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.
ATTRA Publications Now Available on Amazon ATTRA has begun placing many of its more than 400 publications on Amazon, where they can be downloaded to e-readers. Publications range from organic production to building a micro-hydro system and obtaining crop insurance. Enter "ATTRA" under the "Kindle Store" search option on the Amazon site. Publications are still available on the ATTRA website, as well.
News & Resources
USDA Announces Additional Support for Small and Mid-Sized Farmers and Ranchers
Sustainable Food Trade Association Says Members Reducing Environmental Footprint
NOP Accepting Comments on Post-Harvest Handling Guidance
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture Releases Research Results
USDA Updating National Farmers Market Directory
IATP Releases Interactive Food System Tour
USDA Market Access Program
Conservation Innovation Grants in Kansas
Mississippi Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
Strolling of the Heifers Weekend
From Service to Stewardship: A Workshop for Veterans on Farming with Heritage Breeds of Livestock and Poultry
Alternative Agriculture Field Day
News & Resources
USDA Announces Additional Support for Small and Mid-Sized Farmers and Ranchers USDA has announced several new programs and resources for small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers. This support includes $7 million in university research grant awards to develop programs that will assist small and medium-sized farmers in growing their operations, enhancing their production, and becoming economically viable. USDA is also providing $8.8 million in technical assistance for small, socially disadvantaged producers and Rural Cooperative Centers. In addition, USDA announced a new marketing certification program for small and very small grass-fed beef producers. More information is available on USDA's Small and Mid-Sized Farmer Resources webpage.
Sustainable Food Trade Association Says Members Reducing Environmental Footprint According to the Sustainable Food Trade Association's (SFTA) second annual Member Sustainability Progress Report, the organic food industry is taking giant strides to reduce its footprint in 11 areas from farm to retail. The report highlights 64 member companies' use of renewable energy, packaging reduction, and community involvement.
NOP Accepting Comments on Post-Harvest Handling Guidance The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) has published a draft guidance that provides information on substances that may be used in post-harvest handling (washing, cooling, sorting) of raw organic products. Public comment on the draft guidance is being accepted until June 24, 2014, via Regulations.gov.
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture Releases Research Results Summaries of six recently completed projects sponsored by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture are now available. The projects concern bird use of prairie conservation strips, school gardens and children's diets, increasing farm resiliency, partnerships for growing farmers, recordkeeping education for fruit and vegetable producers, and results from the Long-Term Agro-ecological Research (LTAR) experiment.
IATP Releases Interactive Food System Tour The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) has released Justice and Health: Missing Ingredients in the U.S. Food System, an interactive tour of the U.S. food system. The online presentation explores increasing concentration in the food market, compares prices paid to farmers with retail prices, and reveals statistics on minority farmers.
USDA Market Access Program Through the Market Access Program (MAP), USDA Foreign Agricultural Service enters agreements with U.S. agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state regional trade groups, and small businesses to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products and commodities. Program funding for FY 2015 is $200 million. Applications are due by May 19, 2014.
Conservation Innovation Grants in Kansas USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has announced the availability of $200,000 for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) in Kansas. Priority will be given to applications that relate to nutrient management, energy conservation, soil health, air quality, climate change, wildlife, economics, sociology, environmental markets, food safety, historically underserved groups, or assessments of past CIG projects. Applications must be received by May 16, 2014.
Mississippi Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce is accepting grant applications from state and local organizations, academia, producer associations, industry or community-based groups, and other specialty-crop organizations for projects that will significantly and positively impact the specialty-crop industry in Mississippi. Applications must be received by May 15, 2014.
Strolling of the Heifers Weekend June 6-8, 2014 Brattleboro, Vermont This event encompasses a weekend of activities honoring farmers and celebrating local food, built around the world-famous Strolling of the Heifers Parade. A Slow Living Summit will take place June 4-6.
Alternative Agriculture Field Day June 4, 2014 Jefferson City, Missouri Lincoln University Cooperative Extension presents this afternoon field day promoting sustainable and organic agriculture for small farms. Topics will include integrated pest management, prairie restoration, solar energy, native plants, and pollinators.
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.