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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - Food Day, October 24, 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.

News & Resources

  • Science-Based Tools to Measure Sustainability of Food Production Systems
  • Beginning Farmer Programs Accepting Applications
  • 'Nabbing Nitrates' Video Series Released
  • Organic Regulations Reach 10-Year Anniversary
  • Low-Tunnel Research Aims at Extending Strawberry Growing Season
  • Report Identifies Barriers to Institutional Purchase of Local Foods in New York

Funding Opportunities

  • Environmental Solutions for Communities
  • Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund
  • Howard County Agricultural Development Grant

Coming Events

  • Acres U.S.A. Conference
  • Strengthening Agriculture’s Infrastructure: Adding Value, Breaking Down Barriers, Increasing Profits
  • Carolina Meat Conference

News & Resources

Science-Based Tools to Measure Sustainability of Food Production Systems
A new Washington State University program called "Measure to Manage: Food and Farm Diagnostics for Sustainability and Health," or M2M, just received a three-year, $240,000 grant from the Clif Bar Family Foundation. M2M will develop new, and refine existing, science-based tools to quantify and compare the nutritional quality of food, agricultural and food production safety parameters, and agriculture's environmental impact. The grant will accelerate M2M's development and provide public access to program results and analytical tools via the M2M website.

Beginning Farmer Programs Accepting Applications
Numerous beginning farmer programs across the nation are now accepting applications for the 2013 program year. Several organizations have announced approaching application deadlines. The second year of the Oklahoma Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program (BFRP) is set to begin in January. The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture offers the year-long in-depth course in sustainable farming and ranching, with tuition and materials covered by scholarship. Application deadline is November 1. In North Carolina, the Farm Incubator and Grower (FIG) program in Valle Crucis is accepting applications for the 2013 season until November 15. Meanwhile, the University of Vermont (UVM) Extension New Farmer Project is accepting applications until November 1 from women farmers interested in a holistic management approach to building a sustainable and profitable agricultural operation. Any woman who has operated a farm or agricultural enterprise in Vermont for two to 10 years is eligible to apply for the 10-session Whole Farm Planning for Beginning Women Farmers course, which begins January 8. Also, Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers hopes to offer its distance education program at 15 sites around the state this year. The 15-session course begins November 8. The deadline for application is November 1.
Related ATTRA Resource: Beginning Farmer

'Nabbing Nitrates' Video Series Released
A new video series shows how conservation practices remove nitrates from water. Missouri & Mississippi Divide Resource Conservation & Development Inc. (M&M Divide) produced the series Nabbing Nitrates—Before Water Leaves the Farm. In both English and Spanish, the series shows what happens in wetlands and below the ground in four conservation practices: "Water Conservation Drainage," "Riparian Forest Buffers," "Working Wetlands," and "Bioreactors." The videos are available for viewing online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Protecting Water Quality on Organic Farms

Organic Regulations Reach 10-Year Anniversary
The USDA organic regulations first took effect October 21, 2002. The National Organic Program (NOP) is recognizing this anniversary with the publication of a three-page timeline featuring the milestones in the country's organic regulations. NOP is also using the anniversary to highlight the USDA Organic Literacy Initiative, a training and outreach program to help connect organic customers with appropriate USDA resources.

Low-Tunnel Research Aims at Extending Strawberry Growing Season
Growing strawberry plants beneath low tunnels can allow the season to start earlier and continue through the summer and fall, according to USDA scientists. Researchers with the Agricultural Research Service are testing strawberry cultivars in the new production system designed to extend the growing season in the northern and eastern United States. Low tunnels protect the fruit from rain, provide shade, and can capture warmth during the cooler spring and fall seasons.

Report Identifies Barriers to Institutional Purchase of Local Foods in New York
American Farmland Trust's Farm to Institution New York State Working Group has released Scaling Up: Strategies for Expanding Sales of Local Food to Public and Private Institutions in New York. The report identifies barriers to institutional purchasing of local food and recommends actions to get more local food served in institutions. The 19-page report is available online in PDF.
Related ATTRA Publication: New Markets for Your Crops

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Environmental Solutions for Communities
Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities supports highly visible projects that link economic development and community well-being to the stewardship and health of the environment. Priority will be given to innovative, cost-effective projects that enhance stewardship on private agricultural lands to enhance water quality and quantity and/or improve wildlife habitat for species of concern, while maintaining or increasing agricultural productivity. Preference is given to applications from geographic locations on a designated list.
Proposals must be submitted by December 3, 2012.

Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund
The Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA will award $180,000 in grants to independent family farms in North Carolina for new farming enterprises that demonstrate innovative opportunities in production, processing, and marketing. In 2013, the Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund will award up to $8,000 to individual farmers and up to $10,000 for collaborative farmer projects.
The deadline to submit applications is December 5, 2012.

Howard County Agricultural Development Grant
The newly established Howard County Agricultural Development Grant is a matching grant program to encourage Howard County, Maryland, agricultural producers to further develop their businesses. Grants of $1,000 to $10,000 are to be used towards activities that will help with the diversification of the farm, such as research and development, processing facilities, and marketing innovations. To be eligible for the grants, applicants must be an agricultural cooperative or a crop, livestock, seafood, or timber producer or processor.
Application deadline is January 1, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Acres U.S.A. Conference
December 4-8, 2012
Louisville, Kentucky

The annual ACRES U.S.A. conference, "Restore, Refine, Reinvent Your Farm," offers intensive courses on biological farming, natural ruminant health, restoration farming, and fermentation December 4-5. The main conference, December 6-8, features seminars and workshops, leading advisors in eco-agriculture, and a trade show.

Strengthening Agriculture’s Infrastructure: Adding Value, Breaking Down Barriers, Increasing Profits
December 3-5, 2012
Portland, Oregon

The Western SARE Administrative Council is organizing this opportunity to learn about niche livestock and poultry processing, values-based marketing, farm-to-institution, financing and technical assistance, and more. The conference will prepare the region to sustainably process, market, and distribute high-quality food.

Carolina Meat Conference
December 3-4, 2012
Bermuda Run, North Carolina

Join a diverse group of professionals within the local and niche meat industry for panel discussions, workshops, networking, and demonstrations. Topics include cured meats in retail and foodservice, efficiency in small plants, regulatory issues, controlling input costs in pastured meat production, challenges of value-added processing, innovative marketing, and more.

>> 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.

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© 2012 NCAT

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New Publication
Tools for Managing Internal Parasites in Small Ruminants: Pasture Management

Question of the Week
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ATTRA Webinars
Last chance to register for October 25—Tools for Small-Scale Crop Production with Andy Pressman

November 1—Becoming a Technical Service Provider for NRCS: An Introduction

November 15—Doing NRCS Conservation Activity Planning for Organic Farmers and Ranchers

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