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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 24, 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

  • Diversifying Farmland Key to Preserving Biodiversity
  • Article Introduces the Biochar Movement
  • Veterans Find a New Start in Farming
  • Study Helps Northeast Understand Regional Food System Potential
  • Texas Project Testing Feasibility of Growing Asian Vegetables
  • California Farm Academy Accepting Applications for Apprenticeship and Training Program

Funding Opportunities

  • Veteran Scholarships for Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference
  • IPM Partnership Grants
  • Vermont Working Lands Initiative Business Grant

Coming Events

  • Missouri Livestock Symposium
  • Professional Agricultural Workers Conference
  • Scale Your Farm Production and Marketing Strategies So You Can Grow Profits Workshop

News & Resources

Diversifying Farmland Key to Preserving Biodiversity
Conservation biologists at the University of California, Berkeley, say that adding diversity to working lands may be key to preserving biodiversity in the face of climate change. Their review of more than 100 studies suggests that adding trees or hedgerows to farms, or creating a patchwork of orchards, pastures, and fields, can provide important habitat for diverse species. The scientists say the ideal farming landscape includes woodland pastures and vegetable plots bumping up against orchards and small fields.
Related ATTRA Publication:
Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control

Article Introduces the Biochar Movement
NCAT Agricultural Economics Specialist Jeff Schahczenski wrote an article on the biochar movement and the use of biochar in organic agriculture. He reports on research findings about how biochar provides fertility to crops, delves into some of the claims regarding the performance of biochar, and highlights both the potential and uncertainty associated with the use of biochar. The article appears in the August/September issue of Organic Farmer, on page 14.
Related ATTRA Publication: Biochar and Sustainable Agriculture

Veterans Find a New Start in Farming
PBS NewsHour reports on how some returning war veterans are starting new careers in agriculture. Many veterans are from rural communities, and returning veterans offer a hope of filling the ranks of aging farmer populations in the United States. Veterans are finding diverse routes into agriculture careers, in some cases raising their own startup money and educating themselves, and in other cases receiving help from training programs and funding opportunities specifically for veterans.

Related NCAT Resource:
Armed to Farm

Study Helps Northeast Understand Regional Food System Potential
The seven-year Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast study has helped organizations and universities gain understanding about regional food-production potential. The long-term project studied the region's agricultural production capacity, supply chains and distribution systems, and the experiences, preferences, and shopping patterns of consumers. Among the key findings: from 2001 to 2010, roughly 35% of the region's farmland was devoted to non-food crops or was fallow. Just 10% was devoted to crops consumed by people.

Texas Project Testing Feasibility of Growing Asian Vegetables
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service have teamed up for a year-long trial to test the feasibility and profitability of growing Asian vegetables in Texas. Scientists will assess the performance and economics of warm-season and cool-season vegetables in unimproved soil, in high tunnels, and in greenhouses. The project will test whether the Asian vegetables are a fit for Texas producers.
Related ATTRA Publication: Specialty Melon Production for Small and Direct-Market Growers

California Farm Academy Accepting Applications for Apprenticeship and Training Program
Through its apprenticeship program and training program, the California Farm Academy provides beginning farmers with the knowledge, skills, business competency, and resources to thrive and grow in a farming career. Applications for the paid, full-time, two-year CFA Apprenticeship Program are due by November 4, 2018. Applications for the intensive seven-month Beginning Farmer Training Program are due by November 26, 2018.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Veteran Scholarships for Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference
The University of Arkansas and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) are offering scholarships for military veterans to attend Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms. The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group's (SAWG) annual conference will be held January 23-26, 2019, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Fifteen conference registration scholarships will be awarded. Five full scholarships are also available, which will cover the cost of conference registration, short course and field trip attendance, and lodging at the conference hotel.
The deadline to apply is December 5, 2018.

IPM Partnership Grants
The Northeastern Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center has announced the availability of IPM Partnership Grants for three types of projects: IPM Issues, IPM Working Groups, and IPM Communications. A maximum of $60,000 per award is available to fund projects that foster the development and adoption of integrated pest management methods. The Center is particularly interested in projects that address regional priorities within its five signature programs: 1) IPM and Organic Systems; 2) Rural and Urban IPM; 3) Climate Change and Pests; 4) Next Generation Education; and 5) Advanced Production Systems.
Applications are due by November 15, 2018.

Vermont Working Lands Initiative Business Grant
Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Board is accepting applications for matching grants for businesses from $5,000 to $25,000. Special Industry Impact Grants up to $150,000 each are available for low-grade wood or dairy projects that propose significant value-chain improvements. Business grant projects may address infrastructure, marketing, or research and development needs.
A letter of intent to apply is due by November 8, 2018.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Missouri Livestock Symposium
November 30 - December 1, 2018
Kirksville, Missouri

This free event features a trade show and an educational program with eight tracks: beef, sheep, meat goats, stock dogs, forages, horses, farm management, and around the farm and home. NCAT will exhibit at this event.

Professional Agricultural Workers Conference
December 2-4, 2018
Tuskegee, Alabama

The Professional Agricultural Workers Conference is committed to a world that values and promotes equal-opportunity equitable access to information and technology for sustainable development of communities and natural resources.

Scale Your Farm Production and Marketing Strategies So You Can Grow Profits Workshop
November 30 - December 1, 2018
Akron, Ohio

This two-day intensive workshop is focused on enhancing the management plans of established operations to maximize soil fertility and yield.

>>More Events

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High Tunnels and the NRCS

Question of the Week
How can I control borers in apple trees?

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