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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 30, 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

  • Report Highlights USDA Agroforestry Efforts
  • Growing Healthier Food Would Benefit Farmers, Consumers, Rural Communities, Says Report
  • Publication Offers Guidance for Conservation Buffers in Organic Systems
  • National Soil Project Invites Organic Submissions for Carbon Testing
  • CSP Payments Ready, Says USDA
  • Profitability of Specialty Crops Examined in Minnesota

Funding Opportunities

  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program
  • Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Program
  • Tennessee Agricultural Producer Association Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Sustainable Agriculture Pest Management Conference
  • Fearless Farm Finances Training
  • Carolina Meat Conference

News & Resources

Report Highlights USDA Agroforestry Efforts
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released Agroforestry: USDA Reports to America, a report that details how agroforestry practices are helping farmers, ranchers, and woodland owners enhance agricultural productivity, protect the environment, and increase profits. USDA wants to start a national conversation about agroforestry with producers, landowners, communities, and young people. The report is available online.

Growing Healthier Food Would Benefit Farmers, Consumers, Rural Communities, Says Report
A new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), The Healthy Farmland Diet: How Growing Less Corn Would Improve Our Health and Help America's Heartland, uses economic modeling to estimate the impacts of dietary shifts on farm production. If Americans ate fruits and vegetables at USDA-recommended levels, U.S. farmers would grow 88% more of these foods. This in turn would drive changes in farming practices that would build healthier soil, improve air and water quality, and increase access to fresh, affordable, healthy foods in farm communities, says the report.

Publication Offers Guidance for Conservation Buffers in Organic Systems
A newly released publication, Conservation Buffers in Organic Systems: Western
State Implementation Guide
, provides guidance on installing buffers in organic production systems to meet the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) regulations. This resource is part of a five-guide series that will enable the Environmental Quality Incentives (EQIP) Program to be more responsive to and valuable for organic farmers. The guide is the result of a partnership between Oregon Tilth's Organic Conservation Program, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), the Xerces Society, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), funded by Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE).

National Soil Project Invites Organic Submissions for Carbon Testing
Phase 2 of The National Soil Project at Northeastern University in Boston is measuring the sequestered carbon contents of organic farm top soils. The carbon content of these soils will be compared with sequestered carbon already measured for conventional farm top soils to see if organic farming increases sequestration. Organic farmers are invited to send 50-gram samples for analysis: resulting data are sent to donors at no charge and added to the national database. Complete information is available online.

CSP Payments Ready, Says USDA
Farmers waiting for their Conservation Security or Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) payments should receive them in the coming days, according to USDA. The shutdown of the federal government delayed some of the $907 million in payments to CSP participants who have enrolled millions of acres to improve the overall conservation performance of their operations.

Profitability of Specialty Crops Examined in Minnesota
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has released a report detailing the financial performance of nine types of specialty crops in Minnesota, along with detailed information on their costs of production. Minnesota Specialty Crop Farm Performance 2009-12 includes financial data for apples, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapes, pumpkins, raspberries, strawberries, sweet corn, and assorted vegetables. After production costs were accounted for, strawberries and assorted vegetables proved to be the two most profitable crops.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Environmental Quality Incentives Program
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers 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. NRCS is accepting applications for fiscal year 2014. A number of states have upcoming ranking period deadlines.
In Ohio, those that apply by November 15, 2013, will receive priority.
In Kansas, the next application evaluation cutoff date is November 15, 2013.
In Illinois, the next application evaluation cutoff date is November 15, 2013.

Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Program
The application period is now open for 2014 Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund grants in North Carolina. The grants are $8,000 each or $10,000 for a collaborative group project. North Carolina farmers earning at least 50% of their personal income from their farm operations in one of 36 designated counties may apply for a grant.
The deadline for all applications is December 4, 2013.

Tennessee Agricultural Producer Association Grant Program
The Statewide Agricultural Producer Association Grant Program provides assistance for activities of agricultural producer associations that contribute to the education, training, and marketing skills of Tennessee agricultural producers, as well as developing markets for farm products. Grants are available to qualified statewide agricultural producer associations in amounts up to $5,000.
Applications are due by November 22, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Sustainable Agriculture Pest Management Conference
December 6-7, 2013
San Luis Obispo, California

This conference provides active industry professionals, such as pest control advisors, consultants, and growers, with information on innovative strategies for controlling pests using sustainable agricultural practices.

Fearless Farm Finances Training
December 6-7, 2013
East Troy, Wisconsin

Badgerland Financial, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, and University of Wisconsin-Extension are offering this training for farmers. The training will help attendees become comfortable with the basics of farm financial management and understand how it can help them achieve and increase profitability.

Carolina Meat Conference
December 9-10, 2013
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The Carolina Meat Conference is a gathering of professionals from all sectors of the local and niche meat industry for two days of panel discussions, presentations, workshops, live butchery, and animal-handling demonstrations. Conference topics include livestock production, meat processing, innovative marketing techniques, and the latest updates on how new regulations will affect small food businesses.

>> More Events

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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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© 2013 NCAT

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