Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 6, 2017
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
- Barnraiser Campaign to Provide Sustainable and Organic Farmers Aid after Hurricane Harvey
- Case Studies Show Soil Health Practices Deliver Economic Returns
- Guide Helps Assess Food System Economics
- University of Vermont Receives Grant to Tell Stories of Diverse Farmers
- Organic Milk Prices Dropping in Vermont
- NRCS Publication Shows Reduction in Georgia Cropland
- Value Added Producer Grants
- North Carolina Bioenergy Research Initiative
- EQIP in Wisconsin
- Hoes Down Harvest Festival - Dirty Thirty
- Georgia Farm to School Summit
- Silvopasture Establishment with Pastured Pigs, Adaptive Grazing
News & Resources
Barnraiser Campaign to Provide Sustainable and Organic Farmers Aid after Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey had a devastating impact on farms and ranches in Texas and Louisiana. Although the full extent of damage will not be known for weeks, many relief efforts are getting underway. One rapid-response campaign that's already up and running on Barnraiser aims to raise $40,000 in 26 days to support 80 sustainable and organic farmers with emergency cash of $500 each to help them with immediate expenses such as gas, groceries, and building materials. Farmers impacted by the storm can submit applications online. Donations to the campaign can be made through Barnraiser.
Case Studies Show Soil Health Practices Deliver Economic Returns
The National Association of Conservation Districts and Datu Research, LLC have released four case studies that show soil health practices can yield an economic return of more than $100 per acre. The case studies report on a three-year study period during which corn-soybean farmers in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri experimented with cover crops and/or no-till.
Related ATTRA Publication: No-Till Case Study, Brown's Ranch: Improving Soil Health Improves the Bottom Line
Guide Helps Assess Food System Economics
Michigan State University's Center for Regional Food Systems has released Tools for Assessing Economic Impact: A Primer for Food System Practitioners. This guide summarizes tools that food-systems practitioners can use to assess economic growth. It explores both standard commercial models and alternative, community-based approaches. A corresponding webinar will be offered on September 19, 2017.
University of Vermont Receives Grant to Tell Stories of Diverse Farmers
A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities will help a consortium tell the stories of diverse Vermont farmers. The three-year project will select eight Vermont farmers from diverse geographic, gender, cultural, and racial backgrounds, different farming sectors, and varying ages. Their stories will be captured in comic books and digital multi-media that will form curriculum for Vermont middle schools.
Organic Milk Prices Dropping in Vermont
An article posted on VTDigger reports that organic dairy farmers in Vermont are struggling with falling prices. Organic milk companies blame the situation on an oversupply, caused in part by conventional farmers switching to organic because of price premiums. Cooperatives are limiting the number of members and have established quotas on the amount of milk members can provide, in an effort to maintain prices.
NRCS Publication Shows Reduction in Georgia Cropland
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has published Georgia's Land: Its Use and Condition – 4th Edition. The publication reports that during the 30 years from 1982 to 2012 there was a net reduction of Georgia cropland by 2.6 million acres. Meanwhile, 2.4 million acres were developed into urban land and rural transportation. This represents a doubling of developed land in 30 years.
>>More Breaking News
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Value Added Producer Grants
USDA is accepting applications for the Value Added Producer Grant program. Independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer or rancher cooperatives, and majority-controlled, producer-based business ventures are eligible to apply. Applicants may receive priority if they are a beginning farmer or rancher, a socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher, a small or medium-sized farm or ranch structured as a family farm, a farmer or rancher cooperative, or are proposing a mid-tier value chain. Grants up to $75,000 can be used for planning activities or for working-capital expenses related to producing and marketing a value-added agricultural product.
Applications must be received by January 24, 2018.
North Carolina Bioenergy Research Initiative
The North Carolina Bioenergy Research Initiative is seeking grant proposals focused on research and development of agricultural and forestry-based feedstocks for bioenergy production. Projects may boost energy production from North Carolina agricultural and forestry products, offer new opportunities for agribusiness development, or support cooperative research for bioenergy production. Individual applications should not exceed $150,000 in direct funding.
The deadline to submit proposals is September 29, 2017.
EQIP in Wisconsin
USDA-NRCS in Wisconsin is accepting applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for 2018. EQIP is the primary program available to farmers for farm and woodland conservation work, offering payments for more than 110 basic conservation practices. Special sign-up opportunities are also open for On-Farm Energy, Organic, Specialty Crops, and Seasonal High Tunnel conservation practices, as well as a number of landscape-based initiatives.
The cutoff date for consideration for 2018 funding is October 20, 2017.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Hoes Down Harvest Festival - Dirty Thirty
October 7-8, 2017
Yolo County, California
Full Belly Farm hosts this 30th annual festival, which includes farm tours, traditional arts and crafts, farm-fresh food, folk music, dancing, hands-on workshops, and seminars.
Georgia Farm to School Summit
October 5-6, 2017
The Farm to School Summit connects schools, early care centers, and local farms and distributors to serve and champion healthy, local meals in cafeterias, improve student nutrition, and increase farm and gardening educational opportunities.
Silvopasture Establishment with Pastured Pigs, Adaptive Grazing
October 4, 2017
This Savanna Institute field day takes place at Green Fire Farm and highlights how a conventional row-crop operation is transitioning to multi-species pasture systems.
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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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