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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 4, 2013

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

News & Resources

  • Significant Portion of Crop Losses Avoidable Through Building Soil Health, Says Report
  • High Plains Aquifer Depletion Affecting Future of Agriculture
  • Pasture Project Offers Online Financial Calculators
  • The Livestock Conservancy Announces New Name and Website
  • Minnesota Green Star Farms Initiative Provides Environmental Assessment Tool
  • Illinois Launches Cover Crop Demonstration Project

Funding Opportunities

  • Organic Farming Research Foundation Research Grants
  • Your 2 Cents Fund
  • Minnesota Value Added Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Mother Earth News Fair
  • The Livestock Conservancy Rare Breed Rabbit Conference
  • Mid-Missouri Browsing Academy

News & Resources

Significant Portion of Crop Losses Avoidable Through Building Soil Health, Says Report
Many of the Federal Crop Insurance Program loss payments for 2012 could have been prevented, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). NRDC's study, Soil Matters: How the Federal Crop Insurance Program should be reformed, reveals the key causes of crop insurance payouts and examines systemic flaws in the program. The report outlines a crop-insurance reform pilot plan that would build soil health to help climate-proof American farms, using best management practices including cover cropping, conservation tillage, and improved irrigation scheduling.
Related ATTRA Publication:
Drought Resistant Soil

High Plains Aquifer Depletion Affecting Future of Agriculture
If current irrigation trends continue, 69% of the groundwater stored in the High Plains Aquifer of Kansas will be depleted in 50 years. But immediately reducing water use could extend the aquifer's lifetime and increase net agricultural production through the year 2110. Those findings are part of a recently study by Kansas State University researchers, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Related ATTRA Publication: Measuring and Conserving Irrigation Water

Pasture Project Offers Online Financial Calculators
The Pasture Project at the Wallace Center seeks to increase the number of acres under sustainable management in the Upper Mississippi River Basin by expanding the region's production of grass-fed livestock. For those considering beginning grass-fed beef operations or leasing land for pasture, the project has designed a series of financial calculators. The calculators are set up with default values from the Upper Midwest, but allow users to adjust values to reflect their own land and farm operations.
Related ATTRA Publication: Grazing Calculator: Extended Cow Calf Pair

The Livestock Conservancy Announces New Name and Website
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) announced that it has officially changed its name to The Livestock Conservancy and unveiled a new website. The mission of The Livestock Conservancy revolves around conserving the genetics of nearly 200 livestock and poultry breeds, ensuring their survival and promoting biodiversity in agriculture.

Minnesota Green Star Farms Initiative Provides Environmental Assessment Tool
The Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center has launched the Green Star Farms Initiative, a voluntary education program that provides an environmental assessment tool designed to assist farmers and ranchers in evaluating their agricultural practices. A Web-based assessment worksheet can be utilized to identify and assess conservation practices.

Illinois Launches Cover Crop Demonstration Project
A three-year demonstration project by the Illinois Department of Agriculture will encourage the planting of environmentally beneficial cover crops. Beginning this fall, 14 plots throughout the state will be planted in cover crops. Signs at each of the plots will direct passers-by to http://www.covercrops.illinois.gov/, a website established as a "one-stop shop" for information about cover crops.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Organic Farming Research Foundation Research Grants
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is accepting proposals up to $15,000 for research projects on organic farming and food systems. OFRF particularly encourages farmers, ranchers, researchers, and Extension personnel to consider applying for funding.
The deadline for proposals is November 15, 2013.

Your 2 Cents Fund
The Rodale Institute Your 2 Cents offers grants from $1,000 to $10,000 to support certified organic farms and farmers. Funding priorities include scholarships to students of organic agriculture, support for new organic farmers and veterans establishing new careers in organic farming, and research projects on organic agriculture.
Applications are due by October 11, 2013.

Minnesota Value Added Grant Program
This program supports Minnesota agricultural producers and processors in expanding markets for Minnesota products. Two categories of grants will be awarded: business planning, feasibility study, marketing, and succession planning; and equipment purchases or physical improvements.
Proposals must be received by October 21, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Mother Earth News Fair
October 12-13, 2013
Lawrence, Kansas

Mother Earth News Fairs deliver practical, hands-on training and experience, taught by leading experts in the areas of renewable energy, organic gardening, sustainable agriculture, and more. An extensive workshop schedule includes presentations by Joel Salatin and Frank Reese, Jr.

The Livestock Conservancy Rare Breed Rabbit Conference
October 11, 2013
Lawrence, Kansas

Learn the ins and outs of raising rabbits on your homestead and marketing them. This intensive workshop will be taught by experts from The Livestock Conservancy and the Rare Hare Barn. The full-day event is part of the Mother Earth News Fair.

Mid-Missouri Browsing Academy
October 7-8, 2013
Jefferson City, Missouri

Lincoln University Cooperative Extension presents a hands-on seminar covering low-stress livestock handling, brush ecology and management, nutrition, reproduction, herd health, timber management, fencing, and business management. Attendees will gain advanced information on land enhancement using goats to control invasive vegetation.

>> More Events

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Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

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Pastured Poultry Nutrition and Forages

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What are the best organic methods for dealing with a blister beetle infestation?

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