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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 18, 2019

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

  • AFRI Sustainable Agricultural Systems Program Announces Funded Projects
  • Report Highlights State Efforts in Financing Agricultural Conservation
  • Cost Studies for Growing Organic Romaine and Strawberries Released
  • Online Curriculum Available for Lavender Growers
  • Fifth Volume of Farmers' Guide to Disaster Assistance Released
  • European Study Finds Climate Change Threatens Future of Region's Agriculture

Funding Opportunities

  • Community Facilities Program
  • Western SARE Research to Grass Roots Grants
  • Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Service Provider Grants

Coming Events

  • National Farm Viability Conference
  • Food Incubation Summit
  • Women in Sustainable Ag

News & Resources

AFRI Sustainable Agricultural Systems Program Announces Funded Projects
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced that it has invested $77.8 million in research on sustaining a more abundant, nutritious, and accessible food supply through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative's (AFRI) Sustainable Agricultural Systems program. Eight universities will lead projects aimed at integrating sustainable agricultural approaches covering the entire food-production system.

Report Highlights State Efforts in Financing Agricultural Conservation
A report by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Defense Fund highlights 14 state-level programs that use nontraditional financing mechanisms, including crop insurance discounts and transferable tax credits, to incentivize conservation adoption. Innovative State-Led Efforts to Finance Agricultural Conservation found that states that embrace innovative ways to finance on-farm conservation can deliver multiple benefits to farmers, state residents, taxpayers, and the environment.

Cost Studies for Growing Organic Romaine and Strawberries Released
University of California and UC Cooperative Extension have released cost studies with sample costs to produce and harvest organic strawberries and romaine lettuce hearts in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. The costs, materials, and practices are intended to assist growers in estimating their own costs. Ranging analysis tables show net profits over a range of prices and yields. Free copies of these cost studies, as well as cost studies for many other commodities, are available online.

Related ATTRA Publication: Strawberries: Organic Production

Online Curriculum Available for Lavender Growers
Michigan State University Extension has introduced a self-paced, online course, "Growing Lavender: A Curriculum for Growers." It addresses the needs of both beginning and more seasoned growers, including commercial growers, with seven learning modules that take approximately an hour each to complete. The course utilizes videos, audio, Web resources, and interactive content, and it includes examples from growers in multiple locations.
Related ATTRA Publication: Lavender Production, Markets, and Agritourism

Fifth Volume of Farmers' Guide to Disaster Assistance Released
Farmers' Legal Action Group has announced the release of the fifth volume in its free seventh edition of the Farmers' Guide to Disaster Assistance. This volume, Disaster Set-Aside Program, describes the rules for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP); Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP); Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP); Farm Service Agency Emergency Loans; and other disaster-assistance programs.

European Study Finds Climate Change Threatens Future of Region's Agriculture
A European Environment Agency report, Climate Change Adaptation in the Agricultural Sector in Europe, finds that crop and livestock production is projected to decrease and may even have to be abandoned in parts of Europe's southern and Mediterranean regions. The report notes that adaptation at the farm level is key, and it recommends planting adapted crops, utilizing improved irrigation techniques, making use of field margins and agroforestry, and practicing crop diversification and precision farming.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Community Facilities Program
USDA is making $150 million in grants available through the Community Facilities Program to help rural communities continue their recovery from the devastating effects of hurricanes, fires, and other natural disasters. The grants may be used for relief in areas affected by Hurricanes Michael and Florence, wildfires in 2018, and other natural disasters. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in eligible rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.
Grant applications will be accepted at USDA state offices on a continual basis until funds are exhausted.

Western SARE Research to Grass Roots Grants
Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) is accepting proposals for Research to Grass Roots Grants. These grants are built on the SARE concept that results of applied research are used to train agricultural professionals and producers in the latest principles of sustainable agriculture. Successful R2GR projects will take the research results from previously funded SARE projects into the field through education for ag professionals and producers. The maximum funding for each project is $75,000.
Proposals are due November 20, 2019.

Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Service Provider Grants
The State of Vermont's Working Lands Enterprise Initiative is accepting applications for Service Provider Grants from $5,000 to $20,000, to support the development of Vermont-based agriculture and forest-products businesses. Matching grants are available for service and technical assistance providers to create and continue programming for Vermont businesses. Projects must enhance Vermont's working landscape, and the primary applicant must be headquartered in Vermont.
Applications are due November 17, 2019.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

National Farm Viability Conference
October 22-24, 2019
Red Wing, Minnesota
The National Farm Viability Conference is geared toward professionals in farm and food business planning, financial planning, agricultural financing, farmland conservation, agricultural market development, and food hub management. It offers the opportunity to network and learn from industry leaders, develop new knowledge and skills, and tour nearby farms and value-added processing facilities.

Food Incubation Summit
October 23-24, 2019
Austin, Texas
The Food Incubation Summit will bring together shared kitchens, community builders, and service providers to celebrate the emerging food-incubation industry in Austin, Texas. Each year, the Food Incubation Summit explores a different city's food system by learning directly from local food leaders who share their unique ecosystem's strengths, challenges, and best practices.

Women in Sustainable Ag
October 17-19, 2019
St. Paul, Minnesota
At the Women in Sustainable Ag conference, connect with people from across the country who work in sustainable ag to exchange ideas, find new resources, and network. Workshops cover leadership skills, personal growth, farm business success, and more.

>>More Events

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Heirloom Apples

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What are some ways I can market cool-season specialty crops?

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October 18-19, 2019
Hunt, Texas
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