Now is the time to plan your spring garden

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife

December is the time to plan and prepare for spring gardens, said Dr. Joe Masabni, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service small-acreage vegetable specialist, Overton.

East Texas spring gardens are finished producing and the fall garden should be in full swing, he said. So in down months like December, it’s best to get organized and ready for spring planting. Continue reading

Study shows importance of sustainable agriculture in preserving Gulf ecosystem

By Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

Dissolved organic carbon that enters the ocean through river runoff is a necessary food for aquatic microbes that are vital to water quality and health. However, too much dissolved organic carbon is not a good thing for water quality or for aquatic life.

From 1901 to 2010, the amount of dissolved organic carbon entering the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi River increased by 40 percent. A University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment researcher led a study that shows the increase is mainly due to human activity but sustainable agricultural practices are slowing the increase compared to previous ones. Continue reading

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Announces up to $8.6 Million in Available Funding for Community Food Projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced up to $8.6 million in available funding to assist low-income individuals and communities in developing local and self-reliant food systems. This funding is available through NIFA’s Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFP), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Community food projects enable low-income communities to address food insecurity and hunger by creating and strengthening local food systems,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “Recent USDA data shows that because of programs like this, we are making progress addressing food shortages, decreasing food insecurity and promoting healthy diets and nutrition education.” Continue reading

Annual Open Forum on Sustainable Agriculture

Sponsored by the South Carolina Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.

You’re invited to the annual Open Forum on Sustainable Agriculture to discuss critical issues, challenges and needs related to Sustainable Agriculture development in South Carolina. The meeting is open to all South Carolina farmers, educators, policy makers, state and federal government and non-governmental agricultural agency personnel, and other South Carolina citizens with an interest in sustainable agriculture. Input from this public meeting will be used to prioritize critical issues and needs and to formulate plans for statewide sustainable agriculture training and education programs in 2017.
 
The Open Forum meeting will be held on the 2nd of December, 2016 at the Lake House at Sandhill Research and Education Center on Clemson Rd. in Columbia, SC. Continue reading

Texas High Tunnel Conference, SARE Strawberry Workshop set for Oct. 11, Oct. 12

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

People interested in high tunnel horticulture and strawberry production will have two opportunities to get the latest information on both during back-to-back workshops Oct. 11-12 at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth.

The Oct. 11 Texas High Tunnel Conference will start with registration at 8 a.m., followed by the program from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in the botanic garden’s Lecture Hall. Continue reading

Southern SARE On-Farm Research Grant AND Producer Grant Call for Proposals Released

Please see below for two funding opportunities, one targeted at Agricultural Professionals and the other for Farmers and Ranchers.  Proposal submission deadline is Friday, Nov. 18, 2016 at 5 p.m. EST for both opportunities.  The following information is provided by the Southern Region of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Southern SARE operates under cooperative agreements with the University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University, and the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture to offer competitive grants to advance sustainable agriculture in America’s Southern region. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. Continue reading

Summer Cover Crops for No-Till Production of Late-Season Vegetables For Soil Health and Weed Control

Come see cover cropping in action!  No-till vegetable production, which uses a cover crop mulch to suppress weed growth during the vegetable growing season, offers a more sustainable approach to weed management than the frequent use of herbicides and tillage. This is an especially valuable tool for organic farmers who do not use synthetic herbicides and therefore must rely on frequent cultivation and tillage for weed control.  In this workshop the focus will be on summer or warm-season cover crops for use in no-till production of fall vegetables. Participants will learn about selecting and managing cover crops for no-till vegetable production. They will also have an opportunity to view different summer cover crops in research plots at Clemson’s Coastal Research & Education Center Farm, and see termination of cover crops using a roll-crimper attachment. Continue reading