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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 23, 2013

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.

News & Resources

  • USDA Releases Results of Nationwide Census on Farm to School Activities
  • Farmer Guide to Food Safety and Conservation Published
  • Updated USDA ERS Organic Production Data Available
  • Report Analyzes State of Industrial Food Animal Production
  • Nematode Treatment Tested as Strawberry Pest Control
  • Farmer Resources on Water Quality Trading Available

Funding Opportunities

  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program
  • North Dakota Honeybee Health Research Grants
  • Aquaponics Association Micro Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Virginia Farm-to-Table Conference
  • New Mexico Sustainable Agriculture Conference
  • Focus On Farming Conference

News & Resources

USDA Releases Results of Nationwide Census on Farm to School Activities
According to USDA's first-ever Farm to School Census, in school year 2011-2012, schools participating in farm to school activities purchased and served more than $350 million in local food. Census results can be accessed online. School districts that missed the opportunity to respond can submit information through November 30, 2013.

Farmer Guide to Food Safety and Conservation Published
Wild Farm Alliance and Community Alliance with Family Farms have announced the release of two new resources to support farmers in 'co-managing' food safety and natural resources conservation. A Farmer's Guide to Food Safety and Conservation: Facts, Tips & Frequently Asked Questions and the supporting Training Scenarios for USDA and Third Party Auditors on the Co-management of Food Safety and Conservation as well as Small Farm Concerns are available online.

Updated USDA ERS Organic Production Data Available
USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) has released the latest update to its organic data collected from USDA-accredited state and private certification groups to calculate the extent of certified organic farmland acreage and livestock in the United States. Organic production tables are online in .xls format.

Reports Analyze State of Industrial Food Animal Production
A new analysis by Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future, Industrial Food Animal Production in America: Examining the Impact of the Pew Commission's Priority Recommendations, finds that the Administration and Congress have acted "regressively" in policymaking on industrial food animal system issues. Meanwhile, the Animal Agriculture Alliance has released a countering report, Advances in Animal Agriculture; What the Center for a Livable Future, Pew Commission and Others Aren't Telling You About Food Production.

Nematode Treatment Tested as Strawberry Pest Control
The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has granted funds to a Cornell University entomologist to evaluate the use of alfalfa snout beetle-controlling nematodes to manage two strawberry crop pests. In the fall of 2013, researchers applied biocontrol nematodes to most of a 12-acre strawberry field. If the trial is successful, the research team is ready to extend the treatment protocol to growers across New York and the Northeast.

Farmer Resources on Water Quality Trading Available
American Farmland Trust has announced that it has updated its water quality trading resources and made several new publications available that look at water quality trading from agriculture's perspective. These include an in-depth review of agricultural baselines, a summary of agricultural baselines for policymakers, and a summary from listening sessions with agricultural producers about the barriers they perceive with water quality trading and how to address them.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Environmental Quality Incentives Program
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to help producers improve water and air quality, build healthier soil, improve grazing and forest lands, conserve energy, enhance organic operations, and achieve other environmental benefits. In several states, NRCS is accepting applications for EQIP and special EQIP initiatives: On-Farm Energy, Seasonal High Tunnel, and Organic. A number of states have upcoming ranking period deadlines.
In West Virginia, the next ranking cut-off is October 31, 2013.
In Mississippi, the next deadline is November 1, 2013.
In Wisconsin, 2014 applications must be received by December 20, 2013.

North Dakota Honeybee Health Research Grants
The North Dakota Department of Agriculture is seeking grant proposals for research into finding practical solutions to honeybee health issues. Up to $75,000 is available.
Applications must be received by December 2, 2013.

Aquaponics Association Micro Grant Program
The Aquaponics Association is offering micro grants of up to $1,000 to its members, to increase public awareness, understanding, and knowledge of aquaponics as an educational tool, a hobby, or a business in providing a source of fresh, local, healthy food.
Annual application deadlines are March 1 and September 1.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Virginia Farm-to-Table Conference
December 4-5, 2013
Weyers Cave, Virginia

Virginia Cooperative Extension and Natural Resources Conservation Service, in cooperation with community partners, are hosting the 2013 conference, "Healthy Food and Vibrant Farms for the Common Wealth and Common Good." The conference includes two days of speakers, panel discussions, and networking opportunities organized to address critical challenges surrounding a sustainable food system.

New Mexico Sustainable Agriculture Conference
December 3, 2013
Deming, New Mexico

This conference includes presenters from New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension and NRCS. Topics will include organic agriculture and climate change, pistachios, cover crops, soil health, and more.

Focus On Farming Conference
November 21, 2013
Everett, Washington

The 10th annual Focus on Farming Conference includes 24 workshop classes in six industry tracks, presented by some of the top experts in the country. Learn about innovative ideas from local and national farmers.

>> More Events

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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.

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