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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 30, 2015

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.

Join the NCAT Team!
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) seeks a motivated, enthusiastic sustainable agriculture specialist to serve as Director of our Northeast Regional Office in Forty Fort, Pennsylvania. Applications will be accepted through October 15, 2015. Additional information is available online.

News & Resources

  • Resources Available for National Farm to School Month
  • USDA Announces Funding to Support Assistance for Diverse Farmers and Ranchers
  • USDA Featuring Women in Agriculture
  • Agricultural Inputs Alter Soil Microbial Communities
  • Tools for Transition Publishes Organic Farm Profiles
  • Researchers Investigate Potential of Management-Intensive Rotational Grazing

Funding Opportunities

  • Outreach and Education, Technical Assistance, and Financial Education for FSA Programs, Functions, and Activities
  • IPM Enhancement Grants Program
  • New York Farm to School Program Competitive Grants

Coming Events

  • Sustainable Agriculture Conference
  • Women, Food & Ag Network Annual Conference
  • Green Lands Blue Waters Conference

News & Resources

Resources Available for National Farm to School Month
October is National Farm to School Month, designated by Congress to demonstrate the growing importance of farm to school programs as a means to improve child nutrition, support local economies, and educate children about the origins of food. The National Farm to School Network has developed resources and activities that promote Farm to School Month and made these available online.

USDA Announces Funding to Support Assistance for Diverse Farmers and Ranchers
USDA will provide $8.4 million through the 2501 Program to support 54 partner organizations in 35 states in providing training, outreach, and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged, tribal, and veteran farmers and ranchers. An additional $400,000 will help establish the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center at Alcorn State University.

USDA Featuring Women in Agriculture
USDA has released a series of factsheets detailing the impact women have on agriculture in each state and across the country. In addition, USDA has established a women in ag mentoring network. Join the conversation by emailing AgWomenLead@usda.gov or check out #womeninag on Twitter and on the USDA blog.

Agricultural Inputs Alter Soil Microbial Communities
Iowa State University research shows that agricultural inputs such as nitrogen and phosphorous alter soil microbial communities, which may have unintended environmental consequences. Microbial community responses to fertilizer inputs were globally consistent. Nutrient additions favored fast-growing bacteria and decreased the abundance of symbiotic fungi.

Tools for Transition Publishes Organic Farm Profiles
The Tools for Transition Project features the stories of organic farms in Making the Transition to Organic: Ten Farm Profiles. The profiles include crop farmers, livestock producers, and dairies that range from recently certified to long-time organic operations.
Related ATTRA Publication: Farmer Profiles: Two Organic Grain Farm Case Studies

Researchers Investigate Potential of Management-Intensive Rotational Grazing
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have published a research brief on their investigations into management-intensive rotational grazing (MIRG). Findings indicate that MIRG may provide a higher quality and quantity of forage, and more potential for carbon sequestration, compared to other management systems.
Related ATTRA Publication: Why Intensive Grazing on Irrigated Pastures?

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Outreach and Education, Technical Assistance, and Financial Education for FSA Programs, Functions, and Activities
USDA Farm Service Agency is offering $2.5 million in grants to nonprofits and public institutions of higher education that develop proposals to improve farmer outreach and education on topics such as financial training, value-added production, recordkeeping, property inheritance and crop production practices. The initiative focuses on new or underserved farmers, returning military veterans, minorities, women, urban or locally-grown producers, and others. Awards between $20,000 and $100,000 will be available.
USDA will conduct four evaluation periods, with deadlines of November 20, 2015, and January 22, March 18, and May 27, 2016.

IPM Enhancement Grants Program
The Southern Region IPM Center is soliciting proposals that will enhance the development and implementation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Proposals may be submitted for IPM Documents, Working Groups, Seed, and Capstone projects. Approximately $220,000 is available.
Proposals are due by November 20, 2015.

New York Farm to School Program Competitive Grants
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets invites proposals that will increase the capacity of schools to procure and to serve locally produced specialty crops in school meal programs. Grants of $25,000 to $100,000 are offered.
Applications must be submitted by October 19, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Sustainable Agriculture Conference
November 6-8, 2015
Durham, North Carolina

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's conference offers opportunities to learn from the experts about cutting-edge techniques and innovative programs and to connect with others rebuilding a healthy, local foodshed from seed to plate. The event offers 66 workshops, five pre-conference tours, 12 intensive sessions, exhibitors, and more.

Women, Food & Ag Network Annual Conference
November 6-7, 2015
Davenport, Iowa

The conference theme is "Women Protecting Pollinators, Protecting Food." Sessions will focus on creating and protecting habitat for native pollinators, as well as building robust local food systems and supporting women farmers and landowners. Field tours will visit nearby projects and women-owned farms.

Green Lands Blue Waters Conference
November 3-4, 2015
Minneapolis, Minnesota

"Bridges and Buffers, Farms and Cities: Continuous Living Cover Farming Systems" brings solution-oriented approaches to some of the hot topics in Midwest agriculture today. Agricultural water issues, pollinators, and soil health are on the agenda.

>> More Events

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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page ATTRA was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

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© 2015 NCAT

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Farm Foundations: Planning for Success
October 15-16, 2015
Cedarville, Arkansas
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