Friday, January 30, 2015

ARS Newslink: January 26-30, 2015

Probing Phosphorus Losses from Midwestern Crop Fields

USDA scientists are monitoring phosphorus in surface runoff and tile drainage from farm fields. (01/28)

Infrared-Based Peeling of Tomatoes May Improve Precision, Save Water

A new infrared technique for removing the peels of Roma tomatoes before canning is mostly waterless. (01/29)

A New 'Gem' of a Pear Released by ARS, Cooperators

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and collaborators released Gem, a new pear cultivar, which is resistant to fire blight disease. (01/30)


Newslink is the weekly e-mail pointer for web links to stories issued by the  Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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ARS News Service, Information Staff, Agricultural Research Service
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Phone (301) 504-1636 | fax (301) 504-1486

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Weekly Harvest, January 28, 2015

Home | Newsletter Archives

ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 28, 2015

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

News & Resources

  • Grant Workshops Offered for Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program
  • Biological Controls Stabilized by Systems Approach
  • Animal Welfare Approved Introduces 'Certified Grassfed' Label
  • Alyssum Intercropping with Lettuce Provides Pest Control
  • Sowing Patterns, Crop Density Aid in Weed Control
  • Maps Total Global Cropland, Measure Field Size

Funding Opportunities

  • Conservation Innovation Grants
  • Frontera Farmer Foundation
  • Good Food Financing Fair

Coming Events

  • MOSES Organic Farming Conference
  • Western Regional Grazing Conference: Grazing for Change
  • West Virginia Small Farm Conference

News & Resources

Grant Workshops Offered for Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and National Institute for Food and Agriculture have announced a partnership through the Agricultural Marketing Service Technical Assistance Project to conduct workshops that will help potential grant applicants understand, develop, and submit their applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program. A list of upcoming grant workshop dates and locations in all regions of the country can be found online.

Biological Controls Stabilized by Systems Approach
A new study from University of Michigan researchers suggests that intraguild predation, or competition between different biological controls, strengthens and stabilizes biological control systems. This study, published in Nature Communications, shows that separately unstable control agents can combine to create an effective pest-management program with a stability that is similar to natural systems.

Animal Welfare Approved Introduces 'Certified Grassfed' Label
Animal Welfare Approved has announced the availability of a new standard and label for grassfed meat. The "Certified Grassfed" label guarantees that food products come from animals fed a 100% grass and forage diet, raised outdoors on pasture or range for their entire lives, and managed according to the highest welfare and environmental standards in the U.S. and Canada.

Alyssum Intercropping with Lettuce Provides Pest Control
The Organic Farming Research Foundation reported on the work of USDA researcher Dr. Eric Brennan, who has developed an "additive intercropping" technique for aphid control in lettuce. Brennan established that planting one or two alyssum plants per every 50 lettuce plants provides adequate aphid control without reducing yields.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic IPM Field Guide

Sowing Patterns, Crop Density Aid in Weed Control
Research from the University of Copenhagen suggests that weed control can be conducted more sustainably by adjusting sowing patterns and crop density. Studies demonstrate that modified sowing patterns and closer crop spacing results in a reduction of total weed biomass. The trick is to increase crop-weed competition and utilize the crop's head start, so that it gains a large competitive advantage over the neighboring weeds.
Related ATTRA Publication: Sustainable Weed Management for Small and Medium-Scale Farms

Maps Total Global Cropland, Measure Field Size
Two new maps provide insight into the amount of land used for crops globally, says Live Science. To create the maps, information from satellite images, regional maps, video, and geotagged photos was compiled by volunteers in a crowdsourced, online game called "Cropland Capture." One of the new maps reveals the world's agricultural lands to a resolution of one kilometer, showing the amount of cropland worldwide in 2005. The other provides the first look at the sizes of fields worldwide.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Conservation Innovation Grants
USDA is accepting applications for up to $20 million in Conservation Innovation Grants through a national competition. For 2015, approximately half of the funding is available for environmental markets and conservation-finance projects that engage agricultural producers. USDA is also soliciting proposals for projects to stimulate natural resource improvements. Non-Federal governmental or nongovernmental organizations, Tribes, or individuals may apply. A webinar for potential applicants will be held February 4.
Pre-proposals are due February 24, 2015.

