Sustainable Ag News

Finnish Studies Demonstrate Improved Carbon Sequestration and Yield with Reduced Pesticides

ATTRA - Tue, 02/14/2023 - 17:24

Researchers at the University of Turku, in Finland, conducted two independent studies showing that carbon sequestration and plant resilience, as well as forage pasture yield, can be increased though key adjustments in agricultural management. One study found that reducing the intensity of mowing and cutting the plant higher resulted in higher overall pasture yield with greater root growth. The other study found that soils that were polluted with pesticide showed less root growth in plants, limiting their carbon sequestration potential. “This demonstrates a tremendous limitation to the potential carbon binding and storage belowground when soils are polluted by pesticide. Considering the vast amount of pesticides applied to agricultural fields yearly, we can conclude that the impact on soil quality is a major driver of limited root growth, carbon sequestration, and consequently plant resilience and productivity,” explains University spokesperson Dr. Benjamin Fuchs.

Categories: Ag News

USDA Unveils Western Water and Working Lands Framework for Conservation Action

ATTRA - Mon, 02/13/2023 - 16:56

USDA announced new investments and strategies to help farmers and ranchers conserve water, address climate change and build drought resilience in the West. The Western Water and Working Lands Framework for Conservation Action is a comprehensive, multi-state strategy under USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to address key water and land management challenges across 17 Western States. The Framework includes guidelines for identifying vulnerable agricultural landscapes and 13 strategies to help NRCS state leaders, water resource managers, and producers respond to priority challenges. Guided by this new framework, the WaterSMART Initiative will invest $25 million in three new priority areas in California, Hawaii, and Washington, as well as in 37 existing priority areas. Visit the NRCS website for more information on the WaterSMART Initiative and to read the Western Water and Working Lands Framework for Conservation Action.

Categories: Ag News

USDA Announces Inflation Reduction Act Funding for Climate-Smart Agriculture

ATTRA - Mon, 02/13/2023 - 16:45

USDA is making additional funding available for agricultural producers and forest landowners nationwide to participate in voluntary conservation programs and adopt climate-smart practices. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provided an additional $19.5 billion over five years for climate smart agriculture. In fiscal year 2023, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is making available $850 million for its oversubscribed conservation programs: the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), and Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Producers interested in EQIP or CSP should apply by their state’s ranking dates to be considered for funding in the current cycle. ACEP Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE) or Wetland Reserve Easements (ACEP-WRE) applications for the current IRA funding cycle must be submitted by March 17, 2023, for the first funding round. The next RCPP funding opportunity, in early spring, will include IRA funds from fiscal year 2023.

Categories: Ag News

Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition Accepting Applications

ATTRA - Mon, 02/13/2023 - 16:33

A new competition for producers of value-added dairy products, offering $365,000 in awards, is open for applications until March 31, 2023. The Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition supports food innovators in launching products made from dairy ingredients produced in the Northeast and gives dairy entrepreneurs, including those making products on organic and small farms, access to entrepreneurial and technical support. The competition is open to all food innovators, including small and organic farms, nonprofits, and dairy co-ops located in the United States that use or commit to using milk and/or dairy ingredients produced at dairies in New York, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and/or Pennsylvania in their production.

Categories: Ag News

Nominations Invited for Leopold Conservation Awards in Several States

ATTRA - Fri, 02/10/2023 - 22:28

The Sand County Foundation has announced that nominations are open for Leopold Conservation Awards in numerous states, including Kansas, Utah, Iowa, California, Wisconsin, Kentucky, North Dakota, and the New England region. In 25 different states, the award recognizes private landowners for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. The recognition includes a $10,000 cash award provided by local sponsors. Nomination deadlines for the awards vary by state from April to August. Landowners can nominate themselves or be nominated by others.

Categories: Ag News

New York Outcomes Fund Incentivizes Farmers to Implement Regenerative Agriculture

ATTRA - Fri, 02/10/2023 - 22:13

The New York Outcomes Fund, a partnership of the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, the New York Corn & Soybean Growers Association, and the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund, formally launched in January. The New York Outcomes Fund pilot provides financial incentives directly to farmers who transition to on-farm conservation practices such as no till and cover crops that yield outcomes like carbon sequestration and water quality improvement. The resulting verified environmental outcomes are sold to a diverse group of public and private beneficiaries, including corporations, municipalities, state departments of agriculture, and the federal government. Soil and Water Outcomes Fund, a project key partner, has enrolled more than 240,000 acres of cropland across a dozen states, and farmers received an average payment of $31 per acre last year for implementing new conservation practices.

