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 - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.
Online Tutorial Covers Basics of Organic Seed Production
Producer Scholarships Available for "Strengthening Agriculture's Infrastructure" Conference
Claims Filing Period for Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Opens
Sustainable Agriculture Public Policy Internships Available
Western SARE Professional + Producer Grant
Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund
American Livestock Breeds Conservancy Annual Conference
Tilth Producers Annual Conference
NCSU Vermiculture Conference
News & Resources
Prepare to Apply for 2013 EQIP Organic Initiative The new federal fiscal year brings another opportunity for certified and transitioning organic farmers and ranchers to participate in the Organic Initiative under the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). The California NRCS office has already set November 16, 2012, as its state deadline for applying for 2013 funds. Each state office can set its own application dates, so contact your local NRCS office for application deadlines. Although you can sign up for this initiative at any time, if you miss the state deadline your funding request will have to wait until next fiscal year. ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service offers online information on applying for the the EQIP Organic Initiative and can assist applicants with questions via our toll-free helplines at 1-800-346-9140 (English) and 1-800-411-3222 (Spanish).
USDA Awards Specialty Crop Grants The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced $101 million in grants to support America's specialty crops producers. Approximately $55 million will be invested in 56 specialty crop block grants to states that fund initiatives to strengthen markets and expand economic opportunities for local and regional producers. An additional $46 million will go to support research and extension activities to address challenges and opportunities for specialty crops. Visit www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp for a list of the 2012 awards.
Online Tutorial Covers Basics of Organic Seed Production Organic Seed Alliance has created new multi-media production tutorials for beets and chard, brassicas, carrots, lettuce, onions, and wet seeded crops, along with tutorials on seed climatic considerations, seed disease, and seed quality. These tutorials combine text, images, audio, and video. They are available as an online course.
Producer Scholarships Available for "Strengthening Agriculture's Infrastructure" Conference Western SARE is organizing a conference in response to participants in Subregional Conferences who listed gaps and barriers in agriculture infrastructure as a high need to be addressed for continued economic viability. The conference will take place December 3-5, 2012, in Portland, Oregon. Scholarships for farmers and ranchers are available through a competitive application process.
Claims Filing Period for Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Opens Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who allege discrimination by the USDA in past decades can file claims between September 24, 2012, and March 25, 2013. The claims process offers a voluntary alternative to litigation for each Hispanic or female farmer and rancher who can prove that USDA denied their applications for loan or loan-servicing assistance for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000. Call-center representatives can be reached at 1-888-508-4429, and information is available online at www.farmerclaims.gov.
Sustainable Agriculture Public Policy Internships Available The Michael Fields Agricultural Institute has announced its tenth year of public policy internships, beginning in January 2013. Policy interns will have the opportunity to assist with the Fiscal Year 2014 grassroots agricultural appropriations campaign of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition; work on the 2013 Farm Bill; develop new grassroots and media contacts; participate in state policy development; work with NSAC staff in Washington, D.C.; and attend movement-related conferences. The five-month internships will be based in Madison, Wisconsin. Applications are due by November 2, 2012.
Western SARE Professional + Producer Grant Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) has issued a call for proposals for Professional + Producer Research & Education Grants for 2013. With these grants, an agricultural professional, working with at least five producers, conducts research and education on a sustainable agriculture topic and incorporates on-farm demonstrations, farmer-to-farmer educational outreach, and other items to assist in producer adoption of sustainable agriculture. Applications are due by December 5, 2012.
Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund Virginia localities are now able to apply for newly created Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund grants. AFID funds are broken into two categories, with $750,000 going to large grants to assist local efforts in expanding current or attracting new agriculture and forestry processing/value-added facilities using Virginia-grown products, and $250,000 dedicated to small grants to assist localities in improving local economic development efforts relating to agribusiness. Program funds are now available to local governments and other political subdivisions as one-to-one matching grants of up to $250,000. Applications will be taken on a rolling basis.
Western North Carolina AgOptions WNC AgOptions, a program of North Carolina Cooperative Extension and WNC Communities, will award area farmers $3,000 and $6,000 grants. The seed money offsets the risk of trying something new and gives farmers the chance to demonstrate new farming techniques and marketing tactics to the agricultural community. Farms in 17 western North Carolina counties are eligible to apply. Notice of intent to apply is due October 12; application deadline is November 16, 2012.
American Livestock Breeds Conservancy Annual Conference November 9-10, 2012 Cary, North Carolina Help ALBC celebrate 35 years of conservation success with an event that includes pre-conference clinics and conference sessions on poultry, small ruminants, pigs, cattle, farming with horses, growing forages, and more.
Tilth Producers Annual Conference November 9-11, 2012 Port Townsend, Washington The Tilth Producers 38th Annual Conference is titled "Growing Forward: Holistic Management of Organic Farms." Educational and networking events focus on Washington organic and sustainable agriculture. Friday features a WSU Symposium, 'Seeding the Future: Ensuring Resiliency in our Plant Genetic Resources.' Workshops feature growers, researchers, and educators sharing their expertise on organic farm practices and issues, plus a Beginning Farmer Series.
NCSU Vermiculture Conference November 5-6, 2012 Chapel Hill, North Carolina This conference will provide the tools you need to start or expand an earthworm and vermicompost production operation. Learn about the latest research on the effects of vermicompost and extracts on plant growth and disease suppression, how growers are effectively marketing earthworms and vermicompost, and more.
Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project 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.