Frontera Farmer Foundation
The Frontera Farmer Foundation will award capital improvement grants of up to $12,000 to small and medium-size, individually owned farms that sell their food products to customers in the Chicago area. Farmers must have been in business for at least three years and must demonstrate how the grant will improve both their farm's viability and the availability of locally grown food products.
Grant applications must be received by March 1, 2015.

Good Food Financing Fair
Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 Good Food Financing Fair at the Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference that will be held March 19 in Chicago. This is a juried fair, and farm and food businesses must apply to participate. Companies participating in the conference the past three years have raised more than $8 million in debt and equity financing.
Applications are due February 2, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

MOSES Organic Farming Conference
February 26-28, 2015
La Crosse, Wisconsin

The MOSES Conference is the largest event in the U.S. about organic and sustainable farming. Expand your farming knowledge, discover new resources and tools, make connections, and find support. The event includes an Organic University, keynote speaker John Jeavons, and numerous workshops and roundtables. It is preceded February 25-26 by the first Organic Agriculture Research Symposium.

Western Regional Grazing Conference: Grazing for Change
February 27-28, 2015
Chico, California

Meet leading holistic management practitioners, scientists, and agricultural "solutionaries" and learn how these leaders are using livestock to improve soil, decrease dependence on water, grow more grass, and improve profits. Gain access to their methods through small breakout workshops and hands-on learning opportunities.

West Virginia Small Farm Conference
February 26-28, 2015
Charleston, West Virginia

This year the conference includes 11 tracks with more than 180 classes, covering meat, fruit, certification, energy, season extension, farmers markets, and much more.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest Archives
Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest newsletters are available online.

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Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

© 2015 NCAT

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New ATTRA Publication
Drought and Disaster Resources for Texas Producers

Question of the Week
Can I dig up fruit trees and pot them in very early spring to sell in the fall?

Ask a Sustainable Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online

ATTRA Webinars
Now on our website: New Whole-Farm Revenue Protection Policy
NCAT, NSAC, and RAFI-USA discuss the Risk Management Agency's new Whole Farm Revenue Protection insurance policy.

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MEETING: Future scenarios for row crops in the Southeast

Future scenarios for row crops in the Southeastern USA

Tri-state row crop learning network.  Hear from experts and contribute to discussions about future scenarios for row crop production based on past trends, potential changes in climate, competing land uses and water availability. Identify possible strategies that different stakeholder groups might use to anticipate and prepare for changes.


When: Feb. 9, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Where: 2000 Levy Ave., Research Building A, Tallahassee, FL


Who: Row crop growers, advisors and stakeholders interested in agriculture trajectories in the Southeastern USA. Producers, industries, cooperatives, universities, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Bureau, water management districts.


Contact: RSVP by Feb. 2nd to Dr. Wendy-Lin Bartels at or 352-392-1864 ext.237.


For more information on the Tri-state group, visit our blog



Renee Bodine


Public Affairs Florida

Desk 352.338.9565

Cell 352.514.8292

Conservation Stewardship Program Applications due Feb. 27

Applications for Conservation Stewardship Program due Feb. 27

Farm Bill conservation program seeks producer participation


GAINESVILLE, Fl.,  Jan. 27, 2015—Farmers, ranchers and forest landowners have until Feb. 27 to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which provides financial and technical assistance to conserve and enhance soil, water, air and related natural resources on their land. Producers earn higher payments for higher performance.


The 2014 Farm Bill brought changes to CSP including an expanded conservation activity list that will offer participants greater options to meet their conservation needs and protect the natural resources on their land. These conservation activities, called enhancements, include cover crops, intensive rotational grazing and wildlife friendly fencing.


