Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Weekly Harvest, January 18, 2017


ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 18, 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.

News & Resources

  • USDA Offers Accreditation Program for Transitional Organic Products
  • FSA Bridges to Opportunity Expands Nationwide
  • Guide to Animal Welfare Certifications Offered
  • Pilot Program to Accredit Certifiers for American National Standard for Sustainable Agriculture
  • CRP Grasslands Enrollment Meets Small-Scale Goal
  • Apply to Become a FoodCorps Service Member

Funding Opportunities

  • Frontera Farmer Foundation Grants
  • National Organic Certification Cost Share Program
  • Conservation Innovation Grants in Arkansas

Coming Events

  • Georgia Organics Conference & Expo
  • New Mexico Organic Farming Conference
  • Soil Health Conference

News & Resources

USDA Offers Accreditation Program for Transitional Organic Products
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is accepting applications from existing organic-accredited certifying agents to certify agricultural products as "Transitional." AMS will utilize a standard for transitional agricultural products that was developed by the Organic Trade Association. Certifiers should submit applications by February 28, 2017, for this National Certified Transitional Program.

FSA Bridges to Opportunity Expands Nationwide
USDA Farm Service Agency is expanding its Bridges to Opportunity program nationwide. The program connects producers with resources, programs, and educational services offered across the department, as well as by other USDA partner organizations. Bridges to Opportunity allows FSA employees to search and obtain a list of all local, state, regional, and national organizations that may be able to assist local producers with their specific needs.

Guide to Animal Welfare Certifications Offered
ASPCA partnered with Vermont Law School's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems to create a new tool for farmers, the Farm Animal Welfare Certification Guide. The guide covers three welfare certification programs: Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane®, and Global Animal Partnership. The guide provides detailed comparisons of the standards and processes required by each program, presents six candid farmer case studies, and outlines funding options available to farmers investing in animal welfare.

Pilot Program to Accredit Certifiers for American National Standard for Sustainable Agriculture
Leonardo Academy Inc. has signed an agreement with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to accredit certifiers for ANSI/LEO-4000, the American National Standard for Sustainable Agriculture. ANSI has launched a Pilot Accreditation Program for certifiers and is accepting applications for this pilot through March 10, 2017.

CRP Grasslands Enrollment Meets Small-Scale Goal
USDA will accept more than 300,000 acres in 43 states for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands enrollment ranking period that closed on December 16, 2016. This enrollment period included for the first time a CRP Grasslands practice specifically tailored for small-scale livestock operations with 100 or fewer head of grazing cows. USDA met its goal of 200,000 acres enrolled under this small-scale initiative during this ranking period.

Apply to Become a FoodCorps Service Member
FoodCorps recruits talented leaders for a year of paid public service building healthy school food environments in limited-resource communities. Together with communities, FoodCorps serves to connect kids in 17 states and Washington, D.C., to healthy food in school through food and nutrition education, hands-on gardening and cooking activities, and putting local food on cafeteria trays. Applications for joining the FoodCorps cohort for the 2017-2018 school year are due by March 15, 2017.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Frontera Farmer Foundation Grants
The Frontera Farmer Foundation will award grants for capital improvements of up to $12,000 to small and medium-size, individually owned farms that sell their food products to customers in the Chicago area at farmers markets and otherwise. Farmers must have been in business for at least three years and must demonstrate how the grant will improve both their farm’s viability and the availability of locally grown food products in the Chicago area.
Completed applications must be received by March 4, 2017.

National Organic Certification Cost Share Program
This program provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products who are obtaining or renewing their certification under the National Organic Program. Certified operations may receive up to 75% of their certification costs paid October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017, not to exceed $750 per certification scope. Producers and handlers may submit applications to FSA county offices beginning on March 20, 2017, or they may apply through participating State Agencies.
State agencies must apply by February 17, 2017.

Conservation Innovation Grants in Arkansas
NRCS has announced approximately $300,000 in funding available through the Conservation Innovation Grants program to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies within Arkansas. State, tribal, and local governmental entities; non-governmental organizations; and individuals may apply. Individual grant awards may not exceed $75,000.
Proposals are due by March 3, 2017.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Georgia Organics Conference & Expo
February 17-18, 2017
Atlanta, Georgia

20th Anniversary Conference attendees will connect with like-minded peers, tour farms, cultivate new skills, and view exhibit booths with innovative food- and agriculture-related information that will build stronger farms, school gardens, and communities.

