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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 29, 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

  • Abstracts Sought for 2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium
  • Crop Insurance Expanded to Cover Fresh Fruit and Nuts in 2016
  • New Open-Pollinated Sweet Corn Varieties Becoming Available
  • USDA Introduces Local Beef Market Report for Vermont
  • Rooting Pigs Tested as Nutsedge Control
  • Farm to School Lessons from Wisconsin Communities Shared in New Report

Funding Opportunities

  • Washington 2015 Drought Emergency Grant Program
  • CHS Classroom Grant
  • Kentucky On-Farm Energy Efficiency Incentives Program

Coming Events

  • Putting the "Culture" in AgriCulture: 30 Years with PFI
  • Environmental Benefits of Organic Agriculture: Soil
  • Demystifying Organic Certification for New Farmers

News & Resources

Abstracts Sought for 2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium
Organic Farming Research Foundation and the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center invite the submission of research abstracts for the 2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium. The symposium will take place January 18-19, 2016, in Pacific Grove, California, immediately before the EcoFarm Conference. The deadline for submission of 500-word abstracts is August 31, 2015.

Crop Insurance Expanded to Cover Fresh Fruit and Nuts in 2016
USDA has announced that Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) and the Actual Production History (APH) Yield Exclusion are available to cover fresh fruit and nuts beginning with the 2016 crop year. SCO will be available in select counties for almonds, apples, blueberries, grapes, peaches, potatoes, prunes, safflower, tomatoes, and walnuts. Producers of apples, blueberries, grapes, peaches, potatoes, prunes, safflower, tomatoes, and walnuts in select counties will have the option to utilize the APH Yield Exclusion for the 2016 crop year.
Related ATTRA Publication: Crop Insurance Options for Specialty, Diversified, and Organic Farmers

New Open-Pollinated Sweet Corn Varieties Becoming Available
Oregon farmer Jonathan Spero announces the commercial release of Top Hat and Tuxana, two open-pollinated, super-sweet corn varieties. The organic-friendly varieties, whose seed can be saved by farmers, will be available in limited quantities for the 2016 planting season. Both varieties were selected over seven generations for sweetness, size and vigor, quick growth to outrace weeds, tightly-wrapped husk to deter pests, and ability to thrive in lower-fertility soils.

USDA Introduces Local Beef Market Report for Vermont
USDA's Market News division has begun issuing a monthly local beef report for the state of Vermont. USDA Market News gathers price and volume data from small producers throughout the state and publishes price reports and commentary monthly. The Vermont report and other regional reports are available on USDA's Local & Regional Food Marketing Information website.

Rooting Pigs Tested as Nutsedge Control
A weed science researcher with the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is testing the effectiveness of rooting pigs in controlling nutsedge. "In the last year, they reduced the nutsedge by 48%," researcher Greg MacDonald said, noting that this method of weed control could be used on organic farms.
Related ATTRA Publication: Sustainable Weed Management for Small and Medium-Scale Farms

Farm to School Lessons from Wisconsin Communities Shared in New Report
A new report from the Wisconsin Clearinghouse compiles the experiences of 14 organizations in Wisconsin that received funding to increase access to healthy food systems in their regions. Each chapter of Advancing Farm to School: Lessons from the Field contains case studies, lessons learned, and a resource section.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Washington 2015 Drought Emergency Grant Program
The Washington Department of Ecology is accepting grant applications for $16 million to support public projects to help relieve hardships arising from the drought. Funding will help support projects that ensure reliable public water supplies, augment water supplies for farmers, and rescue or preserve fish runs in streams. Grant money is available to public entities.
Applications will be reviewed as received.

CHS Classroom Grant
Five CHS/National Agriculture in the Classroom grants of $1,500 will be awarded to kindergarten through 12th grade core-education teachers whose innovative classroom projects use agricultural concepts to teach reading, writing, math, nutrition, science, and/or social studies.
The deadline for grant proposals is September 15, 2015.

Kentucky On-Farm Energy Efficiency Incentives Program
This program provides incentives for Kentucky farm families to increase the energy efficiency of existing equipment or facilities. Successful applicants may receive up to 50% reimbursement of the actual cost of a qualified energy-saving item, up to $10,000.
Applications are due by July 31, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Putting the "Culture" in AgriCulture: 30 Years with PFI
August 29, 2015
Harlan, Iowa

This Practical Farmers of Iowa field day at Rosmann Family Farms and Farm Sweet Farm will focus on whole-farm organic production, marketing, and integrating into local food systems. During lunch, help celebrate Practical Farmers of Iowa's 30th anniversary, which will include special guest speakers.

Environmental Benefits of Organic Agriculture: Soil
August 27, 2015, 1 pm Eastern
Online

This one-hour webinar presented by USDA NRCS Science and Technology part of a series exploring the environmental benefits of organic agriculture. This session will present scientific research examining the benefits of organic farming practices to soil.

Demystifying Organic Certification for New Farmers
August 31, 2015
Ghent, New York

Join NOFA-NY and the farmers of Ironwood Farm for a day of learning about organic certification as it applies to beginning farmers. NOFA-NY Certified Organic LLC will also guide you through the certification process.

>> More Events

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New ATTRA Resource
Ecological Pest Management Tutorial

Question of the Week
How can I control Bermudagrass organically in my apple orchard?

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