Sustainable Ag News

Intensively Managed Grazing Linked with Increased Profits

ATTRA - Fri, 10/15/2021 - 22:06
Researchers from South Dakota State University and Texas A&M University surveyed producers in 2018 in South and North Dakota and in Texas about grazing intensity. The results were just published in Land Use Policy. Of the South Dakota respondents, 39.37% use traditional continuous grazing, 54.92% use rotational grazing, and 5.71% use management-intensive grazing. In North Dakota 29.24% opt for continuous grazing, 60.68% for rotational grazing, and 9.83% for management-intensive grazing. The study found that producers using management-intensive grazing were most likely to expand their grass-based production due to higher profitability, usually achieving expansion of grazing land by converting marginal cropland.
Categories: Ag News

Project Exploring Benefits of Grazing Cooperative for Solar Installations

ATTRA - Fri, 10/15/2021 - 17:48
Related ATTRA Podcast: Sheep and the Sun: Solar Grazing with Lexie Hain Cornell University and USDA funded a three-year, $500,000 project that will explore forming a business cooperative to provide shepherds grazing under solar arrays with coordination and logistical services. Having sheep graze under solar arrays is becoming more popular as a way to control vegetation and keep the land under solar installations in agricultural production. However, it can be a challenge for large renewable energy companies to manage the grazing services offered primarily by small-scale shepherds. This project will explore the benefits to farmers of business collaboration, not only...
Categories: Ag News

Project to Develop Cover Crops for Organic Growers Receives Grant Funding

ATTRA - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 23:15
A national network led by Cornell University scientists has been awarded a three-and-a-half year, $3 million grant from USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to develop cover crops designed for use by organic growers. Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa), winter pea (Pisum sativum), crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum) and cereal rye (Secale cereale) are the crops the team will focus on developing. The project will work to improve cover-crop qualities such as weed suppression, early vigor, increased biomass, winter hardiness, seed yield, disease and insect resistance, soft and non-shattering seed, and early flowering. The team will be holding field days...
Categories: Ag News

Mississippi Initiative Will Combat Land Loss Among Black Families

ATTRA - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 21:09
The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation and the Mississippi Center for Justice announced the Mobile Basin Heirs’ Property Support Initiative, a two-year program designed to help historically underserved families in Mississippi protect and keep their forestland; build generational wealth; and promote productive, sustainably managed forests. With support from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Kimberly-Clark, the new initiative will provide a combination of legal services, information, and assistance accessing financial resources to help Mississippians resolve land title issues that disproportionately affect Black families and often lead to loss of land, wealth, and forest resources. The initiative will also provide landowners with...
Categories: Ag News

Missouri Chestnut Potential Highlighted

ATTRA - Wed, 10/13/2021 - 21:17
The Missouri Chestnut Roast Festival at the University of Missouri research farm in New Franklin helps introduce people to the taste of chestnuts, reports St. Louis Public Radio. Experts say Missouri growers can’t keep up with the demand for local chestnuts, and they say that growers can make $6 per pound or $6,000 per acre harvesting chestnuts. Chestnut farmer Greg Heindselman in Lewistown, Missouri, said a chestnut farmer could make a living on as little as five to 10 acres. This makes chestnut an appealing option for people with a small farm, especially because chestnut growing doesn’t require a lot...
Categories: Ag News

Online Tool Helps Drought-Stricken Ranchers Estimate USDA Compensation for Feed Transportation

ATTRA - Wed, 10/13/2021 - 20:39
USDA has a new online tool to help ranchers document and estimate payments to cover feed transportation costs caused by drought, which are now covered by the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP). The new ELAP Feed Transportation Producer Tool is a Microsoft Excel workbook that enables ranchers to input information specific to their operation to determine an estimated payment. ELAP now covers feed transportation costs where grazing and hay resources have been depleted. This includes places where drought intensity is D2 for eight consecutive weeks or drought intensity is D3 or greater.
Categories: Ag News

