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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 11, 2015

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

  • Scholarships Available for Veterans to Attend Southern SAWG Conference
  • Adaptive Multi-paddock Grazing Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Minnesota Working Lands Conservation Partnership Launched
  • USDA Economic Research Service Reports Organic Field Crop Production Low, But Profitable
  • Resource Guide Offers Best Practices for Outdoor Hog Production
  • Livestock Guardian Dog Guide Released

Funding Opportunities

  • Organic Farming Research Foundation Grants Program
  • Specialty Crop Research Initiative
  • New York State New Farmers Grant Fund

Coming Events

  • Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference
  • Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference
  • New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference

News & Resources

Scholarships Available for Veterans to Attend Southern SAWG Conference
The University of Arkansas and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) are partnering to offer veteran scholarships to attend the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group's (SAWG) annual conference. Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms will take place January 27-30, 2016, in Lexington, Kentucky. Scholarships cover general registration. The deadline to apply is December 11, 2015.

Adaptive Multi-paddock Grazing Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Adaptive multi-paddock grazing can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cow-calf operations on the Southern Great Plains. This type of grazing sequesters carbon in the soil and promotes higher quality grass that reduces methane production, according to a study by Texas A&M AgriLife Research, published in Sustainability. Increasing grass quality and digestibility using multi-paddock grazing could reduce total GHG emissions in the region by as much as 30%, researchers noted.

Minnesota Working Lands Conservation Partnership Launched
The Minnesota AgriGrowth Council and AGree have announced a new partnership that seeks to solve water-quality concerns through collaboration. The Minnesota Working Lands Conservation Partnership (MWLCP) will select pilot watersheds in Minnesota and focus on engaging farmers and the supply chain on a watershed level to develop grassroots solutions to water-quality concerns, establishing metrics for measuring sustainability, and positioning farmers to increase on-farm productivity. Other states are invited to partner with AGree to establish Working Landscape Conservation Partnerships.

USDA Economic Research Service Reports Organic Field Crop Production Low, But Profitable
The USDA publication Amber Waves reported on organic field crop acreage, production, and profits, based on USDA data from 2010, 2009, and 2006. Organic systems had lower yields and higher total economic costs. Even so, organic corn, soybeans, and wheat have been profitable. Adoption of the organic approach among U.S. field crop producers remains at less than 1% of the total acreage of each crop, although organic crop acreage increased from about 1.3 million to almost 3.1 million acres between 2002 and 2011.

Resource Guide Offers Best Practices for Outdoor Hog Production
The Alameda County Conservation Partnership and partners throughout the San Francisco Bay region are working to support outdoor hog producers in implementing best management practices (BMPs) for resource conservation. A resource guide titled Outdoor Hog Production: Best Practices for Resource Conservation in the San Francisco Bay Area is available online. In addition, materials and video from a series of outdoor hog production workshops are being posted online.

Livestock Guardian Dog Guide Released
Texas A&M AgriLife has released a new publication titled Livestock Guardian Dogs. The eight-page reference guide is available free online in PDF. The publication is a guide for sheep and goat producers who are new to using the dogs for flock protection or have had difficulty using guardian dogs in the past.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Organic Farming Research Foundation Grants Program
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) grants program is currently accepting research proposals. OFRF encourages farmers, ranchers, graduate students, early career researchers, veterans, and Extension personnel to consider applying. OFRF will fund projects up to $15,000 for one year. Projects addressing the priority area of soil health and water management are eligible for $20,000 to be spent over two years.
The deadline for proposals is February 8, 2016.

Specialty Crop Research Initiative
NIFA requests pre-applications for $48 million in Specialty Crop Research Initiative funding for fiscal year 2016. Projects will help solve critical U.S. specialty crop issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research and extension activities that use systems-based, trans-disciplinary approaches.
Pre-applications are due by December 3, 2015.

New York State New Farmers Grant Fund
New York State has allocated $1 million for the second round of the New Farmers Grant Fund. This fund provides grants to support beginning farmers who have chosen farming as a career and who materially and substantially participate in the production of an agricultural product on their farm. Grants provide $15,000 to $50,000 in matching funds.
Applications must be postmarked by January 22, 2016.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference
January 6-8, 2016
Springfield, Illinois

This major event offers pre-conference workshops and numerous sessions in conference tracks that include agritourism, fruits, vegetables, herbs, organic, and emerging issues.

Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference
January 7-10, 2015
Savannah, Georgia

This educational conference and trade show offers more than 80 hours of educational sessions addressing food safety concerns, specific commodity issues on production practices and increased yields, and marketing strategies.

New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference
December 15-17, 2015
Manchester, New Hampshire

This event will include more than 25 educational sessions covering major vegetable, berry, and tree-fruit crops. Farmer to Farmer meetings will bring speakers and farmers together for informal, in-depth discussion. There is also an extensive trade show.

>> More Events

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© 2015 NCAT

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