Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 12, 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.
Join the NCAT Team!
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is seeking a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist who wants to make a contribution to sustainable farming and ranching practices. This regular, full-time position will be based at NCAT’s office in Davis, California. Applications will be accepted through October 7, 2018. Learn more.
News & Resources
- Guidelines Help Farmers Manage Nitrogen Loss under Climate Variability
- Niman Ranch Announces Plans to Double Network of Farmers and Ranchers
- Reduced-Tillage Information Available Online
- Publication Provides Guidance on Grazing Cereal Rye
- USDA Invests in Rural Communities through Community Facilities Program
- Massachusetts Survey Finds Produce from Local Farmers Less Expensive than from Grocery Stores
- CalAgPlate Grant Program
- Rural Opioid Technical Assistance (ROTA) Program
- Minnesota Value-Added Grants
- Creating and Marketing Value-Added Products
- Mother Earth News Fair
- Louisiana Farm to School Conference
News & Resources
Guidelines Help Farmers Manage Nitrogen Loss under Climate Variability
Researchers from the University of New Hampshire and partner organizations have created guidelines to help Midwest farmers manage nitrogen losses while dealing with the effects of climate variability. Researchers recognized that a variable climate with erratic rainfall could increase nitrogen losses from soil, negatively impacting agriculture. The team developed recommendations such as utilizing cover cropping, crop rotations, strips of perennial plants, and restored wetlands.
Related ATTRA Tutorial: Soil Health
Niman Ranch Announces Plans to Double Network of Farmers and Ranchers
Sustainable and humane livestock company Niman Ranch has announced plans to double its supplier network over the next 10 years. Niman Ranch says it will add 750 independent family farmers and ranchers producing pork, beef, and lamb. The announcement will be followed by a recruitment effort to add additional farmers, and the company is launching a Gilt and Boar Gift program to attract young farmers, recent college graduates, and military veterans interested in farming and ranching.
Reduced-Tillage Information Available Online
A resource handbook from a field day on Reduced Tillage in Organic Systems held by Cornell Cooperative Extension is available online. The 108-page PDF publication includes links to related resources and information from the presentations at the field day. Topics include zone tillage systems for organic vegetables, controlling weeds, using a roller-crimper, soil compaction, and soil microbes.
Publication Provides Guidance on Grazing Cereal Rye
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has released a new publication, Grazing Opportunities with Cereal Rye, that provides best management practices for producers to use when grazing cereal rye with stocker cattle. The publication includes nine steps for growing high-quality cereal rye and explains how growing cereal rye can provide added value for crop producers.
Related ATTRA Publication: Integrating Livestock and Crops: Improving Soil, Solving Problems, Increasing Income
USDA Invests in Rural Communities through Community Facilities Program
USDA has announced that it is investing $10.7 million in 85 projects in 22 states through the Community Facilities program. These partnerships with rural communities will support opportunities for opioid prevention, treatment, and recovery, addressing the opioid epidemic as an issue of rural prosperity. A full list of funded projects is available online.
Massachusetts Survey Finds Produce from Local Farmers Less Expensive than from Grocery Stores
A survey by the Massachusetts Food System Collaborative found that fresh produce is usually less expensive when purchased directly from the Massachusetts farmers who grow it than it is at grocery stores. The survey of 11 farmers markets and 22 grocery stores found that in most cases, comparable items were more affordable at the farmers market, with a basket of 14 common items costing an average of 25% less.
>>More Breaking News
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CalAgPlate Grant Program
The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting proposals for the 2018 California Agriculture Special Interest License Plate (CalAgPlate) grant program. This program makes available $250,000 to promote agricultural education and leadership activities for students at the K-12, post-secondary, and adult education levels. Funding is available for state-adopted Agricultural Education Programs, government agencies, and non-profit organizations that administer agricultural education programs.
The application deadline is October 5, 2018.
Rural Opioid Technical Assistance (ROTA) Program
Cooperative Extension partners have the opportunity to apply for grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help communities combat opioid use disorders. HHS's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is accepting applications for fiscal year 2018 from existing NIFA Cooperative Extension grantees for projects that focus on opioid issues affecting rural communities. There is $8.25 million in available funding. Project requests cannot exceed $550,000.
The application deadline is September 20, 2018.
Minnesota Value-Added Grants
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture anticipates awarding up to $1 million in Value-Added Grants to advance Minnesota’s agricultural marketing and renewable energy resources. New or established for-profit businesses may apply for funding to stimulate development of value-added agricultural products through added processing, marketing, or manufacturing. Grant funds reimburse up to 25% of the total project cost, up to $200,000. Equipment purchases and facility improvements are eligible expenses.
Applications must be received by October 5, 2018.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Creating and Marketing Value-Added Products
October 4, 15, or 25, 2018
Little Rock, Fayetteville, or Jonesboro, Arkansas
These day-long workshops are being presented by University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. Speakers will include NCAT's Luke Freeman. This workshop will explore the process of taking a product from concept to the commercial market, as well as the fundamentals of starting a food-processing business and marketing processed food products.
Mother Earth News Fair
October 13-14, 2018
This event features speakers, workshops, exhibits, vendors, and demonstrations on homesteading, livestock, natural building, real food, and more. Topics include animal husbandry with Temple Grandin, building better soil, and growing elderberries.
Louisiana Farm to School Conference
October 9-10, 2018
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
LSU AgCenter is hosting a statewide farm to school conference. The event will bring together farmers, food distributors, school administrators, school nutrition-program directors, teachers, parents, food hubs, and food processors in the interest of Louisiana agriculture, local food systems, school gardens, and healthy school meals.
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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.
Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.
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