Categories: Ag News

Bee Experts Discuss American Foulbrood Vaccine

ATTRA - Fri, 02/10/2023 - 22:03

In separate posts, North Carolina State University’s David Tarpy, a professor and Extension specialist in apiculture, and Dr. Jennie Durant, an agriculture researcher at the University of California, Davis, who specializes in honeybee health discussed a new vaccine developed to protect honeybees from American Foulbrood disease. The vaccine, which is fed to the queen in bee food, exposes queen bees to inactive Paenibacillus larvae bacteria, which will then help larvae hatched in that hive to resist infection. Both experts mention the perceived benefits of the vaccine as opposed to antibiotic treatments for hives with the disease.

Categories: Ag News

Report Evaluates Impact of Minnesota Farm to School Grant Program

ATTRA - Fri, 02/10/2023 - 21:40

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and the University of Minnesota Extension published an impact evaluation of the 2021 Minnesota Department of Agriculture Farm to School Grants. The report explored the economic impact of these grants in their first year, documents the production and marketing or process challenges that farmers reported from selling to schools, and collected feedback from foodservice staff. According to the report, in fiscal year 2021, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School grants distributed nearly $300,000 to local schools and had a nearly $1.2 million impact on the local economy.

Categories: Ag News

Local Food Leader Training Offered Virtually

ATTRA - Thu, 02/09/2023 - 22:54

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering a virtual Local Food Leader certification cohort. The national certification is open for anyone who is interested in food systems development and collaboration. Register by March 16, 2023. The program teaches several foundational competencies critical to successful involvement in community food systems development through virtual workshops and online modules. The workshop includes topic areas of equity in food systems, food systems frameworks and common language, working in food systems, facilitation and coordination, evaluation and professional development. The online modules offer intensive curriculum including leadership in food systems, methods of engagement, creating teams and tools for success, and evaluation.

Categories: Ag News

North Central SARE Funds Research and Education Projects

ATTRA - Thu, 02/09/2023 - 15:43

North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) announced the 17 projects selected for funding through its 2022 Research and Education competitive grant program. The projects, dealing with urban agriculture, immigrant farming, apiculture, virtual fence, soil tarping, and other topics, received a total of $3.8 million. Brief descriptions of the funded projects are available online.

Categories: Ag News

Free Video Courses on Carbon Farming Offered

ATTRA - Wed, 02/08/2023 - 22:33

Indigo’s Carbon College has unveiled three new, free video courses, each designed to help growers understand the steps they need to take to succeed with carbon farming. The three new courses are Carbon Systems, Implementing Cover Crops, and Implementing Reduced Tillage. Viewers can learn how carbon farming practices capture and store carbon in the soil, what experts say about carbon farming, and the importance of managing C:N ratios. They can also learn the benefits cover crops can provide, how to choose the best seed blend, when to seed cover crops, the equipment needed, and termination strategies. In addition, they can learn how tillage affects larger agricultural systems, the first steps in going low/no till, how to manage increased residue, equipment needed, and how to manage weather conditions.

Categories: Ag News

Australian Study Assesses Global Seaweed Farming Potential

ATTRA - Wed, 02/08/2023 - 22:26

A study led by the University of Queensland found that expanding seaweed farming could help reduce demand for terrestrial crops and reduce global agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 2.6 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent per year. The research was published in Nature Sustainability. The study identified millions of available hectares of ocean within global exclusive economic zones (EEZs) where farming could be developed. One of the researchers explained, “Through thousands of years of breeding we have developed the staple crops that underpin modern societies, and seaweed could very well hold similar potential in the future.”

Categories: Ag News

Guide Helps Rural Businesses Access Federal Grants to Go Solar

ATTRA - Tue, 02/07/2023 - 19:04

National nonprofit Solar United Neighbors has released Your Rural Business Can Go Solar: A Guide to Applying for a Rural Energy for America Program Grant. The comprehensive guide, which can be downloaded online, takes applicants step-by-step through the federal Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) application process. Farmers and rural small business owners can receive loan guarantees of up to 75% of total eligible project costs through REAP. They can receive grants for up to 40% of the total project cost.
Related ATTRA publication: Renewable Energy Opportunities on the Farm

Categories: Ag News

Online Program Trains Veterinarians on Backyard Poultry

ATTRA - Tue, 02/07/2023 - 18:23

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment worked with pathologists at Utah State University and Michigan State University to create an online training program aimed at educating general-practice veterinarians on small and backyard poultry flock challenges. The module-style course allows each participant to progress at their own pace and the cost is $300 per person. “With the growth of small and backyard flocks, there is a need for veterinarians in private practice willing to see birds,” said Jacqueline Jacob, extension project manager in the University of Kentucky Department of Animal and Food Sciences.
Related ATTRA publication: Tips for Working with a Veterinarian

