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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 4, 2013

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

News & Resources

  • USDA Seeks Independent Reviewers for Value-Added Producer Grant Program
  • Applications for Conservation Stewardship Program Due January 17
  • Online Marketing Courses Offered Free
  • Inflatable Scarecrows Protect Vineyards, Orchards
  • Robinson New Director of NCAT Office in Des Moines
  • Canadian Research Explores Bee Vectoring for Plant Pest Control

Funding Opportunities

  • South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund
  • Kentucky Small Scale Farm Grant Program
  • North Central Regional Center for Rural Development Small Grants

Coming Events

  • Organic Seed Growers Conference
  • Virginia Biological Farming Conference
  • NOFA-NJ Winter Conference

News & Resources

USDA Seeks Independent Reviewers for Value-Added Producer Grant Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is seeking well-qualified individuals to serve as independent reviewers for the 2013-2014 round of the Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG). Candidates must possess a bachelor's degree in an agriculture or business field, have a minimum of eight years of experience, and comply with reviewer requirements for training, confidentiality, and conflict of interest. If interested, please e-mail your resume to cpgrants@wdc.usda.gov.

Applications for Conservation Stewardship Program Due January 17
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is opening the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for new enrollments for federal fiscal year 2014. Producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS until January 17, 2014. A CSP self-screening checklist is available online to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operations.
Related ATTRA Publication: Federal Conservation Resources for Sustainable Farming and Ranching

Online Marketing Courses Offered Free
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Entrepreneurship is offering two free marketing courses online. Marketing AgriTourism Online is aimed at helping rural-based agriculture develop agritourism opportunities. With another course, eTailing - Taking Charge of Your Online Presence, small business owners can expand their geographical reach.
Related ATTRA Publication: Social Media Tools for Farm Product Marketing

Inflatable Scarecrows Protect Vineyards, Orchards
Vineyard and orchard owners who suffer crop damage inflicted by birds may have a new control option, reports The Wall Street Journal. Inflatable "dancing" tube men--often used for advertising at car dealerships--are showing success as deterrents to bird pests in a federally funded study.

Robinson New Director of NCAT Office in Des Moines
Ann Y. Robinson is the new director of the National Center for Appropriate Technology's (NCAT) Midwest Regional Office in Des Moines, Iowa. Robinson will be responsible for leading NCAT's programs as well as marketing and fundraising for the Midwest Regional Office and its projects, including the popular FoodCorps. Robinson has a background in project management, communications, and public policy in the areas of natural resources conservation, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and horticulture.

Canadian Research Explores Bee Vectoring for Plant Pest Control
Radio Canada International reports that Canadian government researchers have found ways to use pollinating bees to deliver pest-control agents. In the research, bumblebees leaving their hive walk through a tray of microbial control agents that they then apply to each of the flowers they visit. The technology is being developed for commercial use by a company called Bee Vectoring Technology.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund
The Rancher Relief Fund has nearly $ 2 million to distribute to South Dakota livestock producers impacted by the devastating October blizzard. If you are a livestock producer or know a livestock producer who was affected by the October blizzard, complete the one-page online application or nomination form.
The deadline for applications and nominations is December 31, 2013.

Kentucky Small Scale Farm Grant Program
The KSU Center for Sustainability of Farms and Families Small Scale Farm Grant Program supports farmers who are motivated to improve their farming operations or improve the marketability of their products. The grants support three priority areas: certified organic farming, value-added enterprise development, and aquaculture farming and marketing.
For 2014, evaluation dates are February 1, April 1, June 1, August 1, 2014.

North Central Regional Center for Rural Development Small Grants
The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development small grants program will make awards of up to $20,000 to teams involving land-grant employees drawn from at least two north central states. Awards will be made in the following areas: innovation diffusion for rural development, sustainable communities, leadership development, or entrepreneurial communities.
Proposals are due January 31, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Organic Seed Growers Conference
January 30 - February 1, 2014
Corvallis, Oregon

This conference brings together hundreds of farmers, plant breeders, researchers, university extension, certifiers, food companies, seed production and distribution companies, and other organic stakeholders for two days of presentations, panel discussions, and networking events.

Virginia Biological Farming Conference
January 30 - February 1, 2014
Richmond, Virginia

More than 500 passionate supporters of sustainable and organic farming and gardening will have the chance to participate in sessions on production and marketing. Keynote speakers are biodynamic beekeeper Gunther Hauk and NRCS soil health expert Ray Archuleta.

NOFA-NJ Winter Conference
January 24-26, 2014
Lincroft, New Jersey

The NOFA-NJ Winter Conference is "Organic: A Better Way to Feed Communities." Keynote speakers are Fred Kirschenmann and John Ikerd. Pre-conference workshops and six different session tracks are offered. Beginning farmer scholarships are offered.

>> More Events

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Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

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© 2013 NCAT

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