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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 2, 2019

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

  • NOP Reopens Comment Period for Origin of Livestock Proposed Rule
  • Mississippi Food Systems Fellowship Accepting Applications
  • Pennycress Investigated as Cash Cover Crop for Biofuel
  • Research Explores Links Between Soil Health and Human Health
  • Northeast Specialty Crop Water Symposium Invites Poster and Session Submissions
  • Survey Underway on Cash Rent Values for Organic Land

Funding Opportunities

  • NCR-SARE Partnership Grant
  • Western Integrated Pest Management Center Annual Grant Program
  • Minnesota AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Sustainable Agriculture Conference
  • Carbon Sink Farming Convergence
  • Florida Industrial Hemp Conference & Exhibition

News & Resources

NOP Reopens Comment Period for Origin of Livestock Proposed Rule
The National Organic Program (NOP) has reopened the public comment period for the Origin of Livestock proposed rule originally published in 2015. The comment period is open until December 2, 2019. The proposed rule would change the requirements related to origin of dairy livestock under the USDA organic regulations by adding requirements about transitioning dairy animals to organic production.

Mississippi Food Systems Fellowship Accepting Applications
NCAT and its Mississippi Food Justice Collaborative partners have launched the Mississippi Food Systems Fellowship to nurture a cohort of food systems leaders. We are seeking young to mid-career leaders from Native, Black, Latinx, Asian, and other minority communities. Fellows must be committed to living and working in the Gulf Coast, Jackson, Delta, or Choctaw Reservation regions of Mississippi. The fellowship is a one-year commitment during 2020. It involves four in-person meetings of two to three days and ongoing group communication and assignments. Applications are due October 20, 2019.

Pennycress Investigated as Cash Cover Crop for Biofuel
Western Illinois University School of Agriculture will lead a project to investigate Pennycress as a new cash cover crop for use by the biofuel industry. USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture provided a $10 million grant. The project will work toward commercializing the crop within five years. Research will focus on improving Pennycress genetics, agronomic management, ecosystems, and supply-chain management for post-harvest seed control.

Research Explores Links Between Soil Health and Human Health
A feature in The Washington Post reports on soil-health research that is uncovering the important roles of the microbiome, not only in producing healthy plants but also in determining the nutrient levels in human food. Numerous research projects are exploring the beneficial potential of soil bacteria, discovering how soil microbes can influence human health and moods, testing how healthy soil relates to the antioxidant content of food, and looking at the systemic interaction of microbes.
Related ATTRA Tutorial: Soil Health

Northeast Specialty Crop Water Symposium Invites Poster and Session Submissions
The Northeast Specialty Crop Water Symposium, hosted by the University of Vermont and the USDA Northeast Climate Hub, is inviting proposals for panel sessions, 15-minute presentations, and graduate student posters. Submissions are due by October 15, 2019. The Symposium is set for December 18-19, 2019, in Burlington, Vermont.
Related ATTRA Resources: Water Quality, Conservation, Drought and Irrigation

Survey Underway on Cash Rent Values for Organic Land
Mercaris is surveying organic landowners and operators to build out an original data set of cash rent values for organic land, as part of the data-collection process for Mercoterra, an initiative to compare the value of certified organic row-crop farmland with conventional farmland. The survey takes about 20 minutes to fill out and is open to anyone who owns or operates certified organic farmland in the United States.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

NCR-SARE Partnership Grant
North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (NCR-SARE) is accepting applications for its Partnership Grant Program. This program fosters cooperation between agriculture professionals and small groups of farmers and ranchers to catalyze on-farm research, demonstration, and education activities related to sustainable agriculture. Individual grants are limited to $40,000. NCR-SARE expects to fund about 14 projects in the twelve-state North Central Region. Approximately $560,000 is available for this program.
Applications are due by October 24, 2019.

Western Integrated Pest Management Center Annual Grant Program
The 2020 Western IPM Center annual grant program offers funding for Project Initiation, Work Groups, Outreach and Implementation, and Planning Documents. Approximately $250,000 is available this cycle. Eligible applicants include private individuals and institutions, faculty and qualified staff of two-and four-year universities, businesses, commodity organizations, and governmental and non-governmental organizations.The project director must be in the Western Region. Priorities for funding are listed online.
Proposals must be submitted by December 6, 2019.

Minnesota AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program
Minnesota Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program. It funds projects that explore sustainable agriculture practices and systems that could make farming more profitable, resource-efficient, and personally satisfying. Applications from Minnesota farmers receive priority, but the program also funds Minnesota nonprofits and educational organizations that meaningfully involve Minnesota farmers in projects. A total of $200,000 is available. Applicants may request up to $50,000 per project. Applicants must provide a dollar-for-dollar match on amounts above $25,000.
Applications are due by December 17, 2019.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Sustainable Agriculture Conference
November 1-3, 2019
Durham, North Carolina
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference features educational workshops and panels, inspiring talks, and bus tours by industry leaders, interspersed with social opportunities, exhibits, and regionally sourced meals.

Carbon Sink Farming Convergence
November 4-5, 2019
Pauma Valley, California
The Carbon Sink Farming Convergence at Pauma Tribal Farms is a land-based mobilization to address climate change. It is an opportunity to investigate efforts at the Carbon Sink Demonstration Farm, glean useful information for your own farms or organizations, and advance collective efforts toward broader, systemic change.

Florida Industrial Hemp Conference & Exhibition
November 3-5, 2019
Orlando, Florida
The Florida Industrial Hemp Conference and Exhibition is fostering the development of the hemp industry in Florida. Topics range from cultivation and harvest to processing, applications, research, marketing, and policy.

>>More Events

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