of Cover Crops

Funding Opportunities

  • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Foundational and Applied Science Program
  • Frontier Farm Credit Working Here Fund
  • Kentucky On-Farm Energy Efficiency Incentives Program

Coming Events

  • Sustainable Agriculture Education Association Conference
  • Rotationally Raised Making Small Grains Work
  • Fundamentals of On-Farm Food Safety

News & Resources

Scorecard Ranks States on Health and Sustainability of Food Systems
The Union of Concerned Scientists has created a scorecard ranking the health and sustainability of state food systems from farm to fork. The scorecard looks at dozens of indicators of food system health. Criteria are grouped into 10 categories—six focused on agriculture and the environment, three on food and health, and one on social determinants and disparities. Results are available online, searchable by state and by category map.

CoBank Predicts More Solar Energy Use on Farms
A new report from CoBank's Knowledge Exchange Division predicts that solar energy use will accelerate among ag producers when the cost of installing and operating distributed solar energy systems is the same or less than commercial electricity rates. This will likely occur by 2025 to 2030, says the report. CoBank notes that federal and state incentives, the REAP program, and net-metering policies also drive adoption of on-farm solar.
Related ATTRA Publication: Renewable Energy Opportunities on the Farm

Farming-Systems Comparison Shows Organic Yield Gap Decreasing over Time
A study from The Netherlands, published in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, explored a 13-year comparison of organic and conventional farming. In this study, yields from the organic system approached those of conventional systems after 10 to 13 years, while requiring lower nitrogen inputs. Over time, the soil structure and quality in the organic system improved.

Economic Impacts of Agriculture and Food Systems Measured in Report
The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity has released a report that provides a ground-breaking platform to evaluate the real costs and benefits of our agriculture and food systems. This report looks at all the impacts of the value chain, from farm to fork to disposal, including effects on livelihoods, the environment, and health. An 84-page summary is available online.

Publication Offers Recommendations for Managing Spotted Wing Drosophila on Organic Berries
University of Georgia Extension has published an eight-page bulletin titled Management Recommendations for Spotted Wing Drosophila in Organic Berry Crops. The publication describes an integrated pest management program for spotted wing drosophila. Organic growers need to practice active monitoring and utilize preventative practices such as exclusion, sanitation, frequent harvest intervals, pruning, mulching, and resistant varieties. The publication also discusses application of organic-compliant insecticides.

Clemson Experts Highlight Benefits of Cover Crops
Clemson University experts shared the results of a decade of research on cover crops at a recent field day. Cover crops were touted for their ability to break up compaction, build soil organic matter and structure, and aid in weed management. Presenters focused on the particular challenges and benefits of using cover crops with vegetables and also showed how cover crops can help conserve soil moisture.
Related ATTRA Videos:
Videos on Cover Crops

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Foundational and Applied Science Program
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture requests applications for the AFRI Foundational and Applied Science Program for FY 2018. The amount available for new grants is approximately $182 million. The goal of this program is to invest in agricultural production research, education, and extension projects for more sustainable, productive, and economically viable plant and animal production systems. Applications are sought in the following priority areas: 1. Plant health and production and plant products; 2. Animal health and production and animal products; 3. Food safety, nutrition, and health; 4. Bioenergy, natural resources, and environment; 5. Agriculture systems and technology; and 6. Agriculture economics and rural communities.
Letter of intent deadlines and application deadlines vary by program area, beginning July 18, 2018.

Frontier Farm Credit Working Here Fund
Frontier Farm Credit offers grants through its Working Here Fund for projects and organizations that make a positive impact in eastern Kansas. Grants up to $2,000 each are available for projects on Agriculture Education, Young and Beginning Producers, Hunger and Nutrition, and Essential Services/Disaster Relief needs. Grants up to $10,000 are available for larger, more long-term community projects.
Grant deadline is June 30, 2018.

Kentucky On-Farm Energy Efficiency Incentives Program
Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund administers the On-Farm Energy Efficiency Incentives Program, which provides funding for Kentucky farm families to increase the energy efficiency of existing equipment or facilities. Successful applicants may receive up to 50% reimbursement, up to $10,000. Applicants may also be reimbursed an additional $150 for a third-party energy audit.
Applications are due four times yearly; the next deadline is June 29, 2018.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Sustainable Agriculture Education Association Conference
July 27-29, 2018
Oahu, Hawaii

The conference will be organized around the themes of indigenous knowledge, decolonization, and socio-ecological resiliency in agroecology and sustainable food systems education. Presentations, workshops, field trips, and hands-on activities are planned.

Rotationally Raised Making Small Grains Work
July 30, 2018
North Mankato, Minnesota

Practical Farmers of Iowa and Freeborn Area Soil Health Team present this day-long conference that will cover a variety of topics about growing small grains and the benefits of an extended rotation.

Fundamentals of On-Farm Food Safety
July 31, 2018
Winston Salem, North Carolina

North Carolina State University and Cooperative Extension are partnering with Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and others to deliver workshops across North Carolina to provide farmers with the tools to reduce food-safety risks and meet market requirements. This day-long workshop will combine classroom and on-farm instruction.

>>More Events

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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page 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.

Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

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New ATTRA Podcast
Changing Blueberry Market

Question of the Week
What are my options for dealing with cucumber beetles in melon?

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

Armed to Urban Farm in Washington D.C.
Apply by July 13, 2018, for this free week-long urban agriculture training for military veterans, held September 10-14, 2018.

ATTRA Spanish Newsletter
Subscribe to Cosecha Mensual (Monthly Harvest), ATTRA's Spanish-language e-newsletter

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