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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 27, 2014

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

  • USDA Awards Value-Added Producer Grants
  • American Farmland Trust Surveys State Farmland Protection Programs
  • Soil Renaissance Website Now Available
  • Indiana to Explore Food Hub Feasibility
  • FairRent Program Helps Farmers Evaluate Land-Rental Payments
  • MSU Center for Regional Food Systems Receives Grants to Support Good Food Access

Funding Opportunities

  • North Central Region SARE Partnership Grant Program
  • Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund--High School
  • Minnesota Conservation Partners Legacy Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance Field Days
  • WEI-Growing Power Regional Training Weekend
  • Draft Animal-Power Network Annual Gathering

News & Resources

USDA Awards Value-Added Producer Grants
USDA is investing $25 million through Rural Development's Value-Added Producer Grant program to help 247 businesses nationwide expand their operations and create new products to market. USDA is awarding Value-Added Producer Grants in 46 states, Puerto Rico, and Micronesia. A full list of recipients is available online.

American Farmland Trust Surveys State Farmland Protection Programs
American Farmland Trust (AFT) has released its annual survey of state-level farmland protection programs. The survey found that during 2013, states spent nearly $160 million to protect farm and ranch land covering 81,232 acres. Pennsylvania alone accounted for 32% of the land protected. State programs have invested more than $3.7 billion in protecting farm and ranch land. AFT noted progress in farmland protection in several northeastern states.

Soil Renaissance Website Now Available
The Soil Renaissance has a new website featuring the Soil Renaissance Strategic Plan. Updated information will be posted on the website as focus groups work on the plan, or as events are scheduled. The site also lists organizations working in the soil health arena.

Indiana to Explore Food Hub Feasibility
Purdue Extension will host meetings throughout Indiana for specialty-crop producers, wholesalers, and community leaders to help the Indiana State Department of Agriculture assess the potential for a statewide network of regional food hubs. Nine different sessions are being held from August 26 to September 9.

FairRent Program Helps Farmers Evaluate Land-Rental Payments
The Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota has released FairRent, a software tool that helps farmers evaluate land-rental decisions by estimating the income remaining for cash rent after all other expenses. The program can be used to evaluate cash, share, and flexible rental arrangements.

MSU Center for Regional Food Systems Receives Grants to Support Good Food Access
Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems has received $6 million in grants from W.K. Kellogg Foundation to advance equity, sustainability, and strong economies in Michigan through good food. One grant focuses on supporting Farm to School initiatives and expanding the Hoophouses to Health program. The second grant focuses on building capacity and catalyzing action to implement the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

North Central Region SARE Partnership Grant Program
NCR-SARE's new 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. Individual grants are limited to $30,000. Up to $200,000 of the grant pool is available for projects focused on cover crops and soil health.
The deadline for proposals is October 30, 2014.

Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund—High School
This program is offering 10 grants of $1,000 each through a partnership with Future Farmers of America (FFA), for individuals to complete organic Supervised Agriculture Experience projects nationally. Applicants must currently be in grades 7-12 and be members of FFA with demonstrated financial need.
Applications must be submitted by November 15, 2014.

Minnesota Conservation Partners Legacy Grant Program
The Conservation Partners Legacy Grant Program funds projects that restore, enhance, or protect forests, wetlands, prairies, and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife in Minnesota. Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations and government entities. Projects must occur on public lands or waters or lands protected by a permanent conservation easement.
Applications are due by September 19, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance Field Days
September 25-26, 2014
Keene, New Hampshire
This year's program features practical workshops, a tour of the diverse enterprises at Stonewall Farm, a large trade show, and networking with fellow farmers. Half of this year's program focuses on improving the farm's financial bottom line, while the other half focuses on organic dairy's bottom line: the cows.

WEI-Growing Power Regional Training Weekend
September 27-28, 2014
North Branch, Minnesota

Will Allen with Growing Power and WEI staff offer an intensive, hands-on training weekend offering participants the opportunity to learn, plan, develop, operate, and sustain community food and farming projects.

Draft Animal-Power Network Annual Gathering
September 26-28, 2014
Cummington, Massachusetts

The Draft Animal-Power Network advances the practical application of draft-animal power and creates a supportive community. The Annual Gathering will feature horse, mule, and oxen demonstrations, shared meals, and farmer-to-farmer conversations.

>> More Events

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ATTRA Webinars
Promoting High-Quality Conservation on Organic Farms ~ September 10 Conservation professionals and landowners will learn how NRCS conservation practices and enhancements can provide high-value production and biodiversity benefits while at the same time aiding producers in obtaining or maintaining their USDA organic status. Register now!

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