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Updated: 12 hours 26 min ago

New Model for Arid-Land Farming Based on Wild Food Crops

Thu, 10/01/2020 - 21:38

Scientists from the U.S. Southwest and Mexico published an article in the journal Plants, People, Planet that presents a new model for farming in arid regions. The researchers propose selecting wild food crops already adapted to extreme conditions, in order to reduce climate disruptions to food security, human health, and rural economies. They say in “An Aridamerican model for agriculture in a hotter, water scarce world” that agriculture in arid regions should shift away from water-consumptive, heat-intolerant, annual plants to utilize no-till cropping of hardy perennials that are heat- and drought-tolerant. In the new model, production of these plants would...

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Categories: Ag News

Organic Research Forum Invites Submissions

Thu, 10/01/2020 - 20:45

The MOSES Organic Farming Conference will be a virtual event in 2021, and the Organic Research Forum is inviting researchers, academic faculty and staff, graduate/undergraduate students, and farmer researchers to submit their research in the form of four-minute speed presentation videos with a PDF research poster. Research must be conducted in a certified organic system, and acceptable topics are listed online. All accepted research presenters receive full conference admission. The deadline for submissions is January 11, 2021.

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Categories: Ag News

Grants Examine Organic Weed and Pest Management

Thu, 10/01/2020 - 17:44

Related ATTRA Resources: Organic Control of Pests Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) announced that it has awarded new grants to farmer/researcher collaborations at the Georgia Organic Peanut Association and the University of Idaho. Donn Cooper of Cooper Agricultural Services, working in collaboration with the Georgia Organic Peanut Association, will examine the effectiveness of an integrated weed control system in organic peanut production. The system utilizes regular mechanical cultivation and Eugenol, a broad-spectrum herbicide derived from cloves and approved for certified organic production in the commercial formulation known as Weed Slayer. The second grant was awarded to Professor Arash Rashed, leader...

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Categories: Ag News

Local Agricultural Marketing Program Grants Announced

Wed, 09/30/2020 - 21:31

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced it has awarded $27 million in grant funding through the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) and $9.3 million in grant funding through the new Regional Food System Partnerships (RFSP) grant program. FMLFPP supports the development, coordination, and expansion of direct producer to consumer markets and local and regional food business enterprises. Through this program, awards totaling approximately $13.5 million were made to 49 Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) projects and awards totaling approximately $13.5 million were made to 44 Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) projects that support and promote local and...

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Categories: Ag News

Analysis Identifies More Pesticides Harmful to Bees

Wed, 09/30/2020 - 21:14

New analysis from researchers at The University of Texas at Austin showed that the pesticides flupyradifurone (sold under the brand name Sivanto®) and sulfoxaflor (sold under the name Transform® WG) have harmful effects on bees, similar to neonicotinoids. This analysis reviewed 19 studies from the past five years, and it revealed that in addition to harming honeybees, the insecticides also showed signs of harming other beneficial insects, such as wild bumblebees and lacewings. In addition to increased mortality, the pesticides reduced reproductive ability and made pollinators less efficient foragers.

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Categories: Ag News

Comment Period for Strengthening Organic Enforcement Proposed Rule Closes October 5

Wed, 09/30/2020 - 21:01

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) is reminding stakeholders that the comment period for the Strengthening Organic Enforcement Proposed Rule closes at 11:59 pm Eastern on October 5, 2020. According to NOP, the proposed changes will significantly update the USDA organic regulations to increase oversight of complex organic supply chains. NOP published a six-part series in Organic Insider, detailing the proposed changes. Farmers and businesses can submit comments on how the changes will impact them.

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Categories: Ag News

Nitrogen Decision-Support Tool Receives Development Funding

Tue, 09/29/2020 - 19:17

Penn State University researchers have developed a decision-support tool that will help organic producers decide how much nitrogen to apply to corn crops. The online tool predicts corn yield based on the amount of nitrogen released from the soil and decomposing cover crops. A $500,000 grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture will allow the tool’s developers to expand testing to different types of soil and different cover crops. Under this project, researchers will field test the tool and engage in outreach activities to introduce it to producers.

