Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 23, 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.
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The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is seeking an Outreach Specialist to identify new clients, and coordinate and manage the promotion of goods and services produced by NCAT. Special emphasis will be placed on Internet promotion through social media. The position will be located at NCAT’s Headquarters Office in Butte, Montana. Applications will be accepted through June 22, 2018, or until suitable candidates can be identified.
News & Resources
- Organic Industry Survey Shows Steady Growth
- Research Explores Legumes' Role in Sustainable Agriculture
- Grassland Productivity Forecast Debuts for Northern Great Plains
- Study Reveals Job-Creation Role of Native Predators
- Biologicals Aid Strawberry Producers
- Seed-Saving Training Offered for Agriculture Professionals
- Mountain Rose Herbs Giving Project
- Northeast SARE Research and Education Grant Program
- Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health Pilot Grant Program
- Conservation in Action Tour
- Transitioning to Organic with a Cover Crop Champion
- MOFGA Tree Fodder Day
News & Resources
Organic Industry Survey Shows Steady Growth
The Organic Trade Association's 2018 Organic Industry Survey shows that organic sales in the United States totaled $49.4 billion in 2017, up 6.4% from the previous year. The survey also found that organic now accounts for 5.5% of retail food sales in the United States. Fruits and vegetables continued to be the largest organic-food category.
Research Explores Legumes' Role in Sustainable Agriculture
An international team of researchers has been exploring the role that legumes can play in sustainable agriculture. They found that growing more legumes in place of cereal grains will use less nitrogen fertilizer and water and contribute nitrogen to soil. Substituting legumes for cereal grains in feed and food would also mean less energy consumption by agriculture, and less greenhouse-gas production.
Grassland Productivity Forecast Debuts for Northern Great Plains
USDA Agricultural Research Service, National Drought Mitigation Center, Colorado State University, and the University of Arizona have developed Grass-Cast, an innovative new grassland productivity forecast. Grass-Cast uses historical data about weather and vegetation growth—combined with seasonal precipitation forecasts—to predict if rangelands in individual counties in the Northern Great Plains are likely to produce above-normal, near-normal, or below-normal amounts of vegetation for grazing.
Related ATTRA Publication: Pasture, Rangeland, and Grazing Management
Study Reveals Job-Creation Role of Native Predators
Researchers at Michigan State University measured the job-creation value of ecosystem services provided by American kestrels as they dine on fruit-eating insects, mammals, and birds. This study revealed that for every dollar growers spend on building nest boxes around orchards to attract kestrels, $84 to $357 of sweet cherries are saved from fruit-eating birds. Furthermore, models predict that increased Michigan sweet-cherry production attributed to reduced bird damage could generate 46 to 50 jobs.
Related ATTRA Publication: Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control
Biologicals Aid Strawberry Producers
A University of California Cooperative Extension Strawberry Field Day highlighted results of research on biological and synthetic amendments to improve strawberry-plant health, berry quality, and yield. Strawberry growers who no longer have methyl bromide as an option for pest control are looking for alternatives. Preliminary results of the study are available online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Biorationals: Ecological Pest Management Database
Seed-Saving Training Offered for Agriculture Professionals
Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance is introducing Seed School Teacher Training for Agricultural Professionals in the Mountain West and Western SARE Region. Cooperative extension agents, NRCS staff, and others whose work directly supports farmers are eligible to apply for a free training scheduled October 21-26, 2018, in Denver, Colorado. Ag professionals will learn how to teach seed-saving methods to the farmers they serve, enabling them to boost farm profitability, improve soil health, and enhance regional food security.
>>More Breaking News
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Mountain Rose Herbs Giving Project
Mountain Rose Herbs will award three $4,000 grants to applicants who demonstrate that they share the company's mission-driven philosophy, passion for herbalism, and commitment to protecting the planet. Applicants can be herbal learners, home herbalists, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Projects eligible for funding include herbalism and herbal education, protection of native and medicinal plants, environmental stewardship, and organic and sustainable agriculture.
Applications are due by August 1, 2018.
Northeast SARE Research and Education Grant Program
Northeast SARE's Research and Education Grant program funds projects that result in gains in farmer knowledge and skills applied to make changes that lead to greater sustainability throughout the Northeast region. All projects must have an outcome-based education program for farmers. Reviewers prefer projects in the $30,000 to $200,000 range.
Preproposals are due July 10, 2018.
Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health Pilot Grant Program
The Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health offers grant funding to researchers and community organizations engaged in agricultural safety and health activities. This grant program serves as an incubator for new agricultural health and safety research, prevention, intervention, outreach, and translation projects that have high likelihood of leading to more comprehensive activities. The Center anticipates funding three projects up to $30,000 each. Pilot projects addressing aging, sleep deprivation, chemical safety, and mental health will be highly emphasized.
Proposals must be received by July 16, 2018.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Conservation in Action Tour
July 10-11, 2018
This tour hosted by the Conservation Technology Information Center will give attendees a front-row view of how the Chesapeake Bay area is leading the way in innovative conservation to improve water quality.
Transitioning to Organic with a Cover Crop Champion
July 10, 2018
Mower County, Minnesota
Join Tom Cotter and the Iowa Organic Association for this field day focused on roller-crimping and crumbling rye, cover crops, and organic transition. This event will showcase the innovative work that Cotter and his family have done to protect soil and water quality.
MOFGA Tree Fodder Day
July 9, 2018
This day-long MOFGA workshop focuses on enlivening soil through tree-based livestock farming. The event features farmers who are feeding their livestock from trees, outdoor planning and skill practice for transition of various landscapes to fodder production, and storage discussion.
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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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