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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 2, 2014

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 Provides Guidance on Food Value Chains
  • USDA Seeks Stakeholder Input on Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
  • Soil Renaissance Strategic Plan Released
  • IPM Guidelines for Blueberries Released
  • President Issues Memorandum on Pollinator Health
  • New Illinois Law Supports Farmers Markets

Funding Opportunities

  • Rural Energy for America Program Guaranteed Loans
  • Ceres Trust Organic Research Initiative
  • California State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)

Coming Events

  • Florida Small Farms & Alternative Enterprises Conference
  • Pennsylvania Organic FarmFest
  • Farm to Table International Symposium

News & Resources

Report Provides Guidance on Food Value Chains
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and Wallace Center at Winrock International have released Food Value Chains: Creating Shared Value to Enhance Marketing Success. This new resource is designed to provide guidance on how food value chains are structured, how they function, and the benefits they provide to participants, with the intent of encouraging their adoption. The 72-page report is available online in PDF.

USDA Seeks Stakeholder Input on Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is seeking stakeholder input to the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) from applicants to the program; those who operate beginning farmer and rancher programs; farmers and ranchers involved in programs; and any other interested individuals or organizations. To be incorporated into planning for the 2015 cycle, stakeholder input should be sent by July 3, 2014, to bfrdp@nifa.usda.gov (please put "comments" in the subject line) or via fax to 202-401-6070, addressed to BFRDP Program Staff.

Soil Renaissance Strategic Plan Released
Farm Foundation and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation released the Soil Renaissance Strategic Plan at the World Congress of Conservation Agriculture. Developed with input from thought leaders working in production agriculture, agribusiness, the academic community, NGOs, and government agencies, the plan outlines goals and strategies in four key areas: Measurement, Economics, Research, and Education.
Related ATTRA Publication: Sustainable Soil Management

IPM Guidelines for Blueberries Released
The University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program has released online pest management guidelines for blueberries. The guidelines include management information on blueberry pests such as thrips, light brown apple moth, and spotted wing drosophila. They also offer information on the relative toxicities of insecticides and miticides to beneficial insects and honey bees.
Related ATTRA Publication: Blueberries: Organic Production

President Issues Memorandum on Pollinator Health
At the conclusion of Pollinator Week, President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum on Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. The memorandum establishes a Pollinator Health Task Force charged with creating a National Pollinator Health Strategy. Task Force member agencies are also charged with increasing and improving pollinator habitat.

New Illinois Law Supports Farmers Markets
New Illinois legislation creates a timeline for completing recommendations for statewide farmers market rules and regulations. The legislation also calls for a statewide sampling certificate program and requires farmers market vendors to have a label that states the address where their products were physically grown. The law also caps the registration fee that local health departments can charge cottage food operations.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Rural Energy for America Program Guaranteed Loans
USDA is seeking applications from rural small businesses and agricultural producers who want to fund energy-efficiency improvements or install renewable-energy systems. Up to $57.8 million in loan guarantees is available nationwide under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
Guaranteed loan applications are accepted on a continuous basis; for this cycle they will be accepted until July 31, 2014.

Ceres Trust Organic Research Initiative
Ceres Trust focuses on supporting and promoting organic and sustainable agriculture. The competitive Organic Research Initiative program awards grants of up to $60,000 per year for up to three years. Ceres Trust anticipates that up to 10 grants will be made to universities and other nonprofit applicants in the 12-state North Central Region.
Applications are due by September 25, 2014.

California State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)
The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications for an estimated $10 million in competitive grants. Funding will assist agricultural operations in implementing water-conservation measures that result in increased water efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. An application webinar is scheduled for July 8.
Applications are due by July 15, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Florida Small Farms & Alternative Enterprises Conference
August 1-2, 2014
Kissimmee, Florida

This conference offers farm tours, a trade show, networking opportunities, live animal exhibits, and hands-on workshops. Conference tracks address horticulture, livestock, organic/sustainable, the business of farming, and pest management.

Pennsylvania Organic FarmFest
August 1-2, 2014
Centre Hall, Pennsylvania

FarmFest is a fun, free, community-building event that fosters knowledge of organic agriculture and sustainable living through educational opportunities, local foods, lively entertainment, and interactive family activities.

Farm to Table International Symposium
August 2-4, 2014
New Orleans, Louisiana

The Farm to Table International Symposium (F2Ti) explores the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of food and drink sourced locally. This year's theme, "The Process," examines the agricultural-culinary cycle at all levels.

>> More Events

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New ATTRA Publication
Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Regional Markets

Question of the Week
I'm building stalls for sheep and goats. What can I use to treat the wood that won't be toxic to the animals?

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