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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 9, 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

  • Directory of Least-Toxic Pest Control Products Available
  • Crop Rotation Boosts Soil Microbes that Benefit Plant Growth
  • National Organic Program Appoints Hydroponic and Aquaponic Task Force
  • Diverse Insect Population Means Fewer Cornfield Pests, Study Finds
  • Maine Exploring Potential for Locally Grown Plums
  • National Young Farmers Conference Registration Lottery Opens

Funding Opportunities

  • Organic Hardship Assistance—The Bricmont Fund
  • Specialty Crop Multi-State Program
  • New York New Farmer Profit Teams

Coming Events

  • Carolina Meat Conference
  • The Crop Hop
  • Practical Soil Science for Farmers Part I: Soil Nutrient Management

News & Resources

Directory of Least-Toxic Pest Control Products Available
The Bio-Integral Resource Center has issued the IPM Practitioner's 2015 Directory of Least-Toxic Pest Control Products, with contact information for suppliers of more than 2,000 biocontrol products, traps, pheromones, physical controls, tools, barriers, and least-toxic chemical control products. A PDF version is online.
Related ATTRA Resource: Biorationals: Ecological Pest Management Database

Crop Rotation Boosts Soil Microbes that Benefit Plant Growth
A study by the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station shows that crop rotations can increase the functions performed by soil microbial communities that benefit plant growth. Researchers observed a 33% increase in soil carbon by increasing rotational diversity. They also found that as crop diversity increased, so did total nitrogen.

National Organic Program Appoints Hydroponic and Aquaponic Task Force
The National Organic Program has appointed 16 members to a task force to explore hydroponic and aquaponic production practices and their alignment with USDA organic regulations. The task force will prepare a report for the National Organic Standards Board that will help NOSB determine the best path forward regarding recommendations on hydroponics and aquaponics production systems.

Diverse Insect Population Means Fewer Cornfield Pests, Study Finds
Cornfields with a more diverse insect population have fewer problems with pests, according to a recent study. This study is the first to use social network analysis to study insect communities in the corn production system to understand how large groups of organisms interact from an applied angle. The researchers say a balanced ecosystem can lead to reduced costs associated with insecticides.

Maine Exploring Potential for Locally Grown Plums
Researchers with the University of Maine are exploring which plums grow well in the state and might provide an economically viable early-season alternative crop for apple growers. In addition, researchers are evaluating which plum varieties are popular with consumers and learning more about the nutrient content of locally grown plums.
Related ATTRA Publication: Plums, Apricots, and Their Crosses: Organic and Low-Spray Production

National Young Farmers Conference Registration Lottery Opens
On December 2-4, 2015, hundreds of beginning farmers from across the United States will gather at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York, for the Young Farmers Conference. Participants for the main conference will be selected by lottery, with beginning farmers given preference. The lottery closes September 21.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Organic Hardship Assistance—The Bricmont Fund
The CCOF Foundation administers the Bricmont Fund, which provides direct financial assistance exclusively to organic producers, processors, and handlers who suffer losses due to extreme hardship. Applicants cannot request more than their total 2015 organic certification fees.
Applications must be received by October 23, 2015.

Specialty Crop Multi-State Program
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is seeking applications for the new Specialty Crop Multi-State Program. This competitive grant program makes approximately $3 million available to state departments of agriculture to help develop solutions to problems affecting the specialty crop industry across state boundaries.
Applications must be submitted by January 14, 2016.

New York New Farmer Profit Teams
Beginning farmers in New York state who have been farming for at least three years may be eligible to receive support for a New Farmer Profit Team. This initiative seeks to improve farmer success with customized, one-on-one guidance from farm professionals. The project has up to $2,000 in matching funding available per farm. About 12 farms will be chosen in this round.
Applications are due by September 15, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Carolina Meat Conference
October 12-13, 2015
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The Carolina Meat Conference brings together independent meat producers, processors, chefs, scientists, buyers, and allied professionals to promote success in niche meat markets. It includes hands-on workshops, butchery demos, and expert sessions.

The Crop Hop
October 10, 2015
Anne Arundel County, Maryland

The Crop Hop is a fundraiser bike tour designed to highlight the connection between farms, fresh food, and good health, and to help provide fresh farm foods to low-income families. Riders will tour Southern Maryland farms and enjoy local food.

Practical Soil Science for Farmers Part I: Soil Nutrient Management
October 8, 2015
Randolph, Vermont

NOFA Vermont offers this day-long opportunity to dive into soil science to gain a better understanding of soil test results and learn how to select and calculate amendments.

>> More Events

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