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Growing Farmers Offers Guide to CARES Act

Sat, 04/04/2020 - 15:52

Growing Farmers has created a 16-page publication titled The Farm and Food Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act. This free online publication explains the aspects of the government stimulus package that pertain to farmers, including programs available through the Small Business Administration. It includes examples of how the programs might apply to different-size farms.

The post Growing Farmers Offers Guide to CARES Act appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

Farm Commons Offers Podcast Series on COVID-19 Effects on Farms

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 16:27

Farm Commons has created a special series of six podcasts addressing COVID-19’s effect on farm businesses. These free podcasts of approximately 30 minutes each cover the legal ramifications of topics such as sick leave, unemployment, social distancing, diversifying sales, and online sales.

The post Farm Commons Offers Podcast Series on COVID-19 Effects on Farms appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

USDA Seeks Peer Reviewers for Grant Programs

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 15:08

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) seeks subject matter experts as peer reviewers to objectively evaluate grant applications against the published criteria in its competitive grant programs’ Requests for Applications. Programs seeking grant reviewers include the Farmers Market Promotion Program, Local Food Promotion Program, Regional Food Systems Partnerships, and others. Reviewers should expect to commit approximately six weeks during the summer to complete the reviews, by phone and e-mail. Non-federal reviewers will receive a stipend. Application instructions are available online.

The post USDA Seeks Peer Reviewers for Grant Programs appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

Organic No-Till Soybeans Competitive, Says Penn State Study

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 17:11

Related ATTRA Publication: No-Till Case Study, Brown’s Ranch: Improving Soil Health Improves the Bottom Line A new study by Penn State researchers showed that using no-till and reduced-tillage production methods on soybeans can achieve yields similar to tillage-based production at competitive costs. Researchers compared tillage-based soybean production and reduced-tillage soybean production after corn, using cover crops. The reduced-tillage soybean sequence resulted in 50% less soil disturbance and had lower input costs, which offset its slightly lower yields. Researchers hope the finding will help promote more domestic production of no-till organic soybeans.

The post Organic No-Till Soybeans Competitive, Says Penn State Study appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

Guidance for Farm Safety with Children at Home

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 16:59

Penn State is reminding farmers to be especially conscious of safety with children home on the farm this spring. Nearly a quarter of Pennsylvania farm fatalities in 2019 involved youth under the age of 18, and this year more children are on the farm while agricultural operations are ongoing. Agricultural safety experts stress the importance of assigning children age-appropriate tasks that they understand how to do safely, making sure younger children are safe and visible, and preventing spread of disease through hygiene and social distancing.

The post Guidance for Farm Safety with Children at Home appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

Food-Supply Chain Networking Platform Waives Yearly Membership Fee

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 15:21

Gro-connect.com, a global food-supply chain networking platform that connects farmers with buyers, is currently waiving its yearly membership fee until the COVID-19 global pandemic clears. The platform serves as a neutral and safe hosting destination where food-supply chain users create custom profiles to connect with other users looking to buy or sell nationally and globally. Each profile allows for photo and data uploads, website and social media links, private messages, and a rating system that enables members to evaluate the interaction of other users.

The post Food-Supply Chain Networking Platform Waives Yearly Membership Fee appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em Initiative Marks a Year of Helping Threatened Sheep Breeds

Wed, 04/01/2020 - 20:08

Just over one year ago, The Livestock Conservancy launched an initiative to build interest among fiber artists in rare breed sheep’s wool. The Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em program introduces fiber artists to rare breed fiber by sponsoring a challenge to start new projects and earn items upon completion. The Conservancy had modest hopes that perhaps a few hundred fiber artists would sign up over the course of three years, bringing business to the shepherds and increasing the populations of rare sheep breeds on its Conservation Priority List. To date, more than 1,700 fiber artists have joined and the initiative’s...

The post Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em Initiative Marks a Year of Helping Threatened Sheep Breeds appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

Western Farmers Invited to Participate in Cover Crop Survey

Wed, 04/01/2020 - 19:54

The University of Idaho, Oregon State University, and Boise State University, on behalf of the Western Cover Crops Council, are conducting a survey to improve understanding of cover crop use throughout the U.S. West, Guam, and Micronesia. Specifically, the survey aims to include a range of perspectives from farmers and ranchers on the benefits and barriers related to cover crops and the effectiveness of policy incentives. The data collected from this SARE-funded study will guide the development of cover crop outreach and inform incentive programs. Whether you plant them now, planted them in the past, or have not ever planted...

The post Western Farmers Invited to Participate in Cover Crop Survey appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

USDA Invites Public Input on Ag Innovation Agenda

Wed, 04/01/2020 - 15:11

USDA announced it is seeking public and private sector input on the most important ag innovation opportunities to further its work on the Agriculture Innovation Agenda. Using input provided, USDA will identify common themes across the agriculture customer base to inform research and innovation efforts in the Department, the broader public-sector, and the private sector. USDA is accepting public comments and written stakeholder input through August 1, 2020. Respondents are asked to identify transformational innovation opportunities for the next era of agriculture productivity and environmental conservation and propose approaches to these opportunities with an eye to the public and private...

The post USDA Invites Public Input on Ag Innovation Agenda appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

USDA Seeks Nominations for Five Positions on National Organic Standards Board

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 15:36

USDA seeks nominations of qualified individuals for five open seats on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The 15-member advisory board considers and makes recommendations on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances and other issues involved in the production, handling, and processing of USDA certified organic products. Each member serves a five-year term and represents specific sectors of the organic community. Current openings for positions beginning January 2021 include two individuals who own or operate an organic farming operation, or employees of such individuals; two individuals who represent public interest or consumer interest groups; and one individual who...