Categories: Ag News

Study Identifies National Causes of Honey Bee Colony Loss

ATTRA - Tue, 02/07/2023 - 16:55

A study by Penn State researchers, published online in Scientific Reports, was the first to consider honey bee stressors on a national scale. The research findings show that honey bee colony loss in the United States over the last five years is primarily related to the presence of parasitic mites, extreme weather events, nearby pesticides, and challenges with overwintering. “A changing climate and high-profile extreme weather events like Hurricane Ian — which threatened about 15% of the nation’s bees that were in its path as well as their food sources — are important reminders that we urgently need to better understand the stressors that are driving honey bee colony collapse and to develop strategies to mitigate them,” said research team member Francesca Chiaromonte.

Categories: Ag News

Apply Now for Armed to Farm Training in Idaho

ATTRA - Mon, 02/06/2023 - 20:51

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is teaming up with the University of Idaho Extension and Idaho Farmer Veteran Coalition to bring NCAT’s Armed to Farm training to Idaho for the first time, April 24-28, 2023, at the University of Idaho Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center in Sandpoint, Idaho. The free, week-long Armed to Farm training allows veterans and their spouses to experience sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and explore career opportunities in agriculture. Armed to Farm trainings include an engaging blend of farm tours, hands-on activities, and interactive classroom instruction. This training is for veterans in the Northwest, with preference given to those in Idaho. Apply online by March 17, 2023.

Categories: Ag News

Organizations Partner to Host Kentucky Proud CSA Week

ATTRA - Mon, 02/06/2023 - 16:22

The Food Connection at the University of Kentucky, Kentucky Proud, Edible Kentucky Magazine, the Kentucky Horticulture Council, and the Organic Association of Kentucky, will collaborate to host the online KY Proud CSA Week, February 20-24, 2023. Organizers plan social media posts via the Facebook group CSA in Kentucky that will tout the benefits of community supported agriculture and highlight the more than 70 participating CSA farms in the state.
Related ATTRA publication: Tips for Selling through CSAs — Community Supported Agriculture

Categories: Ag News

Wisconsin Farm Helps Strengthen Local Food Economy

ATTRA - Mon, 02/06/2023 - 11:27

A feature in Agri-View highlights Enos Farms in Wisconsin, where Jeremy and Erin Lynch raise pigs, and sell pork through a catering business and online farm store. The couple also host farm-to-table and other events and purchase produce, eggs, beef, and other products from area farms to bundle in farm-store offerings and use in their catering business. Jeremy began the farm almost 20 years ago, foraging and growing greens, and then adding catering. Later, he began raising pigs, combining maternal and pasture genetics to develop animals that perform well for his operation.

Categories: Ag News

Western SARE Seeking Applicants for Administrative Council Positions

ATTRA - Fri, 02/03/2023 - 16:07

Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (Western SARE) is seeking applicants from qualified individuals to fill three positions on the Western SARE Administrative Council. Open positions are those representing the following: 1) non-government organizations, 2) agri-business, and 3) farmer/rancher. The Administrative Council sets program priorities, approves the budget, and makes proposal funding decisions for all grant programs. The term of service is four years, but members can be re-appointed for a second four-year term. Members are expected to attend Administrative Council meetings (currently in-person March and July throughout the region), review proposals and other materials distributed between meetings, and participate on Western SARE committees and occasional between-meeting conference calls. Council members must live and work in one of the 17 states or protectorates that comprise the Western SARE region.

Categories: Ag News

California Releases Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap

ATTRA - Fri, 02/03/2023 - 15:54

The new Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap for California – released by the Department of Pesticide Regulation, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture – charts a course for the state’s transition to sustainable pest management in agricultural and urban settings. The roadmap was developed over nearly two years by a diverse, cross-sector group of stakeholders representing conventional and organic agriculture, urban environments, community and environmental groups, tribes, researchers, and government. Sustainable pest management is a holistic, systemwide approach that builds on the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) by incorporating essential elements of human health and social equity, environmental protection, and economic vitality. “Successfully transitioning to sustainable pest management requires collective action,” said DPR Director Julie Henderson. “The critical actions outlined in the roadmap include prioritizing prevention, coordinating state-level leadership, investing in building knowledge about sustainable pest management, improving the state’s registration and evaluation process to bring more sustainable alternatives to market and enhancing monitoring and statewide data collection to better inform actions.”

Categories: Ag News
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