New Mexico Organic Farming Conference
February 17-18, 2017
Albuquerque, New Mexico

This conference brings organic growers in the region together to explore and learn the unique aspects of the Southwest. Farmers, ranchers, and researchers share their experiences and expertise.

Soil Health Conference
February 16-17, 2017
Ames, Iowa

"Building Soil Health for Healthy Environment and Farm Profitability" features speakers from academia, farmers, USDA, non-profits, and industry, presenting views concerning soil health understanding, challenges, and potential management practices.

>>More Events

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Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest newsletters are available online.

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New ATTRA Resource
Working with Your Meat Processor

Question of the Week
What are the basic steps for oilseed production?

Ask an Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online or by calling 1-800-346-9140

Farm Finances & Farm Service Agency Assistance Programs
January 19, 2017
Cleveland, Mississippi
Contact rockw@ncat.org for information on this free one-day workshop.

ATTRA Spanish Newsletter
Subscribe to Cosecha Mensual (Monthly Harvest), ATTRA's Spanish-language e-newsletter

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Florida Land Steward Update 1/20/17


January 20, 2017

Have Land?  Get a Plan and Stay Connected.  Florida Land Steward is your source of assistance, information, events and resources.

News, information and upcoming events below.  
Please share this update with your neighbors, colleagues and others that may be interested.

*- Link to the current quarterly Florida Land Steward Newsletter (Fall-Winter 2016, Vol 5, No 4) and back issues -*


News & Info Brief

New events added this week and more are in the works. We'll keep you posted on all the latest with these email updates, our Florida Land Steward Facebook page and online at http://floridalandsteward.org/.  

First come, first serve for Forest Stewards, Tree Farmers, farmers, landowners, and private land managers while supplies last. Email Chris at cdemers@ufl.edu to request your copy. Please include your mailing address when you drop a line. If you have requested a calendar it is in the mail.

Enhancing and protecting water quality, water quantity, and water supply are high-priorities of the UF/IFAS Cooperative Extension Service. The purpose of this website is to provide easy access to water-related information and programs of the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Check it out at http://water.ifas.ufl.edu/

This series of six webinars is hosted by the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education, and presented by the Clean WateR3 (http://cleanwater3.org/default.asp) multi-state university research team. 

Clean WateR3 is a federally funded Specialty Crops Research Initiative grant focused on research and outreach to help growers Reduce, Remediate and Recycle irrigation water. The grant team is managed by Dr. Sarah White at Clemson University and includes many research collaborators, including the University of Florida. 

These free webinars will be 45 minutes long at 12 noon ET on consecutive Tuesdays, beginning on January 24.

Dr. Linda Wang, National Timber Tax Specialist, USDA Forest Service, has prepared her annual Timber Tax Tips publication. It and other related resources are available at the National Timber Tax website: http://www.timbertax.org/.

Application Deadline February 3 for Conservation Stewardship Program
Agricultural producers can sign up for funding now until February 3 available through USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Agricultural producers and forest landowners can earn incentive payments from CSP for expanding conservation activities on their land, such as cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat. 

CSP encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new approaches such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to improve water quality. The program also offers bundles, where a producer can select a suite of enhancements to implement and receive an even higher payment rate. All CSP contracts will have a minimum annual payment of $1,500.

Information about CSP, including national and state ranking questions and enhancement descriptions, is available on the national website or visit your local NRCS field office.

Ranchers in southwest Florida may be able to get paid for helping the Florida panther. To be eligible, a producer's operation must be in northeastern Collier County or southwestern Hendry County—an area identified as essential for the long-term viability of the panther population. Federal, state and nonprofits have partnered to provide a suite of technical services and financial assistance to ranchers, from building fencing and treating invasive plants to compensating ranchers for loss of their cattle from panthers.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will coordinate assistance to ranchers available through the various agencies. The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide technical and financial assistance for conservation practices through its Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The signup deadline to apply for that program is Feb. 3, 2017.

To find out how to participate contact Jennifer Korn at FWC, 813-417-6165 or Erin Myers at USFWS, 239-657-8009. At NRCS in Hendry County contact District Conservationist Jim Sutter, (863) 674-5700, and in Collier County District Conservationist Bob Beck, 239-455-4100.

The application deadline is February 24 for fiscal year 2017 funding.
NRCS provides financial assistance to partners for purchasing Agricultural Land Easements that protect the use and conservation values of eligible land. In the case of working farms, the program helps farmers and ranchers keep their land in agriculture. The program also protects grazing uses and related conservation values by conserving grassland, including rangeland, pastureland and shrub land.  Eligible partners include Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs.  

