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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 5, 2014

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 an Agriculture Specialist/Outreach Coordinator who can create and distribute outreach communications for communities in the Gulf States region. The position will be located at the NCAT office in Jackson, Mississippi. Applications will be accepted through November 29, 2014.

News & Resources

  • Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches, and Communities Updated
  • Sustainable Strawberry E-Book Released
  • New Report Finds Farmers Harmed by Decline in Nation's Public Seed Supply
  • Science of Soil Health Videos Online
  • New Guide Available on Matched Savings Accounts for Beginning Farmers
  • Toolkit Identifies USDA Assistance for Small and Mid-Sized Meat Producers

Funding Opportunities

  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program Honey Bee Habitat
  • California State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) Round II
  • New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program

Coming Events

  • Growing Pennsylvania's Organic Farms Conference
  • Entrepreneurial Farm Business Intensive
  • Small Flock Poultry Conference

News & Resources

Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches, and Communities Updated
The newly updated Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches, and Communities: A Guide to Federal Programs for Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry, Entrepreneurship, Conservation, Food Systems, and Community Development is a one-stop guide with details about federal programs and how to apply for them. The publication provides descriptions, eligibility, and application requirements for nearly 70 individual programs. The publication is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was produced in cooperation with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC).

Sustainable Strawberry E-Book Released
The National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative has released a new e-book on sustainable strawberry production, Moving the Needle: Accomplishments of the National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative 2013-2014. The 60-page digital publication distills the results of 20 sustainability research projects and links to more than 70 videos, tools, and publications created to improve the sustainability of U.S. strawberry production.

New Report Finds Farmers Harmed by Decline in Nation's Public Seed Supply
The proceedings from the 2014 Summit on Seeds and Breeds for 21st Century Agriculture were published by the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI). In the proceedings, RAFI and other key stakeholders within the agricultural research community express their increased concerns about farmers' limited access to seed, the narrowing of our country's agricultural plant and animal genetic diversity, consolidation within the seed industry, the decline in public cultivar development, and how these trends are impacting the ability of farmers to confront the unprecedented challenges of climate change and global food security.

Science of Soil Health Videos Online
A new series of videos, called "The Science of Soil Health," is designed to provide new insight into how to improve soil health while benefiting the environment and lowering production costs. The series includes interviews with some of the nation's leading experts in soil biology, agronomy, entomology, and soil ecology. The whole video series can be viewed on the USDA-NRCS website.

New Guide Available on Matched Savings Accounts for Beginning Farmers
A collaborative of 16 organizations has recently published a new step-by-step manual, A Guide to Developing and Operating an Agricultural Individual Development Account (IDA) Program. Readers will learn the basics of IDAs and find a comprehensive collection of resources that cover many aspects of IDA program development. The Guide is a resource for organizations interested in starting their own IDA programs. The 164-page guide is online in PDF.

Toolkit Identifies USDA Assistance for Small and Mid-Sized Meat Producers
The USDA Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration has released a new 24-page toolkit for use by small and mid-sized livestock and poultry producers. This toolkit highlights USDA resources for producer grants, loans, and technical assistance, with examples of meat producers who have utilized these resources.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Environmental Quality Incentives Program Honey Bee Habitat
USDA is offering more than $4 million to help farmers and ranchers in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin improve the health of honey bees. The assistance will provide guidance and support to implement conservation practices that will provide safe and diverse food sources for honey bees. Funding will be provided to producers through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Applications are due November 21, 2014.

California State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) Round II
California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications for an estimated $10 million in competitive grant funding for agricultural operations to implement water-conservation measures that result in increased water efficiency and reduced greenhouse-gas emissions. The maximum award is $150,000.
Applications are due by November 10, 2014.

New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program
The New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program provides loan-forgiveness awards to individuals who obtain an undergraduate degree from an approved New York State college or university and agree to operate a farm in New York State, on a full-time basis, for five years. The maximum lifetime award is $50,000.
Applications are due by December 15, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Growing Pennsylvania's Organic Farms Conference
December 9-10, 2014
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
This first annual educational farm conference is focused on advanced organic production practices. Sessions will address animal health, dairy, pastured livestock, fruits, vegetables, soil health, and pest and weed control.

Entrepreneurial Farm Business Intensive
December 13-14, 2014
Sebastopol, California

Join the Farmers Guild, along with an all-star line-up of agricultural advocates, educators, and experts, for a weekend-long business intensive to prepare new and aspiring entrepreneurs who aim to make an honest living growing our food.

Small Flock Poultry Conference
December 11, 2014
Cocoa, Florida

The University of Florida IFAS Extension and the Central Florida Livestock Agents Group present a day-long educational program. Topics to be addressed include nutrition, predator protection, egg production, regulations for egg sales, and more.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest Archives
Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest newsletters are available online.

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.

© 2014 NCAT

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Updated ATTRA Publication
Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities

Question of the Week
How can I determine ripeness of an unknown pear on my property?

Ask a Sustainable Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online

New ATTRA Video
Vilicus Farm Internships

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