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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 29, 2020

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

  • International Team of Scientists Calls for Agroecological Production
  • Argonne National Laboratory Quantifies How Much Sustainable Practices Reduce Ag Emissions
  • Solar and Biomass Root Zone Heating for Greenhouses Saves on Farm Energy Costs
  • Soil-animal Biomass Declining from Climate Change and Cultivation
  • USDA Advises Farmers on Handling Unsolicited Seeds
  • Western Meat School Short Course Offered for Meat Producers and Processors

Funding Opportunities

  • Centers of Community Prosperity Initiative
  • Dairy Business Innovation Alliance
  • Kentucky On-Farm Energy Efficiency Incentives Program

Coming Events

  • Silvopasture & Supply Chain Food Safety for Beginning and ESL Farmers
  • Lazy Eight Stock Farm Virtual Tour
  • Virtual Bee College

News & Resources

International Team of Scientists Calls for Agroecological Production
An international team of more than 360 scientists from 42 countries published a correspondence article in Nature Ecology & Evolution, calling for a global transition to agroecological production. The authors argue that agroecological principles should be integrated in the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. "The authors argue that farming landscapes can provide habitats for biodiversity, promote connectivity between protected areas, and increase species' ability to respond to environmental threats."

Argonne National Laboratory Quantifies How Much Sustainable Practices Reduce Ag Emissions
The U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory released results of a study quantifying how much farmers could reduce their carbon footprint by adopting sustainable practices and novel technologies. The study considered practices such as conservation tillage, reducing nitrogen fertilizer use, and implementing cover crops. It found significant differences in corn's carbon intensity, depending on the practices used to produce it.

Solar and Biomass Root Zone Heating for Greenhouses Saves on Farm Energy Costs
Southern SARE reports that renewable energy and biomass-based greenhouse heating systems can cut farmers' energy bills in half when integrated with a root zone heating system. Systems built on two North Carolina farms utilized solar collectors to heat water for root zone heating, combined with biochar kiln backup systems. These systems cut propane heating costs for one greenhouse by half, while creating conditions for the other, passively heated, greenhouse to be used year-round.
Related ATTRA Publication: High Tunnel Winter Growing Using Heat Recovery Ventilation

Soil-animal Biomass Declining from Climate Change and Cultivation
Scientists from the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research and the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research Halle-Jena-Leipzig say the biomass of small animals that decompose plants in the soil is declining. They explain that while the changing climate reduces the body size of the organisms, cultivation reduces their frequency. The researchers warn that even by farming organically, it is not possible to counteract all the negative consequences of climate change.
Related ATTRA Publication: Nutrient Cycling in Pastures

USDA Advises Farmers on Handling Unsolicited Seeds
USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced that it is investigating suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China. USDA urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to immediately contact their State plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins.

Western Meat School Short Course Offered for Meat Producers and Processors
A new direct-marketing short course for meat producers and processors will be offered in November and December. The Western Meat School is a six-week-long course for farmers, ranchers, butchers, and others that will cover key topics in production, processing, and marketing to produce high-quality meat and sell to diverse market channels. The course will be offered weekly in 12 locations across five states if COVID restrictions allow, and it will also be available via computer.
Related ATTRA Publication: Direct Marketing Lamb: A Pathway

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Centers of Community Prosperity Initiative
USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement announced the availability of approximately $4 million in funding through the Centers of Community Prosperity Initiative. The funding will develop partnerships to leverage USDA and local, state, and private-sector resources to address challenges for limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers and communities. Community-based and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, and tribal entities may compete for Community Prosperity funding for projects that provide outreach, education, and training in agriculture, conservation, agribusiness, and forestry.
The deadline for applications is August 24, 2020.

Dairy Business Innovation Alliance
The Dairy Business Innovation Alliance will provide Midwestern dairy farmers and dairy-related businesses with financial and technical support. This initiative was designed to support and promote the diversification and addition of value-added products to the Midwest dairy industry. Goals include increasing on-farm diversification, creating value-added dairy products such as specialty cheeses, and focusing on export opportunities for farm-scale and processor dairy products. Funding totals $220,000, with individual projects receiving up to $20,000.
Applications are due by August 14, 2020.

Kentucky On-Farm Energy Efficiency Incentives Program
Kentucky's On-Farm Energy Efficiency Incentives Program provides funding for farm families to increase the energy efficiency of existing equipment or facilities. A third-party audit is required with the application. Applicants will be limited to 50% reimbursement for the eligible expenditures, not to exceed $10,000 within program year, plus an additional reimbursement of $150 for the energy audit.
There are three application deadlines each year; the next is August 28, 2020.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Silvopasture & Supply Chain Food Safety for Beginning and ESL Farmers
August 11, 2020
Online
Savanna Institute presents this free webinar on how to safely incorporate livestock and tree-crop production. It also covers food safety best practices and how we can work towards a justice-oriented, safer food system.

Lazy Eight Stock Farm Virtual Tour
August 6, 2020
Online

Organic Association of Kentucky offers an opportunity to join Bryce Baumann as he walks through operations on his Lazy Eight Stock Farm, in Paint Lick, Kentucky. See prerecorded video from his 420-acre, certified organic, diverse vegetable production and participate in a live conversation.

Virtual Bee College
August 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, 2020
Online
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is offering its Bee College for 2020 online in five Saturday sessions during August. Three different tracks are offered for each session, including one for beginning beekeepers.

>>More Events

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