Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 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.
Last Week to Register for Our Farms, Our Future
Our Farms, Our Future is a once-in-a-decade national conference that looks at the progress of sustainability in agriculture and helps to understand our trajectory for the future. Register by March 27, 2018, to participate in the conference April 3-5, 2018, in St. Louis. It is hosted by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and NCAT's ATTRA program. Learn more.
News & Resources
- New Guide Helps Specialty-Crop Growers Choose Cover Crops
- Study Finds Regenerative Agriculture 78% More Profitable for Corn
- Crop Diversity Benefits Natural Enemies of Crop Pests
- FFAR Grant Funds Study of Adaptive Multi-Paddock Grazing
- Farm Commons Releases Additional New Tip Sheets
- Water Troughs a Conduit for Spread of E.Coli
- Southern SARE Graduate Student Grants
- Missouri Headwaters Basin National Drought Resiliency Project
- Technology, Innovation, and Excellence Grant Program
- National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
- Spring Nut Growers Meeting
- Kentucky Grazing School
News & Resources
New Guide Helps Specialty-Crop Growers Choose Cover Crops
Growing Over Cover: A Kansas Specialty Crop Grower’s Guide to Cover Crops from the Kansas Rural Center details soil health principles and best choices for cover crops for specialty crop operations. The 32-page guide is available free online and includes planning tips for planting cover crops in Kansas, tips on what cover crops to plant, and information on establishing and terminating cover crops.
Related ATTRA Publication: Cover Crop Options for Hot and Humid Areas
Study Finds Regenerative Agriculture 78% More Profitable for Corn
A study published in PeerJ evaluated the relative effects of regenerative and conventional corn-production systems on pest management services, soil conservation, and farmer profitability and productivity throughout the Northern Plains. Researchers found that regenerative fields had 29% lower grain production but 78% higher profits than traditional corn-production systems. Profit was positively correlated with the particulate organic matter of the soil.
Related ATTRA Publication: Planning for Profit in Sustainable Farming
Crop Diversity Benefits Natural Enemies of Crop Pests
Research at the University of Würzburg showed that the more varied the landscape around a wheat field, the fewer aphids that thrive on the wheat plants. When there is a variety of crops adjacent to the wheat, the natural enemies of aphids that are present consume more aphids. Ecologist Sarah Redlich says the finding could help farmers cut down on pesticide use simply by increasing the diversity of crops they grow.
Related ATTRA Publication: Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control
FFAR Grant Funds Study of Adaptive Multi-Paddock Grazing
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) has awarded a $1.25 million grant to ASU Foundation for A New American University for study of Adaptive Multi-Paddock (AMP) grazing. Researchers will analyze how this grazing technique increases farm resiliency, contributes to carbon sequestration, improves soil biodiversity, and impacts animal wellbeing and productivity. Researchers will collaborate with ranchers to study operations in the Southeast and Great Plains.
Related ATTRA Tutorial: Managed Grazing
Farm Commons Releases Additional New Tip Sheets
Farm Commons has six new tip sheets available free online to help farmers and their advocates get up to speed on common farm-law issues. Titles include Succession Planning, Why Form an LLC?, The Lease: Who Is Responsible for What?, Farm Insurance, Dealing with Regulators, and Value-Added Agritourism and Taxes. These titles join Farm Commons' collection of tip sheets on legal issues for farmers and farm advocates.
Water Troughs a Conduit for Spread of E.Coli
Research led by Cornell University has identified water troughs on farms as a conduit for spread of E. coli. The researchers found that water in a trough, especially in summer months, could heat and promote pathogen replication, causing more cows to acquire the bacteria when they drink. The researchers hypothesized that frequently changing the water in the summer could keep the water colder, limiting bacterial growth. They also found that troughs with less water increased the spread of E. coli.
>>More Breaking News
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Southern SARE Graduate Student Grants
The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program is accepting applications for Graduate Student Grants to fund research projects that address issues of sustainable agriculture. Maximum awards are $16,500 for up to three years' work. Graduate students (Master's and PhD) enrolled full-time at an accredited college or university in the Southern region may apply.
Applications are due by May 4, 2018.
Missouri Headwaters Basin National Drought Resiliency Project
In conjunction with the Montana Headwaters National Drought Resiliency Project, USDA-NRCS is offering a localized initiative addressing water conservation and drought resiliency in the Missouri Headwaters Basin of Southwestern Montana. Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding will be available to farmers and ranchers in the Beaverhead, Big Hole, Boulder, Gallatin, Jefferson, Madison, Red Rock, and Ruby basins. Conservation practices will focus on increased water conservation, improved riparian and floodplain health, improved water quality, and upland management practices that mitigate the effects of drought.
Applications for this local initiative must be received by March 30, 2018.
Technology, Innovation, and Excellence Grant Program
The Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership offers the TIE (Technology, Innovation, and Excellence) Grant program to encourage farmers to trial new equipment, implement new systems, and address the challenges farmers collectively face. Farmers in Bristol, Plymouth, and Norfolk counties can apply for $500 to $3,000 grants for materials, consultants, or project costs.
Applications are due March 25, 2018.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 25-27, 2018
This biennial event convenes stakeholders working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. The agenda includes 36 skill-building workshops, educational short courses, experiential field trips, inspiring keynote addresses, and more.
Spring Nut Growers Meeting
April 21, 2018
The New York Nut Growers Association and the Pennsylvania Nut Growers Association will hold a joint spring meeting. Anyone zealous about growing nut trees is welcome.
Kentucky Grazing School
April 24-25, 2018
Topics include nutrition, fencing, forage, pastures, and grazing planning. In addition to presentations, the agenda includes field exercises and case studies.
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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.
Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.
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