CSP will also help increase the impacts of NRCS’ Landscape Conservation Initiatives by including practices that address goals specific to the initiative. In Florida, this applies to the Longleaf Pine Initiative, and also covers Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

Nationally the following initiatives are included:

·         Sage-Grouse Initiative - Applicable states: California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

·         Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative – Applicable states: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

·         Ogallala Aquifer Initiative - Applicable states: Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is funding $100 million nationally to CSP this year with up to 7.7 million acres of private lands projected to be enrolled.


“CSP is a way of incentivizing farmers, ranchers, and private forest managers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship,” said Florida State Conservationist Russell Morgan.


A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types.


While local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round, to be eligible for this year’s enrollment, producers must have their applications submitted to NRCS by the closing date.


Learn more about CSP by visiting the NRCS website or a local NRCS field office.


Event calendars: Florida State Technical Advisory Committee Meeting

Florida State Technical Advisory Committee Meeting

Public, ag producers, natural resource interest groups invited. Hosted by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

March 12, 10 a.m.-noon, Doyle Conner Building, 1911 SW 34th Street, Gainesville, FL 32608

Contact: Jeff Woods, 352-338-9515.




Renee Bodine


Public Affairs Florida

Desk 352.338.9565

Cell 352.514.8292


Natural Resource Meeting Explains New Farm Bill, Seeks Recommendations

Natural Resource Meeting Explains New Farm Bill, Seeks Recommendations


Gainesville, FL., Jan. 29, 2015 – In an effort to assist agricultural producers in meeting their land management goals while protecting our natural resources,  the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will conduct a State Technical Advisory Committee Meeting March 12, 10 a.m.-noon at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Doyle Conner Agriculture Building Auditorium.  Located at 1911 S.W. 34th Street, Gainesville, Fla. 32608, the Doyle Conner Building is approximately two blocks north of Archer Road.


The meeting is open to the public and will give an overview of the 2014 Farm Bill programs, discuss the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program and explain Conservation Compliance requirements. The committee will solicit recommendations for establishing technical guidelines, program criteria and priorities for conservation practices in Florida.


Chaired by Florida State Conservationist Russell Morgan, the committee is composed of individuals and groups who represent a diverse group with interests in a variety of natural resource sciences and occupations. Although the State Technical Advisory Committee has no implementation or enforcement authority, USDA gives strong consideration to the Committee's recommendations.


Individuals requiring special accommodations or materials in an alternative format or language or wanting to present information at the meeting should contact Jeffrey Woods, 352-338-9515. 


Additional information on NRCS and programs is available on our website at or at your local USDA NRCS office.



PMN Update 155


Brought to you by APS / ACSESS

Issue 155: January 28, 2015 

In this Issue

"From the Network" News

PMN Publishes 2014 Crop Management Seminar Webcasts

Discussions from the biennial Crop Management Seminar, organized by Cotton Incorporated and held in Tifton, Georgia, on November 2014, are now freely available 24/7 in webcast format through PMN. These eight presentations given by industry experts during this two-day general session help growers, practitioners, and applied scientists in all cotton-growing regions keep up on the latest technologies and best crop management practices. Browse all webcasts.

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"Focus on" Webcasts


Corn Earworm Management in Corn - Robert Bowling, Texas A&M University


Cotton Nutrition in the Southeastern U.S. - Charles C. Mitchell, Auburn University

Role of Seedling Diseases and the Efficacy of Fungicide Seed Treatments in Stand Establishment of Cotton - Craig S. Rothrock, University of Arkansas


Soybean Focus: Soil Sampling to Make Fertilizer Recommendations -Dave Mengel, Kansas State University


Sanitation for Bacterial Ring Rot - Gary Secor, North Dakota State University 

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PMN Crop News

Agronomy and Horticulture

Understanding the Fate of Nitrate in Perennial Filter Strips ?  American Society of Agronomy

Three Verdesian Products Earn Approval for Use in Canada ?  SFP

Fertilizer Placement Affects Nutrient Leaching Patterns ?  American Society of Horticultural Sciences

Crop Varieties

DuPont Pioneer Introduces New Sorghum Hybrids for 2015  ?  DuPont Pioneer

Bollgard II XtendFlex TM Cotton Expected on Over 500,000 Acres ?  Monsanto Company

