Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 29, 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.
News & Resources
- Armed to Farm Training Now Accepting Applications
- High Tunnel iBook Available
- Report on State of Organic Seed Released
- Study Quantifies Benefits of Upper-Mississippi Agricultural Conservation
- Barrier Screens Exclude Brown Marmorated Stink Bug from Organic Crops
- Report Examines Capability of Organic Farming to Feed the World
- Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Food Safety Challenge Area
- Rural Energy Savings Program
- California State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program
- Residue and Tillage Management in Organic Farming Systems: Eastern States
- Northern Nut Growers Association Annual Conference
- Silvopasture Workshop
News & Resources
Armed to Farm Training Now Accepting Applications
The National Center for Appropriate Technology is accepting applications until July 22, 2016, from military veterans who want to attend our free, week-long Armed to Farm (ATF) Training in Great Falls, Montana, August 29 - September 2, 2016. ATF gives veterans and their spouses an opportunity to see sustainable, profitable, small-scale farming enterprises and examine farming as a viable career. ATF offers a dynamic blend of farm tours and hands-on experience with classroom instruction.
High Tunnel iBook Available
Alabama Cooperative Extension System's High Tunnel Crop Production Handbook is now available free as an iBook. The publication was developed for training new and beginning farmers. It addresses construction, irrigation, fertilization, and insect pest management for high tunnels and also includes a resource list for beginning farmers.
Related ATTRA Video: Hoop Houses for Extending Your Growing Season
Report on State of Organic Seed Released
Organic Seed Alliance has released its first five-year update on the status of organic seed. State of Organic Seed, 2016 is part of an ongoing project to measure progress in increasing farmer access to organic seed in the United States. Because of supply gaps, most organic farmers still rely on seed that isn't organic.
The report highlights the critical role of farmers in organic plant breeding and provides more than 30 recommendations to serve as a roadmap for organic seed.
Study Quantifies Benefits of Upper-Mississippi Agricultural Conservation
U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have published a new study that demonstrates how voluntary agricultural conservation practices in the upper Mississippi River watershed can reduce nitrogen inputs to area streams and rivers. The study found that conservation practices resulted in a 34% nutrient-pollution reduction for nitrogen and up to 10% reduction for total phosphorus.
Barrier Screens Exclude Brown Marmorated Stink Bug from Organic Crops
In a study published in HortTechnology, researchers tested plastic-mesh barrier screens with different mesh sizes to determine their ability to exclude the brown marmorated stink bug, provide entry to beneficial species, and produce a high percentage of marketable yield in organically grown bell peppers. The researchers recommended lighter colored screen and 1/8-inch or 1/6-inch mesh to allow the entry of sunlight and beneficial species.
Report Examines Capability of Organic Farming to Feed the World
Friends of the Earth has released a report titled Farming for the Future: Organic and Agroecological Solutions to Feed the World. The report finds that organic and agroecological farming yield more than enough to feed the world and that they also protect public health, regenerate the environment, provide greater resilience to climate change, and improve farmer livelihoods.
>> More Breaking News
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Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Food Safety Challenge Area
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Food Safety Challenge Area. This initiative promotes and enhances the scientific discipline of food safety, with an overall aim of protecting consumers from microbial and chemical contaminants that may occur during all stages of the food chain, from production to consumption. Approximately $6 million is available.
Applications are due August 3, 2016.
Rural Energy Savings Program
USDA's Rural Energy Savings Program will provide loans to rural energy providers who in turn fund projects for consumers to make energy-efficiency improvements in their homes or businesses. Eligible applicants include current and former Rural Utilities Service (RUS) borrowers, their subsidiaries, and entities that provide retail electric service in rural areas. RESP borrowers finance loans at 0% interest for up to 20 years, and energy customers then repay the loans at 3% for up to 10 years through their electric bills.
A letter of intent is due by August 5, 2016.
California State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program
The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program. An estimated $18 million will be available to provide financial assistance to implement irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water. Agricultural operations can apply for $200,000 for irrigation projects that provide quantifiable water savings and greenhouse-gas reductions.
Applications must be submitted by August 5, 2016.
>> More Funding Opportunities
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Residue and Tillage Management in Organic Farming Systems: Eastern States
August 2, 2016
This free webinar is presented by USDA NRCS Science and Technology. Learn about challenges and opportunities in implementing tillage and residue-management practices on organic farms. This is the first in a three-part series that will feature different regions.
Northern Nut Growers Association Annual Conference
July 31 - August 3, 2016
Nebraska City, Nebraska
This conference is open to all people with an interest in nut trees. The agenda includes technical presentations and an all-day tour of nut tree orchards and processing facilities in southeastern Nebraska.
July 29-30, 2016
UW-Extension, UMN-Extension, and the Savanna Institute will host this event, which includes presentations on silvopasture establishment and management and visits to two farms practicing silvopasture.
>> 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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