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Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union Offers to Pay Closing Costs on Farmland Sales or Refinancing

Tue, 07/14/2020 - 16:41

Related ATTRA Publication: Financing Your Farm: Guidance for Beginning Farmers Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union (MHFCU) has announced a new program that pays closing costs for purchasing or refinancing farmland in Maine. The Conservation Grant Program will enable potential borrowers to take advantage of historically low interest rates by reimbursing borrowers up to $3,500 in closing costs, per loan. “Closing costs on farm loans are high, and often make it financially difficult to refinance, even at lower rates,” says Scott Budde, CEO and co-founder of MHFCU. Budde hopes this grant will incentivize farmers looking to buy land, expand acreage, or...

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Categories: Ag News

North Carolina Agrihood Supports Community Food Security

Tue, 07/14/2020 - 16:10

Related ATTRA Publication: Agrihoods: Development-Supported Agriculture Olivette Riverside Community and Farm, a North Carolina farm-to-table living community, reports that it is working with area nonprofits to provide freshly grown, organic foods to area families each month to help support them during the pandemic. The 346-acre community features a year-round organic farm run by a full-time organic farmer, who has been working with local nonprofits to provide fresh, organic produce to area families who need support most.

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Categories: Ag News

American Farmland Trust’s Summer-Long Farmers Market Celebration Supports Local Food

Tue, 07/14/2020 - 07:00

For more than a decade, American Farmland Trust’s Farmers Market Celebration has highlighted the important role farmers markets play in communities across the nation. During the summer-long event, shoppers can endorse their favorite farmers markets. This year, AFT’s 12th annual Farmers Market Celebration is making it easier than ever for shoppers to support their favorite market and help them earn national recognition, including a cash prize for the top markets. Visit the Celebration’s webpage through September 20, 2020, to endorse your favorite market.

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Categories: Ag News

USDA Announces New Members of the Minority Farmer Advisory Committee

Mon, 07/13/2020 - 16:06

USDA announced the appointment of 15 members to serve on the Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers. The newly appointed members serve terms of up to two years, through 2022. The Committee is made up of 15 members, including representatives for: socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers, nonprofit organizations, civil rights organizations or professions, and institutions of higher education. Congress authorized the Committee in 2008, and since its inception, it has served to advise the Secretary and USDA on the implementation of the section 2501 Program of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990; methods of maximizing the participation of...

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Categories: Ag News

Iowa Meat Processor Approved for Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program

Mon, 07/13/2020 - 15:53

Related ATTRA Publication: Working with Your Meat Processor Members of the Iowa Meat Processors Association approached the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in 2019 about implementing the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) program to help small meat processing facilities grow their businesses. Under the CIS program, smaller, state-inspected facilities can remain under state inspection but are allowed to apply a federal-style mark of inspection and sell products across state lines. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig signed the CIS agreement with USDA FSIS on May 20, 2020, and the first processing facility, Story...

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Categories: Ag News

Western Landowners Alliance Releases Guide on Payments for Stewardship

Mon, 07/13/2020 - 11:12

Related ATTRA Publication: Payments for Ecosystem Services The Western Landowners Alliance has released a new publication titled Paying for Stewardship: A Western Landowners’ Guide to Conservation Finance. This guide presents some ways landowners can earn compensation for their stewardship efforts directly or indirectly, through schemes sometimes referred to as payments for ecosystem services, ecosystem services markets, or conservation finance. The guide provides both descriptions and illustrative case studies of these strategies at work.

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Categories: Ag News

Grants Bolster Local Food System in Adirondack North Country

Fri, 07/10/2020 - 18:15

The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) has awarded eight northern New York farm and food businesses with a total of $100,000 in grant funding for efforts that will bolster food and farm security in the region. Grant awards range from $3,500 to $25,000 and will fund projects that help strengthen local food systems. The funding comes from anonymous donors. The projects selected include equipment that will help a creamery double production, create an on-farm store, boost capacity of a regional food hub, and provide low-income, senior and food insecure audiences with CSA shares, among others.

