Sustainable Ag News

Ranchers Find Benefit in Native Prairie Pasture

ATTRA - Mon, 06/17/2019 - 10:56
Related ATTRA Publication: Converting Cropland to Perennial Grassland A prairie restoration movement is growing in the Great Plains, reports The Christian Science Monitor. Ranchers are finding value in the diversity of native prairie that increases soil health, allows them to grow healthy feed for cattle, and offers ecotourism opportunities. Reversing conversion of grassland to cropland means management changes for producers, such as rotating grazing and removing invasive species, as well as encouraging diversity.
Categories: Ag News

Native Bees Key for Southern Blueberry Pollination

ATTRA - Mon, 06/17/2019 - 10:36
Related ATTRA Publication: Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees Scientists with USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have found that pollination by native blueberry bees or managed honey bees increases fruit set in rabbiteye blueberries in Mississippi and Louisiana from 0-30% without bee pollination to 70% or more. The bee-pollinated berries also are bigger and mature earlier. Researchers found the southern blueberry bee was the best pollinator, and they say a small grower with one to three acres of blueberries can probably get by solely with pollination by native bees, especially if they provide attractive habitat. However, a grower with 25 acres or...
Categories: Ag News

Global Hemp Innovation Center to Be Based at Oregon State University

ATTRA - Fri, 06/14/2019 - 18:04
Oregon State University (OSU) announced that it is launching the Global Hemp Innovation Center, the nation’s largest research center devoted to the study of hemp. Lead researcher Jay Noller explains the Center’s aim as follows: “We want to understand how to efficiently and sustainably grow hemp for seeds, for hemp fiber materials that can be used in textiles and construction materials, including as an alternate to gravel in concrete, for hemp essential oils that have popular health and wellness uses, and for hemp grain for use in foods and feed. Multi-use hemp is what we are excited about globally.” Researchers...
Categories: Ag News

FoodShot Global Awards Funding for Soil Health Innovations

ATTRA - Fri, 06/14/2019 - 17:47
FoodShot Global has awarded funding to four entries in its Innovating Soil 3.0 competition, reports Whole Foods Magazine. Trace Genomics, a startup developing an AI-enabled diagnostic tool for farmers that increases yields and reduces costs, received an undisclosed investment. Awards of $250,000 were given to Keith Paustian in support of global adaptation of his COMET tool systems that provide farmers with metrics and information on regenerative farming and to Gerlinde De Deyn, for her work connecting plant biodiversity in space and time. Additionally Dr. Dorn Cox was awarded $35,000 in support of an Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management (OpenTEAM)...
Categories: Ag News

Organic Seed Growers Conference Issues Call for Proposals

ATTRA - Fri, 06/14/2019 - 16:46
Organic Seed Alliance is asking for proposals for the agenda of the 10th Organic Seed Growers Conference, set for February 12-15, 2020, in Corvallis, Oregon. The biennial conference is the largest event focused solely on organic seed in North America. Organizers are particularly interested in proposals that include farmers and underrepresented groups. Organic Seed Alliance is also accepting proposals for the scientific-research poster session at the conference. The call for proposals will be open through July 28, 2019.
Categories: Ag News

Agritourism Checklists Help Measure Risk

ATTRA - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 12:19
Related ATTRA Publication: Tips for Selling with: Agritourism and “Pick-Your-Own” Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has put together six checklists that help agritourism operators be aware of the liability risks they face. The checklists cover bio-security, emergency preparedness, food safety, pesticide safety, play area safety, and negligence mitigation. “The checklists serve as a measurement tool to help guide agritourism operators through best practice techniques to use on their farm, to alleviate the risks that arise once employees and visitors come onto their farm,” compiler Kendra Meyer said. Topics include employee and visitor health and hygiene, employee training, recordkeeping, food...
Categories: Ag News

University of Illinois Documents Waterhemp Resistant to Another Class of Herbicides

