Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 18, 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
- Guides from OFRF Help Organic Producers Access Cost-Share, Crop Insurance Programs
- National Organic Program Reopens Comment Period on Amendments to National List
- Varied Agricultural Landscape More Effective for Pollinators than Flowering Strips
- Faba Bean Cover Crop Reduces Sweet Corn Fertilizer Needs
- Study Links Soil Health with Animal Growth
- Divide Between Arid West and Humid East Moving Eastward
- Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund
- California Alternative Manure Management Program
- Special Research Grants Program Aquaculture Research
- Sustainable Rangelands Symposium
- Pastured and Free Range Poultry Course
- Building Organic Matter for Healthy Soils: An Overview
News & Resources
Guides from OFRF Help Organic Producers Access Cost-Share, Crop Insurance Programs
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has created two new guides to help organic producers access federal programs. One is the Organic Certification Cost Share Program Guidebook, and the other is A Guide to the USDA Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program: For organic production, 2018 crop year. Both guides provide an overview of the respective programs, information on applying, contact information, and a glossary of terms. The guides are available free online in PDF.
National Organic Program Reopens Comment Period on Amendments to National List
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has reopened the public comment period on amendments to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. The extended 30-day comment period will close May 14, 2018. The proposed rule would add 16 substances to the list of those allowed, prohibit ivermectin in organic livestock production, prohibit use of rotenone, and change the listing of 17 substances on the National List.
Varied Agricultural Landscape More Effective for Pollinators than Flowering Strips
Research by Lund University in Sweden has shown that a small-scale agricultural landscape with pastures, meadows, and other unplowed areas provides the best habitat for pollinators and experiences the highest level of pollination. This research found that crop-pollination rates increased only in the area immediately adjacent to a flowering strip, not across the whole field.
Faba Bean Cover Crop Reduces Sweet Corn Fertilizer Needs
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst found that nitrogen-fixing faba bean as a cover crop before sweet corn could help farmers save up to half of their nitrogen fertilizer cost. The American Society of Agronomy reports that cover crops planted August 1 provided twice as much nitrogen as plantings only two weeks later, and also offered an opportunity to harvest faba bean pods. The researchers also found that leaving the faba residue on the soil surface and using no-till planting dispensed nitrogen at a delayed rate that was better for the sweet corn.
Related ATTRA Publication: Sweet Corn: Organic Production
Study Links Soil Health with Animal Growth
A study in the United Kingdom by Rothamsted Research links soil health to animal growth. An interdisciplinary team of scientists found that animal performance on individual fields was positively associated with the level of soil organic carbon and that fields grazed more intensively had healthier soils and were less prone to water and nutrient losses.
Related ATTRA Publication: Building Healthy Pasture Soils
Divide Between Arid West and Humid East Moving Eastward
The 100th meridian traditionally separated the arid, sparsely populated, wheat-growing Great Plains from the humid, fertile, corn-growing Midwest. Recently published research indicates that a combination of rising temperatures and changing weather patterns has pushed the humid-arid divide 140 miles east since 1980. They warn that this trend will lead to significant crop and land-use changes in the historically fertile region.
>>More Breaking News
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Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund
The CCOF Foundation's Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund provides support for organic education from kindergarten through college. Certified K-8 teachers in the United States can submit grant requests up to $1,000, to incorporate lessons on organic into their classroom's project-based learning. The CCOF Foundation also offers grants to higher education and vocational students pursuing organic agriculture programs, to help with tuition and educational expenses.
The application deadline for both programs is May 15, 2018.
California Alternative Manure Management Program
The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications for the 2018 Alternative Manure Management Program. The program will provide $19 to $33 million in grants to California dairy and livestock operators to implement non-digester manure management practices that reduce methane emissions. Projects can include pasture-based management, solid separation, and conversion from a flush to scrape manure-collection system.
Grant applications are due by May 22, 2018.
Special Research Grants Program Aquaculture Research
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture requests applications for $1.2 million to fund applied aquaculture research projects in the following areas: 1) genetics; 2) disease; 3) production systems; and 4) economics. Applications may be submitted for research, extension, or education activities to facilitate or expand promising breakthroughs in areas of the food and agricultural sciences of importance to the United States.
Applications are due by May 17, 2018.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Sustainable Rangelands Symposium
June 7-8, 2018
Texas Tech University and New Mexico State University will host this event on precipitation effectiveness, integrated livestock and wildlife, use of prescribed burning, importance of deferment, and the Grazing Land Coalition.
Pastured and Free Range Poultry Course
May 30 and June 2, 2018
UC Davis and partners including NCAT present this course for beginning free-range and pastured poultry farmers, with information on husbandry practices, housing, records maintenance, biosecurity, and more.
Building Organic Matter for Healthy Soils: An Overview
May 9, 2018
This webinar is the first in a nine-part series on Soil Health and Organic Farming, presented by the Organic Farming Research Foundation and eOrganic. The webinars will provide practical guidelines for growers, in-depth analysis of research outcomes, and an opportunity to get questions answered.
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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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