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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 8, 2018

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

  • Organic Trade Association Announces Organic Leadership Awards
  • Organic Corn-Breeding Project Progresses
  • Furrow-Irrigated Rice Helps Louisiana Farmer Save Water and Energy
  • Beef Cattle Cost Study Available for California
  • Project Helping Minnesota and Wisconsin Farms Learn to Serve Food
  • Montana Local Food Challenge Set for August

Funding Opportunities

  • National Sheep Industry Improvement Center Grants
  • ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Program
  • Maryland Value Added Producer Grant - Capital Assets Option

Coming Events

  • Montana Farm to School Summit
  • Digital Organic Recordkeeping
  • Muscadine Grape Workshop and Field Day

News & Resources

Organic Trade Association Announces Organic Leadership Awards
The Organic Trade Association has announced its honorees for this year's Organic Leadership Awards. The Growing Organic Industry Award will be presented to Margaret Scoles of the International Organic Inspectors Association. The Rising Star Award will go to Javier Zamora of JSM Organics, and the Organic Farmer of the Year Award will be presented to Stephanie and Blake Alexandre of Alexandre EcoDairy Farm in California. The awards will be presented September 12, 2018, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Organic Corn-Breeding Project Progresses
A four-year organic corn-breeding project led by the University of Illinois is progressing with its on-farm testing of new varieties of organic corn. A July field day featured one of the sites where farmers are testing corn germplasm and providing feedback. As part of the project, the Mandaamin Institute is developing corn with more methionine, lysine, and carotene to increase its feed value and greater nitrogen efficiency to provide more protein.

Furrow-Irrigated Rice Helps Louisiana Farmer Save Water and Energy
A video posted by LSU AgCenter showcases St. Landry Parish rice farmer Charlie Fontenot's row rice, planted in furrows and irrigated only when needed. The rice uses only half as much water as conventional rice production, and this also saves on diesel. The furrow-irrigated rice fields yielded the same amount as conventional rice fields last year.

Beef Cattle Cost Study Available for California
The University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources' Agricultural Issues Center has released a cost study for a beef-cattle operation on California's Central Coast. Based on the typical costs of a 300-head cow-calf operation, the study estimates costs of an owner-operated cow-calf operation located on leased rangeland. The study can help someone who is thinking about going into the cattle business determine a budget and business plan. The publication is available free online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Building a Montana Organic Livestock Industry

Project Helping Minnesota and Wisconsin Farms Learn to Serve Food
Come & Get It!, a project led by Renewing the Countryside, is offering training and resources to support farmers in launching farm-based food businesses in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The project has produced a webinar and on-farm food service manual. Field days that showcase a successful story of how farms can diversify into food ventures are planned for Minnesota on August 13, 2018, and Wisconsin on August 23, 2018.
Related ATTRA Resource: Value-Added Food Products

Montana Local Food Challenge Set for August
For the month of August, Northern Plains Resource Council is challenging Montanans to eat more local foods, to ask for more local foods in their communities, and to help support Montana agriculture in a giant way. The challenge asks participants to sign on and pledge to eat local food every day in August, participate in weekly challenges, and report their successes. Participants are also eligible to win cash prizes.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

National Sheep Industry Improvement Center Grants
The National Sheep Industry Improvement Center is accepting proposals for projects designed to improve the U.S. sheep industry. Total funding of $300,000 is available. Priority objectives are listed online and include strengthening and improving the long-term sustainability of the industry's infrastructure by increasing the numbers in production. Another priority is providing assistance to address sustainable production and marketing of sheep milk, meat, fiber, and related services such as grazing for fire management and pasture improvements.
Proposals are due by September 15, 2018.

ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Program
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is accepting applications for $910,000 to improve habitat quality and landscape connectivity in ways that facilitate migrations of avian and terrestrial species, with an emphasis on working lands. Projects must occur in the following states: Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations, state or federal government agencies, local or tribal governments, and educational institutions. Grant awards range from $25,000 to $250,000.
Applications are due by August 23, 2018.

Maryland Value Added Producer Grant - Capital Assets Option
Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation offers competitive matching grants between $2,500 and $10,000 for value-added processing capital-asset projects. Eligible applicants must be a crop or livestock producer or processor, agricultural cooperative, seafood processor, or primary or secondary timber products processor, and have been in business for a minimum of two years. In addition, applicants must be making a product that is "value added." Capital assets that will help applicants expand or diversify their business operations are eligible expenses.
Applications are due by September 27, 2018.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Montana Farm to School Summit
September 13-14, 2018
Missoula, Montana

This conference will bring together farm to school stakeholders across Montana to learn and gain inspiration from each other while strengthening and building relationships, with the end goal of increasing and enhancing farm to school programs throughout the state.

Digital Organic Recordkeeping
September 12, 2018
Online

Join NCAT and the CCOF Foundation for a webinar that explores digital solutions for organic recordkeeping for growers. Speakers will highlight software strategies that can assist small to mid-sized farms.

Muscadine Grape Workshop and Field Day
September 11, 2018
Clarksville, Arkansas

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will host a field day with updates on topics that impact muscadine grape production. There will also be a display of muscadine cultivars and selections developed by the muscadine breeding program.

>>More Events

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Herbs: Organic Greenhouse Production

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