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Research Project Evaluates Cover Crops for Southeast Texas

Sat, 03/06/2021 - 15:41
Related ATTRA Publication: Cover Crop Options for Hot and Humid Areas A Graduate Student Grant from Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education funded research at Texas A&M that evaluated the suitability of cover crops for use in Southeast Texas. The research project tested 13 cover crops for summer and 13 for winter in different locations. The summer group was planted in late August following a corn crop while the winter group was planted in mid-October after harvesting cotton. The eight most-promising crops went on for further testing of planting time and termination dates. These were sorghum-sudangrass, buckwheat, cowpea, and sunn...
Categories: Ag News

California Meat Processing Coalition Promoting Policy Solutions to Processing Bottlenecks

Sat, 03/06/2021 - 15:11
CCOF, UC Davis Food Systems Lab, and Roots of Change have created the California Meat Processing Coalition to explore policy solutions to meat processing bottlenecks for small and mid-size producers. Coalition members include producers, processors, scientists, technical assistance providers, and key agricultural and environmental organizations. According to a CCOF posting, “The coalition is exploring policy solutions that will remove burdens on small and mid-size producers and processors, expand meat processing options, and invest in infrastructure to alleviate meat processing bottlenecks and support a resilient regional meat supply chain. Potential solutions include expanding on-farm slaughter, training the next generation of butchers,...
Categories: Ag News

Pesticide Residues Found Lingering on Organic Farms for Decades

Fri, 03/05/2021 - 21:08
Researchers reporting in American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science & Technology identified pesticide residues at 100 Swiss farms, including all the organic farms in the study. The study showed that the abundance of beneficial soil microbes was negatively impacted by the occurrence of pesticide residue, even when the fields had been converted to organic management more than 20 years previously. The study found that multiple herbicides and one fungicide remained in the surface soil after the conversion to organic practices. However, scientists say that the pesticide might have contaminated the organic fields by traveling through the air, water, or soil from...
Categories: Ag News

Study Analyzes Economic Impact of Agriculture in Montana

Fri, 03/05/2021 - 13:59
A new study from Montana State University examined the economic impact of on-farm agriculture in Montana. This agricultural impact study utilizes data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture and the IMPLAN economic impact model to assess the impact of farmers and ranchers on the Montana economy. The study examines agricultural land use, finance (including revenues, expenses, and taxation), producer profiles, and agriculture production’s impact on jobs and gross state product for each county in Montana. Statewide, the market value of agricultural products sold was $3.5 billion, with crop-related sales totaling $1.6 billion and livestock-related sales totaling $1.9 billion.
Categories: Ag News

Comment Period Now Open for NOSB Spring Meeting

Fri, 03/05/2021 - 13:51
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Spring 2021 Meeting will be virtual. Meeting materials are available online, including the tentative agenda, proposals, and discussion documents. Interested parties are encouraged to review the online meeting materials and provide feedback on topics included on the agenda. Written comments and requests for oral-comment speaking slots must be received by April 5, 2021. Public comment webinars will be held on April 20, 2021 and April 22, 2021. The public NOSB meetings will take place daily from April 28-30, 2021. The meetings are free and open to the public, and registration is not required unless...
Categories: Ag News

Washington Local Food Collaborative Launches “Meet Your CSA Farmer” Campaign

Fri, 03/05/2021 - 08:01
Related ATTRA Podcast: CSA Beginner and CSA Veteran The Eat Local First Collaborative in Washington state launched a “Meet Your CSA Farmer” campaign that’s running through March 31, 2021. The campaign features an online CSA Finder tool, integrated with Eat Local First and the Washington Food & Farm Finder, to help consumers find CSA (community-supported agriculture) farms near them. The campaign also features a 15-video series running on the Collaborative’s Facebook and Instagram channels that featuring local CSA farmers sharing how and why they grow, raise, and harvest in Washington, and how consumers can purchase shares. There’s also an opportunity...
Categories: Ag News

