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Updated: 11 hours 58 min ago

Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program Expands to South Dakota

Thu, 06/10/2021 - 21:47
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the State of South Dakota have finalized a Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) agreement, which provides an opportunity for selected state-inspected meat and poultry processors to ship their products across state lines. Currently, nine states participate in the program to promote the expansion of business opportunities for state-inspected meat and poultry establishments: Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Vermont, Wisconsin, and now South Dakota. Under CIS, selected state-inspected establishments that comply with federal inspection requirements are permitted to ship their product in interstate commerce.
Categories: Ag News

Resource Guide for Rural Workforce Development Available from USDA

Thu, 06/10/2021 - 21:35
USDA has unveiled a new resource guide to help rural community leaders start and expand employment opportunities and access resources to train, recruit and create a sustainable rural workforce. The resource guide outlines programs and services available at USDA and other federal agencies that support workforce development in rural communities. It helps community leaders and other local entities access resources more easily to create jobs, train talent, expand educational opportunities and provide technical assistance. The guide also features examples of how customers have used USDA programs to support each of four key assistance types.
Categories: Ag News

USDA Offering Drought-Related Conservation Assistance in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Oregon

Thu, 06/10/2021 - 21:19
Related ATTRA Webinar: Managing Soil and Irrigation for Drought USDA announced that it is offering $41.8 million through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to help agricultural producers in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Oregon alleviate the immediate impacts of drought and other natural resource challenges on working lands. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will set aside $11.8 million directly for drought-related practices. Funding will be available through a new EQIP option, Conservation Incentive Contracts, and applications will be accepted through July 12, 2021. Through five- to ten-year contracts, producers manage, maintain, and address important natural resource concerns and build...
Categories: Ag News

NCAT Soil for Water Project Expands to Seven States

Thu, 06/10/2021 - 10:41
NCAT is scaling up its Soil for Water project to support livestock producers and farmers across seven southern states. The project builds on a successful peer-to-peer network of Texas ranchers who are implementing innovative grazing techniques to improve soil health and increase profitability. The effort combines appropriate technology, peer-to-peer learning, and on-farm monitoring to encourage regenerative agricultural practices. By late summer, the project will be available to ranchers and farmers in Texas, New Mexico, California, Colorado, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Virginia.
Categories: Ag News

UC Guide Helps Organic Growers with Managing Burrowing Rodents

Wed, 06/09/2021 - 21:36
Related ATTRA Publication: Rats, Mice, and Voles: Vertebrate IPM Tip Sheet A new publication from University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources scientists covers how to manage burrowing rodents without the chemicals used on conventional farms. Burrowing Rodents: Developing a Management Plan for Organic Agriculture in California outlines management within organically acceptable methods using an integrated pest management approach. It is available free online.
Categories: Ag News

UN Food and Agriculture Organization Focuses on Mitigating Greenhouse Emissions of Off-Farm Activities

Wed, 06/09/2021 - 21:27
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published a new report, “Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Food System: Building the Evidence Base,” in which experts estimates that food-system emissions amounted to 16 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide or equivalents (CO2eq) in 2018, an 8% increase since 1990. The report found that agricultural activity now represent 33% of all human-caused GHG emissions. The ongoing study considers GHG emissions linked to farm-gate production, land use change at the boundary between farms and natural ecosystems, and supply chains including consumption and waste disposal, to offer a crisper and more granular...
Categories: Ag News

Pennsylvania Encourages Schools to Utilize Local Foods

Tue, 06/08/2021 - 21:03
Related ATTRA Podcast: School Harvest of the Month The Pennsylvania Department of Education is encouraging schools, child care centers, and summer meal sites to participate in the Pennsylvania Harvest of the Month Program and other programs that connect farms with schools to get more fresh, locally grown food on students’ plates. Pennsylvania Harvest of the Month provides tools and resources for promoting local products to help expand students’ palates and understanding of food grown across the commonwealth. A Pennsylvania Harvest of the Month calendar identifies a Pennsylvania-grown agricultural product each month. The program also offers resources for finding Pennsylvania farms...
Categories: Ag News

