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.
Clemson Tests Bagging to Protect Growing Peaches Clemson University researchers are tying bags on growing peaches to protect the fruit from insects and diseases. Though this increases labor costs, it prevents problems with fungicide resistance and may limit skin disorders. The bagged peaches are equivalent in sugar and acidic content but lighter in color than conventional fruit. Researchers say the fruit bagging could open opportunities for organic peach production in the Southeast. Related ATTRA Publication: Peaches: Organic and Low-Spray Production
Organic Practices Could Improve Water Quality, Says Study Research by USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment and Iowa State University showed that subsurface drainage-water nitrogen loading is significantly greater for conventional agriculture systems than for organic systems. The researchers concluded that organic farming practices, such as the application of composted animal manure and the use of forage legumes and green manures, can improve water quality in Midwestern subsurface-drained landscapes.
Farmers Market Manager Survey Identifies Trends A survey of farmers market managers by USDA Agricultural Marketing Service identified a number of trends amongst the nation's more than 8,400 farmers markets. Markets reported that consumer demand remains robust, and many markets are looking to expand the number and product diversity of vendors. Markets are also strengthening community engagement in numerous ways. Related ATTRA Publication:Farmers Markets: Marketing and Business Guide
EPA Proposes Stronger Pesticide Application Standards The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing stronger standards for pesticide applicators who apply "restricted-use" pesticides. Additionally, EPA is proposing additional specialized licensing for certain methods of application, such as fumigation and aerial application. EPA is accepting public comment on the proposal for 90 days.
Rodale Institute Unveils Model for Raising Pastured Organic Hogs Rodale Institute recently unveiled its new Organic Hog Facility, a state-of-the-art model for farmers looking to raise premium quality, certified organic hogs on pasture with the added benefits of a centralized shelter. Rodale's facility resembles a large hoophouse surrounded by eight acres of diverse pasture.
Northeast SARE Partnership Grants The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program seeks proposals from agricultural agencies, organizations, businesses, or local governments working directly with farmers. The Partnership Grant program supports on-farm demonstrations, research, marketing, and other projects that will add to understanding of sustainable agriculture. Applications are due by October 6, 2015.
Missouri Farm to School Value-Added Agriculture Grants The Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority is accepting applications for matching grants up to $200,000 to help Missouri businesses access and process locally grown agricultural products for local schools. Eligible items may include coolers, freezers, washing and packing equipment, and professional services. Applications must be received by October 16, 2015.
NCR-SARE Food, Fiber, and Fuel Study Tour September 15-17, 2015 Bismarck, North Dakota This tour provides on-farm visits illustrating sustainable agricultural practices. The tour will address improving soil health, expanding the growing season, organic production, soil salinity, consumer-supported agriculture, rangeland diversity, sugar beet ethanol development, and educational programs. SARE State coordinators, Extension agents and educators, agency staff, and farmers interested in sustainability are invited.
Small Farm School September 12, 2015 Oregon City, Oregon Small Farm School is a full-day event with hands-on and classroom workshops for beginning farmers and small-acreage rural landowners. Workshops in four tracks deal with land and livestock management, production, and business planning.
Organic Growers School Harvest Conference September 11-12, 2015 Swannanoa, North Carolina Organic Growers School presents the second Harvest Conference, with a focus on the fall growing season. Friday features a wide selection of whole- and half-day pre-conference workshops. Saturday offers 26 workshop classes in seven tracks.
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.