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Warming Winter Season Threatens Fruit Production

41 min 12 sec ago

The independent organization Climate Central reports that the winter season has warmed across most of the United States since 1970. Their analysis notes that although cold weather still happens in a warming climate, the winter season is less cold than it was half a century ago, and winter is the fastest-warming season in a majority of the U.S states. Furthermore, an analysis of winter temperatures indicates that 98% (236) of 242 cities had an increase in average winter temperatures from 1970, with the highest increases around the Great Lakes and Northeast region. The Climate Central materials explain that cherry, apple,...

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Categories: Ag News

Indiana Announces Specialty Crop Grant Awards

3 hours 54 min ago

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture awarded more than $468,000 funded by USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program to six projects designed to grow the state’s specialty crop sector. The grants were awarded to non-profit organizations, academic institutions and government agencies on a three-year cycle and will fund specialty crop research, education and market development. Funded projects include a marketing and consumer-education campaign to promote Indiana-grown watermelon, promotional marketing for farmers markets by Indiana Grown, and Indiana University’s efforts to establish Indiana-based supply chain for state-grown chestnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, and walnuts by conducting a supply chain assessment and hosting grower-education...

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Categories: Ag News

Iowa Project to Promote Lavender Specialty Crop

4 hours 8 min ago

Related ATTRA Publication: Lavender Production, Markets, and Agritourism The Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF) has received a Specialty Crop Block Grant from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to help grow demand for the Iowa specialty crop of lavender. This investment will allow IALF to increase awareness and understanding of lavender as a specialty crop in Iowa through the development of lesson plans and hands-on activities for educators and students. The lessons and activities will include lavender production and honeybees as pollinators, and feature samples of lavender products like lip balm, lotions, honey, and other food items.

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Categories: Ag News

Kansas State University Conducting Grazing Management Survey

Thu, 12/03/2020 - 21:10

Related ATTRA Publication: ATTRA Grazing Planning Manual and Workbook Kansas State University is conducting a survey to determine the adoption baseline of cattle grazing management plans in the United States and the economic impact of implementation, including the costs to implement and the resulting production benefits. Kansas State is asking ranchers to complete the anonymous survey, which takes about 20 minutes online. Questions focus on the respondent’s cattle operation and grazing management practices.

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Categories: Ag News

Biochar Research to Demonstrate Prevention of Manure-Contaminated Field Runoff

Thu, 12/03/2020 - 17:17

Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Tarleton State University scientists received a Conservation Innovation Grant to develop and demonstrate a biochar-assisted phytoremediation system for enhancing water quality during dairy manure application. The premise of the research is that specially designed biochar, created by using heat, pressure, and other adjuvants, produces unique carbon structures that particularly equip it to trap the nitrogen and phosphorus most likely to escape from field application in runoff. Laboratory testing shows that use of this biochar can help enhance the water quality of any potential runoff and, under the new grant, field testing will be conducted on...

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Categories: Ag News

Guide Aids Specialty Crop Farmers with Financial Risk Management

Thu, 12/03/2020 - 16:39

Related ATTRA Tutorial: Taking Your Farm to the Next Level The Land Connection has published Financial Risk Management for Specialty Crop Producers, a guide written by experienced farmers and professionals serving farmers to help farmers maintain, refine, and grow a farm business. The text explores tools for budgeting and financial planning; skills and strategies for accessing capital; structures and considerations for accessing land; crop insurance products; foundational business management practices; and strategic planning for ongoing success. It is designed specifically for specialty crop producers with a few years of experience running a farm business, though the information is applicable to...

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Categories: Ag News

Organic Research Forum Entries Invited for ‘Growing Stronger’ Conference

Thu, 12/03/2020 - 16:14

An Organic Research Forum will be included in Growing Stronger, the 5-in-1 virtual conference that combines the MOSES Organic Farming Conference, GrassWorks Grazing Conference, OGRAIN Organic Grain Conference, Midwest Organic Pork Conference, and Organic Vegetable Production Conference. Accepted entrants for the Organic Research Forum will receive free admission to Growing Stronger, taking place February 22-27, 2021. Researchers, academic faculty and staff, graduate/undergraduate students, and farmer researchers may submit proposals on research conducted in certified organic systems. The forum provides an opportunity to share your research through a four-minute speed presentation and an optional PDF of your research poster. The research...

