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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 12, 2012

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

  • Farmers' Guide to Organic Contracts Now Available
  • USDA Releases Organic Resource Guide
  • Farmers Market Inspiration Award Winning Essays Announced
  • NCSU Offers Plans for Mobile Cooling Unit to Preserve Farm Produce Quality
  • Research Shows Complexity of Soil Response to Elevated Atmospheric Carbon
  • ERS Reports on Water Conservation in Irrigated Agriculture

Funding Opportunities

  • Southern SARE Producer Grants
  • The Kathleen A. P. Mathias Agriculture Energy Efficiency Program
  • Practical Farmers of Iowa Savings Incentive Program

Coming Events

  • Healthy Farms, Healthy People Montana Meeting
  • Tri-State Farm & Food Conference
  • Food Day

News & Resources

Farmers' Guide to Organic Contracts Now Available
Farmers' Legal Action Group (FLAG) has released the Farmers' Guide to Organic Contracts , written to help farmers make informed decisions at every stage of the contract relationship. It is available for free download. This new resource for the organic community can help organic farmers evaluate, negotiate, and manage contract agreements with buyers of organic farm products.

USDA Releases Organic Resource Guide
USDA has released USDA Organic Resource Guide 2012: Your Guide to Organic and Organic-Related USDA Programs. The 45-page publication is available for download as a PDF. This guide provides an overview of USDA programs and services available to the public that either directly or indirectly support organic agriculture. The publication is part of USDA's Organic Literacy Initiative materials.

Farmers Market Inspiration Award Winning Essays Announced
Growing for Market, in collaboration with the Farmers Market Coalition and American Farmland Trust, has announced the winning essays in the Farmers Market Inspiration Award contest. The Grand Prize winner is farmer Cory Mosser of Mansfield, Georgia. His essay and the other six winning entries can be read online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Farmers' Markets: Marketing and Business Guide

NCSU Offers Plans for Mobile Cooling Unit to Preserve Farm Produce Quality
North Carolina State University's Plants for Human Health Institute (PHHI) has developed a new mobile cooling unit for farmers, the "Pack ‘N Cool." It's designed to keep fruits and vegetables at ideal temperatures during transport to and from farmers markets or as they're harvested in farm fields. The model unit cost around $3,400 to construct. Construction guidelines and step-by-step photos are available on the PHHI website.

Research Shows Complexity of Soil Response to Elevated Atmospheric Carbon
North Carolina State University researchers have shown that certain underground organisms thought to help make soil a carbon sink actually play a more complex, dual role when atmospheric carbon levels rise. In a paper published in Science, the researchers show that elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide increase underground decomposing interactions that cause carbon to be released back into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas, offsetting sequestration benefits.

ERS Reports on Water Conservation in Irrigated Agriculture
USDA Economic Research Service has issued a report that assesses water resource use and conservation measures within the U.S. irrigated crop sector. Water Conservation in Irrigated Agriculture: Trends and Challenges in the Face of Emerging Demands says that despite technological innovations, at least half of U.S. irrigated cropland is still irrigated with less-efficient, traditional systems.
Related ATTRA Publication: Measuring and Conserving Irrigation Water

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Southern SARE Producer Grants
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) is accepting proposals for the 2013 Producer Grants. Farmers/ranchers and farmer/rancher organizations can propose projects that solve challenges farmers face and share results. Funding maximums are $10,000 for an individual producer or $15,000 for a producer organization.
Proposal submission deadline is November 15, 2012.

The Kathleen A. P. Mathias Agriculture Energy Efficiency Program
The Kathleen A. P. Mathias Agriculture Energy Efficiency Program provides grants to Maryland farms and agriculture businesses from $25,000 to $200,000, for up to 75 percent of the cost for energy-efficiency upgrades. Numerous projects may be eligible: insulation, ventilation, lighting, motors and VSDs, irrigation, refrigeration, and HVAC upgrades.
Applications are due by September 28, 2012.

Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) Savings Incentive Program
The Savings Incentive Program (SIP) will entice beginning farmers to save $100 a month for two years; after two years, SIP will match their savings. The farmer can then use this savings to purchase a farm asset. To be eligible, applicants must be farming now and have farmed for five years or less, be a member of PFI, and be a legal resident of Iowa and/or farm in Iowa.
Applications are due by October 12, 2012.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Healthy Farms, Healthy People Montana Meeting
October 12, 2012
Butte, Montana

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will host a meeting that will feature success stories from agriculture and health-care professionals who have helped make more locally grown, healthy food available for clients in health-care institutions, both in Montana and other states.

Tri-State Farm & Food Conference
October 12-13, 2012
Huntington, West Virginia

Friday's day-long sessions will feature Farm to School, Farmers Markets, Direct Marketing, and Good Handling/Good Agricultural Practices. Saturday will offer 30 hour-long sessions on a variety of topics.

Food Day
October 24, 2012
Nationwide

Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Hundreds of Food Day events are being held across the country, and a searchable listing is available online.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives
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.

Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

© 2012 NCAT

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September 13 — AGR-Lite—Understanding Whole-Farm Insurance for the Specialized, Diversified, and Organic Farm
September 27 Links between Biodiversity Requirements of Organic Systems and NRCS Practice Standards

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