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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 18, 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

  • FDA Finalizes Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Rule
  • Foraging Native Bees Exposed to Pesticides, Says USGS
  • FDA Requests Comments on Use of the Term "Natural" on Food Labeling
  • USDA Investing in Monarch Butterfly Habitat Improvements
  • National Standard for Sustainable Agriculture Approved by American National Standard Institute
  • Organic Farming Research Foundation Reports Grant Impacts

Funding Opportunities

  • Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
  • Fresh, Local & Equitable: Food as a Creative Platform for Neighborhood Revitalization
  • California Small Farm Conference Scholarships

Coming Events

  • Cultivate the Chesapeake Foodshed
  • GrassWorks Grazing Conference
  • Nevada County's Sustainable Food and Farm Conference

News & Resources

FDA Finalizes Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Rule
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finalized Food Safety Modernization Act rules that establish enforceable safety standards for produce farms. The Produce Safety rule establishes science-based standards for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding produce. Standards in the final rule include requirements for water quality, employee health and hygiene, wild and domesticated animals, biological soil amendments of animal origin, and equipment, tools, and buildings.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has released its comments on the newly finalized Produce Rule.

Foraging Native Bees Exposed to Pesticides, Says USGS
A U.S. Geological Survey study of pesticide residues on field-caught bees showed that native bees are exposed to neonicotinoid insecticides and other pesticides. The neonicotinoid insecticide thiamethoxam was found in 46% of composite bee samples, even in bees caught in grasslands with no known direct pesticide applications. This study raises questions about the potential for unintended pesticide exposures where various land uses overlap or are in proximity to one another.
Related ATTRA Publication: Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees

FDA Requests Comments on Use of the Term "Natural" on Food Labeling
FDA is asking the public to provide information and comments on the use of the term "natural" in the labeling of human food products. Specifically, FDA asks for information and comment on questions such as whether it is appropriate to define the term "natural," how the agency should define it, and how the agency should determine appropriate use of the term on food labels. FDA is accepting public comments by mail or online.

USDA Investing in Monarch Butterfly Habitat Improvements
USDA has announced a new conservation effort to help agricultural producers provide food and habitat for monarch butterflies in the Midwest and southern Great Plains. NRCS will provide $4 million in technical and financial assistance to help producers and conservation partners plant milkweed and nectar-rich plants along field borders, in buffers along waterways or around wetlands, in pastures, and in other suitable locations. Additionally, NRCS is offering support through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) to establish monarch habitat.

National Standard for Sustainable Agriculture Approved by American National Standard Institute
The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) has approved the LEO-4000 American National Standard for Sustainable Agriculture, developed by Leonardo Academy and the LEO-4000 Standard Development Committee. LEO-4000 currently addresses agricultural crops. Standard users must register with the Leonardo Academy and use an approved performance verifier to verify level of sustainable performance.

Organic Farming Research Foundation Reports Grant Impacts
A new Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) report, Impacts of OFRF Grants 2006-2014, offers a detailed review of OFRF-funded research and education projects. The report provides an overview of 106 grants and identifies emerging research needs. Both the full report and an executive summary are available online.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
NIFA requests applications to support the delivery of education, mentoring, and technical assistance programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers with entering, establishing, building, and managing successful farm and ranch enterprises. The anticipated amount available is approximately $18 million. The recipient must be a collaborative, State, tribal, local, or regionally based network or partnership of public or private entities.
Applications are due January 21, 2016.

Fresh, Local & Equitable: Food as a Creative Platform for Neighborhood Revitalization
This Kresge Foundation funding opportunity is designed to support food-oriented initiatives that contribute to economic revitalization, cultural expression, and health in low-income communities. Kresge will award up to 20 planning grants of as much as $75,000 each. Organizations and collaborations that lead food-oriented development initiatives in economically distressed urban neighborhoods are eligible.
Proposals are due by January 15, 2016.

California Small Farm Conference Scholarships
The California Small Farm Conference awards scholarships to small farmers and ranchers, farmer/rancher employees, and farmers market managers. Scholarship recipients will pay a reduced registration fee of $100 to attend the conference March 5-8, 2016, in Sacramento.
Applications are due December 4, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Cultivate the Chesapeake Foodshed
January 14-16, 2016
Hyattsville, Maryland

Future Harvest CASA's 17th annual conference offers 10 pre-conference workshops, seven conference tracks, and three keynote speakers, as well as local food tasting, interest gatherings, and more.

GrassWorks Grazing Conference
January 14-16, 2015
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

"Pastoralism in the Pastures" is the theme of this 24th annual conference. It offers dairy and silvopasture tracks, among a wide variety of general conference sessions. There will also be a poster session and trade show.

Nevada County's Sustainable Food and Farm Conference
January 8-10, 2016
Grass Valley, California

This conference will bring together speakers, farming-related businesses, and organizations for a weekend of lectures, a food and farming exposition, and workshops for all levels of farming and ranching. Keynotes are Paul Stamets, Gabe Brown, and Jean-Martin Fortier.

>> 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.

© 2015 NCAT

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New ATTRA Video
Tom Schneider: Clean Power Plan—Opportunities for Montana

Question of the Week
Where can I find more information on approved organic soil amendments?

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Veteran Scholarships for Southern SAWG Conference
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