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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 3, 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

  • National Cover Crop Survey Results Published
  • Exclusion Netting Tested for Spotted-Wing Drosophila Control in Raspberries
  • Buckwheat Planted with Squash Could Help Keep Pests at Bay
  • Nominations Open for MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year
  • Plant Diversity a Key to Soil Health
  • ARS Develops Cold-Tolerant Faba Beans

Funding Opportunities

  • California Regional Conservation Partnership Program—Rice Stewardship Partnership
  • Young Farmers Conference Scholarships
  • Pennsylvania Community Conservation Partnership

Coming Events

  • SILT Showcase: Southern Iowa
  • Diversify Your Marketing: Managing Grass Dairy and Meeting Consumer Needs
  • Open Gate Field Day

News & Resources

National Cover Crop Survey Results Published
The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program and the Conservation Technology Information Center have released results of their fourth annual national cover crop survey. Insight from 2,020 farmers across the country reflected enthusiasm for cover crops and found a yield boost in corn and soybeans following cover crops. The full report is available online.

Exclusion Netting Tested for Spotted-Wing Drosophila Control in Raspberries
Scientists from Michigan State University have published research on using exclusion netting to prevent infestation of raspberries by Drosophila suzukii. Exclusion netting applied to commercial-size high tunnels resulted in a significant reduction in overall D. suzukii infestation in raspberries, as well as a three-week delay in the average first detectable fruit infestation. This may be sufficient to allow the production of insecticide-free or organically certified berries without damage from the insect.

Buckwheat Planted with Squash Could Help Keep Pests at Bay
University of Florida researchers found that planting buckwheat with squash can help protect the squash from pests and diseases. Buckwheat can attract beneficial insects with its nectar and pollen, and those insects can act as natural enemies to squash pests such as whiteflies, aphids, and thrips. The study is published in Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.
Related ATTRA Publication: Companion Planting & Botanical Pesticides: Concepts & Resources

Nominations Open for MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year
The Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) is accepting nominations for its 2017 Organic Farmer of the Year award. This award recognizes organic farmers who practice outstanding land stewardship, innovation, and outreach. Nominees must be certified organic and farming in a Midwest state. Online nominations are due by September 15, 2016.

Plant Diversity a Key to Soil Health
Research led by Lancaster University in the UK shows that plant diversity is key to maintaining soil health. Scientists tested soil's structural stability when planted with a variety of different grasses, herbs, and legumes. They found that soil structure improved with higher plant diversity and that the diverse properties of different plant roots were the key factor in keeping soil healthy.

ARS Develops Cold-Tolerant Faba Beans
USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists have co-developed four cold-tolerant faba bean germplasm lines. The new varieties will add flexibility in using nitrogen-fixing faba beans as an annual winter cover crop or green manure. The winter-hardy faba beans could be used by growers in rotation with wheat and other cereal grains.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

California Regional Conservation Partnership Program—Rice Stewardship Partnership
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications from California landowners in 10 Central Valley counties for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)—Rice Stewardship Partnership. This program provides financial and technical assistance opportunities to rice farmers to help improve the efficiency of irrigation water use and minimize water-quality impacts while also benefiting wildlife.
For fiscal year 2016, the cutoff date for funding is August 19, 2016.

Young Farmers Conference Scholarships
Stone Barns Center is offering farmer scholarships to the 2016 Young Farmers Conference set for December 7-9, 2016, in Pocantico Hills, New York. Scholarships cover the cost of conference registration; recipients are expected to cover the cost of their lodging and travel expenses to and from the conference.
Online applications are due by August 20, 2016.

Pennsylvania Community Conservation Partnership
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is dedicating $500,000 to a pilot grant program for planting trees along streams in Pennsylvania to improve water quality. DCNR is piloting a multi-functional buffer option to provide greater flexibility in landowner eligibility, buffer designs, widths, and plant species, and to offer the option of planting some income-producing crops in the buffer zone.
Applications are due by September 15, 2016.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

SILT Showcase: Southern Iowa
September 12, 2016
Corydon, Iowa
Designed for landowners interested in leaving a legacy of sustainable food production, each Sustainable Iowa Land Trust showcase day includes a farm tour, presentations by an appraiser and an attorney, and a locally sourced lunch.

Diversify Your Marketing: Managing Grass Dairy and Meeting Consumer Needs
September 12, 2016
Alfred Station, New York

Join NOFA-NY at Sunny Cove Farm for a two-part field day to learn about marketing your farm products. The morning program will address managing a grass-based dairy and the afternoon will focus on marketing and generational transfer.

Open Gate Field Day
September 7, 2016
Parkfield, California

HMI's fun, informative, and interactive field days feature innovative and regenerative agricultural topics and practices. Each day is hosted by an experienced Holistic Management practitioner. This event takes place at the V6 Ranch.

>> More Events

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