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Categories: Ag News

Postal Service Announces Heritage-Breed Livestock Stamps for 2021

Thu, 12/03/2020 - 15:53

The U.S. Postal Service has unveiled the designs for stamps that it will issue in 2021, including stamps honoring heritage livestock breeds. According to a press release, these stamps pay tribute to “preindustrial farm animals that are enjoying renewed attention for their versatility, adaptability, and unique genetic traits.” The stamps include photographs of 10 heritage breeds: the American Mammoth Jackstock donkey, the Narragansett turkey, the Cayuga duck, the San Clemente Island goat, the Mulefoot hog, the Cotton Patch goose, the American Cream draft horse, the Barbados Blackbelly sheep, the Milking Devon cow, and the Wyandotte chicken.

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Categories: Ag News

Experience with Caterpillar Tunnels Shared Online

Wed, 12/02/2020 - 21:07

Sarah Lindblom of Solar Fresh Produce, a small CSA farm in Buffalo, Minnesota, received a Mill City Farmer Market Next Stage Grant to study and demonstrate caterpillar tunnels. The Sustainable Farming Association has posted a video, a podcast, and a series of reports on her experience growing high-value crops under caterpillar tunnels in 2020.

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Categories: Ag News

Soil Map Reveals Carbon Sequestration Potential

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 17:41

Related ATTRA Publication: Agriculture, Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration Scientists at Cornell University have unveiled a tool that will help researchers and policymakers map soil’s potential for carbon sequestration globally. Soils Revealed is an open-access, interactive platform that maps soil carbon fluctuation, both in the past and into the future. It was developed by researchers at Cornell, The Nature Conservancy, Woodwell Climate Research Center, and the International Soil Reference and Information Center. Developers say it’s the first interactive, global tool that shows how organic carbon in the soil has changed over time, as well as how much potential different land-management...

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Categories: Ag News

West Virginia Initiative Expanding Use of Specialty Crops in Craft Beverages

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 17:28

Related ATTRA Publication: Herbs: Organic Greenhouse Production The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that a new initiative involving the Robert C. Byrd Institute, Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College in Moorefield, and Unlimited Future and the Wild Ramp in Huntington seeks to expand the use of specialty crops in state-made drinks. The article reports that the effort will “expand cultivation of specialty crops for the craft beverage market, connect growers to bottlers who need specialty crops and promote the use of locally grown fruits, vegetables, berries, and herbs to produce craft beverages.” The project is funded by a Specialty Crop Block...

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Categories: Ag News

Mustard Seed Meal Extract to Be Tested as Organic Potato Weed Control

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 17:12

The Organic Farming Research Foundation and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research announced the award of a grant to Dr. Inna Popova at the University of Idaho to examine mustard seed meal extract as a weed management strategy for organic potatoes. University of Idaho researchers developed an extract from white mustard seal meal that contains high concentrations of a biopesticide compound. Dr. Popova and her team are evaluating the efficacy of mustard seed meal extract (MSME) on inhibiting weed seed germination (pre-emergent) and killing aboveground weed growth (post-emergent) while also determining the influence of MSME application on the soil...

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Categories: Ag News

Saltwater Intrusion Impacting Coastal Farmers

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 17:23

Related ATTRA Publication: Saline and Sodic Soils: Identification, Mitigation, and Management Considerations One of the initial impacts of climate change is saltwater intrusion, reports the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism. Atlantic and Gulf Coast farmers are losing the use of farmland due to salt that’s arriving not only with storms and tides, but also through underground saltwater intrusion. Saltwater intrusion is causing damage to forests and farm fields, making land unusable for crops and, in some cases, not able to grow weeds. Salt soils are also causing problems for agriculture in other regions, such as California’s Central Valley, where already-salty...

