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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 24, 2015

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.

Armed to Farm Training in New York State Accepting Applications
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is accepting applications for a week-long Armed to Farm workshop at Houghton College in western New York on August 2-7. The program is available free to military veterans in New York state who have recently begun farming and who wish to learn more skills, explore sustainable and diverse enterprises, and improve or change their farm business plans. Applications are due by June 26, 2015.

News & Resources

  • Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program Changes Explained
  • Providing Native-Bee Nest Sites Boosts Populations in Orchards
  • Producer Survey Explores Building Minnesota Farm to Institution Markets
  • American Farmland Trust's Farmers Market Celebration Launches
  • Factory Farm Size Trends Documented in Map and Report
  • Minnesota Online Resource Connects Organic Farmers with Beekeepers

Funding Opportunities

  • Rural Cooperative Development Grant
  • Specialty Crop Research Initiative/Citrus Disease Research and Extension
  • Minnesota Rural Finance Authority Avian Influenza Low-Interest Loans

Coming Events

  • Dairy Environmental Systems & Climate Adaptation Conference
  • Kneading Conference and Maine Artisan Bread Fair
  • Festival of Farms

News & Resources

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program Changes Explained
Farmers' Legal Action Group has a seven-page overview titled Changes to the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for the 2015 Crop Year available online. The publication highlights the significant changes that have been made to USDA's NAP that may affect farmers seeking coverage.

Providing Native-Bee Nest Sites Boosts Populations in Orchards
Researchers with Georgia Gwinnett College have found that creating artificial nesting sites for native bees helps increase their population in apple orchards. Native mining bees, mason bees, bumblebees, and carpenter bees can serve as primary pollinators for apple blossoms. The SARE project "Enhancement of Native Bee Pollination Services in Apple Orchards in Georgia" tested soil trenches and boxes as enriched habitat.
Related ATTRA Publication: Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees

Producer Survey Explores Minnesota Farm to Institution Markets
An online survey of Minnesota growers interested in farm to institution markets sought to determine the resources they need to engage with institutional markets in a consistent and economically viable manner. Most of the 142 respondents were interested in exploring expanded direct-to-consumer, co-op, and on-farm retail market channels in the coming five years. The full report of survey results is available online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tips for Selling to Institutional Markets

American Farmland Trust's Farmers Market Celebration Launches
American Farmland Trust has announced the start of the seventh annual Farmers Market Celebration to raise awareness about the vital link between family farmers and local food. This event invites members of the public to endorse their local farmers markets online. The markets with the most endorsements by September 23 will win awards.

Factory Farm Size Trends Documented in Map and Report
Food & Water Watch analyzed USDA data and found that factory farms continued to grow in size and number over the past 15 years. These trends are highlighted on the updated website www.factoryfarmmap.org and in its companion report, Factory Farm Nation: 2015 Edition.

Minnesota Online Resource Connects Organic Farmers with Beekeepers
Minnesota Department of Agriculture has created a new "Organic Hive Hosts for Commercial Beekeepers" online resource. The listing features organic farmers willing to partner with beekeepers seeking new sites. Interested beekeepers can browse organic farm availability, sorted by county.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Rural Cooperative Development Grant
USDA is accepting applications from non-profit corporations and institutions of higher education for grants to support Cooperative Development Centers that help rural cooperatives develop new markets for their products and services. The Rural Cooperative Development Grant will make up to $5.8 million in matching grants available in Fiscal Year 2015.
The application deadline is July 30, 2015.

Specialty Crop Research Initiative/Citrus Disease Research and Extension
The Specialty Crop Research Initiative Citrus Disease Research and Extension is offering grants to conduct research and extension activities, technical assistance, and development activities to combat citrus diseases and pests and disseminate information, techniques, and technologies. A total of $23 million in matching funding is available through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Applications are due by August 14, 2015.

Minnesota Rural Finance Authority Avian Influenza Low-Interest Loans
Minnesota poultry farmers who have suffered losses due to highly pathogenic avian influenza are eligible for disaster loans through the Minnesota Rural Finance Authority (RFA). The RFA has been appropriated $10 million to help producers replace commercial poultry flocks or game (backyard) flocks, make building improvements, and cover the loss of revenue.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Dairy Environmental Systems & Climate Adaptation Conference
July 29-31, 2015
Ithaca, New York

This regional conference offers an opportunity to learn about emerging dairy housing and manure-management systems in conjunction with regional climate trends and national and international drivers, along with adaptation strategies for the Northeast and upper Midwest.

Kneading Conference and Maine Artisan Bread Fair
July 30 - August 1, 2015
Skowhegan, Maine

The Kneading Conference is an intimate convening of passionate bakers, millers, grain growers, and wood-fired oven builders, coming together to share ideas and expertise in growing grains and baking artisan breads.

Festival of Farms
July 11-12, 2015
Across Minnesota

Sustainable Farming Association presents an opportunity to learn about sustainable agriculture, network within the community, and have fun at various farms across the state. Events will include a Garlic Growers Field Day & Gathering, farm tours, speakers, local foods, and more.

>> 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.

© 2015 NCAT

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New ATTRA Video
The Benefits of Diversity: Another Look at Whole-Farm Revenue Protection in Iowa and Midwest

Question of the Week
How can I get rid of the cheat grass that has invaded the bare spots in my pastures?

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Submit questions to our professional staff online

ATTRA Webinar
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