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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 4, 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.

News & Resources

  • Humane Farming Mentorship Program Accepting Applications
  • SARE Revises Bulletin on Pest Management
  • Companies Commit to Purchasing Agricultural Carbon Credits
  • International Team Proposes Strategy for Sequestering Carbon and Increasing Crop Yields
  • Deadline Nears for Submitting Agricultural Innovation Comments to USDA
  • Western Illinois University Project Focuses on Tomato and Pepper Varieties for High Tunnels

Funding Opportunities

  • Western SARE Professional Development Program
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program in Wisconsin
  • Minnesota Rapid Response Mini-Grant for Livestock Processing

Coming Events

  • Livestock and Crop Integration Q & A
  • Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference
  • Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health Conference

News & Resources

Humane Farming Mentorship Program Accepting Applications
Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) is accepting applications for its Humane Farming Mentorship Program until December 31, 2020. The program, from the end of February 2021 to February 2022, is for beginning livestock and poultry farmers seeking personalized guidance from an experienced farmer using humane practices. Farmers who currently raise animals and have at least one year of experience are eligible to participate as mentees, for $200. Mentors are also sought and will be compensated $300 for participating.

SARE Revises Bulletin on Pest Management
A newly revised bulletin from SARE, A Whole-Farm Approach to Managing Pests, discusses ecological approaches to pest management and highlights cases of farmers using innovative methods to manage pests. Part one examines how biodiversity and biological control drive management practices that can boost the natural defenses of your farm. The second part puts those tools into practice by providing reliable and profitable strategies to successfully manage pests. The 16-page publication is free.

Related ATTRA Resources: Pest Management

Companies Commit to Purchasing Agricultural Carbon Credits
Indigo Agriculture has announced the first commitments from large global brands to purchase verified agricultural carbon credits through Indigo Carbon. Companies including Boston Consulting Group, Shopify, Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, Givewith, IBM, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, and New Belgium Brewing committed to a credit purchase price of $20/tonne of carbon dioxide equivalents sequestered and abated in the 2020 growing season. Net on-farm GHG emissions will be measured and verified.

Related ATTRA Publication: Payments for Ecosystem Services

International Team Proposes Strategy for Sequestering Carbon and Increasing Crop Yields
An international team of scientists laid out a strategy for sequestering carbon in soil to fight climate change. Their work says that carbon sequestration in agricultural soil could offset a third of greenhouse gas emissions and would result in increased crop yields, as well. The strategy set forth by the scientists calls for simple, locally adapted actions such as mulching, adding biochar, and increasing plant growth through accurate liming, fertilization, and irrigation.

Deadline Nears for Submitting Agricultural Innovation Comments to USDA
As part of the Agriculture Innovation Agenda being developed to assist farmers in accessing and adopting new approaches, USDA is requesting input on the most innovative technologies, practices, and management tools that can be readily deployed through one or more USDA programs. USDA will consider comments received by November 9, 2020.

Western Illinois University Project Focuses on Tomato and Pepper Varieties for High Tunnels
Western Illinois University Assistant Professor Shelby Henning leads a project that is testing varieties of peppers and tomatoes to determine which do best in high tunnels. Researchers planted 22 varieties of tomatoes and 15 varieties of peppers in a high tunnel facility at the University's research farm. Results will be published in the Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News, a free-access, online newsletter for commercial growers.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Tomato Production

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Western SARE Professional Development Program
Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is accepting proposals for Professional Development Program Grants aimed at helping Cooperative Extension Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other agricultural professionals in the Western Region increase their understanding and proficiency in sustainable agriculture. Professional Development Program Grants are designed to educate agricultural professionals about sustainable agriculture so they, in turn, can educate and train farmers and ranchers.
Proposals are due by November 12, 2020.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program in Wisconsin
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance through NRCS to agricultural and forestry producers. Projects address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, and improved or created wildlife habitat. Together, NRCS and producers invest in solutions that conserve natural resources for the future while also improving agricultural operations. Special initiatives this year in Wisconsin include honey bees, landscape initiatives, soil health, organic, on-farm energy, high tunnel, and others.
Apply by November 20, 2020, for 2021 funding.

Minnesota Rapid Response Mini-Grant for Livestock Processing
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is offering grants aimed at helping livestock processing plants and producers increase capacity for slaughter, processing, and storage in the wake of supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rapid Response Mini-Grant for Livestock Processing offers matching grants from $1,000 to $5,000 to offset the cost of expenses such as adding coolers, refrigeration units, slaughter, and processing equipment. Eligible applicants include processors of meat, poultry, eggs, and milk, and livestock producers who need storage capacity for processed products until existing markets return or new markets are developed.
Applications will be accepted until November 30, 2020.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Livestock and Crop Integration Q & A
November 17 and 23, 2020
Online
This two-part series from NCAT offers an opportunity to hear the stories of producers who are integrating livestock with crops and ask them questions. The first session focuses on integrating livestock with specialty crops. The second session is on integrating livestock with field crops. Watch for registration information from NCAT.

Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference
November 18-19, 2020
Online

The Farmer Veteran Coalition's annual stakeholder conference, "Veterans Farming through Adversity," will be available virtually this year. The agenda includes plenaries, breakout sessions, networking opportunities, and more.

Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health Conference
November 17-20, 2020
Online

This virtual conference will include live-streamed presentations every morning, pre-recorded presentations and posters, and online discussion. Daily themes include pandemic challenges, challenges for youth and aging farmers, challenges for specific audiences, and the challenge of changing behaviors.

>>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.

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© 2020 NCAT

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Solarization, Biosolarization, and the Pandemic

Question of the Week
What postharvest diseases affect grapes grown in a high tunnel?

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