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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 28, 2020

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.

Join the NCAT Team!
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is seeking a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist who wants to help farmers and ranchers understand and transition to more sustainable practices. This regular, full-time position is based at NCAT’s office in Davis, California. Applications will be accepted through November 2020 or until a suitable candidate can be identified. Learn more.

News & Resources

  • USDA's 2019 Organic Survey Results Show Sales Up and Producers Planning to Expand
  • CFAP 2 Approves $7 Billion in Payments During First Month
  • Incorporating Elderberries in a Hedgerow Can Be Profitable
  • Midwest Grazing Exchange Website Connects Landowners with Livestock
  • USDA Releases Environmental Quality Incentives Program Final Rule
  • Minnesota Announces Members of Emerging Farmers' Working Group

Funding Opportunities

  • Brighter Future Microgrant Program
  • Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program: Dairy and Agriculture/Working Lands
  • Michigan Rural Development Fund Grants

Coming Events

  • Women, Food, and Agriculture Network Annual Conference
  • Tilth Conference
  • New Hampshire Direct Marketing Conference

News & Resources

USDA's 2019 Organic Survey Results Show Sales Up and Producers Planning to Expand
USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service released the results of the 2019 Organic Survey, which show total sales of $9.93 billion in organic products, an increase of 31% percent. There were 16,585 certified organic farms, which accounted for 5.50 million certified acres. The survey also revealed that 29% of farms plan to increase their level of organic production, and more than 1,800 certified organic farms currently have land in transition to organic production. Additional survey results are available online.

CFAP 2 Approves $7 Billion in Payments During First Month
In the first month that applications for the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) were open, USDA approved more than $7 billion in payments to producers. CFAP 2 provides agricultural producers with financial assistance to help absorb some of the increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Since enrollment began, FSA has approved more than 443,000 applications. Applications will be accepted through December 11, 2020, and a total of $14 billion is available.

Related ATTRA Video: CFAP 2—It's Better!

Incorporating Elderberries in a Hedgerow Can Be Profitable
Sonja Brodt at the University of California is leading a collaborative effort to develop native western elderberry as a hedgerow cash crop. Planting hedgerows with edible and medicinal species such as elderberry can help growers generate additional revenue while fostering beneficial insects and improving soil health. A field trial found that in only the second year after planting, elderberry yields from a 1,000-foot, multispecies hedgerow could net $2,700 to $4,800 in revenue.

Related ATTRA Publication: A Pictorial Guide to Hedgerow Plants for Beneficial Insects

Midwest Grazing Exchange Website Connects Landowners with Livestock
The Midwest Grazing Exchange, created by the Midwest Perennial Forage Working Group, is a free matchmaking service that aims to connect graziers and landowners. Graziers can search for forage to graze and landowners can search for livestock to graze their land in a six-state region that includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin. The site allows visitors to create and search listings and find information on grazing contracts and regenerative grazing.
Related ATTRA Publication: Grazing Contracts for Livestock

USDA Releases Environmental Quality Incentives Program Final Rule
USDA published the final rule for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program update as directed by the 2018 Farm Bill. The changes include higher payment caps for producers participating in the Organic Initiative, advance payments for historically underserved producers, and language specifically including soil health and weather and drought resilience in the national priorities. In addition, the Conservation Innovation Grants program was changed to include field research and lower matching funds requirements for historically underserved producers.

Minnesota Announces Members of Emerging Farmers' Working Group
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced the appointment of 17 members to the new Emerging Farmers' Working Group. The group will advise the MDA and Minnesota Legislature on advancing the success and sustainability of farmers who traditionally face barriers to building profitable agricultural businesses. Emerging Farmers are defined as women, veterans, persons with disabilities, American Indian/Alaskan Native, communities of color, young, and urban farmers.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Brighter Future Microgrant Program
Tillamook and American Farmland Trust's Brighter Future Microgrant Program will assist farmers in successfully launching, growing, and sustaining farms in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, changing markets, severe weather and climate change, and other forces impacting the food and agricultural system. Grants up to $5,000 can be used for farm equipment, infrastructure, and/or professional services. Eligible applicants and proposed projects must be located within specified counties around the following cities: Los Angeles, Portland (OR), Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, Washington DC, New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Hartford/Springfield, Atlanta, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fort Lauderdale/Miami, and Orlando.
Qualifying applications will be reviewed and awarded in the order they were received.

Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program: Dairy and Agriculture/Working Lands
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets re-launched the Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program (VCAAP) Dairy Application and the VCAAP Agriculture/Working Lands Application, to address the COVID-19 pandemic impacts on agricultural communities. Eligible applicants with a net business profit between March 1 and August 1, 2020, are no longer disqualified from the Agriculture & Working Lands Application. Eligible sole proprietors are no longer disqualified because they did not file a W-2 form, and a business may now apply for more than one State grant funded by Coronavirus Relief Funds.
The deadline for both applications is November 15, 2020, but applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are expended.

Michigan Rural Development Fund Grants
The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development is offering Rural Development Fund Grants. Funds are available for projects that address expansion and sustainability of land-based industries; worker training related to land-based industries; and energy, transportation, communications, water, and wastewater infrastructure to benefit rural communities and micropolitan statistical areas. Individuals, organizations, businesses, local governments, federally recognized Tribes, and educational institutions are eligible to apply for matching funds up to $100,000. The total allotment for funding is approximately $1.4 million.
Proposals are due by November 19, 2020.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Women, Food, and Agriculture Network Annual Conference
November 6-7, 2020
Online
Women, Food, and Agriculture Network is holding its 2020 Annual Conference online with the web platform Whova. The theme is "Cultivating (Bio)diversity: Seeding Our stories, Growing Our power." The agenda offers 17 different workshops, affinity groups, and more. The conference provides a platform to advocate and agitate for social transformation in our lives, communities, and shared work.

Tilth Conference
November 9-10, 2020
Online

At this virtual Tilth Conference
, farmers, food system professionals, researchers, and educators have the opportunity to learn from one another and share best practices, catch up with old friends, and make new connections. Topics include crop and livestock production, pest and weed management, marketing, certifications, land access and opportunities, and challenges in sustainable and organic agriculture, covering a range of scales, experience levels, and interests.

New Hampshire Direct Marketing Conference
November 9 and 16, 2020
Online

The 12th New Hampshire Direct Marketing Conference, "Marketing Your Agriculture Business in the New Normal," will be held virtually via a Zoom meeting over two free sessions. It will bring together a breadth of speakers addressing issues around the themes of innovation, trust, communication, and hope.

>>More Events

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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page 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.

Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

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New ATTRA Video
Is It Time to Scale Up?
(three-part series with Ellen Polishuk)

Question of the Week
How long should a pasture be rested to ensure that Barber Pole Worm has died off?

Ask an Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online or by calling 1-800-346-9140

Integrated Livestock and Crops Webinar
October 29, 2020
Last chance to register for this free virtual workshop!

ATTRA Spanish Newsletter
Subscribe to Cosecha Mensual (Monthly Harvest), ATTRA's Spanish-language e-newsletter

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