Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 27, 2019
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.
Early-bird Registration for Soil Health Innovations Conference Ends Soon!
Remember, early-bird registration ends November 30, 2019, for the Soil Health Innovations conference set for March 30-31, 2020, in
Bozeman, Montana. NCAT, USDA Rural Development, SARE, and Montana State University invite you to join in as panelists, keynotes, roundtables, and forums address the hard questions about soil health and the future of agriculture.
News & Resources
- NCAT Selected for California Climate Smart Agriculture Technical Assistance Funding
- Climate Adaptation Curriculum Posted Online
- Report Says Conservation Offers Return on Investment for Dairies
- Study Explores Potential of Controlled-Environment Production for Urban Agriculture
- Agricultural Use Has Long-Term Effect on Land Biodiversity and Productivity
- Forest Farming Could Make Medicinal Plant Harvest Sustainable
- Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audit & Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants
- Washington State Organic and Sustainable Farming Fund
- Keepseagle Fast-Track Grants to Support Native Farmers & Ranchers
- For the Love of Soil: Strategies to Regenerate our Food Production Systems
- Horticulture Industries Show
- Great Plains Growers Conference
News & Resources
NCAT Selected for California Climate Smart Agriculture Technical Assistance Funding
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is one of 33 organizations that the California Department of Food and Agriculture has selected for Climate Smart Agriculture Technical Assistance awards totaling $2.1 million. With these funds, the recipients will provide technical assistance to the applicants and awardees of CDFA's Alternative Manure Management Program and the Healthy Soils Program.
Climate Adaptation Curriculum Posted Online
The Climate Adaptation Fellowship has posted a Climate Adaptation Curriculum that includes modules tailored for northeastern land managers and the advisors who work with them. Modules are designed to address the specific issues and concerns of vegetable/small fruit producers, dairy producers, tree fruit producers, or foresters. The modules include education lessons and hands-on activities.
Related ATTRA Publication: Climate Change and Perennial Fruit and Nut Production: Investing in Resilience in Uncertain Times
Report Says Conservation Offers Return on Investment for Dairies
Environmental Defense Fund has released a new report, How Conservation Makes Dairy Farms More Resilient, Especially in a Lean Agricultural Economy. Four Pennsylvania dairy farmers opened their books to allow for a comparative analysis of how their conservation practices impacted their budgets. The overriding lesson learned from this analysis is that conservation contributes to the economic well-being and resilience of dairy farms.
Study Explores Potential of Controlled-Environment Production for Urban Agriculture
American Society for Horticultural Science reports on a University of Florida review of literature exploring how controlled-environment production can be applied to urban agriculture. Researchers delved into the likelihood that controlled environments will revolutionize urban food systems and the techniques that can be employed for them to do so. The review identifies many factors worthy of consideration regarding controlled-environment production in urban areas.
Related ATTRA Resources: Urban and Community Agriculture
Agricultural Use Has Long-Term Effect on Land Biodiversity and Productivity
University of Minnesota research evaluated the productivity and biodiversity of land that had once been used for agriculture. The study considered grasslands and savannas in Minnesota that were abandoned one to 91 years ago. Researchers found that local grassland plant diversity increased significantly over time, but incompletely recovered, and plant productivity did not significantly recover. Even 91 years after abandonment, fields had just 73% of the plant diversity and 53% of the productivity of land that was never plowed.
Forest Farming Could Make Medicinal Plant Harvest Sustainable
Researchers from Pennsylvania State University say that transitioning from wild collection to forest farming for medicinal herbs such as ginseng would create a sustainable supply chain. The researchers point out that forest farming would allow more transparency in the supply chain, which could lead not only to better-quality herbal products, but also to a reliable and stable income for forest farmers.
Related ATTRA Publication: Ginseng, Goldenseal, and Other Native Roots
>>More Breaking News
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Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audit & Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants
USDA Rural Development is accepting applications from state, tribal, and local governments, universities, and public power entities for Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Energy Audit & Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants. The grants support assistance in the form of energy audits, renewable energy technical assistance, and/or renewable energy site assessments for agricultural producers and rural small businesses in eligible areas. The maximum grant amount is $100,000. Applications are due by January 31, 2020.
Washington State Organic and Sustainable Farming Fund
In partnership with HumanLinks Foundation, Tilth Alliance is accepting applications by Washington State farmers seeking financial assistance for projects that will improve the economic viability, social impacts, or environmental sustainability of their farm businesses. This program enhances the operations of farmers practicing responsible and progressive methods such as sustainable soil management, crop diversification, habitat preservation, climate-change mitigation, and environmentally safe waste-management practices. Grant requests should be between $2,000 and $20,000.
Applications are due January 17, 2020.
Keepseagle Fast-Track Grants to Support Native Farmers & Ranchers
First Nations Development Institute is launching two new grant programs under the Keepseagle Fast-Track Grants to Support Native Farmers & Ranchers. Through the Native Farmers & Ranchers Organization Grant, First Nations expects to award 18 to 20 grants averaging $30,000, with the goal of growing and/or expanding direct services that serve or directly collaborate with Native American farmers and ranchers. The Native Farmer & Rancher Shared Equipment Grant will also award 10 grants averaging $10,000, with priority given to projects aimed at expanding community access to shared equipment.
Applications are due December 16, 2019.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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For the Love of Soil: Strategies to Regenerate our Food Production Systems
January 10-11, 2020
In partnership with NCAT, Soil for Water, and the Hill Country Alliance, ROAM Ranch is hosting a two-day workshop with Nicole Masters. This workshop is geared towards land managers, ranchers, farmers, gardeners, environmentalists, and anyone else interested in improving the health of Texas soil and making lands more resilient.
Horticulture Industries Show
January 10-11, 2020
The theme for the 2020 Horticulture Industries Show is "PROTECTED AG: Adapting to Challenging Environments." Join with specialty group growers, industry representatives, and educators to explore the use of technology and advanced growing practices.
Great Plains Growers Conference
January 9-11, 2020
St. Joseph, Missouri
The Great Plains Growers Conference, for commercial fruit, vegetable, cut flower, and honey bee producers from Midwestern states, provides research-based information from vegetable research specialists and local growers.
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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.
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