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Review Assesses Sustainability of Aquatic Foods Sector

Thu, 09/16/2021 - 20:57
Related ATTRA Resource: Sustainable Fisheries The Blue Food Assessment, a group of more than 100 leading researchers led by Stanford University’s Center for Ocean Solutions and Center on Food Security and the Environment, the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University and EAT, published five papers in the journal Nature that constitute a review of the aquatic foods sector. The papers evaluate aquatic foods in terms of sustainability, the potential for the growth of small-scale producers, and the climate risks that face aquatic food systems. The papers identify opportunities for diverse aquatic foods to provide healthy diets, lower the environmental footprint...
Categories: Ag News

AgrAbility Celebrates 30 Years with Virtual State Fair

Thu, 09/16/2021 - 18:28
The National AgrAbility Project is celebrating 30 years of making agriculture accessible for people with disabilities. The National AgrAbility Project housed at Purdue University and 20 State/Regional AgrAbility Projects address a wide variety of disabilities, functional limitations, and health conditions in agriculture workers through educational programs, networking opportunities, and direct individual consultations. During October, AgrAbility projects from 20 states will participate in the AgrAbility Virtual State Fair on Facebook and Twitter. Each day will highlight how a state or regional program supports and serves. Educational programs and assistive information will also be shared each weekend for veterans in agriculture, assistive...
Categories: Ag News

Guide to Food Safety in Agroforestry Available Online

Wed, 09/15/2021 - 22:52
Related ATTRA Publication: Food Safety Considerations for Integrating Livestock into Produce Cropping Systems Savanna Institute partnered with Farm Commons, Wisconsin DATCP, and a group of experienced farmers to address the subject of food safety when integrating livestock in agroforestry systems. Their free guide, Managing Food Safety Liability Risks When Integrating Livestock with Specialty Crops, is available online. It outlines three steps to reduce food safety legal liability risks in agroforestry systems, three action steps for achieving regulatory consensus, and examples of how these rules apply to specific farms. The guide is supported by a series of webinars and videos that...
Categories: Ag News

Unique Partnership Helping Train Next Generation of Sustainable Farmers

Wed, 09/15/2021 - 21:36
Since 2019, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and The Piney Woods School in rural Mississippi have partnered to educate the next generation of sustainable farmers, ranchers, soil scientists, and food security advocates. Thanks to a grant from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, NCAT and The Piney Woods School are educating students about gardening, sustainability, and regenerative grazing practices at the school’s 200-acre on-campus farm, sparking interest in agriculture-related career fields. They’re now telling the story of this unique partnership in a new short video posted by NCAT.
Categories: Ag News

Minnesota’s Emerging Farmers’ Working Group Seeks New Members

Wed, 09/15/2021 - 21:31
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Emerging Farmers’ Working Group (EFWG) has openings for nine volunteer members for two-year terms. Minnesotans interested in making it easier for new and emerging farmers to create or sustain an agricultural business are encouraged to apply. Priority areas for membership include women, veterans, persons with a disability/disabilities, American Indian/Alaska Native, communities of color, young, and urban. The deadline to apply for EFWG membership is September 27, 2021.
Categories: Ag News

Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Study Accounts for Subsector Emissions

Tue, 09/14/2021 - 20:30
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign led a location-specific study that accounted for net carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide emissions from all subsectors related to food production and consumption. The study results could help identify the primary plant- and animal-based food sectors contributing major greenhouse gas emissions and guide policymakers in taking effective action to reduce the highest emissions at each location. The findings are available in an open-access database. The study found that food-based agriculture accounts for 35% of all human-made greenhouse gas emissions. Of that, plant-based foods emissions contribute 29%, animal-based food emissions contribute 57%, and nonfood utilization such...
Categories: Ag News