The post USDA Seeks Nominations for Five Positions on National Organic Standards Board appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

Minnesota Makes Disaster Recovery Loans Available to Farmers

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 15:22

Assistance from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Rural Finance Authority (RFA) will be available to help farmers whose operations are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A $330 million Minnesota COVID-19 relief bill just signed into law contains provisions expanding the use of funding for the RFA to open up the Disaster Recovery Loan Program for loss of revenue due to human contagious disease. Governor Tim Walz recently signed a bill into law allocating $50 million to the RFA, replenishing the funds available to offer Minnesota farmers affordable financing and terms and conditions not available from traditional lenders.

The post Minnesota Makes Disaster Recovery Loans Available to Farmers appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

Organic Producer Survey Deadline Extended

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 16:04

Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) and the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) have extended the deadline for responding to their two surveys of organic producers until June 1, 2020. One national survey is for certified organic producers and a second is for producers transitioning to organic. This collaborative effort is part of a project to learn about the challenges and research priorities of organic operations. OSA points out that during these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever for farmers and ranchers to make their voices heard.

The post Organic Producer Survey Deadline Extended appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

National Farm Medicine Center Highlights Health Insurance Options for Farm Families

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 15:52

The National Farm Medicine Center is highlighting options for health insurance for farm families who may have lost coverage, or who previously may not have had coverage. A press release recommends checking your state’s health insurance exchange, and notes that 11 states have re-opened their health insurance exchange for a special enrollment period. According to the release, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is also considering opening a special enrollment period for the 32 states that are run by the federal government.

The post National Farm Medicine Center Highlights Health Insurance Options for Farm Families appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

West Virginia Department of Agriculture Facilitates Ag Producer and Buyer Connections

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 15:18

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) is working with local producers and farmers impacted by COVID-19 mitigation efforts by facilitating communication between producers and potential buyers. The Department will provide an ongoing directory to those who are interested in being connected with local West Virginia farmers and their food products. Producers who are interested in being added to the list can reach out to the WVDA Business Development Division. In order to add items to the distribution list, producers should be prepared to provide contact information and details of available products. Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt said, “We have...

The post West Virginia Department of Agriculture Facilitates Ag Producer and Buyer Connections appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

California Announces State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program Grant Awards

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 15:04

The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced the projects selected for 2019 State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) grant awards. The program offers funding to improve water and energy efficiencies on farms and ranches, increasing agriculture’s resiliency to drought and climate change impacts. From throughout the state, 125 agricultural operations have been selected to receive $9.7 million in total, to improve crop irrigation systems that result in water savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The list of funded projects is available online. The selected projects are estimated to save 74,900 acre-feet of water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions...

The post California Announces State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program Grant Awards appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

Nationwide Cover Crop Survey Underway

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 12:33

The sixth nationwide cover crop survey by SARE, the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) is inviting farmers to provide their insights on cover crops. Farmers experienced with cover crops, new users of cover crops, and farmers who have not planted cover crops at all are invited to participate. The online survey takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Participants who complete the survey by April 12, 2020, can enter a drawing for Visa gift cards worth $100 and $200. The ongoing yearly survey helps to guide national research, communications, and policy on...

The post Nationwide Cover Crop Survey Underway appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

USDA Seeks Public Comment on Additional Conservation Practice Standard Revisions

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 12:23

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking public comment on proposed revisions to 49 national conservation practice standards. The 2018 Farm Bill required NRCS to review all 169 existing national conservation practices to seek opportunities to increase flexibility and incorporate new technologies. Improvements to the 49 revised conservation practice standards include expanding and updating their scope to incorporate new technology and increase flexibility, enhancing water conservation practices such as irrigation, and addressing wildlife issues. The comment period for these revisions will be open until April 23, 2020. NRCS plans to seek public comment on additional conservation practice standards throughout...

The post USDA Seeks Public Comment on Additional Conservation Practice Standard Revisions appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

Virginia MarketMaker Offers Solution for Producers Facing Market Losses

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 07:57

A tool that could help agricultural producers faced with the loss of markets is Virginia MarketMaker, says Virginia Tech. Virginia MarketMaker is an online platform that connects producers with markets and is free to Virginia businesses, Extension agents, and retail shops. The platform, which is part of a larger nationwide network, has been available in Virginia since 2015 and already has a database of producers and other food processors around the state. The platform allows new users to set up a profile for free, which gives them access to enter their own business information, appear in search results for markets,...

The post Virginia MarketMaker Offers Solution for Producers Facing Market Losses appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

FSA Relaxes Loan-Making Process and Adds Flexibility

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 20:32

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) is relaxing the loan-making process and adding flexibilities for servicing direct and guaranteed loans to provide credit to producers in need. FSA is relaxing the loan-making process, including the following measures: extending the deadline for applicants to complete farm loan applications; preparing Direct Loans documents even if FSA is unable to complete lien and record searches because of closed government buildings; and closing loans if the required lien position on the primary security is perfected, even for loans that require additional security and those lien searches, filings, and recordings cannot be obtained because of closed...

The post FSA Relaxes Loan-Making Process and Adds Flexibility appeared first on ATTRA | Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Categories: Ag News

Conservation Reserve Program General Signup Accepts More Than 3.4 Million Acres

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 20:24

The recently completed general signup for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) accepted more than 3.4 million acres. Through CRP, farmers and ranchers receive an annual rental payment for establishing long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. The 2018 Farm Bill established a nationwide acreage limit for CRP, with the total number of acres that may be enrolled capped at 24.5 million acres in 2020 and growing to 27 million by 2023. Although the deadline for general signup has passed, signups for continuous CRP, Conservation...

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Categories: Ag News