Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 2, 2017
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
- NCAT Accepting Applications for Armed to Farm Training in October in Montana
- Washington Farm Internship Project Expands
- USDA Offers Apiculture Insurance in 48 States
- Pennsylvania Food Shed Initiative Obtains Funding
- Wildflowers Draw Pollinators to Increase Apple Orchard Yields
- Biochar Could Help Reduce Nitric Oxide in Air
- Western SARE Farmer-Rancher Grants
- Acer Access and Development Program
- New York Industrial Hemp Processing Grant
- National Heirloom Expo
- Conservation in Action Tour
- Farm-Based Food Safety Training in Montana
News & Resources
NCAT Accepting Applications for Armed to Farm Training in October in Montana
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is accepting applications for its week-long sustainable agriculture training program for military veterans, Armed to Farm (ATF). This training will take place October 9-13, 2017, in Charlo, Montana. ATF allows veterans and their spouses to experience sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and explore agriculture as a viable career through farm tours, hands-on experience, and interactive classroom instruction. The event is free for those chosen to attend. Applications are due by August 18, 2017.
Washington Farm Internship Project Expands
Washington's Farm Internship Project, overseen by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, has added three more counties and been extended until December 31, 2019. Farms with annual sales of less than $250,000 per year may participate in the project. Under the project, interns have workers' compensation protection along with the opportunity for a valuable education and hands-on experience in farming activities. Applications and curriculum resources are available online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships
USDA Offers Apiculture Insurance in 48 States
USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) has announced changes to the Apiculture Pilot Insurance plan, ensuring greater protection for producers' honey, pollen collection, wax, and breeding stock, and extending coverage to include 19 additional states. Coverage is now available throughout the 48 contiguous states.
Pennsylvania Food Shed Initiative Obtains Funding
The Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded $1.75 million to Fayette County Community Action Agency, Inc. and the Republic Food Enterprise Center to develop the Southwestern Pennsylvania Local Food Shed. The project will include development of new and diverse economic opportunities through food production and export. The investment will support expanded development of four existing agriculture-industry clusters: sheep, lamb, and goats; poultry; specialty crops; and value-added processing.
Wildflowers Draw Pollinators to Increase Apple Orchard Yields
A Southern SARE report on the 2016 grant-funded project Measuring the Benefits of Wildflower Plots to Boost Fruit Yield and Pollinator Abundance in Georgia Apple Orchards says that bees attracted by the wildflowers increased apple yields by 30%. Researchers from Georgia Gwinnett College found more than 100 native bee species at the orchard during the study.
Related ATTRA Publication: Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees
Biochar Could Help Reduce Nitric Oxide in Air
A Rice University study showed that using biochar in agriculture can not only increase crop yields, but also cut emissions of nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide by storing nitrogen in the soil. This could lower ozone and particulate-matter levels in urban areas near farmland, according to the study published in Environmental Science and Technology.
Related ATTRA Publication: Biochar and Sustainable Agriculture
>>More Breaking News
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Western SARE Farmer-Rancher Grants
These grants support projects conducted by agricultural producers with guidance from a technical advisor. Individual farmers or ranchers may apply for up to $20,000, and a group of three or more producers may apply for up to $25,000. Producers typically use their grants to conduct on-site experiments that can improve their operations and the environment and can be shared with other producers. Grant recipients may also focus on marketing and organic production.
Proposals are due by December 6, 2017.
Acer Access and Development Program
The Acer Access and Development Program administered by USDA-AMS offers grants to support the efforts of States, tribal governments, and research institutions to promote the domestic maple syrup industry. Supported activities include the following: promotion of research and education related to maple syrup production; promotion of natural resource sustainability in the maple syrup industry; market promotion for maple syrup and maple-sap products; encouragement of owners and operators of privately held land to initiate or expand maple-sugaring activities; or to voluntarily make the land available for access by the public for maple-sugaring activities. The maximum award is $350,000.
Applications are due August 25, 2017.
New York Industrial Hemp Processing Grant
New York State has allocated $5 million for the New York State Industrial Hemp Processing Grant Fund. The program provides grants for machinery and equipment required to process industrial hemp for commercialization in New York. Grants provide $50,000 to $500,000 for up to 50% of total project costs supporting capital investments. The remaining 50% must be matched by the recipient.
Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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National Heirloom Expo
September 5-7, 2017
Santa Rosa, California
This event features more than 100 speakers on gardening, food, and farming. There will also be demonstrations, exhibits, and vendors.
Conservation in Action Tour
September 5-6, 2017
West Lafayette, Indiana
The Conservation Technology Information Center hosts this annual tour highlighting soil health and nutrient and water management.
Farm-Based Food Safety Training in Montana
August 22, 2017
Fresh-produce farmers will be able to see and experience practical on-farm solutions to developing their food safety plans at this free, farm-based food safety training.
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ATTRA was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
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