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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 5, 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

  • NCAT Project Evaluates Cover Crops for Lower Rio Grande Valley
  • Study Shows Fruit-Crop Yields Declining from Lack of Pollinators
  • Farm Stress Training Course Offered Online
  • Agricultural Marketing Service Proposing Rule to Strengthen Organic Enforcement
  • Video Explains Meat Inspection Regulations
  • California Rangeland Conservation Provides $1 Billion in Annual Benefits, Says Study

Funding Opportunities

  • Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers
  • Assist Persistent Poverty Farmers, Ranchers, Agriculture Producers and Communities through Agriculture Resources
  • Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge

Coming Events

  • International Quinoa Research Symposium
  • Pasture-Finished Beef
  • Jefferson Center Virtual Ranch Field Day

News & Resources

NCAT Project Evaluates Cover Crops for Lower Rio Grande Valley
USDA posted a blog on the Subtropical Soil Health Initiative, a Conservation Innovation Grant project in the Lower Rio Grande Valley led by the National Center for Appropriate Technology. The project is a collaboration with a University of Texas Rio Grande Valley team that is testing different cover crops in the field. Sunn Hemp appears to be the best option to date.
Related ATTRA Video: Sunn Hemp (Crotalaria juncea)

Study Shows Fruit-Crop Yields Declining from Lack of Pollinators
Research led by Rutgers shows that crop yields for apples, cherries, and blueberries across the United States are being reduced by a lack of pollinators. Scientists collected data on insect pollination of crop flowers and yield at 131 farms across the United States and in Canada. The findings suggest that adopting practices that conserve or augment wild bees is likely to boost yields.
Related ATTRA Publication: Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees

Farm Stress Training Course Offered Online
A new free online course called "Rural Resilience: Farm Stress Training" is available to teach participants stress management, suicide awareness, and how to communicate with farmers suffering from stress. USDA's Cooperative Extension System, Farm Credit, American Farm Bureau Federation, and National Farmers Union worked together to bring this course online for the public.

Agricultural Marketing Service Proposing Rule to Strengthen Organic Enforcement
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is proposing to amend the USDA organic regulations to strengthen oversight and enforcement of the production, handling, and sale of organic agricultural products. The proposed rule includes unannounced on-site inspections of certified operations, annual update requirements for certified operations, certifying agent qualifications and training, and more. A 60-day public comment period will begin when the rule is published in the Federal Register, a date not yet announced.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Certification Process

Video Explains Meat Inspection Regulations
The Organization for Competitive Markets has posted a video on Meat Processing and Inspection with Dr. James Dillon, Director of the Texas Meat and Poultry Inspection Program. The video discusses the difference between federal, state, and custom-exempt inspection, as well as the implications of different legislation relative to each type of inspection. The one-hour video and a PDF slide file are both available online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Working with Your Meat Processor

California Rangeland Conservation Provides $1 Billion in Annual Benefits, Says Study
A study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, concluded that California Rangeland Trust's conservation easements across the state provide $900 million to $1.44 billion in environmental benefits annually—including habitat, carbon sequestration, food, and watersheds. The study explored both the environmental and monetary value of 306,718 acres of conservation easements. It also found that under current zoning requirements, conservation easements return up to $3.47 for every dollar invested.
Related ATTRA Publication: Payments for Ecosystem Services

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers
USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach is inviting applications for Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (also known as the 2501 program). The overall goal is to encourage and assist socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, veteran farmers and ranchers, and beginning farmers and ranchers with owning and operating farms and ranches and in participating equitably in the full range of agricultural, forestry, and related programs offered by USDA. Eligible applicants include nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and Tribal governments. Funding ranges from $50,000 to $450,000.
Applications are due by August 26, 2020.

Assist Persistent Poverty Farmers, Ranchers, Agriculture Producers and Communities through Agriculture Resources
USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach is accepting proposals from nonprofits, Tribes, and institutions of higher education to assist persistent poverty farmers, ranchers, agriculture producers, and communities through agriculture resources. The eligible entities will provide technical assistance to identified persistent poverty communities, with emphasis on socially disadvantaged and/or veteran farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers to assist them in establishing a local working leaders group, identifying issues, challenges, and assets, preparing a plan of action, and identifying resources and means to address and accomplish results through available programmatic services and opportunities. A total of $4 million is available; the project maximum is $450,000.
Proposals are due by August 24, 2020.

Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge
The Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge is a national business competition that showcases U.S. startups developing innovative solutions that address challenges facing America's farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. The American Farm Bureau Federation and Farm Credit are looking to identify the top entrepreneurs addressing both traditional challenges and new challenges facing farmers and rural communities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Farm Bureau will award $145,000 in startup funds to 10 businesses.
Applications will be accepted through August 14, 2020.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

International Quinoa Research Symposium
August 17-19, 2020
Online
This free, online event will include live keynotes, recorded field walks, interactive poster sessions, and online discussion forums. It is produced by the Washington State University Sustainable Seed Systems Lab, the WSU Food Systems Program, and many partnering organizations.

Pasture-Finished Beef
August 11-13, 2020
Online

Virginia Cooperative Extension and partners present three consecutive nights of free educational workshops on pasture-finished beef.

Jefferson Center Virtual Ranch Field Day
August 14, 2020
Online
The Jefferson Center for Holistic Management will offer preliminary results from its three-year study on healthy soils. In this virtual field day, learn about compost application, interseeding using a NoTill Drill, and Holistic Planned Grazing.

>>More Events

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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page 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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Integrated Pest Management in Idaho Flocks

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Payments for Ecosystem Services Part II: Carbon Markets and Credit Stacking
August 6, 2020
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