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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 30, 2016

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

  • Elderberry Production Manual Available Online
  • NSAC Releases New Tools to Aid Farmers with CSP Signup
  • USDA Announces Food LINC Partnerships to Support Regional Supply Chains
  • ARS Explores Optimizing Oats as Dairy Forage
  • Scientists Propose Policies to Protect Pollinators
  • Grasslands Conversion Documented in Plowprint Report

Funding Opportunities

  • Center for Produce Safety Grants Program
  • Florida Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
  • Michigan Rural Development Fund Grants

Coming Events

  • Crop Planning for Vegetable Growers Webinar
  • Horticulture Industries Show Conference
  • Empire State Producers Expo

News & Resources

Elderberry Production Manual Available Online
The University of Vermont Center for Sustainable Agriculture has published Growing Elderberries: A Production Manual and Enterprise Viability Guide for Vermont and the Northeast. The guide offers detailed information on how to select, cultivate, harvest, and process elderberries, as well as economic models to help growers determine the potential for profitability in their particular situation. The guide is available free online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Specialty Crops for Cold Climates


NSAC Releases New Tools to Aid Farmers with CSP Signup
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has published updated resources designed to support farmers considering an application to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) by the upcoming February 3 deadline. NSAC's CSP 2017 Information Alert and Farmers' Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program are tools to help farmers determine if CSP is right for them. The Information Alert includes step-by-step signup and enrollment details. Both publications are available free online.

USDA Announces Food LINC Partnerships to Support Regional Supply Chains
USDA has announced three new Food LINC partnerships that will help community leaders and private philanthropic partners develop regional food supply chains. The Texas Center for Local Food, Food Commons Fresno, and FamilyFarmed will join 10 existing regional Food LINC partnerships that drive job growth and increase farm income while helping to meet consumer demand for regionally produced food.

ARS Explores Optimizing Oats as Dairy Forage
Researchers at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center have been testing the use of oats as fall dairy forage, to help producers determine when to graze and what varieties to plant for optimum performance. Test results showed that it's better to put cattle out early in the fall rather than later, and it often is better to use late-maturing oat cultivars, which produce higher-quality forage.

Scientists Propose Policies to Protect Pollinators
An international team of researchers writing in the journal Science has proposed 10 ways in which governments can protect and secure vital pollination services. The independent scientists made their suggestions as a follow-up to a recent global assessment by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services that confirmed that large-scale declines in wild pollinators are happening in northern Europe and North America.

Grasslands Conversion Documented in Plowprint Report
Since 2009, 53 million acres of grassland have been converted to cropland across the Great Plains, having a significant impact on wildlife and the ecosystem services that grasslands provide. World Wildlife Fund has released the first edition of a new annual publication called the Plowprint Report that tracks annual grassland conversion to cropland across the Great Plains. Two versions of the report are available online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Converting Cropland to Perennial Grassland

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Center for Produce Safety Grants Program
The Center for Produce Safety and partners sponsor research that fills gaps in our basic understanding of food-safety practices for fruit, vegetable, and tree nut production, harvest, and post-harvest handling. The objective is to provide the specialty-crop industry with practical, translatable research data that can be used throughout the supply chain. Awards may not exceed $200,000 per year for up to two years.
Pre-proposals are due December 7, 2016.

Florida Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services anticipates receiving $3.8 million in Specialty Crop Block Grant Funds from USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. These funds will be awarded to projects that enhance the competitiveness of Florida specialty crops. Proposals will be accepted from nonprofit organizations, producer organizations, government agencies, universities, and other organizations related to Florida's specialty crop industry.
The application must be received by January 9, 2017.

Michigan Rural Development Fund Grants
The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development is offering a new grant opportunity to promote the sustainability of land-based industries, including food and agriculture, and support infrastructure that benefits rural communities. Individuals, organizations, businesses, tribes, educational institutions, and local governments may apply. The total funding is approximately $1.5 million. A 30% match is required.
Proposals must be submitted by February 2, 2017.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Crop Planning for Vegetable Growers Webinar
December 14, 2016
Online

In this free webinar, NCAT agricultural specialists will introduce crop planning for vegetable growers wanting to scale up into wholesale or institutional markets. The webinar will help growers understand how to plan crops to meet production goals and wholesale contracts, how to calculate planting dates based on an anticipated date of harvest, and which key records to keep to assist with production planning in the future.

Horticulture Industries Show Conference
January 13-14, 2017
Fayetteville, Arkansas

The Horticulture Industries Show provides regional growers and the public with the latest information on vegetables, fruit, Christmas trees, farmers market crops, and public gardening issues. Several NCAT staff members will give presentations.

Empire State Producers Expo
January 17-19, 2017
Syracuse, New York
The major fruit, flower, vegetable, and direct marketing associations of New York State provide this comprehensive trade show and educational conference for the region.

>>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.

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© 2016 NCAT

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New ATTRA Publication
Lamb Cut Guide for Direct Marketers

Question of the Week
Is treating water with lime allowed in organic production?

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Submit questions to our professional staff online or by calling 1-800-346-9140

Southern SAWG Conference Scholarships
Veterans: last chance to apply for scholarships to Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms, January 25-28, 2017, in Lexington, Kentucky.

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