Under the Agricultural Land component, NRCS may contribute up to 50 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement.  Where NRCS determines that grasslands of special environmental significance will be protected, NRCS may contribute up to 75 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement.

Although applications are accepted on a continuous basis, funding selections are typically made once a year. Visit your local NRCS office to find out how to apply or obtain the applications online. Contact Nina Bhattacharyya, (352) 338-9554 for information.

By Larry Perrin, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
The FL Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) requests your assistance with increased monitoring for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). CWD is a fatal disease of white-tailed deer, and other ungulates (elk, moose, mule deer). It is not contagious to humans. CWD was originally discovered in Colorado in 1980 and now occurs in 24 other states; the closest to FL being TX and AR to the west and VA and WV to the north. Early detection is critical as this disease is extremely difficult to control, thus continuous monitoring is important.

FWC has been conducting CWD monitoring since 2001 with many of our samples coming from public wildlife management areas. We would now like to focus on obtaining samples from other public and private lands. It would be most beneficial if you would report any sick, injured, or dead deer (typically road-killed deer) to our CWD "hotline" at 866-293-9282. FWC will then make every effort to collect the necessary brain tissue and lymph nodes from these animals.

Also, if you, or any of your acquaintances, are deer hunters we would like to obtain samples from these animals as well. For hunter-killed bucks, the antlers and/or cape can be removed as normal without affecting the desired samples. If you are likely to harvest several deer (bucks or does) over the hunting season deer heads can be stored for 2 to 3 weeks if refrigerated and for an extended period if frozen.

The storage of heads from the same tract of land is beneficial as we can schedule a pickup that will be much more efficient than picking up individual deer heads. Again, you can call our hotline no. (866-293-9282) to arrange for pickups. If you harvest deer from more than one area specific location information is needed for each deer since if a sample tests positive for CWD it will be essential that its location be known so that appropriate measures can be taken.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated. 

Do you have pests or a disease in your trees? Leaves or needles wilting, and you don't know why? Sawdust falling out of your trees, and you don't know how to save them? There is help: ask your question at the free Forest Health Diagnostic Forum: http://sfrc.ufl.edu/treehealth/forum/.

Go to floridainvasives.org for information, assistance and partnership opportunities.

Check the vast array of extension publications available at the University of Florida IFAS on the EDIS publication site:  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/  Wow, there's a publication about that?

Drop a line to Chris Demers, cdemers@ufl.edu

More news and info at the Florida Land Steward Blog



EAST FLORIDA (Madison County, east and south)

February 9

Organic Spinach Production Workshop (link), 1-4 pm, UF/IFAS Plant Science Research & Education Unit, 2556 West Highway 318, Citra, FL 32113. Free. See link above for details and registration

February 10

Small Scale Mushroom Production (link), UF/IFAS Suwannee Valley Agricultural Extension Center, Live Oak, FL. See link above for details and registration or contact Dilcia Toro at dtoro@ufl.edu or (386) 362-1725 ext.102

March 9

Forest Stewardship Tour at Lloyd Adams' NuView Properties in Columbia County. Mark your calendar. Details and registration to be posted soon.

March 10-11

University of Florida 2017 Bee College (link), Whitney Marine Laboratory for Bioscience, 9505 N Oceanshore Blvd, Marineland, FL 32137. Provided by the UF Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab. See link above for details and registration.

March 13-14
March 17-18

Starting a Successful Hydroponic Business (link),UF/IFAS Suwannee Valley Agricultural Extension Center, Live Oak, FL. See link above for details and registration or contact Dilcia Toro at dtoro@ufl.edu or (386) 362-1725 ext.102

April 21

Invasive Exotic Species and Control Workshop (pdf link), 9 am to 3 pm, UF/IFAS Marion County Extension Auditorium, Ocala, FL. Join us to learn about identifying and controlling some of the most troublesome invasive exotic plants like cogongrass, Japanese climbing fern, Old World climbing fern, Chinese tallowtree and others. We'll also address exotic animals, such as feral hogs, that are causing big headaches for forestry and agricultural producers. Earn pesticide applicator CEUs and forestry CFEs and connect with partnership and assistance opportunities! Presented by the Big Scrub Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area and Florida Forest Stewardship Program. Details and registration at https://fsp-workshop042117.eventbrite.com/

