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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 24, 2014

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

  • FDA Releases Updated Food Safety Modernization Act Proposals
  • USDA Announces Funding for Renewable Energy and Energy-Efficiency Projects
  • New Members Appointed to the National Organic Standards Board
  • Corn-Soybean System with Synthetic Fertilizer Losing Soil Organic Matter, Research Shows
  • New Toolkit Helps Plan Shared-Use Kitchens
  • Maple Hill Creamery Receives GrassFed Organic Certification

Funding Opportunities

  • Extension Risk Management Education Competitive Grants Program
  • Northeast SARE Farmer Grants
  • New York Farm Viability Institute Grants Programs

Coming Events

  • Food Day
  • Mother Earth News Fair
  • Strawberry Production Workshop

News & Resources

FDA Releases Updated Food Safety Modernization Act Proposals
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed revisions to four proposed rules that will implement portions of the Food Safety Modernization Act. The four updated proposed rules are produce safety, preventive controls for human food, preventive controls for animal food, and the foreign supplier verification program. Starting September 29, the FDA will accept comments on the proposed revisions for 75 days.

USDA Announces Funding for Renewable Energy and Energy-Efficiency Projects
USDA is investing in 540 renewable-energy and energy-efficiency projects nationwide through USDA Rural Development's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $68 million in REAP loan guarantees and grants.

New Members Appointed to the National Organic Standards Board
USDA National Organic Program has announced that four new members have been appointed to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) for terms beginning in January 2015. Ashley Swaffer will fill the open producer seat on the Board. Tom Chapman will fill the open handler seat. Lisa de Lima will fill the open retailer seat and Paula Daniels will fill the environmental protection and resource conservation seat.

Corn-Soybean System with Synthetic Fertilizer Losing Soil Organic Matter, Research Shows
New research suggests that conventional corn-soybean systems, managed with synthetic fertilizer alone, do not produce enough plant material to sustain soil organic matter levels, reducing crop yield in the long term. Iowa State University agronomist Michael Castellano led research that studied soil properties at four field sites in Iowa. On corn-soybean operations, Castellano says the best way to increase soil organic matter is to return manures to the soil.

New Toolkit Helps Plan Shared-Use Kitchens
A new resource from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture is designed to help community and organization leaders make informed decisions about starting shared-used kitchens. The Shared-use Kitchen Planning Toolkit is a 44-page guide that discusses what should be included in a feasibility study, business planning and other key considerations, licensing and insurance regulations in Iowa, and sample rental agreements.

Maple Hill Creamery Receives GrassFed Organic Certification
New York-based Maple Hill Creamery announced that it is the first national dairy brand to receive Pennsylvania Certified Organic's (PCO) new 100% GrassFed Organic certification. PCO's 100% GrassFed standards were developed over a four-year process. The certification is currently open to farmers and producers with PCO Organic certification. Over time, PCO is hoping to expand the program by working with other U.S. organic certifiers.
Related ATTRA Publication: Dairy Production on Pasture: An Introduction to Grass-Based and Seasonal Dairying

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Extension Risk Management Education Competitive Grants Program
The four regional Extension Risk Management Education Centers (Southern, Western, Northeast, and North Central) request applications for grants up to $50,000 through the Extension Risk Management Education Competitive Grants Program.The program provides funding for results and outcome-based risk management education projects designed to help producers learn and use tools and approaches that can reduce the adverse effects of the uncertainties of weather, yields, prices, credit, government policies, global markets, and other factors, including human resources and legal issues.
Applications are due November 17, 2014.

Northeast SARE Farmer Grants
Farmer Grants are for commercial producers in the Northeast Region who have an innovative idea they want to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, marketing initiative, or other technique. A technical advisor must be involved. Awards are capped at $15,000.
Applications are due by December 2, 2014.

New York Farm Viability Institute Grants Programs
The New York Farm Viability Institute is accepting applications for its 2015 competitive grants programs. Applications to the Agriculture Innovation Center grant program should focus on agricultural economic development, including business development, financial analysis, product marketing, and value-added agricultural products. Applications to the Outreach and Applied Research grant program should focus on applied agricultural research, as well as outreach and education to promote new ideas and techniques.
Applications are due by November 16, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Food Day
October 24, 2014
Nationwide
Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Every October 24, thousands of events all around the country bring Americans together to celebrate and enjoy real food and to push for improved food policies. Planned events are searchable online at the Food Day website.

Mother Earth News Fair
October 25-26, 2014
Topeka, Kansas

Mother Earth News Fairs deliver practical, hands-on training and experience taught by leading experts in renewable energy, organic gardening, sustainable agriculture, green home building, and more. Speakers will include Gary Paul Nabhan, Joel Salatin, and many others.

Strawberry Production Workshop
October 25, 2014
Conway, Arkansas

This full-day workshop is intended to deliver information to commercial strawberry growers who have been in production for at least one year, as well as Extension agents and other agriculture professionals who work with the strawberry industry. Topics to be addressed include cultural practices, disease management, and insect management. Register by contacting Jo Salazar at 479-575-2603 or salazar@uark.edu.

>> More Events

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New ATTRA Publication
Cherry Diseases Identification Sheet

Question of the Week
What should I vaccinate my sheep for?

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