Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 5, 2018
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
- Apply Now for ATTRA Farm Management Course in Ozarks
- Guide Helps Farmers Plan U-Pick Operations
- ERS Estimates FSMA Compliance Costs Higher for Small Farms
- UC Berkeley Study Says Improving Soil Quality Pulls Carbon from Atmosphere
- USDA Partners on Providing Rural Housing for People Recovering from Opioid Misuse
- Maine Farms Struggle to Find Workers
- New York Farm to School Grant Program
- Technical Assistance for California's Climate Smart Agriculture Incentive Programs
- Rhode Island Statewide Conservation People's Garden Project
- Scaling up Your Produce Farm: Postharvest Handling for Intermediated Markets
- Freedom to Grow Conference
- Lancaster Kernza and Silvopasture Field Day
News & Resources
Apply Now for ATTRA Farm Management Course in the Ozarks
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is accepting applications from Ozarks-region farmers who would like to participate in the ATTRA program's course "Taking Your Farm to the Next Level." This six-part course will equip farmers and ranchers with the business and financial-management skills necessary to operate successful and sustainable farm businesses for the long-term. Participants commit to attending six training sessions over the course of six months. Applications are due October 5, 2018.
Guide Helps Farmers Plan U-Pick Operations
The University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program has published a guide for farmers considering starting a U-Pick operation. The 16-page PDF publication Planning a U-Pick Operation on Your California Farm can be downloaded free. The publication begins by discussing the advantages and disadvantages of U-Pick, encourages farmers to assess whether they and their operations are suited to U-Pick, and offers advice on farm layout, budgeting, pricing, and risk management.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tips for Selling with: Agritourism and "Pick-Your-Own"
ERS Estimates FSMA Compliance Costs Higher for Small Farms
USDA Economic Research Service has released a new publication on Estimated Costs for Fruit and Vegetable Producers To Comply With the Food Safety Modernization Act's Produce Rule. The study found that farm-level costs to comply with the Produce Safety Rule vary from 0.3% of annual produce sales for the largest farms to 6.8% for the smallest. Compliance costs also vary by crop. The entire report is available online in PDF.
UC Berkeley Study Says Improving Soil Quality Pulls Carbon from Atmosphere
Researchers at UC Berkeley found that low-tech, well-established agricultural practices such as planting cover crops, optimizing grazing, and sowing legumes on rangelands could reduce global temperatures 0.26°C by 2100 if instituted globally. The study also showed that by using biochar as well, these practices could potentially offset warming by as much as 0.46°C.
Related ATTRA Publication: Biochar and Sustainable Agriculture
USDA Partners on Providing Rural Housing for People Recovering from Opioid Misuse
USDA has formalized an innovative agreement in which a nonprofit organization in Kentucky will purchase homes from the Department and convert them to transitional housing for people recovering from opioid misuse. USDA says this partnership with Isaiah House could become a national model for collaboration with rural partners to address the opioid crisis at the local level.
Maine Farms Struggle to Find Workers
Small and mid-size farms in Maine are struggling to find enough workers, reports the Portland Press Herald. Some farmers harvested low-quality crops because they couldn't find workers to weed; other farmers had to leave crops unharvested in the field. Low unemployment, hard work, and immigration and migrant labor challenges have all contributed to the situation.
Related ATTRA Publication: Beyond Basic Compensation
>>More Breaking News
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New York Farm to School Grant Program
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets invites proposals that will increase the capacity of schools to procure and to serve locally produced farm products in school meals programs. A total of $1.5 million is available. Individual awards range between $25,000 and $100,000. Eligible applicants include local governments, charter schools, nonprofits, and Indian tribal organizations.
Proposals are due on October 1, 2018.
Technical Assistance for California's Climate Smart Agriculture Incentive Programs
California's Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation is accepting applications for technical assistance grants to serve the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Climate Smart Agriculture Incentive programs: Alternative Manure Management, Healthy Soils, and State Water Efficiency and Enhancement. Non-profit organizations, California academic institutions, and California Resource Conservation Districts are eligible to apply. CDFA will award up to $20,000 per organization for each CSA program solicitation.
Applications must be submitted by September 14, 2018.
Rhode Island Statewide Conservation People's Garden Project
USDA-NRCS Rhode Island State Office is accepting proposals for projects located throughout Rhode Island that will develop community gardens, pollinator gardens, and/or seasonal high tunnels. NRCS anticipates awarding approximately $60,000 total, with Individual awards ranging from $3,000 to $25,000. Proposals are requested from local governments, special districts, state governments, nonprofit organizations, independent school districts, institutions of higher education, and Federally recognized Native American tribal governments.
Proposals are due by September 29, 2018.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Scaling up Your Produce Farm: Postharvest Handling for Intermediated Markets
October 10, 2018
This day-long on-farm workshop presented by NCAT at Heifer Ranch will address handling and storage requirements for fruits and vegetables, food safety considerations in postharvest operations, and the buyer's perspective when purchasing local produce.
Freedom to Grow Conference
October 5-7, 2018
This new agricultural event aims to help eradicate food deserts while also promoting innovative agriculture technologies, methods, and education and providing outlets for farmers, Appalachians, and veterans to gain entrance into new revenue streams.
Lancaster Kernza and Silvopasture Field Day
October 5, 2018
The University of Wisconsin-Madison's Lancaster Agricultural Research Station will host a free field day highlighting innovative grazing practices: managed grazing of Kernza, a perennial grain and forage crop, and silvopasture, where trees are intensively managed with pasture.
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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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