Bayer CropScience Offers New FiberMax and Stoneville Cotton Varieties for 2015 With GlyTol LibertyLink TwinLink Technology ?  Bayer CropScience

Phytogen Introduces 2015 Cottonseed Varieties With New Yield Protection Traits ? Dow AgroSciences

Noble Foundation Releases Four New Small Grains Forages ?  The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation

Insect Pests / Entomology

Resistance Problems Not Limited to Weeds and Insects ?  University of Nebraska

Pest-Resistant Maize and its Potential Health Benefits ?  American Society of Agronomy


Announcing Two Exciting Consecutive Scientific Meetings on Insect Vectored Plant Pathogens and Innovative Strategies in Their Management ?  University of California, Davis

UF/IFAS Study: Wheat Yield to Decline as Temperatures Increase ?  University of Florida

The Sky's the Limit for UAVs in Ag ?  University of Missouri

Understanding the Genetic Basis for Drought-Tolerant Soybeans ?  American Society of Agronomy


Controlling the Harmful Effects of Nematodes ?  United Soybean Board

NIMITZ Nematicide Approved by EPA ?  ADAMA

Plant Diseases

Bayer CropScience Expected to Receive Registration for New Cotton and Peanut Insecticide ?  Bayer CropScience

Abscisic Acid Treatments Can Prevent Tomato Blossom-End Rot ?  American Society of Horticultural Sciences

Early Protection, Fungicide Effectively Reduce Downy Mildew in Basil ?  American Society of Horticultural Sciences

New Syngenta Solutions Effective Against Soybean Sudden Death Syndrome ? Syngenta Crop Protection-US

Fight Fungicide Resistance With Seasonal BMPs ?  United Soybean Board

A Challenging Curing and Stripping Season ?  Penn State University

Study Reveals Causes of Apple Skin Spot ?  American Society of Horticultural Sciences

Turf Management

Turf Professionals Observe Powerful First-Season Results With Xzemplar Fungicide and Lexicon Intrinsic Brand Fungicide ?  BASF Crop Protection 

Nitrogen in Reclaimed Water Can Benefit Turfgrass ?  American Society of Horticultural Sciences

Weed Management

Trait Deregulation Clears the Way for New BASF Weed Control Option in Cotton and Soybeans ?  BASF Crop Protection

Weed Out the Competition ?  United Soybean Board

Dormant Winter Weeds Could Cause Planting Problems During Spring ?  United Soybean Board 

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Featured Journal Articles


Evaluation of Weed Species from the Northern Great Plains as Hosts of Soybean Cyst Nematode

Maryblyt v. 7.1 for Windows: An Improved Fire Blight Forecasting Program for Apples and Pears

Evaluating Boxwood Susceptibility to Calonectria pseudonaviculata Using Cuttings from the National Boxwood Collection

Geosmithia morbida Found on Weevil SpeciesStenomimus pallidus in Indiana

Estimating Yield Losses Due to Barley Yellow Dwarf on Winter Wheat in Kansas Using Disease Phenotypic Data


Assessing the Effect of Vernalization on the Detection ofPhytophthora ramorum from Native Soil, Potting Media, and Cull Piles in Oregon Nurseries 

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Last Month's Most Popular Journal Articles


Plant Health Progress: Survey and Detection of 'Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus' in a Citrus Nursery Facility in South Texas

Forage and GrazinglandsField Drying-Rate Differences Among Three Cool-Season Grasses

Crop ManagementStacked-Gene Hybrids Were Not Found to Be Superior to Glyphosate-Resistant or Non-GMO Corn Hybrids

Applied Turfgrass ScienceVolatility of Broadleaf Weed Herbicides When Applied to Turfgrass 

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Job/Internship Listings

Submit new employment/intern listings online. It's free for partners!

  • Fertilizer/Chemical Applicator
  • Postdoctoral Associate
  • Regional Agronomy Specialist and County Program Director

View these postings at the PMN Employment/Internship Posting Service.  

