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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 26, 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

  • Study Finds Removing Non-Crop Vegetation Doesn't Help with Food Safety
  • Researchers Find Economic Benefits in Hedgerows
  • CCOF Introduces Transitional Certification Program
  • Cost of Production Study for Organic Strawberries Available
  • Fact Sheets Provide Tips for Drought
  • Iowa Communities Join Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit; Publication Highlights Best Practices

Funding Opportunities

  • NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant
  • Biomass Crop Assistance Program
  • Minnesota Value Added Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Growing Food and Justice for All 2015 Gathering
  • Farm Business Planning Workshop
  • Organic Processing in Minnesota

News & Resources

Study Finds Removing Non-Crop Vegetation Doesn't Help with Food Safety
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley published a study showing that removing non-crop vegetation to reduce field contamination by disease-causing pathogens is not effective. Instead, the practice has led to extensive habitat loss. Diverse habitats bordering food crops can provide agricultural benefits, including supporting populations of pollinators, filtering runoff, and filtering out bacteria.

Researchers Find Economic Benefits in Hedgerows
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Berkeley researchers analyzing hedgerows in a two-year study found the plantings were providing economic benefits by attracting natural enemies to aphids and stink bugs. Additional research has shown that hedgerows are important for pollinators. Hedgerow plant selection is key to enhancing beneficial insects on farms.
Related ATTRA Publication: Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control

CCOF Introduces Transitional Certification Program
Organic certifier CCOF has introduced its enhanced Transitional Certification program for farmers beginning the three-year transition process of gaining organic certification. Obtaining transitional certification includes the ability to label products with a "Certified Transitional" seal.

Cost of Production Study for Organic Strawberries Available
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources has released a cost of production and estimated revenue study for organic strawberries. The study takes into consideration growing conditions on the Central Coast of California and complying with the National Organic Program. The study can be downloaded for free.
Related ATTRA Publication: Strawberries: Organic Production

Fact Sheets Provide Tips for Drought
A series of free drought tips fact sheets has been developed by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. The publications include titles on drought strategies for alfalfa, walnuts, and almonds, as well as use of shallow groundwater for crop production. Several more fact sheets are in the process of being published, including recommendations for culling beef cattle herds and feeding to supplement grazing.
Related ATTRA Publication: California Drought Programs and Resources

Iowa Communities Join Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit; Publication Highlights Best Practices
Six Iowa communities are participating in an Iowa State University project called the Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit, a planning process that helps communities explore their ag-related resources and needs to make fresh, local food products more widely available. The project has released a new Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit publication that provides a general overview of 19 different activities or tactics that have been researched as part of this project.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant
Farmers and ranchers in the North Central region are invited to submit grant proposals to explore sustainable agriculture solutions to problems on the farm or ranch. There are three types of competitive grants: individual, team, and group. Proposals should show how farmers and ranchers plan to use their own innovative ideas to explore sustainable agriculture options and how they will share project results.
Proposals are due December 3, 2015.

Biomass Crop Assistance Program
The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) offers financial assistance for growing new sources of biomass for energy or biobased products within designated project areas. Biomass energy facilities or groups of producers may submit proposals for new BCAP project areas.
Proposals are due November 6, 2015.

Minnesota Value Added Grant Program
This program supports Minnesota agricultural producers and processors seeking to increase sales of Minnesota agricultural products by expanding markets. Individual farmers, businesses, agricultural cooperatives, or local government entities may apply for grants of $1,000 to $150,000.
Applications are due by October 6, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Growing Food and Justice for All 2015 Gathering
September 25-27, 2015
Chicago, Illinois

Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative is aimed at dismantling racism and empowering low-income and communities of color through sustainable and local agriculture. This year's theme is "H.E.A.L. Our Food System." Join in to explore how we can better grow food and justice within ourselves and our communities.

Farm Business Planning Workshop
September 23 and October 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2015
Rancho Cordova, California

The free five-part workshop is intended for beginning farmers and ranchers. Instructor Thea Rittenhouse, of the National Center for Appropriate Technology, and other sustainable agriculture experts will address farm business and marketing plans, logistics and legalities of starting a farm business, finding land, and recordkeeping.

Organic Processing in Minnesota
September 21, 24, or 25, 2015
St. Cloud, Chaska, or Rochester, Minnesota

Organic Processing Institute is working with Minnesota Department of Agriculture to bring processors together to discuss what's involved in going organic. Instruction will cover what qualifies a product as organic, processing both organic and conventional products in one facility, the organic certification process, organic system plans, ingredients and processing aids allowed in organic operations, and cleaning agents allowed.

>> 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.

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

© 2015 NCAT

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