May 8-11

2017 Aquatic Weed Control Short Course (link), Coral Springs, FL. Join us for the largest and most inclusive training for Florida Pesticide Licensing and CEUs. Become a more qualified professional, engage with your industry, and network with your peers! The Short Course is designed to benefit both new and experienced applicators alike. Register by February 27 at the early rate of $245, and save $50!  See link above for details and registration. Questions? Call Mandy Stage, Short Course Coordinator, (352) 392-5930, mstage@ufl.edu 

 WEST FLORIDA (Jefferson County and west)

January 22

Red Hills Fire Festival (link), 11:00 am - 3:00 pm ET, Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy, 13093 Henry Beadel Drive, Tallahassee, FL. Event includes wagon tours, kid's activities, live music, fire equipment and prescribed burning demos, food trucks and presentations by experts in fire and wildlife. For more Information, contact: Brian Wiebler, Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy, (850) 363-1079, brian@ttrs.org

January 26

Financial and Succession Planning Workshop (pdf link), 10 am to 2 pm CT, UF/IFAS Jackson County Extension, 2741 Penn Avenue, Marianna, FL. Provided by Farm Credit of Northwest Florida and the Strategic Wealth Group. They have an expertise in business and estate planning and specialize in working with farmers. Make plans to attend. Please RSVP to (800) 527-0647 by Jan. 20. See link above for details.

January 29-31

Southeastern SAF 2017 Annual Meeting: "Sustaining Southeastern Forestry - Healthy Forests, Markets and Policy" (link), Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Miramar Beach, FL. This event is approved for 9.0 SAF Category 1-CF Hours. Contact: Sharon Dolliver, sesafbusmgr@windstream.net

March 6-7

ForestHER Workshop (link), Coffee County Extension Office, 1055 E Mckinnon St, New Brockton, AL 36351. This hands-on workshop will help women learn about forests and forest resource management in a relaxed, fun setting. Learn to read maps and measure and market timber and non-timber forest products including wildlife. Presented by Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. $70 fee. See link above for workshop times and registration or contact Bence Carter, (334) 894-5596, jbc0057@aces.edu

May 22-25

GIS Workshop: Applied Geospatial Solutions in Natural Resources (link), Tall Timbers Research Station, 13093 Henry Beadel Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32312. See link above for details.

June 12-15

Advanced GIS Workshop: Python scripting and GIS Programming (link), Tall Timbers Research Station, 13093 Henry Beadel Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32312. See link above for details.


January 24

Science/Technology Webinar: Designing Habitat for Multiple Benefits: Wildlife, Soil, Water and Carbon (link), 2 pm ET, see link for details and to join.

January 25

Science/Technology Webinar: Eastern Forest Pest Update (link), 2 pm ET, see link for details and to join.

January 26

Southern Fire Exchange Webinar: Restoring Fire's Role in Fire Adapted Communities (link), 1 pm ET, see link for registration and details.

February 14

Science/Technology Webinar: Cover Crop Management for the Southeast (link), 2 pm ET, see link for details and to join.


More events on these sites and web calendars:

UF/IFAS Web Calendar

Florida Forest Stewardship Calendar



Florida Master Naturalist Program

Florida Native Plant Society Chapters:  http://www.fnps.org/chapters/chapters

Brooker Creek Preserve Events, Pinellas County

Florida Forest Service Training Opportunities

Forestry and Natural Resources Webinars

Check with your UF/IFAS County Extension Office for more events
and information relevant to your county:


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***** IMPORTANT NOTE about this e-mail distribution list: *****

This e-mail distribution list is intended for official business purposes for IFAS faculty and staff. Do not use this list for personal messages. If you are a current IFAS employee, you will NOT be removed from the list. If you are no longer employed by IFAS and wish to be removed contact the Helpdesk at (352) 392-4636 or mailto:help@ifas.ufl.edu.

**Call for Incubator Farmers** | **Now taking Applications**

We are now accepting applications for our Farmer Incubator Program located in Alexander, NC on the Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy's Community Farm.  We currently have space for vegetable/annual production, small-scale livestock, bees, mushrooms & forest herbs.  Please apply even if your type of production is not mentioned here.

See the attachment for more information and how to apply.  Applications will be accepted through February.

​Thank you,


Chris Link

Farm and Food Program Associate

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy 
34 Wall Street, Suite 502
Asheville, NC  28801                               

"The land which is best for agriculture happens to be best for building too.  But it is limited--and once destroyed, it cannot be regained for centuries."
-Christopher Alexander