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Plant Management Network © 2014


3340 Pilot Knob Road, St. Paul, MN 55121

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Updates 1.27.15




Kelly Monaghan

Program Assistant

Florida SARE Program, UF/IFAS & FAMU

Center for Sustainable and Organic Food Systems

3031 Mc Carty Hall D, PO Box 110310, Gainesville, FL 32611

Ph:(352)273-3508; Fax: (352)392-8196


From: Monaghan,Kelly N
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2015 1:51 PM
Subject: Updates 1.27.15


**New items noted in RED**


USDA Census of Agriculture -2014 Organic Survey

The 2014 Organic Survey is a complete inventory of all known organic producers that are certified, exempt from certification in the U.S., and those producers transitioning to organic production. Surveys were mailed in early January are responses are due by mail by February 13, 2015 or online by April 3, 2015. United States law requires all those who receive a survey to respond. If you would like to participate online please visit to find out how.


Sweetwater Organic Farm Seeks a Farm Manager

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm is a not-for-profit CSA farm located in Tampa, FL. For more info about the farm, please visit the website at They are currently taking applications for the Farm Manager’s position. Applicants must have farming experience, good organization and planning skills, experience/ability to manage a group of 5 employees, good communication skills, as well as the ability to operate/manage a range of farm equipment. Interested applicants should contact Rick Martinez at or by phone at 813-765-0282.


Survey to Define Barriers and Opportunities for Sustainable and Resilient Agricultural Systems in the Southern U.S.

The University of Mississippi Center for Population Studies and Delta Land and Community, Inc. are conducting an online survey of agricultural producers, businesses, and resource professionals. We would like to know about your experiences and perceptions concerning barriers and opportunities for sustainable and resilient agricultural systems in the southern U.S. This online questionnaire will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. To begin, simply click on the link below.


Free Online Course, “The Rise and Future of the Food Movement”

The Edible Education 101 course was created in conjunction with the 40th anniversary celebration of Chez Panisse Restaurant and CafĂ© in Berkeley, CA. The course is a unique hybrid public lecture series and for-credit class –members of the general public can participate as well as students. Find out details about the 2015 course here.



25 Years of SARE: Report on Project Funding

Southern region SARE has produced a report that provides a brief look at the grants portfolio that has been built between 1988 and 2013. The report is intended to help those in the ag community evaluate the effectiveness of the SSARE program, as well as provide a snapshot of how grant monies are allocated and the types of grants are distributed in each state. Access the report here.


SSARE 2014 Index

Southern SARE’s index for 2014 is now available. The annual report contains the complete portfolio of final grant projects and continuing grant-funded research throughout the Southern region.



Farmers making a smart choice for health insurance

Thursday, January 29, 1-2:30PM EST

Learn how the Affordable Care Act affects farm/ranch families as individuals (consumers), as business operators, and their farm workers. Enrollment assisters who work with farmers and ranchers are also encouraged to attend. Join the webinar here or call in to 888-469-1349/Participant passcode: 5724564.


Public opinion of genetically modified food

Thursday, January 29, 1-2PM EST

What do Floridians think about genetically modified food? Do Floridians know which foods contain genetically modified ingredients? Do Floridians plan to purchase genetically modified foods in the future? Join the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources to learn the answers to these questions and more about the public perceptions, attitudes and knowledge of genetically modified foods as Joy Rumble discusses the latest public opinion survey results. Alison Van Eenennaam will provide insights into the results based on her extensive experience working in the field of biotechnology and pose a few questions to generate discussion on how the results of the survey may be put to use. Register to participate here.


