This blog is for Polk County Florida small farms and pesticide applicators as a method of communication and sharing information. This blog is administered by the University of Florida IFAS Extension Polk County Extension Agent, Mary Beth Henry.
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 Funding and Resources Demonstrate Commitment to New Farmers and Ranchers
Small and Mid-Size Farmers in Washington Get Help with GAPs Plans
Indiana Pastured Poultry Initiative Launching
Publication Helps Food Hubs Use Accounting Software to Improve Traceability
USDA Food and Nutrition Service Issues Memo on Procuring Local Meat
NOP Introduces Sound and Sensible Initiative Projects
California Specialty Crop Grants
Agricultural Reinvestment Fund
Iowa Water Center Institute Research Grants
Acres USA Conference and Eco-Ag U
National Conference on Grazing Lands
Professional Agricultural Workers Conference
News & Resources
USDA Funding and Resources Demonstrate Commitment to New Farmers and Ranchers USDA has announced that it will prioritize $5.6 billion over the next two years for programs and services that serve new and beginning farmers and ranchers. USDA has also unveiled a web tool at www.usda.gov/newfarmers to connect new farmers with programs and resources available. The site features advice and guidance on writing a business plan, obtaining a loan, and filing taxes. Farmers can use the Discovery Tool for personalized recommendations of USDA programs and services that may meet their needs.
Small and Mid-Size Farmers in Washington Get Help with GAPs Plans Washington State Department of Agriculture is holding workshops across the state to help small and mid-sized diversified farmers learn practical and cost-effective ways to establish food-safety practices on their farms. The Department has developed a resource guide to assist farmers, called Bridging the GAPs Farm Guide: Good Agricultural Practices and On-Farm Food Safety for Small, Mid-sized, and Diversified Fruit and Vegetable Farms. It is available free online in either English or Spanish. Related ATTRA Publication:An Illustrated Guide to Growing Safe Produce on Your Farm
Indiana Pastured Poultry Initiative Launching Purdue Extension is starting a new marketing initiative to promote Indiana's pasture-raised poultry. The goal is to establish a set of common production, processing, and branding standards to ensure consistent levels of quality. A label and related marketing materials will reflect those high standards. Participating farmer members will be directly involved in the decision-making processes. Related ATTRA Publication:Label Rouge: Pasture-Based Poultry Production in France
Publication Helps Food Hubs Use Accounting Software to Improve Traceability A new publication is available from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, titled Using Accounting Software for Food Hubs: Processing Traceable Orders. This is a step-by-step tutorial to accounting software that food hub managers can use when they need to have product traceability, based on QuickBooks Professional 2015.
NOP Introduces Sound and Sensible Initiative Projects USDA Agricultural Marketing Service's National Organic Program (NOP) made awards to 14 organizations last year to support the Sound and Sensible Initiative. These organizations, including the National Center for Appropriate Technology, worked with farmers and certifiers on projects that help simplify the organic certification process and organic compliance. USDA is introducing the results of those projects as templates, decision-making tools, trainings, guides, tip sheets, and videos available to producers and certifiers. NOP will release more than 40 Sound and Sensible tools and resources over the next several months.
California Specialty Crop Grants The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting proposals for the 2016 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Non-profit and for-profit organizations; local, state, federal, and tribal government entities; and public and private colleges and universities are eligible to apply for $50,000 to $450,000 per project. Concept proposals are due by December 4, 2015.
Agricultural Reinvestment Fund RAFI's Agricultural Reinvestment Fund assists innovative and entrepreneurial farmers and collaborative farmer groups in North Carolina in developing new sources of agricultural income. Through cost-share grants, the program awards up to $8,000 to individual farmers and up to $10,000 for collaborative farmer projects. Applications are due by December 31, 2015.
Iowa Water Center Institute Research Grants The Iowa Water Center administers an annual competitive statewide program to fund research that focuses on Iowa water resources problems. Funding of up to $30,000 is available for researchers at one of Iowa's accredited public or private universities or community colleges. Funding of up to $5,000 for one year is available to graduate students nearing completion of their program of study. Proposals are due by November 16, 2015.
Acres USA Conference and Eco-Ag U December 8-11, 2015 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania The Eco-Ag U offers intensive courses by eco-farming's top consultants, practitioners, and thinkers for advanced learning. The conference features presentations by some of the world's leading authorities and practitioners of ecological agriculture, including successful large-scale farmers, leading consultants, and cutting-edge scientists.
National Conference on Grazing Lands December 13-16, 2015 Grapevine, Texas National Grazing Lands Coalition hosts this 6th national conference, including a special Grazing Land Soil Health tour of Texas. Sessions will address cover crops, soil health, grazing and forage management, business management, water quality, and more.
Professional Agricultural Workers Conference December 6-8, 2015 Tuskegee, Alabama This 73rd annual conference is presented by Tuskegee University. "Beyond the Veil—Agriculture, Families and Communities of the Future: Local, National, and Global Perspectives" will address small farm issues, veterans in agriculture, bioenergy, climate change, and innovative programs.
Weekly Harvest Archives Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest newsletters are available online.
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.