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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 15, 2020

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

  • Food Safety Opens New Markets for Small Farms, Study Finds
  • Report Offers Recommendations for Building a More Resilient Food System in Ohio
  • Additional Commodities Added to Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)
  • Western Landowners Alliance Releases Guide on Payments for Stewardship
  • Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union Offers to Pay Closing Costs on Farmland Sales or Refinancing
  • Iowa Meat Processor Approved for Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program

Funding Opportunities

  • Partnership Pre-Proposals for Aging on the Farm
  • Farmers Advocating for Organic
  • Pure Growth Project Community Garden Grant

Coming Events

  • Soil Health Institute Annual Meeting
  • Farms to Food Banks
  • Soil and Water Conservation Society International Annual Conference

News & Resources

Food Safety Opens New Markets for Small Farms, Study Finds
A study by Cornell University found that small-scale farmers who are educated in food safety and develop a food-safety plan have new markets opened to them. The study showed that although the relative cost burden for implementing food safety plans is higher for smaller-scale producers, they enjoy more relative benefits of increasing sales to new markets and buyers.
Related ATTRA Video: Food Safety—A Farmer's Perspective

Report Offers Recommendations for Building a More Resilient Food System in Ohio
Opportunity in a Time of Crisis: Recommendations for Building a More Resilient Ohio Food System offers eight policy recommendations decision-makers can implement to invest in the capacity of state farmers and farmers markets and build food security for vulnerable families. The report describes the need to invest in food preservation and processing facilities, federal aid for underserved farmers selling into local markets, tax credits to assist landowners in transferring land to beginning farmers, and revisions to state contract bidding.

Additional Commodities Added to Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)
USDA announced that additional commodities have been added to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Also, USDA has made several other adjustments to the program based on comments received and review of market data. The newly added commodities include numerous specialty crops. Additionally, funding for sales losses in apples, blueberries, garlic, potatoes, raspberries, tangerines, and taro was expanded, and payment rates for several products were corrected.

Western Landowners Alliance Releases Guide on Payments for Stewardship
The Western Landowners Alliance has released a new publication titled Paying for Stewardship: A Western Landowners' Guide to Conservation Finance. This guide presents some ways landowners can earn compensation for their stewardship efforts directly or indirectly, through schemes sometimes referred to as payments for ecosystem services, ecosystem services markets, or conservation finance. The guide provides both descriptions and illustrative case studies of these strategies at work.
Related ATTRA Publication: Payments for Ecosystem Services

Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union Offers to Pay Closing Costs on Farmland Sales or Refinancing
Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union (MHFCU) has announced a new program that pays closing costs for purchasing or refinancing farmland in Maine. The Conservation Grant Program will reimburse borrowers up to $3,500 in closing costs, per loan. MHFCU hopes this grant will incentivize farmers looking to buy land, expand acreage, or reduce monthly mortgage costs. To qualify, borrowers will need to have a land analysis performed by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.
Related ATTRA Publication: Financing Your Farm: Guidance for Beginning Farmers

Iowa Meat Processor Approved for Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program
Members of the Iowa Meat Processors Association approached the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in 2019 about implementing the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) program to help small meat processing facilities grow their businesses. Now, the first processing facility, Story City Locker, LLC, has been approved for the program. There are 68 meat processing facilities in Iowa that are eligible for the CIS program, and 14 have applied for it to date.
Related ATTRA Publication: Working with Your Meat Processor

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Partnership Pre-Proposals for Aging on the Farm
The Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH) is seeking pre-proposal applications for small partnership projects to address Aging on the Farm, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. UMASH recently hosted two community forums to identify and discuss key issues related to aging in agricultural communities across the Upper Midwest. UMASH and the University of Minnesota Center for Healthy Aging and Innovation invite proposals that build upon the issues discussed at these community forums and address the challenge of aging in agricultural communities.
Pre-proposals are due August 1, 2020.

Farmers Advocating for Organic
Farmers Advocating for Organic (FAFO) is a grant program funded by contributions from Organic Valley farmers. Grants are awarded to research, education, and advocacy projects that advance FAFO's mission: to protect and promote the organic industry and the livelihood of organic farmers. FAFO is currently prioritizing projects that focus on benefitting family farmers who produce organic dairy, eggs, meat, produce, and grain/forage; organic soil health and biology; or strengthening CROPP Cooperative. Nonprofit organizations and academic/research institutions are eligible. One-time grants range from $5,000 to $50,000.
Letters of interest are due by August 1, 2020.

Pure Growth Project Community Garden Grant
Pure Farmland provides financial support through its Community Garden Grant to neighborhood gardens and eligible food projects where access to fresh produce and green spaces is limited. To be eligible, community gardens must serve at least 10 individual households and be open to and actively seek members or participants from their neighborhood or local community.
The application deadline is July 31, 2020.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Soil Health Institute Annual Meeting
July 30-31, 2020
Online
The 5th annual meeting of the Soil Health Institute, Soil Health: The Foundation for Regenerative Agriculture, is a free virtual event. There will be virtual presentations by farmers, scientists, educators, conservationists, and agricultural industry leaders engaged in soil health/regenerative agriculture. Video poster presentations will offer opportunities for interacting with the authors in real time.

Farms to Food Banks
July 28, 2020
Online

Prior to the pandemic, various food banks were already buying food from farmers. This moderated discussion presented by the Ecological Farming Association will explore new and old programs and how farmers are participating in them. Participants will also address the implications of these efforts for USDA nutrition policy and programs.

Soil and Water Conservation Society International Annual Conference
July 27-29, 2020
Online
"Expanding Horizons: Where Conservation Meets Innovation" will feature the latest ideas, technologies, and practices and foster a dialogue around their adoption. Cutting-edge research and practice developments in soil health, water quality, and resource management will be shared through virtual workshops, sessions, symposia, exhibits, and galleries.

>>More Events

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New ATTRA Publication
How to Accept SNAP Payments: A Guide For Montana CSA Farms

Question of the Week
How much should I charge for land in a contract grazing situation?

Ask an Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online or by calling 1-800-346-9140

Payments for Ecosystem Services
Free webinar—first in a three-part series.
July 28, 2020
Register here.

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