RINLA’s “Young Nurseryman of the Year” awarded to Melissa Minto

Jean Cotta and Melissa Minto 1- 2014

The “Young Nurseryman of the Year” Award was presented to Melissa Minto of Watson Farm by the Rhode Island Nursery & Landscape Association (RINLA). Shannon Brawley, RINLA Executive Director said, “This prestigious award is given to promising young people in the agricultural and plant based industries.”

Jean Cotta, co-owner of Portsmouth Nursery in Portsmouth, RI presented the Award to Melissa at the 2014 RINLA Winter Conference held at the University of Rhode Island.

Melissa was born and raised at historic Watson Farm in Jamestown where she spent her childhood immersed in farming, animal husbandry and exploring nature. Watson Farm is owned by Historic New England and provides sustainable agriculture education. Melissa has a spirited commitment to working landscapes and the beauty of nature. Her upbringing nurtured her passion for agricultural education and encouraged her to pursue a career in environmental stewardship.

Read more here.

Proper termination of a cover crop

Cover Crop Termination Zone Map

Cover Crop Termination Zone Map

Cover crops are gaining popularity as a way to improve soils, drought resistance and cash crop yields. Grasses, legumes and forbs can be used as cover crops. To protect crop insurance eligibility, farmers must understand and carefully follow the NRCS Cover Crop Termination Guidelines including the termination periods.
Cover Crop Termination Guidelines
Norm Widman, National Agronomist, with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helped develop simple NRCS Cover Crop Termination Guidelines. Growers can zoom in on national maps to determine their zone and applicable recommendations.
Termination Criteria
The continental United States has been divided into four crop zones. Using scientific analysis, researchers determined optimal termination schedules under various growing conditions. The Guidelines for non-irrigated lands recommend various termination dates for each zone, season and management practice.  [Learn more here.]

Honey as a Wound Treatment

Beekeeper checking a hive

Beekeeper checking a hive

The ancients managed bees and used honey as a salve or poultice on wounds and boils to prevent infection and speed healing. Doctors and healers around the world use honey or even table sugar in open wounds to lower the risks of infection and speeds healing.

Dr. Allen Dennison of Hasbro Children’s Hospital has worked with honey in medicine for many years. At a RI Beekeepers Association (RIBA) meeting, he offered a peak at modern medicine’s approach to these techniques and shared his experiences in “Healing Wounds with Honey.”  Nearly 80 RIBA members made treatment ointments to bring home after the lecture.

Honey has numerous properties, biological and chemical, that make it uniquely suited for healing. Applying honey straight to wounds soothes raw nerves and helps cuts, gashes, burns and some skin infections to heal faster, according to Dr. Dennison. Applying honey to wounds encourages patient cooperation by soothing raw nerves immediately. Honey pulls fluids and moisture from the injured tissue and reduces swelling/edema. This can reduce pressure on capillaries, increase blood flow and speed healing. The glucose in honey provides energy to the cells generating new tissue and skin. [Learn more here.]

2014 RI Women in Agriculture Conference

RI Women in Ag Conference

RI Women in Ag Conference

165 attendees helped celebrate Rhode Island’s farmers and agricultural professionals at the third RI Women in Agriculture Conference held at the University of Rhode Island. Rhode Island’s largest agricultural conference brought together farmers, growers, producers, agricultural professionals, extension and university educators for workshops, networking sessions and delicious local food.

This successful conference included many talented presentations from beginning farmers and seasoned professionals. [Learn more here.]

Host a successful field day

Field day at Penn State - weed supression measurement

Field day at Penn State

Share your variety trial, on-farm experiment results or great new equipment with fellow farmers and researchers. Combine this message with other topics and offer a 4 to 6 hour field day.

Charlie White of Penn State Extension and Molly Hamilton of North Carolina State University Extension shared their experience planning and hosting on-farm programs and field days. eOrganic hosted their webinar called “Out in the Sun: How to Plan and Put on an Engaging, Informative and Successful Field Day.” [Learn more here.]

Photo: At an on-farm field day in Milton, PA, Mitch Hunter, a PhD student in Agronomy at Penn State, demonstrates how to measure light interception by a cover crop canopy and discusses how this influences a cover crop’s ability to suppress weeds. Photo courtesy of Charlie White.

Benefits of Growing Cover Crops

More and more growers plant cover crops to improve soil quality, raise soil moisture, reduce erosion and maximize profits. Cover crops may include grasses, legumes and forbs planted between cash crop seasons to protect and improve otherwise bare soils. Over time, cover crops improve yields, organic matter levels and soil water conservation. [Learn more here.]

New England Vegetable & Fruit Conference

NEVF Conference & Trade Show

NEVF Conference & Trade Show

The New England Vegetable & Fruit Conference and Trade Show offered over 30 educational workshops on strawberries, blueberries, viticulture, brambles, cucurbits, brassicas, root crops and cut flowers. Growing topics included greenhouse-growing, organics, storage techniques and soil fertility. Business topics included farm decision-making; value added production, direct marketing and CSAs. A special evening session focused on the challenges to berry growers posed by the Spotted Wing Drosophila.  [Learn more here]