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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 22, 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

  • Forage Radish Most Beneficial Cover Crop in New Hampshire Study
  • Study Finds Ancient Soil Amendments Built Fertile Soils
  • Ohio Agritourism Law Offers Operator Protections
  • Sustainable Agriculture Standard Established by American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
  • Farm Aid Announces 2016 Venue
  • Armed to Farm Training Helps Veterans Launch Agriculture Enterprises

Funding Opportunities

  • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts (SBEBP) Challenge Area
  • Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant
  • Kansas Water Quality Improvement through the Implementation of Forestry Practices

Coming Events

  • Soil Health Conference: Living Roots 24/7/365
  • Sustainable Agriculture Education Association 7th National Conference
  • Agroforestry Academy

News & Resources

Forage Radish Most Beneficial Cover Crop in New Hampshire Study
A two-year study of cover crops at the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station found that forage radish was the most beneficial for suppressing weeds and increasing production values. Researchers examined the performance of eight different cover crops intended to fill the late summer and fall fallow period.

Study Finds Ancient Soil Amendments Built Fertile Soils
A study led by the University of Sussex analyzed fertile, carbon-rich, black soils called 'African Dark Earths' and found them high in organic matter and capable of supporting intensive farming. Researchers believe these soils were built by a centuries-old West African practice of adding charcoal and kitchen waste to nutrient-poor tropical soils.
Related ATTRA Publication: Biochar and Sustainable Agriculture

Ohio Agritourism Law Offers Operator Protections
A new agritourism law goes into effect in Ohio August 16. The law protects operators from liability for injuries related to risks inherent in agritourism activities. The law also limits how zoning can affect agritourism and specifies that land where agritourism activities take place should be taxed under the state's Current Agricultural Use Valuation program.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tips for Selling with: Agritourism and "Pick-Your-Own"

Sustainable Agriculture Standard Established by American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) has completed a standard that establishes a framework for charting progress toward sustainable agricultural production. ANSI/ASABE S629, Framework to Evaluate the Sustainability of Agricultural Production Systems, includes provisions for defining and benchmarking key performance indicators, setting goals, implementing strategies for continuous improvements, and reporting improvements.

Farm Aid Announces 2016 Venue
Each year, Farm Aid's concert brings together a wide variety of artists, farmers, and fans for one mission: keeping family farmers on the land. This year's concert will be in Bristow, Virginia, on September 17. Farm Aid 2016 will feature Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, Alabama Shakes, Sturgill Simpson, and many more artists. Farm Aid 2016 will also include family farm food, hands-on activities in Farm Aid's HOMEGROWN Village, and featured family farmers.

Armed to Farm Training Helps Veterans Launch Agriculture Enterprises
The National Center for Appropriate Technology partnered with the University of Arkansas and other organizations to provide a sustainable agriculture training program for veterans, held June 6-10 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The program offered military veterans and spouses a mix of classroom and on-farm education on launching and running poultry, small livestock, and agroforestry enterprises. NCAT is planning additional Armed to Farm trainings in New York and Montana.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts Challenge Area
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture requests applications for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts Challenge Area Program. Specific program areas are designed to reduce national dependence on foreign oil through the development and production of regionally appropriate sustainable bioenergy systems that materially deliver advanced liquid transportation biofuels, biopower, and bioproducts. Approximately $21 million is available for fiscal year 2016.
A letter of intent to apply is due July 14, 2016.

Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant
USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service announces the availability of $3 million for the FY 2016 Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant program. Proposals are sought from applicants who will provide technical assistance to socially-disadvantaged groups in rural areas. Eligible applicants include Cooperatives, Groups of Cooperatives, and Cooperative Development Centers.
Application deadline is August 1, 2016, for electronic submissions; August 5, 2016, for submissions by mail.

Kansas Water Quality Improvement through the Implementation of Forestry Practices
The Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications for Kansas Forest Service's "Water Quality Improvement through the Implementation of Forestry Practices" initiative. A partnership agreement provides free technical assistance, in addition to $8.1 million in financial assistance, to landowners who implement conservation practices. Assistance is available for landowners in targeted watersheds.
Applications will be taken until funding is exhausted.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Soil Health Conference: Living Roots 24/7/365
July 28-29, 2016
Centre Hall, Pennsylvania

PASA's 2nd Annual Soil Health Summer Conference will explore techniques to grow soil health by increasing the periods of the year that farm fields are populated by living roots. This event will feature leading no-till farmer and cover crop innovator Steve Groff.

Sustainable Agriculture Education Association 7th National Conference
July 29-31, 2016
Santa Cruz, California

"The Ecology of Food Systems" invites participants from across the agriculture and food system who are engaged in adult education. The format will be participant-driven, featuring Open Space sessions, workshops, panel discussions, and diverse presentations.

Agroforestry Academy
July 25-29, 2016
Columbia, Missouri

This annual academy, developed by a regional consortium of experts, is designed to train natural resource professionals, extension agents, and other agricultural educators who work with landowners.

>> 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.

© 2016 NCAT

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Featured ATTRA Publication
Tipsheet: Organic Pig Production

Question of the Week
Will a sorghum-sudangrass cover crop have allelopathic effects on subsequent crops?

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

On-Farm Food Safety Workshop
Register now for NCAT's food safety workshop for fresh produce farmers. Dixon, Montana ~ June 29

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