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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 26, 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 Awards Grants to Increase Farmer and Rancher Opportunity through Five Programs
  • Rangeland Analysis Platform Aids in Land-Use Decisions
  • Nebraska Farm Bureau Creates Health Insurance Group for Farmers, Ranchers
  • Southeast Organic Partnership Offers Vegetable Production Information
  • Tarping Tested as Weed Control for Organic Vegetables
  • Report Values Ecosystem Benefits of Regenerative Agriculture

Funding Opportunities

  • Extension Risk Management Education Competitive Grants Program
  • USDA Assistance for Flood-Damaged Ag Land
  • Minnesota AGRI Crop Research Grants

Coming Events

  • Regenerate: Nurture Diversity, Build Resilience
  • Black Farmers & Urban Gardeners Conference: Roots & Resilience
  • Farm & Food Leadership Conference

News & Resources

USDA Awards Grants to Increase Farmer and Rancher Opportunity through Five Programs
USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has announced the award of $102.7 million to increase opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and other growers through five grant programs. These include the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, the Farmers Market Promotion Program, the Local Food Promotion Program, the Acer Access and Development Program, and the Federal State Marketing Improvement Program. Lists of grant recipients and total funding awarded for each program are available online.

Rangeland Analysis Platform Aids in Land-Use Decisions
The Rangeland Analysis Platform (RAP) is an online tool that shows rangeland resources and provides the ability to monitor rangelands across time and space. This free tool was developed for landowners, managers, and conservationists to quickly and easily access information that can guide land-use decisions. Data provided through RAP includes forage productivity, vegetation cover, riparian condition and sensitivity, climate and drought monitoring, and more.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Creates Health Insurance Group for Farmers, Ranchers
Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) has announced that individual farm and ranch families in Nebraska will have the opportunity to join its new large-group Association Health Plan so that they can avoid the higher cost of premiums in the individual health-insurance market. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Employee Insurance Consortium was created to sponsor and manage the Nebraska Farm Bureau Member Health Plan, and Medica has developed coverage options, premiums, and other provisions. Qualifying NEFB members can sign up for this coverage during open enrollment from October 1 to December 1, 2018.

Southeast Organic Partnership Offers Vegetable Production Information
The Southeast Organic Partnership has posted recordings of eight virtual sessions with farmers who are hosting research plots as collaborators on an Organic Research and Extension Initiative grant. Meeting topics included focus sessions on organic pest and disease management for the project crops: squash, tomato, sweet potato, and southern pea. Additional sessions addressed recovering from delayed planting, harvesting, and planting cover crops.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tipsheet: Organic Pest Management

Tarping Tested as Weed Control for Organic Vegetables
eOrganic has posted articles from students at the University of Maine and at Cornell University on the use of tarping to control weeds in organic vegetables in the Northeast. Both studies concluded that use of tarps could play a significant role in weed control in a northern climate. Reusable Black Tarps Suppress Weeds and Make Organic Reduced Tillage More Viable and Solarization and Tarping for Weed Management on Organic Vegetable Farms in the Northeast USA are available online.

Report Values Ecosystem Benefits of Regenerative Agriculture
Delta Institute, Farmland LP, and Earth Economics have released a report that demonstrates $21.4 million in net ecosystem-service value benefits using regenerative farm management practices at scale. USDA funded a study for the partners to generate a new, more comprehensive form of impact reporting for agriculture, encompassing biophysical and, for the first time, ecosystem-service value metrics.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Extension Risk Management Education Competitive Grants Program
The four regional Extension Risk Management Education Centers (North Central, Northeast, Southern, and Western) request applications for the Extension Risk Management Education Competitive Grants Program. Applications are accepted from eligible organizations with a demonstrated capacity to develop and deliver results/outcome-based risk management education and training programs to agricultural producers and their families. The Centers anticipate awarding approximately 60 new grants, up to $50,000 each. Applications must address identified objectives for production risk, marketing risk, financial risk, legal risk, or human risk.
Applications are due by November 15, 2018.

USDA Assistance for Flood-Damaged Ag Land
USDA is offering assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to South Carolina farmers and ranchers who suffered damage to working lands and livestock mortality because of Hurricane Florence. USDA is holding a special signup for agricultural livestock mortality and carcass disposal in specified counties. Conservation practices also available through EQIP can address flood and wind damage, excessive runoff, and preparation to provide protection from exceptional storm events in the future. Farmers and ranchers seeking assistance can sign up at their local NRCS offices.
The first signup period ends September 28, 2018. A second signup period will end on November 2, 2018.

Minnesota AGRI Crop Research Grants
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) anticipates awarding competitive grants up to $250,000 per project for applied crop research that will improve agricultural product quality, quantity, or value. Minnesota-based organizations with agricultural research capabilities may apply for funding to improve crops grown in the state. MDA also aims to support research that addresses the crop-production needs of underserved Ag producers.
Applications must be received by November 28, 2018.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Regenerate: Nurture Diversity, Build Resilience
October 31 - November 2, 2018
Albuquerque, New Mexico

The Quivira Coalition, Holistic Management International, and the American Grassfed Association will collaborate to convene ranchers, farmers, environmentalists, land managers, students, teachers, and others to explore ideas of regeneration. The event will offer long-form plenary talks, cross-sector panel discussions, and in-depth roundtables.

Black Farmers & Urban Gardeners Conference: Roots & Resilience
October 19-21, 2018
Durham, North Carolina

This conference is presented by Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings. The conference includes a farm tour, speakers, workshops, panel discussions, demonstrations, networking, kinship, and much more.

Farm & Food Leadership Conference
October 14-16, 2018
McKinney, Texas

This annual conference focuses on the policies and regulations affecting our farms and our food, as well as the latest developments in sustainable agriculture. The conference includes in-depth pre-conference workshops.

>>More Events

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Multispecies Grazing: A Primer on Diversity

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