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.
Harvesting Clean Energy February 4-6, 2014 Hear from leading experts and practitioners about the steps to successful clean energy projects that can help you cut costs and diversify revenue for your farm or other business. Learn how you can improve efficiencies and produce clean energy, feedstocks, and co-products for yourself and for market. Click here to register for the 2014 Harvesting Clean Energy Conference in Helena, Montana.
News & Resources
New 'Soil Health Tool' Soil Test Offered
Organic Enterprise Budgets Released for the Carolinas
Alyssum Improves Pest Control in Lettuce
Perennial Grass Considered as Biofuel Alternative
Sonoma County, California, to Become Sustainable Wine Region
PASA and Future Harvest-CASA Plan to Merge
Tennessee Farmers Market Capital Development Program
Oregon Specialty Crop Block Grants
New England Meat Conference
CSA Expert Exchange Online Conference
Greenhouse Tomato Short Course
News & Resources
New 'Soil Health Tool' Soil Test Offered The new USDA-ARS Soil Health Tool is now available from at least three commercial soil labs: Brookside Labs (Ohio), Ward Labs (Nebraska), and Woods End Labs (Maine). The Soil Health Score combines five measurements of soil's biological properties to indicate the overall health of the soil system. "CO2 rate," "microbial active carbon," and "water soluble carbon" are used as indicators of biological factors linked to soil's intrinsic nutrient-supply powers. Related ATTRA Resource: Alternative Soil Testing Laboratories
Alyssum Improves Pest Control in Lettuce USDA Agricultural Research Service horticulturist Eric Brennan has found that randomly interspersing alyssum plants throughout rows of organic lettuce helps maximize visits by hoverflies that prey on lettuce pests. In California studies, Brennan evaluated how alyssum biomass and flower production varied with planting density and how competition between lettuce and alyssum affected both plants. Related ATTRA Publication:Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control
Perennial Grass Considered as Biofuel Alternative Michigan State University research published in Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences says that when factors other than yield are considered, perennial grasses score higher than corn as biofuel alternatives. MSU researchers compared corn, switchgrass, and mixes of native prairie grasses and flowering plants. Methane consumption, pest suppression, pollination, and bird populations were all higher in perennial grasslands.
Sonoma County, California, to Become Sustainable Wine Region Sonoma County Winegrowers has announced that Sonoma County is committed to becoming the nation's first 100% sustainable wine region. A three-phase program to be completed within the next five years includes education and training, independent certification, and plans for future improvement.
PASA and Future Harvest-CASA Plan to Merge Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) and Future Harvest-CASA have announced plans to merge in 2014. The groups intend to launch a comprehensive educational initiative to address the needs of the sustainable farming community throughout their combined service area of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and the Washington, DC, area.
Fund-a-Farmer Grant The Fund-a-Farmer Project awards grants for projects that help family farmers transition to pasture-based systems, improve the marketing of their humane products, or more generally enrich the conditions in which the farm animals are raised. Fund-a-Farmer will provide 15 grants of up to $2,500 to qualifying livestock and poultry farmers. Applications must be postmarked by May 1, 2014.
Tennessee Farmers Market Capital Development Program This program provides assistance for the establishment or improvement of farmers markets in Tennessee. Grants of $10,000 to $100,000 are available to qualified farmers markets on a 50% matching basis. Applications are due by March 7, 2014.
Oregon Specialty Crop Block Grants Oregon Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for grants to enhance the competitiveness of Oregon's specialty crops. Eligible non-profit organizations, local, government entities, for-profit organizations, industry trade associations, producer groups, and commodity commissions can submit proposals. Concept proposals are due by February 24, 2014.
New England Meat Conference March 7-8, 2014 Concord, New Hampshire The goal of the New England Meat Conference is to enhance the production, processing, and marketing of sustainable, nutritious, humanely raised, and delicious meat from New England farms and processors by providing educational and networking opportunities for meat producers, processors, and consumers.
CSA Expert Exchange Online Conference March 6-7, 2014 Online The first day of this two-day online conference will focus on issues relevant to beginning farmers and those just getting started in CSA. The main event on March 7 will consist of sessions on topics such as marketing and social media, legal issues surrounding CSAs, crop planning, and CSA coalitions.
Greenhouse Tomato Short Course March 4-5, 2014 Raymond, Mississippi Expert speakers will present seminars relevant to the production of greenhouse tomatoes. Special topics this year will include components of the greenhouse system, alternative heating options, marketing, alternative crops, and pest management.
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.