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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 17, 2012

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

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News & Resources

  • NRCS Unveils National Effort to Promote Healthy Soil Benefits
  • Beginning Farmer Fact Sheet Series Offered
  • Soil Health Web Page Posted
  • Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition Announces YouTube Channel
  • American Farmland Trust Leading Northeast Farm Transitions Projects
  • Washington Grown Food Kit Offers Food Service Recipes Online

Funding Opportunities

  • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Foundational Program
  • California Small Farm Conference Scholarships
  • EPA Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowships For Undergraduate Environmental Study

Coming Events

  • Iowa Organic Agriculture Conference
  • Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference & Trade Show
  • Growing Farm Profits

News & Resources

NRCS Unveils National Effort to Promote Healthy Soil Benefits
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced an effort to highlight the benefits of improving and maintaining America's soil. The agency is studying farmer successes in several states and identifying lessons learned to share with farmers in other states. NRCS's soil health initiative will include fact sheets, brochures, videos, web, radio, and social media announcements, as well as local field days. To learn more, visit NRCS's "Unlock the Secrets in the Soil," page or contact your local NRCS office.

Beginning Farmer Fact Sheet Series Offered
Beginning farmers who need to enhance their knowledge about organic vegetable production, ecological plant-disease management, and soil basics will find useful information in a new series of fact sheets offered by Penn State Extension. The 10 fact sheets are available free online at http://extension.psu.edu/start-farming under the "Vegetables" and "Soils" menus.

Soil Health Web Page Posted
Land Stewardship Project recently launched a "Soil Health, Profits & Resiliency" page, with presentations, fact sheets, and other resources on soil health and profitability. The page also contains links to resources from the "Restoring the Soil Resource: Insuring for Resiliency and Profits" video conference that was held in September in Minnesota.
Related ATTRA Publication: Sustainable Soil Management

Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition Announces YouTube Channel
Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition's new YouTube Channel features case studies and short videos of real farmers sharing their experiences in agriculture. Video themes include agriculture philosophy, sustainable agriculture practices, and advice for beginning farmers, plus a wide range of other topics that affect beginning and transitioning farmers in Virginia.

American Farmland Trust Leading Northeast Farm Transitions Projects
A series of projects underway at American Farmland Trust (AFT) are designed to help new farmers by increasing access to farmland in New England and New York. AFT is launching a "next generation" initiative with several components: a professional development program to train agricultural professionals in the Northeast about farm transfer and farmland access options; a research project focused on barriers facing beginning farmers; and a network of organizations working to link farm seekers with farmland owners in the Hudson Valley.

Washington Grown Food Kit Offers Food Service Recipes Online
Washington State Department of Agriculture has posted recipes online to help child-care centers, schools, and senior meal services utilize the bounty of Washington-grown produce. The recipes are sorted by crop, and appear on the the department's Farm to School website. Recipes include detailed instructions, nutrient information, and recipe sizing for hundreds of servings.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Foundational Program
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is accepting applications for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational Program. The AFRI Foundational Program supports research grants in six AFRI priority areas to continue building a foundation of knowledge critical for solving current and future societal challenges. The six priority areas are Plant Health and Production and Plant Products; Animal Health and Production and Animal Products; Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health; Renewable Energy, Natural Resources, and Environment; Agriculture Systems and Technology; and Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities.
Application deadlines vary by program area; some areas have letters of intent due by November 15, 2012.

California Small Farm Conference Scholarships
The California Small Farm Conference will grant nearly 100 scholarships to small-scale farmers, agriculture students, family farmers, small farm employees, and farmers market managers who may otherwise not have the finances to attend theconference, being held March 10-12, 2013, in Fresno. Scholarships are awarded based on financial need and may include conference registration, conference-hosted meals, a ticket to the tasting reception, travel and lodging costs, and a reduced field course rate.
Applications will be accepted until December 3, 2012.

EPA Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowships For Undergraduate Environmental Study
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its GRO Fellowships program, is offering approximately 40 fellowships for bachelor-level students in environmental fields of study. Eligible students will receive support for their junior and senior years of undergraduate study and for an internship at an EPA facility. The fellowship provides up to $20,700 per academic year and $8,600 for a three-month summer internship.
The deadline for applications is December 5, 2012.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Iowa Organic Agriculture Conference
November 18-19, 2012
Ames, Iowa

This 12th annual conference is titled "Organic Farming: What You Do Makes a Difference!" The conference will feature an organic tradeshow and sessions on local food, marketing organic crops, transitioning to organic, and surviving the 2012 drought. Keynote speakers are Will Allen and Fred Kirschenmann.

Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference & Trade Show
November 28-29, 2012
Jackson, Mississippi

This event is held in cooperation with the Mississippi Agritourism Association. The schedule includes concurrent sessions in tracks on fruit and vegetable production, organic and sustainable production, and agritourism.

Growing Farm Profits
December 1, 2012
Mills River, North Carolina

This intensive course, geared toward diversified horticultural farmers, will help participants understand what factors impact profitability and walk them through the steps for improving farm profits. The course will show participants how to use farmer-friendly recordkeeping tools that will help them make smart decisions.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives
Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project 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.

© 2012 NCAT

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