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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 31, 2013

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

News & Resources

  • Food Safety Modernization Act Proposed Regulation Comment Period Extended Again; NSAC Releases Issue Analysis
  • Report on USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program Finds Positive Effects
  • USDA Office of Inspector General Releases Organic Milk Audit Report
  • Study Identifies Obstacles to Organic Production in West Virginia
  • Bees Exposed to Fungicide More Vulnerable to Nosema Parasite
  • Multi-State Study Explores Land Use Changes

Funding Opportunities

  • Western SARE Professional Development Program
  • Minnesota Livestock Investment Grant
  • Montana Growth Through Agriculture Program

Coming Events

  • Kneading Conference West
  • Small Scale Poultry for Beginning Farmers
  • Eastern Kansas Grazing School

News & Resources

Food Safety Modernization Act Proposed Regulation Comment Period Extended Again; NSAC Releases Issue Analysis
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced an extension of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) proposed regulation comment period deadline from September 16 to November 13. The extension also grants 120 days for comment on two more FSMA-related rules just released: Foreign Supplier Verification and the Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is publishing detailed analysis on issues in the rule of particular concern to sustainable and organic producers and on-farm processors. Four issue pages are currently online, with more to be published in the next two weeks.

Report on USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program Finds Positive Effects
The Farmers Market Coalition and Market Umbrella have released results from a survey of Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grantees from 2006 through 2011. Grantees reported increases in agricultural producer participation, vendor sales, and product diversity. In a separate green paper based on findings from the study, researchers identify three areas where improvements could have most impact. The survey results, case studies, and green paper are available online.

USDA Office of Inspector General Releases Organic Milk Audit Report
The USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG) published its National Organic Program (NOP) - Organic Milk Operations audit report on July 29, 2013. The OIG found that the NOP generally successfully implemented the access to pasture rule for organic dairy cattle. In the report, the OIG offered six recommendations to build on existing NOP oversight controls. The full audit report is available online in PDF.

Study Identifies Obstacles to Organic Production in West Virginia
A West Virginia environmental consulting firm has released a new study titled Overcoming the Market Barriers to Organic Production in WV. The study details obstacles and steps that can be taken to overcome the challenges farmers in the state face in getting their produce certified as being organically grown.
Related ATTRA Publication:
Organic Certification of Farms and Businesses Producing Agricultural Products

Bees Exposed to Fungicide More Vulnerable to Nosema Parasite
Amounts of commonly used fungicides at levels too low to cause a honey bee's death still may leave the bees more susceptible to infection by a gut parasite, according to USDA and University of Maryland research published in PLOS ONE. Researchers collected and analyzed pollen to determine how much fungicide, insecticide, miticide, and/or herbicide bees were exposed to while pollinating six different crops. The researchers found an average of nine different pesticides in pollen samples.

Multi-State Study Explores Land Use Changes
Farmers in 40 Iowa counties converted more land to grassy habitat from cropland than the reverse, according to a new study. The Multi-State Land Use Study was conducted on behalf of seven state Farm Bureaus in the Midwest by examining two USDA databases. The study showed a total of 1.1 million acres of grassy habitat converted to corn production and 740,000 acres of grassy habitat converted to soybean production, but it also showed 414,000 corn acres converted into grassy habitat and 187,000 acres of soybean ground converted into habitat areas.
Related ATTRA Publication: Converting Cropland to Perennial Grassland

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Western SARE Professional Development Program
Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is accepting proposals for the Professional Development Program (PDP) competitive grants for 2014. PDP grants are aimed at helping Cooperative Extension Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other agricultural professionals in the Western Region increase their understanding and proficiency in sustainable agriculture. Funding is capped at $75,000 per project.
Proposals are due by October 30, 2013.

Minnesota Livestock Investment Grant
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the 2013 Livestock Investment Grant Program. Grants are available to qualifying livestock producers and provide an incentive of up to 10% of investments up to $500,000 in buildings and/or capital equipment.
Applications must be postmarked by September 23, 2013.

Montana Growth Through Agriculture Program
The Growth Through Agriculture program is a matching grant and loan program to strengthen and diversify Montana's agricultural industry through development of new agricultural products and processes. Economic Development Projects may be funded with grants up to $50,000 and loans up to $100,000.
Applications are due by September 16, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Kneading Conference West
September 12-14, 2013
Mount Vernon, Washington

This annual event brings together professional bakers, home bakers, maltsters, millers, farmers, wheat breeders, food writers, wood-oven builders, and people who come to enjoy "summer camp for bread lovers." The three days are filled with workshops, panel discussions, and demonstrations.

Small-Scale Poultry for Beginning Farmers
September 12, 19, 26, and October 3, 2013
Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
This four-week course from Penn State Extension provides prospective and beginning small-scale poultry farmers and egg producers with a general understanding of what is needed to raise poultry profitably. Poultry breeds, housing, health, and nutrition for small-scale meat and egg producers will be explored.

Eastern Kansas Grazing School
September 11-12, 2013
Ottawa, Kansas

K-State Research and Extension will host the third annual Eastern Kansas Grazing School, covering rotational grazing, complementary forages, grass growth, animal behavior, fencing, and a hands-on pasture allocation exercise.

>> More Events

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Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

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New Publication
Irrigated Pastures: Setting Up an Intensive Grazing System That Works

Question of the Week
I have a number of rodents living in a pipe on my property. How can I reduce their population while still maintaining grass and herb varieties nearby?

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ATTRA Video
Branding for Differentiating and Marketing Pastured Poultry Products, with Ann Baier, keynote speaker at a June 5 pastured poultry workshop in Ronan, Montana.

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