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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 3, 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

  • Steve Thompson Named as New Executive Director of NCAT
  • Study Evaluates Ability of Metropolitan Areas to Produce Local Food
  • Cover Crops Evaluated as Weed Control in Vegetable Crops
  • Producers Reminded of FSMA Compliance Deadline
  • Exclusions Protect Citrus from Infection with Greening
  • Meat Goats Touted as Alternative Enterprise for Struggling Dairy Farmers

Funding Opportunities

  • Northeast SARE Farmer Grants
  • California Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
  • Montana Growth Through Agriculture Program

Coming Events

  • Women, Food & Agriculture Network Annual Conference
  • Alaska Sustainable Agriculture Conference
  • UMES Small Farm Conference

News & Resources

Steve Thompson Named as New Executive Director of NCAT
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has named Steve Thompson as the organization's new Executive Director. Thompson replaces Kathleen Hadley, who has served as NCAT's leader since 1997 and has been on staff for more than 30 years. Thompson has more than 30 years of experience in natural resource conservation, community-based climate change mitigation, journalism, and project management.

Study Evaluates Ability of Metropolitan Areas to Produce Local Food
A new study from the University of Minnesota looked at the ability of 377 metropolitan areas to produce enough food to support local household demand. Researchers found one in five has enough milk and egg production inside its borders to meet residents' demands, and one in 10 can fully meet the fruits and vegetable needs of its residents. "Present-day supply chains may not be matching local production with local demand," noted the study's co-author.
Related ATTRA Resources: Urban Agriculture

Cover Crops Evaluated as Weed Control in Vegetable Crops
The Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has published a research brief on how fall-sown cover crops perform as a weed control in organic vegetable plantings. Fall-Sown Cover Crops and Weed Suppression in Organic Small-Scale Vegetable Production provides results of a two-year study that evaluated weed suppression, manual labor requirements, and crop yield and quality under a cover crop-based, reduced-tillage system in organic vegetable plantings.

Producers Reminded of FSMA Compliance Deadline
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is reminding agricultural producers to check whether they fit within Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) exemptions and advising producers who are exempt to keep records that show they qualify for the exemption. Producers whose operations do not qualify under the farm or retail food establishment exemptions are considered qualified facilities that must register with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by December 17, 2018.
Related ATTRA Resource: On-Farm Food Safety and FSMA

Exclusions Protect Citrus from Infection with Greening
An experiment by University of Florida scientists has shown that mesh covers on new citrus trees help them reach fruit production free from infection with citrus greening disease. The covers are left in place for two years, and scientists have found that covered trees are not only protected from insects, but they also grow better than trees without covers.

Meat Goats Touted as Alternative Enterprise for Struggling Dairy Farmers
America's unmet demand for goat meat could offer an opportunity for struggling Northeast dairy farmers, according to a story on Lancaster Online. Ethic and religious populations, as well as health-conscious consumers, are creating a demand for goat meat that means 750,000 goats, or 50% of the meat goats eaten in this country, have to be imported.
Related ATTRA Publication: Meat Goats: Sustainable Production

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Northeast SARE Farmer Grants
The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program is accepting applications for 2019 Farmer Grants. These grants are intended for farm business owners and managers who would like to explore new sustainable-production and marketing practices, often through an experiment, trial, or on-farm demonstration. Awards are capped at $15,000 and projects may address the wide range of issues that affect farming in the Northeast.
Applications are due by November 27, 2018.

California Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is accepting proposals for the 2019 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Grant awards range from $50,000 to $450,000 per project. Non-profit and for-profit organizations; local, state, federal, and tribal government entities; and public and private colleges and universities are eligible to apply for funding for projects that enhance the competitiveness of California specialty crops. CDFA will conduct four workshops and two webinars on the application process.
Concept proposals are due November 2, 2018.

Montana Growth Through Agriculture Program
The Growth Through Agriculture program is a matching grant and loan program to strengthen and diversify Montana's agricultural industry through development of new agricultural products and processes. Projects should primarily add value to Montana's agricultural products and have the potential to create and/or retain jobs in Montana. Projects may be funded for a maximum of $150,000, including grant funding up to $50,000 and loan funding up to $100,000. A $1-for-$1 match is required.
Applications are due November 1, 2018.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Women, Food & Agriculture Network Annual Conference
November 2-3, 2018
Des Moines, Iowa

WFAN's annual conference is an opportunity to learn from peers, build a stronger network, and foster connections for long-lasting change. This conference, "Stepping into Action: Changing Foodscapes through Individual and Community Power," will feature regional field tours, day-long intensives, a farm-to-table dinner, and workshops.

Alaska Sustainable Agriculture Conference
November 4-8, 2018
Anchorage, Alaska

This conference brings farmers, ranchers, researchers, Extension agents, and others together to learn from one another and to find ways to continue to develop and improve the agriculture industry in Alaska. Topics range from climate updates and seaweed farming to livestock production and growing rhodiola.

UMES Small Farm Conference
November 2-3, 2018
Princess Anne, Maryland

University of Maryland Eastern Shore's Small Farm Program hosts this conference focusing on "Sustaining Small Farms 360 Degrees." It offers tours and short courses, a tradeshow, keynote speakers, and tracks for alternative agriculture, beginning farmers, and business and marketing, as well as a farmer panel.

>>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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