USDA Initiative to Monitor Soil Carbon on CRP Lands

ATTRA - Wed, 10/13/2021 - 20:09
USDA is investing $10 million in a new initiative to sample, measure, and monitor soil carbon on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres to better quantify the climate outcomes of the program. This initiative will begin implementation in fall 2021 with three partners (Michigan State University, Mississippi State University, and Ducks Unlimited) conducting soil carbon sampling on three categories of CRP practice types: perennial grass, trees, and wetlands. These three Climate Change Mitigation Assessment Initiative projects are funded through the Farm Service Agency’s program to work with partners to identify Monitoring, Assessment and Evaluation projects to quantify CRP environmental benefits to water quality and quantity, wildlife, and...
Categories: Ag News

Perennial Cover Crops Project Receives Grant Funding

ATTRA - Tue, 10/12/2021 - 21:13
A team of scientists at seven institutions, led by D. Raj Raman at Iowa State University, received a five-year, $10 million AFRI Sustainable Agricultural Systems grant from USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study the potential benefits of using perennial grasses as cover crops. Annual cover crops require farmers to plant and harvest them every year, so researchers are investigating perennial ground covers that could provide environmental benefits and save farmers money. The scientists will work to identify and refine perennial covers that go dormant during the period when specific cash crops are growing and determine the best...
Categories: Ag News

Iowa State University Project to Develop Corn for Organic Production

ATTRA - Tue, 10/12/2021 - 21:01
A research team at Iowa State University received a a $1.4 million grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to apply genetic tools to the development of organic sweet corn and varieties of corn for specialty uses, such as for popcorn and tortillas. Project leader Thomas Lübberstedt explains, “In this new project, we say that there’s quite a few genes that are already known in maize that would add value to rapidly generate new sweet corn or specialty corn varieties if you could handle them efficiently using the tools and methods allowed in the organic production context.”...
Categories: Ag News

National Organic Standards Board Fall Meeting Begins this Week

ATTRA - Tue, 10/12/2021 - 20:50
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), a 15-member volunteer advisory board appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, meets twice each year in a public forum to discuss and vote on recommendations to the USDA. USDA notes that the open meetings allow for public input on topics of interest to the organic community, and resulting standards support farmer and consumer confidence in the integrity of the USDA organic seal. The public comment days for the Fall Meeting are October 13-14, 2021, followed by the public meetings October 19-21, 2021. The meeting Zoom links, agenda, proposals, discussion documents, and Federal Register notice...
Categories: Ag News

Southern SARE Seeking Nominations for Sustainable Ag Leadership Program

ATTRA - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 21:25
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) is seeking nominations for its Sustainable Agriculture Leadership Program for spring/summer 2022. The Sustainable Agriculture Leadership Program recognizes the community leadership contributions of historically underserved farmers and ranchers and the community groups and NGOs who serve those audiences. The program seeks to enhance the resiliency, strength, and vivacity of historically underserved farmers and ranchers, including minority and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, beginning farmers and ranchers, military veterans, and women farmers. The program provides a small amount of sponsorship funds (up to $3,000) to support education and training activities specifically targeted to historically...
Categories: Ag News

Beginning Farmer Institute Accepting Applications

ATTRA - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 21:04
The National Farmers Union is accepting applications for its Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) until December 1, 2021. BFI is a free, year-long training program intended to improve the health of your farm or ranch business. Three trainings will be hosted virtually on Zoom and one session will be hosted in-person in St. Louis, Missouri. Participants from diverse backgrounds come together around shared learning objectives related to business formation, taxation, accounting, land, labor, credit, and business planning.
Categories: Ag News

Goat and Sheep Producers Asked to Participate in Survey on COVID Impacts

ATTRA - Mon, 10/11/2021 - 20:49
A researcher at Fort Valley State University is collecting information on how COVID shutdowns in 2020 impacted sheep and goat producers, especially in the Southeast. Producers are invited to fill out a short online survey about the impact COVID in 2020 had on your operation, especially related to labor and other costs.
Categories: Ag News

