Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 13, 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
- Calculator Tool Reveals Costs and Benefits of Conservation Cropping Systems
- National Farmers Market Week Set for August 7-13
- Organic Agriculture Research Symposium Proceedings Available Online
- Study Recommends Strategic Use of CRP Land as Buffers Between Trees and Crops
- Principles of Sustainable Agriculture Identified in Study
- Minnesota Project Works to Change Local Food Regulations
- Western SARE Professional Development Program
- Agriculture and Food Research Initiative — Foundational Program
- National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety Grants
- NOFA Summer Conference
- Vermont Open Farm Week
- Small Ruminant Conference
News & Resources
Calculator Tool Reveals Costs and Benefits of Conservation Cropping Systems
The Land Stewardship Project has developed a new online tool for farmers, ranchers, non-farm landowners, and natural resource professionals to assess the costs and benefits of planting cover crops or perennial grasses. The Cropping Systems Calculator is an Excel-based tool that allows the comparison of two crop rotations, each up to six years in length. It provides average yearly returns, as well as a year-by-year breakdown for each rotation.
The calculator also allows a comparison of various grazing systems.
National Farmers Market Week Set for August 7-13
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has proclaimed August 7-13 the 17th annual National Farmers Market Week, to honor and celebrate the important role that farmers markets play in local economies. Farmers markets across the country will mark the week with special events. USDA is sharing free farmers market-related graphics online, along with a short demonstration video, at www.ams.usda.gov/resources/NFMW.
Organic Agriculture Research Symposium Proceedings Available Online
Summaries of presentations at the 2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium are now available online. The program consisted of nine workshops, 29 speakers, and a poster session on topics such as soil health, seeds and plant breeding, biological control, long-term and strategic research, biodiversity, economics, and livestock. Many of the workshops and the keynote presentations are available on the eOrganic YouTube channel.
Study Recommends Strategic Use of CRP Land as Buffers Between Trees and Crops
University of Missouri scientists suggest farmers use buffers between crops and trees to both reduce runoff from crop fields and prevent loss of crop yield from trees. A team of researchers tested different strategies, including combinations of crops, trees, and buffer zones. The most effective tactic was to utilize Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land strategically to create buffers.
Principles of Sustainable Agriculture Identified in Study
University of Florida researchers have published "Principles Guiding Practices: A case study analysis of the principles of sustainable agriculture for diverse farms" in the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. Researchers identified nine principles that dictate how farmers practice sustainable agriculture and guide them in their daily decision-making and long-term planning.
Minnesota Project Works to Change Local Food Regulations
The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture has launched an initiative to change the approach to regulation of local food systems in Minnesota. The initiative website features open-source materials available for anyone with an interest in local food systems to use and adapt as needed. These include case studies on farmers and food entrepreneurs and on food-safety regulators.
>> More Breaking News
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Western SARE Professional Development Program
Western SARE is accepting proposals for Professional Development Program (PDP) competitive grants up to $75,000. PDP grants help Cooperative Extension Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other agricultural professionals in the Western Region increase their understanding and proficiency in sustainable agriculture.
Proposals are due by November 2, 2016.
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative — Foundational Program
The AFRI Foundational Program offers grants in the six AFRI priority areas:
Plant Health and Production and Plant Products; Animal Health and Production and Animal Products; Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health; Bioenergy, Natural Resources, and Environment; Agriculture Systems and Technology; and Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities. Approximately $130 million is available.
Application deadlines vary by program area, extending through August 31, 2016.
National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety Grants
Proposals are now being accepted for mini-grants up to $20,000 to support small-scale projects and pilot studies that address prevention of childhood agricultural disease and injury. Priority will be given to projects that identify and/or address emerging trends in agriculture that may pose risks to children.
Application deadline is August 17, 2016.
>> More Funding Opportunities
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NOFA Summer Conference
August 12-14, 2016
Join people from across the Northeast for a three-day celebration of the grassroots organic movement. Presenters, seminars, workshops, and networking are scheduled. Keynote speakers are Leah Penniman and
Vermont Open Farm Week
August 15-21, 2016
At this week-long celebration of Vermont farms, learn more about local food origins and to get to know your local farmer. Activities vary and may include milking cows and goats, harvesting vegetables, collecting eggs, and tasting farm-fresh food.
Small Ruminant Conference
July 16 or 23, or
August 6, 20, or 27, 2016
Various Arkansas Locations
University of Arkansas Research & Extension is offering free, one-day conferences around the state. Brush up on small ruminant basics and learn about advanced aspects of caring for sheep and goats, including FAMACHA parasite-detection technique.
>> More Events
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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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