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

News & Resources

  • Organic Farming Apprenticeship Program Launched in Wisconsin
  • USDA Partners to Help Rural Leaders Build Strategies to Achieve Prosperity
  • USDA Announces Grant Awards to Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmer Programs
  • Report Presents Case Studies of Agroecological Transition
  • National Farmers Union Schedules Online Conference for Beginning Farmers in December
  • Illinois Scientists Developing Weed-Management Robots as Alternative to Chemicals

Funding Opportunities

  • Western SARE Research to Grass Roots Grants
  • Missouri Urban and Non-Traditional Agriculture Matching Grant Program
  • Washington State Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference
  • Kansas Rural Center Food & Farm Conference
  • Kentucky Small, Limited Resource, Minority Farmers Conference

News & Resources

Organic Farming Apprenticeship Program Launched in Wisconsin
A collaborative effort in Wisconsin has launched a new Organic Vegetable Farm Manager Registered Apprenticeship program. The program combines two growing seasons of formal, on-farm experience with coursework delivered through the Wisconsin Technical College System. This is the first state-accredited apprenticeship for organic vegetable farming, but other states have expressed interest in developing similar programs.
Related ATTRA Resource:
Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships

USDA Partners to Help Rural Leaders Build Strategies to Achieve Prosperity
Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett announced that USDA has finalized four cooperative agreements through the Rural Economic Development Innovation initiative to help rural communities create and implement economic development plans. Descriptions of each project are available online.

USDA Announces Grant Awards to Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmer Programs
USDA is granting $9.4 million through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program to provide enhanced training, outreach, and technical assistance to underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers. The 53 funded projects include urban agriculture training in West Virginia, farm business training for Native American farmers in Wisconsin, and niche marketing assistance in Texas and New Mexico.

Report Presents Case Studies of Agroecological Transition
The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems has released Breaking away from industrial food and farming systems: Seven case studies of agroecological transition. The case studies include a range of scales and a variety of focuses (climate adaptation, income diversification, rural development). The report provides concrete examples of how people around the world have been able to fundamentally rethink and redesign food systems around agroecological principles.

National Farmers Union Schedules Online Conference for Beginning Farmers in December
National Farmers Union will present "Growing for the Future," its second virtual conference for beginning farmers and ranchers, December 3-6, 2018. This free online event will cover a variety of topics, including business planning, cooperatives, ecosystem services, women and veterans in farming, food safety, and more.

Illinois Scientists Developing Weed-Management Robots as Alternative to Chemicals
Multi-disciplinary scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are using Cyber Physical Systems funding from USDA to develop robots that would weed crops. The technology would offer an alternative to chemical weed controls and make it possible to weed a field once it has established a canopy. The AgBot can traverse a crop field and determine, in real time, the difference between a cash crop and a weed.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Western SARE Research to Grass Roots Grants
These grants are built on the SARE concept that results of applied research are used to train agricultural professionals and producers in the latest principles of sustainable agriculture. Successful R2GR projects will take the research results from previously funded SARE projects to ag professionals and producers. Maximum funding for each project is $50,000.
Applications are due November 28, 2018.

Missouri Urban and Non-Traditional Agriculture Matching Grant Program
Missouri Department of Agriculture will award grants up to $7,500 for urban and non-traditional agriculture. Eligible projects include activities such as introducing a new crop or product to an area or expanding the use of or adding value to agricultural products. Projects should lead to development of small agribusinesses, production infrastructure, direct distribution venues, and workforce development. Projects that demonstrate an economic benefit and potential for sustainable revenue generation and job creation will be given priority.
Applications must be received by October 26, 2018.

Washington State Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
Washington State Department of Agriculture is accepting concept proposals for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Funding is available for projects that enhance the competitiveness of Washington State's specialty crops. Grant amounts range from $25,000 to $250,000, with a duration of up to three years. Eligible organizations include industry associations; producer groups; commodity commissions; non-profit organizations; local, state, and federal government entities; and educational institutions.
The deadline to submit a concept proposal is November 2, 2018.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference
November 15-17, 2018
Kansas City, Missouri

Farmer Veteran Coalition and FVC of Kansas will bring together the military and agriculture communities for distinguished speakers, guest panels, networking, camaraderie, and much more.

Kansas Rural Center Food & Farm Conference
November 16-17, 2018
Wichita, Kansas

Kansas Rural Center will host its annual conference highlighting diverse people, communities, farms, and organizations working to build resilience and community wealth. It will focus on the connections between healthy people, healthy soil, and how we farm.

Kentucky Small, Limited Resource, Minority Farmers Conference
November 13-15, 2018
Frankfort, Kentucky

This conference for farmers, hosted by the Kentucky State University, will include breakout sessions, tours, and Kentucky's Small, Limited Resource Farmer of the Year.

>>More Events

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