Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 6, 2017
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 for Responding to Pesticide Drift Issued
- Report Helps Food Hubs Learn from Failures
- USDA Announces Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Funding Awards
- California Healthy Soils Week Taking Place December 4-7
- Agrophotovoltaics Pilot Project Demonstrates Compatible Uses
- Conservation Effects Assessment Project Documents Fuel Savings from No-Till
- FruitGuys Community Fund
- Conference Scholarships for Livestock and Poultry Farmers
- Vermont Ag Clean Water Initiative Program
- EcoFarm Conference
- Vermont Grazing and Livestock Conference
- Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual Conference
News & Resources
Toolkit for Responding to Pesticide Drift Issued
Pesticide Action Network North America has published In Case of Drift: A Toolkit for Responding to Pesticide Drift. If you've been exposed to pesticide drift or have lost crops due to drift damage, download this free, 27-page toolkit for details on how to protect your health, how and where to report drift incidents, and how to seek compensation for crop loss if you're a farmer. The toolkit also includes tools for telling your story to legislators and other policymakers.
Report Helps Food Hubs Learn from Failures
USDA Rural Development has released the fourth volume of their Food Hub Technical Report Series. Running a Food Hub: Learning from Food Hub Closures is a 70-page report that draws on national data and case studies to understand why some food hubs have failed, in an effort to learn from their mistakes.
Related ATTRA Publication: Food Hubs: A Producer Guide
USDA Announces Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Funding Awards
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture has announced 36 awards totaling $17.7 million, made through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). BFRDP supports projects that deliver education, mentoring, and technical assistance to help beginning farmers and ranchers with entering, establishing, building, and managing successful farm and ranch enterprises. A list of recipients is available online.
Related ATTRA Resource: Beginning Farmer Business Planning, Marketing, and Sheep, Goat & Poultry Resources
California Healthy Soils Week Taking Place December 4-7
California Department of Food & Agriculture, along with state, federal, and private-sector partners, is hosting the inaugural California Healthy Soils Week December 4-7, 2017. This week-long celebration highlights the remarkable gifts healthy soils offer. The schedule includes a Climate Smart Agriculture webinar, a day focusing on food waste and compost, and a day showcasing urban farms and community gardens.
Related ATTRA Tutorial: Soil Health
Agrophotovoltaics Pilot Project Demonstrates Compatible Uses
An agrophotovoltaics (APV) pilot project in Germany has shown that photovoltaics and photosynthesis can be compatible land uses, reports the University of Hohenheim. At the Demeter farm cooperative Heggelbach, solar modules for electricity production are installed directly above one-third hectare of winter wheat, potatoes, celeriac, and clover with minor yield losses. The researchers say that agrophotovoltaics has the potential to open more space for PV expansion and to mitigate land-use conflicts.
Conservation Effects Assessment Project Documents Fuel Savings from No-Till
The Conservation Effects Assessment Project of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service conducted an annual-fuel-savings study comparing gallons of fuel used in conventional tillage to gallons used in seasonal and continuous no-till. The study found the fuel savings associated with no-till to be significant: four gallons of diesel fuel per acre per year, or 282 million gallons nationally. NRCS points out that these fuel savings are just one of the benefits that farmers can gain by reducing or eliminating tillage.
Related ATTRA Publication: Conserving Fuel on the Farm
>>More Breaking News
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FruitGuys Community Fund
The FruitGuys Community Fund provides grants up to $5,000 to small farms and agricultural nonprofits for sustainability projects that have large positive impacts on the environment, local food systems, and farm diversity. Projects should help farms and/or orchards operate more sustainably, both environmentally and economically, as well as strengthen community outreach. There is a preference for farms located within 250 miles of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Dallas, Boston, Baltimore, New York, or Atlanta.
A letter of intent to apply is due January 8, 2018.
Conference Scholarships for Livestock and Poultry Farmers
As funding allows, FACT will award scholarships up to $400 for livestock and poultry farmers to attend conferences and training events to learn humane animal management practices. FACT is currently accepting applications for scholarships to winter conferences including Southern SAWG, Practical Farmers of Iowa, MOSES, OEFFA, and others.
Scholarships will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible farmers until funding is depleted.
Vermont Ag Clean Water Initiative Program
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets is accepting applications for at least $1 million in grant funding through the Ag Clean Water Initiative Program. The program will provide opportunities for farmers and partner organizations to undertake projects that achieve reductions in nutrient runoff from agricultural lands, with a focus on projects that reduce phosphorus losses in priority watersheds. Eligible applicants include farmers, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and local government entities.
Applications are due by January 10, 2018.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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January 24-27, 2018
Pacific Grove, California
The 38th annual Eco-Farm Conference, "Sow Good," includes pre-conference events, keynotes, a wide range of workshops, and special events. Topics include production, policy, case studies, research, and more.
Vermont Grazing and Livestock Conference
January 19-20, 2018
This perennial winter conference highlights local, grass-fed, and organic foods, with livestock farmers and supporters from more than six states and plenty of new ideas to take home.
Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual Conference
January 18-20, 2018
With this conference, Practical Farmers of Iowa has a vision of Revival for rural communities, soils, water, and opportunities for the next generation.
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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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