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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 3, 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

  • Updated SoilWeb App Available
  • Cover Crop Guidelines and Policy from USDA Add Management Flexibility
  • Cover Crops Good Option for Prevented-Planting Fields
  • Interactive Online Map Highlights Perennial Farming Resources, Operations
  • 'Soil for Water' Project Focuses on Catching and Holding Rainwater
  • European Research Finds Bee Colonies Do Better on Organic Farms

Funding Opportunities

  • Organic Farming Research Foundation Grant Funding
  • National Conservation Innovation Grants
  • Texas Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Projects

Coming Events

  • Soil Sisters
  • Battleground to Breaking Ground Agriculture Business Workshop
  • Restoration Agriculture Workshop

News & Resources

Updated SoilWeb App Available
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the University of California at Davis Soil Resource Laboratory have released version 2.0 of the free SoilWeb app. SoilWeb provides users with information on soil types associated with their location, based on information from the National Cooperative Soil Survey. The new version has a cleaner and more modern interface, as well as detailed digital soil-survey data.
Related ATTRA Tutorial: Soil Health

Cover Crop Guidelines and Policy from USDA Add Management Flexibility
USDA's Farm Service Agency, NRCS, and Risk Management Agency have developed new guidelines and policy on when cover crops must be terminated for farmers to remain eligible for crop insurance. Changes will take effect for the 2020 crop year. With the changes, cover crop management practices are covered by Good Farming Practice provisions, and crop insurance will attach at time of planting the insured crop. NRCS is now recognized as an agricultural expert resource for cover crop management systems.
Related ATTRA Publication: Crop Insurance Options for Specialty, Diversified, and Organic Farmers

Cover Crops Good Option for Prevented-Planting Fields
USDA reminds farmers that cover crops can be planted on fields where they were prevented from planting a cash crop. USDA offers information on its Prevented or Delayed Planting website and in the fact sheet Cover Crops and Prevented Planting. North Dakota State University Extension suggests that cover crops can use up extra soil moisture, prevent erosion, and condition soil for next year in fields that weren't planted this year.

Interactive Online Map Highlights Perennial Farming Resources, Operations
PerennialMap.org is an interactive, online map that connects farms raising perennial crops (including pasture), supply and service providers, food markets, and research and education resources. Those involved and interested in perennial crops can self-list on the map. Project partners include the Savanna Institute, University of Wisconsin, University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry, The Greenhorns, Agrarian Trust, and University of Illinois.
Related ATTRA Publication: Climate Change and Perennial Fruit and Nut Production: Investing in Resilience in Uncertain Times

'Soil for Water' Project Focuses on Catching and Holding Rainwater
NCAT's Soil for Water project takes a biological approach, working with landowners on increasing the infiltration and water-holding capacity of soils by making them healthier. Activities in the long-term project are guided by five principles of soil health. The project is building a network of ranchers who are trying regenerative grazing methods and sharing their results. Network members get help setting up grazing demonstrations and conducting long-term rangeland monitoring.
Related ATTRA Resources: Water Quality, Conservation, Drought and Irrigation

European Research Finds Bee Colonies Do Better on Organic Farms
A study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology shows that bee colonies on organic farms have more bees, more brood, and greater honey production than bee colonies on conventional farms. The study used data spanning six years for 180 hives in west central France. Authors say the bees on organic farms may be benefiting from more pollen, more flowers, and a greater area of flowers, as well as absence of pesticides.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Organic Farming Research Foundation Grant Funding
Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is accepting letters of intent for 2020 grant funding. The program is open to applicants in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. This year's priority areas for research include soil health and weed management, organic pest management, climate change, and social science research on barriers to organic transition. Submissions must address at least one of the priorities.
The deadline to submit Letters of Intent is August 16, 2019.

National Conservation Innovation Grants
NRCS is accepting proposals for $12.5 million in national Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). All U.S.-based non-Federal entities and individuals are eligible to apply. The grants support the development and field testing, on-farm research and demonstration, evaluation, or implementation of conservation technologies, practices, and systems and approaches to incentivizing conservation adoption. Grantees must match the CIG investment at least one to one. CIG priorities this year are increasing the pace and scale of conservation adoption, water quantity, pollinator habitat, and urban agriculture.
Proposals are due by July 30, 2019.

Texas Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Projects
USDA-NRCS in Texas is accepting applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) under current approved Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) projects. Approved RCPP projects are as follows: Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative, Improving Working Lands for Monarch Butterflies, Lower Rio Grande Valley Water Improvement Initiative, Rice Stewardship Partnership, Texas Gulf Coast Stream and Wetland Initiative, and the Gulf Coast Water and Wildlife Conservation. Counties where landowners are eligible to apply for each project are listed online.
The application deadline for the current round of funding is July 22, 2019.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Soil Sisters
August 2-4, 2019
Monroe and Brodhead, Wisconsin
Soil Sisters culinary event celebrates Wisconsin's family farms and rural life. The agenda includes local food and drink; on-farm, hands-on workshops; a farm to table dinner; farm pizza; and a bus tour of small family farms led by Wisconsin women committed to a healthy, fresh future.

Battleground to Breaking Ground Agriculture Business Workshop
August 3, 2019
Garland, Texas
This free Battleground to Breaking Ground workshop is designed for military veterans, beginning farmers and ranchers, individuals with disabilities, and anyone interested in starting an agriculture business. Workshop sessions include rural business ideas, business planning, possibilities for farming/ranching with a disability, funding sources, marketing resources, and resources to support agriculture business operations.

Restoration Agriculture Workshop
August 2-4, 2019
New Paris, Ohio
Restoration Agriculture Development presents this workshop with Mark Shepard and Greg Burns. It offers hands-on learning about designs to make your land more resilient in times of flood and drought, using your livestock as your "land managers," how to cash flow until your system starts to produce, and how to begin a design plan of your own.

>>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.

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New ATTRA Podcast
Alternative Feed for Poultry

Question of the Week
How should I prepare my soil for fruit crops?

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Fruit for Butte
July 9, 2019
Butte, Montana
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