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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 25, 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

  • NRCS Releases Organic Farming Handbook
  • Cover Crops Have Potential to Make Farms Climate Resilient, Says New Report
  • SARE Offers New Bulletin on Cover Cropping for Pollinators
  • New Organic Fact Sheets Available Online
  • Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Offers $350 Million in Funding
  • USDA Announces Farm to School Program Grants

Funding Opportunities

  • Frontera Farmer Foundation Grants
  • Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30x20 Producer Grant
  • Missouri Beef Initiative Grants

Coming Events

  • EcoFarm Conference
  • NPSAS Winter Conference
  • Indiana Horticultural Congress

News & Resources

NRCS Releases Organic Farming Handbook
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has released the new National Organic Farming Handbook. The handbook describes organic systems and identifies key resources to guide conservation planning and implementation on organic farms. Although it is designed for NRCS staff members, producers may also find the handbook useful. The National Center for Appropriate Technology is one of the partner organizations that brought its expertise to the creation of the handbook.

Cover Crops Have Potential to Make Farms Climate Resilient, Says New Report
A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says cover crops can suck tons of carbon pollution from the air, significantly cut crop losses, and prevent the loss of a trillion gallons of water. Climate-Ready Soil: How Cover Crops Can Make Farms More Resilient to Extreme Weather Risks examines the carbon capture and water-holding benefits of soil stewardship methods to improve soil health in the 10 highest-value-producing agricultural states.

SARE Offers New Bulletin on Cover Cropping for Pollinators
SARE has released a new 16-page publication, Cover Cropping for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects, available online or in print. The publication includes information on pollinators and beneficial insects, including details on cover crop species and their insect attractiveness. It also addresses the limitations of cover crops, describes relevant crop-insurance regulations, and gives guidance on reducing harm to beneficial insects.

New Organic Fact Sheets Available Online
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service's National Organic Program has posted two new two-page fact sheets. Making the Transition to Organic Production & Handling provides resources that help producers and handlers learn about transitioning their operations to organic. Technical & Financial Assistance for Organic Producers outlines technical, educational, and financial resources available to organic producers through USDA agencies and non-profit organizations.

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Offers $350 Million in Funding
USDA has announced the availability of $350 million to help landowners protect and restore key farmlands, grasslands, and wetlands through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). ACEP provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits. Application due dates vary by state.

USDA Announces Farm to School Program Grants
The USDA Farm to School Program is awarding $4.8 million in grants for 74 projects that support efforts to connect child nutrition programs with local farmers and ranchers. Awards up to $100,000 are being distributed in four different grant categories: Planning, Implementation, Support Service, and Training. A list of recipients is available online.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Frontera Farmer Foundation Grants
The Frontera Farmer Foundation will award grants up to $12,000 for capital improvements to small and medium-size, individually owned farms that sell to customers in the Chicago area. Farmers must have been in business for at least three years and must demonstrate how the grant will improve both their farm's viability and the availability of locally grown food products in the Chicago area.
Applications must be received by February 27, 2016.

Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30x20 Producer Grant
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is accepting applications for Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30x20 producer grants. This is a flexible, matching grant of up to $5,000, available to producers to facilitate operational changes, improve profitability, and increase efficiency.
Applications are due by December 18, 2015.

Missouri Beef Initiative Grants
Missouri Agricultural Foundation is accepting applications for grants to grow and enhance the Missouri beef industry. Grant categories include covered feeding facilities, beef research, fescue tolerance, innovative solutions and economic impact studies, and small to medium-size beef processor modernization.
Applications must be received by December 7, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

EcoFarm Conference
January 20-23, 2016
Pacific Grove, California

"Regenerating Our Lands and Water" offers pre-conference events, workshops, and plenaries. The conference supports individual and organizational efforts, and it has an expanded emphasis on discussion groups and peer-to-peer sharing forums. The Organic Agriculture Research Symposium will be held as a pre-conference event.

NPSAS Winter Conference
January 21-23, 2016
Aberdeen, South Dakota

The 37th winter conference of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society is titled "Growing for the Future." The schedule includes half-day workshops and a variety of conference sessions on soil, production, livestock, and business topics.

Indiana Horticultural Congress
January 19-21, 2016
Indianapolis, Indiana

The Indiana Horticultural Congress is an educational meeting and trade show designed to meet the needs of fruit, vegetable, wine, organics, and specialty-crop growers and marketers in Indiana and surrounding states.

>> More Events

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New ATTRA Publication
Soil Health and Livestock: ATTRA Resources

Question of the Week
What types of poultry housing provide protection from predators and are also compatible with a permaculture system?

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