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Categories: Ag News

Annie’s Project and Farm Credit Partner on Agriculture Women’s Community and Leadership Survey

Fri, 07/10/2020 - 15:42

Annie’s Project is taking a closer look at agricultural women’s involvement with its new survey, the Agriculture Women’s Community & Leadership Survey. The survey is sponsored by Annie’s Project and Farm Credit and the results will be used to help design educational programs to expand women’s involvement in their communities and agricultural organizations. Anyone with an interest in women’s agricultural leadership is encouraged to take the 10-minute online survey before August 20, 2020.

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Categories: Ag News

Farmers’ Guide to Disaster Assistance Addresses WHIP+

Fri, 07/10/2020 - 14:55

Farmers’ Legal Action Group has released Volume 9 of the Farmers’ Guide to Disaster Assistance, The Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). It’s the ninth in a series of guides that describe the rules for programs such as the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP), Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), Farm Service Agency Emergency Loans, and other disaster assistance programs. This Guide discusses WHIP+, which replaces a different and older program,the 2017 Wildfires and Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP). WHIP+ provides payments to farmers that suffered crop, tree, bush, or vine losses that...

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Categories: Ag News

Report Offers Recommendations for Building a More Resilient Food System in Ohio

Thu, 07/09/2020 - 20:56

A report by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), Ohio Farmers Market Network (OFMN), Ohio Food Policy Network (OFPN), and Produce Perks Midwest (PPM) captures how local and regional food systems and nutrition assistance in Ohio were impacted by COVID-19. Opportunity in a Time of Crisis: Recommendations for Building a More Resilient Ohio Food System offers eight policy recommendations Ohio’s decision-makers can implement to invest in the capacity of state farmers and farmers markets and build food security for vulnerable families. In addition to discussing support for farmers markets, the report also describes the need to invest in...

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Categories: Ag News

Food Safety Opens New Markets for Small Farms, Study Finds

Thu, 07/09/2020 - 16:18

Related ATTRA Video: Food Safety—A Farmer’s Perspective A study by Cornell University found that small-scale farmers who are educated in food safety and develop a food-safety plan have new markets opened to them. The study showed that although the relative cost burden for implementing food safety plans is higher for smaller-scale producers, they enjoy more relative benefits of increasing sales to new markets and buyers. “The study highlights the value of food safety to all farmers,” said co-author Elizabeth Bihn. “It’s great to know that by investing in food safety, you are actually getting a market benefit.”

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Categories: Ag News

Additional Commodities Added to Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

Thu, 07/09/2020 - 15:37

USDA announced that additional commodities have been added to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), and that it has made several other adjustments to the program based on comments received and review of market data. The newly added commodities are alfalfa sprouts, anise, arugula, basil, bean sprouts, beets, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, celeriac, chives, cilantro, coconuts, collard greens, dandelion greens, greens (others not listed separately), guava, kale greens, lettuce, marjoram, mint, mustard, okra, oregano, parsnips, passion fruit, peas (green), pineapple, pistachios, radicchio, rosemary, sage, savory, sorrel, fresh sugarcane, Swiss chard, thyme, and turnip top greens. Additionally, funding for sales losses in...

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Categories: Ag News

Organic Farming Research Foundation Releases Video on Resilience

Wed, 07/08/2020 - 23:14

A new video from the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) aims to help create a better understanding of the benefits of choosing organic for human health and our planet. A Path to Resilience is a five-minute video that features the voices of organic farmers. It highlights systems that emphasize soil health and can help farmers and ranchers increase resilience to the impacts of climate change.

