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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 19, 2017

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

  • New Land Access Training Program to Help Beginning Farmers
  • Is a 'Regenerative Agriculture' Label on the Horizon?
  • MIT Study Predicts Severe Crop-Yield Reductions in Hotspots that Face Irrigation Loss
  • Costs of Unsold Vermont Crops Calculated in New Report
  • Self-Imposed Fees Help Farmers Cut Groundwater Use
  • FoodSearcher Tool Highlights Value-Added Businesses

Funding Opportunities

  • Western SARE Professional Development Program
  • Colorado RCPP Agricultural Energy Efficiency Assistance
  • New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program

Coming Events

  • Federation of Southern Cooperatives 50th Anniversary
  • Rotationally Raised: Making Small Grains Work
  • Dry Farming Collaborative Field Days

News & Resources

New Land Access Training Program to Help Beginning Farmers
American Farmland Trust (AFT) has announced that 24 Land Access Trainers will help beginning farmers and ranchers secure agricultural land as part of a nationwide, four-year project. Through a competitive process, AFT selected experienced agricultural educators and service providers from across the country to serve as the inaugural class of trainers. They will help develop and deliver comprehensive land access curriculum.

Is a 'Regenerative Agriculture' Label on the Horizon?
Civil Eats reports that numerous proponents of regenerative agriculture are calling for development of standards and a label that would identify products raised with regenerative practices. Supporters view the concept as separate from the provisions of organic certification, but some worry that adding an additional label could lead to consumer confusion. Even so, some industry observers predict that one or more regenerative labels will be developed in the near future.
Related ATTRA Publication: Agriculture, Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration

MIT Study Predicts Severe Crop-Yield Reductions in Hotspots that Face Irrigation Loss
A study from MIT found that climate change's impact on irrigation will cause some parts of the country to experience severe reductions in crop yield by 2050. In particular, the Southwest is projected to have less precipitation and reduced runoff to use for irrigation. This would cause cotton yield in southern Arizona to drop to less than 10% of yield under optimal conditions. This study is one of the first to look at how changes in climate would affect irrigation-water availability.

Costs of Unsold Vermont Crops Calculated in New Report
Salvation Farms reported in Morning Ag Clips on research by students at the University of Vermont that found 140 million gallons of water and upwards of $20,500 worth of fuel are used per year to grow crops that never make it to people. The research results appear in the report An Analysis of the Environmental Impact of Food Loss on Farms in Vermont.

Self-Imposed Fees Help Farmers Cut Groundwater Use
A University of Colorado Boulder-led study suggests that self-imposed well-pumping fees can play an important role in helping farmers conserve groundwater. In Colorado's San Luis Valley, about 700 farmers voted to self-impose a fee on groundwater. As a result, farmers slashed use by a third, planted less-thirsty crops, and watered more efficiently.

FoodSearcher Tool Highlights Value-Added Businesses
Agricultural Marketing Resource Center and MarketMaker have introduced the FoodSearcher Tool, an interactive map that highlights MarketMaker registered businesses producing specific agricultural products. The map encompasses the nation and includes producers of livestock, fruit, and vegetables. Viewers can use the map to find producers in their own areas.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Western SARE Professional Development Program
Western SARE Professional Development Program Grants help Cooperative Extension, NRCS, and other agricultural professionals in the Western Region increase their understanding of and proficiency in sustainable agriculture. Projects must improve the ability of agricultural professionals to conduct educational programs and activities in sustainable agriculture principles and systems and to respond to inquiries on the subject from farmers, ranchers, and the public. Funding is capped at $75,000 per project.
Applications are due by November 1, 2017.

Colorado RCPP Agricultural Energy Efficiency Assistance
The Colorado Energy Office (CEO), in partnership with the Colorado Department of Agriculture and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, is releasing $500,000 in project-assistance funds through the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The funding is available to Colorado agricultural irrigators, dairies, greenhouses, nurseries, and cold-storage facilities. Applicants must be enrolled in the Colorado Agricultural Energy Efficiency Program and complete an energy audit to receive funding for projects. The funds will help finance energy- and water-saving projects identified through CEO's program.
The deadline to apply is July 21, 2017.

New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program
New York Sea Grant and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation have announced the availability of grants up to $25,000 for Great Lakes resilience projects. Eligible projects must use a complete ecosystem-based approach, incorporate stakeholder participation, and address key priorities in the New York Great Lakes Action Agenda to enhance community resiliency and ecosystem integrity through restoration, protection, and improved resource management.
Proposals must be submitted by September 22, 2017.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Federation of Southern Cooperatives 50th Anniversary
August 17-19, 2017
Birmingham and Epes, Alabama

This event includes the Estelle Witherspoon Award Dinner and the 50th Annual Meeting. The meeting features agricultural exhibits, keynote speakers, USDA panels, and workshops on cooperatives, agroforestry, farm credit, and agritours.

Rotationally Raised: Making Small Grains Work
August 17, 2017
Ames, Iowa
Practical Farmers of Iowa will host a day-long conference that covers the basics for adding small grains to the rotation on your farm. The day will feature sessions on small grains production, markets, extended rotations, green manure, and nitrogen synchronization.

Dry Farming Collaborative Field Days
August 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, 2017
Various locations in Oregon

Twelve Dry Farming Collaborative sites will be hosting tours on Tuesdays in August. Learn about dry farming and see crops (tomatoes, potatoes, squash, melon, zucchini, dry beans, corn, orchard crops) grown with little or no supplemental irrigation in the field.

>>More Events

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New ATTRA Podcast
Value-Added Products at Boggy Creek Farm in Austin, Texas

Question of the Week
How can I identify the disease that is affecting my apples?

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Cover Crops in Montana: See How They Work
July 28, 2017
Boulder, Montana
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