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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 14, 2020

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

  • Conservation Stewardship Program Changes Published in Final Rule
  • Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Grants Announced
  • Use of Nitrogen Fertilizers Increasing Nitrous Oxide Emissions
  • U.S. Dairy Unveils Net Zero Initiative for Carbon Emissions
  • Bale Grazing Builds Soil Health
  • White Paper Addresses Financing for Local Food Systems

Funding Opportunities

  • Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2)
  • California Specialty Crop Block Grant
  • Minnesota AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant

Coming Events

  • Farm & Food Leadership Conference
  • National Organic Standards Board Virtual Fall Meeting
  • Integrated Parasite Management: Sheep

News & Resources

Conservation Stewardship Program Changes Published in Final Rule
USDA released the Final Rule making changes directed by the 2018 Farm Bill to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). This Final Rule better aligns CSP with NRCS's Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), increases payment rates for cover crop rotations, creates a supplemental payment for advanced grazing management and a one-time payment for developing a comprehensive conservation plan, and outlines specific support for organic and transitioning-to-organic production activities.

Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Grants Announced
USDA has announced $19.1 million in grants through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (2501) Program. The grants help provide training, outreach, and technical assistance. Grants were issued to 49 organizations in 28 states. Alcorn State University received funding to continue to administer the Socially Disadvantaged Policy Research Center.

Use of Nitrogen Fertilizers Increasing Nitrous Oxide Emissions
An international study led by Auburn University concluded that the significant use of nitrogen fertilizers in the production of food worldwide is increasing atmospheric concentrations of nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide has risen 20% from pre-industrial level, driven predominantly by agriculture. The study's co-leader noted: "This new analysis calls for a full-scale rethink in the ways we use and abuse nitrogen fertilizers globally and urges us to adopt more sustainable practices in the way we produce food, including the reduction of food waste."

Related ATTRA Resource: Reducing Nitrogen Fertilizer and Indirect Energy Usage

U.S. Dairy Unveils Net Zero Initiative for Carbon Emissions
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy unveiled the Net Zero Initiative, an industry-wide effort that will help U.S. dairy farms implement new technologies and adopt economically viable practices, to achieve carbon neutrality, optimized water usage, and improved water quality by 2050. The Center also announced a commitment of up to $10 million and a multi-year partnership with Nestlé to support the Net Zero Initiative and scale access to environmental practices and resources on farms across the country.

Bale Grazing Builds Soil Health
North Dakota siblings Erin and Drew Gaugler have been conducting research on the soil health impacts of bale grazing on their farm through a grant from North Central SARE. After two seasons, the Gauglers say they noticed an obvious difference in plant production in the bale-grazed areas. Soil tests didn't show an immediate difference in organic matter, but did show increases in levels of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
Related ATTRA Publication: Building Healthy Pasture Soils

White Paper Addresses Financing for Local Food Systems
The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) has released Advancing Local Food Systems Through Development Finance, the sixth and final publication of its Food Finance White Paper Series. The 20-page online publication presents replicable strategies for reframing food projects and businesses, building the connectivity between players involved in food system restoration, and planning for the financing needed for food-system development.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2)
Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) will provide producers with financial assistance that gives them the ability to absorb some of the increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Many more commodities are eligible for CFAP 2 than were eligible for CFAP 1. Online tools help farmers determine eligibility and potential payments. Payment calculations will use a sales-based approach, where producers are paid based on five payment gradations associated with their 2019 sales. Nearly $14 million is available.
The deadline to sign up is December 11, 2020.

California Specialty Crop Block Grant
The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting concept proposals for Phase I of the 2021 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Grant awards will range from $50,000 to $450,000, and projects may last for up to two years and six months (projects submitted to the Additional Assistance for Historically Underrepresented Organizations will range from $25,000 to $100,000 and may last up to two years). Nonprofit and for-profit organizations; local, state, federal, and tribal government entities; and public and private colleges and universities are eligible to apply. (Only nonprofits and tribal governments may apply to the Additional Assistance for Historically Underrepresented Organizations Program).
Concept proposals must be submitted by October 23, 2020.

Minnesota AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant
Minnesota's AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant supports innovative on-farm research and demonstrations. 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 in Fiscal Year 2021. Applicants may request up to $50,000 per project; matching funding is required for amounts above $25,000.
Applications are due by December 10, 2020.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Integrated Parasite Management: Sheep
October 22, 2020
Online
NCAT is presenting an online Integrated Parasite Management training for sheep on irrigated pastures in the Intermountain West. Topics include how to deworm strategically using FAMACHA scoring, grazing properly to avoid Barber Pole worm, and using genetic selection to mitigate the influence the Barber Pole Worm has on your flock.

Farm & Food Leadership Conference
October 26-27, 2020
Online
This virtual version of the annual Farm & Food Leadership Conference is presented by the Small Producers Initiative, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, and the Council for Healthy Food Systems. It will feature keynote speakers, sessions on crop and livestock production, ag policy, farm business and marketing, and other special topics.

National Organic Standards Board Virtual Fall Meeting
October 20, 22, and 28-30, 2020
Online

The NOSB Fall 2020 Meeting will be held live online. The afternoons of October 20 and 22, 2020, are public comment days. Public meetings will take place on consecutive afternoons October 28-30, 2020. The public is invited to watch these events using Zoom.

>>More Events

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