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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 24, 2019

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

  • Essential Oils Help Vegetables Repel Insect Pests
  • Study Explores Nutrient Loss from Climate Change and Carbon Dioxide Increase
  • REAP Loan Guarantees Available for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  • Predictive Model Improves Irrigation Efficiency
  • Rodale Institute to Launch Southeast Organic Center
  • Initiative Addresses Farmer Health and Soil Health

Funding Opportunities

  • Southern SARE Professional Development Program Grant
  • New York Farm Viability Institute Dairy Education Proposals
  • National Sheep Industry Improvement Grants

Coming Events

  • Acres U.S.A. Healthy Soil Summit
  • Agroforestry Farming
  • Add Unusual Fruits to Your Farm

News & Resources

Essential Oils Help Vegetables Repel Insect Pests
A study from the University of Vermont found that essential oils from other plant species can be used to repel insect pests from vegetable crops. Essential oils of garlic, spearmint, thyme, eucalyptus lemon, and cinnamon bark were effective at repelling swede midge from broccoli, kale, and other cabbage-family crops. Plants that are more distantly related from the host plant are generally more repellent. The study concluded that garlic was one of the most effective repellents and already readily available to growers.
.Related ATTRA Publication: Companion Planting & Botanical Pesticides: Concepts & Resources

Study Explores Nutrient Loss from Climate Change and Carbon Dioxide Increase
The International Food Policy Research Institute announced the results of an international study showing that over the next 30 years, climate change and increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) could significantly reduce the availability of critical nutrients. Change shocks and elevated CO2 in the atmosphere are estimated to reduce growth in global per-capita nutrient availability of protein by 19.5%, iron by 14.4%, and zinc by 14.6%. The study also pointed to the impacts on nutrients in key individual crops.

REAP Loan Guarantees Available for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
USDA Rural Development is reminding farmers, rural small businesses, and agricultural producers that $400 million is available in loan guarantees through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP funding can be used for renewable-energy systems or to make energy-efficiency improvements. USDA accepts applications for REAP funding year-round. Potential applicants should contact their state USDA Rural Development offices for additional information.
Related ATTRA Publication: Dairy Farm Energy Efficiency

Predictive Model Improves Irrigation Efficiency
Engineers at Cornell University have developed a predictive model for irrigation that combines plant physiology, real-time soil conditions, and weather forecasts. Using this information to decide how and when to irrigate could save 40% of the water consumed by traditional irrigation practices. In addition, this "smart irrigation" could help improve the quality of specialty crops by ensuring that they receive the right amount of water.
Related ATTRA Publication: Measuring and Conserving Irrigation Water

Rodale Institute to Launch Southeast Organic Center
The Rodale Institute has announced that it will launch the Southeast Organic Center, a new regional resource center focused on the unique challenges of farmers. The center will open in fall of 2019 at 300-acre Many Fold Farm in Georgia's Chattahoochee Hills. It will focus on increasing organic production in the region, establishing a long-term research trial, and solving challenges for organic farmers.

Initiative Addresses Farmer Health and Soil Health
South Dakota Soil Health Coalition (SDSHC) and Avera Health are collaborating on a project called "Protect Yourself and Your Soil," based on the connection between the potentially harmful effects of sun on skin and what can be seen when producers leave soil exposed to the elements. Avera Health and SDSHC will be distributing wider-brim hats and educational information throughout the summer, highlighting facts about the skin and soil connection, as well as tips to avoid negative health effects.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Southern SARE Professional Development Program Grant
Southern SARE is accepting pre-proposals for the Professional Development Program (PDP) grant. PDP is a "train the trainer" program, providing funding to agricultural professionals to train Cooperative Extension agents, USDA field personnel, and other ag professionals and educators in sustainable agriculture production practices. Training activities may include seminars, workshops, farm tours, on-farm demonstrations, or the marketing and distributing of training materials. Activities may take place in a single state, multiple states, or throughout the entire Southern region.
Pre-proposals are due August 30, 2019.

New York Farm Viability Institute Dairy Education Proposals
New York Farm Viability Institute is seeking proposals that will provide direct education to New York dairy farmers and that will deliver near-term economic benefit. The Topic Specific Team model requires educators to identify a common need among farmers in their region and develop a deep-dive curriculum on the topic. Where appropriate, the educational model should include both peer-to-peer discussion-group learning and individual on-farm consultation. Eligible grant applicants include farmer groups, researchers, educators, organizations, agencies, and businesses. Proposals between $15,000 and $45,000 will be accepted. Five to 15 farms should be involved in each proposal, and NYFVI can reimburse up to $3,000 per farm that is enrolled and completes the program.
Applications are due by August 26, 2019.

National Sheep Industry Improvement Grants
The National Sheep Industry Improvement Center is accepting proposals for grants to improve the U.S. sheep industry. Projects must accomplish one or more of the following objectives: increase numbers in production, integrate performance and production data, provide leadership training and education, improve infrastructure of the U.S. sheep industry, promote lamb marketing, and/or seek mutual understanding and marketing within the international industry community.
Proposals will be accepted through September 15, 2019.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Acres U.S.A. Healthy Soil Summit
August 21-22, 2019
Davis, California
The 2019 Acres U.S.A. Healthy Soil Summit will gather growers for intensive learning on strategies to create overall farm resilience. The program will address successful farm-management strategies and offer a chance to engage with speakers and fellow attendees to build business relationships and peer networks.

Agroforestry Farming
August 20-21, 2019
Catawba, Virginia
Virginia Association for Biological Farming and Virginia Tech's Office of Outreach and International Affairs offer an opportunity to dive deep into agroforestry, regenerative whole-farm practices, and environmental services markets.

Add Unusual Fruits to Your Farm
August 21, 2019
Winona, Minnesota
MOSES Organic Farmers of the Year, Jim Riddle and Joyce Ford, grow aronia berries, honeyberries, juneberries, elderberries, black currants, and more, at Blue Fruit Farm. At this MOSES Organic Field Day, learn how to grow and use these fruits.

>>More Events

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