Developing, implementing and sustaining healthy food incentive programs at farmers’ markets

Thursday, January 29, 3-4:30 PM EST      

Dr. Freedman of Case Western Reserve University will provide examples where Extension has connected with public health and community health initiatives through healthy food incentive programs. Her presentation will also offer guidance for engaging key stakeholders in healthy food incentive program development as well as challenges and opportunities for this type of intervention. URL:


Growing Roots in Farm to School Webinar Series


USDA Farm to School staff and guest speakers have just what you need to start or expand your farm to school program in the new year. This 11-part webinar series will help you build your farm to school skills and develop new strategies for bringing local foods into the lunchroom. To join a webinar, register here:

1.       Farm to School Planning and Building a Team, January 15, 2:00 pm 

2.       Setting Goals and Establishing an Evaluation Baseline, January 28, 2:00 pm

3.       Finding and Buying Local Foods, February 5, 2:00 pm

4.       Farm to School Menu Planning, February 19, 2:00 pm

5.       Food Safety, March 5, 2:00 pm

6.       Promoting Your Farm to School Program, March 19, 2:00 pm

7.       School Gardening, April 2, 2:00 pm

8.       Curriculum Integration, April 16, 2:00 pm

9.       Program Sustainability, April 30, 2:00 pm

10.   Evaluating Your Program, May 13, 2:00 pm

11.   Tying it All Together and Digging In, May 28, 2:00 pm


Food Policy and Regional Food Systems: Opportunities for Networking Across Jurisdictions

Wednesday, February 11, 1:00PM – 2:15PM EST

During this webinar, expert panelists will address a number of big picture questions local food policy councils have about regional food systems, including:

·         The role of local food policy councils within a regional network

·         When is it beneficial to connect across a region

·         How to determine your "region" and what to do when definitions vary

·         Best practices and challenges to organizing and building regional networks, including resources and infrastructure needed

These issues will be addressed to show participants how networking across jurisdictions can positively influence food system change. The webinar will also include time for participant Q&A. Register Here.


University of Kentucky 2015 High Tunnel Webinar Series


Learn about season extension in high tunnel production systems in a new webinar series sponsored by the Center for Crop Diversification and the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. There will be six webinars, eat 75 minutes long. In February and March 2015. The series will cover market opportunities, structure options and construction, organic production and certification, crop and equipment options, pest pressure and control, as well as a summary of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Seasonal high Tunnel Initiative. You must register for each webinar by calling 606-348-8453. A description of each webinar can be found here.

·         February 17 – Season Extension Opportunities and EQIP Funding

·         February 24 – Structure Options, Construction, Ventilation and Temperature Control

·         March 3 – Organic Certification and Marketing high Tunnel Crops

·         March 10 – Crop, Irrigation and Equipment Options

·         March 17 – Insect, Weed and Disease Control

·         March 24 – Producer Views and Series Wrap-Up


Farm Law Webinar Series Announced


Farm Commons is an organization that creates educational resources to help farmers identify legal issues, break them down into manageable steps, and give them the confidence to move forward. This winter season, they are hosting a series of webinars focused on legal issues in farming, featuring a wide variety of topics, including: food safety liability, legal considerations for beginning farmers and CSA operators, farmland leasing, farm labor, contracts, and more! See the full list of webinars and register for them at the Farm Commons website.




Small Farm Digest –Starting a Cooperative
This issue of the Small Farm Digest, produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) focuses on starting a cooperative.  In it you will find articles on starting a cooperative and models of cooperatives in the U.S. See the publication attached.


The Farm to School Evaluation Toolkit
The Farm to School Evaluation Toolkit, created by the Colorado Farm to School Task Force and Spark Policy Institute, is a resource to help farm to school programs of all sizes, in all states, undertake evaluation. The FTS Evaluation Toolkit provides simple, straightforward information about how to design and implement evaluations of school gardens and other farm to school activities. In a succinct ten pages, the FTS Evaluation Toolkit Guide walks users through each step of the evaluation process, including how to prepare for an evaluation, identify outcomes, select and adapt measurement tools, complete an evaluation plan, implement an evaluation plan, and use evaluation results. Click here to check out the Farm to School Evaluation Toolkit.


2014 Farm Bill Provides Greater Protection for Specialty Crop Growers
Greater protection is now available from the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for crops that traditionally have been ineligible for federal crop insurance:  vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, syrup, and energy crops. Producers can now also choose higher levels of coverage, up to 65 percent of their expected production at 100 percent of the average market price. 
Find out more here.