ATTRA - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 12:01
Related ATTRA Publication: Principles of Sustainable Weed Management for Croplands Scientists at the University of Illinois have documented waterhemp as the first non-grass plant that is resistant to Group 15s herbicides. Waterhemp is a common and problematic weed in corn and soybean fields in the Midwest. A news story from University of Illinois explains that herbicides are divided into 16 different Mode of Action (MOA) classes. Historically, nine classes of herbicide worked on waterhemp, but the plant has developed resistance to seven of those classes. “In some areas, we’re one or two MOAs away from completely losing chemical control of...
Categories: Ag News

Town Hall Meetings on Future of Farming and Food Scheduled Across Kansas

ATTRA - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 11:40
Kansas Rural Center will hold five “Future of Farming and Food” Town Hall meetings across Kansas this summer. The free evening events will facilitate discussion on the food system and farming and how these are related to climate and energy issues, as well as rural/urban revitalization. The Town Halls offer opportunities to share information and enable community dialogue on vision for the future and how we get there. Discussion will include issues critical to Kansas, ranging from the impacts of weather extremes and a changing climate on food system and farming to population loss (especially of young people), health care,...
Categories: Ag News

USDA Announces Technical Assistance Recipients under Rural Economic Development Innovation Initiative

ATTRA - Wed, 06/12/2019 - 22:06
USDA has announced 47 rural communities and regions that will receive technical assistance through the Rural Economic Development Innovation (REDI) initiative. Each of the recipients will be paired with one of four partner organizations that will provide free technical assistance for up to two years to help rural towns and regions create and implement economic development plans. The partners are the National Association of Counties Research Foundation, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, McClure Engineering Company, and Purdue University Extension/Community & Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky. The REDI initiative was developed by the USDA Rural Development Innovation Center to support recommendations...
Categories: Ag News

Rural Energy for America Program Grant Awards Announced by USDA

ATTRA - Wed, 06/12/2019 - 21:55
USDA has announced 58 grants for projects in 17 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Recipients can use REAP funding for energy audits and renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. They also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration, for example. Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019. USDA is investing $1 million in the renewable energy projects announced today and says the department will make additional funding...
Categories: Ag News

OFRF Surveying Farmers on Risk Management Strategies

ATTRA - Wed, 06/12/2019 - 17:07
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is seeking input from organic and sustainable farmers and ranchers on the programs and practices they use to manage risk. Sharing your experiences with risk management practices and programs can provide insight for OFRF and key partners that are working to strengthen federal farm programs for the organic and sustainable agriculture communities. A brief survey is available online.
Categories: Ag News

Program Focuses on Revitalizing Middle-Size Agriculture

ATTRA - Tue, 06/11/2019 - 17:11
Related ATTRA Tutorial: Scaling Up for Regional Markets A feature in Civil Eats highlights Ecotrust’s Ag of the Middle Accelerator Program in Portland, Oregon. The program focuses on helping small farmers and fishermen scale up by training them in business, operating a food hub that aids in storage and distribution, and helping the growing enterprises access capital, including value-added grants. The two-year program has already made a difference for its first participants, who began in 2017, and Ecotrust hopes its model can be used in locations across the country, to help additional operations grow to gross between $100,000 and $3...
Categories: Ag News

Nursing Professor Develops Dinner Theater to Promote Farm Safety

ATTRA - Tue, 06/11/2019 - 16:43
Deborah Reed, a professor of nursing at the University of Kentucky, came up with an effective way to educate farmers about important safety issues. She created a dinner theater that combines a free meal with local farmer-actors performing humorous skits about safety measures ranging from fall protection to emergency planning to hearing protection. Although the events offer entertainment in communities where they take place, they’ve been an effective way for farmers to learn from other farmers, and have resulted in half of attendees making changes in their operations within two weeks. The performances also offer a venue for immunization clinics...
Categories: Ag News

