Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 20, 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
- NCAT Launches Electronic Tools for Military Veterans in Agriculture
- Cornell Project to Help Farmers Scale Up to Hiring Employees
- Manual on Starting a Montana Farmers Market Updated
- Organic Strawberry Research Highlighted in Report
- Chefs Identify Hot Food Trends for 2018
- Growing for the Future Sessions Online until February 1
- Conservation Innovation Grants
- New York State Veterans Farmer Grant Fund
- Iowa Partners for Conservation
- Baskets to Pallets
- GrassWorks Grazing Conference
- Mid-America Organic Association Conference
News & Resources
NCAT Launches Electronic Tools for Military Veterans in Agriculture
The National Center for Appropriate Technology is offering veterans, farmers, and organizations working with veterans in agriculture two new ways to connect with each other: the Farmland, Farm Employment, and Training Program Locator Database and the Veterans in Agriculture Listserv. The new, national database is a one-stop shop for information related to veterans in agriculture. The listserv is another way to connect farmers, veterans who are farming or are interested in farming, and agencies and organizations who work with farmer-veterans.
Cornell Project to Help Farmers Scale Up to Hiring Employees
The Cornell Small Farms Program has received a grant for a new project to help beginning farmers scale up by preparing them to hire, manage, and retain skilled employees. The team will create a "Labor Ready Farmer" curriculum to provide emerging farm business owners and Latino agricultural employees seeking to rise to the ranks of owners with the skills they need. The curriculum will include online courses and videos, plain-language guides and visual resources, community-based training, and networks.
Related ATTRA Tutorial: Scaling Up for Regional Markets
Manual on Starting a Montana Farmers Market Updated
AERO has released the second edition of Starting a Farmers' Market in Montana, a 2018 update supported by the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program and the National Center for Appropriate Technology. The book discusses market preparation, organization, and regulations. The manual draws on the experience of Montana market organizers and highlights common strategies for building a successful farmers market.
Related ATTRA Publication: Farmers Markets: Marketing and Business Guide
Organic Strawberry Research Highlighted in Report
Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has published a report that includes a review of 14 OFRF-funded berry research projects, along with recommendations for future investment. Impacts of OFRF Berry Research highlights projects dealing with control of the lygus bug, availability of organic starts, and alternatives to methyl bromide in commercial strawberry production. The report is available for free download.
Related ATTRA Publication: Strawberries: Organic Production
Chefs Identify Hot Food Trends for 2018
The National Restaurant Association has released the results of its annual survey of 700 American Culinary Federation restaurant chefs, identifying top concept trends in dining. Hyper-local foods grown, picked, and processed on the premises were the number one trend. Other trends in the top 10 included natural ingredients; food waste reduction; locally sourced meat, seafood, and produce; and farm- or estate-branded items.
Growing for the Future Sessions Online until February 1
National Farmers Union has announced that sessions from its virtual beginning-farmer conference, "Growing for the Future," will be available free online until February 1, 2018. The conference provides an opportunity for beginning farmers to acquire the skills they need to run a successful operation. Conference sessions highlight leaders in the field of agriculture and focus on building a network for beginning farmers and ranchers.
Related ATTRA Resources: Beginning Farmer
>>More Breaking News
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Conservation Innovation Grants
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to invest $10 million in the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, funding innovative conservation projects in three focus areas: grazing lands, organic systems, and soil health. All U.S.-based entities and individuals are invited to apply, with the sole exception of Federal agencies. Up to 20% of CIG funds will be set aside for proposals from historically underserved producers, veteran farmers or ranchers, or groups serving these customers. Projects can last up to three years. The maximum award is $2 million.
Proposals are due February 26, 2018.
New York State Veterans Farmer Grant Fund
A new $250,000 grant program, the New York State Veterans Farmer Grant Fund, will provide matching grants up to $50,000. To qualify, at least 50% of the farm business must be owned, operated, and controlled by a veteran, as defined in the program guidelines. The farm must also have a minimum of $10,000 in farm income. Eligible project costs include the purchase of machinery, equipment, supplies, and the construction or improvement of agricultural structures.
The deadline for submission is January 26, 2018.
Iowa Partners for Conservation
USDA NRCS in Iowa is accepting proposals for conservation partnership agreements leveraging NRCS resources, addressing local natural resource issues, encouraging collaboration, and developing state- and-community-level conservation leadership. Successful proposals must originate from Iowa and focus on identified conservation issues. Proposals are requested from eligible governmental or non-governmental organizations and institutions of higher learning for projects between one and five years in duration. A total of $3 million in funding is anticipated.
Proposals are due by January 31, 2018.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Baskets to Pallets
January 29-30, 2018
Lowville, New York
This comprehensive two-day introduction to selling wholesale will cover building relationships with buyers, customer management, recordkeeping, pricing, grading and packaging, uniformity and consistency, and food safety, among many other topics.
GrassWorks Grazing Conference
January 30 - February 1, 2018
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
The 26th annual grazing conference theme is "Covering All Ground." Tracks include dairy, above-ground and below-ground management, beginners, and business. Speakers include Kit Pharo, Greg Gunthorp, Hue and Suzanne Nelson Karreman, and Joe Tomandl.
Mid-America Organic Association Conference
January 31 - February 2, 2018
Learn about organic, sustainable, and alternative agricultural crops and systems. Areas of interest include organic and non-GMO grain and vegetable production, sustainable livestock production, and health and wellness.
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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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