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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 11, 2017

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

  • Reminder to Complete Crop Insurance Survey by October 31
  • Documentary Highlights Challenges Facing Young Farmers
  • NIFA Schedules Opportunities for Stakeholder Input
  • Appalachian Beekeeping Collective Helps Coal Country Transition to Beekeeping
  • Strips of Prairie Plants Yield Benefits for Farmers
  • Heifer International Launches Livestock and Garden Apprenticeship Program

Funding Opportunities

  • Farm to School Grant
  • Western IPM Center Grants
  • Minnesota Crop Research Grants

Coming Events

  • America's Grasslands Conference
  • Black Farmers & Urban Gardeners National Conference
  • Tilth Conference

News & Resources

Reminder to Complete Crop Insurance Survey by October 31
The National Center for Appropriate Technology is studying attitudes about crop insurance, in order to plan educational efforts and make recommendations to the USDA. Anyone farming or ranching commercially in the United States is invited to take a confidential 20-minute online survey. A $20 honorarium is offered to early responders. The deadline for taking the survey is October 31, 2017.

Documentary Highlights Challenges Facing Young Farmers
A new documentary called Farmers For America traces the extraordinary changes coming to America's food system as more and more consumers flock to farmers markets, embrace farm-to-table lifestyles, and insist on knowing where their food is coming from. This film reveals the people waiting to take the place of aging farmers, the practices they're championing, and the obstacles they must overcome. Plans are for the film to be shown in more than 200 locations nationwide over the next two years.

NIFA Schedules Opportunities for Stakeholder Input
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is accepting input from stakeholders regarding research, extension, and education priorities in food and agriculture. A series of four in-person listening sessions will be October 19, 2017, in Kansas City, Missouri; October 26, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia; November 2, 2017, in Sacramento, California; and November 8, 2017, in Greenbelt, Maryland. Written comments will be accepted through December 1, 2017.

Appalachian Beekeeping Collective Helps Coal Country Transition to Beekeeping
The Appalachian Beekeeping Collective is helping the coal-mining country of southern West Virginia seize a new economic opportunity. The collective is breeding regionally suited, mite-resistant bees and constructing a honey-processing facility. They're also training their first class of 35 displaced miners as beekeepers. The beekeepers will obtain bees from the collective and maintain their own apiaries, but bring their honey to a central location for extraction, bottling, and marketing.

Strips of Prairie Plants Yield Benefits for Farmers
USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station reports that replacing 10 to 20% of cropland with prairie strips increased biodiversity and ecosystem services with minimal impacts on crop production, while doubling biodiversity. Results from a decade of research on "Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips," or STRIPS, were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Heifer International Launches Livestock and Garden Apprenticeship Program
Heifer International is introducing an intensive three-year Livestock and Garden Apprenticeship Program at Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas, and Heifer Farm in Rutland, Massachusetts. Apprentices will work directly with Heifer USA agriculture experts and technical assistants to gain a broad range of understanding of many aspects of farming. Applications for the program beginning mid-January must be submitted by October 30, 2017.
Related ATTRA Resource: Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Farm to School Grant
USDA anticipates awarding approximately $5 million in competitive grants to support efforts that improve access to local foods in schools. Applicants may apply for a planning grant, implementation grant, or training grant ranging from $20,000 to $100,000.
Applications are due by December 8, 2017.

Western IPM Center Grants
The Western IPM Center has $240,000 in funding available for one-year grants in the following categories: Project Initiation, Work Groups, and Outreach & Implementation, all at $30,000 maximum; and IPM Planning Documents, with a $15,000 maximum. Western IPM Center grants stress multi-state collaborations.
Complete proposals are due December 8, 2017.

Minnesota Crop Research Grants
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has $1.5 million available for applied Crop Research Grants up to $250,000. Projects must focus on improving agricultural product quality, quantity, and value. Projects must benefit Minnesota farmers and the state's economy in the next three to five years. Farmers, institutions of higher education, research institutions, nonprofit organizations, agricultural cooperatives, and agricultural businesses with research capabilities are encouraged to apply.
Applications must be received by November 22, 2017.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

America's Grasslands Conference
November 14-16, 2017
Fort Worth, Texas

This fourth bienniel conference brings together researchers, natural resource professionals, farmers and ranchers, policy experts, and conservationists to discuss relevant issues related to the conservation of North America's grasslands.

Black Farmers & Urban Gardeners National Conference
November 10-12, 2017
Atlanta, Georgia
Black Urban Growers and partners present the 7th Annual Black Farmers & Urban Gardeners (BUGS) Conference, "Rooted and Rising: Black Southern Land Legacies of Resistance & Resilience." The agenda includes tours, workshops, panel discussions, demonstrations, and networking opportunities.

Tilth Conference
November 10-12, 2017
Vancouver, Washington

This conference brings together hundreds of farmers, producers, researchers, and food-system professionals to network and learn. The agenda includes farm tours, speakers, and breakout sessions and workshops on production, marketing, and business.

>>More Events

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