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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 26, 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.

#GivingTuesday is Coming
Join the National Center for Appropriate Technology in supporting #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. #GivingTuesday is set for Tuesday, December 2, 2014, and charities, businesses, community organizations, and individuals are invited to help celebrate generosity and to give.

News & Resources

  • Help Available to Understand FSMA Proposed Rule Changes
  • Cover Crop Survey Reports Yield Boost
  • Veteran Careers in Agriculture Resource Guide Available
  • Interview Series Highlights Agricultural Innovations
  • Grassfed Beef Financial Calculators Available Online
  • Soil Solarization in High Tunnels Possible in a Week, Says Arizona Study

Funding Opportunities

  • Annie's Sustainable Agriculture Scholarships
  • New York State New Farmers Grant Fund
  • Mary Boyer Sustainable Food and Agriculture Grant

Coming Events

  • Future Harvest CASA's Cultivate the Chesapeake Foodshed
  • GrassWorks Annual Grazing Conference
  • Oklahoma & Arkansas Horticulture Industries Show

News & Resources

Help Available to Understand FSMA Proposed Rule Changes
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is accepting comments on proposed changes to four Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) rules until December 15, 2014. To help producers understand the proposed changes, University of Vermont Extension has prepared a Summary of FSMA Supplemental Revisions for Produce Rule. In addition, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has posted its analysis of "The Top 10 Fixes and Fails in FDA's Revised Draft Food Safety Rules." Also, NSAC and others will host a public webinar, "The Food Safety Modernization Act: What the proposed rules mean for farmers and local food," on December 1.

Cover Crop Survey Reports Yield Boost
For the second year in a row, a national survey of farmers has documented a yield boost and other benefits from the use of cover crops in corn and soybeans. The survey, funded by North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) and carried out by the Conservation Technology Information Center, also details the challenges and benefits farmers expect from cover crops, data on the costs of seed and establishment, and insight into how farmers learn to manage cover crops.

Veteran Careers in Agriculture Resource Guide Available
Farmer Veteran Coalition has released Veteran Careers in Agriculture: A Resource Guide. The 40-page PDF publication introduces the Farmer Veteran Coalition and its work, profiles veteran farmers, discusses opportunities for veterans to find employment in agriculture, and offers resources for business planning. It also serves as a directory of agricultural organizations and educational opportunities for farmer veterans.
Related ATTRA Publication: Veteran Resources

Interview Series Highlights Agricultural Innovations
The "FutureFood 2050" publishing initiative of the Institute of Food Technologists has released its latest four interviews exploring agricultural innovations that will help feed the world. The series showcases imaginative researchers and policy makers who are looking far beyond the traditional bounds of agriculture to accelerate food production by using technology to improve—rather than replace—natural processes.

Grassfed Beef Financial Calculators Available Online
The Pasture Project of the Wallace Center has posted two financial calculators. The Grassfed Beef Decision Calculator is a comprehensive, interactive Excel spreadsheet that allows users to examine the costs of various beef cattle enterprises. Another spreadsheet, Comparison of Rental Rates for Landowners, lets landowners compare rents from leasing to grass-fed beef operations versus corn producers.

Soil Solarization in High Tunnels Possible in a Week, Says Arizona Study
Soil solarization uses solar radiation to passively heat moist soil, with the goal of increasing soil temperatures to the point where they are lethal to soilborne organisms. The authors of a study published in HortScience demonstrated that in Arizona, June is the optimal time for high-tunnel growers to use solarization. In their experiments, clear polyethylene mulch was used on the growing beds in conjunction with the glazing on the tunnels. With this configuration, soil temperatures increased so that solarization would be completed in less than one week.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Annie's Sustainable Agriculture Scholarships
Annie's Homegrown awards scholarships through the Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship program, open to full-time undergraduate and graduate students studying at an accredited two- or four-year college or graduate school in the United States for the 2015/2016 school year. Students must be focusing studies on sustainable agriculture.
Applications are due by January 5, 2015.

New York State New Farmers Grant Fund
The New York State New Farmers Grant Fund provides assistance to new and early-stage farmers and encourages farming as a career path. The fund will provide grants from $15,000 to $50,000 for up to 50% of project costs including, but not limited to, lease or purchase of farm machinery and equipment; construction or expansion of farm buildings or systems; and purchase of supplies such as root stock, seed, and fertilizer.
Applications must be postmarked by January 28, 2015.

Mary Boyer Sustainable Food and Agriculture Grant
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) is accepting applications for the 2015 Mary Boyer Sustainable Food and Agriculture Grant. The grant is open to female farmers, ranchers, and producers in the BRWIA service area in North Carolina and Tennessee. Two grants of up to $2,000 will be awarded.
Applications are due by December 19, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Future Harvest CASA's Cultivate the Chesapeake Foodshed
January 15-17, 2015
East Hyattsville, Maryland

The largest sustainable agriculture conference in the lower Mid-Atlantic includes a day of hands-on, pre-conference workshops. The main conference has keynote and featured speakers, seven different tracks comprising 42 sessions, and breakouts for networking.

GrassWorks Annual Grazing Conference
January 15-17, 2015
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

This annual conference provides learning opportunities for both new and seasoned graziers. The agenda includes a day focused on dairy grazing, keynote speakers, and a tradeshow, as well as sessions on regenerative agriculture, livestock handling, animal health, and more.

Oklahoma & Arkansas Horticulture Industries Show
January 16-17, 2015
Fort Smith, Arkansas

At "Modern Tools and Technology for Growers and Marketers," educators and researchers will share the latest information on vegetables, fruit, Christmas trees, farmers market crops, and public gardening.

>> 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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Veteran Resources

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