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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 18, 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

  • Farmers Market Promotion Program Grant Awards Announced by USDA
  • Online Financial-Education Tool Helps Farmers Buying Land
  • California Governor Signs Farmer Equity Act
  • Apple Pollinizers Affect Fruit Set and Quality
  • Organic Grain Projects to Aid Producers in Transitioning
  • California Farm Academy Accepting Applications for Beginning Farmer Training and Apprenticeships

Funding Opportunities

  • Local Foods, Local Places
  • Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Business Grants
  • Michigan Value-Added Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Quivira Conference: Ranching and Farming at the Radical Center
  • Kansas Rural Center Farm & Food Conference
  • Ginger & Turmeric Field Day

News & Resources

Farmers Market Promotion Program Grant Awards Announced by USDA
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has announced the award of more than $13 million in Farmers Market Promotion Program Grants. Fifty-two projects in 33 states received funding for projects that would increase consumption of locally and regionally produced agricultural products and develop new market opportunities for farmers and ranchers. Brief descriptions of the projects selected for funding are available online.

Online Financial-Education Tool Helps Farmers Buying Land
National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) has introduced a beta version of Finding Farmland, an online financial-education tool for farmers buying land. The tool includes a Land Affordability Calculator that can be used to compare financing costs for two different farm properties or to compare different financing scenarios for a single property. NYFC is requesting farmers' feedback on the tool, especially from those actively seeking land.

California Governor Signs Farmer Equity Act
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation that requires California officials to focus on and address the challenges facing farmers of color in the state by making access to state and federal resources more equitable. The Farmer Equity Act directs the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to better provide resources, outreach, technical assistance, and decision-making power to "socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers."

Apple Pollinizers Affect Fruit Set and Quality
Researchers at Purdue University found that the type of tree used for a pollinator in apple orchards can affect fruit set. Orchardists frequently plant crab apples as pollen sources because of their prolific blooms. However, this research showed that using Red Delicious as a pollinator for Honeycrisp doubled the fruit set compared to using crab apple pollinators.
Related ATTRA Publication:
Apples: Organic Production Guide

Organic Grain Projects to Aid Producers in Transitioning
Two new Extension projects will help grain producers transition to organic production. Texas A&M AgriLife will compare transitional organic and conventional systems for wheat production. "Introducing Organic to Producers of Grain-Only and Dual-Purpose Wheat Cropping Systems of Northern Texas" received funding from USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture in the Organic Transition Program. Meanwhile, Purdue University Extension received funding from North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program for "Organic Transition and Certification: Supporting Indiana Grain Farmers' Capacity to Meet Market Demand."
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Small Grain Production Overview

California Farm Academy Accepting Applications for Beginning Farmer Training and Apprenticeships
The California Farm Academy is accepting applications for both its Beginning Farmer Training Program and its Apprenticeship Program. The seven-month training program includes evening and weekend classes, hands-on field experience, and farm visits. The application deadline is November 27, 2017, and classes begin in February 2018. The two-year apprenticeship program includes 3,000 hours of hands-on training.
Related ATTRA Resource: Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Local Foods, Local Places
The Local Foods, Local Places program will provide selected communities planning assistance that centers around a two-day community workshop. A team of experts will help community members develop an implementable action plan that promotes local food and neighborhood revitalization. Eligible applicants include local governments, Indian tribes, and nonprofit institutions and organizations proposing to work in a neighborhood, town, or city of any size anywhere in the United States.
Applications are due by October 25, 2017.

Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Business Grants
The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative supports innovative entrepreneurs at the forefront of Vermont's Working Lands economy through technical and financial assistance to help growing businesses thrive. Farm and forest businesses in Vermont may apply for matching grants of $5,000 to $50,000 for infrastructure, marketing, or research and development.
A letter of intent is due by November 7, 2017.

Michigan Value-Added Grant Program
The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development will accept proposals that are intended to establish, retain, expand, attract, and/or develop value-added agricultural processing in Michigan; expand or develop regional food systems; or expand access to healthy food. Applicants must provide a 30% cash match for grants up to the $125,000 maximum. Funding will be focused on food hub development, food access, or value-added food processing.
Proposals are due November 7, 2017.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Quivira Conference: Ranching and Farming at the Radical Center
November 15-17, 2017
Albuquerque, New Mexico

This year's conference will explore the myriad work and social relationships that make for healthy people and a resilient planet, with particular attention to the role that ranchers and farmers play in cultivating them.

Kansas Rural Center Farm & Food Conference
November 17-18, 2017
Manhattan, Kansas
The conference will feature 12 to 15 workshops each day providing practical information for diversifying your farm or ranch's enterprises, building and supporting local and regional food systems, and communicating effectively.

Ginger & Turmeric Field Day
November 16, 2017
Petersburg, Virginia

Learn more about the production and marketing of ginger and turmeric and see how to harvest, clean, and package these spice crops. This field day will include indoor presentations, a grower panel discussion, a culinary demonstration, and a field visit.

>>More Events

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New ATTRA Publication
A Pictorial Guide to Hedgerow Plants for Beneficial Insects

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What are some strategies for building healthy soils?

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Conferencia del Agricultor Latino 2017
November 7, 2017
Palm Desert, California
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