Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 10, 2015
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
- Updated Chart Helps Growers Choose Cover Crops
- Cornell Pollinator Research Probes Role and Health of Wild Bees
- Native-Plant Grazing Case Studies Featured in Publication
- Results of Grower Survey on Imperfect Produce Reported
- USDA Extends Deadline to Submit Proposals on New Organic Promotion Order
- Kubota "Geared to Give" Program Awards First Tractor to Farmer Veteran
- Agriculture Risk Management Education Partnerships Competitive Grants Program
- Leopold Center Competitive Grants Program
- Massachusetts Farm Viability Enhancement Program
- CCOF Organic Labeling Webinar
- Annual Rodale Institute Field Day
- A Vegetable Farm Start-Up: The First 5 Years
News & Resources
Updated Chart Helps Growers Choose Cover Crops
USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists at the Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory have updated their interactive, downloadable Cover Crop Chart to include 58 species. The chart helps growers choose the best cover crops to meet their management and production needs. It provides specifics on growth cycle, water use, plant architecture, forage quality, pollination, and more.
Related ATTRA Publication:
No-Till Case Study, Bauer Farm: Cover Crop Cocktails on Former CRP Land
Cornell Pollinator Research Probes Role and Health of Wild Bees
Cornell University researchers experimented this year to see whether wild bees could pollinate Cornell Orchards' apple trees without the help of commercial honeybees. They found that wild bees provided enough fruitlets to support a full crop. The successful test provides incentive for further research on supporting native bee health.
A related Cornell study found that pesticides harm wild bee populations, but that the negative effects lessen in proportion to the amount of natural areas near orchards. Researchers suggested that natural areas near orchards might host larger numbers of wild bees or provide wild bees a refuge from pesticide exposure.
Native-Plant Grazing Case Studies Featured in Publication
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has released a 16-page online publication titled Grazing Native Plants in Iowa: Processes and Experiences. The publication includes profiles of four graziers and four land managers, highlighting a wide range of experiences. It also includes information on how to incorporate prairies into a grazing operation, why grazing prairies can be beneficial, and what questions remain.
Results of Grower Survey on Imperfect Produce Reported
Beyond Beauty: Opportunities & Challenges for Cosmetically Imperfect Produce, a Minnesota initiative, has released its first report, Survey Results from Minnesota Produce Growers. The report compiles responses from 138 fresh-market produce growers in Minnesota. It showed strong interest in expanded markets for cosmetically imperfect seconds and revealed grower willingness to change harvesting, sorting, and packing practices on their farms if they had an attractive market for their seconds.
USDA Extends Deadline to Submit Proposals on New Organic Promotion Order
The United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service is extending the deadline to allow members of the public to submit alternative proposals or partial proposals on a new industry-funded promotion, research, and information order for organic products.
The proposal deadline was extended from June 19 until July 21.
Kubota "Geared to Give" Program Awards First Tractor to Farmer Veteran
Kubota Tractor Corporation's "Geared to Give" program has announced Matt Soldano of Southtown Farms in New Jersey as its first farmer veteran recipient of a donated tractor. The program launched in March in partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC). The program provides financial support and donated Kubota equipment to U.S. military veterans pursuing a future in farming. Farmer veterans who are FVC fellowship members can apply for the program and be considered for donated equipment.
>> More Breaking News
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Agriculture Risk Management Education Partnerships Competitive Grants Program
This program administered by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides U.S. agricultural producers and their families with the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to make informed risk-management decisions that enhance the profitability of their operations. Applications may be submitted by colleges and universities, Federal, State, and local agencies, nonprofit and for-profit private organizations or corporations, and other entities. More than $4.4 million in project funding is expected to be available.
Applications are due by July 6, 2015.
Leopold Center Competitive Grants Program
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture has issued its Summer 2015 Request for Pre-proposals for Research and Project grants. For 2015, these two main categories are divided into 10 subject portals and five specific focus areas. The Center will accept pre-proposals from any Iowa nonprofit organization/agency and/or educational institution.
Concept papers are due by July 7, 2015.
Massachusetts Farm Viability Enhancement Program
The Massachusetts Farm Viability Program seeks to improve the economic viability and environmental integrity of participating farms through the development and implementation of farm viability plans. The program offers planning assistance and capital for the implementation of the improvements recommended in the viability plan.
The deadline for applications is June 23, 2015.
>> More Funding Opportunities
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CCOF Organic Labeling Webinar
Join the CCOF Foundation for a webinar on developing product labels that comply with organic standards. This webinar will give you new insight into the most common mistakes companies make with their organic labels and will provide a step-by-step process for developing labels that comply with the USDA National Organic Program standards.
Annual Rodale Institute Field Day
July 17, 2015
This event will feature dozens of research and demonstration projects on Rodale Institute's 333-acre farm. Participants will hear presentations about the latest research and learn about the soil-building practices and compost experiments conducted by Rodale.
A Vegetable Farm Start-Up: The First 5 Years
July 15, 2015
Learn about beginning farmer Danelle Myer's experiences in starting a diverse vegetable and herb farm at this Practical Farmers of Iowa afternoon field day. This event is part of an extensive 2015 field day series.
>> More Events
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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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