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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 19, 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.

News & Resources

  • USDA Invites Public Comment on Standard Indicators and Laboratory Procedures to Assess Soil Health
  • Soil Management Can Help Preserve Food Supply, Says Michigan Researcher
  • Conservation Economically Valuable for Farmers
  • Study Maps Food Supply-Chain Nutrient Loss
  • Texas A&M High-Tunnel Research Informs Producers
  • Report Explores How Organic Agriculture Reduces Pesticide Exposure for Farmworkers

Funding Opportunities

  • Western SARE Professional Development Program Grants
  • Southern SARE Producer Grants
  • Northern New York Agricultural Development Program Grant

Coming Events

  • It Takes a Region Conference
  • AERO Expo & Annual Meeting
  • A Brief Exploration of the Brand New Livestock Compass

News & Resources

USDA Invites Public Comment on Standard Indicators and Laboratory Procedures to Assess Soil Health
USDA is releasing a set of standard indicators and associated laboratory procedures to assess soil health. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has posted a draft Technical Note detailing these soil health indicators and associated laboratory methods in the Federal Register for public review and comment. NRCS is accepting comments through December 13, 2018.

Soil Management Can Help Preserve Food Supply, Says Michigan Researcher
Crop yields and the global food-supply chain can be preserved from the risks associated with climate change through better soil management, says research led by Michigan State University. This research, part of the Agricultural Model Intercomparing and Improvement Project, proposes that soil be positioned as the center of the food-production cycle. The researchers made recommendations including the use of cover crops, conservation tillage, adding organic carbon to soil, or increasing yields through advanced genetics.
Related ATTRA Tutorial: Soil Health

Conservation Economically Valuable for Farmers
A new report, Farm Finance and Conservation: How stewardship generates value for farmers, lenders, insurers and landowners, says that conservation can deliver measurable economic value to farmers and their financial partners. Environmental Defense Fund and K·Coe Isom AgKnowledge released the report showing that farmers who adopted no-till, cover crops, nutrient optimization, and crop rotation experienced lower fertilizer, labor, fuel, and equipment costs.

Study Maps Food Supply-Chain Nutrient Loss
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have published a study showing that although we produce more nutrients than are needed for the global population, supply-chain inefficiencies result in losses and wastage that leave hundreds of millions of people nutrient deficient. This study quantitatively mapped the global food system in terms of energy, protein, fat, essential amino acids, and micronutrients, and it identified the key hotspots within the global food-supply chain that could be targeted for improved efficiency.

Texas A&M High-Tunnel Research Informs Producers
Researchers at Texas A&M AgriLife Research are suggesting that growers look to high-tunnel systems as an option for increasing farm revenue given reductions in available irrigation water. The high tunnels protect crops from the weather, lengthen the growing season, and make it possible to grow crops not traditionally grown in the area. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension also offers publications on high-tunnel production, High Tunnels for Crop Production in Texas and Specialty Crops for High Tunnel Production in Texas.
Related ATTRA Publication: Sustainable Season Extension: Considerations for Design

Report Explores How Organic Agriculture Reduces Pesticide Exposure for Farmworkers
The Organic Center has released a new report, titled Organic Agriculture: Reducing occupational pesticide exposure in farmers and farmworkers. The study synthesized more than 120 research studies to understand the health impacts of occupational exposure to toxic synthetic pesticides on farmers and farmworkers. It explains how organic farming methods and the regulations that govern USDA certified organic farming systems directly benefit this community.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Western SARE Professional Development Program Grants
Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education is accepting proposals for Professional Development Program (PDP) grants. PDP grants are aimed at helping Cooperative Extension Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other agricultural professionals in the Western Region increase their understanding of and proficiency in sustainable agriculture. PDP Grants are limited to $75,000.
Proposals are due by November 7, 2018.

Southern SARE Producer Grants
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education is accepting applications for the 2019 Producer Grants, intended for farmers/ranchers and farmer/rancher organizations throughout the Southern region. Producer Grants are used to conduct sustainable agriculture research projects that solve agricultural production challenges farmers face and share the results. Projects may be funded for up to a maximum of $10,000 for an individual or $15,000 for a producer organization.
The proposal submission deadline is November 16, 2018.

Northern New York Agricultural Development Program Grant
The Northern NY Agricultural Development Program is accepting applications for its small grants program. This program is offering $600,000 to support projects that focus on research, education, and technical assistance in support of the agricultural production sectors in the six-county Northern New York (NNY) Region. Projects should include one or more research sites in the region, and the outreach component must reach all six counties.
Proposals must be submitted on or before October 29, 2018.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

It Takes a Region Conference
October 25-27, 2018
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group's 25th anniversary conference is themed "Cultivating a Transformative Food System." The agenda includes pre-conferences by community partners, plenary sessions, numerous workshop sessions, special events, and tours.

AERO Expo & Annual Meeting
October 26-28, 2018
Missoula, Montana

Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO) presents "Seeds of Sustainability in the Garden City,” with keynote Dr. Miguel Altieri. On Friday, attendees can choose from four different tours. Saturday features talks and workshops from Montana's innovators, solar specialists, goat farmers, home aquaponics farmers, and other DIY heroes.

A Brief Exploration of the Brand New Livestock Compass
October 18, 2018
Online

Join Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group’s Growing Farm Profits team for a one-hour webinar introducing the new Livestock Compass tool that will help lead you to profitable decision-making on your farm or ranch. The webinar will cover the basics of this new tool and clarify how it can aid your profitability management.

>>More Events

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