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Categories: Ag News

Southern SARE Creates Equity and Prosperity Sustainable Agriculture Leadership Program

Tue, 09/29/2020 - 18:08

Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) has created the Equity and Prosperity Sustainable Agriculture Leadership Program to champion the leader­ship contributions of historically underserved farmers and ranchers and non-governmental organiza­tions that serve those audiences within the Southern region. The sponsorship funds support both giving and acquiring education and training activities for historically underserved farm­ers and ranchers in areas of sustainable agriculture. Program participants can receive sponsorship support to conduct education and training activities in areas of sustainable agriculture specifically targeted to historically underserved farmers and ranchers such as minority and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, beginning farmers and ranchers,...

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Categories: Ag News

Indiana Study Identifies Barriers to Organic Certification for Grain Producers

Tue, 09/29/2020 - 17:57

Related ATTRA Publication: Protecting Organic Crops from the Impacts of Genetic Modification Technology A study led by Purdue University Extension surveyed more than 300 Indiana grain farmers to identify barriers to organic certification. The study results, published as Supporting the wider adoption of organic certification for Indiana grain farmers, are available online as a nine-page PDF. Problems that participants in the survey identified included production loss due to weed pressure, certification ineligibility caused by GMO pollen drift, and crop damage and contamination caused by pesticide drift. Conventional farmers also cited a lack of successful organic farmer mentors as an obstacle...

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Categories: Ag News

New Members of National Organic Standards Board Announced

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 21:26

USDA announced the appointment of five new members to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). They will serve five-year terms beginning in January 2021. Nebraska organic farmer Amy Bruch will fill a Farmer Seat on the 15-member board, as will Logan Petrey, farm manager for Grimmway Farms locations in Georgia and Florida. Dr. Carolyn Dimitri of New York University will serve in a Public/Consumer Interest Seat, and so will educator, farmer, and longstanding NOFA-NY member Brian Caldwell. Meanwhile, the USDA-accredited Certifier Seat will be filled by Kyla Smith, Certification Director for Pennsylvania Certified Organic.

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Categories: Ag News

Maps Show How Warming Temperatures and Changing Rainfall Will Alter Agriculture at County Level

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 17:58

ProPublica is making available county-by-county maps for the United States, illustrating how changes in heat and humidity, wildfires, sea level, and farm crop yields, as well as climate impacts on economies, will impact individual counties. The information is based on data from the Rhodium Group, analyzed by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine. An article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed how the “climate niche” most suitable for human habitation is predicted to shift either significantly or dramatically northward, depending on the level of carbon emissions during the next fifty years. Some regions will...

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Categories: Ag News

New York’s First AEM-Leopold Conservation Award Goes to Sang Lee Farms

Fri, 09/25/2020 - 21:02

The Sand County Foundation, in partnership with the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, presented the inaugural Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM)-Leopold Conservation Award to Sang Lee Farms. The 97-acre certified organic farm, owned and operated by father and son, Fred and William Lee, grows more than 100 varieties of specialty fruit and vegetables. An early adopter of the AEM program, Sang Lee Farms uses modern technology and environmental best practices, including annual crop rotation to aid pest management, and inter-seeding of cover crops to suppress weeds, increase soil fertility, and to protect and conserve water resources. Their creative use...

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Categories: Ag News

NIFA Announces Award of $53 Million in Grants to Help Farmers Prosper

Fri, 09/25/2020 - 20:42

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced the award of more than $53 million in grants across three programs. The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) awarded more than $16.7 million in 48 projects to deliver the support new farmers and ranchers need. NIFA also awarded grants totaling $28.7 million to four regional entities contributing to the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network: University of Illinois, National Young Farmers Coalition, University of Tennessee, and Washington State University. NIFA also announced $9.6 million awarded to 17 projects through Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military...

