Thursday, December 18, 2014

Weekly Harvest, December 17, 2014

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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 17, 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.

News & Resources

  • Study Shows Organic Agriculture Closing Yield Gap
  • Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program Providing More Help for Specialty Growers and New Farmers
  • USDA Announces Proposed Expansion of the Organic Assessment Exemption
  • Study Explores Mulch Impact on Pollination in Squash
  • Researchers Develop Organic Strawberry Disease Control
  • USDA Seeks Public Comment on New Environmental Quality Incentives Program Rule

Funding Opportunities

  • Water Resources Research National Competitive Grants Program
  • Michigan Value Added-Regional Food Hub Grant Program
  • New York State Craft Beverage Marketing and Promotion Grant Program

Coming Events

  • North American Farm Direct Marketing Association Annual Convention
  • Society for Range Management Annual Meeting: Managing Diversity
  • NOFA New Hampshire Winter Conference

News & Resources

Study Shows Organic Agriculture Closing Yield Gap
A systematic overview of 115 studies comparing organic and conventional farming found crop yields of organic agriculture are about 19.2% lower than conventional ones, a smaller difference than in previous estimates. The study, conducted by UC Berkeley researchers, also found that certain practices could further shrink the productivity gap. The study was published online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program Providing More Help for Specialty Growers and New Farmers
USDA has announced that greater protection is now available from the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program for crops that traditionally have been ineligible for federal crop insurance. New options provide greater coverage when natural disasters affect vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, syrup, and energy crops. Producers can now choose higher levels of coverage, up to 65% of their expected production at 100% of the average market price. To help producers learn more about the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, an online resource is available at

USDA Announces Proposed Expansion of the Organic Assessment Exemption
USDA is proposing expanding the organic exemption from assessments under commodity promotion programs administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service. This action would apply the exemption to producers, handlers, marketers, or importers of "organic" and "100% organic" products. The exemption would apply regardless of whether the person requesting the exemption also deals with non-organic products. Interested parties will have 30 days to review the proposal and submit comments.

Study Explores Mulch Impact on Pollination in Squash
Research by The Ohio State University, published in HortTechnology, examined the effect that different mulches can have on field-nesting squash bees. Using mulch for weed control can help protect the bees from insecticide applications and tillage, but some mulches themselves prevented bee nesting. Analyses revealed that shredded newspaper combined with grass clippings is an effective mulch with no apparent negative impacts on squash bee nesting or on squash floral resources and pollination.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Pumpkin and Winter Squash Marketing and Production

Researchers Develop Organic Strawberry Disease Control
The Organic Farming Research Foundation reports that its research partners at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) have developed an effective, organic system for fighting verticillium wilt in strawberries. Researchers at UCSC studied anaerobic soil disinfestation, in which a carbon source is added to the soil to stimulate microorganism growth. The soil is irrigated to saturation and tarped to hold it in an anaerobic state, which kills the microorganisms.

USDA Seeks Public Comment on New Environmental Quality Incentives Program Rule
USDA has published a rule that outlines how it will improve the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Highlights of program changes include the following: it requires at least 5% of available EQIP funds be targeted for conservation practices that promote wildlife habitat; it increases the advanced payment to 50% for eligible historically underserved producers; it targets assistance to veteran farmers and ranchers; and it increases the payment limitation to $450,000 for benefits received 2014-2018. Comments are due by February 10, 2015.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Water Resources Research National Competitive Grants Program
The U.S. Geological Survey and the National Institutes for Water Resources request proposals for matching grants of up to $250,000 to support research on improving and enhancing the nation's water supply. Investigators at U.S. institutions of higher learning are eligible to apply through a Water Research Institute or Center.
Applications are due by March 12, 2015.

Michigan Value Added-Regional Food Hub Grant Program
The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) is offering matching grants up to $75,000 to promote and enhance Michigan's food and agriculture industry. MDARD will accept proposals to establish, retain, expand, attract, and/or develop value added agricultural processing and/or develop regional food systems.
Applications are due by January 12, 2015.

New York State Craft Beverage Marketing and Promotion Grant Program
Empire State Development has up to $ 2 million of funding available for New York's Craft Beverage Marketing and Promotion Grant Program. The program will increase the profile, awareness, and sales of New York State-produced wine, beer, spirits, and hard cider by providing matching funds for marketing and promotion. Not-for-profit corporations can apply for up to $5,000.
Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

North American Farm Direct Marketing Association Annual Convention
February 1-6, 2015
Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee

This five-day event includes bus tours, educational sessions, workshops, and a business exchange. The convention brings farm direct marketers and agritourism operators from all over the continent together for learning and networking.

