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National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
Updated: 16 hours 16 min ago

Southern SARE Announces Award of Producer and On-Farm Research Grants

Sun, 04/21/2019 - 15:47
The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) program is awarding more than $79,500 in grants to farmers around the Southern Region to further sustainable agriculture production and marketing practices. Projects funded by Producer Grants will include bee pollen identification, season extension, essential oils, walnut syrup production, and agroforestry. Grant recipients will share their results with fellow farmers in an education and outreach capacity. Southern SARE will also award $116,154 for eight on-farm research grants on topics including sheep parasites, bale grazing, regenerative grazing, technology for organic no-till vegetable production, and more. A complete list of funded projects is available...
Categories: Ag News

White Paper Focuses on Food System Access to Capital

Sun, 04/21/2019 - 15:17
The Council of Development Finance Agencies has released the second white paper in its Food Finance series, Food Systems and Access to Capital. This series aims to define the food system as an asset class worthy of utilizing traditional development finance tools that will support economic growth and community development. This second paper focuses on small businesses, micro-enterprises, and entrepreneurs, arguing that food-related businesses are no different than other small businesses. It shows how small businesses can access and utilize different types of financing tools.
Categories: Ag News

Fourth Demonstration Farm Network Launched in Wisconsin

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 21:14
In Wisconsin, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Waupaca County Land & Water Conservation Department have partnered with eight Wisconsin counties to launch the Upper Fox-Wolf Demonstration Farm Network. This partnership will support the fourth network of farms in the state that will demonstrate the best conservation practices to reduce phosphorus entering the Great Lakes basin. Participating farms will test the effectiveness of conservation systems, foster technology transfer, host research, and conduct outreach to share lessons learned. Ten demonstration farms have joined the network.
Categories: Ag News

University of Massachusetts Offers Summer Online Sustainable Agriculture Courses

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 16:05
The UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture is offering a range of online summer classes in sustainable food and farming. Two summer terms are scheduled: from May 20 through June 28, 2019, and from July 8 through August 16, 2019. Two full-summer courses are also offered, spanning both terms. Courses available include urban agriculture, community food systems, organic vegetable production, and more. Courses may be taken individually, or toward completion of an online 15-credit Certificate, 60-credit Associate of Science, and/or 120-credit Bachelor of Science degree.
Categories: Ag News

‘Water for Agriculture’ Website Launched

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 15:51
A new website has been launched by Water for Agriculture, an interdisciplinary research project led by Penn State University. The Water for Agriculture project brings together social and biophysical researchers and practitioners to work with communities in Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Arizona to address the water and agriculture issues that matter most to them through effective stakeholder engagement. In addition to providing background on the project, the website houses a library of webinars, a news and update section, and a community engagement toolbox, which provides a practical guide to the major concepts, tools, and strategies for implementing effective community engagement processes.
Categories: Ag News

Iowa Extension Creates Farm and Food Enterprise Development Team

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 07:49
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach announced a new program, Farm, Food and Enterprise Development. The program’s 20 staff members come from the former Local Foods and Value Added Agriculture programs, as well as from the current Community and Economic Development program. The team will provide resources and technical assistance on topics such as small-farm profitability, agritourism, community food systems planning and development, farm to school and farm to early childhood education, and business feasibility and financing. The program is divided into the areas of small farms, food systems, and enterprise development.
Categories: Ag News

Nutrients from Food More Beneficial than Supplements, According to Study

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 07:44
A study led by researchers at Tufts University, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, revealed that adequate intake of nutrients from food is associated with a reduction in mortality, but there is no association between use of dietary supplements and a lower risk of death. The study evaluated the association between dietary supplement use and death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer in 27,000 U.S. adults. Researchers found that adequate intakes of Vitamin A and Vitamin K, as well as magnesium and zinc, from food were associated with lower risk of death, but the same did not hold true...
Categories: Ag News