Food Hubs Help Supply Iowa Schools with Local Food

Wed, 03/03/2021 - 20:16
Related ATTRA Publication: Food Hubs: A Producer Guide The Iowa Food Hub Managers Working Group released a report on the impacts of the Local Produce and Protein Program (LPPP) grant on Iowa’s food hubs. This grant, funded by the CARES Act, helped Iowa children at 80 schools and early care centers eat healthy local food last fall. According to the report, schools in 53 of Iowa’s 99 counties used an LPPP grant to purchase local food. Of the $225,000 reimbursed to schools for food procurement, 51% was spent at food hubs. Food hubs served 52 unique farm to school customers...
Categories: Ag News

Midwest Specialty Growers Invited to Participate in Herbicide Drift Survey

Wed, 03/03/2021 - 19:56
A special project group of the North Central Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center wants to learn about specialty crop growers’ concerns and experiences with herbicide drift. The group is surveying growers of fruits, vegetables, and other specialty crops in the upper Midwest. To truly understand the frequency, severity, and economic impact of herbicide drift on specialty crops, they need to hear from growers: growers who have experienced drift damage, growers who can share their concerns around this issue, and growers who have not dealt with drift but who grow sensitive crops in drift-prone regions. Survey responses are needed to establish...
Categories: Ag News

Pesticide Imidacloprid Threatens Ground-Nesting Bees

Wed, 03/03/2021 - 18:11
Related ATTRA Publication: Cucumber Beetles: Organic and Biorational Integrated Pest Management A University of Guelph study found female hoary squash bees exposed to the insecticide imidacloprid dug 85% fewer nests, collected less pollen from crop flowers and produced 89% fewer offspring than unexposed bees. Imidacloprid is a neonicotinoid pesticide commonly used to control cucumber beetles on squash and pumpkins. Meanwhile, the hoary squash bee and other ground-nesting bees are important pollinators for many food crops. “Solitary ground-nesting bees make up about 70% of bee species. It’s a really important ecological group and is also really important in crop pollination,” said...
Categories: Ag News

Oregon’s Mudbone Grown Opens Paths for Black Farmers

Tue, 03/02/2021 - 21:03
An Oregon Field Guide feature from OPB highlights how Oregon farmers Shantae Johnson and Arthur Shavers of Mudbone Grown made their way into farming and are helping train and launch more farmers. The couple participates in training veterans as farmers and young farmers of color, and they are working with the Black Oregon Land Trust and the Black Food Fund to help gain access to land and food system and cultural infrastructure for Black farmers.
Categories: Ag News

Clemson Cooperative Extension Offers Peach Pointers

Tue, 03/02/2021 - 20:32
Related ATTRA Publication: Peach Insect Pests Identification Sheet Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service provides peach growers in the Southeast with information on how to detect and fight diseases, insects, and weeds. They advise organic growers to focus on soil and tree health, preserve beneficial insects and other microbes, and tighten spray intervals, given that most organic products are only marginally effective. Clemson Fruit Pathology Program developed the free MyIPM Smartphone App Series that provides growers along the East Coast with information about fruit crop diseases, pests, and disorders. They also offer the online 2021 Southeastern Peach, Nectarine and Plum Pest...
Categories: Ag News

Weekly Live Web Series for Vegetable Growers Launches

Tue, 03/02/2021 - 18:01
Related ATTRA Resources: Vegetables Great Lakes Vegetable Working Group, a group of vegetable Extension educators and researchers across the Midwest and Great Lakes regions, is introducing Vegetable Beet, a new weekly Web series for vegetable growers. Each week the live show will address a topic relevant to growers, and growers can join in to ask questions. The sessions will be recorded for later listening as podcasts. Topics planned for March include preparing for the coming growing season, transplant media, soils in high tunnels, and hot-water-treating seed.
Categories: Ag News

Regenerative Farming Practices Yield Benefits, Say Farmers Surveyed

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 20:58
Soil Health Academy surveyed its 2019 and 2020 course graduates on implementation of regenerative agriculture practices. The survey found that a majority of respondents are realizing resource and profitability improvements, with those improvements even more pronounced among producers who have been implementing regenerative practices for more than a year. A majority of respondents reported declines in synthetic fertilizer use, decreases in the use of pesticides and herbicides, and improved water infiltration. Meanwhile, among graziers, a majority of first-year respondents reported biomass increases, while 90% of second-year respondents reported increases. Furthermore, 37% of 2020 graduates and 60% of 2019 graduates reported...
Categories: Ag News

