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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 13, 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

  • Guide Helps Producers Applying for Value-Added Grant Program
  • Publications on Prairie Strips Released
  • Study Shows Vegetable Production Increase from Intercropping
  • Soil Solarization Helps Control Diseases and Weeds in Pacific Northwest
  • Fixed Nitrogen Increase Poses Environmental Threat
  • Report Offers Roadmap for Reducing Antibiotic Use in Livestock

Funding Opportunities

  • Organic Farming Research Foundation Research Grants
  • California Pest Management Research Grant
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program in Mississippi

Coming Events

  • SOIL 2017
  • Greenhouse and High Tunnel Workshop
  • It's Alive! Principles and Practices to Build Soil Health on your Farm

News & Resources

Guide Helps Producers Applying for Value-Added Grant Program
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has updated its online Farmers' Guide to Applying for the Value-Added Producer Grant Program. USDA Rural Development will issue $18 million in competitive grants this fiscal year. Value-Added Grant Program funds can be used for working capital, feasibility studies, business plans, and marketing efforts to establish viable value-added businesses. Individual producers and groups of producers, as well as farmer co-ops and producer-controlled businesses, are eligible.

Publications on Prairie Strips Released
Iowa State University Extension has released five free publications on prairie strips. The practice has been shown to keep soil in place, improve soil quality, reduce nitrogen and phosphorus entering water bodies, and enhance wildlife habitat. The publications, available online, include A Landowner's Guide to Prairie Strips; Prairie Strips: Small Changes, Big Impacts; The Cost of Prairie Strips; Farming with Prairie Strips, and Installing Prairie Strips: Frequently Asked Questions.

Study Shows Vegetable Production Increase from Intercropping
A two-year study of intercropping at the Texas A&M University Horticulture Farm showed that companion cropping for vegetables can increase production. The study tested five different intercropping strategies. Arrangements with three or four species consistently had a higher yield per land-area unit than crops grown singly. The intercropping also allowed reduced utilization of herbicide and fertilizer inputs.
Related ATTRA Publication: Companion Planting & Botanical Pesticides: Concepts & Resources

Soil Solarization Helps Control Diseases and Weeds in Pacific Northwest
The Western IPM Center reported on research into soil solarization at Oregon State University. Anti-condensation horticultural films have made effective soil solarization possible in the Pacific Northwest. The solarization was effective at killing the pathogen that causes sudden oak death, as well as controlling soilborne diseases and weeds in field nurseries. The research team is now exploring how soil solarization could help organic growers with weed control.

Fixed Nitrogen Increase Poses Environmental Threat
Researchers at North Carolina State University and Duke University say that the recent rapid increase in fixed nitrogen could pose as much of a danger to Earth's environment as the rapid increase in climate-warming atmospheric carbon dioxide. Human production of fixed nitrogen, used mostly to fertilize crops, is now five times higher than it was 60 years ago. Study authors question whether Earth's current denitrification process can continue to keep up.

Report Offers Roadmap for Reducing Antibiotic Use in Livestock
A report by 12 antibiotic-resistance experts outlines key steps for policymakers, food companies and food purchasers, and medical groups to help tackle the antibiotic resistance crisis. Combating Antibiotic Resistance: A Policy Roadmap to Reduce Use of Medically Important Antibiotics in Livestock offers 11 policy recommendations split into three key areas: decreasing livestock use of medically important antibiotics, monitoring livestock antibiotic use, and enhancing surveillance and data integration.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Organic Farming Research Foundation Research Grants
Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is accepting proposals for 2018 research projects on organic farming and food systems. OFRF encourages farmers, ranchers, graduate students, early career researchers, veterans, and Extension personnel to apply. Priority areas are soil health, innovative weed control, management of emerging insect and disease issues, and livestock health.
The deadline for proposals is December 15, 2017.

California Pest Management Research Grant
Research grants develop practices that contribute to an integrated pest management (IPM) system to reduce use of high-risk pesticides and their unanticipated impacts on public health and the environment. Projects must address issues pertinent to high-risk pesticide use in California and all field work must be conducted in California, or under California-like conditions. Proposals may request $50,000 to $500,000.
Concepts are due by September 29, 2017.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program in Mississippi
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is providing financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to help Mississippi producers, farmers, and ranchers implement conservation practices. EQIP provides financial assistance for a variety of conservation programs, which include irrigation water management, tree/shrub planting, field buffers, rotational grazing systems, and erosion-control practices.
The signup deadline for the first ranking period is October 1, 2017.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

SOIL 2017
October 16-17, 2017
Boulder, Colorado

The Slow Money conference focuses on bringing our money back down to earth. Day one offers an opportunity to meet thought leaders, activists, farmers, food entrepreneurs, and investors. Day two focuses on SOIL—Slow Opportunities for Investing Locally—a new Colorado initiative.

Greenhouse and High Tunnel Workshop
October 12-13, 2017
Mountain Grove, Missouri
Topics will include cucurbit and tomato production in high tunnels, tomato and ginger rotation in high tunnels, seed starting, raspberry production in grow bags, bedding-plant and ornamental container production, hydroponics, soil health, and greenhouse and high tunnel tours.

It's Alive! Principles and Practices to Build Soil Health on your Farm
October 12, 2017
Winters, California

UC Davis Russell Ranch will host a free morning workshop for farmers. Participants will learn how to assess soil health and how management practices affect soil health.

>>More Events

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New ATTRA Publication
Maple Sugaring: An Introduction to Small-Scale Commercial Production

Question of the Week
How can I manage a large grasshopper population in my buffer strip?

Ask an Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online or by calling 1-800-346-9140

Montana Crunch Time
Celebrate Food Day October 24, 2017, with local apples.
Register now!

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