Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 27, 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.
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News & Resources
- USDA Proposes Withdrawal of Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Final Rule; Public Comments until January 17
- Humane Farming Mentorship Program Launched, Accepting Applications
- Directory of State Agricultural Loan Programs Released
- Pest Management Guidelines for Almonds and Walnuts Revised
- Research Tests Willingness to Pay for Beef Labels
- Combined Effects of Pesticide and Poor Nutrition Increase Pollinator Deaths
- National Farm to Cafeteria Conference Scholarships
- Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program
- Montana EQIP Special Initiatives
- Organic Seed Growers Conference
- TOFGA Annual Conference
- Farming for the Future
News & Resources
USDA Proposes Withdrawal of Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Final Rule; Public Comments until January 17
USDA has announced its intention to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule published in the Federal Register on January 19, 2017. This rule amends the organic livestock and poultry production requirements by adding new provisions for livestock handling and transport for slaughter and avian living conditions, and expands and clarifies existing requirements covering livestock care and production practices and mammalian living conditions. Interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this proposal to withdraw the rule, on or before January 17, 2018.
Humane Farming Mentorship Program Launched, Accepting Applications
Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) is offering a new mentorship program for beginning livestock and poultry farmers seeking personalized guidance from an experienced farmer on business strategies and animal-management practices. The year-long, phone-based program is designed for family farmers who wish to raise their animals on pasture using sustainable, humane methods. Mentors and mentees are needed. Apply by January 31, 2018, to participate.
Directory of State Agricultural Loan Programs Released
The National Council of State Agricultural Finance Programs and the Council of Development Finance Agencies have released the 2017 National Council of State Agricultural Finance Programs Directory. The directory outlines 83 individual programs that assist beginning and first-time farmers, existing family farm operations, and agribusiness firms. The 177-page directory is free online in PDF.
Related ATTRA Publication: Financing a Farmland Purchase
Pest Management Guidelines for Almonds and Walnuts Revised
The University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program recently posted revised Pest Management Guidelines online for almonds and walnuts. These guidelines help growers prevent and manage pest problems with the most up-to-date information. Both guides are available online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Biointensive Integrated Pest Management
Research Tests Willingness to Pay for Beef Labels
Arizona State University conducted an online experiment with beef customers that tested their willingness to pay for steak labeled with different attributes. Researchers found that consumers aware of the USDA definition for "natural" are willing to pay $3.80 more per pound for beef labeled both "natural" and "grass-fed."
Related ATTRA Publication: Natural Livestock Feasibility Study
Combined Effects of Pesticide and Poor Nutrition Increase Pollinator Deaths
Biologists at the University of California San Diego studied how honey bees fared with exposure to neonicotinoids along with limited nutrient sources. The researchers were surprised to find that bee deaths increased by up to 50% more than they expected compared with the individual effects of pesticides and poor nutrition. This was the first study to test such "synergistic" effects when these threats are combined and amplified beyond the sums of the individual factors.
>>More Breaking News
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National Farm to Cafeteria Conference Scholarships
The National Farm to School Network will host the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25-27, 2018. Scholarships are prioritized for the following groups: early care and education providers, farm to college/hospital practitioners, farmers / farmer support organizations, food service professionals, persons of color, and youth. A majority of scholarship awards will cover conference registration fees and/or field trip and short-course registration fees, pending available funds. Additional scholarships that also include travel may be available in limited quantities.
Applications are due February 12, 2018.
Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities seeks applications for the 2018 Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program to accelerate strategic protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds. Up to $3 million is available for the 2018 grant round. Awards will be considered in the following three categories: Watershed Action Projects, Building Watershed Protection Capacity, and Advancing the State of Practice. A funding match of at least 25% is required.
Proposals are due by February 1, 2018.
Montana EQIP Special Initiatives
NRCS in Montana has EQIP funding available to producers and landowners for several special initiatives. These include High Tunnel Systems, Honey Bee Pollinators, the National On-Farm Energy Initiative, the National Organic Initiative, The Sage Grouse Initiative, and Wildfire Recovery.
The application deadline is January 19, 2018.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Organic Seed Growers Conference
February 14-17, 2018
The biennial Organic Seed Growers Conference presents the latest in cutting-edge research and policy advocacy. The conference offers presentations, panel discussions, and networking events. The first two days include farm tours and short courses.
TOFGA Annual Conference
February 1-3, 2018
The Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association's conference includes two days of learning sessions, plus multiple add-on pre-conference workshops and farm tours.
Farming for the Future
February 7-10, 2018
State College, Pennsylvania
PASA's annual featured event has more than 100 speakers and a variety of sustainable farming and food-system programming, including full-day tracks, half-day sessions, and 80-minute workshops. Youth programming is offered.
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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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