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Categories: Ag News

Listening Session Collects Agricultural Innovation Input

Wed, 07/08/2020 - 22:59

A listening session coordinated and hosted by the National Center for Appropriate Technology, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and the Organic Seed Alliance enabled farmers and others to provide input on what the USDA should prioritize in the decades ahead, reports Agri-View. Coordinators asked, “What are the biggest challenges and opportunities in the next 10 to 30 years to optimize agricultural production and resiliency?” Attendees responded with answers ranging from food as medicine, to involving non-farmers in the issue, to research on the impact of climate change.

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Categories: Ag News

Minnesota Makes State Land Available for Forage

Wed, 07/08/2020 - 21:27

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have joined forces to make forage on state lands available to Minnesota livestock farmers. Many livestock owners were unable to send animals for processing due to COVID-19-related disruptions at meat slaughtering facilities, and as a result some farmers have larger herds and are running out of feed. These changes, along with drought conditions in parts of the state, are putting additional pressure on an already-low statewide forage stockpile. The agencies are working to streamline the process of approving haying and grazing on state-owned land. Livestock farmers...

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Categories: Ag News

Study Compares Alternatives for Addressing Climate Change, Food Security, and Land Degradation

Tue, 07/07/2020 - 20:36

A study led by Rutgers University compared 40 options to tackle the interrelated problems of climate change, food security, and land degradation and looked for trade-offs or co-benefits with 18 categories of services provided by ecosystems, such as clean air and clean water, and the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals. Several interventions show potentially significant negative impacts on sustainable development goals and ecosystem services. Study authors say that some potential options that don’t get as much attention globally, but are quite promising with fewer trade-offs, include integrated water management, reducing post-harvest losses in agriculture, improving fire management, agroforestry, and...

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Categories: Ag News

Crop Insurance Changes Improve Options

Tue, 07/07/2020 - 17:17

Related ATTRA Publication: Crop Insurance Options for Specialty, Diversified, and Organic Farmers USDA Risk Management Agency announced changes to several crop insurance policies improving options for producers, including introducing a new Quality Loss Option, a new unit structure assignment option for Enterprise Units (EU), and new procedures for Multi-County Enterprise Units (MCEU). Specifically, the new Quality Loss Option allows producers to replace post-quality production amounts in their Actual Production History (APH) databases with pre-quality production amounts, thereby increasing their actual yields for individual crop years. The changes regarding the Quality Loss Option and EUs are further described in a final...

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Categories: Ag News

MOSES Launches Resilience Boot Camp for Women Farmers

Tue, 07/07/2020 - 16:55

Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) is taking its “In Her Boots” peer learning program for women farmers virtual this year. In Her Boots events that encourage women farmers to learn from each other will be held online as webinars, and the program will build on these events through In Her Boots Podcast and Facebook group. Also, there will be an eight-week weekly “Resilience Boot Camp” enews filled with tips to help you build capacity to manage the many curveballs of farming.

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Categories: Ag News

Oregon Farmers Markets Association Launches Online Sales

Mon, 07/06/2020 - 21:25

At least 27 farmers markets in Oregon have launched online ordering systems in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Oregon Farmers Markets Association (OFMA), in partnership with the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Oregon Coast Visitors Association (OCVA), launched a new statewide project this spring, aimed at helping Oregon’s farmers markets establish online ordering systems. The online markets offer an opportunity for consumers to support local businesses and preserve the farmers market industry, which serves communities across the state. Online ordering offers some farms their only current means of selling products. It also offers vulnerable and at-risk populations...

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Categories: Ag News

Cornell Scientists Identify Fungal Pathogen Causing Bitter Rot in Apples

Mon, 07/06/2020 - 20:03

Researchers at Cornell University have identified the fungal pathogen that causes bitter rot in apples. This fungus is in the genus Colletotrichum, as is a related fungus that causes rot on other fruit, which this study found for the first time on apples. Growers in New York suffer bitter rot losses as high as 25% per year, and organic growers have experienced crop loss to bitter rot. Identifying the pathogen responsible for bitter rot will help growers understand the environmental conditions that produce the disease, and they can look for ways to manage those conditions. In addition, scientists can begin...

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Categories: Ag News