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Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 22, 2009

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

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News & Resources
* Young Farmers Conference Seeks Presentation Proposals
* NSAC Releases Agriculture and Climate Change Paper
* San Francisco Announces Regional Food Policy
* Researchers Study Sustainable Potato Production
* Biomass Webinar Video Available Online
* USDA Releases Funds for Farmers
* Free ATTRA Webinar - Sheep and Goats: What They Can Do for You

Funding Opportunities
* Rural Community Development Initiative
* Hooked on Hydroponics Grant
* Missouri Specialty Crop Block Grant

Coming Events
* Finger Lakes Sustainable Farming Center Summer Conference
* Florida Small Farms Conference
* Gardener's Mini-College

News & Resources

Young Farmers Conference Seeks Presentation Proposals
This December, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture presents its second annual Young Farmers Conference: Reviving the Culture of Agriculture, a program especially for young and new farmers. They are seeking proposals (PDF/158KB) for conference presentations. Presentations can cover a variety of topics including farm-based education, business management, livestock and crop production, and marketing. Proposals will be accepted until August 28.

NSAC Releases Agriculture and Climate Change Paper
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has finalized its climate change position paper entitled Climate Change and Agriculture: Impacts and Opportunities at the Farm Level (PDF/924KB). The paper details the superior performance of sustainable and organic agriculture systems in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sequestering soil carbon. It provides detailed NSAC recommendations for implementing the 2008 Farm Bill to ensure that these systems are promoted and recognized for their ability to mitigate GHG emissions and to provide a number of other significant conservation benefits.

San Francisco Announces Regional Food Policy
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom recently announced the first ever comprehensive food policy for San Francisco, and a sweeping action plan to make improvements to food that is available in the region. The plan, which Mayor Newsom issued through Executive Directive, aims to ensure that all regional residents have access to healthy food, and will have far reaching impact throughout Northern California by increasing support for area farms.

Researchers Study Sustainable Potato Production
At the ARS New England Plant, Soil and Water Laboratory in Orono, Maine, scientists have conducted long-term research with canola and other Brassica crops in rotation with potatoes since 1997. They’ve found that with the right crop rotation, potato farmers can naturally suppress diseases, enhance soil nutrient content, boost crop productivity, and lower the use of fertilizers. All these strategies reduce the risks of economic losses. On the other side of the country, scientists at the ARS Vegetable and Forage Crops Production Research Unit in Prosser, Wash., have found that one to two tons of crushed mustard seed meal applied per acre without herbicides significantly reduced early weeds in potato fields.
Related ATTRA publication: Potatoes: Organic Production and Marketing

Biomass Webinar Video Available Online
The Biomass Crop Assistance Webinar held on Thursday June 25th, 2009 is now available online for those who would like to follow up or watch and listen for the first time. The presentations are also available for download. This 90-minute webinar was an introduction to the USDA's Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), created as a key provision in the 2008 Farm Bill. BCAP looks to promote the cultivation of perennial bioenergy crops that show exceptional promise. The ideal would be to raise highly energy-efficient crops that preserve natural resources and that are not primarily grown for food or animal feed.

USDA Releases Funds for Farmers
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that $760 million from the Supplemental Appropriations Act signed by President Obama is available for approved but previously unfunded USDA direct farm ownership and operating loans throughout the country. These funds will clear a $150 million backlog of loans, which had already been approved for 2,200 family farmers. It will also provide additional funds for new loan applications.

Free ATTRA Webinar - Sheep and Goats: What They Can Do for You
July 29, 2009, 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
During this free webinar NCAT specialists Linda Coffey and Margo Hale will discuss:
• Multiple benefits of sheep and goats
• Selecting breeding stock
• General production concerns
• Evaluating animal health
• Marketing meat, milk, and wool products, including organic
• Your questions about sheep and goat production

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Rural Community Development Initiative
Qualified private, nonprofit and public (including tribal) Intermediary organizations proposing to carry out financial and technical assistance programs will be eligible to receive the funding. The Intermediary must provide a program of financial and technical assistance to a nonprofit, community-based housing and development organization, a low-income rural community or a federally recognized tribe (the Recipient) that will develop the capacity and ability of the Recipient to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development in rural areas.
Proposals are due September 24, 2009.

Hooked on Hydroponics Grant
The Grow Store and ProgressiveGardening.org have joined with the National Gardening Association to offer hydroponic equipment to expand indoor gardening opportunities for elementary and middle and high school students. The program will provide thirty-six schools with equipment and learning materials for hydroponics projects that involve at least fifteen children between the ages of 6 and 18 during the 2010 school year.
Proposals are due September 18, 2009.

Missouri Specialty Crop Block Grant
The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) is seeking grant applications from organizations or groups of individuals interested in solely enhancing the competitiveness of the state's specialty crop industry. Applications for grant funds should show how the project potentially impacts and produces measurable outcomes for the specialty crop industry and/or the public rather than a single organization, institution, or individual.
Proposals are due July 31, 2009.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Finger Lakes Sustainable Farming Center Summer Conference
August 19-20, 2009
Canandaigua, New York

This conference is directed to Extension and agriculture service agency personnel, farmers, land use professionals, community developers and sustainability advocates throughout the Northeast. The workshops and discussions showcase creative ideas and practices to inspire the work of agriculture professionals and farmers.

Florida Small Farms Conference
August 1-2, 2009
Kissimmee, Florida

The Conference will be useful and important to small farmers, allied industry representatives, researchers, educators, institutional members, policy-makers, small farm commodity associations, foundations, and others interested in strengthening the small farm community in Florida. Concurrent educational sessions (presentations, workshops, hands-on demonstration, and discussion groups) will share results of groundbreaking research and provide educational support for producers to operate sustainable and profitable enterprises.

Gardener's Mini-College
August 5-8, 2009
Corvallis, Oregon

Today, gardens are being planted in backyards and on building rooftops. There is a sense of urgency to lessen our reliance on mass-produced or imported food, reduce our carbon footprint, and come together as a community. This outstanding educational event will address the issues of Backyard Food Solutions: Local. Sustainable. Secure.

> More Events

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