Guide to Help Financial Institutions Assess Natural Capital Risk In Agriculture

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 07:15
The Natural Capital Finance Alliance has released Natural Capital Credit Risk Assessment in Agricultural Lending, a new template that enables financial institutions to conduct natural capital credit risk assessment across different agricultural sectors and geographies. Although most banks still lend to farmers almost solely on the basis of their most recent profit and loss accounts, lenders should recognize that performance can be improved over the short-term in an unsustainable way, but this can create medium-term risks such as degradation of land and water. The new approach outlined in this guide provides a global template for natural capital credit risk assessment...
Categories: Ag News

Iowa Projects Help Farmers Capture Benefits of Prairie

Tue, 04/16/2019 - 15:15
Prairie strips on cropland can help farmers conserve soil and protect water quality, but it can be challenging to establish prairie affordably. Research led by the University of Northern Iowa has developed a Tallgrass Prairie Seed Calculator that can help landowners develop seed mixes that meet their goals and budgets. The Tallgrass Prairie Center has also investigated strategies that can help farmers succeed with prairie establishment, such as selling prairie biomass for energy or other uses to help offset seed costs.
Categories: Ag News

Study on Insulated Bee Hive Posted

Tue, 04/16/2019 - 12:14
Southeast Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP) has posted Four Acre Farms’ report on a year-long study of an insulated Langsroth hive that was funded by a SEMAP Technology, Innovation, and Excellence (TIE) grant. The 21-page PDF report details results of a project that added foam insulation board to a bee hive in an attempt to moderate weather-sourced stressors. In this study, the insulated hive thrived, producing honey in its first year, in contrast to the uninsulated control hive. The beekeepers deemed the insulated hive a success, though they note that the cost and effort required for insulating the hive are considerations...
Categories: Ag News

Montana Lentil Trial Receives OFRF Soil Health Grant

Tue, 04/16/2019 - 11:54
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has announced that a team of researchers at Montana State University will receive a $20,000 soil health grant to evaluate the effects of seeding rates on lentil yields and competition. Lentils are an important crop for diversifying wheat-based cropping systems and are one of several pulse crops used by farmers in the Northern Great Plains to promote biodiversity, improve soil health, and generate income. Dr. Jed Eberly will lead research to select the optimum varieties to improve lentil yields, nutritional quality, and economic returns. Dr. Eberly is collaborating with organic farmers from three different...
Categories: Ag News

Montana Farmer Testifies to Congress on Importance of Organic Standards

Mon, 04/15/2019 - 20:55
Related ATTRA Publication: Planning for Profit in Sustainable Farming Montana organic farmer Nate Powell-Palm testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture about what the USDA organic standards mean for organic farmers, reports the Organic Trade Association. Powell-Palm said that “when farmers can receive a premium in the market for sustainable practices, it’s a win-win.” He is a diversified organic farmer growing organic wheat, field peas, straw, cattle, and hay, who says that organic price premiums have helped him expand his operation. He notes that the organic certification process is a way to ensure that farmers can be fairly compensated...
Categories: Ag News

Practical Farmers of Iowa Offers Regional Grazing Groups

Mon, 04/15/2019 - 17:29
Related ATTRA Publication: Grazing Networks for Livestock Producers Practical Farmers of Iowa has announced meetings for six grazing groups located in different regions of the state of Iowa. Groups will meet in Lamoni, Lockridge, Remsen, Maxwell, Oxford, and Charles City during May and early June. They will go on pasture walks, discuss spring grazing management on lush pastures, first-cut hay, planting summer annuals, and more. Each meeting includes dinner and the opportunity to learn from fellow livestock producers.
Categories: Ag News

