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Updated: 4 hours 58 min ago

Study Exploring Ecological Benefits of Virtual Fencing

Fri, 05/13/2022 - 16:09
The Nature Conservancy is partnering with Kansas State University, National Park Service, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition and private producers to determine if virtual fencing can help managers improve conservation, business and soil carbon outcomes on working cattle ranches in the United States. Kansas State University reports that its work is part of a $2 million project at three sites that is also assessing how soil carbon and ranching outcomes may be improved with innovative management options made possible by virtual fencing. Additional project sites are located in Colorado and New Mexico. This project is looking specifically at how virtual fencing...
Categories: Ag News

Maine Bans Spreading of Sewage Sludge on Farmland

Fri, 05/13/2022 - 15:53
Maine became the first U.S. state to ban the spreading of PFAS-contaminated sludge on farmland as fertilizer, reports The Guardian. The legislation also prevents sewage sludge from being composted with other organic material. PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are industrial chemicals used to make products stain-resistant and heat-resistant. They have been linked to a range of serious diseases, and very high levels of them have been found in the ground, water, and the blood of farmers on land where sewage sludge has been spread. Maine also created a $60 million fund to help affected farmers with health monitoring, buyouts,...
Categories: Ag News

USDA Extends Deadline for Comment on Competition in Ag Input Markets

Fri, 05/13/2022 - 15:30
USDA has extended the public comment period to identify the impacts of concentration and competition challenges in seed, fertilizer, other agricultural inputs, and retail markets. The new deadline is June 15, 2022. USDA seeks information about competition matters as they relate to: (1) fertilizer; (2) seed and agricultural inputs, particularly as they relate to the intellectual property system; (3) food retail, including access to retail for agricultural producers and small and medium-sized food processors through wholesale and distribution markets. USDA is seeking data on competition and market access for farmers and ranchers, new and growing market competitors, especially small and...
Categories: Ag News

SARE Seeks Ideas to Improve Sustainable Agriculture Outreach

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 21:27
SARE Outreach is seeking recommendations for information products or outreach initiatives to extend research-based sustainable innovations that improve the sustainability of American agriculture. This survey is intended to assess information needs and opportunities only. Submit ideas online by June 1, 2022.
Categories: Ag News

USDA Conservation Reserve Program Enrolls Two Million Acres

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 21:14
USDA announced that it is accepting more than two million acres in offers from agricultural producers and landowners through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General signup, the first of the program’s multiple signups occurring in 2022. Producers submitted re-enrollment offers for just over half of expiring acres, similar to the rate in 2021. However, offers for new land under General CRP were considerably lower than last year’s numbers. Through CRP, producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve soil health and water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat on agricultural...
Categories: Ag News

AgLaunch Initiative Supports BIPOC Farmers in Mid-South Delta

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 21:06
AgLaunch Initiative has introduced a Small Business Technical Program to support food businesses and farmers who are black, indigenous, and people of color in the Mid-South Delta region, containing mostly rural counties in Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee. “This funding is supporting small BIPOC food companies and farmers to ensure that those hit hardest by COVID are able to weather the storm and recent supply chain disruptions,” said Jade Clark, Director of Talent Development at AgLaunch. “We are bringing together farmers and food companies into the national AgLaunch model with the goal of building a more resilient future food...
Categories: Ag News

Farmers Gain Access to Cover Crop Economic Data

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 20:43
Farmers across Minnesota now have access to detailed financial information about the profitability of cover crops through the FINBIN farm financial database. A collaboration between The University of Minnesota’s Center for Farm Financial Management, Minnesota State Farm Business Management, Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association, Minnesota Office for Soil Health, and Environmental Defense Fund is making the information available. The initial findings include data from 17 farms growing cover crops and, over the coming years, the cover crop dataset will grow to include more than 85 farms across Minnesota. Preliminary data showed that farmers spent $26 per acre on cover...
Categories: Ag News

