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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 11, 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

  • Food Alliance Certification Program Relaunched
  • Study Shows Impacts of Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program
  • NOSB Announces Fall 2013 Meeting; Invites Public Comments
  • New Scheduling Tool Helps Growers Fine-Tune Irrigation
  • Minnesota Organic Farm Performance Report Issued
  • UMaine Extension Introduces Small Grains Website and Newsletter

Funding Opportunities

  • North Central Region SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Program
  • Organic Farming Research Foundation Education and Outreach Grants
  • IR-4 Biopesticide Research Program

Coming Events

  • North American Biochar Symposium
  • Crop Storage Workshops
  • Direct Marketing Local Meat I

News & Resources

Food Alliance Certification Program Relaunched
The non-profit Food Alliance has relaunched its third-party certification for farmers, ranchers, processors, and distributors who implement sustainable agricultural and food-handling practices. Food Alliance is prepared to receive new certification applications and will begin conducting new farm and facility inspections starting in October 2013.

Study Shows Impacts of Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program
A new study from American Farmland Trust and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows that the federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program improves agricultural viability, encourages on-farm conservation, and helps farmers gain access to land. The study, Impacts of the Federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program: An Assessment Based on Interviews with Participating Landowners, is available through American Farmland Trust's Farmland Information Center.

NOSB Announces Fall 2013 Meeting; Invites Public Comments
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is collecting public comment at www.ams.usda.gov/nosbmeetings in advance of its meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, October 22-24, 2013. During the meeting, the board will address several petitions, including substances for use in aquaculture, streptomycin to control fire blight in pears and apples, and glycerin. Written comments on the proposals can be submitted until October 1, 2013.

New Scheduling Tool Helps Growers Fine-Tune Irrigation
University of Wisconsin-Madison research is helping farmers fine-tune irrigation to save water and the energy needed to pump it. An online tool called WISP 2012 makes it easier to make better decisions about when and how much to water. Growers enter the type of crop, soil type, and rainfall from the field. WISP 2012 uses that information, NRCS data on soil field capacity, and daily evapotranspiration rates to make a recommendation on when to irrigate.
Related ATTRA Publication: Soil Moisture Monitoring: Low-Cost Tools and Methods

Minnesota Organic Farm Performance Report Issued
Organic farmers in Minnesota had a profitable year in 2012, according to the 2012 Minnesota Organic Farm Performance report released by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Average and median net farm income for both crop and dairy farms were up substantially, although there was a high degree of variability among farm sizes and between the most- and least-profitable farms.

UMaine Extension Introduces Small Grains Website and Newsletter
UMaine Extension is providing information on growing small grains and oilseeds for feed, food, and energy at its new Grains & Oilseeds website. The Maine Grain and Oilseed Newsletter, included on the website, provides production and research information on production, fertility, marketing, pest management, and more.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Small Grain Production Overview

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

North Central Region SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Program
Approximately $400,000 is available for Farmer Rancher Grants in the 12-state North Central Region. Farmer Rancher Grants provide opportunities for farmers/ranchers to use Sustainable Agriculture practices and their own innovative ideas to solve problems on the farm or ranch, and to share their ideas. Individual, partner, and group grants are available.
Proposals must be submitted by November 14, 2013.

Organic Farming Research Foundation Education and Outreach Grants
Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) education and outreach grants are intended to fund development of educational activities and materials that are pertinent to organic agricultural production and/or marketing. OFRF will also accept proposals to fund activities that promote information sharing among organic agricultural researchers and organic farmers and ranchers.
The deadline for proposals is November 15, 2013.

IR-4 Biopesticide Research Program
The IR-4 Biopesticide Research Program announced a request for grant proposals for $400,000 of funding for efficacy research in 2014. The primary objective of the program is to further the development and registration of biopesticides for use in pest management systems for specialty crops or for minor uses on major crops.
Proposals are due October 21, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

North American Biochar Symposium
October 13-16, 2013
Amherst, Massachusetts

This symposium is designed for farmers, foresters, researchers, policy makers, biochar producers, and entrepreneurs, and especially for students and citizens who want to learn about biochar as an alternative to fossil fuel-based fertilizers/pesticides and energy. Tracks will include Feedstocks and Production; Benefits of Biochar; Scales, Sales, and Marketing; and Policy and Community Engagement.

Crop Storage Workshops
September 17 or 19, or October 9, 10, or 16, 2013
Various locations in Vermont

UVM Extension will offer five full-day workshops on crop storage throughout Vermont. Workshops will focus on long-term storage of crops for sale through the winter and into early spring. Workshops will be open to fruit and vegetable growers, aggregators, processors, and distributors.

Direct Marketing Local Meat I
October 12, 2013
Fallon, Nevada

UNR Center for Economic Development is presenting a series of workshops on direct marketing meat. The workshops are hosted by the WNC Specialty Crop Institute in partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno. The first event in the series is titled "Meat CSA & Collaborative Marketing Models."

>> More Events

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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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© 2013 NCAT

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