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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 2, 2013

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

News & Resources

  • Reports Provide Overview, Success Stories of Cover Crop Use
  • Neonicotinoids Pose Risks for Beneficial Insects, Says Xerces Society Report
  • Exposure to Pig Farms and Manure Fertilizers Associated with MRSA Infections
  • Research Minimizes Effects of Federal Produce Standards on Mushroom Industry
  • Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops Releases First Measurement Tools
  • California Ecosystem Services Database Highlights Benefits of Farmland

Funding Opportunities

  • Northeast SARE Farmer Grants
  • WNC Agricultural Options
  • Sustainable Local Food Investment Group

Coming Events

  • 4th National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture
  • Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference
  • National Small Farm Trade Show and Conference

News & Resources

Reports Provide Overview, Success Stories of Cover Crop Use
A new report released by National Wildlife Federation, Counting Cover Crops, finds that less than 2% of cropland in the highly farmed Mississippi River Basin is planted to cover crops. A second NWF report, Clean Water Grows, provides six examples of water-quality groups working with farmers to clean up rivers and streams using cover crops.

Neonicotinoids Pose Risks for Beneficial Insects, Says Xerces Society Report
A new report from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Beyond the Birds and the Bees, provides a comprehensive review of published articles and pulls together the growing body of research that demonstrates risks from neonicotinoids to beneficial insects such as earthworms or lady beetles. Based on the report, the Xerces Society makes several recommendations regarding neonicotinoid use.

Exposure to Pig Farms and Manure Fertilizers Associated with MRSA Infections
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found an association between living in proximity to high-density livestock production and community-acquired infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as MRSA. Their analysis concluded that approximately 11% of community-acquired MRSA and soft-tissue infections in the study population could be attributed to crop fields fertilized with swine manure.

Research Minimizes Effects of Federal Produce Standards on Mushroom Industry
Strict requirements on the use of animal manures in fresh produce production, imposed by the new federal food-safety law, threatened to adversely impact the mushroom industry. However, a new study by Penn State researchers shows that heat generated during the composting process is adequate for eliminating human pathogens that might be present.

Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops Releases First Measurement Tools
The Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops has announced the release of five Working Metrics, or measurement tools, designed to support sustainability efforts across the specialty crops supply chain. The initial suite of metrics includes Applied Water Use Efficiency, Energy Use, Nitrogen Use, Phosphorus Use, and Soil Organic Matter. Metric overviews, as well as detailed technical notes, guidelines, and a demonstration Metric Calculator, are available online.

California Ecosystem Services Database Highlights Benefits of Farmland
The California Department of Food and Agriculture has unveiled an Ecosystem Services Database of nearly 400 farms and ranches. It is intended to easily communicate to a broad audience the multiple benefits provided by agriculture in California. Ecosystem Services are benefits gained from farming and ranching, including crop and livestock production and extending into environmental stewardship and conservation.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Northeast SARE Farmer Grants
Farmer Grants are for commercial producers who have an innovative idea they want to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, marketing initiative, or other technique. Awards are capped at $15,000.
The application deadline is December 2, 2013.

WNC Agricultural Options
WNC AgOptions will award $153,000 to diversifying farmers in western North Carolina in 2014. Farmers can apply for a $3,000 or $6,000 grant.
Notice of intent to apply is due November 1; applications are due December 13, 2013.

Sustainable Local Food Investment Group
Sustainable Local Food Investment Group (SLoFIG) is a network of angel investors who share the mission of using private investment to re-establish a robust, sustainable local food system across the Chicago foodshed, while realizing a profitable return. SLoFIG provides both debt and equity financing, as well as expertise, to businesses that support, expand, and diversify the Chicago foodshed.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

4th National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture
November 6-8, 2013
Des Moines, Iowa

Gather with women farmers, advocates, and landowners engaged in healthy food and farming for a unique mix of sharing, learning, field tours, and seasonal food. The theme is "Cultivating Our Food, Farms, and Future."

Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference
November 5-6, 2013
Los Angeles, California

Learn firsthand from agricultural innovators how a sustainable future can improve life for us all at the 2nd Annual Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference—Farming: Fundamentals and the Future.

National Small Farm Trade Show and Conference
November 1-2, 2013
Columbia, Missouri

This event includes more than 100 vendors, seminars, three-hour short courses, presentations, demonstrations, exhibits, association meetings, and more. The conference features successful farmers communicating their methods to fellow farmers.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives
Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

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

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© 2013 NCAT

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