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 an Agriculture Specialist/Outreach Coordinator who can create and distribute outreach communications. The position will be located in Keene, New Hampshire. Applications will be accepted through June 16, 2017, or until suitable candidates can be identified.
News & Resources
Soil Health Guide Series Helps Organic Producers
Protecting Farmland Can Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Says Report
Silvopasture Benefits Animal Welfare and Productivity
Penn State Researchers Explore Extending Berry Season
Mechanical Blossom Thinning Offers Alternative for Apple Growers
Tennessee Research Finds Fall Calving More Profitable
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Food Safety Challenge Area
Farmers Advocating for Organic
Conservation Innovation Grants in California
North American Agroforestry Conference
Touring the Lentil Underground
Grass-Fed Beef Conferences
News & Resources
Soil Health Guide Series Helps Organic Producers Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has released the first three titles in Soil Health and Organic Farming, a new series of educational guides designed to help organic farmers and ranchers enhance the soil health and overall resilience of their operations. Available titles include Building Organic Matter for Healthy Soils: An Overview, Weed Management: An Ecological Approach, and Practical Conservation Tillage.
Protecting Farmland Can Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Says Report Greener Fields: Combating Climate Change by Keeping Land in Farming in New York is a new report from American Farmland Trust on the role that protecting farmland can have in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The report found that an acre of farmland produces 66 times fewer greenhouse-gas emissions than an acre of developed land in New York.
Silvopasture Benefits Animal Welfare and Productivity A study in Virginia, reported in Temperate Agroforester, showed that silvopasture delivered equivalent weight gains in sheep while improving animal welfare. Although the silvopasture system had 30% less forage availability compared to treeless systems, lambs had equivalent weight gains. Researchers believe that greater animal comfort provided by shade contributed to the productivity of the silvopasture system. Related ATTRA Publication: Agroforestry: An Overview
Penn State Researchers Explore Extending Berry Season Penn State researchers are examining how the use of high and low tunnels and plastic coverings extends the growing season for strawberries and raspberries to five months and four months, respectively. In addition, the growing system increases yields while reducing pesticide use and improving berry quality and shelf life. Related ATTRA Publication: Brambles: Organic Production
Mechanical Blossom Thinning Offers Alternative for Apple Growers A three-year study by New York apple producers, CCE educators, and Cornell researchers examined mechanical blossom thinning as an alternative to the commonly used chemical carbaryl. The trial used a Darwin string thinner to remove one-third to one-half of a tree's blossoms. The trials focused on finding optimal speeds for the Darwin spindle and for the tractor, as well as preventing the potential spread of fire blight. Related ATTRA Publication: Apples: Organic Production Guide
Tennessee Research Finds Fall Calving More Profitable Researchers at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture assessed the potential trade-offs in risk and return of using a fall calving season rather than a spring season. They considered the seasonality of cattle and feed prices for least-cost feed rations. Researchers determined that in the Southeast, calving between mid-September and mid-November was most profitable.
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Food Safety Challenge Area The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) is a competitive grant program that provides funding for fundamental and applied research, education, and extension projects in food and agricultural sciences. The long-term goal of the Food Safety Challenge Area is to support the development and deployment of science-based knowledge to improve the safety and nutritional quality of food without sacrificing flavor, acceptability, and affordability. In FY 2017, applications are sought in the priority area of effective mitigation strategies for antimicrobial resistance. Approximately $11 million will be available for new grants. The application deadline is June 21, 2017.
Farmers Advocating for Organic Farmers Advocating for Organic (FAFO) is funded by annual, voluntary contributions from Organic Valley farmers. Grants are awarded to research, education, and advocacy projects that advance FAFO's mission: to protect and promote the organic industry and the livelihood of organic farmers. Non-profit organizations and academic/research institutions are eligible to submit a letter of interest online. Grant applications are reviewed three times per year. The next application deadline is June 15, 2017.
Conservation Innovation Grants in California USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California is accepting proposals for Conservation Innovation Grants. Up to $375,000 is available for one- to three-year grants, with $75,000 the maximum award amount per project. In 2017, NRCS California is prioritizing proposals that improve the "technical toolbox" to address soil and water quality, wildlife habitat, water conservation, forest health, air quality, waste recycling, and energy conservation. Eligible applicants include state and local government, nongovernment organizations, Tribal governments, eligible private businesses, and individuals. Proposals are due by June 7, 2017.
North American Agroforestry Conference June 27-29, 2017 Blacksburg, Virginia This event for agroforestry producers, researchers, educators, and those involved with permaculture and agroecology will feature three days of networking, discussion, site visits, and more.
Touring the Lentil Underground June 29-30, 2017 Ulm, Power, Fort Benton, and Havre, Montana AERO is offering a free, two-day tour of sustainable farms and farming in Montana's Golden Triangle. Vans are provided, and participation is limited.
Grass-Fed Beef Conferences June 28 or 29, 2017 Spring Hill or Athens, Tennessee University of Tennessee Extension will offer cattle producers a "one-stop" opportunity to learn about producing and marketing grass-fed beef. The same event will be held twice.
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.