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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 12, 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.

News & Resources

  • Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs Available from NSAC
  • Organic Federation of Canada Explores Certification Alternatives for Small-Scale Farmers
  • Open-Access PlantVillage Offers Food-Crop Knowledge
  • USDA Seeks Comments on New Conservation Stewardship Rule
  • National Young Farmers Coalition Releases Film Highlighting Colorado Basin Water Stewards
  • University of Mississippi Center for Population Studies Conducting Sustainable and Resilient Agriculture Survey

Funding Opportunities

  • WaterSMART: Water and Energy Efficiency Grants
  • Veteran Scholarships for Southern SAWG Conference
  • California Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference
  • Great Plains Growers Conference
  • New Mexico Sustainable Agriculture Conference

News & Resources

Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs Available from NSAC
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has released its 2014 Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs. This free, digital guide offers plain-language explanations of the dozens of federal programs and policies most important to sustainable agriculture and how farmers, ranchers, and grassroots organizations nationwide can access them.

Organic Federation of Canada Explores Certification Alternatives for Small-Scale Farmers
The Organic Federation of Canada's Working Group on Small Scale Organic Certification (WGSSOC) has been exploring why many small-scale producers choose not to certify as organic. A 2014 survey revealed that the current "one size fits all" model of organic certification is often not feasible for small-scale operators. WGSSOC has drafted two organic certification models that aim to be attainable for a small-scale producer focusing mainly on direct sales: the Peer Certification Model and the Self-Declaration Model. WGSSOC is currently collecting feedback on these models.

Open-Access PlantVillage Offers Food-Crop Knowledge
An open-access site called PlantVillage is offering plant and plant-disease knowledge to farmers and growers around the globe. Developed by Penn State biologists, PlantVillage includes a library of science-based information that can be accessed easily on mobile devices, covering 153 crops and 2,000 plant diseases. Users can also seek information and solutions to perplexing questions through a moderated forum.

USDA Seeks Comments on New Conservation Stewardship Rule
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced proposed changes to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). USDA published an interim final rule containing the statutory changes to CSP in the Federal Register on November 5, 2014. USDA is seeking public comment on the rule through January 5, 2015.

National Young Farmers Coalition Releases Film Highlighting Colorado Basin Water Stewards
The National Young Farmers Coalition has released a short film titled Resilient: Soil, Water and the New Stewards of the American West. Within the context of historic drought and increasing urban demand, this online video highlights the work of innovative farmers and ranchers across western Colorado. They are adapting to a drier climate by building soil, enhancing irrigation efficiency, and saving water, all while forging resilience.

University of Mississippi Center for Population Studies Conducting Sustainable and Resilient Agriculture Survey
The University of Mississippi Center for Population Studies and Delta Land & Community, Inc. are inviting participation in an online survey of agricultural producers, businesses, and resource professionals. They would like to know about experiences and perceptions concerning barriers and opportunities for sustainable and resilient agricultural systems in the southern United States.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

WaterSMART: Water and Energy Efficiency Grants
U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation is inviting States, Tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, and other organizations with water or power delivery to apply for a cost-share on projects that conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the use of renewable energy, and improve energy efficiency. Up to $300,000 will be available for projects taking up to two years to complete. Up to $1 million will be available for larger, phased projects.
Proposals must be submitted by January 14, 2015.

Veteran Scholarships for Southern SAWG Conference
Limited scholarships are available for military veterans who would like to attend Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group's annual Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference, January 14-17 in Mobile, Alabama. The University of Arkansas and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) are partnering to offer veteran scholarships that cover general registration for the conference.
The deadline to apply is December 12, 2014.

California Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting proposals for the 2015 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Grant awards will range from $50,000 to $450,000 per project and projects may last for up to two years and nine months. Non-profit and for-profit organizations; local, state, federal, and tribal government entities; and public and private colleges and universities are eligible to apply.
Concept proposals are due by December 5, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference
January 7-9, 2015
Springfield, Illinois
This major event includes pre-conference workshops on pollinators, high-tunnel production, and wholesale marketing, as well as conference tracks on agritourism, fruits, vegetables, herbs, organic, and emerging issues.

Great Plains Growers Conference
January 8-10, 2015
St. Joseph, Missouri

This conference for beginning and experienced growers features presentations by knowledgeable speakers from throughout the nation. The conference showcases educational information and experience from five states: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota. There is also a trade show.

New Mexico Sustainable Agriculture Conference
December 17, 2014
Roswell, New Mexico

Topics to be addressed at this event include targeted grazing, drought management strategies, alternative crops, and sustaining chile through brand recognition. The conference is presented by New Mexico State University and Western SARE.

>> 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.

Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

© 2014 NCAT

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New ATTRA Publication
Sustainable Weed Management for Small and Medium-Scale Farms

Question of the Week
Is it better to use pelleted or loose chicken manure to fertilize Bermuda grass hay stands?

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Submit questions to our professional staff online

New ATTRA Video
Selling Local Food to Schools: USDA Guidelines

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