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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 2, 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

  • Exclusion Netting Helps Prevent Spotted Wing Drosophila in Berries
  • Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Application Deadline Approaching
  • Increasing Drought and Heat to Change Locations and Dates of Future Crops
  • USDA Extends Deadline for Soil Health and Income Protection Program Signup
  • Survey Shows Farmers Who Value Soil Health More Likely to Rotate Crops, Integrate Grazing
  • Farm Aid Schedules Virtual Festival for 2020

Funding Opportunities

  • USDA Small Business Innovation Research Program—Phase I
  • Vermont Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance Program
  • Practical Farmers of Iowa Savings Incentive Program

Coming Events

  • The CART before the Horse: Understanding Access to Federal Assistance for Natural Resource Conservation on Working Lands
  • Oregon Small Farm School
  • Greater South Texas Conference for Women in Agriculture

News & Resources

Exclusion Netting Helps Prevent Spotted Wing Drosophila in Berries
New York berry growers collaborating with Cornell University researchers are reporting success in using exclusion netting to prevent spotted wing drosophila (SWD) infestations. In field testing, early-season placement of exclusion netting was effective in protecting raspberries. The netting is attached to a frame that surrounds the berry crop. One grower has avoided pesticide use for six years, with less than 1% incidence of SWD. She notes that the cost of the exclusion netting is lower than the cost of pesticides.
Related ATTRA Publication: Brambles: Organic Production

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Application Deadline Approaching
USDA Farm Service Agency is reminding farmers and ranchers that the deadline to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) is September 11, 2020. This program provides direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. More than 160 commodities are eligible. A complete list, payment rates, and calculations can be found on farmers.gov/cfap. Anyone seeking general assistance with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee.

Increasing Drought and Heat to Change Locations and Dates of Future Crops
Research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that increasingly hot and dry conditions will change where and when crops can be grown by 2045. A third of the vegetables and two-thirds of the fruits and nuts consumed by Americans are currently grown in California, but the regions where they are grown may become too hot and dry for continued production within 20 years. "If crops can no longer be grown in their current locations, then the farmer has to either move to a new area or grow a different crop, which presents a practical and economic burden on the farmer," notes the study's lead author.
Related ATTRA Publication: Climate Change and Perennial Fruit and Nut Production: Investing in Resilience in Uncertain Times

USDA Extends Deadline for Soil Health and Income Protection Program Signup
USDA is extending the signup deadline for the Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP) pilot program to November 20, 2020. SHIPP, part of the Conservation Reserve Program, enables producers in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota to receive payments for planting perennial cover for conservation use for three to five years.

Survey Shows Farmers Who Value Soil Health More Likely to Rotate Crops, Integrate Grazing
A survey of producers in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Nebraska examined why some prioritize soil health and how to encourage more to adopt conservation practices, reports South Dakota State University. Almost 38% of the 672 farmers who responded reported using diversified crop rotation plans, while 71% were grazing livestock on croplands. However, only 28% of the respondents indicated that they used both methods. The survey assessed motivations for farmers to begin integrating livestock grazing on cropland.
Related ATTRA Publication: Integrating Livestock and Crops: Improving Soil, Solving Problems, Increasing Income

Farm Aid Schedules Virtual Festival for 2020
Farm Aid 2020 will be a virtual festival available online and on AXS TV on Saturday, September 26, 2020, from 8-11 p.m. EDT. The 35th anniversary festival will showcase the diversity and strength of family farmers with stories from across the country and feature performances by Willie Nelson and The Boys, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, and many other artists.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

USDA Small Business Innovation Research Program—Phase I
The USDA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program focuses on transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial potential and/or societal benefit. Small businesses and small proprietorships that are in business for profit are eligible to submit applications up to $100,000 for a Phase I project. Phase I projects should prove the scientific or technical feasibility of the approach or concept. Projects dealing with agriculturally related manufacturing and alternative and renewable energy technologies are encouraged across all SBIR topic areas.
Applications are due by October 22, 2020.

Vermont Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance Program
The Vermont State Legislature appropriated $8.5 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds for Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance. Of these funds, $5 million was designated to Agricultural Producer and Processor Assistance for farmers, meat and poultry processors, commercial slaughterhouses, and farmers markets; $2.5 million was appropriated to the Working Lands Enterprise Fund for agricultural, food and forest, and wood product industries; and $1 million was appropriated for the COVID-19 Working Lands Program for agriculture, food, and market businesses. Eligibility requirements are detailed online.
Funds are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

Practical Farmers of Iowa Savings Incentive Program
Practical Farmers of Iowa's (PFI) Savings Incentive Program is a two-year program that pairs beginning and aspiring farmers with experienced farmer mentors. It provides targeted learning and peer networking opportunities, and it offers business-planning support and guidance. Participants create, implement, and improve a business plan; are involved in mentoring activities and peer networking; and invest up to $2,400 in a farm savings account that is matched dollar-for-dollar by PFI.
Applications for the 2021-2022 class are due by October 12, 2020.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

The CART before the Horse: Understanding Access to Federal Assistance for Natural Resource Conservation on Working Lands
September 17 and 24, and October 8, 2020
Online
NCAT and NRCS present a three-part webinar series on the Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART), to provide interested farmers and ranchers with an overview of the tool, as well as a deeper look into how it works.

Oregon Small Farm School
September 17 - November 19, 2020
Online

This year, Small Farm School goes online with 18 evening webinar sessions for beginning and intermediate small-scale farmers and rural landowners.

Greater South Texas Conference for Women in Agriculture
September 16-17, 2020
Online
The Greater South Texas Women in Agriculture virtual conference provides a platform for women landowners to learn about the resources available to help them manage and sustain their agricultural business. NCAT's Kara Kroeger will be one of the presenters.

>>More Events

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Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART): Overview
September 17, 2020
Register now for this free webinar, part of "The CART before the Horse: Understanding Access to Federal Assistance for Natural Resource Conservation on Working Lands."

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