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.
SARE Offers Free Online Sustainable Agriculture Courses Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is offering three free, online, self-paced sustainable agriculture courses. These include Sustainable Agriculture Principles and Concept Overview, Strategic Farm/Ranch Planning and Marketing, and a new course on Agricultural Ecosystem Management. This program is open to farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural professionals nationwide.
Experts Urge Shift from Industrial Agriculture to Diversified Agroecological Systems The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems has issued From Uniformity to Diversity: A paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems. In the report, a group of the world's foremost experts on food security, agro-ecosystems, and nutrition say that to put global food systems on sustainable footing, we must diversify agriculture and reorient it around ecological practices.
Finger Millet Could Serve as Water-Efficient Dairy Feed USDA researchers have been evaluating finger millet as a potential feed for dairy cattle in the Southern High Plains. Studies show that finger millet uses 10 to 20% less water than sorghum and grows on marginal land. Testing showed that finger millet contained significant levels of important nutrients but produced lower forage yields than corn or sorghum. However, researchers concluded that feeding finger millet to dairy animals as a supplement to corn could save water.
Hudson Valley Farm and Food Business Accelerator Launched Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation has announced its inaugural Farm and Food Business Accelerator Program, an intensive training designed to help farmers and food entrepreneurs develop the necessary skills and materials to scale their businesses, build sales, and access financial sources. The six-month curriculum will begin in October 2016. Applications are being accepted through August 15, 2016.
Agricultural Marketing Service Organic Certification Cost Share Programs Two organic certification cost share programs assist certified organic operations in defraying up to 75% of their certification costs, not to exceed $750. The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program is available to producers and handlers in all 50 states and U.S. territories. The program provides $10.7 million in fiscal year 2016. The Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program is available to certified organic producers in 16 states designated by Congress. This program provides $932,000 in assistance in fiscal year 2016. Applications must be received by July 5, 2016.
Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant USDA is seeking applications for grants to provide assistance to socially disadvantaged business groups in rural areas. Eligible applicants include groups of cooperatives, individual cooperatives, and cooperative development centers that serve socially disadvantaged groups. USDA is making $3 million available in grants up to $175,000. Applications must be submitted by August 5, 2016, or electronically by August 1, 2016.
Specialty Crop Block Grant Program USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has available approximately $62.6 million to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. State departments of agriculture within the 50 states or U.S. territories are eligible to apply. Interested individuals should contact state departments of agriculture for more information. Applications are due by July 6, 2016.
Grazing Livestock Nutrition Conference July 17-19, 2016 Park City, Utah This meeting will focus on enhancing management, production, and sustainability of grazing ruminants in extensive landscapes.
International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy July 18-20, 2016 University Park, Pennsylvania The Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State University will be hosting this conference on translating the results of recent research advances in the biology and health of pollinators into solutions that can be applied in the field to conserve and expand pollinator populations.
North American Prairie Conference July 17-20, 2016 Normal, Illinois "From Cemetary Prairies to National Tallgrass Prairies" includes sessions on landscape-scale restoration and on status of grassland birds, as well as innovative ideas on working lands.
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.