FSA Hay and Grazing Net: an Online Resource for Hay and Livestock Producers
For many years, FSA’s Hay Net website has been the “go to” online resource for agricultural producers. Now, in response to requests from livestock producers and landowners, FSA has expanded the site to include the option to list a need for grazing acres or to list acres available for grazing.


Tools for Trapping Pests and Attracting Beneficial Insects
Wherever crops are grown they attract insect and disease pests.  So how can we detect pests early and how do we get their natural enemies to work better for us?  There are some new multifunctional tactics that have been developed that will work for certain pest and beneficial insects. Check
out this article for more information.


Honeybees are Valuable Pollinators

The honeybee, of all insects, is most peculiarly adapted to the task of cross pollination. About two million colonies are rented by growers each year to service over 90 crops. This article provides five recommendations for a successful pollination enterprise. In addition, Managing Alternative Pollinators, is a guide for rearing and managing bumble bees and other pollinators. This SARE book is available free as a PDF download.


Poultry Basics Tip Sheet

If you are looking for pointers on choosing chicken breeds, caring for your flock, and raising a flock in urban areas, check out this newly developed publication from ATTRA, “Poultry Basics Tipsheet.”


Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities: A Guide to Federal Programs for Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry, Entrepreneurship, Conservation, Food Systems, and Community Development

This updated USDA funding guide helps producers, researchers, nonprofits, and landowners find programs to help them achieve their goals. It covers 63 government programs and has been updated to include programs included in the 2014 Farm Bill. Download the guide free here.


Federal Conservation Resources for Sustainable Farming and Ranching

This new ATTRA publication is an overview of federal conservation programs that help farmers and ranchers maintain and enhance sustainable practices and acts as a guide for navigating the often complex and difficult application process. Get the publication here.




Conferences & Workshops


Small Farms & Alternative Enterprises Events Calendar

Various Dates

The University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has a thriving Small Farms & Alternative Enterprises (SFAE) Extension Program. This program offers many different workshops at various locations around the state. Here’s a taste of a few events coming up:

·         January 31: Vegetable Production for Local Markets, Orlando, FL

·         March 16-17 or March 20-21: Hydroponic Workshop, Live Oak, FL

Like what you see? There’s more! For a complete list of events, workshop details, and registration information, visit the SFAE Events Calendar. Check back frequently for updates on opportunities near you!


Rockstar Farmer Tour featuring Curtis Stone

January 28-29

Florida Organic Growers and East End Market are excited to bring the Rockstar Farmer Tour: Farming in the City to Gainesville for an exciting two day event. The Rockstar Farmer Tour features Curtis Stone, a Canadian farmer who has continually produced $50,000 on his quarter-acre micro farm in Kelowna, British Columbia. Wednesday’s festivities are free and open to the public. Click here for details and to register. Thursday features an in-depth workshop and is $75 to attend. Click here for details and to register.


Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Annual Conference and Tradeshow

February 6-7

This conference will have 5 hands-on workshops, 10 educational sessions with speakers from 5 SE states, and a large tradeshow. Reduced rates for educational exhibits is available. Find out more and register here:


Northwest Florida Beef Conference

February 11

The Northwest Florida Beef Conference and Trade Show will be held on February 11th in Marianna. The focus of the Beef Conference this year will be: Investing in the Future of Your Herd. Topics will include improving pasture management, pasture weed control, supplement feeding systems, herd performance, financial management, and her reproduction. Find out more here.


AgSave$ Summit

February 23

Ag Save$ is a new initiative to provide personal financial education for farmers and ranchers in Florida. We would like to personally invite you and your family to the 2015 AgSave$ Summit. This kickoff event for the new AgSave$ initiative aims to help farm families address important financial issues, such as estate planning, succession planning, and protecting farm and personal assets. Ag Save$ is being delivered to you by the Panhandle Agricultural and Family and Consumer Sciences Faculty of the University of Florida, IFAS Extension. Find out more here.


