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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 29, 2018

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

  • Survey Highlights Success of Women in Agritourism
  • Organic Grain Crop Enterprise Budgets Available for Michigan
  • New Publication Covers Cool-Season Organic Vegetable Crop Rotations
  • Mesh Screen Improves Efficiency of Spray Administration
  • Cover Crop Grazing a Win-Win Arrangement
  • Researchers Identify Corn that Produces Its Own Nitrogen

Funding Opportunities

  • NCR-SARE Partnership Grants
  • Minnesota Farm to School and Farm to Early Care and Education Grants
  • Texas Young Farmer Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance Field Days
  • Living Soil: A Universe Underfoot
  • Pecan 101 Workshop

News & Resources

Survey Highlights Success of Women in Agritourism
A North Carolina State University Extension project has released Success of Women in Agritourism, a factsheet summarizing key results from a survey of 180 women in agriculture across the state. This study provides a holistic understanding of women's success in agritourim and suggests approaches to improve success. The project also produced a video series that documents successful female farmers in agritourism.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tips for Selling with: Agritourism and "Pick-Your-Own"

Organic Grain-Crop Enterprise Budgets Available for Michigan
Michigan State University Extension is offering organic grain-crop enterprise budgets online in Microsoft Excel for corn, soybeans, oats, winter wheat, and barley. These budgets can help with budgeting and planning for farms considering a new crop or verify a farm's historical data for future planning. Enterprise budgets can also be used for benchmarking individual production costs.
Related ATTRA Publication:
Evaluating a Farming Enterprise

New Publication Covers Cool-Season Organic Vegetable Crop Rotations
A new bulletin from University of Georgia Extension, Organic Cool-season Vegetable Crop Rotations for the Southeast, brings the results of a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education grant-funded study to producers. The publication discusses the advantages of cool-season crop production and offers guidance for the proper cash crop/cover crop rotation mix, soil quality improvement, and fertility management.
Related ATTRA Publication: Scheduling Vegetable Plantings for Continuous Harvest

Mesh Screen Improves Efficiency of Spray Administration
Researchers at MIT have found that using a mesh screen to disperse spray droplets helps them adhere to their targets. Larger droplets are less likely to be blown off-target, but smaller droplets batter leaves less and stick to them better. Using a stainless-steel mesh screen to break up droplets just before they reach the plant captures the benefits of both approaches and could result in dramatic reductions in pesticide and fertilizer use.

Cover Crop Grazing a Win-Win Arrangement
When Missouri farmer Tim Forkner wanted to find a way to offset the cost of planting cover crops, he decided to diversify into grazing, reports Missouri Farmer Today. Forkner rotates herds weekly from late November until early spring. He's pleased with the fertility and trampled organic matter that cattle add to his soil, helping his fields become more resilient and drought-resistant. This year, he's using a seven-species cover crop mix.
Related ATTRA Publication: Grazing Contracts for Livestock

Researchers Identify Corn that Produces Its Own Nitrogen
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison; the University of California, Davis; and Mars Inc., have identified varieties of tropical corn from Oaxaca, Mexico, that can fix their own nitrogen, thereby reducing the need for supplemental fertilization. The corn secretes a mucus gel from aerial roots. Bacteria in the gel convert atmospheric nitrogen to a plant-usable form, supplying 30% to 80% of the plant's nitrogen needs. Researchers will be working to see if the trait can be bred into commercial cultivars of corn.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

NCR-SARE Partnership Grants
North Central Region SARE (NCR-SARE) is accepting proposals for its Partnership Grant program. These grants foster cooperation between agriculture professionals and small groups of farmers and ranchers to catalyze on-farm research, demonstration, and education activities related to sustainable agriculture. Individual grants are limited to $40,000. NCR-SARE expects to fund about 14 projects in the 12-state North Central Region.
The deadline for submitting proposals is October 24, 2018.

Minnesota Farm to School and Farm to Early Care and Education Grants
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is taking applications for the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) "Farm to School" and "Farm to Early Care and Education" Grants. MDA will award a total of $377,500 to eligible institutions to increase the use of foods grown and raised in Minnesota. The following groups are eligible to apply: public or private schools or school districts, economic development organizations, non-profit organizations, and educational service cooperatives. Planning grants range from $1,000 to $30,000. Equipment Purchase and Physical Improvement Grants cover up to 50% of total project costs and range from $1,000 to $50,000.
Applications are due by November 1, 2018.

Texas Young Farmer Grant Program
The Texas Department of Agriculture administers the Young Farmer Grant program, which provides dollar-for-dollar matching grants to young agricultural producers who are engaged or will be engaged in creating or expanding an agricultural business in Texas. Applications are accepted from individuals 18 to 46 years of age. Grant awards range from $5,000 to $20,000.
Applications must be received by October 2, 2018.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance Field Days
September 27-28, 2018
Knoxville, Maryland

Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA) is focusing its 18th annual event on "Tools for Survival: Weathering the Current Dairy Crisis While Maintaining Organic Integrity."

Living Soil: A Universe Underfoot
October 2-3, 2018
Saint Peter, Minnesota

The 54th Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College invites participants to consider the vast diversity and complexity of soil and to ponder the challenges we face in protecting this most fundamental resource. Presenters include Ray Archuleta, David Montgomery, and Rattan Lal.

Pecan 101 Workshop
September 25, 2018
Ardmore, Oklahoma

This day-long workshop at the Noble Research Institute will teach the basic management skills you need to become a successful pecan-orchard manager or hobby pecan farmer.

>>More Events

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Updated ATTRA Publication
Potting Mixes for Certified Organic Production

Question of the Week
Is lablab a good cover crop option in a hot, humid climate?

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Expanding Market Opportunities: Understanding Marketing, Branding, and Social Media
September 4 or 5, 2018, in Piney Woods or Choctaw, Mississippi. Get more information.

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