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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 14, 2016

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

  • Organic Certifier Survey Results Released
  • Midwest Vegetable Production Guide Available Online
  • National Water Quality Initiative Invests in High-Priority Watersheds
  • Food Sustainability Index Ranks Countries' Food Systems
  • Report Identifies Energy-Efficiency Opportunities in Irrigation
  • 3D Ocean Farming Promises Food Production

Funding Opportunities

  • Conservation Stewardship Program
  • Multi-State Rural Development Research or Extension Projects
  • Kaiser Conservation Endowment

Coming Events

  • Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms
  • EcoFarm Conference
  • NPSAS Winter Conference

News & Resources

Organic Certifier Survey Results Released
USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has released the results of its 2014 and 2015 Organic Certifier Survey. NASS collected data on acreage and livestock from USDA-accredited organic certifying agents in the United States. The report shows 14,861 certified organic crop operations in 2015, with a total of more than 5.3 million acres. Meanwhile, there were 2,001 certified livestock operations that year, with more than 22.3 million animals (of which 20.8 million were chickens).

Midwest Vegetable Production Guide Available Online
The 2017 Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers is now available for purchase or free download from Purdue Extension. The guide is an annual summary of state-specific information on vegetable varieties, fertility, seeding rates, fertilizer rates, weed control, insect control, and disease management. The new edition covers Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Michigan.
Related ATTRA Publication: Resource Guide to Organic and Sustainable Vegetable Production

National Water Quality Initiative Invests in High-Priority Watersheds
USDA will invest more than $33 million in 197 high-priority watersheds through the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) to help landowners improve water quality. The NWQI helps farmers and ranchers implement voluntary conservation practices, such as nutrient management, cover crops, conservation cropping systems, filter strips, terraces and buffers. This year, NRCS added 42 new watersheds to the NWQI and selected 21 watersheds for new assessment projects.

Food Sustainability Index Ranks Countries' Food Systems
Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation has released The Food Sustainability Index (FSI). The index is a ranking of food-system sustainability for countries around the world, based on 58 criteria across three pillars: sustainable agriculture, nutritional challenges, and food waste. The objectives of the FSI are to highlight the performance of various countries, establish comparable measurement criteria, provide examples of best practice, and measure progress over time.

Report Identifies Energy-Efficiency Opportunities in Irrigation
Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has released a report that identifies the top opportunities to improve irrigation energy efficiency in Pacific Northwest. BPA is holding a series of webinars to introduce some of the new efficiency opportunities they have identified. The full 161-page report is available online in PDF.

3D Ocean Farming Promises Food Production
3D ocean farming could feed the world with an area the size of Washington state, according to Bren Smith, whose pioneering efforts are featured in Popular Science. In the vertical underwater farms, seaweed and shellfish grow suspended from a horizontal line. Growing kelp helps scrub nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon from seawater, counteracts ocean acidification, and creates habitat. Smith founded the non-profit GreenWave to train ocean farmers and help them access grants, seed, and equipment.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Conservation Stewardship Program
USDA is accepting initial applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which rewards farmers for protecting and enhancing natural resources on their working lands. The newly revised CSP includes expanded options for conservation activities and an increased minimum payment to help smaller-scale producers. Farmers should visit their local NRCS office to begin the application process.
The next application deadline for funding consideration is February 3, 2017.

Multi-State Rural Development Research or Extension Projects
The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development announced a competition for seed grants to enhance the ability of Land Grant institutions to positively influence the quality of life in rural areas of the twelve-state North Central region. Priority areas include the following: innovation diffusion for rural development, sustainable communities, leadership development, and entrepreneurial communities. Grant awards range from $5,000 to $25,000.
Proposals are due February 2, 2017.

Kaiser Conservation Endowment
Washington State University and University of Idaho are soliciting proposals up to $5,000 for promotion and demonstration of conservation practices targeting soil erosion. Funds are open to Washington State University, University of Idaho, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Conservation Districts, and colleges in Washington and Idaho. Funds are limited to the area east of the Washington Cascades and north of the Salmon River in Idaho.
Proposals are due January 16, 2017.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms
January 25-28, 2017
Lexington, Kentucky

Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group's Annual Conference offers outstanding "field-tested" presenters, a full slate of hot-topic conference sessions and pre-conference courses, the Organic Agriculture Research Symposium, several field trips, a poster display, and a trade show.

EcoFarm Conference
January 25-28, 2017
Pacific Grove, California

The 37th EcoFarm Conference features nearly 70 workshops, four pre-conference events, an exhibitor marketplace, seed swap, and more. EcoFarm will inspire and frame the shared mission to grow and shape a healthy, safe, and just food and farming system.

NPSAS Winter Conference
January 26-28, 2017
Aberdeen, South Dakota
The Winter Conference of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society features keynote speakers Sheri Salatin and Dr. Thierry Vrain. Pre-conference, half-day workshops are followed by a range of conference sessions and more than 50 exhibitors.

>>More Events

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New ATTRA Publication
Direct Marketing Lamb: A Pathway

Question of the Week
Can I use livestock manure for methane-electric generation on my farm?

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