As part of the PBS "Future of Food" series, Mark Bittman visited Iowa to interview growers and discuss sustainable agriculture in an episode released this week. "This highly mechanized system is depleting Iowa's topsoil, the most nutrient-rich layer. About half of it has already disappeared. Liebman is researching ways to combat the destruction, by growing something called "prairie strips" — plots of native grasses and wildflowers, planted along-side traditional crops."- Mark Bittman
10/09/19: In a new article published in the international journal Biological Control, three authors affiliated with Cornell University and the IPM Institute of North America call for increasing investment in biologically based approaches to control pests in agriculture. Read Biological Control and Integrated Pest Management in Organic and Conventional Systems here.
9/30/19: The Great Lakes Hop Working Group was founded in 2016 to connect and expand the network of hop educators and researchers working in the Midwestern and Eastern U.S, and to address industry needs through research and outreach. If you're a hop-grower in the great lakes region, you can help them by taking this three-minute survey. The results will help determine the course of future efforts by the Working Group. Please complete the survey before Oct. 31, 2019. Read more about the survey here.
9/19/19: A new tool from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) can predict the likelihood of honey bee colonies overwintered in cold storage remaining large enough to rent to almond growers in late winter. Avoiding overwintering the wrong colonies is crucial to the profitability of a beekeeping operation. Read more on Morning Ag Clips.
9/17/19: The benefits of transitioning our food system into a sustainable one (encompassing production, distribution, consumption and waste) would far outweigh the costs, according to a major study. Read more on BusinessGreen.
9/11/2019: Illinois saw a record number of pesticide misuse complaints in 2019, and 76% (648 out of 853) were related to suspected damage from dicamba. This is after the Illinois Department of Agriculture required state-specific additional use restrictions on over-the-top applications of dicamba to dicamba-tolerant soybeans in the 2019 growing season, based on the number of complaints in 2017 and 2018. Read more here: IFCA Gives Dicamba Update Illinois Dept of Ag State-Specific Dicamba Restrictions Modern Farmer: Dicamba Drift is Still Happening ...
8/20/19: A federal research program that provides safe and effective pest management solutions to specialty crop producers will be moving from Rutger's Agricultural Research Station in New Jersey to North Carolina State University. Read more on Fruit Grower News.
8/16/19: SARE (Sustainable Agriculture, Research, and Education) has released a set of 10 free, downloadable fact sheets on cover cropping, addressing topics like cover crops in nutrient management, erosion, infiltration, soil organic matter, supporting wildlife and beneficial insects and carbon sequestration. They are available for use by educators, growers and anyone else interested in learning more. You can find them here.
7/30/19: Known as the "sea of plastic," Spain's Almeria province is covered by 30,000 hectares of greenhouses, and exported 2.5 million tons of produce last year alone. It has also largely replaced insecticides with biological control, a method of pest control that uses beneficial, predatory insects to manage insect pests. Read more on the Bangkok Post.
7/24/19: Environmental groups and beekeepers say sulfoxaflor is one of the chemical compounds responsible for decimating North American bee populations. On July 12th, the EPA lifted several past restrictions on its use, allowing sulfoxaflor to be applied to a variety of crops, including citrus, corn, soybeans, strawberries, pineapples and pumpkins. Read more on the Washington Post