United Nations Warns of Soil Pollution Threat

Tue, 06/08/2021 - 20:50
Worsening soil pollution and waste proliferation threaten the future of global food production, human health, and the environment, and require an urgent global response, according to the new Global Assessment of Soil Pollution. The joint report was released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Program. According to a press release, the joint assessment found that widespread environmental degradation caused by soil pollution, due to the growing demands of agri-food and industrial systems and an increasing global population, is getting worse and is one of the world’s major challenges for ecosystem...
Categories: Ag News

Organic Beef Report and Scorecard Highlight Better Beef Options

Tue, 06/08/2021 - 18:41
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic and Grass-finished Beef Cattle Production The Cornucopia Institute has released a report on organic beef production and a scorecard that help consumers understand the spectrum of beef production practices. Value Meal: The Benefits of Authentic Organic Beef Production takes a deep dive into beef production and also provides user-friendly summaries of the relative merits of organic beef for anyone interested in shifting their beef buying habits to prioritize quality over quantity. Meanwhile, the Organic Beef Scorecard ranks 175 brands of beef based on their production practices.
Categories: Ag News

NCAT’s Soil for Water Network Invites Participants from Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and California

Tue, 06/08/2021 - 18:29
The Soil for Water Network run by the National Center for Appropriate Technology is a growing community of land managers who are trying regenerative practices, monitoring changes in their soils and vegetation, and learning together how to improve soil health so that it will catch and hold more water. Soil for Water invites land managers involved in commercial livestock agriculture in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, or California to join the free network. Members must be interested in regenerative land management practices, committed to monitoring changes in their soils and vegetation over a period of many years, and willing to share...
Categories: Ag News

USDA Announces Initiative to Strengthen Food System

Tue, 06/08/2021 - 18:17
USDA has announced plans to invest more than $4 billion to strengthen critical supply chains through the Build Back Better initiative. According to a press release, the new effort will strengthen the food system, create new market opportunities, tackle the climate crisis, help communities that have been left behind, and support good-paying jobs throughout the supply chain. Funding announcements under the Build Back Better initiative will include a mix of grants, loans, and innovative financing mechanisms to support priorities such as investing in food production workers, supporting regional processing capacity, investing in food system infrastructure for distribution and aggregation, and...
Categories: Ag News

Maine Legislature Adopts Healthy Soils Program

Mon, 06/07/2021 - 21:20
With broad bipartisan support, Maine’s legislature passed An Act To Establish the Maine Healthy Soils Program, reports the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). This legislation creates a one-stop-shop in the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry for farmers seeking healthy soils information, technical support and funding opportunities to implement best practices for improving soil health. Maine joins 14 other states that have adopted healthy soils programs. “I’m proud of our state for recognizing the important role our farmers play in protecting one of our most valuable resources: the soil that nourishes us,” said bill sponsor Sen. Stacy Brenner,...
Categories: Ag News

USDA Reopens Comment Period on Origin of Livestock Requirements for Organic Dairy

Fri, 06/04/2021 - 21:39
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) reopened the comment period on its April 28, 2015, proposed rule to amend the origin of livestock requirements for dairy animals under the USDA organic regulations. The proposed rule relates to whether AMS should prohibit the movement of transitioned cows in organic dairy production. In particular, AMS is seeking comment on rules for the movement of transitioned livestock and the updated economic analysis of the proposed rule. The comment period will be open until July 12, 2021. Previously submitted comments do not need to be resubmitted.
Categories: Ag News