North Carolina Sheep Producer Exploring Performance of Native Grasses

Tue, 05/10/2022 - 21:04
Related ATTRA publication: Tools for Managing Internal Parasites in Small Ruminants: Pasture Management A North Carolina livestock producer received a grant from Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) to explore the use of native warm-season grasses as forage for Katahdin Hair sheep as a way quickly bring the animals to market weight, and for better parasite control. Lee Holcomb of LeeDer Farm is establishing big blue stem, little blue stem, and Indian grass in some of his pastures to see if they can help weaned lambs put on more weight and have less exposure to barber pole worms. The...
Categories: Ag News

Study Predicts Increasing Global Scarcity of Agricultural Water

Tue, 05/10/2022 - 20:47
An international study published in the American Geophysical Union journal Earth’s Future predicts that agricultural water scarcity is expected to increase in more than 80% of the world’s croplands by 2050. Researchers developed a new index to measure and predict water scarcity in agriculture’s two major sources: soil water that comes from rain, called green water, and irrigation from rivers, lakes and groundwater, called blue water. The researchers found that under climate change, global agricultural water scarcity will worsen in up to 84% of croplands, with a loss of water supplies driving scarcity in about 60% of those croplands. Researchers...
Categories: Ag News

North Central SARE Awards Partnership Grants

Tue, 05/10/2022 - 20:21
North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (NCR-SARE) awarded more than $676,000 to 18 projects through the 2022 Partnership Grant Program. This program is intended to foster cooperation between agriculture professionals and small groups of farmers and ranchers to catalyze on-farm research, demonstration, and education activities related to sustainable agriculture. A list of the funded projects is available online and includes projects related to agritourism, beginning women farmers, urban farming, compost tea, hemp farming, and cover crops.
Categories: Ag News

EcoFarm Conference Invites Workshop Proposals

Mon, 05/09/2022 - 10:17
The EcoFarm Conference is accepting workshop proposals for the 43rd EcoFarm Conference, set for January 18-21, 2023. The educational content that EcoFarm Conference presents is crowdsourced. Half the conference workshops are dedicated to technical farming or ranching topics and the remaining workshops are dedicated to community, nutrition, food, environmental and food justice, policy, gardening, history, and big picture topics. EcoFarm is developing content to better serve Black, California Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, and all folks of color as well as members of the LGBTTQAI+ community and those with different abilities who are farmers, ranchers, or involved in any aspect of...
Categories: Ag News

FruitGuys Community Fund Announces Farm Grant Awards

Mon, 05/09/2022 - 10:09
This is The FruitGuys Community Fund’s tenth year of providing small grants that have big positive impacts on farms’ sustainability and their communities. A volunteer grant review committee followed the Fund’s farming manifesto criteria and recommended 17 farms and agricultural nonprofits in 11 states to receive a total of $71,136 in funding. A majority of the recipients are owned or led by women who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC). Funded projects include drip irrigation systems, rainwater catchment systems, produce coolers, raised beds, and more.
Categories: Ag News

Southern SARE Seeks Applications for Administrative Council Seats

Mon, 05/09/2022 - 09:38
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) is accepting applications for vacancies on its Administrative Council. The Producer and Quality of Life seats are vacant. The Administrative Council guides the vision of the SARE program, setting goals related to sustainable agriculture, overseeing the review of grant Calls for Proposals, evaluating projects, and being ambassadors for the program. Producer members are directly involved in setting the goals of the Southern SARE program. Producers serve a three-year term with opportunities for a second renewal term. Application deadline is July 1, 2022.
Categories: Ag News

Heritage Breeds Week Set for May 15-21

Mon, 05/09/2022 - 09:20
International Heritage Breeds Week aims to raise global awareness about endangered heritage breeds of farm animals. It’s scheduled for May 15-21, 2022, with International Heritage Breeds Day being held the ending Saturday of that week. This is not an in-person event at a single location, but rather a global week of awareness. Join the fun by following #HeritageBreedsWeek on social media and learn more about rare breeds from the participating organizations. International Heritage Breeds Week is an opportunity for livestock conservation organization members, fans, and sponsors to advocate for conservation of heritage breeds in agriculture. It’s a time to share...
Categories: Ag News