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Categories: Ag News

Low-Cost Agricultural Robots Address Lack of Farm Labor

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 17:02

A startup company in the United Kingdom has developed a low-cost robotic platform for agricultural implements, reports the University of Plymouth. The Robotriks Traction Unit (RTU) costs just over $9,000, and can be used for tasks ranging from soil and crop monitoring to row-crop harvesting. The battery-powered RTU works either by remote control or autonomously, at speeds up to 10 mph, and it is able to carry several hundred pounds. It is made from mass-produced standard parts, including a large drive wheel, suspension, and a computer system, all held together by galvanized pipe, on which farmers can attach a variety...

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Categories: Ag News

Grant to Strengthen Farm to Early Care and Education in 10 States

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 15:10

The Association of State Public Health Nutritionists announced that 10 states and the District of Columbia have been awarded $90,900 each to strengthen their state-level Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE) initiatives for a one-year project period. The plans that were competitively selected for funding were submitted by Colorado, District of Columbia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Vermont, and Washington. The funded programs take an equitable approach to fostering greater access to nutritious foods and a hands-on approach to food, health, and agriculture education.

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Categories: Ag News

Mid-South Farmers Invited to Participate in Survey on Organic Agriculture

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 17:33

Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Certification of Farms and Businesses Producing Agricultural Products Winrock International and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture are surveying farmers across the mid-South to gauge their interest in organic crop production. Researchers are seeking responses from active producers of row, fruit, vegetable, and field crops, including hay and forage, as well as livestock owners in Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. “The survey is being conducted to help design a three-year agricultural research project focusing on organic production issues in the Mid-South,” said Joseph Schafer of Winrock International. The survey takes five to 10 minutes...

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Categories: Ag News

Survey Shows Non-Operator Landowners Care About Conservation

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 17:22

American Farmland Trust (AFT) released an update to its Understanding and Activating Non-Operator Landowners: Non-Operator Landowner Survey, adding additional state data that clearly shows landowners care about conservation and are willing to share in the efforts to steward their land. Around 40% of farmland in the United States is rented, with more than one-third of this land owned by women. While conservation practices are less likely to be used by renters, many non-operator landowners are unaware of conservation programs, notes AFT. This study will help inform program materials designed specifically for landowners and help improve conservation conversations between landowners and...

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Categories: Ag News

Oat Variety Trial Results Released by Practical Farmers of Iowa

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 14:46

Related ATTRA Video: Making Organic Small Grains Work on Your Farm The sixth year of oat variety trials from Practical Farmers of Iowa screened 18 oat varieties at four Iowa State University research farms, and two varieties on one organic commercial farm. A complete report of the results is available online. The average oat yield was 121 bu/ac. The variety ‘Saddle’ had the highest yield at three of the four research farms. Both hulled and hulless varieties were tested.

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Categories: Ag News

American Elderberry Explored as Potential Crop for Small-Scale Farmers

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 21:02

Writing in Organic Broadcaster, berry grower Pete Widin explores the potential of American elderberry to be a profitable crop for small-scale farmers. The perennial elderberry enjoys growing markets for both flowers and fruit. Widin explains that the crop needs full sun and well-drained soil, and benefits from irrigation. The berries are vulnerable to spotted wing drosophila, and pressure from other pests and diseases varies by location. Prospective growers also need to consider the labor and infrastructure required to bring a crop to market.

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Categories: Ag News

Collaborative Plant Breeding Network Launched

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 20:46

Organic Seed Alliance, Dr. Julie Dawson at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and SeedLinked are launching a collaborative project funded by the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). The Collaborative Plant Breeding Network Development for Organic Systems in the Upper Midwest project will engage organic farmers, independent plant breeders, seed companies, and organic certifiers in plant breeding and trialing on organic farms, developing and field-testing new data sharing and networking tools, and releasing new varieties of sweet peppers and tomatoes adapted to the Upper Midwest. Farmers and gardeners in the Upper Midwest are invited to join the collaborative plant breeding network and...

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Categories: Ag News