Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 10, 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.
Join the NCAT Team!
The private non-profit corporation National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is seeking a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist who wants to make a contribution to sustainable farming and ranching practices. This regular, full-time position will be based at NCAT’s office in Jackson, Mississippi. Applications will be accepted through October 28, 2018, or until a suitable candidate can be identified. Learn more.
News & Resources
- USDA Redesigns Soil Tools Web Page
- Video Outlines Benefits of Donating Farm Produce to Food Banks
- USDA Invests in Rural Communities through Community Facilities Program
- Row Covers Protect Squash from Insects
- USDA Community Assessment Tool Helps Rural Communities
- Cooperative Ownership Models Offer Alternatives for Farms
- Food Animal Concerns Trust Fund-a-Farmer Grants
- Minnesota Beginning Farmer Tax Credit
- North Carolina Bioenergy Research Initiative
- Sustainable Agriculture Conference
- Tilth Conference
- Heritage Livestock Conference
News & Resources
USDA Redesigns Soil Tools Web Page
The Soil Tools Web page managed by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has been redesigned to serve as a one-stop source for new, leading-edge tools and technologies to help farmers, ranchers, and other land users understand, evaluate, and conserve soils. The Web page offers access to soil data and maps, soil databases, digital soil applications, climate data, descriptions of soils, ecological sites, statistical packages, and soil-property calculators.
Related ATTRA Tutorial: Soil Health
Video Outlines Benefits of Donating Farm Produce to Food Banks
A four-minute video produced by Whole Crop Harvest explains how and why growers should donate excess produce to food banks. The video describes how a North Carolina food-bank network is able to coordinate pickup of donated produce, provide reusable bins, and supply volunteer labor to sort, grade, and repackage bulk produce. The video discusses the tax benefits of food donation and the positive community impact.
USDA Invests in Rural Communities through Community Facilities Program
USDA Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett has announced that USDA is investing $181 million through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The 88 funded projects will build community infrastructure and facilities in 27 states. This funding helps rural areas make infrastructure improvements and provide essential facilities such as schools, libraries, and day-care centers. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations, and federally and state-recognized Native American tribes.
Row Covers Protect Squash from Insects
Row covers can help protect organic squash plants from squash bug infestations, says University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Squash bugs not only feed on plants, but can also spread the bacterial pathogen that causes cucurbit yellow vine disease. Researchers investigated whether floating row covers could keep the insects out and prevent the disease. They found that using row covers for the first four weeks of growth prevented cucurbit yellow vine disease.
Related ATTRA Publication: Squash Bug and Squash Vine Borer: Organic Controls
USDA Community Assessment Tool Helps Rural Communities
USDA has launched an interactive data tool to help community leaders build grassroots strategies to address the opioid epidemic. The free, online opioid misuse Community Assessment Tool enables users to overlay substance-misuse data against socioeconomic, census, and other public information. This data will help leaders, researchers, and policymakers assess what actions will be most effective in addressing the opioid crisis at the local level.
Cooperative Ownership Models Offer Alternatives for Farms
A feature in Civil Eats showcases farms that operate under cooperative business models including member ownership and worker-owned farms. A cooperative model can help beginning farmers start out and can help farms manage risk, as well as build community support for a farm. Worker cooperatives can help attract new farmers by offering a stake in the business, rather than just a wage.
Related ATTRA Publication: Beyond Basic Compensation
>>More Breaking News
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Food Animal Concerns Trust Fund-a-Farmer Grants
Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) provides grants up to $2,500 to individual farmers for projects that improve the welfare of their farm animals or build capacity of their operations. This year FACT will offer three types of grants: Certification, Capacity, and Pasture.
Applications must be submitted by November 28, 2018.
Minnesota Beginning Farmer Tax Credit
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Rural Finance Authority reminds beginning farmers to apply for the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit for the sale or lease of land, equipment, machinery, and livestock. The applicant must be a Minnesota resident who began farming within the past 10 years, provide projected earnings statements, have a net worth less than $816,800, and enroll in an approved financial-management program. Three levels of credits are available.
Applications are due by November 1, 2018.
North Carolina Bioenergy Research Initiative
The North Carolina Bioenergy Research Initiative is seeking grant proposals focused on research and development of agricultural and forestry-based feedstocks for bioenergy production, as well as new and emerging crops. High consideration will be given to projects that focus on crop production that will provide feedstock for bioenergy-related technologies, potential edible crops, new adaptations of crops, and economic analysis.
Applications must be postmarked by November 9, 2018.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Sustainable Agriculture Conference
November 9-11, 2018
Durham, North Carolina
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's annual conference combines educational workshops, presentations, and panel discussions with networking and social events, exhibits, and regionally sourced meals.
November 9-11, 2018
This conference brings together farmers, producers, researchers, and food system professionals for a weekend of learning, building relationships, and sharing best practices. The conference includes a research-focused symposium, farm tour, lectures, workshops and panels on topics most important to farmers in the Pacific Northwest.
Heritage Livestock Conference
November 8-11, 2018
The Livestock Conservancy's annual conference features clinics, classroom sessions, interactive experiences, and live-animal sessions. Topics include charcuterie, oxen, agritourism, marketing, and many more.
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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.
Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.
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