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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 16, 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

  • ATTRA Chat Service Provides Real-Time Access to Agriculture Experts
  • Agriculture and Food Systems Planning Guide Published
  • Healthy Soils Help Combat Flood and Drought, Says Study
  • Soil Health Indicators Recommended
  • Research Explores Multifunctional Woody Polyculture
  • Cornell Launches Revamped Fruit Resources Website

Funding Opportunities

  • California Healthy Soils Program
  • Montana Growth Through Agriculture
  • Wisconsin Specialty Crop Multi-State Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Florida Organic Growers Organic Food & Farming Summit
  • CCOF Pacific Southwest Organic Symposium for Local Farmers
  • Mother Earth News Fair

News & Resources

ATTRA Chat Service Provides Real-Time Access to Agriculture Experts
The National Center for Appropriate Technology has introduced a chat service on its ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture website. Visitors to the site have the opportunity to chat in real time with sustainable agriculture experts during weekday business hours. The same sustainable agriculture specialists who answer ATTRA's e-mail and telephone questions will be available at the website to respond to queries from site users.

Agriculture and Food Systems Planning Guide Published
American Farmland Trust and Growing Food Connections have announced the publication of GROWING LOCAL: A Community Guide to Planning for Agriculture and Food Systems. The national guide showcases ways communities can strengthen their food systems through planning, policy, and public investment. It includes a comprehensive collection of local policies to support local farms and ranches, improve access to healthy food, and develop needed distribution and infrastructure.

Healthy Soils Help Combat Flood and Drought, Says Study
The Union of Concerned Scientists reviewed 150 field studies on practices that make soil more sponge-like and improve infiltration and porosity. These practices included no-till cropping, planting cover crops, use of ecological livestock-grazing systems, integration of crops and livestock, and use of perennial crops. The largest and most consistent improvements to soil came from practices that keep roots in the soil throughout the year. The full report, Turning Soils into Sponges, is available online.

Soil Health Indicators Recommended
The Soil Health Institute has announced the release of nationwide Tier 1 indicators of soil health. During the last three years, scientists from public and private sectors, farmers, field conservationists, soil test laboratories, and many others provided input to develop this list of recommended soil health measures, considered effective indicators of soil health. These specific measurements are regionally defined, have known thresholds, and help define management strategies to improve soil function.
Related ATTRA Tutorial: Soil Health

Research Explores Multifunctional Woody Polyculture
University of Illinois researchers are conducting long-term trials of berry- and nut-bearing shrubs and trees intercropped with hay or other row crops. Their trial consists of seven combinations of species in commercial-scale plots, from simple combinations of two tree species to highly diverse combinations including multiple species of trees, shrubs, and forage crops. The researchers will measure crop productivity, evaluate management strategies, and consider economic potential as the experiment gets established.
Related ATTRA Publication: Agroforestry: An Overview

Cornell Launches Revamped Fruit Resources Website
Cornell University has launched a revamped version of its Cornell Fruit Resources website. In addition to information on food safety, business management, and marketing, the site contains subsections for tree-fruit, grape, and berry producers that offer information on production, IPM, and post-harvest handling.
Related ATTRA Publication: High Tunnel Tree Fruit and Grape Production for Eastern Growers

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

California Healthy Soils Program
The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications for two parts of the Healthy Soils Program (HSP). The HSP Incentives Program will award an estimated $3.75 million in competitive grant funding for implementation of agricultural management practices that sequester soil carbon and reduce GHG emissions. California farmers and ranchers, as well as Federal and California-recognized Native American Indian Tribes, are eligible to apply. For the HSP Demonstration Projects, an estimated $3 million will be awarded to projects that demonstrate and monitor specific management practices that sequester carbon, improve soil health, and reduce atmospheric GHGs.
Applications must be submitted by September 19, 2017.

Montana Growth Through Agriculture
Growth Through Agriculture is a grant and loan program that strengthens and diversifies Montana's agricultural industry through development of new agricultural products and processes. Projects should primarily add value to Montana's agricultural products and have the potential to create and/or retain jobs in Montana. Projects may potentially receive grant funding up to $50,000 and loans up to $100,000 through a single application.
Applications are due by November 15, 2017.

Wisconsin Specialty Crop Multi-State Grant Program
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is accepting proposals for the 2017 Specialty Crop Multi-State Program. This program awards funds to the following: projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops by addressing regional or national-level specialty crop issues, including food safety, plant pests, and disease; crop-specific projects addressing common issues; and marketing and promotion. Grant awards range from $250,000 to $1 million. Specialty-crop producer associations and groups, state government agencies, Tribal government entities, universities, nonprofits, and other stakeholder organizations are eligible to apply. Proposals must include at least two partners located in two different states.
Proposals are due by September 25, 2017.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Florida Organic Growers Organic Food & Farming Summit
September 17-19, 2017
Gainesville, Florida

This inaugural event will serve as an opportunity for growers, educators, advocates, academics, and researchers to interact and gain knowledge through farm tours, workshops, a trade show, and day-long training sessions

CCOF Pacific Southwest Organic Symposium for Local Farmers
September 17, 2017
Encinitas, California
This one-day, interactive summit is centered on organic farming in the Pacific Southwest. It will bring together experts on topics relevant for beginning and experienced regional growers.

Mother Earth News Fair
September 15-17, 2017
Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

This event features more than 150 workshops from leading authorities on organic gardening, food preservation, homesteading and livestock, and more, as well as 200 regional and national exhibitors.

>>More Events

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New ATTRA Publication
Whiteflies—Botanical Control Formulations

Question of the Week
What soap is safe to use on organic food crops for insect control?

Ask an Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online or by calling 1-800-346-9140

Armed to Farm in Montana
Applications for NCAT's October week-long veteran training in sustainable agriculture are due this week--by August 18, 2017.

ATTRA Spanish Newsletter
Subscribe to Cosecha Mensual (Monthly Harvest), ATTRA's Spanish-language e-newsletter

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