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
Organic Certifier Survey Results Released
Midwest Vegetable Production Guide Available Online
National Water Quality Initiative Invests in High-Priority Watersheds
Food Sustainability Index Ranks Countries' Food Systems
Report Identifies Energy-Efficiency Opportunities in Irrigation
3D Ocean Farming Promises Food Production
Conservation Stewardship Program
Multi-State Rural Development Research or Extension Projects
Kaiser Conservation Endowment
Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms
NPSAS Winter Conference
News & Resources
Organic Certifier Survey Results Released USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has released the results of its 2014 and 2015 Organic Certifier Survey. NASS collected data on acreage and livestock from USDA-accredited organic certifying agents in the United States. The report shows 14,861 certified organic crop operations in 2015, with a total of more than 5.3 million acres. Meanwhile, there were 2,001 certified livestock operations that year, with more than 22.3 million animals (of which 20.8 million were chickens).
National Water Quality Initiative Invests in High-Priority Watersheds USDA will invest more than $33 million in 197 high-priority watersheds through the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) to help landowners improve water quality. The NWQI helps farmers and ranchers implement voluntary conservation practices, such as nutrient management, cover crops, conservation cropping systems, filter strips, terraces and buffers. This year, NRCS added 42 new watersheds to the NWQI and selected 21 watersheds for new assessment projects.
Food Sustainability Index Ranks Countries' Food Systems Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation has released The Food Sustainability Index (FSI). The index is a ranking of food-system sustainability for countries around the world, based on 58 criteria across three pillars: sustainable agriculture, nutritional challenges, and food waste. The objectives of the FSI are to highlight the performance of various countries, establish comparable measurement criteria, provide examples of best practice, and measure progress over time.
3D Ocean Farming Promises Food Production 3D ocean farming could feed the world with an area the size of Washington state, according to Bren Smith, whose pioneering efforts are featured in Popular Science. In the vertical underwater farms, seaweed and shellfish grow suspended from a horizontal line. Growing kelp helps scrub nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon from seawater, counteracts ocean acidification, and creates habitat. Smith founded the non-profit GreenWave to train ocean farmers and help them access grants, seed, and equipment.
Conservation Stewardship Program USDA is accepting initial applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which rewards farmers for protecting and enhancing natural resources on their working lands. The newly revised CSP includes expanded options for conservation activities and an increased minimum payment to help smaller-scale producers. Farmers should visit their local NRCS office to begin the application process. The next application deadline for funding consideration is February 3, 2017.
Multi-State Rural Development Research or Extension Projects The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development announced a competition for seed grants to enhance the ability of Land Grant institutions to positively influence the quality of life in rural areas of the twelve-state North Central region. Priority areas include the following: innovation diffusion for rural development, sustainable communities, leadership development, and entrepreneurial communities. Grant awards range from $5,000 to $25,000. Proposals are due February 2, 2017.
Kaiser Conservation Endowment Washington State University and University of Idaho are soliciting proposals up to $5,000 for promotion and demonstration of conservation practices targeting soil erosion. Funds are open to Washington State University, University of Idaho, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Conservation Districts, and colleges in Washington and Idaho. Funds are limited to the area east of the Washington Cascades and north of the Salmon River in Idaho. Proposals are due January 16, 2017.
Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms January 25-28, 2017 Lexington, Kentucky Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group's Annual Conference offers outstanding "field-tested" presenters, a full slate of hot-topic conference sessions and pre-conference courses, the Organic Agriculture Research Symposium, several field trips, a poster display, and a trade show.
EcoFarm Conference January 25-28, 2017 Pacific Grove, California The 37th EcoFarm Conference features nearly 70 workshops, four pre-conference events, an exhibitor marketplace, seed swap, and more. EcoFarm will inspire and frame the shared mission to grow and shape a healthy, safe, and just food and farming system.
NPSAS Winter Conference January 26-28, 2017 Aberdeen, South Dakota The Winter Conference of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society features keynote speakers Sheri Salatin and Dr. Thierry Vrain. Pre-conference, half-day workshops are followed by a range of conference sessions and more than 50 exhibitors.
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.