Report Compiles Farmer and Rancher Recommendations for Advancing Regenerative Agriculture

Fri, 04/29/2022 - 18:16
Regenerative Agriculture: Farm Policy for the 21st Century is a new report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council that highlights how regenerative agriculture provides multiple environmental co-benefits while making land more resilient to climate change. The report uses interviews from more than 100 farmers and ranchers to inform policy recommendations on how lawmakers can transition the nation’s agricultural system. Among the report’s conclusions are that regenerative agriculture is part of the climate solution and can make our food system more resilient. Additionally, policies that created today’s dominant industrial agriculture model must be reformed and resources must meet the needs...
Categories: Ag News

‘Cultivating Our Communities’ Campaign Features Illinois Farmers

Fri, 04/29/2022 - 17:08
Cultivating Our Communities, a partnership with the Illinois Lt. Governor’s Office, the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Illinois Specialty Growers Association, and the Illinois Department of Agriculture, has launched its 2022 campaign spotlighting unique individuals, farms, and businesses. Since 2020, Cultivating Our Communities has showcased more than 85 food and farm businesses through Illinois Farm Bureau Partners and FarmWeekNow.com articles that demonstrate the many ways these businesses uplift rural, suburban, and urban communities across the state. This year’s campaign will focus on farms and markets in different regions across the state.
Categories: Ag News

USDA Releases Local Food Marketing Practices Data

Fri, 04/29/2022 - 14:14
Related ATTRA publication: Direct Marketing USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released data from the Local Food Marketing Practices survey. More than 147,000 U.S. farms produced and sold food locally through direct marketing practices, resulting in $9.0 billion in revenue in 2020. This figure includes more than 40,000 farms that sold food directly to institutions and intermediates ($4.1 billion); direct-to-consumer sales, such as on-farm stores and farmers markets, at $2.9 billion; and sales directly to retailers for $1.9 billion from more than 24,000 operations nationwide. The top five states by value of direct food sales were California, Pennsylvania, New York,...
Categories: Ag News

Study Measures Greenhouse-Gas Emissions from Grazed Grasslands

Fri, 04/29/2022 - 14:06
A study by USDA scientists, published in Agrosystems, Geosciences & Environment Journal, evaluated the greenhouse-gas emissions from grazed grasslands in Oklahoma. Three of the pastures studied were native prairies and one was a planted single species of grass. The team found that in this hot, subhumid area, all the sites were net emitters of carbon dioxide on a yearly basis. All sites emitted small amounts of nitrous oxide, but the non-native site, which received fertilizer, emitted the most nitrous oxide. Scientist noted that, with nitrous oxide being three hundred times stronger at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, this difference really...
Categories: Ag News

New Report Highlights Soil Organic Carbon’s Role in Soil Health

Thu, 04/28/2022 - 09:34
A new peer-reviewed research report published by the Soil Health Institute offers insight into the vital role that soil organic carbon levels can play in preventing drought, reducing flooding, and improving the health and water retention of the soils used to grow crops. The publication includes the development of new pedotransfer function equations, available for use by other researchers, that enable more precise measurement of the correlation between carbon levels, water retention and various soil types. These new equations will allow scientists to better predict how much water farmers can provide to their crops through improved soil health—specifically, by raising...
Categories: Ag News

Benefits of Local Food Production Revealed in Iowa Study

Tue, 04/26/2022 - 20:48
Scientists at Iowa State University examined a range of environmental impacts of vegetable production and distribution and found local production offers significant benefits. The published results of this study were selected as Editor’s Choice for 2021 in the Journal of Sustainability. The study involved life-cycle analysis for 18 types of vegetables in large-scale conventional production, medium-scale direct-to-consumer production, and individual household production. Several factors were included: greenhouse gas emissions, energy requirements, and water use of plants throughout production, transportation, and consumption. Results from the LCAs show the large-scale production model had significantly greater global warming potential and higher water demand...
Categories: Ag News