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.
Cornell Pollinator Research Probes Role and Health of Wild Bees Cornell University researchers experimented this year to see whether wild bees could pollinate Cornell Orchards' apple trees without the help of commercial honeybees. They found that wild bees provided enough fruitlets to support a full crop. The successful test provides incentive for further research on supporting native bee health. A related Cornell study found that pesticides harm wild bee populations, but that the negative effects lessen in proportion to the amount of natural areas near orchards. Researchers suggested that natural areas near orchards might host larger numbers of wild bees or provide wild bees a refuge from pesticide exposure.
Native-Plant Grazing Case Studies Featured in Publication Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has released a 16-page online publication titled Grazing Native Plants in Iowa: Processes and Experiences. The publication includes profiles of four graziers and four land managers, highlighting a wide range of experiences. It also includes information on how to incorporate prairies into a grazing operation, why grazing prairies can be beneficial, and what questions remain.
Results of Grower Survey on Imperfect Produce Reported Beyond Beauty: Opportunities & Challenges for Cosmetically Imperfect Produce, a Minnesota initiative, has released its first report, Survey Results from Minnesota Produce Growers. The report compiles responses from 138 fresh-market produce growers in Minnesota. It showed strong interest in expanded markets for cosmetically imperfect seconds and revealed grower willingness to change harvesting, sorting, and packing practices on their farms if they had an attractive market for their seconds.
USDA Extends Deadline to Submit Proposals on New Organic Promotion Order The United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service is extending the deadline to allow members of the public to submit alternative proposals or partial proposals on a new industry-funded promotion, research, and information order for organic products. The proposal deadline was extended from June 19 until July 21.
Kubota "Geared to Give" Program Awards First Tractor to Farmer Veteran Kubota Tractor Corporation's "Geared to Give" program has announced Matt Soldano of Southtown Farms in New Jersey as its first farmer veteran recipient of a donated tractor. The program launched in March in partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC). The program provides financial support and donated Kubota equipment to U.S. military veterans pursuing a future in farming. Farmer veterans who are FVC fellowship members can apply for the program and be considered for donated equipment.
Agriculture Risk Management Education Partnerships Competitive Grants Program This program administered by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides U.S. agricultural producers and their families with the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to make informed risk-management decisions that enhance the profitability of their operations. Applications may be submitted by colleges and universities, Federal, State, and local agencies, nonprofit and for-profit private organizations or corporations, and other entities. More than $4.4 million in project funding is expected to be available. Applications are due by July 6, 2015.
Leopold Center Competitive Grants Program The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture has issued its Summer 2015 Request for Pre-proposals for Research and Project grants. For 2015, these two main categories are divided into 10 subject portals and five specific focus areas. The Center will accept pre-proposals from any Iowa nonprofit organization/agency and/or educational institution. Concept papers are due by July 7, 2015.
Massachusetts Farm Viability Enhancement Program The Massachusetts Farm Viability Program seeks to improve the economic viability and environmental integrity of participating farms through the development and implementation of farm viability plans. The program offers planning assistance and capital for the implementation of the improvements recommended in the viability plan. The deadline for applications is June 23, 2015.
CCOF Organic Labeling Webinar July 16, 2015 Online Join the CCOF Foundation for a webinar on developing product labels that comply with organic standards. This webinar will give you new insight into the most common mistakes companies make with their organic labels and will provide a step-by-step process for developing labels that comply with the USDA National Organic Program standards.
Annual Rodale Institute Field Day July 17, 2015 Kutztown, Pennsylvania This event will feature dozens of research and demonstration projects on Rodale Institute's 333-acre farm. Participants will hear presentations about the latest research and learn about the soil-building practices and compost experiments conducted by Rodale.
A Vegetable Farm Start-Up: The First 5 Years July 15, 2015 Logan, Iowa Learn about beginning farmer Danelle Myer's experiences in starting a diverse vegetable and herb farm at this Practical Farmers of Iowa afternoon field day. This event is part of an extensive 2015 field day series.
Weekly Harvest Archives Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest newsletters are available online.
ATTRA was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The program 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.