Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 30, 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
- USDA Invites Public Comment on Conservation Practice Standards
- NIFA Announces Funding to Launch Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network
- U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program Established
- Soil Health Video Series Posted
- Alabama Extension Launches Farming Basics App
- Minnesota Sustainable Agriculture Projects Showcased in Greenbook
- Future Organic Farmer Grants: Middle and High School Students
- Vermont Farm to School and Child Nutrition Grant
- Minnesota Livestock Investment Grants
- Perennial Farm Gathering
- Small Farm Tech Expo
- Food & Farm Forum
News & Resources
USDA Invites Public Comment on Conservation Practice Standards
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking public comments on 13 updated conservation practice standards, as part of a Farm Bill-mandated process gathering input on 94 standards. These 13 standards provide guidelines for planning, designing, installing, operating, and maintaining conservation practices relating to irrigation, deep tillage, contour buffer strips, waste treatment, and other topics. Comments on these updated standards are due November 21, 2019.
NIFA Announces Funding to Launch Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced that four regional centers will receive $1.92 million to help launch the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. Funding authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill will help provide stress-assistance programs to support individuals engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations. Through the network, agriculture producers and their families will have greater opportunities to find help in their communities and states.
U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program Established
USDA has announced the establishment of the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program, to create a consistent regulatory framework for hemp production. An interim final rule formalizing the program will be published in the Federal Register, allowing hemp to be grown under federally-approved plans and making hemp producers eligible for agricultural programs. The rule includes provisions for USDA to approve hemp-production plans developed by states and Indian tribes. More information is available on the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program web page.
Soil Health Video Series Posted
A series of 10- to 15-minute, science-centered "PED Talks" on soil health is now available from the Conservation Technology Information Center, Soil Health Institute, Soil Health Partnership, Soil Science Society of America, Soil and Water Conservation Society, and USDA-NRCS. Named for soil peds, or aggregated particles, the talks combine explanations of soil health, how we can improve it, and the progress that's being made to ensure soil health.
Related ATTRA Tutorial: Soil Health
Alabama Extension Launches Farming Basics App
The new Farming Basics app from Alabama Extension is an information gateway for small and beginning farmers that serves as a pocket guide to help growers answer everyday questions in the field. The app includes information about major insect pests and diseases, horticultural crops, and general management tactics. The app also features a fertilizer and irrigation calculator to help farmers save on inputs.
Related ATTRA Resources: Beginning Farmer
Minnesota Sustainable Agriculture Projects Showcased in Greenbook
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has awarded Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grants totaling $241,009 to nine farmers and researchers. Descriptions of these grants, along with annual and final progress reports of grantees during the past three years, are featured in the new Greenbook. Project topics include cover cropping, soil fertility, fruits and vegetables, alternative markets or specialty crops, livestock, and energy.
>>More Breaking News
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Future Organic Farmer Grants: Middle and High School Students
The CCOF Foundation offers grants to help middle and high school students conduct FFA SAE projects using organic production methods. Applicants must be students in grades 7-12 who are current FFA members planning to do a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project. Proposed SAE projects must follow USDA organic production standards. The program offers a total of 33 grants of $1,000 each.
Applications are due by November 15, 2019.
Vermont Farm to School and Child Nutrition Grant
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets is accepting applications for the Farm to School Child Nutrition Grant. This grant helps schools and early childcare providers develop farm to school programs that will sustain relationships with local farmers and producers, enrich the educational experience of students, improve the health of Vermont children, and enhance Vermont's agricultural economy. The grant provides $15,000 of financial support and technical assistance to each recipient.
Applications must be submitted by November 21, 2019.
Minnesota Livestock Investment Grants
Minnesota livestock farmers and ranchers seeking to improve their operations are encouraged to apply for the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation Livestock Investment Grant program. These grants encourage long-term industry development through investment in facilities, infrastructure, and equipment. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture anticipates awarding $768,000, in grants ranging from $400 to $25,000.
Proposals must be received by December 18, 2019.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Perennial Farm Gathering
December 6-7, 2019
The Savanna Institute's Perennial Farm Gathering features speakers, panels, and workshops with Midwest agroforestry experts. Session topics include chestnut, hazelnut, and elderberry production, silvopasture, financing perennial agriculture, land access and land tenure agreements, online marketing, beneficial insects, and more.
Small Farm Tech Expo
December 8-9, 2019
Join Community Alliance with Family Farmers and the Farmers Guild for the Small Farm Tech Expo, showcasing what's possible for small-acreage and sustainable agriculture. Topics range from cost-effective tools to software that streamlines direct sales, and from practical tractor implements to data management.
Food & Farm Forum
December 6-7, 2019
Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network presents the Food & Farm Forum and Youth Food & Farm Forum. The agenda includes field trips and sessions on farming and gardening, community food systems, and homesteading and green living.
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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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