Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 30, 2017
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.
Texas Hispanic Farmer and Rancher Conference
Register now for NCAT's conference September 14-15, 2017, in McAllen, Texas, that will focus on practical conservation methods and new marketing opportunities. The conference offers a strong lineup of expert speakers, a trade show, and visits to area farms and ranches.
News & Resources
- NIFA Announces Specialty Crop Research Initiative Grant Awards
- Study Quantifies Soil Carbon Loss from Agriculture
- Long-Term Investigation Explores Restoring Native Prairie on Farmland
- Video Discusses Field Peas as Dairy Feed
- Screening System Helps Prevent Spread of Citrus Greening
- Heat-Abatement Systems for Dairy Cows Evaluated
- Northeast SARE Farmer Grants
- Tennessee Farmers Market Promotion Retail Grant Program
- North Dakota Grape and Wine Industry Research
- The Grassfed Exchange
- Central Florida Agri-Tourism Conference
- PASA's 3rd Annual Soil Health Conference
News & Resources
NIFA Announces Specialty Crop Research Initiative Grant Awards
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced 12 new grants through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, totaling $35 million. This initiative seeks to invest in long-term solutions that address problems in the overlapping systems of production, distribution and processing, and consumers and markets. A complete list of recipients is available online.
Study Quantifies Soil Carbon Loss from Agriculture
Agriculture has removed 133 billion tons of carbon from the top two meters of soil, says a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Furthermore, the rate of loss has increased dramatically in the past 200 years. However, this large soil-carbon debt can also be thought of as the maximum potential for soils to remove carbon from the atmosphere and act as a natural climate solution.
Related ATTRA Publication: Agriculture, Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration
Long-Term Investigation Explores Restoring Native Prairie on Farmland
A longstanding study at the University of Kansas has improved researchers' grasp of how to restore native prairie grassland on abandoned farmlands. It also explored how restoration is influenced by residual agricultural inputs, such as nitrogen. The researchers found that excess nitrogen in post-agricultural soil distorts the native prairie ecosystem, making restoration more difficult because it leads to a loss in plant diversity.
Related ATTRA Publication: Converting Cropland to Perennial Grassland
Video Discusses Field Peas as Dairy Feed
University of New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station has posted a 22-minute video in which André Brito discusses his research project Feeding Field Peas to High-Producing Lactating Dairy Cows. Field peas combine relatively high concentrations of protein and starch. In particular, field peas may be an alternative in organically certified dairies because they are not genetically modified. The soluble protein in field peas may decrease milk yield and nitrogen-use efficiency in lactating dairy cows if fed at high levels.
Related ATTRA Publication: Non-GMO Dairy Transition Guide
Screening System Helps Prevent Spread of Citrus Greening
University of Florida scientists are working to improve a screening system that prevents the Asian citrus psyllid from reaching citrus trees and infecting them with greening. "Citrus Under Protective Screens," or CUPS, is being used by some commercial growers already. University of Florida Extension has a new publication that summarizes UF/IFAS research into CUPS and explains the economics of the system.
Heat-Abatement Systems for Dairy Cows Evaluated
The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program funded research to assess ways to help cows adjust to the hottest days of the year. The systems evaluated included fans, an evaporative cooling system with water nozzles attached to fans, and different bedding types. The final report on different types of heat abatement systems for dairy cows is posted online.
>>More Breaking News
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Northeast SARE Farmer Grants
Farmer Grants are for commercial producers who have an innovative idea they want to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, marketing initiative, or other technique. A technical advisor must also be involved. Projects should seek results other farmers can use, and all projects must have the potential to add to our knowledge about effective sustainable practices. To apply, you must be a commercial farmer in the Northeast SARE region.
The deadline for applications is December 5, 2017.
Tennessee Farmers Market Promotion Retail Grant Program
This program increases income to Tennessee farmers by providing assistance for the promotion and/or improvement of farmers markets in communities throughout the state. Grants up to $1,000 are available to qualified farmers markets for promotion and certain retail activities.
Applications must be postmarked by September 15, 2017.
North Dakota Grape and Wine Industry Research
North Dakota Department of Agriculture is accepting research proposals that support or promote the grape, wine, and fruit industry in North Dakota. Grant criteria include effectiveness at enhancing the competitiveness of the industry, measurable outcomes, and matching funds.
Proposals must be submitted by October 13, 2017.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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The Grassfed Exchange
September 27-29, 2017
Albany, New York
The Grassfed Exchange Conference is a gathering of regenerative ranchers, dairymen, and sustainable food supporters from across the world. The event helps producers understand the possibility of managing and finishing cattle correctly on grass.
Central Florida Agri-Tourism Conference
September 26-27, 2017
Join UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service for a regional agritourism conference that includes informational presentations and farm tours.
PASA's 3rd Annual Soil Health Conference
September 28, 2017
This day-long farmer-to-farmer exchange event is at Spiral Path Farm. Farmers Mike and Will Brownback will detail the practices and systems they have pioneered. The agenda features presentations, networking with sponsors, and in-field stations.
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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.
Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.
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