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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 17, 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

  • Study Examines Effect of Grazing Sheep on Vegetable or Cover Crop Plots
  • Farming Trends Threaten Food Security, Say Researchers
  • Report Showcases Benefits of Organic Dairy
  • USDA Awards Record Number of Farm to School Grants
  • Report Details Spring Effects on Organic Crops
  • Success with Supplementation of Beneficial Insects Depends on Surroundings

Funding Opportunities

  • Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program
  • Carolina Farm Credit Corporate Mission Fund
  • Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative

Coming Events

  • Small Grains Conference
  • Battleground to Breaking Ground Agricultural Business Workshop
  • Organic Agronomy Training Series (OATS)

News & Resources

Study Examines Effect of Grazing Sheep on Vegetable or Cover Crop Plots
Researchers at Montana State University are exploring the effect that grazing sheep on vegetable or cover crop plots has on soil health. They are studying how using sheep for weed control might reduce the need for tillage or chemical herbicides. After two years of in-field testing on cooperating farms, they've found that grazing sheep add fertility to the soil, reduce the need for tillage, and don't appear to cause soil compaction.
Related ATTRA Publication: Livestock as a Tool: Improving Soil Health, Boosting Crops

Farming Trends Threaten Food Security, Say Researchers
A team of researchers writing in Global Change Biology says that global food security is at increased risk from farming trends such as monocultures taking up more agricultural land and more crops relying on insects for pollination. The team found that despite more land being used for agriculture worldwide, the diversity of crops has declined. Additionally, 16 of the 20 fastest-increasing crops require pollination by insects or other animals, which are themselves at risk.

Report Showcases Benefits of Organic Dairy
A new report from The Organic Center titled The Benefits of Organic Dairy explains new research findings that show organic milk offers a way to avoid contaminants such as pesticides, antibiotics, or synthetic growth hormones. The report highlights what's special about the way organic dairy is produced, and why those differences are important for the health of the cows, the health and safety of consumers, and the environment. The 23-page report is available free online.

USDA Awards Record Number of Farm to School Grants
USDA announced the award of more than $9 million for 126 Farm to School Program grants. These projects are expected to serve more than 3.2 million students in more than 5,400 schools. Grants from $20,000 to $100,000 will fund equipment purchases and experiential learning activities including planting school gardens, offering taste tests to children, and organizing field trips to local farms and food producers.

Report Details Spring Effects on Organic Crops
Mercaris has released a Spring Planting Special Report detailing how organic field crop acreage has been impacted by unprecedented cold and wet springtime weather this year. Mercaris found that less than 3% of U.S. organic field crop acres were impacted by this spring's most significant flooding but organic growers were still affected by above-average precipitation. The report analyzes how organic growers are using tools like crop insurance and alternative cropping techniques in order to cope with losses.
Related ATTRA Resources: Crop Insurance

Success with Supplementation of Beneficial Insects Depends on Surroundings
A study by Cornell University explored farmers' success with release of natural enemies on cabbage crops in New York. Researchers found that releasing pest predators led to fewer pests, less plant damage, and increased crop biomass on farms that were surrounded by forest and natural areas. In simpler agricultural landscapes, insect predators may prey on other predators, and there can be more competition for prey.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program
USDA is accepting applications for $16 million to help socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers own and operate successful farms, through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program). Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations, and a range of higher education institutions serving African-American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities.
The deadline for applications is August 15, 2019.

Carolina Farm Credit Corporate Mission Fund
Organizations in the 54 counties where Carolina Farm Credit conducts business can apply for $5,000 per year to help in their endeavors to further the future of agriculture and contribute to the agricultural economy in North Carolina. Organizations' values and purpose must align with the Fund's mission.
Applications are accepted until July 31, 2019.

Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative
The Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI) is a statewide public-private financing program that invests in new or expanding grocery stores and other healthy food retail outlets. The FFFI provides one-time grants and loans to food retailers in order to increase access to healthy, affordable grocery food options and to improve economic opportunities for lower-income, underserved communities.
Applications will be evaluated and approved on a rolling basis while funds remain available.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Small Grains Conference
August 15-16, 2019
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Practical Farmers of Iowa presents Rotationally Raised: Making Small Grains Work. Learn about growing small grains and the benefits of an extended rotation. Breakout sessions will address integrating animals with a small-grains operation, marketing small grains, agronomy, and more.

Battleground to Breaking Ground Agricultural Business Workshop
August 15, 2019
San Angelo, Texas
Join Texas AgrAbility for a free one-day agriculture business workshop addressing rural business ideas, business planning, possibilities for farming/ranching with a disability, funding sources, marketing resources, and resources to support agriculture business operations.

Organic Agronomy Training Series (OATS)
August 14-15, 2019
LaCrosse, Wisconsin
The Organic Agronomy Training Series (OATS) is a collaboratively managed, science-based, train-the-trainer program for agricultural professionals that provides education and guidance on organic production methods and certification.

>>More Events

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New ATTRA Podcast
Scaling Up. An Introduction

Question of the Week
How can I protect pastured turkeys from predators?

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Farm Fundamentals Workshop
August 10, 2019
Okolona, Mississippi
Learn more about this free workshop.

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