Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 5, 2018
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
- USDA Offers Assistance for GAP Audits in 16 States
- Guide Explains How Organic Farming Practices Mitigate Climate Change
- Food Sustainability Index Says France Has Top Food System
- Wild Bees Produce Better Blueberries, Vermont Study Shows
- U.S. Biochar Industry Profiled in Report
- Select Sessions to Livestream from Young Farmers Conference
- Healthy Watersheds Consortium
- Kaiser Conservation Endowment
- Working Here Fund
- Growing Our Future Harvest: 20th Anniversary Conference
- Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual Conference
- Planning For On-Farm Success Workshop Series
News & Resources
USDA Offers Assistance for GAP Audits in 16 States
USDA will provide $3.7 million to help defray the costs of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audits for fruit and vegetable growers in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Beginning January 2, 2019, USDA Risk Management Agency will provide Agricultural Management Assistance funds to cover the cost of the Harmonized GAP audit and the Harmonized GAP Plus+ audit.
Related ATTRA Publication: An Illustrated Guide to Growing Safe Produce on Your Farm
Guide Explains How Organic Farming Practices Mitigate Climate Change
Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has released the eighth guidebook in its Soil Health and Organic Farming Series, Organic Practices for Climate Mitigation, Adaptation, and Carbon Sequestration. This guide examines research related to the capacity of sustainable organic systems to sequester soil carbon and minimize emissions. It includes practical advice for reducing a farm's "carbon footprint" and adapting to climate disruptions already underway.
Food Sustainability Index Says France Has Top Food System
The updated Food Sustainability Index ranks France as having the most sustainable food system out of 67 nations rated. The Food Sustainability Index is constructed from 38 indicators and 90 individual metrics that measure the sustainability of food systems across three categories: Food Loss and Waste, Sustainable Agriculture, and Nutritional Challenges. The index has three key types of performance indicators: environmental, societal, and economic.
Wild Bees Produce Better Blueberries, Vermont Study Shows
A study led by University of Vermont scientists found that wild bees improve not only blueberry quantities, but also size, size consistency, and earliness of harvest. Researchers calculated that wild bees could boost production 6% on average and as much as 36% on one particular farm of nine studied, compared with painstaking hand pollination. The researchers also noted that bumblebees are better at pollinating blueberries than are honeybees.
Related ATTRA Publication: Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees
U.S. Biochar Industry Profiled in Report
Dovetail Partners, the U.S. Biochar Initiative, the International Biochar Initiative, and The Watershed Research and Training Center have released Survey and Analysis of the U.S. Biochar Industry. The objective of this effort was to define the scope and scale of the North American biochar market. The participants surveyed biochar producers and users to identify issues and explore industry growth potential.
Related ATTRA Publication: Biochar and Sustainable Agriculture
Select Sessions to Livestream from Young Farmers Conference
A number of sessions from the Young Farmers Conference being held December 5-7, 2018, will be streamed live on the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture Facebook page. The event is a skill-building conference where farmers with less than 10 years of experience can deepen their understanding of agroecological farming practices. Livestream sessions will address seed, pollination, climate change, farmer retirement, and more.
>>More Breaking News
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Healthy Watersheds Consortium
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities seeks applications for the 2019 Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program. A maximum of $1.2 million is available for the 2019 grant round. The goal of the program is to accelerate strategic protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds. The primary focus for applicants should be protection and stewardship of land in the watershed, not restoration of degraded habitats or projects with a strictly water-quality improvement outcome.
Proposals are due by February 4, 2019.
Kaiser Conservation Endowment
Washington State University is soliciting Kaiser Conservation Endowment proposals 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 Resources Conservation Service, Conservation Districts, and colleges in Washington and Idaho. Funds are limited to the Inland Empire, and proposals are not to exceed $5,000.
Proposals are due January 23, 2019.
Working Here Fund
Farm Credit Services of America's Working Here Fund offers grants for projects and organizations that make a positive impact in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, or Wyoming. There are two options available: grants up to $2,000 or grants up to $10,000 for larger, more long-term community projects. Both funding options are designed to impact Agriculture Education, Young and Beginning Producers, Hunger and Nutrition, and Essential Services/Disaster Relief needs.
Applications are due by December 31, 2018.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Growing Our Future Harvest: 20th Anniversary Conference
January 17-19, 2019
College Park, Maryland
Future Harvest--Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture presents its 20th annual conference, with deep-dive workshops, farm-fresh meals, inspiring speakers, and farmer and food entrepreneur learning and networking.
Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual Conference
January 17-19, 2019
Practical Farmers of Iowa's conference, "Cultivating Connections," draws attention to the many connections that are vital for farms, communities, rural economies, and natural ecosystems to thrive. The keynote address is by Michael Phillips, and there are 60 sessions and two pre-conference short courses scheduled.
Planning For On-Farm Success Workshop Series
January 16 - March 6, 2019
Missoula, Bozeman, Hamilton, or Lewistown, Montana
This seven-part series on Wednesday evenings will equip participants with the tools and support network needed to manage a profitable business and turn a passion into a career. Community Food and Agriculture Coalition and county Extension agents are partnering to offer workshops held in multiple communities simultaneously.
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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.
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