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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 15, 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.

News & Resources

  • "Voices of Soil" Essay and Video Contest Accepting Entries
  • National Working Group on Cover Crops and Soil Health Releases Recommendations
  • Large-Scale Organic Farming Doesn't Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Study Says
  • USDA Summarizes Data on Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops
  • Connecticut Farmland Protection Guide Updated
  • Countryside Initiative Offers Opportunity to Live and Farm in a National Park

Funding Opportunities

  • Small Business Innovation Research Program - Phase I
  • Crop Insurance in Targeted States Program
  • Conservation Innovation Grants in Kansas

Coming Events

  • NOFA Summer Conference
  • First Coast Specialty Crop Conference
  • Wisconsin Cover Crops Conference

News & Resources

"Voices of Soil" Essay and Video Contest Accepting Entries
Natural Resources Defense Council and Lexicon of Sustainability are hosting the "Voices of Soil" Essay and Video Contest for young farmers, agricultural students, or any young person who appreciates the value of healthy soil. The contest is open to U.S. residents ages 18 to 28. The submission deadline is August 31, 2015.

National Working Group on Cover Crops and Soil Health Releases Recommendations
The National Working Group on Cover Crops and Soil Health released a list of 10 recommendations for improving soil health and expanding the use of cover crops. The 19-member working group, created following the February 2014 National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health, presented its recommendations to USDA in June.

Large-Scale Organic Farming Doesn't Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Study Says
Large-scale organic farming operations are not reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to a review of almost a decade of data from 49 states, conducted by a University of Oregon researcher. Increasing numbers of commercialized organic operations appear to contribute to increased and more intense levels of greenhouse gases coming from each acre of farmland.

USDA Summarizes Data on Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops
USDA Economic Research Service has released an updated data set that summarizes the adoption of genetically engineered crops in the United States from 2000 to 2015. Tables for corn, cotton, and soybeans provide data obtained by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The charts show the percentage of genetically engineered crops planted each year in the primary producing states for that crop.

Connecticut Farmland Protection Guide Updated
The Working Lands Alliance, a project of American Farmland Trust, has updated its educational guide, Conservation Options for Connecticut Farmland. The comprehensive guide, produced in partnership with Connecticut Farmland Trust, has become a go-to resource for landowners, land trusts, and municipalities in Connecticut interested in protecting their farmland.

Countryside Initiative Offers Opportunity to Live and Farm in a National Park
The National Park Service, in conjunction with the Countryside Conservancy, has announced new long-term lease offerings in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Countryside Initiative invites farmers to live and farm in the park using sustainable methods while promoting farming that will produce high-quality specialty products for direct, local, and retail sale. Proposals are due by September 16, 2015.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Small Business Innovation Research Program - Phase I
Small businesses and small proprietorships are eligible to submit applications for up to $100,000 for a Phase I project. Proposed Phase I projects should prove the scientific or technical feasibility of the approach or concept. Projects dealing with agriculturally related manufacturing and alternative and renewable energy technologies are encouraged.
Applications are due October 8, 2015.

Crop Insurance in Targeted States Program
USDA Risk Management Agency has announced the availability of $5 million for the Crop Insurance in Targeted States Program. The program provides funding for the development of crop insurance education programs in 16 states targeting underserved producers.
Applications are due by August 14, 2015.

Conservation Innovation Grants in Kansas
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Kansas is accepting proposals for grants to fund projects focusing on innovative conservation approaches and technologies. Individual grants up to $50,000 can be used to fund up to 50% of the total cost of a project lasting one to three years.
Proposals must be received by August 7, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

NOFA Summer Conference
August 14-16, 2015
Amherst, Massachusetts

Join the Northeast Organic Farming Association for three days with 144 workshops on farming, gardening, nutrition, land care, food politics, and much more. The theme for this year's Conference is "Healing the Climate, Healing Ourselves: Regeneration through Microbiology."

First Coast Specialty Crop Conference
August 15, 2015
Jacksonville, Florida

This conference is designed by the UF/IFAS Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises extension team to provide multiple networking and educational opportunities for farmers and other stakeholders in the regional food system. The training program has been carefully crafted to attend the needs of local farmers.

Wisconsin Cover Crops Conference
August 14, 2015
East Troy, Wisconsin

The theme of this year's conference is "Cover Crops and Agricultural Resiliency." This event at the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute features a mix of general sessions and bus tours highlighting successful cover crop practitioners in organic production, no-till systems, and fresh market production.

>> More Events

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Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest newsletters are available online.

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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ATTRA Workshop
Andy Pressman and Chris Lent will conduct a Seasonal High Tunnel Workshop for Veterans in Hudson, New York, July 18-19.

Question of the Week
What is a food hub?

Ask a Sustainable Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online

ATTRA Webinar
Register for "Organic Certification through the Texas Department of Agriculture" ~ July 23

ATTRA Spanish Newsletter
Subscribe to Cosecha Mensual (Monthly Harvest), ATTRA's Spanish-language e-newsletter

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