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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 14, 2015

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

  • Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Grants Awarded by USDA
  • Crop Rotations Key to Soil's Ability to Sequester Carbon
  • Tillage Timing Influences Nitrogen Availability and Loss, Says Penn State Study
  • California Law to Regulate Antibiotic Use in Livestock
  • Study Shows Loss of Crop Diversity over Past 34 Years
  • EQIP Funding Designated for Pollinator Food Sources in Six States

Funding Opportunities

  • Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program
  • P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet
  • Our Planet, Our Health

Coming Events

  • Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference
  • Tilth Producers Annual Conference
  • Quivira Conference

News & Resources

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Grants Awarded by USDA
USDA has announced the award of $17 million in grants for organizations that will develop training and provide other resources for beginning farmers and ranchers across the nation. These awards are through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. A list of the grant recipients is available online.

Crop Rotations Key to Soil's Ability to Sequester Carbon
A study at USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory shows that management practices—particularly crop rotation—play an important role in soil's ability to sequester carbon. Soil organic carbon and total nitrogen levels were greater in five-year and dynamic six-crop no-till rotations than in three-year and small-grain/fallow no-till rotations. The highest levels were found in untilled, grazed pasture.
Related ATTRA Publication: Agriculture, Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration

Tillage Timing Influences Nitrogen Availability and Loss, Says Penn State Study
A five-year study by researchers at Penn State indicated that tillage was the most important driver of potential nitrogen loss across four cropping systems. Tillage is an important weed-management tool for organic farmers, but has nitrogen-management implications. Timing tillage to reduce nitrogen loss is a key consideration.

California Law to Regulate Antibiotic Use in Livestock
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a law that requires a veterinarian's prescription for therapeutic antibiotic uses in livestock and bans prophylactic use of antibiotics for livestock. The new law, recognized as the first in the country to regulate animal antibiotic use, will take effect January 1, 2018.

Study Shows Loss of Crop Diversity over Past 34 Years
Scientists studying data from the USDA Census of Agriculture report that U.S. farmers are growing fewer crops than they did 34 years ago, says High Plains Journal. The large-scale study by Kansas State University, North Dakota State University, and USDA is the first to quantify crop species diversity in the United States using an extensive database over a relatively long period. Less crop diversity could have an impact on the environment and on how resilient agroecosystems are in the face of weather variability.

EQIP Funding Designated for Pollinator Food Sources in Six States
USDA has announced the availability of $4 million in assistance for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners working to improve food sources for honey bees by planting wildflowers, native grasses, and cover crops. The funding will be made available in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Montana through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. NRCS accepts EQIP applications on a continuous basis.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program
USDA has announced up to $16.8 million in funding to help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increase their purchases of fruits and vegetables. The funding is available to local, state, and national organizations to test incentive strategies. Applications are sought in three categories: (1) pilot projects up to $100,000; (2) community-based projects up to $500,000 over four years; and (3) large-scale projects of $500,000 or more over four years.
Applications are due December 16, 2015.

P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking proposals to research, develop, and design solutions to real-world challenges involving the overall sustainability of human society. Research areas are Energy, Built Environment, Materials and Chemicals, and Water. Degree-granting institutions of higher learning in the United States are eligible to apply for one-year grants of up to $15,000 to test, research, and develop innovative scientific projects or engineering designs.
Proposals are due by December 8, 2015.

Our Planet, Our Health
The Wellcome Trust is accepting applications from organizations in any country for Our Planet, Our Health. This program will establish transdisciplinary research programs, with a focus on our health and wellbeing, that can advance our understanding and our ability to address the challenges associated with the global food system and/or urbanization. Applicants may request up to £2 million a year for up to five years.
Preliminary applications are due by January 29, 2016.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference
November 17-19, 2015
Sacramento, California

The 2015 Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference brings together government, agriculture, and farmer veterans to create and extend solutions to assist U.S. military veterans establishing their careers in agriculture.

Tilth Producers Annual Conference
November 13-15, 2015
Spokane, Washington

This conference offers three full days of quality education and networking opportunities. Twenty-five workshops address topics such as specialty crop production, livestock management, soil fertility, and marketing strategies.

Quivira Conference
November 11-13, 2015
Albuquerque, New Mexico

"The Next Wave: Cultivating Abundance" offers a day-long soil workshop, a half-day keyline workshop, and 12 plenary speakers. Hear from ranchers, farmers, scientists, activists, and other leaders on how to flourish amid the emerging conditions and challenges of the 21st century.

>> More Events

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