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.
Crop Rotation Boosts Soil Microbes that Benefit Plant Growth A study by the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station shows that crop rotations can increase the functions performed by soil microbial communities that benefit plant growth. Researchers observed a 33% increase in soil carbon by increasing rotational diversity. They also found that as crop diversity increased, so did total nitrogen.
National Organic Program Appoints Hydroponic and Aquaponic Task Force The National Organic Program has appointed 16 members to a task force to explore hydroponic and aquaponic production practices and their alignment with USDA organic regulations. The task force will prepare a report for the National Organic Standards Board that will help NOSB determine the best path forward regarding recommendations on hydroponics and aquaponics production systems.
Diverse Insect Population Means Fewer Cornfield Pests, Study Finds Cornfields with a more diverse insect population have fewer problems with pests, according to a recent study. This study is the first to use social network analysis to study insect communities in the corn production system to understand how large groups of organisms interact from an applied angle. The researchers say a balanced ecosystem can lead to reduced costs associated with insecticides.
National Young Farmers Conference Registration Lottery Opens On December 2-4, 2015, hundreds of beginning farmers from across the United States will gather at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York, for the Young Farmers Conference. Participants for the main conference will be selected by lottery, with beginning farmers given preference. The lottery closes September 21.
Organic Hardship Assistance—The Bricmont Fund The CCOF Foundation administers the Bricmont Fund, which provides direct financial assistance exclusively to organic producers, processors, and handlers who suffer losses due to extreme hardship. Applicants cannot request more than their total 2015 organic certification fees. Applications must be received by October 23, 2015.
Specialty Crop Multi-State Program USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is seeking applications for the new Specialty Crop Multi-State Program. This competitive grant program makes approximately $3 million available to state departments of agriculture to help develop solutions to problems affecting the specialty crop industry across state boundaries. Applications must be submitted by January 14, 2016.
New York New Farmer Profit Teams Beginning farmers in New York state who have been farming for at least three years may be eligible to receive support for a New Farmer Profit Team. This initiative seeks to improve farmer success with customized, one-on-one guidance from farm professionals. The project has up to $2,000 in matching funding available per farm. About 12 farms will be chosen in this round. Applications are due by September 15, 2015.
Carolina Meat Conference October 12-13, 2015 Winston-Salem, North Carolina The Carolina Meat Conference brings together independent meat producers, processors, chefs, scientists, buyers, and allied professionals to promote success in niche meat markets. It includes hands-on workshops, butchery demos, and expert sessions.
The Crop Hop October 10, 2015 Anne Arundel County, Maryland The Crop Hop is a fundraiser bike tour designed to highlight the connection between farms, fresh food, and good health, and to help provide fresh farm foods to low-income families. Riders will tour Southern Maryland farms and enjoy local food.
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.