Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 31, 2017
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.
NCAT Seeking Interns
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is seeking an urban farmer or gardener to work 20 hours per week on NCAT’s Small Scale Intensive Farm Training program farm in Butte, Montana. NCAT is also seeking a motivated, enthusiastic individual with farming or gardening experience to work 40 hours per week for approximately three months on the Demonstration Farm located at The Piney Woods School south of Jackson, Mississippi.
News & Resources
- SARE Introduces Farmer Field Day Toolkit
- Small-Fruit Disease-Management Resources Available
- Lack of Slaughterhouses Challenges Local Livestock Producers
- National Soil Health Action Plan Unveiled
- Organic Industry Survey Shows Growth in Market Share
- Purdue University Study Documents Neonicotinoid Drift But Finds No Yield Benefit
- Crop Insurance Education in Targeted States
- AFRI Foundational: Bioenergy, Natural Resources, and Environment
- Soil Health Research Literature and Information Review Grants
- Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Days
- International Bison Conference
- Organic Small Grains
News & Resources
SARE Introduces Farmer Field Day Toolkit
SARE's new digital Farmer Field Day Toolkit is a comprehensive resource of step-by-step instructions, timelines, and downloadable tools and templates for planning and hosting a successful event. Users will learn the ins and outs of working with the media, creating press releases and PSAs, generating public interest, capturing the event with video, and sharing it online. The free toolkit is available online.
Small-Fruit Disease-Management Resources Available
University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension has developed a series of outreach materials to aid small-fruit producers with disease management. The free publications include Fruit, Orchard and Vineyard Sanitation and Midwest Blueberry Production Guide, as well as a series of guides covering low-spray, no-spray, and organic options in production of apples, peaches, grapes, brambles, strawberries, and blueberries.
Related ATTRA Publication: Apple Diseases Identification Sheet
Lack of Slaughterhouses Challenges Local Livestock Producers
Free-range meat producers aren't able to supply growing demand for their product due to a lack of slaughterhouses, according to a Bloomberg feature. With just 1,100 Federally inspected meat and poultry slaughterhouses in the nation, many livestock producers are having to drive long distances or keep and feed animals longer, reducing profit. Small slaughterhouses, meanwhile, are challenged by regulations designed for larger operations.
Related ATTRA Publication: Meat Plants: Improving Profitability in Small and Very Small Operations
National Soil-Health Action Plan Unveiled
The Soil Health Institute has released Enriching Soil, Enhancing Life: An Action Plan for Soil Health, a national soil-health action plan designed to advance science-based research and drive productivity, profitability, and resilience on U.S. farms and ranches, while benefiting the environment. The 48-page plan identifies critical goals, priorities, and gaps in knowledge and implementation, along with specific, actionable steps to address those gaps. The complete plan is available online.
Organic Industry Survey Shows Growth in Market Share
The Organic Trade Association released its 2017 Organic Industry Survey, showing that organic sales in the United States totaled around $47 billion in 2016, with $43 billion of that being organic food sales. Organic food now accounts for 5.3% of total food sales in this country. The $15.6-billion organic fruits and vegetables sector makes up almost 15% of the produce that Americans eat.
Purdue University Study Documents Neonicotinoid Drift But Finds No Yield Benefit
Research led by Purdue University and published in the Journal of Applied Ecology found that doses of neonicotinoid seed treatments lethal to honeybees were reaching distances up to 100 meters from corn fields. The authors say that 42% of Indiana is exposed to neonicotinoids during corn crop planting, due to planter exhaust drifting in the airstream. However, the researchers also conducted testing that found no evidence that neonicotinoid seed treatments increased yield in corn.
>>More Breaking News
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Crop Insurance Education in Targeted States
The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, operating through USDA Risk Management Agency, will award up to $4.85 million in cooperative agreements. This program supports delivery of crop insurance education and information to U.S. agricultural producers in states where there is a low level of Federal crop insurance participation and availability, and producers are underserved by the Federal crop insurance program.
Applications are due July 10, 2017.
AFRI Foundational: Bioenergy, Natural Resources, and Environment
This program area supports research to promote, improve, and maintain healthy agro-ecosystems and their underlying natural resources that are essential to the sustained long-term production of agricultural goods and services. Approximately $15.1 million is available. Program area priorities are detailed online.
Applications are due June 21, 2017.
Soil Health Research Literature and Information Review Grants
The Soil Health Institute will fund up to five grants at a maximum of $8,000 each to support preparation of literature searches and summaries of soil health and its relationship to land-management practices; ecosystem processes and services including agricultural production, human health, associated economic costs and benefits; and other relevant topics.
Applications are due by June 23, 2017.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Days
May - November, 2017
Practical Farmers of Iowa has announced that its 2017 Field Day guide is now available to view or download online. More than 30 PFI field days are hosted by farmer members who share their knowledge, discoveries, mistakes, and successes. Field days are open to everyone, and most of the events are free.
International Bison Conference
July 4-8, 2017
Big Sky, Montana
The International Bison Conference is a celebration of the American bison. The agenda includes keynote and breakout presentations, tours, a bison film festival, and more.
Organic Small Grains
July 9, 2017
Michigan State University North Farm is conducting research trials in organic small grain production to identify challenges and opportunities in the Upper Peninsula. Topics at this afternoon short course will include plot establishment, weed management, pest and disease challenges, and variety selection.
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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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