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.
News & Resources
Farming for a Sustainable Community Training Manual Available
Cover Crop Survey Shows Improved Yields
Virginia State University Project Demonstrating Small Farm Profit Potential
Minnesota Study Says Agriculture Is Source of Nitrate Pollution in Surface Water
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Plans New Challenge Area on Water Issues
Farmers Market Infographic Released
Northeast SARE Research and Education Grants
Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Grant Program
Vermont Farm Viability Program Food Safety Infrastructure Grants
America's Grasslands: The Future of Grasslands in a Changing Landscape
Fruit and Vegetable Field Day
Agritourism in Northern Nevada Workshop
News & Resources
Farming for a Sustainable Community Training Manual Available American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has released Farming for a Sustainable Community: A Training Manual as a 22M PDF file. The manual documents the knowledge of Don Bustos, lifelong farmer and director of AFSC's New Mexico program, and the farmer-to-farmer training program developed by AFSC. The manual presents models for land selection, soil preparation, crop planning, cultivation, handling, marketing, and season extension with point-by-point instruction, case studies, illustrations, and descriptions.
Cover Crop Survey Shows Improved Yields Results have been released from a farmer survey on cover crops, conducted in the Upper Mississippi River watershed. The survey was carried out in partnership between the USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and the Conservation Technology Information Center. One key finding was that during the fall of 2012, corn planted after cover crops had a 9.6% increase in yield compared to fields with no cover crops. Likewise, soybean yields were improved 11.6% following cover crops.
Virginia State University Project Demonstrating Small Farm Profit Potential Researchers at Virginia State University are attempting to demonstrate that a small plot can provide a farmer a decent living. Researchers and students have planted a one-acre plot with a variety of vegetables and produce with the aim of grossing one dollar per square foot from their crops. The project emphasizes that marketing crops is vital for small-scale farmers, who can utilize channels such as farmers markets, restaurant sales, CSAs, and on-farm sales. Related ATTRA Publication:New Markets for Your Crops
Minnesota Study Says Agriculture Is Source of Nitrate Pollution in Surface Water The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has released results from its study, Nitrogen in Surface Waters, showing elevated nitrate levels, particularly in southern parts of the state. The study shows that the primary source of the nitrates is cropland agriculture. In some basins, cropland accounts for 89 to 95% of the nitrate load. The amount reaching surface waters from cropland varies widely, depending on the crop, tile drainage practices, cropland management, soils, climate, geology, and other factors.
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Plans New Challenge Area on Water Issues The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) intends to initiate a new challenge area in the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) in Fiscal Year 2014 to address water issues. NIFA will hold a web-based listening session on July 16, 2013, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, in order to solicit stakeholder input on this new challenge area. Persons wishing to present oral comments during the web-based listening session are requested to pre-register by contacting Ms. Terri Joya at (202) 401-1282 or by e-mail to email@example.com.
Farmers Market Infographic Released As part of the "I Love My Farmers Market Celebration," American Farmland Trust has released a new infographic to rally support for farmers markets and family farmers. The infographic offers a big picture of how keeping farmers on the land benefits us all.
Northeast SARE Research and Education Grants The Research and Education program funds outcome-based projects offering research, education, and demonstration projects that benefit farmers and explore new sustainable farm practices. Projects should be directed toward research results that will translate quickly into farmer benefit. Pre-proposals are due by July 29, 2013.
Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Grant Program Oregon's Farm to School and School Garden Program provides funding for school districts to purchase and serve locally produced or processed foods, and to fund food-based, agriculture-based, and garden-based educational activities. The funds are distributed via competitive grants managed by the Oregon Department of Education in collaboration with the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Proposals are due July 31, 2013.
Vermont Farm Viability Program Food Safety Infrastructure Grants The Vermont Farm Viability Program is offering grants of up to $20,000 to assist agricultural infrastructure businesses in Vermont with food-safety investments. Businesses or cooperatives may apply for funds for construction, equipment, or other investments that directly enhance food safety practices. Applications are due by July 31, 2013.
America's Grasslands: The Future of Grasslands in a Changing Landscape August 12-14, 2013 Manhattan, Kansas National Wildlife Federation and Kansas State University are sponsoring a conference that will bring together researchers, natural resource professionals, farmers and ranchers, policy experts, and conservationists to discuss the conservation of North America's grasslands and the opportunities and outlook for these vital ecosystems in a changing landscape. The conference begins with a day of grassland field trips.
Fruit and Vegetable Field Day August 12, 2013 Ames, Iowa The 2013 Fruit and Vegetable Field Day at the ISU Horticulture Research Station features research-based information on a variety of topics in fruit and vegetable production and the opportunity for real-time assessment of ongoing research. The event is geared towards commercial production, but would also be beneficial to small-scale growers.
Agritourism in Northern Nevada Workshop August 13, 2013 Yerrington, Nevada This one-day workshop from Western Nevada College Specialty Crop Institute will highlight the potential and possibilities for agritourism. Speakers will help participants learn why agritourism is a growing industry and how to get started.
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.