Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 21, 2018
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
- Global Organic Market and Organic Farmland Continue to Grow
- Agroforestry Sequesters More Carbon than Conventional Agriculture, Study Shows
- Diversity of Bees Needed for Widespread Pollination
- Increasing Precipitation Variability Limits Grazing Lands' Ability to Support Livestock
- Michigan Project Offers Support to Latino Specialty-Fruit Farmers
- Study Aids in Timing Cover-Crop Nitrogen Release
- North Central SARE Professional Development Program
- Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund
- Frontera Farmer Foundation
- Good Food EXPO
- Planning, Managing, and Growing Your Forest Farming Business
- Answering the Call: Veteran Farmer Conference
News & Resources
Global Organic Market and Organic Farmland Continue to Grow
The 2018 edition of The World of Organic Agriculture, published by FiBL and IFOAM–Organics International, shows that consumer demand for organic products is increasing, more farmers cultivate organically, and more land is certified organic. The market research company Ecovia Intelligence estimates that the global market for organic food reached $89.7 billion in 2016. Also in 2016, 2.7 million organic producers were reported worldwide, organically managing 57.8 million hectares.
Agroforestry Sequesters More Carbon than Conventional Agriculture, Study Shows
Researchers at Penn State analyzed 53 studies around the world that tracked soil carbon after land conversion from forest to crop cultivation and from grassland pasture to agroforestry. Agroforestry increased soil organic carbon an average of 34% over cultivated agriculture and 10% over grassland pasture.
Related ATTRA Publication: Agroforestry: An Overview
Diversity of Bees Needed for Widespread Pollination
A study led by Rutgers University documented more than 100 species of wild bees pollinating crop flowers on 48 farms in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Researchers found that 55 different bee species were needed to achieve pollination on all farms during the multi-year study. This supported the principle that increasingly more species of bees are needed to accomplish pollination over an increasingly wider area.
Related ATTRA Publications: Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control and Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees
Increasing Precipitation Variability Limits Grazing Lands' Ability to Support Livestock
A study led by the University of Minnesota shows that during the past century, year-to-year precipitation variability has increased significantly on 49% of the world’s grazing lands, affecting vegetation and constraining ability to support livestock. Many grazing lands are already marginal for agriculture, and even small changes in rainfall affect the most vulnerable lands that are typically home to smallholder farmers and pastoralists.
Related ATTRA Publication: Building Healthy Pasture Soils
Michigan Project Offers Support to Latino Specialty-Fruit Farmers
Michigan State University and several collaborators have received a $600,000 grant to support the development of more new, small, Latino-owned specialty-fruit farms. Specifically, the project team will work with Latino blueberry farmers in southwest Michigan to improve operations and farming practices. Another component of the project will focus on training the next generation of Latino farmers.
Related ATTRA Publication: Hoja de Datos: Transición al Manejo Orgánico de Huertos Frutales
Study Aids in Timing Cover-Crop Nitrogen Release
Understanding how quickly different cover crops release nutrients is key to matching them with the nutrient needs of specific cash crops, reports the American Society of Agronomy. A new study assessed the nutrient-release timing of hairy vetch and cereal rye. Hairy vetch released more nitrogen overall and released almost all its nitrogen in the four weeks after its growth was terminated. Cereal rye, on the other hand, releases nitrogen slowly over several weeks, with almost no nitrogen release in the first four weeks.
>>More Breaking News
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North Central SARE Professional Development Program
North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education's (NCR-SARE) Professional Development Program provides funds for projects that provide sustainable agriculture training to agricultural professionals and educators. Projects can be up to three years in duration, and funding is capped at $75,000 for each project. Approximately $450,000 will be available for funding projects in the 12-state region.
Proposals are due by March 22, 2018.
Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund
Members of the Farmer Veteran Coalition can apply for equipment grants of $1,000 to $5,000 from the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund. The application consists of short-answer and essay questions regarding military service, educational background, prior farming experience, business and financial planning, and short-term and long-term goals. Veterans from all military branches and service eras, as well as those currently serving, are eligible to apply.
Applications are due by March 1, 2018.
Frontera Farmer Foundation
Frontera Farmer Foundation will award grants up to $12,000 for capital improvements of small and mid-size farms in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin that sell to customers in the Chicago area. Farmers must have been in business for at least three years and must demonstrate how the grant will improve both their farm's viability and the availability of locally grown food products.
The deadline to apply is March 11, 2018.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Good Food EXPO
March 23-24, 2018
On Friday, farmers, producers, buyers, schools, and industry stakeholders meet to share knowledge and discuss policy developments. The public Saturday event features more than 150 exhibitors, workshops and chef demos, and family-friendly programming.
Planning, Managing, and Growing Your Forest Farming Business
March 23-25, 2018
Rural Action and the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition host a weekend intensive with opportunities for participants to learn directly from successful farmers, business owners, and educators with experience and expertise in natural products.
Answering the Call: Veteran Farmer Conference
March 24, 2018
This conference, for military veterans who are currently farming or want to start, will provide an avenue to network and an opportunity to discover resources and services.
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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.
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