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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 31, 2014

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.

Thank You for Your Support of NCAT in 2014
In 2014, donations helped the nonprofit National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) weatherize homes for low-income people, plant and maintain school gardens, and help farmers and ranchers maximize profits to build local economies. You can join in supporting this work by making a donation today.

News & Resources

  • Ideology Prevents Wheat Growers from Adopting Profitable Organic Methods
  • USDA Extends Comment Period for Conservation Stewardship Program
  • Study Says Buffer Zones May Be Inadequate to Protect Produce from E.coli
  • USDA to Begin Survey of Organic Producers
  • Public Comment Period Opens for Draft Guidance on Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation for Certified Organic Operations
  • Researchers Find Salmonella, E. coli Contamination on Farmers Market Herbs

Funding Opportunities

  • Environmental Education Local Grants Program
  • Rhode Island Local Agriculture and Seafood Act Grants Program
  • South Dakota Wildlife Diversity Small Grants Program

Coming Events

  • Soil and Nutrition Conference: Farm as Ecosystem
  • Feast Down East Regional Conference
  • Missouri Organic Association Annual Conference

News & Resources

Ideology Prevents Wheat Growers from Adopting Profitable Organic Methods
U.S. wheat growers resist converting to a more profitable method of farming because of ideology rather than technical or material obstacles, according to a new study published in the Journal of Marketing. Organic wheat price premiums have ranged between 14 and 74% over the past 30 years. Researchers sought to examine the challenges farmers face as they experimented with a new strategic orientation for doing business and the extent to which ideology influenced their choice of production methods.
Related ATTRA Publication: Planning for Profit in Sustainable Farming

USDA Extends Comment Period for Conservation Stewardship Program
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service is extending the currently open public comment period on the Conservation Stewardship Program interim rule. Comments will be accepted electronically or by mail through January 20, 2015.

Study Says Buffer Zones May Be Inadequate to Protect Produce from E.coli
Researchers with the USDA Agricultural Research Service say that the pathogen Escherichia coli O157:H7 can spread, likely airborne, more than one-tenth mile downwind from a cattle feedlot onto nearby produce. Investigators sampled leafy greens growing downwind from a cattle feedlot and found that contamination with E. coli declined with distance but was still present on produce 180 meters away, suggesting that current buffer zone guidelines of 120 meters are inadequate.

USDA to Begin Survey of Organic Producers
USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service is undertaking a census survey of organic producers. The 2014 Organic Survey is a complete inventory of all known organic producers that are certified, exempt from certification, and transitioning to organic production. Approximately 17,000 survey forms will be mailed in early January.

Public Comment Period Opens for Draft Guidance on Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation for Certified Organic Operations
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced a public comment period for the Draft Guidance on Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation for Certified Organic Operations. When finalized, the guidance will help organic certifiers, farms, and businesses understand the types of production practices that support conservation principles and demonstrate compliance with the USDA organic regulations. AMS invites organic producers, handlers, certifying agents, material evaluation programs, consumers, and other interested parties to submit comments before February 27, 2015.

Researchers Find Salmonella, E. coli Contamination on Farmers Market Herbs
Researchers at Chapman University and the University of Washington have published a study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture on the presence of Salmonella and E. coli on certain herbs sold at farmers markets. The study tested cilantro, basil, and parsley from 13 farmers markets in California and the Seattle, Washington, area. Of 133 samples, 24.1% tested positive for E. coli and one for Salmonella.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Environmental Education Local Grants Program
EPA seeks grant proposals from eligible applicants to support environmental education projects that promote environmental awareness and stewardship and help provide people with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. EPA expects to award three grants of up to $91,000 each from each of its 10 Regional Offices.
Proposals must be postmarked by March 6, 2015.

Rhode Island Local Agriculture and Seafood Act Grants Program
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is accepting applications for the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act grants program, aimed at increasing the economic competitiveness of Rhode Island-grown products. Any Rhode Island-based non-profit organization, farmer, fisherman/woman, or producer group is eligible to apply for up to $20,000.
Applications must be received by February 17, 2015.

South Dakota Wildlife Diversity Small Grants Program
South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is accepting proposals for the Wildlife Diversity Small Grants Program. This program provides funding of up to $5,000 for researchers, educators, and naturalists to carry out projects focused on native wildlife.
Proposals are due by February 15, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Soil and Nutrition Conference: Farm as Ecosystem
February 11-12, 2015
Northampton, Massachusetts

NOFA/Mass and the Bionutrient Food Association present this fourth annual conference making the connection between soil health, plant health, and our health. The conference will be filled with valuable, useful, and time-tested information for growers and consultants seeking to expand their skills with proven strategies.

Feast Down East Regional Conference
February 6, 2015
Wilmington, North Carolina

Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems Program presents this annual conference with speakers, workshops, and local food. Feast Down East helps small-scale, limited-resource farmers build and sustain their farms and connect with local markets.

Missouri Organic Association Annual Conference
February 5-7, 2015
Springfield, Missouri

This event features nationally known speakers, the MOA Poultry Symposium, hands-on workshops taught by industry experts, and special events.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest Archives
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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page 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.

Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

© 2014 NCAT

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New ATTRA Publication
Consejos para Vender a: Intermediarios de Productos Frescos

Question of the Week
Where can I find funding for a sustainable agriculture project?

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ATTRA Webinar
January 15 ~ Managing Risks on an Urban Farm will focus on the risk management strategies of two urban farms and how they have overcome several of the barriers facing urban farmers today. Register now!

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