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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 5, 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

  • ERS Studies Profit Potential of Organic Field Crops
  • Report Looks at Local Food Economic Development Potential
  • Narrow Rows Conserve Resources, Reduce Costs
  • Publications on Cover Crops in Vegetable Systems Released
  • USDA Begins National Survey of Conservation Practices
  • Report Identifies Gaps in Oregon Food Infrastructure

Funding Opportunities

  • NCR-SARE Partnership Grant Program
  • U.S. Wetlands Conservation Small Grants Program
  • Connecticut Farm Reinvestment Grant

Coming Events

  • UW Organic Vegetable Field Day
  • Livestock Water Development and Electric Fencing
  • Adaptive Grazing Farm Tour: Taking Soil to the Next Level

News & Resources

ERS Studies Profit Potential of Organic Field Crops
A new study from USDA Economic Research Service, The Profit Potential of Certified Organic Field Crop Production, presents an observational analysis of cost-of-production differences between conventional and organic crop-production systems for corn, wheat, and soybeans. This research suggests that significant economic returns are possible from organic crop production, mainly due to organic price premiums.
Related ATTRA Publication: Planning for Profit in Sustainable Farming

Report Looks at Local Food Economic Development Potential
The Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University has released a research report titled Locally Produced Food: A Way To Grow More Food And The Economy. The publication, available online, describes a new, small-farm model for growing fresh food that creates jobs, enriches local food supplies, serves as a local business incubator, and enhances local economic development.

Narrow Rows Conserve Resources, Reduce Costs
University of Florida professor Sanjay Shukla recently tested taller, narrower compacted-soil rows for vegetable production. He planted rows 10-12 inches high and one and a half to two feet across. Instead of needing two drip lines to irrigate, these rows required only one. In addition, they needed less plastic mulch covering. Not only did the tall, narrow rows grow the same amount of vegetables, but they also retained more fertilizers, used less water, and used 50% less fumigation. Shukla estimates the revamped rows could save farmers $100 to $300 an acre.

Publications on Cover Crops in Vegetable Systems Released
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has released two new publications about combining cover crops and strip-tillage systems and their use in vegetable production. Cover Crops in Vegetable Production Systems and Conservation Techniques for Vegetable Production: Combining Strip Tillage and Cover Crops are available online.

USDA Begins National Survey of Conservation Practices
USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service has begun contacting approximately 24,000 farmers and ranchers nationwide as part of a national survey of conservation practices. The Conservation Effects Assessment Project measures environmental benefits associated with conservation practices implemented or installed on agricultural lands.

Report Identifies Gaps in Oregon Food Infrastructure
Ecotrust has released Oregon Food Infrastructure Gap Analysis, an assessment of where investment could catalyze regional food system growth and development. The study concluded that to support mid-sized farmers, ranchers, and fishermen, and make fresh, local food more affordable and readily available throughout the region, will require broader investment in infrastructure for food aggregation, processing, and distribution.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

NCR-SARE Partnership Grant Program
North Central Region SARE is now accepting proposals for the Partnership Grant Program. This program is intended to foster cooperation between agriculture professionals and small groups of farmers and ranchers to catalyze on-farm research, demonstration, and education activities related to sustainable agriculture. Individual grants are limited to $30,000.
Proposals are due by October 29, 2015.

U.S. Wetlands Conservation Small Grants Program
The Small Grants Program is a competitive, matching grants program that supports public-private partnerships carrying out projects in the United States that further the goals of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. These projects must involve long-term protection, restoration, and/or enhancement of wetlands and associated uplands habitats for the benefit of all wetlands-associated migratory birds. Grant requests may not exceed $75,000, and funding priority is given to grantees or partners new to the program.
Application deadline is November 5, 2015.

Connecticut Farm Reinvestment Grant
The Farm Reinvestment Grants provide matching funds to expand, diversify, and improve existing working farms through projects with a lifespan of 10 years or more. Connecticut farmers who have filed Schedule F, Form 1120S, or Schedule C for the previous three years can apply for up to $40,000.
Applications are due November 19, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

UW Organic Vegetable Field Day
September 8, 2015
Verona, Wisconsin

At this University of Wisconsin field day at West Madison Agricultural Research Station, scientists will share the results of vegetable variety trials for organic systems. The event includes a tour the station's certified organic land and a vegetable flavor evaluation.

Livestock Water Development and Electric Fencing
September 8, 2015
Salina, Kansas

Mark Green, NRCS specialist from Missouri, will offer his popular workshop on electric fencing and livestock watering options. Green will explain electric fence products, the pros and cons of various materials used in electric fence construction, and installation techniques.

Adaptive Grazing Farm Tour: Taking Soil to the Next Level
September 4-5, 2015
Tionesta, Pennsylvania

Headwaters RC&D Council presents this pasture walk and grazing field day at Wilson Land & Cattle Co. The field day will take an in-depth look at how adaptive grazing management techniques can reduce costs, increase production, and improve the land, using healthy soils as a basis for success.

>> More Events

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Scaling Up for Institutional Markets: Midwest Case Studies

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