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Categories: Ag News

California Project Exploring Alliums as Alternative to Strawberry Fumigation

Fri, 09/25/2020 - 20:15

Related ATTRA Publication: Companion Planting & Botanical Pesticides: Concepts & Resources University of California Cooperative Extension organic production specialist Joji Muramoto received a $411,395 grant from USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to explore disease controls for strawberries that offer an alternative to pesticide fumigants. This project will test both a variety of alliums and wheat as suppressive crops for controlling disease in strawberries. Muramoto warns that there’s likely not a single alternative to pesticide fumigation but says that a combination of biological approaches could create a soilborne disease-management strategy.

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Categories: Ag News

OREI Grant Funds Cornell-Led Value-Added Grains Project

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 20:27

A $2 million grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative is supporting a three-year, multi-institution project to develop value-added grain infrastructure for ancient and heritage grains. A Cornell University scientist is leading the project, which aims to establish an organic industry for wheat, naked barley, hulless oats, rye, emmer, spelt, and einkorn in the Northeast and Midwest. It will breed regionally suited varieties and identify best organic management practices, as well as increasing consumer demand and building supply chains. In addition to having market value of their own, these crops can...

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Categories: Ag News

AgEvidence Digital Tool Documents Impacts of Conservation Farming Practices

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 20:06

The Managing Soil Carbon working group of the Science for Nature and People Partnership announced the launch of AgEvidence, a visualization dashboard of data from nearly 300 peer-reviewed research papers about the environmental impacts of agriculture practices. The 40 years of research compiled in AgEvidence focuses on the environmental and agronomic impacts of cover crops, tillage management, pest management, and nutrient management practices used in growing corn and/or soybean crops in the Midwest. Visualization analytics enable users to easily navigate and interpret the data based on areas of interest, including climate mitigation, crop yields, pest management, soil nutrients, and water...

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Categories: Ag News

FarmRaise Resource Matches Farmers with Funding Sources

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 19:53

A new online resource called FarmRaise serves as a one-stop shop for farm funding that matches farmers with grants, cost-share programs, and loans, and then helps them apply by simplifying and de-jargoning the paperwork. FarmRaise is free for farmers to use to access more than 40 federal funding opportunities. Participating farmers fill out a brief eligibility quiz that determines which opportunities they match.

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Categories: Ag News

Applications Open for Future Harvest CASA Beginning Farmer Training Program

Wed, 09/23/2020 - 21:26

Future Harvest Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture is accepting applications for three levels of its free Beginning Farmer Training Program until October 16, 2020. The year-long immersive training experience combines a comprehensive classroom curriculum with hands-on learning at some of the region’s leading sustainable farms. The region-wide program is open to beginning farmers in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Washington, DC, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, and offers training in diverse operation types, including vegetables, fruit, cut flowers, herbs, and livestock at urban, peri-urban, and rural farm settings. Level 1 is for those who are relatively new to farming and offers attendance at...

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Categories: Ag News

Public Comment on Rainfall Index Crop Insurance Invited

Wed, 09/23/2020 - 20:35

USDA Risk Management Agency is seeking public comments on recommended improvements to the Pasture, Rangeland, Forage (PRF) Rainfall Index Crop Insurance Program by November 5, 2020. Improvements that have been recommended include the following: Adjusting the County Base Value (CBV) productivity range; Better targeting of indemnities; Focusing PRF on viable forage production areas; Focusing coverage on risk-reducing intervals; Taking an alternative approach to reducing frequent shallow losses; and Modifying the CBV. Details on the recommendations are available in a report published on the RMA website for public review and comment.

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Categories: Ag News

Wisconsin Farm Support Program Helps Farmers Cover Losses

Wed, 09/23/2020 - 20:26

The Wisconsin Farm Support Program, a joint program between the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR), distributed $8.4 million to more than 3,300 Wisconsin farmers in the second round. The second round of funding was open to farmers whose gross income from farming in 2019 was between $10,000 and $5 million. “In this round, almost 60% of funding recipients reported a gross income from farming of less than $40,000,” said DATCP Secretary-designee Randy Romanski. “Clearly, there was a need for additional support among Wisconsin’s smaller farm operations.” In total, the...

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Categories: Ag News