Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 23, 2019
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
- NCAT Issues Report on Improving Crop Insurance for Organic Farms
- Proposed Amendment to National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances Open for Comment
- USDA Launches Centers of Community Prosperity
- CoBank Report Says Hemp Offers Agriculture Big Risks and Big Rewards
- Biodiversity Aids in Provision of Ecosystem Services, Says Study
- Farm Apprenticeship Program Offered in Northwest Arkansas
- Northeast SARE Farmer Grants
- United Fresh Start Foundation Community Innovation Grants Program
- Pennsylvania Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
- Growing for the Future
- Iowa Organic Conference
- Organic Food & Farming Summit
News & Resources
NCAT Issues Report on Improving Crop Insurance for Organic Farms
NCAT has released a major new report, Is Organic Farming Risky? Improving Crop Insurance for Organic Farms. Based on the latest USDA statistics, surveys, and interviews with hundreds of producers, organic farming advocates, and insurance professionals, the 132-page report describes the status of crop insurance for USDA-certified organic farms, identifies problems, and makes recommendations for solving those problems.
Proposed Amendment to National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances Open for Comment
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service proposes to amend the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, as recommended by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). This amendment would add blood meal made with sodium citrate to the National List as a soil fertilizer, prohibit natamycin use in organic crop production, and add tamarind seed gum as a non-organic agricultural substance for use in organic handling. Public comments must be received by December 17, 2019.
USDA Launches Centers of Community Prosperity
USDA has announced the launch of the Centers of Community Prosperity (CCP), designed to increase the capacity of rural and underserved communities across the country. Local Centers include Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, North Dakota; Alcorn State University in Lorman, Mississippi; and University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Salisbury, Maryland. The Centers will host Community Prosperity Training Summits and capacity-building workshops.
CoBank Report Says Hemp Offers Agriculture Big Risks and Big Rewards
Hemp acreage in the United States tripled from 2017 to 2018. However, CoBank's Knowledge Exchange division warns in Industrial Hemp: Overview of Opportunities and Risks that false, outdated, biased, or even contradictory information can make the industrial hemp industry difficult to navigate. The report identifies and assesses nine risks or uncertainties that face the hemp industry for each of hemp's three crops and markets: fiber, grain/seed, and CBD production.
Biodiversity Aids in Provision of Ecosystem Services, Says Study
A study published in Science Advances by Eurac Research showed that landscapes with a variety of plants were provided more ecosystem services. The biodiverse landscapes experienced more pollination and greater pest control by beneficial insects. These areas also had higher crop yields than areas with crop monocultures.
Related ATTRA Publication: Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control
Farm Apprenticeship Program Offered in Northwest Arkansas
The Center for Food and Farm Systems Entrepreneurship at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is partnering with successful farms in Northwest Arkansas to offer a new apprenticeship program. Applications are being accepted for the program beginning in January 2020 with 12 educational classes. On-farm placement begins in March.
Related ATTRA Resource: List of Internships
>>More Breaking News
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Northeast SARE Farmer Grants
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) is accepting applications for Farmer Grants. These grants are for commercial producers who have an innovative idea they want to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, marketing initiative, or other technique. Projects should seek results other farmers can use, and all projects must have the potential to add to knowledge about effective sustainable practices.
Applications are due by December 3, 2019.
United Fresh Start Foundation Community Innovation Grants Program
The Community Innovation Grants Program of the United Fresh Start Foundation increases children's access, selection, and consumption of fresh produce while they are outside of school. A total of $50,000 will be awarded to a minimum of five projects. Eligible applicants include not-for-profit organizations, schools, universities, small businesses, and others.
Applications must be received by December 1, 2019.
Pennsylvania Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
Pennsylvania's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program established a state-level program for crops not currently eligible federally or that are otherwise designated as high-priority specialty crops. This grant funding is to assist with the growth, certification of seed, and marketing of eligible crops including hemp, hardwoods, honey, and hops; and barley, rye, and wheat for distilling, brewing, and malting purposes only. State and local organizations, producer associations, academia, community-based organizations, and other eligible specialty crop stakeholders are eligible to apply for a total of $460,000.
Concept proposals are due by December 2, 2019.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Growing for the Future
December 2-5, 2019
National Farmers Union's Growing for the Future is a unique online, interactive conference focused on the issues that today's farmers and ranchers face. The free event includes farmer-to-farmer webinars, live Q&A, a discussion board, an online resource center, and free giveaways.
Iowa Organic Conference
November 24-25, 2019
Iowa City, Iowa
The Iowa State University Organic Agriculture Program's 18th Annual Organic Conference is "Diversity = Stability: Elements of Diversity in Optimizing Organic Profitability." Sessions address transitioning into organic farming, weed management, organic livestock production, and alternative crops such as hops and hemp.
Organic Food & Farming Summit
November 21-22, 2019
The Organic Food and Farming Summit is a statewide educational event where farmers and the public come together to learn new skills and techniques on growing, processing, preparing, and selling organic and sustainable foods, on-farm and at home. The Summit will include in-depth educational sessions, classroom workshops, a trade show, and much more.
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ATTRA was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
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