Understanding Cycles of Pests and Diseases and Their Interaction with the Environment

For farmers, successful use of cultural disease and insect pest management methods to prevent and/or avoid problems before they occur depends on an understanding of pathogen and pest life cycles and also how their development may be affected by weather conditions.  In this workshop, vegetable disease and insect pest management experts will discuss life cycles of key disease pathogens and insect pests affecting vegetables both above and below-ground. They will also explain how growers may use this information to implement certain cultural management practices that help to prevent or avoid disease and pest problems, and how changes in weather can affect disease and pest development. The workshop will conclude with a session on selection and application of organic insecticides for use in vegetables. Continue reading

New Cover Crops and Water Quality Fact Sheets, Infographics and Slide Set Now Available

Barges carrying agricultural products aren’t the only traffic on the Mississippi River. Nutrients and sediment from across the Mississippi River Basin travel down the river until reaching the Gulf, where they linger and create low oxygen “dead zones” in which many fish cannot survive.

Monitoring of the Gulf hypoxic zone has shed some light on the important connections between agricultural practices and water quality. Although some practices contribute to the problem, other practices – like cover crops – provide a much needed solution. Continue reading

NIFA Invests $15.4 Million in Sustainable Agroecosystems: Functions, Processes and Management

USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture recently awarded 35 Sustainable Agroecosytems grants that will improve the sustainable management of agro-ecosystems (agricultural, forest and range) while maintaining or improving the supporting natural resources and ecosystem services. The funded research will improve our understanding of the interactions among physical, chemical, and biological processes that determine the health and quality of soil, water and air resources, and how these respond to natural and human based changes and management. Other research will provide science-based information that integrates the complex interactions between natural processes and management practices, and that is needed to make decisions to support agricultural production, including bioenergy and biobased product feedstocks, maintain or improve ecosystem services, and avoid critical thresholds of irreversible damage or loss to our natural resource base. These grants are a part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

J.C. Raulston Arboretum hosts conference on sustainable landscaping

by Dee Shore, NC State University

Sustainable landscaping not only benefits the environment, it creates new opportunities for landscape  and green industry professionals. These opportunities are the focus of a new summer conference on sustainable landscaping practices at the JC Raulston Arboretum. Continue reading

New Tipsheet Shows Sheep Producers A Tool for Reducing Parasite Problems

The Barber Pole Worm (Haemonchus contortus) ultimately becomes a major source of concern on every irrigated or high-rainfall sheep operation. It has a proven track record that has resulted in areas of the United States becoming unable to raise sheep or goats. Fecal Egg Counts (FEC) and FAMACHA© are two of the main tools that producers can use to successfully reduce Barber Pole Worm infections.

This new tipsheet, How Fecal Egg Counts Can Help You Fight Parasites, by NCAT agriculture specialist and owner of Montana Highland Lamb Dave Scott, offers advice on using FEC to build resilience and resistance in your flocks. Continue reading

Sustainable Agriculture Program at Central Carolina Community College accepting applications

Ready to learn more about the Principles and Practices of Regenerative Agriculture? The Sustainable Agriculture Program at CCCC in Pittsboro is accepting applications NOW for Fall 2018.

Apply online: http://www.cccc.edu/admissions/apply/

At CCCC’s sustainable agriculture program students have the opportunity for “Real Farming- Right Now”. The Pittsboro-based program has an on-campus, year-round certified organic farm that is an integral part of teaching and learning. A commitment to building and stewarding healthy soil through regenerative practices is at the heart of this entrepreneurial focused program. Continue reading

Center for Environmental Farming Systems is seeking a temporary program assistant

This position will support the general Business Office work of the North Carolina Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS). This position will be part of the Events Logistics Team and will participate in the logistics of all CEFS events (about 25 small to medium sized events per year and 3-4 being over 500 participants). This position will be part of the Administrative Working Group and will support the CEFS Business Manager in supporting all the business functions of CEFS and the 50+ CEFS employees. This position is critical in keeping all aspects of CEFS running smoothly. Continue reading