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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 31, 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

  • USDA Introduces Web Resource Center for Organic Agriculture
  • SFA Adjust 2015 Project Releases Preliminary Findings on Farming Expectations, Challenges
  • Iowa Learning Farms Launches New Cover Crop Calculator Tool
  • 2014 Culinary Forecast Highlights Local Foods
  • ATTRA Can Help with CSP Applications
  • Public Meetings Allow Montana Citizens to Help Streamline State Food Regulations

Funding Opportunities

  • Iowa Watershed Improvement Grants
  • MOFGA Organic Farmer Loan Fund
  • Indiana Livestock Market Development Grant

Coming Events

  • Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Conference
  • SARE National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health
  • Georgia Organics Conference & Expo

News & Resources

USDA Introduces Web Resource Center for Organic Agriculture
USDA has introduced a centralized Web resource center for all the department's programs, services, and data that support organic agriculture. The Web resource can help producers learn about improved organic insurance, view organic commodity price reports and other economic data, and identify markets for their products. In addition, producers can access credit and cost-sharing assistance.

SFA Adjust 2015 Project Releases Preliminary Findings on Farming Expectations, Challenges
The Sustainable Farming Association (SFA) has released preliminary data from the Adjust 2015 Project. The project has surveyed more than 125 Upper Midwest farmers regarding their preparations for farming, their initial success in farming, and what adjustments they needed to make in order to continue farming. Initial survey results indicate there are significant differences between the livelihoods people expect farming will be able to provide and what it actually does provide. The results emphasize the importance of flexibility and foresight in farm planning. SFA is actively pursuing more survey participants.

Iowa Learning Farms Launches New Cover Crop Calculator Tool
To help farmers in their decision-making, Iowa Learning Farms has launched a new tool to help calculate and compare the costs of using cover crops, including seed, application, and chemical termination. The calculator can be used for a single cover crop species or mixtures of up to six species. It is available as an Excel file.

2014 Culinary Forecast Highlights Local Foods
The National Restaurant Association's annual culinary forecast predicts menu trends for the coming year. For 2014, the NRA surveyed nearly 1,300 professional chefs to find out what the hottest menu trends will be. Among the top 10 trends are locally sourced meats and seafood, locally grown produce, environmental sustainability, hyper-local sourcing (like restaurant gardens), and farm- or estate-branded items.

ATTRA Can Help with CSP Applications
Farmers who want to sign up for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service's Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) in fiscal year 2014 have only a short time to get their applications in. NRCS announced that the deadline for completing the initial application form for consideration in 2014 is January 17. Farmers who need assistance with their applications can call the ATTRA sustainable agriculture helpline at 800-346-9140 or email questions.

Public Meetings Allow Montana Citizens to Help Streamline State Food Regulations
Three Montana state agencies and a group of citizen stakeholders have begun a public process of reviewing the state's food laws and rules for inconsistencies and inefficiencies. The Montana Departments of Agriculture, Public Health and Human Services, and Livestock will hold public meetings in January to receive public comment on experience with application of the state's food laws and rules.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Iowa Watershed Improvement Grants
Soil and water conservation districts, public water supply utilities, counties, county conservation boards, and cities in Iowa are eligible to apply for watershed improvement grants. Approximately $1 million is available for this funding round.
Applications are due by February 28, 2014.

MOFGA Organic Farmer Loan Fund
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association's Organic Farmer Loan Fund helps organic farmers who are working on establishing a credit history for their farms. Loans of $5,000 to $20,000 will be available to MOFGA-certified organic farmers, farmers transitioning to organic production, and current participants and graduates of MOFGA's Journeyperson Program.
Applications are due by March 1, 2014.

Indiana Livestock Market Development Grant
Indiana State Department of Agriculture is accepting project proposals for its Livestock Market Development Grant. Proposed activities under the grant can include value-added feasibility studies, research projects, market development, or other projects that encourage the development of business and industry related to livestock production, processing, and distribution.
Applications are due by February 1, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Conference
February 14-16, 2014
Granville, Ohio

"Affirming Our Roots, Breaking New Ground," features keynote speakers Atina Diffley and Kathleen Merrigan. There will be pre-conference workshops, an NCR-SARE Farmers Forum, and workshop tracks on specialty and field crops, business, heritage breeds, urban agriculture, and homesteading.

SARE National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health
February 18, 2014
Omaha, Nebraska, and locations nationwide

Attend a free live broadcast of the SARE National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health at one of nearly 200 forums to be hosted nationwide by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Cooperative Extension offices. Each forum will feature a live-streamed video broadcast of the opening sessions of the national conference in Omaha. Following the broadcast, discuss locally how cover cropping can build soil health, improve yields, curb erosion, manage pests, and build resilience into your farming system.

Georgia Organics Conference & Expo
February 21-22, 2014
Jekyll Island, Georgia

"Green Acres: Saving the Planet One Bite at a Time" will feature education sessions, workshops, farm tours, and keynote speaker Ken Cook. Session tracks include basic and advanced farming, technology and business for farmers, farm to school, and more.

>> 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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© 2013 NCAT

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New Publication
Getting Into Farming - A Workbook for Beginning Farmers in North Carolina

Question of the Week
Can you tell me what the cross-pollination needs are for certain apple, pear, and berry varieties?

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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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