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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 26, 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

  • Resource Hub to Assist Local Food Systems with COVID-19 Response
  • National Cover Crop Survey Documents Benefits and Expanded Acreage
  • OTA Releases Report on Organic Ag's Ability to Mitigate Climate Change
  • Research Shows Advantage of 'Farm-Tuning' Cover Crop Mixes
  • USDA Announces Recipients of First Urban Agriculture Grants
  • Montana Organic Association Annual Farm Tour Posted as YouTube Video

Funding Opportunities

  • Fresh Food from Farmers of Color Fund
  • North Central SARE Partnership Grant Program
  • Missouri Small Business and Family-Owned Farm Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Organic Growers School Harvest Conference
  • Pasture and Grazing Management Webinar Series
  • Solar Energy in Vermont's Working Landscape

News & Resources

Resource Hub to Assist Local Food Systems with COVID-19 Response
USDA announced the launch of the Local Food System Response to COVID Resource Hub developed by the University of Kentucky, Colorado State University, and Pennsylvania State University. The online resource documents and disseminates COVID-19 response innovations and best practices from local and regional food systems. It contains insights and educational material from 16 partner organizations to help local and regional food producers and businesses adapt their market strategies.

National Cover Crop Survey Documents Benefits and Expanded Acreage
Results of the sixth National Cover Crop Survey have been released by the Conservation Technology Innovation Center (CTIC), USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA). More than 90% of farmers participating reported that cover crops allowed them to plant earlier or at the same time as non-cover-cropped fields. Also, yields after cover crops increased 5% in soybeans, 2% in corn, and 2.6% in spring wheat.

OTA Releases Report on Organic Ag's Ability to Mitigate Climate Change
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) released a major report titled Advancing Organic to Mitigate Climate Change. The white paper identifies policy opportunities to elevate the role of organic in the climate change discussion, support organic farmers, and encourage transition to organic farming. The 33-page PDF is available free online.
Related ATTRA Publication: The Organic Chronicles No. 1: Mysteries of Organic Farming Revealed

Research Shows Advantage of 'Farm-Tuning' Cover Crop Mixes
Penn State research on eight organic dairy farms in Pennsylvania and New York and on research plots showed that cover crop mixes perform very differently in different locations. Participating farmers seeded a pre-formulated commercial mixture of canola, Austrian winter pea, triticale, red clover, and crimson clover, as well as a "farm-tuned" mixture of the same five species. Cover crop mixture expression varied greatly, depending on soil inorganic nitrogen content and planting dates that influenced the number of growing days.
Related ATTRA Video: Increasing Diversity and Enhancing Stewardship with Cover Crops

USDA Announces Recipients of First Urban Agriculture Grants
USDA's new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production announced the recipients of its first grants and cooperative agreements. USDA is awarding approximately $1.14 million for three Planning Projects and approximately $1.88 million for seven Implementation Projects. Additionally, USDA is investing approximately $1.09 million through Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Projects. A complete list of recipients, with project summaries, is available online.

Montana Organic Association Annual Farm Tour Posted as YouTube Video
Montana Organic Association held its annual farm tour in 2020 with a video crew to document the event for posting online. Mark and Jane Smith hosted the tour at their Aspen Island Ranch, a small-scale operation with 65 certified organic grass-fed cow-calf pairs and long yearlings awaiting harvest. The tour is posted on YouTube as a series of nine 3-minute to 39-minute videos dealing with specific management topics.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Fresh Food from Farmers of Color Fund
In collaboration with the Illinois Department of Human Services, Experimental Station is administering the Fresh Food from Farmers of Color Fund. This grant provides financial support to farmers and producers of color to enhance their farm infrastructure, enabling them to expand production capacity in years to come and ultimately helping to supply fresh food to communities on the South and West Sides of Chicago. The Fund will distribute $650,000. Applicants must be Illinois farmers of color within 200 miles of the City of Chicago.
Applications are due by September 7, 2020.

North Central SARE Partnership Grant Program
North Central SARE's Partnership Grant Program is intended to foster cooperation between agriculture professionals and small groups of farmers and ranchers to catalyze on-farm research, demonstration, and education activities related to sustainable agriculture. Partnership Grants are funded for up to 24 months, with a maximum grant of $40,000. An agricultural professional is the grant applicant and principal investigator, and three or more farmers or ranchers are expected to be substantially involved in the project.
Proposals are due by October 22, 2020.

Missouri Small Business and Family-Owned Farm Grant Program
Missouri's Small Business and Family-Owned Farm Grant Program, funded by the CARES Act, provides grants to small businesses and family-owned farms for reimbursement of costs of business interruption caused by required closures and other expenses incurred in connection with the COVID-19 public health emergency. A total of $7.5 million is available for family-owned farms and family farm corporations. The initial individual grant amount is limited to $50,000. Generally, eligible costs will be those that are significantly different from planned operational costs and directly related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Applications are due by August 31, 2020.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Organic Growers School Harvest Conference
September 11-12, 2020
Online
The 7th annual Harvest Conference will take place by Zoom Webinar. It features six day-long workshops, with one each day in the three tracks Cherokee Foods, Farm Business, and Herbal Tonics.

Pasture and Grazing Management Webinar Series
September 3, 10, and 17, 2020
Online

Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Program is offering a three-part fall webinar series on pasture management.

Solar Energy in Vermont's Working Landscape
September 10, 2020
Online
This half-day workshop explores how to integrate solar photovoltaic energy facilities, pollinator and bird habitat, and grazing and crop production within the Vermont landscape.

>>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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© 2020 NCAT

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New ATTRA Publication
ATTRA Annual Report 2019-2020

Question of the Week
How do I select appropriate animals for grass-finished cattle production?

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

Payments for Ecosystem Services Webinar Series
Part 3 is on Water Quality Trading ~ August 27, 2020
Last chance to register for this free webinar!

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