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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 30, 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.

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News & Resources

  • New Members Appointed to National Organic Standards Board
  • Updated Farmers' Recordkeeping Toolkit Available
  • Great Plains Livestock Grazing Videos Available
  • Program to Increase Grass-Fed Livestock Operations in Chesapeake Bay Region
  • ERS Reports on Conservation-Practice Adoption Rates
  • Chefs Predict Top Restaurant Menu Trends

Funding Opportunities

  • Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative Funding to Address Critical Natural Resource Concerns
  • California Fertilizer Research and Education Program
  • Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program

Coming Events

  • Cultivating Cooperative Roots Conference
  • Soil and Nutrition Conference
  • TOFGA Organic Conference

News & Resources

New Members Appointed to National Organic Standards Board
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has six new appointees: Harriet Behar from Wisconsin as an environmental protection and resource conservation expert; Jesse Buie from Mississippi and Emily Oakley from Oklahoma as the two new organic producer representatives; Scott Rice from Oregon as the new accredited certifying agent representative; and Vena Romero-Briones from Hawaii and Daniel Seitz from Massachusetts as the two new public-interest or consumer-interest group representatives. Appointees will begin their service on January 24, 2016.

Updated Farmers' Recordkeeping Toolkit Available
Farmers' Legal Action Group (FLAG) has announced the release of Recordkeeping Instructions and Templates for Small-Scale Fruit and Vegetable Growers. The updated toolkit contains instructions and recording templates for small-scale fruit and vegetable farmers to use in tracking their farm activities. The toolkit is free online.
Related ATTRA Resource: Business Planning and Marketing

Great Plains Livestock Grazing Videos Available
The Great Plains Grazing project has posted a series of eight videos to address grazing producers' options in light of changing weather and climate. The series compiles the most successful practices used by cow-calf and beef stocker producers in the Great Plains. Topics include stocking-rate decisions and pasture-management considerations, evaluating options and response to drought, genetic trends and climate consideration, culling strategies for drought management, historical climate patterns in the Southern Great Plains, and nutrition and management of early-weaned calves.
Related ATTRA Publication: Grazing Calculator: Extended Cow Calf Pair

Program to Increase Grass-Fed Livestock Operations in Chesapeake Bay Region
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and partners have received funding for a project that will increase the number of grass-fed livestock operations in the Bay watershed. The grant will expand outreach and technical assistance for farmers who graze livestock in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania and provide opportunities for farmers to share information. Farmers across the watershed are encouraged to participate.

ERS Reports on Conservation-Practice Adoption Rates
An Economic Information Bulletin from USDA Economic Research Service analyzes national and regional adoption of no-till and strip-till planting systems; cover-crop use; and nitrogen-fertilizer application rates, timing, and methods. Conservation-Practice Adoption Rates Vary Widely by Crop and Region provides a snapshot of no-till and strip-till adoption, planting of cover crops, and nutrient management. In general, southern and eastern regions use no-till/strip-till and cover crops more intensely than other regions.

Chefs Predict Top Restaurant Menu Trends
The National Restaurant Association's What's Hot culinary forecast surveyed nearly 1,600 professional chefs to find what will be on restaurant menus in 2016. The top trend was locally sourced meats and seafood, while number three was locally grown produce. Other top-10 trends included hyper-local sourcing, natural ingredients, environmental sustainability, and new cuts of meat. Meanwhile, Today's Dietitian identified sprouted grains, probiotics, full-fat dairy, pulses, beets, sustainable diets, and efforts to manage food waste as popular trends for 2016.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative Funding to Address Critical Natural Resource Concerns
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Missouri is accepting applications for financial assistance to address critical natural resource concerns in seven Missouri watershed areas included in the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI).
The deadline to apply has been extended until January 15, 2016.

California Fertilizer Research and Education Program
The California Department of Food and Agriculture's Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP) is currently accepting concept proposals. FREP funds research that advances the agronomic and environmental performance of fertilizing materials. New FREP research priorities are the quantification of nitrate movement in deep soil as related to management practices and the role of soil organic matter and organic fertilizing materials in nutrient management.
Concept proposals are due by January 29, 2016.

Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is soliciting proposals to support conservation projects that enhance coastal habitats of the Gulf of Mexico and bolster priority fish and wildlife populations, while strengthening resilience within the coastal region. Individual grant awards typically range between $50,000 and $250,000.
Proposals are due by January 28, 2016.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Cultivating Cooperative Roots Conference
February 5-7, 2016
Spokane, Washington
Cooperatives large and small—farmers, growers, producers, distributors, financiers, policymakers, and retailers—are invited to share their experiences and to build relationships across Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana, and Minnesota, as well as nationally. More than 25 sessions, talks, and workshops, three field trip opportunities, a keynote speaker, and networking opportunities are planned.

Soil and Nutrition Conference
February 8-9, 2016
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

This 5th annual conference will gather farmers, researchers, nutritionists, and food-system advocates for a multidisciplinary conversation exploring the potential to improve food quality through regenerative agriculture that builds soil, crop, and ecosystem health.

TOFGA Organic Conference
February 11-13, 2016
Rockwall, Texas

Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners presents pre-conference workshops and tours, sessions for beginning and advanced farmers, regional meetings, and vendors.

>> More Events

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