Farming News & Resources from ATTRA – October 2014
USDA Awards Over $52 Million to Grow Organic and Local Food Economies
USDA has announced more than $52 million in grant awards to support the organic food industry and local and regional food systems. The grants come through the Farmers Market Promotion Program, Local Foods Promotion Program, Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), Community Food Projects (CFP), and the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP). Details on the grant programs and the projects that were selected for funding are available online. NCAT has been awarded a $750,000 OREI grant to explore organic farming’s risk as well as whether the general lack of quality crop insurance acts as a barrier to the expansion of diversified organic systems of food production and markets.
Australian Researchers Have Bees Deliver Brown-Rot Treatment
Researchers at the University of Adelaide are demonstrating a new technique for protecting cherries from brown rot. Bees walk through a biological control agent when leaving their hives, and they distribute it to the blossoms they visit, preventing the brown rot fungus from developing on the subsequent fruit. The innovative delivery method, entomovectoring, could have applications in many horticultural industries.
Video Series to Feature Farm to School Grantees
The USDA Farm to School Program is releasing a weekly five-part video series during Farm to School Month in October, featuring testimonials from more than 30 USDA Farm to School grantees. Topics include: Farm to School Impacts, Buying Local, Marketing to Kids, How to Get Started, and Engaging the Community.
UN Launches Global Alliance on Climate-Smart Agriculture; FAO Director Highlights Agroecology
Speaking at the UN Climate Summit, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva welcomed the launch of a new Global Alliance on Climate-Smart Agriculture, a broad coalition of stakeholders, including governments; farmers and food producers, processors, and sellers; scientific and educational organizations; civil society actors; multilateral and international agencies; and the private sector. The Alliance will work together to promote sustainable and equitable increases in agricultural productivity and incomes; build greater resilience of food systems and farming livelihoods; and achieve reductions or removals of greenhouse gas emissions by agriculture. Graziano da Silva also highlighted “agro-ecology” as a promising approach to moving food production onto a more sustainable path.
USDA Introduces New Programs to Help Farmers Manage Risk
USDA has announced new programs, Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), that offer farmers protection when market forces cause substantial drops in crop prices and/or revenues. Producers will have through early spring of 2015 to select which program works best for them, using new online tools.
Local Food Innovations Survey Invites Submissions
The Wallace Center at Winrock International, Changing Tastes, and Common Market are embarking on a national scan of community-based food system innovations. The organizations are seeking community-based projects and programs that represent a significant shift toward more healthy, fair, affordable, and green methods of production, distribution, and/or consumption. Online submissions of innovative projects are invited.