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.
Join the NCAT Team! The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is seeking a Director for its Northeast Regional Office in Forty Fort/Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. Applications will be accepted through October 2, 2016. NCAT is also seeking a Demonstration Farm Manager for its Gulf States Regional Office, located in Jackson, Mississippi. Applications will be accepted through September 23, 2016.
News & Resources
Report Highlights Organic Farmers and Opportunity in Texas
Cover Crop Mixtures Provide More Agroecosystem Services, Study Finds
Organic Vegetable Production Resource Available
NRCS Announces Award of Conservation Innovation Grants
Southern Cover Crop Conference Videos Online
USDA Seeks Input for Animal Health Webinar Series
Southern SARE Producer Grant
California Pest Management Research Grant Program
New York Farm to School Program
Organic Cover Crop Management: From Fields to High Tunnels
Kentucky Grazing Conference
Ohio Farm to School Regional Workshops
News & Resources
Report Highlights Organic Farmers and Opportunity in Texas The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has released Who Are the Organic Farmers of Texas?, a 24-page PDF publication. USDA data reveals that Texas has the nation's lowest number of organic farms proportional to the total number of farms. Authors point out that with the wide and growing gap between consumer demand and supply of Texas-grown organic food, there is a large missed economic opportunity. The report identifies opportunities and challenges and concludes with recommendations on how to stimulate the growth of the Texas organic sector.
Cover Crop Mixtures Provide More Agroecosystem Services, Study Finds A two-year study of 18 cover-crop treatments by Pennsylvania State University researchers found that planting a multi-species mixture of cover crops provides increased agroecosystem services. Researchers tested mixtures of up to eight species and evaluated them on weed suppression and nitrogen retention during the cover-crop season, cover-crop aboveground biomass, inorganic nitrogen supply during the subsequent cash-crop season, and subsequent corn yield. Related ATTRA Videos: Cover Cropping
Organic Vegetable Production Resource Available Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has released Crop Rotations, Composting and Cover Crops for Organic Vegetable Production, a 12-page publication available free online. The importance of crop rotation to the overall quality of an organic farming system is discussed in depth. The publication highlights the benefits of cover crops and also discusses organic no-till practices. It explains how the use of animal manure or compost provides additional nutrients. Related ATTRA Publication: Resource Guide to Organic and Sustainable Vegetable Production
NRCS Announces Award of Conservation Innovation Grants USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the investment of $26.6 million through Conservation Innovation Grants to spur innovative conservation initiatives on rural and urban farms across the country. Public and private grantees will match the grant funding. Projects focus on water quality, conservation finance, and assistance to historically underserved USDA customers.
Southern Cover Crop Conference Videos Online Southern SARE, in conjunction with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, held a Southern Cover Crop Conference in July. A series of short videos highlights some of the conference demonstrations, including equipment for cover crops in conservation systems, cover crop production in high tunnels, growing summer cover crops in organic strawberries, reseeding cover crops in a cotton rotation, grazing summer cover crops in livestock production, and mechanical termination of various cover crop species.
USDA Seeks Input for Animal Health Webinar Series From October 20 to November 15, 2016, USDA will host a series of webinar events to identify, discuss, and prioritize the most pressing animal-health research needs of stakeholders. Each webinar will focus on a different animal industry or cross-cutting topic. Organizers are asking for pre-webinar input to help drive discussion. Comments received by September 30, 2016, will be reviewed and incorporated.
Southern SARE Producer Grant Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) is accepting proposals for Producer Grants up to $10,000 for an individual producer or $15,000 for a producer organization. These grants support sustainable agriculture research projects. Proposal submission deadline is November 18, 2016.
California Pest Management Research Grant Program This year, the program will allocate $500,000 to fund projects that develop effective alternatives to agricultural fumigants, as well as projects that develop IPM to reduce risks associated with high-risk pesticides. Concept proposals are due by September 30, 2016.
New York Farm to School Program The second round of funding is available through New York's Farm to School Program. The program helps school districts establish stronger relationships with local growers and producers and increase their use of homegrown specialty crops. There is $500,000 available for projects that help K-12 schools buy and serve healthy, locally grown foods. Applications are due October 5, 2016.
Organic Cover Crop Management: From Fields to High Tunnel October 17, 2016 Concord, North Carolina This workshop is hosted by Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and NC Cooperative Extension. Learn how to use cover crops as a nutrient- and weed-management tool, and how to manage cover crops across a range of situations in organic systems.
Kentucky Grazing Conference October 19, 2016 Somerset, Kentucky This event addresses producing and marketing grass-fed beef, improving forages, soil health, and NRCS cost shares. It also features a Forage Spokesman Contest.
Ohio Farm to School Regional Workshops October 4, 13, 14, or 20, 2016 Columbus, Massillon, Perrysburg, or Yellow Springs, Ohio These regional workshops will explore local farm to school successes and challenges and build relationships both within and across local stakeholder groups.
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.