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 Sustainable Agriculture website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.
News & Resources
Sound and Sensible Initiative Releases Organic Outreach Resources
Organic Farming Review Shows Sufficient Yields, Profit, and Environmental Protection Possible
Cover Crops for Vegetable Production Topic of New Publication
California Cost Studies for Romaine Hearts and Organic Spinach Available
EPA Assessment Shows Imidacloprid a Risk to Bees
Noble Foundation to Study Moveable Hoop Houses
Conservation Stewardship Program
Local Food Producer Outreach, Education, and Training to Enhance Food Safety and FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Compliance
Texas Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
Farm Foundations: Planning for Success
Agriculture in a Changing Climate: Implications for Educators, Industry, and Producers Workshop
Organic Growers School Spring Conference
News & Resources
Sound and Sensible Initiative Releases Organic Outreach Resources The Sound and Sensible Initiative of the National Organic Program has released a new collection of guides and resources that help organizations reach out to and educate potential organic farmers. The National Center for Appropriate Technology's (NCAT) Gulf States Office partnered in developing Tools from the Field: Organic Outreach Success in the Southeast. The outreach resources are available online.
Organic Farming Review Shows Sufficient Yields, Profit, and Environmental Protection Possible A Washington State University study, Organic Agriculture in the 21st Century, provides evidence that organic farming can produce sufficient yields, be profitable for farmers, protect and improve the environment, and be safer for farm workers. The review analyzed 40 years of published studies comparing organic and conventional agriculture across the four goals of sustainability identified by the National Academy of Sciences.
Cover Crops for Vegetable Production Topic of New Publication A new Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publication titled Short Duration Cover Crops for Vegetable Production Systems discusses techniques of proper planting and termination, as well as advantages and challenges of specific cover crops. The eight-page publication is available free online.
EPA Assessment Shows Imidacloprid a Risk to Bees The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed a preliminary pollinator risk assessment for the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid, which shows a threat to some pollinators. EPA's assessment, the first of four on neonicotinoid insecticides, indicates that imidacloprid potentially poses risk to hives when the pesticide comes in contact with certain crops that attract pollinators.
Noble Foundation to Study Moveable Hoop Houses The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation has received a specialty crop block grant to conduct a research project with mobile hoop houses. The long-term goal of the study is to evaluate the moveable houses compared to traditional field production and permanent hoop house structures and to educate interested growers on the benefits of using the moveable houses in their cropping systems. Related ATTRA Publication:Sustainable Season Extension: Considerations for Design
Conservation Stewardship Program USDA is making $150 million in funding available for agricultural producers through the Conservation Stewardship Program during fiscal 2016. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service plans to add an estimated 10 million acres to CSP. Participants with expiring CSP contracts also have the option to renew. Funding is available for more than 100 kinds of enhancements nationwide that boost soil and air quality, conserve clean water, and enhance wildlife habitat. Applications are accepted continuously, but the cutoff for 2016 funding is March 31, 2016.
Local Food Producer Outreach, Education, and Training to Enhance Food Safety and FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Compliance FDA has requested applications for Local Food Producer Outreach, Education, and Training for the purpose of enhancing food safety and FSMA compliance in fiscal year 2016. Projects will research and identify training, outreach and education, and technical assistance needs, deliver outreach and training, and develop and adapt materials that facilitate the integration and understanding of federal food safety regulations and guidance among small and mid-size farms and businesses, while taking into account diversified, sustainable, organic, and identity-preserved agricultural production and processing practices. A letter of intent is due by March 4, 2016.
Texas Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Texas Department of Agriculture is accepting funding applications for projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops pertaining to the following issues: Food Safety, Marketing, Nutrition, Plant Health, or Value Added/Industry Development. Responses will only be accepted from producer, industry, or community-based organizations involved with, or that promote, specialty crops. Applications must be received by March 10, 2016.
Farm Foundations: Planning for Success March 5, 2016 Williamson, West Virginia The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is partnering with Growing Warriors, Williamson Health and Wellness Center, and Refresh Appalachia to host a three-part beginning farmer workshop series for military veterans and socially disadvantaged farmers. The first workshop will focus on whole-farm planning, business management, and starting a sustainable farming operation. It will include business planning activities and a hands-on component at a developing farming site. There is no cost, but space is limited.
Agriculture in a Changing Climate: Implications for Educators, Industry, and Producers Workshop March 9-11, 2016 Kennewick, Washington Washington State University's Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources, USDA Northwest Regional Climate Hubs, and Regional Approaches to Climate Change for Pacific Northwest Agriculture (REACCH) offer this free workshop. Mitigation and adaptation tracks will feature guest speakers, panel discussions, and breakout sessions. Registration is limited.
Organic Growers School Spring Conference March 11-13, 2016 Asheville, North Carolina This conference offers practical, regionally appropriate workshops on organic growing, permaculture, homesteading, urban farming, and rural living, plus a trade show, seed exchange, silent auction, children's program, and pre-conference, on-farm events. More than 70 sessions are offered per day, in themed 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.