Perennial Fund Offers Loans for Farmers Transitioning to Organic

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 20:32
The nonprofit Mad Agriculture has launched the Perennial Fund, which offers a new type of loan to help farmers expand certified-organic acreage using regenerative practices. The program is designed to support farmers as they transition, in situations where conventional financing is difficult to obtain or not tailored to farmers’ needs. The Perennial Fund offers operating loans, equipment loans, and infrastructure loans that provide flexible payments during transition years and allow two deferral years in case of unexpected losses. The program also helps to coordinate a support network that addresses business planning, market development, and information exchange.
Categories: Ag News

Analysis Identifies Commonalities for Female Farmers

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 19:53
Researchers at Penn State University examined data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture to identify aspects of local economic and agricultural ecosystems that are most strongly associated with female-owned farms. The analysis, which was recently published in Food Policy, shows that more female-owned farms are found where average farm size is below 50 acres, where annual farm sales average less than $10,000 per farm, where more farms specialize in grazing sheep or goats, and where agritourism activities are more common. The researchers also found that direct-to-consumer sales are more prevalent in counties with more female-owned farms. In addition, availability of...
Categories: Ag News

Applications Open for Organic Seed Production Online Course

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 21:20
Organic Seed Alliance is accepting applications for the 2021 Organic Seed Production Online Course. This is a six-month certificate program that combines hands-on, farm-based independent study with online learning. The interactive, cohort-based course is designed to supplement an on-farm organic seed production training experience. The course includes six modules over six months and is focused on the biological, technical, and economic aspects of organic seed production. The online course is meant to supplement an on-farm seed production training experience and requires that enrolled students be simultaneously working or interning on a farm that grows seed or will allow the student...
Categories: Ag News

A Greener World Mourns Loss of Executive Director Andrew Gunther

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 21:15
A Greener World’s Executive Director, Andrew Gunther, passed away suddenly on February 19, 2021. According to a blog post from A Greener World (AGW), “Andrew’s leadership, expertise and relentless hard work drove the unprecedented growth of AGW’s flagship certification, Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW…During his tenure, AGW expanded to offer five of the most trusted and transparent food labels and certification services to farms, ranches and food businesses around the globe.” AGW’s Director of Communications and Outreach, Emily Moose, will assume the role of Executive Director.
Categories: Ag News

Conservation Mentorship Program Offered for Underserved Farmers and Ranchers

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 20:30
Since 2003, the Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award has recognized nearly 150 farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners nationwide for their efforts to improve soil health, water quality, and wildlife habitat. Now, a $250,000 Conservation Collaboration Grant from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will fund Sand County Foundation’s two-year pilot project to promote conservation outreach by its award recipients. “Leopold Conservation Award recipients are ambassadors who regularly discuss the importance of agricultural conservation with their peers and the general public. This project will empower our network of award recipients to share a range of knowledge, from how to apply...
Categories: Ag News

Farm Data Shows Cover Crops Increase Soil Health Indicators

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 15:40
Related ATTRA Publication: Overview of Cover Crops and Green Manures Soil Health Partnership, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, published data from a study of 96 farms over three to five years, showing that soil health indicators improved with the use of cover crops. Of six key soil health indicators (active carbon, soil organic matter, aggregate stability, available water capacity, respiration, and soil protein), four changed with use of cover crops. Furthermore, the effect of the cover crop increased with the amount of time cover crops had been used on the field. Soil Health Partnership notes that these indicators can...
Categories: Ag News

Fund-a-Farmer Grant Recipients Announced

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 15:28

Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) announced the award of $130,000 in Fund-a-Farmer Grants to a diverse slate of 56 livestock farmers and ranchers located across the country. The grants range from $1,000 to $2,500 and were awarded for projects that improve farm animal welfare and increase the capacity of humane farmers. In solidarity with the movement to address racial inequity in agriculture, half of the grants were made to farmers who identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Color. The grants include 19 to farmers who are seeking to attain or who already hold one of three animal welfare certifications...

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Categories: Ag News