Minnesota Grown Directory Features More than 1,000 Local Food Sources

Mon, 04/15/2019 - 17:13
The new edition of the Minnesota Grown Directory features products and services offered by more than 1,000 farms, ranches, and farmers markets across Minnesota. The updated directory is searchable by region, farm name, or product. It includes locally grown fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy items, wineries, nurseries, Christmas trees, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operations, and more. Readers can search by new product categories, including On-farm Dinners/Tastings, Hemp, Microgreens, and Pick-your-own farm opportunities. In addition to searching for certified organic entries, readers can now also search by Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certified farms. The directory is available free online or in...
Categories: Ag News

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Offers Information to Help with CSP Sign-Up

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 16:49
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has released an Information Alert on the 2019 Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) sign-up opportunity. The 17-page publication explains updates to the CSP program this year and provides producers with detailed instructions on completing the sign-up process. NSAC is notifying farmers that they must file an initial application for the program before May 10, 2019, for enrollment in the program during Fiscal Year 2019.
Categories: Ag News

Southern Wisconsin Livestock Producers Identify Processing Needs

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 16:37
Related ATTRA Publication: Working with Your Meat Processor Livestock producers in southwest Wisconsin received a North Central SARE grant to help them achieve four objectives related to opportunities in local meat processing, reports Agri-View. Among these was a feasibility study for a cooperatively owned, federally licensed, and women-farmer-led mobile-slaughtering unit and/or retail butcher establishment in south-central Wisconsin. A survey of 80 livestock producers in a three-county area revealed that producers would be likely to increase their business if local slaughtering capacity increased. Respondents indicated that wait times and lack of custom-cutting services limited their meat sales. The project organizers plan...
Categories: Ag News

Limits Increase on USDA Farm Loans

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 16:08
Related ATTRA Publication: Financing Your Farm: Guidance for Beginning Farmers The 2018 Farm Bill increased the amount that producers can borrow as direct and guaranteed loans available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) and made changes to other loans, such as microloans and emergency loans, that are financed and serviced by FSA. The Direct Operating Loan limit increased from $300,000 to $400,000, and the Guaranteed Operating Loan limit increased from $ 1.429 million to $1.75 million. In addition, the Farm Ownership Loan limit increased from $300,000 to $600,000, and the Guaranteed Farm Ownership Loan limit increased from $1.429 million to...
Categories: Ag News

Census of Agriculture Results Announced

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 14:31
USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has announced the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Among key findings were that both farm numbers and land in farms have continued to decline since the last Census in 2012. At the same time, there continue to be more of the largest and smallest operations and fewer middle-sized farms. The 273,000 smallest (1 to 9 acres) farms make up 0.1% of all farmland while the 85,127 largest (2,000 or more acres) farms make up 58% of farmland. In addition, the average age of farmers and ranchers continues to rise. Average farm income...
Categories: Ag News

Kentucky Holding Direct Farm Marketing Contest for FFA Members

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 14:11
Related ATTRA Publication: Direct Marketing Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Direct Farm Marketing Division is sponsoring a contest for Kentucky FFA members actively involved in the production, growth, and marketing of farm commodities or value-added products. To be eligible, participants must produce and market fruits, vegetables, flowers, eggs, meat, fish, poultry, dairy, or value-added products that have direct Kentucky farmgate impact. The products must be marketed and sold directly to the consumer through farmers markets, roadside markets, or on-farm markets. Participants must turn in a written marketing plan, in which they answer 10 questions regarding market research, display skills, and direct-marketing...
Categories: Ag News

Low-Impact Solar Development Incorporates Other Land Uses

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 11:33
Related ATTRA Publication: Locally Owned Renewable Energy Facilities The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has posted an update on the Innovative Site Preparation and Impact Reductions on the Environment (InSPIRE) project that is exploring benefits and barriers of low-impact solar development. Rather than devoting solar energy sites solely to energy production, low-impact solar incorporates other land uses, such as providing pollinator habitat and allowing agricultural uses ranging from grazing to vegetable production. Low-impact solar development leaves topsoil in place beneath solar arrays and often plants native vegetation. The project has found that having vegetation in place to cool the ground...
Categories: Ag News