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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 9, 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

  • National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Helps Producers Understand New FSMA Produce Rule
  • Soil Health Institute Launched
  • Paper Explores the Role of Agriculture In Sequestering Carbon
  • University of California Davis Launches Organic Seed Development Effort
  • Dicamba Herbicide Drift Found to Affect Non-Target Plants and Pollinators
  • Insects Other Than Bees Important Sources of Crop Pollination

Funding Opportunities

  • Specialty Crop Multi-State Program
  • Multi-State Rural Development Research or Extension Projects North Central Region
  • Mary Boyer Sustainable Food and Agriculture Grant

Coming Events

  • Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference
  • Virginia Biological Farming Conference
  • Western Colorado Food and Farm Forum

News & Resources

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Helps Producers Understand New FSMA Produce Rule
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is producing a blog series analyzing FDA's recently released rule that sets standards for the growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce for human consumption (also known as the FSMA Produce Rule). The first post in the series addresses which farms must comply with the new rule and which are exempt. It explains the details of the new rule and offers examples of how the rule applies to different types of produce farms.

Soil Health Institute Launched
The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and Farm Foundation, NFP, have announced the formation of the Soil Health Institute. The Institute's mission is to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of the soil. The organization will serve as the primary resource for soil health information, working to set soil health standards and measurement, build knowledge about the economics of soil health, offer educational programs, and coordinate research in all aspects of soil and soil health.

Paper Explores the Role of Agriculture In Sequestering Carbon
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and Breakthrough Strategies and Solutions, LLC, have jointly published a paper that explores how soil carbon is sequestered, the state of soil carbon research, and the debate on its potential. Carbon Sequestration Potential on Agricultural Lands: A Review of Current Science and Available Practices is available for download from NSAC.
Related ATTRA Publication: Agriculture, Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration

University of California Davis Launches Organic Seed Development Effort
A new effort to provide California growers with seeds for tomato, bean, pepper, and other crop varieties that are specially bred for organic farming has been launched at UC Davis, funded by a nearly $1 million grant from USDA. Under the four-year project, breeding programs will be led by graduate students on certified organic land at the Student Farm. Student plant breeders will collaborate with farmers and the organic seed industry to conduct on-farm trials.

Dicamba Herbicide Drift Found to Affect Non-Target Plants and Pollinators
Researchers at Penn State and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture have found that dicamba herbicide drift onto plants growing adjacent to farm fields causes significant delays and reductions in flowering, resulting in decreased visitation by honey bees. Exposure to drift-level doses of herbicide reduced flowering in both alfalfa and the native plant common boneset. In addition, herbicide-damaged common boneset experienced significantly reduced visitation by insect species.

Insects Other Than Bees Important Sources of Crop Pollination
Farmers who use pesticides that spare bees but kill other insects might be ignoring important sources of crop pollination, according to an Australian-led international study. Many crops depend on non-bee insect pollinators such as flies, butterflies, moths, beetles, wasps, ants, and thrips. The research discovered that non-bee pollinators performed as many flower visits as honey bees and more than other bee pollinators.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Specialty Crop Multi-State Program
The 2015 Specialty Crop Multi-State Program makes available approximately $3 million to help develop solutions to problems affecting the specialty crop industry across state boundaries. USDA is calling for specialty crop producer associations and groups, state agencies, Tribal governments, universities, nonprofits, and other stakeholder groups and organizations to submit proposals to one of the participating state departments of agriculture.
Proposals are due by December 15, 2015.

Multi-State Rural Development Research or Extension Projects North Central Region
The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development at Michigan State University is accepting applications for seed grants aimed at enhancing the ability of Land Grant institutions to positively influence the quality of life in rural areas of the twelve-state North Central region. Grant awards range from $5,000 to $25,000.
Proposals are due February 2, 2016.

Mary Boyer Sustainable Food and Agriculture Grant
This grant program strengthens the local food system by supporting female farmers, ranchers, and processors who plan to create sustainable solutions to production or market obstacles. Grants up to $2,000 will be awarded to female farmers, ranchers, homesteaders, and/or processors based in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, or Yancey Counties in North Carolina.
Proposals are due by December 18, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference
January 30-31, 2016
St. Paul, Minnesota

This conference supports immigrant and women new and aspiring farmers and their contributions to building an adequate supply of local foods, local economic development, and healthy communities. The conference provides education and resources to small operators and fosters relationships between farmers and community partners.

Virginia Biological Farming Conference
January 29-30, 2016
Roanoke, Virginia

The Virginia Association for Biological Farming and Virginia State University collaborate to offer pre-conference workshops, 25 educational sessions, plenary speakers, and more.

Western Colorado Food and Farm Forum
January 22-23, 2016
Montrose, Colorado

This event is working to improve the sustainable production, marketing, and consumption of local foods. The conference offers breakout sessions that convey vital, regionally specific agricultural information on maximizing crop and livestock production, innovative agricultural marketing and management strategies, and specialty crops.

>> More Events

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New ATTRA Video
Gabe Brown: Farming in Nature's Image

Question of the Week
What can I do to start selling my produce to restaurants and grocery stores?

Ask an Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online or by calling 1-800-346-9140

Southern SAWG Conference Scholarships
Military veterans, apply by December 11.

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