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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 24, 2013

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

  • Farm Incubator Toolkit Released
  • FDA Issues Statement Regarding Proposed FSMA Rules
  • Public Comment Period Opens for National Sustainable Agriculture Standard
  • New York Food Metrics Bill Signed into Law
  • Internships and Land-Link Programs Important Avenues for New Sustainable Farmers
  • Seed Savers Exchange Advises on Avoiding GMO Contamination in Open-Pollinated Corn

Funding Opportunities

  • National Farm to Cafeteria Conference Scholarships
  • United States - Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund
  • Lakewinds Organic Field Fund

Coming Events

  • Midwest Soil Health Summit
  • Healthy Farms Conference
  • Nevada Small Farm Conference

News & Resources

Farm Incubator Toolkit Released
The National Incubator Farm Training Initiative has released The Farm Incubator Toolkit (3.2MB PDF). The toolkit brings together the real-world experiences of practitioners in the field of land-based training and support programs for small-scale sustainable farmers. The publication is a resource for both developing and established farm incubator programs. Supplementary budgets and curriculum examples are also online.

FDA Issues Statement Regarding Proposed FSMA Rules
The FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, Michael Taylor, has issued a statement on key provisions of the proposed Food Safety Modernization Act rules affecting farmers. According to FDA, "[S]ignificant changes will be needed in key provisions of the two proposed rules affecting small and large farmers. These provisions include water quality standards and testing, standards for using raw manure and compost, certain provisions affecting mixed-use facilities, and procedures for withdrawing the qualified exemption for certain farms." FDA anticipates publishing revised proposed rule language by early summer 2014 and accepting public comment on those revised sections.

Public Comment Period Opens for National Sustainable Agriculture Standard
Leonardo Academy has opened the public comment period for the National Sustainable Agriculture Standard (LEO-4000). The standard provides voluntary guidance and opportunities for recognition for producers interested in or engaged in sustainable crop production. Both the public comment period and the Standard Committee ballot will close on March 6, 2014.

New York Food Metrics Bill Signed into Law
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Food Metrics Bill into law on December 18. The legislation requires state agencies to establish a robust food purchasing, tracking, and reporting system that will provide baseline data about money being spent on food and the geographic source of such food. The bill also lays the groundwork to encourage state institutions to buy more food grown on farms in New York.

Internships and Land-Link Programs Important Avenues for New Sustainable Farmers
Penn State researchers say on-farm internships and land-link programs are two important models for increasing the number of farmers in the sustainable-agriculture movement. Kathleen Wood and Leslie Pillen explored the social processes and structures of farm internships and land-link programs, and studied the implications of these for providing the necessary resources to new farmers.
Related ATTRA Resource: Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships

Seed Savers Exchange Advises on Avoiding GMO Contamination in Open-Pollinated Corn
In a blog post, Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) reports on growing out varieties of open-pollinated corn in Iowa. Recognizing the abundance of GMO corn pollen in the air, SSE grew blue sweet corn in an isolated area protected by natural barriers to pollen dispersal. However, cross-pollinated kernels were found in the corn crop. SSE concludes, "Corn-belt seed savers who want to ensure they eliminate all GMO contamination may want to learn to hand-pollinate their corn, or grow varieties where GMO contamination is visually apparent, such as white or blue corn."

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

National Farm to Cafeteria Conference Scholarships
The National Farm to School Network is offering registration scholarships for the 7th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Powering Up, taking place in Austin, Texas, April 15-18, 2014. Scholarships cover the costs of conference registration only.
Applications are due by January 31, 2014.

United States - Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund
Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD) is a competitive funding program for mutually beneficial, mission-oriented, strategic and applied research of agricultural problems, jointly conducted by American and Israeli scientists. BARD is currently accepting applications for graduate student and postdoctoral fellowships, senior research fellowships, and international workshops.
The yearly submission deadline is January 15, 2014.

Lakewinds Organic Field Fund
Lakewinds Organic Field Fund provides grants for farmers who are working in organic agriculture, whether through research and development, organic certification, transitioning farms from conventional to organic production, or creating new farms. Preference will be given for farms and farming associations located in Minnesota, northern Iowa, and western Wisconsin.
Applications are due February 7, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Midwest Soil Health Summit
February 19-20, 2014
Alexandria, Minnesota

The Summit will convene some of the most innovative farmers and researchers in the Upper Midwest for two days of networking, speakers, panel discussions, and breakout sessions—all geared at improving the health of your soil.

Healthy Farms Conference
February 14-15, 2014
Kearney, Nebraska

The Healthy Farms Conference provides an opportunity for participants to learn about alternatives for expanding their farming operations while also practicing and promoting conservation. It also provides a platform for new, transitioning, or beginning farmers to network and learn firsthand from fellow farmers and the latest research.

Nevada Small Farm Conference
February 20-22, 2014
Sparks, Nevada

Speakers will cover topics such as soils, beekeeping, and egg production, as well as innovative topics like agri-tourism, fodder production, and renewable energy. Pre-conference workshops include Direct Marketing Meat; Hoop House Production; Chinese Medicinal Herbs; Hops, Barley & Distillery Grains; and Healthy Soils.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives
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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New Publication
Valuing Sustainable Agriculture Practices

Question of the Week
Can I plant a cover crop with my asparagus for weed control?

Ask a Sustainable Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online

ATTRA Webinars
New USDA Cover Crop Termination Policy ~ January 23, 2014. The National Center for Appropriate Technology and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition will host a webinar discussing USDA's policy on when and how cover crops can be terminated without jeopardizing crop insurance coverage. Register now!

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