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
USDA Announces Growth of U.S. Organic Industry, Updates List of Certified Organic Operations
New Resource Introduces Food Industry to Regional Food Hubs
Farm Bill Modifications to Farm Loan Program Detailed
New England Food Policy Report Released
Research Reveals True Value of Cover Crops
'Maple Water' New Potential Product for Forest Owners
North Central Region SARE Graduate Student Grant Program
New Resource Introduces Food Industry to Regional Food Hubs The Wallace Center has released a new report, Food Hubs: Solving Local, designed to introduce a broader food-industry audience to regional food hubs. The report presents five case studies that show how small-farm aggregators and food retailers and distributors are teaming up to bring local food into larger-scale wholesale channels. The report encourages retailers and food service companies to get acquainted with hubs in their territories as a first step in developing programs for sourcing local food.
Farm Bill Modifications to Farm Loan Program Detailed USDA has announced that 2014 Farm Bill modifications to the Farm Loan Program have created greater flexibility in determining eligibility, increased loan limits, and emphasized opportunities for beginning and socially disadvantaged producers. The modifications are described in a USDA Fact Sheet available online.
New England Food Policy Report Released American Farmland Trust, Conservation Law Foundation, and the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group have released New England Food Policy: Building a Sustainable Food System. The report identifies policies that are helping New England grow its capacity to feed itself, policies that are hindering this growth, gaps in the existing policy framework, and opportunities for new policies to strengthen the food system.
Research Reveals True Value of Cover Crops Penn State researchers have determined that the value of cover crops to farmers and the environment is even greater than previously thought. Their research, published in Agricultural Systems, quantified eight ecosystem-services benefits of cover crops, including increased carbon and nitrogen in soils, erosion prevention, more mycorrhizal colonization, and weed suppression.
'Maple Water' New Potential Product for Forest Owners With assistance from Cornell University, Feronia Forests has developed a new beverage product that it will release nationwide in April. Called "Vertical Water," the drink is shelf-stable maple sap. Members of the New York Maple Producers Association are supplying sap for the first batches. Feronia's managing director notes that the new product could represent untapped income potential for forestland owners.
North Central Region SARE Graduate Student Grant Program This program provides funds to students who are exploring some aspect of sustainable agriculture as part of their educational program and are enrolled in graduate programs or veterinary medicine residence programs at accredited colleges or universities. In 2014, $150,000 will be available to fund about 15 projects in the North Central Region. Proposals are due by May 6, 2014.
Minnesota Crop Research Grant Program The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is seeking applicants for $1.3 million in competitive grants for applied crop research focusing on improving agricultural product quality, quantity, and value. The maximum grant award will be $250,000. Any Minnesota organization, research entity, individual, or business with agricultural research capability is eligible to apply. Applications must be received by April 28, 2014.
Water Bank Program USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will provide $3.6 million in financial assistance for Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota farmers and ranchers to help conserve wetlands and improve habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. Applications are due by April 18, 2014.
New York Nut Growers Association Meeting April 26, 2014 Riverhead, New York This free event will cover growing nut trees in a wooded area, proper pruning techniques, chestnut potential in North America, nut trees in nursery and landscaping operations, and enlarging a hobby nut tree planting into a marketing cooperative. Participants will tour a nut tree farm and see demonstrations of pruning and hazelnut layering.
The Business of Season Extension Farming Class April 11-12, April 25-26, or May 2-3, 2014 Reno, Pahrump, or Elko, Nevada The High Desert Farming Initiative is presenting two-day classes on the tools needed for a successful season-extension farming operation. The class addresses production methods, financial planning, and low-cost marketing techniques.
Climate Change and Horse Keeping Conference April 25, 2014 Auburn, Washington The King Conservation District and Horses for Clean Water are holding this conference. Experts will discuss potential impacts of climate change on the Pacific Northwest environment and agricultural community, as well as how these impacts can be managed for land and horses.
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.