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USDA Announces Deadline for Disaster Recovery Assistance Application

Mon, 10/12/2020 - 21:16

USDA announced October 30, 2020, as the deadline to submit applications for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program – Plus (WHIP+) for 2018 and 2019 losses. USDA did not originally specify a deadline when the program was announced. WHIP+ compensates producers for losses due to hurricanes, floods, snowstorms, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, drought, excessive moisture, and wildfires occurring in calendar years 2018 and 2019. Drought and excessive moisture were added as eligible losses for the program in March 2020. FSA plans to launch a new tool on the farmers.gov WHIP+ webpage to help producers understand eligibility for the program and...

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Categories: Ag News

U.S. Dairy Unveils Net Zero Initiative for Carbon Emissions

Mon, 10/12/2020 - 16:31

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy unveiled the Net Zero Initiative, an industry-wide effort that will help U.S. dairy farms of all sizes and geographies implement new technologies and adopt economically viable practices. According to a press release, the initiative is a critical component of U.S. dairy’s environmental stewardship goals, endorsed by dairy industry leaders and farmers, to achieve carbon neutrality, optimized water usage, and improved water quality by 2050. Through foundational science, on-farm pilots, and development of new product markets, the Net Zero Initiative aims to knock down barriers and create incentives for farmers that will lead to economic...

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Categories: Ag News

Pesticides and Loss of Food Sources Cause Wild Bee Decline, Study Finds

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 21:26

Related ATTRA Publication: Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees Researchers at the University of California, Davis, published results of a study showing that loss of flowering plants and pesticide use combine to drastically reduce wild bee reproduction. This research found that blue orchard bee reproduction was reduced by 57% and there were significantly fewer female offspring when the bees were exposed to the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid and had less access to flowers. The pesticide exposure was responsible for greater declines than deprivation from food alone. A press release noted that “the research can help farmers make decisions about how they manage the...

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Categories: Ag News

North Central SARE Announces 2020 Grant Program Awards

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 18:34

North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (NCR-SARE) awarded a total of more than $4.1 million to 46 projects through three grant programs in 2020. The Research and Education, Graduate Student, and Professional Development programs offer competitive grants for researchers, graduate students, organizations, agricultural educators, and others who are exploring sustainable agriculture in the Midwest. A list of the recipients, with project titles, is posted online.

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Categories: Ag News

Bale Grazing Builds Soil Health

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 16:18

Related ATTRA Publication: Building Healthy Pasture Soils North Dakota siblings Erin and Drew Gaugler have been conducting research on the soil health impacts of bale grazing on their farm through a grant from North Central SARE, reports Farm & Ranch Guide. After two seasons of bale grazing, the Gauglers say they noticed an obvious difference in plant production in the bale-grazed areas. Soil tests didn’t show an immediate difference in organic matter in the bale-grazed areas, but did show increases in levels of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. The Gauglers will be continuing their research under a new grant that will...

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Categories: Ag News

Vermont Announces Funding for Specialty Crop Projects

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 15:51

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) announced that Specialty Crop Block Grants totaling $299,350 will support seven projects to benefit Vermont fruit, vegetable, and value-added producers and increase consumer access to locally produced food. The projects will undertake a range of research, development, education, business planning, and marketing efforts. Projects will address specialty crop production of maple syrup, saffron, weed and disease control, and more.

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Categories: Ag News

North Carolina Small Farmers of the Year Receive Recognition

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 07:37

Related ATTRA Publication: Community Supported Agriculture Cooperative Extension at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University presented the North Carolina Small Farmer of the Year award to Amos and Kaci Nidiffer, the owners of Trosly Farm. On less than five acres, the Nidiffer family grows greenhouse products, such as lettuces, greens and tomatoes; and livestock, such as hogs and pullets. They operate a CSA that involves the community in understanding how food is produced, and have hosted workshops on small-scale farming. The Nidiffers were presented with a plaque, monogrammed jackets, and $1,500 during an online event.

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Categories: Ag News

Conservation Stewardship Program Changes Published in Final Rule

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 07:20

USDA released the Final Rule making changes directed by the 2018 Farm Bill to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). This Final Rule better aligns CSP with NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) through common applications, contracting operations, conservation planning, conservation practices, and related administrative procedures. Additional changes include increased payment rates for adoption of cover crop rotations, a new supplemental payment for advanced grazing management, a one-time payment for developing a comprehensive conservation plan, and specific support for organic and transitioning-to-organic production activities.

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Categories: Ag News

Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Grants Announced

Thu, 10/08/2020 - 16:00

USDA has announced the award of $19.1 million in grants through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (2501) Program. The grants help provide training, outreach, and technical assistance. Grants were issued to 49 organizations in 28 states conducting outreach and assistance for socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers. Additionally, Alcorn State University received funding to continue to administer the Socially Disadvantaged Policy Research Center. Projects funded under the 2501 Program include conferences, workshops, and demonstrations on various farming techniques, and connecting underserved farmers and ranchers to USDA’s programs and services.

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Categories: Ag News

USDA Announces CFAP 2 Eligible Commodities Finder

Thu, 10/08/2020 - 15:09

Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) continues through December 11, 2020. CFAP 2 provides eligible producers with direct financial assistance due to market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. Many more commodities are eligible for CFAP 2 than CFAP 1. USDA has introduced a new, easy-to-use CFAP 2 Eligible Commodities Finder at Farmers.gov that simplifies finding payment rates specific to your operation.

