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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 22, 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

  • USDA Climate Hubs Release Tool Shed Resource
  • USDA Launches Technical Report Series on Running a Food Hub
  • Cover Crop Survey Shows Expanding Acreage and Improved Yield
  • Food Hub Financial Benchmarking Study Released
  • Group GAP Case Study Available
  • Research Shows Ultraviolet Light Reduces Fruit Pathogens

Funding Opportunities

  • Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Grant Program
  • Wisconsin Small Farm Anaerobic Digester Program
  • North Dakota Grape, Wine, and Fruit Promotion Fund

Coming Events

  • Agricultural Risk Management and Business Development Training Workshop
  • Neely-Kinyon Organic Ag Field Day
  • Irrigation Distribution Uniformity and Wise Water Use for Small Farms

News & Resources

USDA Climate Hubs Release Tool Shed Resource
The USDA Climate Hubs have released the Climate Hubs Tool Shed, an online, searchable database featuring data-driven, interactive websites and mobile apps. These tools can assist land managers, land owners, and extension professionals in adapting working lands to the impacts of climate change, including drought, pests, wildfire, and extreme weather.

USDA Launches Technical Report Series on Running a Food Hub
USDA Rural Development has introduced a new technical report series called Running a Food Hub. The first report, Running a Food Hub: Lessons Learned from the Field, details best business practices for starting or expanding a food hub. The report includes operational profiles of 11 existing hubs.

Cover Crop Survey Shows Expanding Acreage and Improved Yield
For the third year in a row, a national survey of farmers has shown that cover crops improve corn and soybean yields while providing a host of other benefits. The survey of more than 1,200 farmers was conducted by the Conservation Technology Information Center. The survey also found that cover crop acreage per farm more than doubled over the past five years.

Food Hub Financial Benchmarking Study Released
The National Good Food Network Food Hub Collaboration has released Counting Values: Food Hub Financial Benchmarking Study, an in-depth look at the growth—and growing pains—of food hubs. The study draws on financial and operational data from 48 regional food hubs and uses an established benchmarking practice to develop baseline performance measures.

Group GAP Case Study Available
MSU Center for Regional Food Systems has released Small Farmers Can Make Food Safety Work: The Group GAP Pilot Project in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The project goal was to test how a group-based, farm-based food safety certification process could benefit small farmers. This case study provides an overview of the processes, challenges, benefits, and lessons learned.
Related ATTRA Publication: An Illustrated Guide to Growing Safe Produce on Your Farm

Research Shows Ultraviolet Light Reduces Fruit Pathogens
Scientists at Washington State University have shown that ultraviolet C (UVC) light is effective against foodborne pathogens on the surface of certain fruits. According to WSU, the findings are significant for organic fruit processors looking for alternatives to chemical sanitizers.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Grant Program
The Illinois Department of Agriculture is seeking proposals to carry out research, education, and on-farm demonstration projects. Any qualified unit of government, organization, educational institution, non-profit group, or individual is eligible. Competitive grants to individuals can be up to $10,000 and units of government, non-profit groups, institutions, or organizations may apply for up to $20,000.
Applications must be received by October 15, 2015.

Wisconsin Small Farm Anaerobic Digester Program
The Small Farm Anaerobic Digester Program is offering incentives for cost-effective anaerobic digester systems to be installed and operational at small to mid-sized farms. These funds will be available through a competitive request for proposals process. The incentive amount is determined based on the estimated first year net energy production (or offset) of the system.
Proposals must be submitted by September 25, 2015.

North Dakota Grape, Wine, and Fruit Promotion Fund
The Grape, Wine, and Fruit Promotion Fund provides research and promotion support of the grape and wine industry in North Dakota.
Applications are due by September 15, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Agricultural Risk Management and Business Development Training Workshop
August 19-21, 2015
Mobile, Alabama

This annual event presented by the Small Farms Research Center focuses on the risk faced by new, beginning, and experienced producers,offers business development training to enhance their business planning, and discusses ways to handle those risks and improve their farms. The event includes a farm field day and instructional sessions.

Neely-Kinyon Organic Ag Field Day
August 18, 2015
Greenfield, Iowa

Organic agriculture specialist Kathleen Delate and Cynthia Cambardella (USDA-ARS) will present results of research underway at Neely-Kinyon Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm, including the farm's Long Term Agroecologcial Research (LTAR) study and organic no-till for vegetable production.

Irrigation Distribution Uniformity and Wise Water Use for Small Farms
August 17, 2015
Santa Cruz, California

In this free afternoon workshop geared toward beginning farmers and managers of demonstration and teaching farms, instructors will show participants how to assess irrigation distribution uniformity and system output to better inform irrigation design and operation.

>> More Events

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Question of the Week
What types of leasing or ownership arrangements exist for prospective new farmers?

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Submit questions to our professional staff online or call 1-800-346-9140

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Last chance to register for the July 23 webinar, "Organic Certification through the Texas Department of Agriculture"

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