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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 2, 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

  • Toolkit Provides Step-by-Step Instructions for Starting a Local Food Organization
  • UC Davis Pastured Poultry Farm a Living Research Laboratory
  • New Publications Focus on Agroforestry and Pollinators
  • Science and Technology Conservation Webinars Scheduled for 2016
  • Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment Begins
  • FDA Announces Actions on Genetically Engineered Plants and Animals

Funding Opportunities

  • California State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)
  • Verle Kaiser Conservation Endowment
  • Montana Growth Through Agriculture Economic Development Projects

Coming Events

  • Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms
  • Healthy Farms Conference
  • Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual Conference

News & Resources

Toolkit Provides Step-by-Step Instructions for Starting a Local Food Organization
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture are making a new resource available, Iowa Local Food Organizational Toolkit: Structure, Management and Finance. Part One provides guidance on how to establish a mission, build a board of directors and plan for staffing. Part Two lays out legal structure for a local foods organization, and Part Three offers information on options for funding.

UC Davis Pastured Poultry Farm a Living Research Laboratory
University of California Davis' new Pastured Poultry Farm will be a research, outreach, and teaching laboratory for pastured poultry, reports The Davis Enterprise. Students from the School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Engineering, and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will be researching issues involving diseases and chicken health, predation by wildlife, and occupational health for workers at the 150-layer farm.
Related ATTRA Publication: Pastured Poultry: Egg Production

New Publications Focus on Agroforestry and Pollinators
The National Agroforestry Center has three new publications on pollinators. How Can Agroforestry Help Pollinators? highlights opportunities to recognize, protect, and enhance pollinator habitat. Working Trees for Pollinators illustrates important pollinators for food production and explains how agroforestry practices can meet the needs of both pollinators and producers. In addition, the most recent issue of Inside Agroforestry is titled "Learn How You Can Use Agroforestry to Help Pollinators."

Science and Technology Conservation Webinars Scheduled for 2016
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has released its schedule of Planned Conservation Webinars for 2016. These NRCS webinars provide training and information on agricultural and forestry topics including organic production, soil health, and grazing. All are welcome to participate, advance registration is not required, and there is no fee.

Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment Begins
A general enrollment period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is open until February 26, 2016. Participants in CRP establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species to control soil erosion, improve water quality, and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands. In return, USDA Farm Service Agency provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance.

FDA Announces Actions on Genetically Engineered Plants and Animals
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the first approval for a genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for food, AquAdvantage Salmon. The agency also issued two guidances that provide recommended actions for manufacturers who may wish to voluntarily label their products with information about whether the foods contain ingredients from GE sources. FDA is accepting public comment for 60 days starting November 24, 2015.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

California State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)
California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program. An estimated $16 million will be available to provide financial assistance to implement irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water at California agricultural operations. Agricultural operations can apply for a maximum of $200,000 per project.
Applications must be submitted by January 8, 2016.

Verle Kaiser Conservation Endowment
Washington State University and University of Idaho are soliciting proposals to the Verle Kaiser Conservation Endowment for promotion and demonstration of conservation practices targeting soil erosion. Proposals are sought for training college and K-12 students and constituents, including curriculum development, field trips, teaching aids, audio/visual, or other educational-related activities. Funds are open to Washington State University, University of Idaho, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Conservation Districts, and colleges in Washington and Idaho.
Proposals are due January 8, 2016.

Montana Growth Through Agriculture Economic Development Projects
Growth Through Agriculture is a matching grant and loan program established to strengthen and diversify Montana's agricultural industry through development of new agricultural products and processes. Economic Development Projects may be funded for a combination of grant funding up to $50,000 and loan funding up to $100,000.
Proposals are due by January 29, 2016.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms
January 27-30, 2016
Lexington, Kentucky

The Southern SAWG annual conference is billed as a must-attend event for those serious about sustainable and organic farming and creating more vibrant community food systems. The line-up includes more than 50 educational sessions, a networking session for each of the region's 13 states, and another 13 information-exchange sessions.

Healthy Farms Conference
January 29-30, 2016
Nebraska City, Nebraska

The Healthy Farms Conference features more than 20 breakout sessions aimed at equipping farmers, aspiring farmers, foodies, and advocates with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful. Interactive educational opportunities are available for adults and youth.

Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual Conference
January 22-23, 2016
Ames, Iowa

At "Farmers Teaching Farmers," attendees will learn from their farming peers about land and soil stewardship; building community; creating viable farms, farmers, and food systems; farm transfer; and more. Thirty-one in-depth workshops and two pre-conference short courses will be offered.

>> More Events

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Southern SAWG Conference Scholarships
NCAT is offering registration scholarships for military veterans. Applications are due December 11.

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