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Categories: Ag News

Three Online Courses Added to Organic Integrity Learning Center

Thu, 10/08/2020 - 15:00

Related ATTRA Publication: Organic System Plan Template for Crop and/or Livestock Production USDA’s National Organic Program announced that three new courses for certifiers have been added to the Organic Integrity Learning Center. The first, a course on recordkeeping, introduces certifiers and inspectors to a variety of recordkeeping systems and helps certifiers structure recordkeeping reviews. Another course, on Organic System Plans (OSP), teaches requirements related to OSPs in the USDA organic regulations, examines the different functions of the OSP, discusses critical organic control points, and provides OSP evaluation and design considerations for certifiers. Finally, Certification Review Essentials guides certification reviewers through...

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Categories: Ag News

Online Platform Connects California Landowners with Grazing Animals

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 20:31

Related ATTRA Publication: Tips for Marketing Sheep and Goat Products: Vegetation Management Services Match.Graze is a free online platform created by University of California Cooperative Extension that connects California landowners who want to have their property grazed with livestock owners who can provide vegetation management services. Grazing can help reduce the accumulation of fire fuels, even on steep and remote land. To find a local grazing partner, visit MatchGraze.com, set up a free account, create a pin on the map, and make a match.

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Categories: Ag News

Biomass Harvest from Riparian Buffers Won’t Impede Water Quality Protection, Says Study

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 19:05

Related ATTRA Publication: Protecting Riparian Areas: Farmland Management Strategies Penn State University researchers conducted a study that compared six different riparian buffer scenarios featuring grass and trees and explored the potential for biomass harvest from them. The researchers suggest that farmers would be more likely to install riparian buffers on their properties if they were allowed to harvest biomass from them, which is currently not allowed under Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program regulations. This research tested how well buffers performed when switchgrass and swamp willow trees were harvested from them. The results of this Pennsylvania study showed that harvesting vegetation from...

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Categories: Ag News

Northeast Farm to Institution Summit Accepting Proposal Submissions

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 18:46

Farm to Institution New England announced the fourth biennial ​Northeast Farm to Institution Summit, an event that will take place virtually on the first three Thursdays of April 2021. Organizers are inviting you to be part of creating this event by submitting a proposal for a session. Organizers are encouraging proposals from all those involved or interested in mobilizing institutions to transform our food system. This year’s theme is “​Reflection, Resilience, Renewal​,” and proposal guidelines and conference objectives are detailed online. The deadline for proposal submission is November 23, 2020.

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Categories: Ag News

Kansas Announces Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Awards

Mon, 10/05/2020 - 21:03

The Kansas Department of Agriculture has been awarded $331,846 through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The funds will support six projects that increase opportunities for specialty crops in Kansas. These include training for specialty crop growers; education for children, college students, and others about growing specialty crops; and programs to build markets for specialty crops by promoting them to consumers.

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Categories: Ag News

Iowa Organic Farmers Report on Research to Control Squash Vine Borer

Mon, 10/05/2020 - 19:07

Related ATTRA Publication: Squash Bug and Squash Vine Borer: Organic Controls Practical Farmers of Iowa has released a report discussing the results of on-farm research on control of squash vine borer. Two organic farmers who have both struggled with vine borers undertook a trial comparing five methods of organic control. Julia Slocum and Mark Quee compared organic methods to control squash vine borer in susceptible varieties of winter squash. They found that row cover was the most effective control practice, keeping more plants alive and producing higher yields. The trial also showed that Bt injections were effective at Quee’s but...

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Categories: Ag News

Abstracts Invited for 2020 Perennial Farm Gathering

Mon, 10/05/2020 - 18:58

The Association for Temperate Agroforestry and the Savanna Institute are co-hosting the online 2020 Perennial Farm Gathering December 6-9, 2020. The event is designed to help put research into practice by facilitating stronger connections between farmers, practitioners, scientists, and community members. All are invited to submit proposals for talks, posters, or organized sessions on any aspect of agroforestry research, education, or application. Organizers encourage presentations intended for academic as well as non-academic audiences. Abstracts can be of three types: oral presentations, poster presentations, or organized sessions. Abstracts must be submitted by November 2, 2020.

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Categories: Ag News

California Announces Projects Funded by Specialty Crop Block Grants

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 15:08

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced that California has received $23.8 million in funding through the 2020 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). The SCBGP provides grants to state departments of agriculture to fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. With the grant, CDFA will fund 58 projects, awarding grants ranging from $50,000 to $450,000 to non-profit and for-profit organizations, government entities, and colleges and universities. These projects focus on increasing sales of specialty crops by leveraging the unique qualities of specialty crops grown in California; increasing consumption by expanding the specialty crop consumer market,...

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Categories: Ag News

Food System Transformation Highlighted in New Book

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 14:59

The UN- and World Bank-led International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), published in 2009, is still viewed as perhaps the most comprehensive assessment of global agriculture. Now, after 10 years, 40 eminent food system experts, most of them authors and review editors of the initial IAASTD, have taken stock of changes to the food system during the past decade in a new book titled Transformation of Our Food Systems—The making of a paradigm shift. The publication is available online in its entirety. The book combines scientific studies, UN agreements, updates, and infographics to highlight trends...

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Categories: Ag News

Experiments Test Oil-Coated Sand as Alternative to Plastic Film Mulch

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 13:21

Research published in the Vadose Zone Journal, a publication of the Soil Science Society of America, indicated that soybean-oil-coated sand has potential to be developed into an alternative to plastic film mulch. Plastics commonly used in agriculture can cause soil and water-quality problems as they degrade, so researchers at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas are seeking a more sustainable alternative that can help minimize water loss and aid in weed control. In this test, scientists mixed nearly equal volumes of sand and biobased oil, and then heated the mixture to partially polymerize the oil. The resulting product allowed...

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Categories: Ag News