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Getting a Glimpse of Sustainable Agriculture in Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Sustainable agriculture is growing in Tennessee and members of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) program got a glimpse recently of the innovations, research, and marketing and productions methods driving that growth. Nearly 50 SSARE staff, members of the Administrative Council, and state ag coordinators were treated to a daylong […]

Bringing Velvet Bean Back as a Grazing Forage

MANOR, Georgia – Motorists passing through rural Manor, GA along Highway 122, perhaps on their way to Waycross, were puzzled by the mystery crop growing on a portion of Lynn Barber’s Heritage Acres farm. “Some of the older farmers knew exactly what it was, but a lot of people were stopping to ask me if […]

Some Invasive Trees are Good for Mushroom Production

TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Some non-native invasive trees in the Southeast have proven to be ideal substrates for growing edible mushrooms, according to the results of a USDA Agricultural Research Service study funded by a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) On-Farm Research Grant. USDA-ARS researcher Stephen Hight, in collaboration with small farmers in southern […]

Wildflowers Draw Native Pollinators to Georgia Apple Orchard, Yields Increase

McCAYSVILLE, Georgia – Joe Dickey’s curiosity about bees nearly matches his affinity for birds. “I’ve loved birds ever since I was a kid because of all their different colors,” said Dickey, as he watches yellow finches fly around three 100X100-foot wildflower plots at his farm, Mountain View Orchards. But it’s the bees that are capturing […]

Video: How a Farmer Used SARE to Develop Virginia's Organic Ginger Market

The Virginia’s craft brewing industry is bubbling – 58 breweries in 2013 - 103 today. The beverage industry and Asian restaurants both value locally sourced ginger. While a great deal is known about growing this tropical in the warmer eastern coastal plains, Virginia's Piedmont farmers cannot access these markets. On a December morning, it’s 27 […]

Paper or Pesticides? Bagging Peaches Protects from Insects and Diseases, Increases Yields

SENECA, South Carolina – When Clemson fruit specialist Juan Carlos Melgar suggested putting a paper bag over a peach to detract insects and diseases during production, farmers laughed. But when the trials, funded by a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education grant, showed that the technique protects the fruit from devastating brown rot, marauding insects […]

Business Decision-Making Tools Available from Southern SAWG

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas – Ag service providers working with small to mid-scale producers on business decision-making have a series of resource tools available to them that address profitability management challenges faced by those in the industry. Through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) Professional Development Program Grant, the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) […]

University of Kentucky Resources for Small Fruit Growers

LEXINGTON, Kentucky – University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension, through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) On-Farm Research Grant, has developed a series of outreach materials for small fruit producers to aid in disease management. “Like many diseases of small fruit, they are best managed using cultural practices, such as sanitation. Thus, we developed […]

Berries Thrive in High Tunnels, But Be Aware of Pests, According to University of Arkansas Study

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas – A University of Arkansas study has found that using high tunnels in berry production can increase yields, extend the harvest season, and improve fruit quality compared to field production. However, care must be taken to manage pests. In the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE)-funded project (LS12-250), “Extending the Market Season […]

Cover Crops Acting as Trap Crops Protect Vegetables from Pests

LIVE OAK, Florida – For farmers in central Florida, planting cover crops in strips as a trap crop alongside cash crops is proving to be a highly effective method for attracting beneficial insects and controlling pests. Farmers have been so pleased with the results that they have fully adopted the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy […]

A Natural Method of Reducing Post-Harvest Fruit Decay Found

FORT PIERCE, Florida – University of Florida researchers, through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education grant, have found a natural method of reducing post-harvest citrus fruit decay. In a SSARE Graduate Student Grant study, researchers found that essential oils, specifically carvacrol and thymol, significantly decrease ‘Ruby Red’ grapefruit natural decay, weight loss and chilling […]

Cover Crops Reduce Pest Numbers and Improve Cash Crop Yields

GAINESVILLE, Florida – Preliminary research from University of Florida has found that incorporating root-knot nematode-resistant cover crops in a perennial peanut rotation reduces pest numbers in the cash crop and improves yields. The results may be helpful for producers who choose top-yielding, yet susceptible, peanut cultivars, as well as resistant cultivars that historically carry a […]

What Can Be: Regional Food Systems

This video outlines the economic redevelopment project of Working Landscapes in Warrenton, North Carolina, telling the story of two rural leaders who moved home to Warren County to contribute to their local economy by building a small processing center.

Biomass Energy Training Curriculum

This curriculum  provides training on biomass energy to extension agents and local officials so that they may deliver this information to their stakeholders. While it is written as a training guide for TN, much of the information is applicable throughout the Southeastern US region.

Perennial Peanuts Shine as N Fertilizer Alternatives in Forage Production

MARIANNA, Florida – Perennial peanuts incorporated in forage grass production, such as bermudagrass and bahiagrass, continue to shine as nitrogen fertilizer alternatives to commercial inputs, according to University of Florida research. Based on the results of a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) Graduate Student Grant, warm-season perennial legumes, in some cases, reduced nitrogen […]

Principles of Sustainable Agriculture

GAINESVILLE, Florida – Taking charge of change, building community relationships, recognizing resource limitations, striving for a high-quality product, and balancing passion with practical business sense are just some principles that tend to make a farmer a role model in sustainable agriculture practices. University of Florida researchers took the knowledge and expertise of agricultural professionals and […]

Cover Crops Can Help Control Pests by Fostering Natural Enemies

TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Cover crops used as refuge crops in vegetable production can control insect pests by fostering populations of natural enemies and competitor non-virus vectoring species, based on the results of USDA-ARS research. Research entomologists Stephen Hight with the USDA-ARS Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit in Florida, and Stuart Reitz with Oregon State […]

Prototype Farm Machine Expands Applications in Organic Vegetable Crop Production

LEXINGTON, Kentucky – University of Kentucky researchers have designed, built and tested a low-cost, mechanized system for organic vegetable production to help small-scale growers reduce their labor costs, increase their scale of operations, reduce input costs and increase production compared to conventional organic production practices. In a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) On-Farm […]