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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 8, 2012

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

  • USDA Directory Records More Than 7,800 Farmers Markets
  • New Publication Addresses Dairy Energy Efficiency
  • Software Aids Small Farmers with Business Side of Farming
  • James Beard Foundation Announces Leadership Award Winners
  • USDA Announces New Drought Assistance
  • Bhutan Plans 100-Percent-Organic Agricultural System

Funding Opportunities

  • Organic Farming Research Foundation Research Grants
  • Market Access Program (MAP) Branded
  • Texas Young Farmer Grant

Coming Events

  • Mother Earth News Fair
  • Grassfed Exchange Seminar
  • National Heirloom Exposition

News & Resources

USDA Directory Records More Than 7,800 Farmers Markets
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Farmers Market Directory identifies 7,864 farmers markets operating throughout the United States, a 9.6 percent increase over last year. The top states include California, New York, Massachusetts, and Michigan. The mid-Atlantic, the Northeast, and the Southeast saw large increases in listings. Many markets across the nation will host activities to celebrate National Farmers Market Week August 5–11.

New Publication Addresses Dairy Energy Efficiency
Energy Efficiency for Dairy Milking Equipment, a new publication from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, explains three key factors for reducing energy consumption on Midwestern dairies. Milk precoolers, scroll compressors, and variable frequency drives can improve on-farm energy efficiency during daily operations.
Related ATTRA Publication: Dairy Farm Energy Efficiency

Software Aids Small Farmers with Business Side of Farming
An innovative new software program for small farmers is aimed at making management, organization, and recordkeeping easier, reports The Washington Post. Through a Web-based interface, Ag Squared helps farmers plan which crops to plant, map where they are in the fields, and assign and check off tasks. At present the software is in beta testing and available free of charge.

James Beard Foundation Announces Leadership Award Winners
The second annual James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards recognize honorees for work in creating a more healthful, sustainable, and safe food world. This year's honorees are Wendell Berry, Jason Clay, Kathleen Merrigan, Tensie Whelan, and Malik Yakini. The 2012 Leadership Award recipients are to be honored at a dinner ceremony during the James Beard Foundation's third annual Food Conference on October 17, 2012, "A Crisis in Confidence: Creating a Better, More Sustainable Food World We Can Trust."

USDA Announces New Drought Assistance
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced two new pieces of disaster assistance for farmers and ranchers. First, Vilsack is expanding emergency haying and grazing on approximately 3.8 million acres of conservation land. Second, crop insurance companies have agreed to provide a short grace period on insurance premiums. USDA is also allowing producers to modify current Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contracts to allow for grazing, livestock watering, and other conservation activities to address drought conditions. In addition, USDA is authorizing selected haying and grazing of Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) easement areas in drought-affected areas.

Bhutan Plans 100-Percent-Organic Agricultural System
The kingdom of Bhutan has announced plans to become the first country in the world to convert to a 100-percent-organic agricultural system, reports NPR's blog, The Salt. The Ministry of Agriculture says its organic program will train farmers in new methods that will help them grow more food and move the country closer to self-sufficiency.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Organic Farming Research Foundation Research Grants
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) offers funding for organic seed-quality or crops-breeding projects. OFRF research grants are intended to fund agricultural research in certified organic settings. OFRF invites proposals from Canada, Mexico, and the United States. OFRF particularly encourages farmers, ranchers, researchers, and Extension personnel to consider applying.
The deadline for the next grant cycle is November 19, 2012.

Market Access Program (MAP) Branded
For accepted small business participants, the Southern United States Trade Association reimburses up to 50% of certain international marketing and promotion expenses. Participation and budgeting takes place on a program-year basis. Once all the funding is allocated, the application process is over until the next year.
Applications are accepted beginning August 1.

Texas Young Farmer Grant
The Young Farmer Grant provides matching grants of $5,000 to $10,000 to agricultural producers age 18 to 45 who are starting or expanding agricultural businesses in Texas.
The next application deadline is September 7, 2012.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Mother Earth News Fair
September 21-23, 2012
Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

Mother Earth News Fairs are fun-filled, family-oriented, sustainable-lifestyle events. The Seven Springs Fair features practical, hands-on workshops on renewable energy, small-scale agriculture, gardening, green building, and more.

Grassfed Exchange Seminar
September 20-22 , 2012
Norfolk, Nebraska

This conference includes two pasture walks, followed by two days of presentations on "Capitalizing on the Grassfed Revolution: Maximizing Natural Resources - Unleashing Your Inner Marketing Genius."

National Heirloom Exposition
September 11-13, 2012
Santa Rosa, California

The National Heirloom Exposition is a not-for-profit event centered around the pure food movement, heirloom vegetables, and anti-GMO activism. Thousands of kinds of produce will be on exhibit, and many will be judged and awarded prizes. Livestock exhibits and contests will include many historic, heritage, and pure breeds.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives
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.

Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

© 2012 NCAT

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Question of the Week
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August 14—Organic Crop Rotation: Conservation Benefits
This free webinar will discuss crop rotation strategies that organic farms can use to meet conservation objectives, market needs, and USDA Organic requirements. Register now!

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