America’s Farmers Market Celebration Announces Winners

ATTRA - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 21:14
American Farmland Trust and The Farmers Market Coalition announced the winners of the 13th annual America’s Farmers Market Celebration, a national event that ran between June 21 and September 19, 2021. Markets receiving the most votes from the public are declared winners of the “People’s Choice” category, and top markets in five regions nationwide are recognized. More than 2,000 markets across the nation participated in the celebration, with more than 1 million supporters voting, visiting the celebration website, or engaging with the celebration on social media. The “People’s Choice” awards went to Columbia Farmers Market in Missouri, Oxford Community Market...
Categories: Ag News

Urban Agriculture Grants Announced by USDA

ATTRA - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 20:57
USDA announced the recipients of more than $6.6 million in grants and cooperative agreements awarded through the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. USDA is awarding $4.75 million for 10 Planning Projects and 11 Implementation Projects, as well as $1.92 million for 24 pilot projects to develop and implement strategies for municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. The Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (UAIP) Competitive Grants Program will support activities such as operating community gardens and nonprofit farms, increasing food production and access in economically distressed communities, providing job training and education, and developing business plans and...
Categories: Ag News

Microbial Communities Provide Measure of Soil Health

ATTRA - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 20:50
Scientists in Canada are evaluating soil health by measuring enzymes involved in carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur nutrient cycles in the soil, counting fungi and bacteria varieties, and determining the ratio between the two. They are using these measurements to study the long-term soil health effects of different crop-growth systems, explains an American Society of Agronomy press release. The study found that fields in perennial grasses had the healthiest soils, with lots of biological activity and diverse microbes and fungi. Fields growing both a perennial grass and a legume called birdsfoot trefoil were especially healthy. In contrast, fields constantly growing...
Categories: Ag News

USDA’s 2501 Program Funding Outreach and Assistance Programs

ATTRA - Thu, 10/07/2021 - 21:01
USDA announced that it will award $18.6 million in grants to provide training, outreach, and technical assistance to historically underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers in 21 states through the 2501 Program. Descriptions of the 29 funded projects are available online. The Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (The 2501 Program) helps socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers, foresters, and veterans who have historically experienced limited access to USDA programs and services.
Categories: Ag News

Projects to Provide Outreach and Technical Assistance to Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers

ATTRA - Thu, 10/07/2021 - 20:49
USDA is investing $4.7 million to establish partnerships with organizations to provide outreach and technical assistance to historically underserved farmers and ranchers. The partnerships will support participation in Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs, including those that are part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. USDA is funding 56 proposals, covering all states and territories, to assist historically underserved farmers and ranchers in accessing FSA programs.
Categories: Ag News

USDA Funds Projects to Improve Organic Industry Oversight Capacity

ATTRA - Thu, 10/07/2021 - 20:28
USDA announced that nine projects to improve the oversight capacity of the organic industry will receive $1.73 million in funding. Projects will support and expand the pool of qualified inspectors, reviewers, and other professionals who oversee organic production. The funded projects provide support across the human capital pipeline, from initial workforce development to creating resources for existing professionals. Specifically, the funded projects will support creation of training and educational programs, recruitment strategies, mentorship opportunities, inspector apprenticeships, and professional development resources. A list of recipients is available online.
Categories: Ag News

Pandemic Response and Safety Grant Program Opens for Applications

ATTRA - Wed, 10/06/2021 - 20:47
USDA announced a Request for Applications for the new Pandemic Response and Safety (PRS) Grant program and encourages eligible entities to apply by November 22, 2021. Approximately $650 million in funding is available for the PRS grants, which will assist small businesses in certain commodity areas, including specialty crop producers, shellfish farming, finfish farming, aquaculture, and apiculture; specialty crop, meat, and other processors; distributors; and farmers markets. Small businesses and nonprofits in these industries can apply for a grant to cover COVID-related expenses such as workplace safety measures (e.g., personal protective equipment (PPE), retrofitting facilities for worker and consumer safety,...
Categories: Ag News
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