Minority Landowner 9th Anniversary Conference: Agricultural Diversity on and off the Farm

February 26-28

Registration is open! A limited number of scholarships are available for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. The conference will be held at the Houston Marriott South at Hobby Airport in Houston, TX. Follow conference updates at or 919-215-1632.


Introduction to Beekeeping Short Course

February 28

The Apalachee Beekeepers Association will be hosting an Introduction to Beekeeping Short Course at the Leon County Extension Office. The program will feature with hands-on training in hive assembly, pest management, open hive demonstrations, and bee nutrition. Space is limited –register by February 12 to reserve your spot.


Beef-Forage Field Day

March 6

The Wiregrass Research and Extension Center in Headland, AL will host a beef-forage field day on March 6th. View the complete agenda and find out how to register here:


Starting a Food Business in Florida

March 17

Are you thinking of adding value to your farm products, starting a grocery store, food truck or restaurant? If yes, this seminar is for you! Representatives from food regulatory agencies will show you how to get started and answer your questions. Avoid costly mistakes and gain in one day information that could take months to research on your own. Space is limited so register today. Pre-registration is required. Registration fee is $75 and must be received by March 10, 2015. Registration includes refreshments and workshop materials. Please contact Faith Clarke at 850-590-227 or for more information. Registration information is attached to this email.


Funding Opportunities

USDA Seeks Applications for Conservation Innovation Grants
Pre-proposals  due: February 24
USDA, through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking applications for projects that will build on the basic infrastructure for environmental markets by maturing and scaling markets and accelerating efforts to leverage private capital and investment in private lands conservation. View the press release for more information:


National Training, Education, Extension, Outreach and Technical Assistance Competitive Grants Program
Letter of intent deadline: February 16; Application deadline: March 16
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) invites proposals that address the needs of small and medium-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, small processors, or small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers, especially as they relate to the implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Projects will help increase their understanding and adoption of established food safety standards, guidance and protocols. Projects will also facilitate the integration of food safety standards and guidance with a variety of agricultural production systems, encompassing conventional, sustainable, organic, and conservation and environmental practices. View the request for proposals here:


Herb Society of America Research Grant
Application deadline: January 31, 2015
The Herb Society of America, Inc. (HSA) offers annual research grants of up to $5,000 to students, professionals, and individuals engaged in research on the horticultural, scientific, and/or social applications or use of herbs throughout history.  The HSA Research Grant is intended to support small, self-contained research projects that can be carried out in a short period of time. Learn more about the grant and
apply here.


USDA Rural Development’s Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program

The 2014 Farm Bill requires USDA to set aside at least five percent ofBusiness and Industry (B&I) program loan guarantees for projects that focus on local food business enterprises. Details on how to apply for local food funding through the B&I program are available on the Rural Development website. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The B&I program has the authority to fund local food infrastructure in urban areas as long as the project supports farm and ranch income and expands healthy food access in underserved communities.


USDA Microloans Available for Small Farmers

The Microloan Program, available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), is a relatively new option to help beginning farmers get started, or to assist existing small farms in expanding their operations. Farmers may borrow up to $35,000 with limited collateral requirements, and have up to seven years for repayment. Find our more information here


National Institute of Food and Agriculture Grants

More information on any of the grant programs listed can be found at


Grant Program

Due Date

Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences Education and Literacy Initiative, AFRI


Minor Crop Pest Management Program Interregional Research Project #4


Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase II


Bginning Farmers and Ranchers



Whole Foods Market Local Producer Loan Program

Whole Foods Market is providing up to $10 million in low-interest loans to independent local farmers and food artisans. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.


League of Environmental Educators in Florida ­Grants List

This website gives a great list of grants available for various types of community and classroom projects. Really worth perusing. Due dates vary by grant.




Kelly Monaghan

Program Assistant

Florida SARE Program, UF/IFAS & FAMU

Center for Sustainable and Organic Food Systems

3031 Mc Carty Hall D, PO Box 110310, Gainesville, FL 32611

Ph:(352)273-3508; Fax: (352)392-8196