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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 19, 2012

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

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News & Resources

  • NOP Releases New Guides for Organic Certification
  • Research Explores Freezing Local Food for K-12 Market
  • Conservation Stewardship Program Enrollment Reaches 50 Million Acres
  • Publication Released on Conservation Practices in Outdoor Hog Production
  • 'Virtual Grange' Provides New Forum for Beginning Farmers
  • Presidential Council Releases Report on Agricultural Preparedness and Research

Funding Opportunities

  • AFRI: Agricultural and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change
  • 1772 Foundation Grants for Northeast Farmland Preservation
  • Water Conservation Field Services Program, Upper Colorado Region

Coming Events

  • Harvesting Clean Energy
  • PASA Farming for the Future Conference
  • North American Farmers Direct Marketing Association Convention

News & Resources

NOP Releases New Guides for Organic Certification
Beginning farmers and existing organic operations can find detailed information about organic certification in a series of new guides. The guides were written by sustainable-agriculture experts at the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) in partnership with the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). The four guides provide detailed information about the relevant organic requirements, provide best practices, and further explain the certification process. Titles are Guide for Organic Crop Producers; Guide for Organic Livestock Producers; Guide for Organic Processors; and Organic Certification of Farms and Businesses Producing Agricultural Products.

Research Explores Freezing Local Food for K-12 Market
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) has released new research on innovative strategies for freezing locally and regionally grown produce for the K-12 marketplace. Their research explored several small- and mid-scale approaches, including schools freezing on-site in their own kitchens, utilizing multi-use kitchen facilities, contracting small freezing enterprises, and arranging "co-pack" relationships. The IATP report draws insight from the first-hand experience of ventures around the country.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tips for Selling to Institutional Markets

Conservation Stewardship Program Enrollment Reaches 50 Million Acres
In just four years, America's top conservationists have enrolled 50 million acres in USDA's Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), a program that helps farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners take conservation to the next level. The land enrolled in CSP totals more than 78,000 square miles. Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories can enroll in CSP. NRCS local offices accept CSP applications year-round and evaluate applications during announced ranking periods.

Publication Released on Conservation Practices in Outdoor Hog Production
The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) has released Conservation Practices in Outdoor Hog Production Systems: Findings and Recommendations from the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, a 65-page report available online in PDF. The report draws on research and on-farm demonstration trials to identify recommended practices that conserve natural resources while optimizing animal performance.

'Virtual Grange' Provides New Forum for Beginning Farmers
Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture has launched the Virtual Grange, a site where beginning, sustainability-minded farmers can find technical tutorials, learn about innovations in sustainable farming, and connect with mentors and peers. Although it is maintained by Stone Barns Center, with resources from the Center's farmers and apprentices, organizers envision that in time much of the site's content will be contributed by the broader community of farmers.

Presidential Council Releases Report on Agricultural Preparedness and Research
On December 7, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released Report to the President on Agricultural Preparedness & the Agriculture Research Enterprise. The report prioritizes the top scientific challenges facing agriculture: manage new pests, pathogens, and invasive plants; increase the efficiency of water use; reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture; adapt to a changing climate; and accommodate demands for bioenergy. Overall, PCAST recommends that the United States increase its investment in agricultural research by a total of $700 million per year to nurture a new "innovation ecosystem."

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

AFRI: Agricultural and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change
USDA anticipates that approximately $5 million will be made available in the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) for FY 2013 to support new awards within the Crop, Livestock, Forest and Range Adaptation to Climate Variability and Change Challenge Area. Specific program areas are designed to advance the understanding of the impacts of climate variability and change on agriculture, forestry, natural resources, and the environment. Project types include multi-function integrated research, education, and/or extension projects and Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants.
A letter of intent must be submitted by December 31, 2012.

1772 Foundation Grants for Northeast Farmland Preservation
The 1772 Foundation has announced that it will make funding available for land trusts with a primary interest in farmland protection within a 100-mile radius of Boston or New York City that have adopted the Land Trust Alliance's Standards and Practices. Requests of up to $50,000 for farmland acquisition will be considered.
Applications are due by March 8, 2013.

Water Conservation Field Services Program, Upper Colorado Region
The Bureau of Reclamation's Upper Colorado Region is requesting applications for the Water Conservation Field Service Program. The program offers grants and cooperative agreements for water-conservation activities. Any state, Indian tribe, irrigation district, water district, or other organization with water or power delivery authority is eligible to apply.
Applications are due by January 25, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Harvesting Clean Energy
January 27-29, 2013
Corvallis, Oregon

Harvesting Clean Energy focuses on the practical steps to successful project development, from economic and feasibility assessments, to accessing technical support and securing financing amidst tough finance markets. Learn about wind power, a range of bio-energy technologies, solar and geothermal resources, microhydro, energy innovation in the food-processing sector, and efficiency technologies to reduce energy costs and enhance profitability. Hear about strategies to maximize local job creation and economic benefits from developing our clean energy resources. The conference draws participants from a diverse range of fields—from motivated farmers, ranchers, and other rural landowners to professionals from agriculture and forestry associations, rural utilities, tribes, economic development agencies, and research institutions, to lenders, energy developers and consultants, and representatives of federal, state, and local government.

PASA Farming for the Future Conference
February 6-9, 2013
State College, Pennsylvania

PASA's Farming for the Future Conference agenda features main speakers Ben Hewitt and Charles Eisenstein, full-day pre-conference tracks, discussion sessions, and more than 100 workshops on a wide variety of topics.

North American Farmers Direct Marketing Association Convention
February 1-6, 2013
Portland, Oregon

The convention begins with a three-day School on Wheels bus tour. The convention will also feature a trade show and full- and half-day workshop sessions that will provide information on how essential business practices can help grow a farm retail business. Track topics include Food on the Farm, That's Agritainment, Staff Training, Technology, and Marketing & Managing Your Business.

>> More Events

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Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

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© 2012 NCAT

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