National Survey on Cover Crops Seeks Farmer Participation
The Conservation Technology Information Center is conducting its third national survey on cover crops. Farmers nationwide are invited to share their thoughts on cover crops, whether or not they use cover crops themselves.
Penn State Issues Organic Crop Production Guide
Penn State has released the Penn State Organic Crop Production Guide, a 243-page field-crop guide tailored to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. The guide provides science-based information on organic practices and ecological processes, and it features case studies from farmers and firsthand producer experience. It also includes Penn State research results.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Crop Production Overview
Integrating Sheep with Wheat Diversifies Income, Enhances Sustainability
A Washington State University doctoral student is working with Eastern Washington wheat farmers to document how integrating sheep into their operation contributes to sustainability goals. These include increasing and retaining soil nutrients, adding biodiversity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing soil erosion. Over three years, an organic approach to integration was most profitable and stored the most soil carbon.
Related ATTRA Publication: Integrating Livestock and Crops: Improving Soil, Solving Problems, Increasing Income
USDA Accepting Comments on Agricultural Conservation Easement Program
USDA is accepting public comments on its interim final rule for the new Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), designed to help producers protect working agricultural lands and wetlands. The official notice of the proposed ACEP interim final rule can be found in the Federal Register. Comments can be submitted electronically or mailed during the 60-day comment period.
Grafting Helps Protect Crops from Verticillium Wilt
Researchers at Washington State University are developing a way to protect watermelon from Verticillium wilt by grafting the plants onto pumpkin, squash, and bottle gourd rootstock. The researchers are looking for combinations that are disease resistant and yield a good quality and quantity of fruit. Grafting may prove a viable solution and an alternative to fumigants for tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and other crops.
Organic Farming Found to Support Diversity of Beneficial Insects
The Organic Center reports that a recent study published in the journal Landscape Ecology found a greater diversity and amount of beneficial predator insects on organic wheat farms than on conventional. Researchers noted that the assemblage of practices used on organic farms contributed to high habitat quality for beneficial insects.
Related ATTRA Publication: Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control