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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 11, 2019

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.

Last Chance for Early-bird Registration for Soil Health Innovations Conference
Early-bird registration pricing for the Soil Health Innovations conference set for March 30-31, 2020, in Bozeman, Montana, has been extended until December 15, 2019. NCAT, USDA Rural Development, SARE, and Montana State University invite you to join in as panelists, keynotes, roundtables, and forums address the hard questions about soil health and the future of agriculture.

News & Resources

  • New Members Appointed to National Organic Standards Board
  • Recipients of Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program Grants Announced
  • Report Provides Roadmap for Catalyzing Midwest Hazelnut Industry
  • Nationwide Agritourism Survey Invites Participants
  • Research Improves Understanding of Soil Organic Matter as Carbon Sink
  • Value Added Producer Grants Help Farm Operations Grow

Funding Opportunities

  • NC AgVentures Grant Program
  • Four Corners Slow Money Food Enterprise Micro-Loans
  • Illinois Cover Crop Premium Discount Program

Coming Events

  • Future Harvest Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture 2020 Conference
  • Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual Conference
  • Cascadia Grains Conference

News & Resources

New Members Appointed to National Organic Standards Board
USDA has announced five new members for the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), who will serve five-year terms beginning in January 2020. Nathaniel Powell-Palm of Cold Springs Organics will serve in a farmer seat. Kimberly Huseman and Gerard D'Amore will both represent organic handlers. Mindee Jeffery will serve on the Board in the retailer seat, and Wood Turner will serve in an environmental protection and resource conservation seat.

Recipients of Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program Grants Announced
USDA has announced the award of $23.5 million in Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) grants.The programs are designed to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations. Lists of the recipients and funded projects are available online.

Report Provides Roadmap for Catalyzing Midwest Hazelnut Industry
The Savanna Institute has released Overcoming Bottlenecks in the Midwest Hazelnut Industry: An Impact Investment Plan. The 63-page free report represents the first stage in Savanna Institute's push to catalyze the Midwest hazelnut industry. It provides a roadmap for connecting capital with the key practitioners, researchers, and educators.

Nationwide Agritourism Survey Invites Participants
A study led by the University of Vermont is inviting farmers throughout the country to participate in a 10- to 15-minute survey on agritourism. The data will be used by cooperative extension and research personnel to develop resources to help increase the success of small- and medium-sized farms that offer on-farm direct sales, education, hospitality, recreation, entertainment, and other types of agritourism.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tips for Selling with: Agritourism and "Pick-Your-Own"

Research Improves Understanding of Soil Organic Matter as Carbon Sink
Scientists at Colorado State University have determined that there are two broad categories of soil organic matter. Professor Francesca Cotrufo explains that particulate organic matter is like the "checking account" of soils: it turns over continuously and supports nutrient cycling but requires regular deposits to stay vital. Mineral-associated organic matter, meanwhile, is the "savings account" that gets a smaller fraction of deposits but is inherently more stable.

Value Added Producer Grants Help Farm Operations Grow
A blog post from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition highlights three different farm operations that received Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG) to expand their businesses. The post explains how a dairy farm in Alabama, a hog farm in Georgia, and a farmer-led cooperative in Minnesota utilized the VAPG program.
Related ATTRA Resources: Value-Added and Processing

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

NC AgVentures Grant Program
The NC AgVentures Grant Program is an Extension program that provides grants to NC independent family farms for new and innovative agricultural project ideas that will increase farm profits. This is a great opportunity for producers who are thinking of diversifying, improving, or expanding their operations. Grants up to $8,000 are available to farmers in 46 eligible counties.
The application deadline is January 14, 2020.

Four Corners Slow Money Food Enterprise Micro-Loans
Four Corners Slow Money provides zero-interest loans to farmers and food enterprises contributing to a healthy local food system in the Four Corners Region. The maximum loan amount is $3,000.
Applications are due by January 30, 2020.

Illinois Cover Crop Premium Discount Program
Illinois Department of Agriculture is offering a "Fall Covers for Spring Savings" Cover Crop Premium Discount Program. Eligible applicants will receive a $5/acre insurance premium discount on the following year's crop insurance invoice for every acre of cover crop enrolled and verified in the program.
Applications are due by January 15, 2020.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Future Harvest Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture 2020 Conference
January 16-18, 2020
East Hyattsville, Maryland
Future Harvest Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture presents "Farming for Our Soil, Livelihood, and Community." The event offers in-depth pre-conference intensives, as well as 42 sessions and seven tracks for beginning to advanced farmers, foodpreneurs, and educators.

Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual Conference
January 16-18, 2020
Ames, Iowa
Practical Farmers of Iowa's 2020 conference, "Reclaiming Resilience," will examine the current state of our farms and our food systems: what's working well and why, as well as what needs to change.

Cascadia Grains Conference
January 17-18, 2020
Olympia, Washington
The annual Cascadia Grains Conference focuses on revitalizing the local grain economy in the Cascadia Region. Connect, learn, and grow with educational and hands-on sessions, field trips, panels, and more.

>>More Events

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New ATTRA Publication
Knowing the Real Value of Food: Blockchain in a New Sustainable Food Economy

Question of the Week
How should I structure a member agreement for a CSA?

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

Crop Insurance and Hemp: The Whole-Farm Approach
December 12, 2019
Learn more about this free webinar.

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