Kentucky Producer Putting Versatile Lamb on the Menu

ATTRA - Tue, 06/11/2019 - 12:11
Related ATTRA Publication: Direct Marketing Lamb: A Pathway Kentucky lamb producer Freedom Run Farm is making an effort to get lamb back on American menus. They are not only supplying East Coast restaurants but have also showcased lamb dishes at venues from the 2019 American Food Fair in Chicago to the Kentucky Proud Lamb Jam they hosted in Louisville in April. Freedom Run Farm is highlighting the versatility of lamb in dishes from barbecue to roast lamb, as well as promoting value-added lamb products such as the lamb ham.
Categories: Ag News

Strolling of the Heifers Locavore Index Shows Significant Changes

ATTRA - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 22:08
Strolling of the Heifers, a non-profit food advocacy organization based in Brattleboro, Vermont, has released its annual Locavore Index. The Locavore Index indicates which states have the strongest producers and consumers of local food. In 2019, the index showed significantly different results than previous years, due largely to results from the recently released USDA Census of Agriculture. Vermont still tops the list, with local food sales per capita at $166.22, but California has moved up to second place and Hawaii to third place. Several New England states slid out of the top 10, and Montana dropped from third to 28th....
Categories: Ag News

South Dakota Rancher Discusses Success with Mob Grazing

ATTRA - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 19:07
Related ATTRA Resources: Pasture, Rangeland, & Grazing Management South Dakota Soil Health Coalition has posted a success story from rancher Charlie Totton and his wife Tanya, describing how they use mob grazing on their 4,000 acres. Grazing management has helped them better utilize pastures on challenging terrain, so that the worst areas have the most recovery time, and so that grazing pressure on native grasses is lessened and they can increase. Totton grazes 10 months of the year, and says his new management has resulted in more wildlife, better water infiltration, and more grass.
Categories: Ag News

Grazing Exchange Introduced in South Dakota

ATTRA - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 18:58
South Dakota Soil Health Coalition has released a new online portal that connects livestock producers with people who have cropland or forage available to graze. The website is a free, publicly accessible map, developed through a grant agreement with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. The site offers a platform for producers to connect throughout the state of South Dakota and the surrounding region. The map overlay shows sites where fields are available for grazing, as well as producers who are willing to move livestock to grazing sites. Additional educational resources on the site include fact sheets on a variety of...
Categories: Ag News

Slow Flowers Plans American Flowers Week June 28 – July 4

ATTRA - Fri, 06/07/2019 - 18:03
Related ATTRA Publication: Specialty Cut Flower Production and Marketing Slow Flowers has announced the 2019 American Flowers Week as July 28 – July 4. Debra Prinzing, Slow Flowers founder and creative director, explains that she created American Flowers Week in 2015 as a week-long celebration of domestic flowers to raise consumer awareness and unite America’s flower farmers with the U.S. floral industry. “It’s the original, American-grown floral holiday that stimulates interest in beauty, seasonality, local agriculture and sustainable floral design,” says Prinzing.
Categories: Ag News

California State University, Chico, Establishes Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems

ATTRA - Fri, 06/07/2019 - 17:53
California State University, Chico, has established a new Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems. According to a news story, the Center is an interdisciplinary partnership supported by the College of Agriculture, College of Natural Sciences, and College of Communication and Education. The Center will be offering degrees in the field of regenerative science and agriculture, conducting research at the University Farm, and creating curriculum. It will focus on practices that reduce greenhouse gasses, build topsoil, restore soil resiliency, increase the sustainability of farms and ranches, and address food and water insecurity.
Categories: Ag News

First Volume of Updated Guide to Disaster Assistance for Farmers Available

ATTRA - Fri, 06/07/2019 - 17:02
Related ATTRA Resource: Disaster Assistance for Ag Producers Farmers’ Legal Action Group has released Volume 1 of its seventh edition of the Farmers’ Guide to Disaster Assistance. Volume 1: Emergency Conservation Program is the first in a series of guides that will describe the rules for programs such as the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP); Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP); Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP); Farm Service Agency Emergency Loans; and other disaster-assistance programs. The publication is available free online in PDF.
Categories: Ag News
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