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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 23, 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 Study Maps U.S. Wild Bee Decline and Its Impact
  • Survey Shows Montana Farmers Growing Cover Crops Primarily for Soil Health
  • Agriculture in a Changing Climate Workshop Invites Poster Submissions
  • A Look at the Expanding Female-Farmer Demographic
  • Cooperative Poultry Processing Facility to Bring Local Birds to Market
  • Research Shows Value of Seaweed in Historic Agriculture

Funding Opportunities

  • Lakewinds Organic Field Fund Grant Program
  • Southeast New England Program for Coastal Watershed Restoration
  • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative--Joint Venture Habitat Restoration and Protection

Coming Events

  • Nevada Small Farm Conference
  • Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention
  • Women Managing the Farm Conference

News & Resources

National Study Maps U.S. Wild Bee Decline and Its Impact
The first national study to map U.S. wild bees suggests they're disappearing in many of the country's most important farmlands. The new nationwide assessment indicates that if these losses continue, farmers will face increasing costs—and that the problem may even destabilize the nation's crop production. The study identified particular crops, including pumpkins, watermelons, pears, peaches, plums, apples, and blueberries, that are experiencing both a drop in wild bee supply and an increase in pollination demand.

Survey Shows Montana Farmers Growing Cover Crops Primarily for Soil Health
A survey of Montana producers by Montana State University showed about 30% of respondents growing cover crops and about 90% of those saying they will continue to do so. Producers cite soil health as their main reason for growing cover crops, though 30% also say they use or would consider using their cover crops for forage. Researchers noted that the study revealed some misconceptions about cover crops, pointing to a need for providing more information on the subject.
Related ATTRA Publication: No-Till Case Study, Miller Farm: Restoring Grazing Land with Cover Crops

Agriculture in a Changing Climate Workshop Invites Poster Submissions
Washington State University's Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources, USDA Northwest Regional Climate Hubs, and the Regional Approaches to Climate Change for Pacific Northwest Agriculture team invite abstract submissions for the poster session of Agriculture in a Changing Climate: Implications for Educators, Industry, and Producers. This free workshop will be held March 9-11, 2016, in Kennewick, Washington. Abstracts of 250 words can be submitted until January 18, 2016.
Related ATTRA Publication: Climate Change and Perennial Fruit and Nut Production: Investing in Resilience in Uncertain Times

A Look at the Expanding Female-Farmer Demographic
A feature in The Daily Yonder explores the diverse motivations, experiences, and approaches of female farmers and ranchers across the West. Although their ages, locations, and operations differ widely, the many women portrayed in this article share a sense of purpose.

Cooperative Poultry Processing Facility to Bring Local Birds to Market
A unique arrangement in Montana will make it possible for local farmers to process their poultry for retail sale. Two farms collaborated to launch the effort. Grants and an Internet fundraising effort raised enough money to construct the processing facility. Anyone can join the cooperative for $15 and have their poultry processed at the facility. Project participants say the arrangement could be a model for establishing cooperative poultry processing in other areas.

Research Shows Value of Seaweed in Historic Agriculture
Ecologists from Scotland's Rural College and the University of Edinburgh presented research on historic agricultural systems that could help bring agricultural lands back into production today, reports Science Daily. The research showed that seaweed is a useful and sustainable addition to soil that could help in reducing the carbon footprint of food and increasing self-sufficiency in remote areas.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Lakewinds Organic Field Fund Grant Program
The Lakewinds Organic Field Fund (LOFF) supports the development and sustainability of organics through research and development, organic certification, transitioning farms from conventional to organic, creating new farms, and land trusts for organic farms. LOFF is open to all farmers and farming associations, but preference will be given for those located in Minnesota, northern Iowa, and western Wisconsin.
The deadline for applications is February 5, 2016.

Southeast New England Program for Coastal Watershed Restoration
U.S. EPA is soliciting initial proposals to the Southeast New England Program (SNEP) for coastal watershed restoration that advances ecosystem resiliency, protects and restores water quality, habitat, and ecosystem function, and develops and applies innovative policy, science, and technology to environmental management. Projects must address priority areas: Innovative Restoration and Protection Approaches, Strategic Collaboration and Regional Impact, Integrating Habitat and Water Quality, and Focus on Connectivity and Ecosystem Services and Functions. Matching funding up to $1 million is available.
Applications are due by January 22, 2016.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative--Joint Venture Habitat Restoration and Protection
The Upper Mississippi and Great Lakes Region Joint Venture and the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture will be working with the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration programs in the Midwest and Northeast Regions to fund projects for long-term habitat protection, restoration, or enhancement, for conservation of native Great Lakes fish and wildlife populations, particularly migratory birds. Grants from $25,000 to $300,000 are available.
Applications are due by February 26, 2016.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Nevada Small Farm Conference
February 5-6, 2016
Sparks, Nevada
This 10th anniversary conference includes four intensive workshops and 20 different 90-minute sessions that cover a wide variety of production, policy, and farm business topics.

Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention
February 2-4, 2016
Hershey, Pennsylvania

This Northeast grower meeting combines three days of six or more concurrent educational sessions with an industry trade show and networking opportunities. It is designed to enable fruit, vegetable, and berry growers, as well as direct marketers, to stay on the cutting edge of their industries.

Women Managing the Farm Conference
February 4-5, 2016
Manhattan, Kansas

This conference is for women who are helping to grow the nation's food supply, whether by design, marriage, or inheritance. Presentations on business planning, health, managing employees, and more will be interspersed with opportunities for networking. The conference is for all women involved in an operation, from the full-time manager to the absentee landowner.

>> More Events

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