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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 1, 2016

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.

Participate in the ATTRAGRAM Photo Contest!
Enter your images of small farms and livestock operations, portraits of farmers and farming families, and photos of local food marketing by June 15.

News & Resources

  • Research Links Economic Health with Organic Agriculture
  • Eastern Sustainable Cucurbit Project Shares Trial Results
  • Organic Farming Research Foundation Awards Research Grants
  • Researchers Find Cover Crops Can Aid in Pest Control
  • UNEP Report Identifies Crop Toxicity as Emerging Environmental Issue
  • Cornell's "Farm Ops" Helps Veterans Learn Agriculture

Funding Opportunities

  • Northeast SARE Research and Education Grants
  • NRCS Soil Health Initiative in Mississippi
  • Conservation Innovation Grants in Pennsylvania

Coming Events

  • Mother Earth News Fair
  • Montana Organic Association 2016 Farm Tour
  • Garlic Growers Field Day

News & Resources

Research Links Economic Health with Organic Agriculture
An Organic Trade Association white paper titled U.S. Organic Hotspots and their Benefit to Local Economies links economic health at the county level to organic agriculture and shows that organic food and crop production create real and long-lasting regional economic opportunities. Research found that organic hotspot counties boost median household incomes by an average of $2,000 and reduce poverty levels.

Eastern Sustainable Cucurbit Project Shares Trial Results
The Eastern Sustainable Cucurbit Project has published results of variety trials for cucumbers, summer squash, and melon, conducted in 2014 and 2015. Trials were conducted on research farms at Cornell University, Auburn University, Clemson University, and North Carolina State University, and at commercial farms in New York, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Organic Farming Research Foundation Awards Research Grants
The Organic Farming Research Foundation has announced the award of six research grants. The projects funded this year will explore irrigation management for organic tomato processing, peach production in the Southeast, using flowering plants in strawberry fields to improve pest control and fruit quality, enhancing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associations, nutrient budgeting in organic grain production, and compost extracts for organic weed suppression.

Researchers Find Cover Crops Can Aid in Pest Control
Research led by USDA-ARS under a grant from Southern SARE shows that cover crops used as refuges in vegetable plantings can help control insect pests by hosting enemies and competitors. Specifically, the study looked at whether bidens and blue lupine can control thrips in tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. Results were mixed depending on the specific trial year and crop combinations and are available online in the project report.
Related ATTRA Publication: Companion Planting & Botanical Pesticides: Concepts & Resources

UNEP Report Identifies Crop Toxicity as Emerging Environmental Issue
A new report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) highlights and offers solutions to six of the world's key emerging environmental issues. One of these is crop toxicity. The report looks at how drought and high temperatures associated with climate change can trigger the accumulation in crops of chemical compounds that are toxic to animals and humans, such as nitrates and aflatoxin.

Cornell's "Farm Ops" Helps Veterans Learn Agriculture
Cornell University's "Farm Ops" initiative gives returning veterans the opportunity to learn agriculture via their G.I. Bill benefits. Through the program, veterans receive six to 24 months of on-the-job training experience at approved pilot farm sites across the state. Veterans can use their military housing allowances to support their on-the-job training.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Northeast SARE Research and Education Grants
Northeast SARE seeks proposals for research, education, and on-farm demonstration projects, with an emphasis on projects that lead directly to improved farming practices and an enhanced quality of life. Projects must involve farmers and other stakeholders and take place within the Northeast SARE region.
Preproposals are due June 23, 2016.

NRCS Soil Health Initiative in Mississippi
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has established a new statewide soil initiative in Mississippi. Cropland, forestland, and pastureland are eligible for this initiative. The initiative will improve visibility, accessibility, and participation in NRCS soil health programs and technical services. Landowners interested in participating may apply at their local USDA Service Center / NRCS office.
This program has continuous sign-up; applications received by June 17, 2016, will be considered for funding in the first ranking period.

Conservation Innovation Grants in Pennsylvania
USDA NRCS is accepting applications to promote the development and adoption of innovative approaches to cropping systems and grazing management in Pennsylvania. State and local units of government, non-governmental organizations, and individuals may apply. NRCS is seeking proposals focused on soil health, legacy sediments, integrated pest management, water quality, and projects benefiting historically underserved producers.
Applications are due by June 24, 2016.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Mother Earth News Fair
July 9-10, 2016
West Bend, Wisconsin

This weekend event offers more than 150 workshops from the leading authorities on modern homesteading, animal husbandry, organic gardening, and more. Regional and national vendors will feature sustainable lifestyle products and services.

Montana Organic Association 2016 Farm Tour
July 9, 2016
Big Sandy, Montana

The second MOA Farm Tour of the season will be at the Quinn Farm & Ranch and The Oil Barn. Quinn Farm & Ranch grows organic Kamut® khorasan wheat, winter wheat, peas, barley, safflower, clover, alfalfa, and experimental plots of dryland produce. The Oil Barn is an on-farm oilseed processing facility that specializes in organic high-oleic safflower oil. This day-long event is free.

Garlic Growers Field Day
July 9, 2016
Howard Lake and Clearwater, Minnesota
Sustainable Farming Association offers a free field day for current and prospective garlic growers, featuring farmer and scientist presenters.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest Archives
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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page 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.

© 2016 NCAT

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Featured ATTRA Publication
Tipsheet: Assessing the Soil Resource for Beginning Farmers

Question of the Week
How can I control tilapia disease in an aquaponics operation?

Ask an Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online or by calling 1-800-346-9140

Armed to Farm in New York
Military veterans in New York state can apply by July 1, 2016, for a week-long sustainable agriculture training to be held August 8-12, 2016.

ATTRA Spanish Newsletter
Subscribe to Cosecha Mensual (Monthly Harvest), ATTRA's Spanish-language e-newsletter

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