Grassland CRP Accepts More than 2.5 Million Acres

Tue, 09/14/2021 - 20:09
USDA has accepted offers for more than 2.5 million acres from agricultural producers and private landowners for enrollment through this year’s Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Signup. USDA notes that this is double last year’s enrollment and brings the total enrollment across all CRP signups in 2021 to more than 5.3 million acres. Through Grassland CRP, producers and landowners can conserve grasslands, rangelands, and pastures, while retaining the right to conduct common grazing practices, such as haying, mowing, or harvesting seed from the enrolled land, pursuant to approved conservation plans designed to promote thoughtful use while creating and maintaining vital...
Categories: Ag News

Researchers Explore Rock Dust as Carbon Sequestration Aid for Farmland

Tue, 09/14/2021 - 19:31
A research team led by Cornell University is testing the potential for biochar, manure, and rock dust amendments to farmland to sequester carbon and boost crop yields, reports Yale Environment 360. Basalt rock pulverized into dust has been the most successful soil amendment tested during trials in New York and California. Adding rock dust to agricultural soils creates chemical reactions with the magnesium, calcium, and silica in the rock that help the soil lock up carbon long-term. Trial plots in California showed doubling of carbon update on treated lands. In addition, the nutrients in the rock dust helped corn and...
Categories: Ag News

California’s Sustainable Farms Struggle with Climate Challenges and Policy Disadvantages

Mon, 09/13/2021 - 21:05
Related ATTRA Publication: Weathering the Storm: A Guide to Preparing for Disaster and Finding Disaster Assistance for your Farm or Ranch A feature on KQED from Inside Climate News explores how California’s Full Belly Farm is being affected by climate change. Though the farm focuses on practices that promote resilience, it has been challenged recently by both fire and drought. In addition, owners say this farm and other small farms like it are shut out of some sources of aid for climate adaptation because agricultural policy is tailored for large, industrial agriculture. Small farms with intact and functioning ecosystems provide...
Categories: Ag News

Analysis Reveals Importance of Off-Farm Income for Farm Households

Mon, 09/13/2021 - 15:45
An article published in USDA Economic Research Service’s Amber Waves shows that off-farm income is a major component of household income for farm households. Research revealed that in 2019, 96% of farm households derived some income from off-farm sources. On average, off-farm income contributed 82% of total income, or $101,638, for all family farms in 2019. On average, small family farms, those with an annual GCFI under $350,000, derived more than half of their total household income from off-farm income in 2019. A breakdown of income sources by type and size of farm is available online.
Categories: Ag News

FDA Announces Food Traceability Challenge Winners

Mon, 09/13/2021 - 15:36
Related ATTRA Publication: Knowing the Real Value of Food: Blockchain in a New Sustainable Food Economy The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the winners of its New Era of Smarter Food Safety Low- or No-Cost Tech-Enabled Traceability Challenge. At total of 90 submissions to the challenge were received from around the world. The winning teams representing the United States, Canada, and New Zealand tapped into new technologies and integrated data streams to help to advance the widespread, consistent implementation of traceability systems across the food industry. The primary goal of this challenge was to encourage stakeholders, including technology...
Categories: Ag News

New Pandemic-Relief Grant Programs to Aid Small Producers, Farmers Markets

Fri, 09/10/2021 - 15:21
USDA announced it will soon publish Requests for Applications (RFAs) for new grant programs — the Pandemic Response and Safety (PRS) Grant program and the Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant program — to support agricultural stakeholders who haven’t yet received substantial federal financial assistance in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. These grant programs will provide assistance to small businesses in certain commodity areas, including small scale specialty crop producers and processors, shellfish, aquaculture and other select producers, meat and other processors, distributors, farmers markets, seafood facilities, and processing vessels. Approximately $650 million in funding is available for...
Categories: Ag News

‘Radio Organic’ Podcast Launches

Fri, 09/10/2021 - 15:11
Related ATTRA Publication: Direct Marketing CCOF Foundation, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, and “The Farmers Beet” have launched a new podcast titled “Radio Organic.” The pilot series of four episodes centers around direct marketing strategies for farms. Long-time organic farmers will discuss the marketing techniques that have helped them run successful, resilient organic farms. The series is available in both English and Spanish.
Categories: Ag News