Society for Range Management Annual Meeting: Managing Diversity
January 31 - February 6, 2015
Sacramento, California

This conference will include full-day and half-day symposia, workshops, and field tours, as well as guest speaker Temple Grandin. Topics will include urban open-space grazing management, low-stress livestock handling, and sustainable grazing.

NOFA New Hampshire Winter Conference
January 31, 2015
Concord, New Hampshire

This event offers professionally presented and highly engaging content on organic certification, keeping bees, balancing farming and family, school gardens, 'greening your machines,' gleaning, launching your value-added product, and more.

>> More Events

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

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home pageATTRA 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 Resource
Foodbank Location Database

Question of the Week
Without a spreader, could one adequately make compost by turning windrows of straw/manure, provided the C:N ratio and moisture levels are correct?

Ask a Sustainable Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online

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

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Entomology and Nematology Newsletter - December 2014

The December 2014 issue of the UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Newsletter is now available-               



This month's news includes:

Faculty and student news and awards

Lab news

Publications and meetings

Social media and outreach activities

Grants and more...


Issues usually are published by mid-month. Submit items for an issue by the 7th of that month.

We would like to share news when it happens using our social media outlets- Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Follow us on these sites for daily updates!

When you send news we will post it on one or more of these sites and again in the monthly newsletter.


Thank you for reading,





Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman, Ph.D.

UF/IFAS Entomology & Nematology Department

Rm. 3006 Bldg. 970, Natural Area Drive

PO Box 110620, Gainesville Florida 32611-0620

Phone: (352)273-3950


Twitter: @JGillettKaufman  @UFEntomology and @UFNATL


Monday, December 15, 2014

Chill Units at Selected FAWN Stations

I believe that most blueberry growers will agree that the chill unit accumulation in their crop has been excellent this year as the chart below depicting chill units (hours between 32 and 45ยบ F) accumulated at selected FAWN Stations this year in the first column versus the accumulation to date last year in the second column and the average accumulation to date demonstrates:  

FAWN Station

Chill Hours (32-45F)

Chill Hours (32-45F) last year

Chill Hours (32-45F) Average


























The near time forecast indicates a good probability of accumulating additional chill this week as another weaker cold front is scheduled to move in mid-week resulting in a few more mornings with lows in the low 40s in many locations.  This favorable chill accumulation should be an asset to growers who have not applied their hydrogen cyanamide, as increased chill accumulation has been shown to enhance the activity of this plant growth regulator.


You can track chill accumulation on the AgroClimate Website by following the link below:


Please let me know if you have any questions.


Thank you,

Gary K. England

1951 Woodlea Rd.

Tavares, FL 32778

(352) 343-4101 Ext. 2729

(352) 343-2767 FAX


Florida Bull Test Sale January 17

The Florida Bull Test Sale will be held on Saturday, January 17, 2015, at the NFREC Beef Unit near Marianna.  Dr. Cliff Lamb and his staff are working on getting all of the data, catalogs and other information together this week.  I have attached the press release and Sale Flyer for you to use in making your clientele aware of this event.  For the first time ever, buyers will be able to bid online on these elite bulls, that have been thoroughly evaluated and tested by the University of Florida.


The most current information has not been completely posted yet, but should be by the end of the wek.  All of the details of the performance information, sale catalog etc.  will be available through the Florida Bull Test website:


For specific questions about the Bull Test and Sale contact:


G. Cliff Lamb

Assistant Director and Professor

North Florida Research and Education Center

University of Florida

3925 Highway 71

Marianna, FL 32446


Tel: 850-394-9124

Fax: 850-482-9917




Doug Mayo

County Extension Director

Jackson County Extension

2741 Pennsylvania Ave. Ste 3, Marianna, FL 32448; 850-482-9620;



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Old World Climbing Fern

Please see below and attachments regarding Old World climbing fern infested areas within Polk County. Thanks

Corey Walk
Senior Forester, Lakeland District
Polk, Hillsborough, Pinellas Counties
(863) 519-1066<>

1700 US Highway 17 South
Bartow, Florida 33830

Florida Forest Service
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

MarketMaker Newsletter December 2014















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