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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - October 22, 2014

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

  • USDA Agriculture Census Reports on Organic Farm Sector
  • EPA Announces Final Decision to Register Enlist Duo, Herbicide Containing 2, 4-D and Glyphosate
  • Whole Foods Market Introduces "Responsibly Grown" Produce Rating System
  • Plant Communities Produce Greater Yield than Monocultures
  • EPA Finds Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments of Little or No Benefit to U.S. Soybean Production
  • Biocontrol Could Help with Plum Curculio

Funding Opportunities

  • Cover Crop Impacts and Economics Request for Proposals
  • Vermont Farm to School Planning and Implementation Grants
  • Minnesota Crop Research Grant Program

Coming Events

  • The Future of Eastern Shore Agriculture
  • Iowa Organic Conference
  • Six Figure Farming for Small Plots: Techniques for Small Scale Intensive Organic Market Gardening

News & Resources

USDA Agriculture Census Reports on Organic Farm Sector
New 2012 Census of Agriculture data was released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. The findings show that certified organic agriculture producers sell directly to consumers more often than conventional producers, are more likely to produce on-farm renewable energy, and are more likely to be younger, beginning farmers.

EPA Announces Final Decision to Register Enlist Duo, Herbicide Containing 2, 4-D and Glyphosate
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is registering the herbicide Enlist Duo for use in controlling weeds in corn and soybeans genetically engineered to tolerate 2,4-D and glyphosate. According to an EPA press release, the approved formulation contains the choline salt of 2,4-D which is less prone to drift than the other forms of 2,4-D. EPA is registering the pesticide in six states at this time and is accepting comments until November 14, 2014, on whether to register Enlist Duo in 10 more states.

Whole Foods Market Introduces "Responsibly Grown" Produce Rating System
Whole Foods Market has announced the launch of "Responsibly Grown," a tiered produce rating system that assesses growing practices that impact human health and the environment. To earn a "good" rating, a farm must take 16 major steps to protect air, soil, water, and human health. A "better" rating indicates advanced performance and a "best" rating indicates exceptional, industry-leading performance in a scoring system covering multiple topics in each of seven key categories.

Plant Communities Produce Greater Yield than Monocultures
Diverse plant communities are more successful and enable higher crop yields than pure monocultures, a European research team headed by ecologists from the University of Zurich has discovered. Plants in communities are able to use soil nutrients, light, and water far more effectively than monocultures can. The research was published in the journal Nature.

EPA Finds Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments of Little or No Benefit to U.S. Soybean Production
EPA has released an analysis that concludes that there is little or no increase in soybean yields using most neonicotinoid seed treatments when compared to using no pest control at all. This analysis is an important part of the science EPA will use to move forward with the assessment of the risks and benefits under registration review for neonicotinoid pesticides.

Biocontrol Could Help with Plum Curculio
A biocontrol treatment developed to help Northern New York alfalfa growers reduce alfalfa snout beetles is now showing early promise of reducing plum curculio populations for New York apple growers. Researchers are applying a combination of native nematodes as a biocontrol for plum curculio in organic apple plantings. Early field trials have shown a reduction of 70 to 97% in populations of plum curculio.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Cover Crop Impacts and Economics Request for Proposals
The National Wildlife Federation is inviting proposals to conduct research on the economics and water-quality attributes of cover crops, particularly in the Mississippi River Basin. Projects should have practical application to agricultural practice and policy. Proposals should not exceed $10,000.
Proposals are due by November 21, 2014.

Vermont Farm to School Planning and Implementation Grants
The Vermont Farm to School Planning & Pilot Grant assists Vermont schools in planning and piloting a Farm to School program. The maximum grant award will be $2,500. The Vermont Farm to School Implementation Grant assists Vermont schools in implementing existing Farm to School initiatives. Purchasing Vermont farm products and serving them through the school food-service program is an essential component of all grants. The maximum implementation grant award will be $10,000.
Application deadline is October 28, 2014.

Minnesota Crop Research Grant Program
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is seeking applicants for grants of up to $250,000 for applied crop research. The research needs to focus on improving agricultural product quality, quantity, and value. Any Minnesota organization, research entity, individual, or business with agricultural research capability is eligible to apply. A total of $1.7 million is offered.
Applications must be received by November 20, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

The Future of Eastern Shore Agriculture
November 20, 2014
Easton, Maryland
Eastern Shore Land Conservancy will host this conference on the future of agriculture on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The conference will celebrate and discuss innovations and opportunities for Eastern Shore agriculture.

Iowa Organic Conference
November 16-17, 2014
Iowa City, Iowa

"Rekindling the Light Within: The Art and Science of Organic Farming" is the theme for this 14th annual conference. The keynote speaker is Mary Berry, and the conference features numerous sessions for learning about the latest techniques for transitioning into organic farming or improving organic operation.

Six Figure Farming for Small Plots: Techniques for Small Scale Intensive Organic Market Gardening
November 20, 2014
Ghent, New York

Since 2004, Jean-Martin Fortier and his wife Maude-Hélène Desroches have been making a good living by growing on less than 1½ acres in Quebec. Last year, they sold more than $140,000 worth of vegetables at two farmers markets and through their CSA. How they do this will be the focus of this full-day workshop.

>> More Events

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© 2014 NCAT

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New ATTRA Publication
Climate Change and Perennial Fruit and Nut Production: Investing in Resilience in Uncertain Times

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