Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 1, 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
- Healthy Soil Is a Weather Risk Management Tool, According to Report
- Crop Rotation Found to Benefit Soil Microbial Community
- University of Wisconsin-Madison Gains Endowed Chair in Organic Agriculture
- Organic Cover Crop Seed Offers Profit Potential
- Purple Sprouting Broccoli Trial Results Published
- California Small Farm Conference Seeking Workshop Proposals
- Western SARE Professional Development Program Grants
- Maryland Cover Crop Program
- EPA Pesticide Safety Resource Projects RFA
- Opportunities for Conservation in Organic Livestock Systems
- Cornell Soil Health Train-the-Trainer Workshop
- Whole-Farm Revenue Protection Shop Talk and Field Day
News & Resources
Healthy Soil Is a Weather Risk Management Tool, According to Report
Healthy soil can protect us from drought and flood impacts, saving farms, rural communities, and even the American agriculture industry, according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation. Can Soil Save Us? Making the Case for Cover Crops as Extreme Weather Risk Management details the many benefits of investing in healthy soil as protection from natural disasters. The report is available online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Drought Resistant Soil
Crop Rotation Found to Benefit Soil Microbial Community
Research led by Michigan State University found that crop rotations, in isolation from other management factors, can increase the functions performed by soil microbial communities that benefit plant growth. Scientists concluded that a diverse set of crops can sustain soil biological communities, with positive effects on soil organic matter and soil fertility.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Gains Endowed Chair in Organic Agriculture
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has announced the creation of the Clif Bar and Organic Valley Chair in Plant Breeding for Organic Agriculture. Clif Bar & Company and Organic Valley both donated $500,000 to establish the endowment. This is the first of five organic research chairs that Clif Bar hopes to create at land-grant universities.
Organic Cover Crop Seed Offers Profit Potential
Researchers at University of Georgia Extension combined field trials and economic analysis of organic seed production for cover crops suitable for Georgia farms in a study funded by the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF). The researchers found that profits from production of organic cereal rye and crimson clover seed ranged from $338 to $356 per acre in the second year of the study. The 12-page report, Organic Cover Crop Seed Production in Georgia, is available online in PDF.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli Trial Results Published
Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) has published results from purple sprouting broccoli variety trials in Oregon and Washington. OSA reports that purple sprouting broccoli is an ideal crop for winter food production in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to field evaluations, overall appearance and flavor were evaluated at tasting events. The full report is available online for free download.
California Small Farm Conference Seeking Workshop Proposals
The California Small Farm Conference Workshop Committee is seeking workshop proposals for the 29th annual conference. California Small Farm Conference focuses on topics relevant to family farming, direct marketing, and agricultural sustainability. The next conference will be held in Sacramento, March 5-8, 2016. Workshop proposals can be submitted online until August 14, 2015.
>> More Breaking News
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Western SARE Professional Development Program Grants
The Administrative Council of the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program is accepting applications for Professional Development Program competitive grants for 2016. These grants help Cooperative Extension Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other agricultural professionals in the Western Region increase their understanding and proficiency in sustainable agriculture.
Applications are due October 28, 2015.
Maryland Cover Crop Program
The Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program provides grants to help farmers offset seed, labor, and equipment costs associated with planting cover crops in the fall. Maryland has earmarked approximately $22 million for this year's program.
Applications are due by July 15, 2015.
EPA Pesticide Safety Resource Projects RFA
EPA's partners and stakeholders conduct outreach and education on the safe use of pesticides by applicators and handlers in agricultural, commercial, and residential settings. The grantee under this RFA will coordinate the development of materials and resources. With this five-year cooperative agreement, EPA expects to provide more than $1 million annually.
Applications are due by July 12, 2015.
>> More Funding Opportunities
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Opportunities for Conservation in Organic Livestock Systems
August 4, 2015
Join this webinar to learn about the wide range of opportunities for NRCS support in organically managed livestock operations. Presenters will discuss common organic management practices and USDA National Organic Program (NOP) regulations relevant to livestock, including pasture and outdoor access, feed management, and pasture management.
Cornell Soil Health Train-the-Trainer Workshop
August 5, 2015
Ithaca, New York
This intensive training workshop focuses on measuring and improving soil health through holistic, adaptive, and data-driven soil management. The target audience is professionals working with agricultural or urban soil-management issues.
Whole-Farm Revenue Protection Shop Talk and Field Day
August 1, 2015
This free field day is co-sponsored by NCAT, the Iowa Farmers Union, and New Family Farm, with support from the USDA Risk Management Agency. The day will begin with a presentation of Whole-Farm Revenue Protection crop insurance program by Jeff Schahczenski, NCAT. Diversified producer Tony Thompson will lead a tour of his farm.
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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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