New Program Promoting Grass-based, Regenerative, Organic Dairy System in Northeast

Fri, 09/10/2021 - 15:02
Related ATTRA Publication: Dairy Production on Pasture: An Introduction to Grass-Based and Seasonal Dairying Lancaster Farming reports that Pasa Sustainable Agriculture received a $1 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to create the nation’s first regenerative organic dairy supply chain. Pasa aims to transition 10,000 acres on 54 dairy farms in four Pennsylania counties to a regenerative grazing model based on managed grazing and perennial hay. The project team will offer technical assistance with financial planning, production transitioning, and organic certification. At least 40 of the dairies participating in the project will be offered the opportunity for...
Categories: Ag News

Updates Improve Whole-Farm Revenue Protection Insurance

Thu, 09/09/2021 - 21:30
Related ATTRA Publication: Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program and Whole-Farm Revenue Protection: Understanding the Differences USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) is revising Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) insurance to make it more flexible and accessible to producers beginning in crop year 2022. The changes include increasing expansion limits for organic producers to the higher of $500,000 or 35%. Additionally,a producer may now report acreage as certified organic, or as acreage in transition to organic, when the producer has requested an organic certification by the acreage reporting date. The changes also provide flexibility to report a partial yield history for producers lacking...
Categories: Ag News

Farmers Routinely Closed out of Conservation Programs, Says Report

Thu, 09/09/2021 - 21:19
Related ATTRA Publication: Federal Working Lands Conservation Resources for Sustainable Farming and Ranching A new report from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) finds that 67% of farmers who applied to access critical government conservation programs from 2010-2020 were rejected, due in part to lack of funding. Report findings underscore that rising farmer demand to access programs that respond to the climate crisis, build soil health and protect water quality is not being met. The report, Closed out: How U.S. farmers are denied access to conservation programs, by IATP’s Michael Happ, examines farmer application rate of approvals for...
Categories: Ag News

USDA Announces Renewable Energy Investment

Thu, 09/09/2021 - 18:50
USDA announced the recipients of $464 million in investments in rural renewable energy infrastructure. This includes $129 million in funding through the Rural Energy for America Program, which helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. A list of the projects that were selected for funding is available online.
Categories: Ag News

USDA Awards Grants to Strengthen Agricultural Markets

Wed, 09/08/2021 - 21:04
USDA awarded $11 million to 21 grant projects to strengthen and explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products. The funding is made possible through three funding programs administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service: Acer Access and Development Program (Acer), Federal State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), and Micro-Grants for Food Security Program (MGFSP). Acer, authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill to increase market opportunities for the domestic maple syrup industry, awarded $5.4 million to eleven projects. FSMIP awarded $1 million to five projects to explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and to encourage research...
Categories: Ag News

California Invites Applications for Specialty Crop Grant Review Committee

Wed, 09/08/2021 - 20:56
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is accepting applications for the 2022 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Technical Review Committee. The Technical Review Committee is comprised of volunteers with knowledge and expertise regarding California’s specialty crop industry. The committee reviews, evaluates, and makes recommendations to CDFA on proposals submitted for funding to California’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Interested individuals should submit a resume and application by October 4, 2021.
Categories: Ag News

USDA Offering Feed Transportation Assistance for Drought Areas

Wed, 09/08/2021 - 19:49
USDA announced that it will help drought-stricken livestock producers cover the cost of transporting feed for animals that rely on grazing. USDA is updating the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) to immediately cover feed transportation costs for ranchers where drought intensity is D2 for eight consecutive weeks, drought intensity is D3 or greater, or USDA has determined a shortage of local or regional feed availability. Under the revised policy for feed transportation cost assistance, eligible ranchers will be reimbursed 60% of feed transportation costs above what would have been incurred in a normal year....
Categories: Ag News