Uncultivated Field Edges Provide Habitat for Beneficial Insects

Fri, 06/04/2021 - 21:28
Related ATTRA Publication: Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control Researchers at the University of Illinois found that beneficial arthropods are nearly twice as abundant and diverse in uncultivated field edges in the spring as they are in areas that are cropped, if the edges offer plant diversity and not just mowed grass. The study findings were published in the Journal of Insect Science. The study focused on overwintering arthropods in organic farm fields and field edges in Illinois, because use of pesticides may wipe out many of these beneficial creatures. Researchers note that the overwintering predatory insects can play a key...
Categories: Ag News

Scientists Identify Best Strawberry Cultivars for Hot Climates

Fri, 06/04/2021 - 21:10
Related ATTRA Publication: Strawberries: Organic Production Researchers reporting in American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry have identified five strawberry cultivars that are best suited for hot, dry regions such as Texas. The researchers grew 10 common strawberry cultivars in northwest Texas, comparing seven spring-bearing and three day-neutral varieties. They evaluated the plants for survival, yield, and berry quality. The researchers concluded that five cultivars—Albion, Sweet Charlie, Camarosa, Camino Real and Chandler—can grow well in Texas’ climate and have the best flavor and aroma.
Categories: Ag News

Pennsylvania Invests in Urban Agriculture

Fri, 06/04/2021 - 21:04
Related ATTRA Resources: Urban and Community Agriculture Pennsylvania is highlighting its support of urban agriculture for food sovereignty. The 2019 and 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Bill Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program invested $1 million in building infrastructure for food sovereignty and security in urban areas of the commonwealth. In addition, $10 million of Pennsylvania’s CARES Act dollars were dedicated to low-income, often urban, communities in a move to increase the availability, accessibility, safety, and affordability of nutritious foods and combat food apartheid through the COVID-19 Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI). “The pandemic has made one thing abundantly clear: hyper-local food production...
Categories: Ag News

Texas Project Explores Soil Carbon Management Practices

Fri, 06/04/2021 - 18:11
Related ATTRA Publication: Soil Health Indicators and Tests A three-year project in Texas that was funded by a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program grant explored the best methods for soil carbon sequestration. NCAT was one of the collaborating organizations in a project that studied the results of management strategies on different soil types over time and also looked at incentives that can motivate producers to adopt management practices designed to sequester carbon in soils. The project included production of many documents and outreach activities across Texas to share results as it sought to identify conservation practices that were...
Categories: Ag News

Water Quality Infographics Offer Conservation Education

Thu, 06/03/2021 - 21:55
The Conservation Learning Group, a think tank organization based at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and dedicated to addressing conservation and environmental challenges, recently published a series of infographics that provide insight into water quality and conservation topics. Using a combination of visual elements and text, each of the new documents presents facts and figures that will help readers easily gain an understanding of key issues. For those interested in delving deeper into these topics, each infographic contains references to additional helpful resources. Six infographics are available: Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy—Aiming to Improve Water Quality, Iowa Nutrient Reductiondown Strategy—Frequently...
Categories: Ag News

USDA Announces Crop Insurance Premium Benefit for Producers Who Planted Cover Crops

Thu, 06/03/2021 - 21:41
Agricultural producers who have coverage under most crop insurance policies are eligible for a premium benefit from USDA if they planted cover crops during this crop year. The Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP), offered nationally by USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), helps farmers maintain their cover crop systems, despite the financial challenges posed by the pandemic. The PCCP is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. PCCP provides premium support to producers who insured their spring crop with most insurance policies and planted a qualifying cover crop during the 2021 crop year. The premium support is $5 per acre,...
Categories: Ag News

Report Documents Impact of Choosing Organic Dairy

Thu, 06/03/2021 - 21:32
The Organic Center developed a calculator that totals the impact of choosing organic dairy in terms of avoiding chemical usage. The calculator and an accompanying report help illustrate for consumers the impact that their choices have on synthetic fertilizer use, synthetic pesticide use, and dairy drug use. It also highlights how organic dairy choices affect climate change, biodiversity, antibiotic resistance, and farmworker health.
Categories: Ag News