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USDA Collecting Input on Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program

Mon, 09/14/2020 - 15:46

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is seeking stakeholder input in the the development of its 2021 Request for Applications (RFA) for its Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). NIFA will be collecting this input via a webinar scheduled for September 16, 2020, from 1:00 – 2:30 Central Time, and by written comments submitted through e-mail by September 30, 2020. Join the ZoomGov Meeting with the Meeting ID: 160 595 0572 and Passcode: 299337. Send written comments via email to: Denis Ebodaghe at Denis.Ebodaghe@usda.gov or Desiree Rucker at desiree.rucker@usda.gov.

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Categories: Ag News

Organic Specialty Crop Training Available Free Online

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 15:12

Related ATTRA Resources: Organic Farming Organic farming training for specialty crop growers is now available free online from the University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), and California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. The training program contains six learning modules: soil health, weed management, irrigation and water management, insect and mite pest management, disease management, and business management and marketing. The program provides a combination of written content, videos, and exercises that allow students to follow along at their own pace and test their grasp of the knowledge. “While it was...

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Categories: Ag News

Northeast Grain Economy Flash Poll Underway

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 15:00

Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Small Grain Production Overview New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and Tufts Food Lab are conducting a Grain Flash Poll to collect information on Northeast farmers’ interest and experience in growing grains. This information will inform the design of a research and education project to help grow a local grain economy in the Northeast. If you grow grains or cover crops in rotation with veggies or fruit, grow grains for seed or straw, grow forage or feed for livestock, or if you are already growing grains for human consumption, please complete a three- to five-minute online poll...

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Categories: Ag News

AgrAbility Virtual State Fair to Provide Resources and Information

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 14:48

Purdue University has announced the inaugural AgrAbility Virtual State Fair, set for October. The online event will provide resources and information for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers who are working in production agriculture with a disability, functional limitation, or health condition. “Cultivating Accessible Agriculture” will be the recurring theme as each day during the month, one of the 19 states participating in AgrAbility will highlight how it supports and serves this critically important population. The National AgrAbility Project (NAP) housed at Purdue University supports all the state AgrAbility projects and provides limited services to farmers and ranchers in states...

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Categories: Ag News

Minnesota Greenbook Features Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Projects

Thu, 09/10/2020 - 21:36

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has released the 2020 edition of its Greenbook publication, featuring Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant projects from the last three years. Projects, which last two to three years, are located on Minnesota farms in all regions of the state and involve innovative topics including cover cropping, soil fertility, fruits and vegetables, alternative markets or specialty crops, livestock, and energy. The annual Greenbook summarizes the completed projects and offers an overview of eight new projects that will be reported in future editions.

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Categories: Ag News

Agricultural Finance Must Be Modified for Climate Resilience, Says Report

Thu, 09/10/2020 - 21:22

A new report from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy says that payments to compensate for damages from climate change cost taxpayers more than subsidizing good agricultural practices that would make farms more resilient. Agricultural Finance for Climate Resilience surveys policies and instruments in five segments of U.S. agricultural and agribusiness finance: taxpayer subsidized private crop and livestock insurance; federally regulated public and private agricultural loans; bond issuance to finance those loans; commodity futures markets whose prices should serve as reliable benchmarks for farmers’ pre-harvest forwarding contracts of grains and oilseed crops; and the disclosure of corporate climate financial...

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Categories: Ag News

Midwest Cover Crops Council Revises Cover Crop Decision Tool

Thu, 09/10/2020 - 21:00

Related ATTRA Video: Cover Crop Uses for Small-Scale Producers The Midwest Cover Crops Council has revised its Cover Crop Selector Tools that assist farmers in choosing cover crops to include in field crop and vegetable rotations. Users from 12 Midwest states can select their location and then select the goals they have for cover crops, such as erosion control, nitrogen scavenger, fighting weeds, and providing forage. They also can provide information about the cash crops they are planting and drainage data for their fields. The tool offers the best cover crop options for the specified conditions. Clicking on a particular...

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Categories: Ag News

Southern SARE Announces Funded Projects for Graduate Student Grants

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 21:35

The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SSARE) announced 16 funded projects for its 2020 Graduate Student Grants program. Grants totaling $236,875 will support sustainable agriculture research by master’s and PhD students enrolled at accredited institutions in the southern region. This year’s projects will address integrated grazing systems, soil moisture sensing, anaerobic soil disinfestation, intercropping for pest control, insect management, ramps production, food hubs, and more.

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Categories: Ag News

Project to Calculate Farm-Scale Carbon Credits Funded by U.S. Department of Energy

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 21:15

Related ATTRA Video: Payments for Ecosystem Services Part II ~ Carbon Markets and Credit Stacking The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) awarded $4.5 million through its SMARTFARM project to an effort led by the University of Illinois to develop technology to calculate carbon credits at the farm scale. The project, named “SYMFONI,” combines satellite observations, mobile soil sensing, and supercomputers to provide field-level quantification of carbon intensity. It will be developing commercial products to calculate the value of various ecosystem services related to crop and land management decisions.

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Categories: Ag News

University of Illinois Launches Center for the Economics of Sustainability

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 21:05

Agricultural, development, environmental, financial, and consumer economists at the University of Illinois have launched a new Center for the Economics of Sustainability (CEOS). The research center is exploring how best to manage natural resources and how to design policies and markets to achieve sustainability at the lowest possible cost. CEOS has a website with a library of articles, working papers, and public data sets for people collecting information on a certain research topic, and also offers opportunities to collaborate with CEOS researchers.

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Categories: Ag News

USDA Reopens Hemp Rule Comment Period

Tue, 09/08/2020 - 20:23

USDA announced that it is reopening the comment period for the interim final rule that was published on October 31, 2019, establishing the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program. The reopening will provide an additional 30 days for interested persons to comment on the interim final rule. Stakeholders, especially those who were subject to the regulatory requirements of the IFR during the 2020 production cycle, are invited to provide comments. Comment topics of particular interest are listed online. Comments must be received by October 8, 2020.

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Categories: Ag News

Pre-harvest Treatment Reduces Pathogens on Produce

Tue, 09/08/2020 - 20:01

Researchers at the University of Georgia tested using the food additives levulinic acid and sodium dodecyl sulfate as a pre-harvest spray on tomatoes. In on-farm tests, the spray treatment was found to significantly reduce the levels of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, salmonella, and L. monocytogenes on the surface of the tomatoes. This study found the pre-harvest spray to be an environmentally preferable and labor-saving way to control foodborne pathogens on produce, compared to post-harvest washing using chlorine. In addition, the spray can be applied using equipment that is already common on many farms.

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Categories: Ag News

Report Helps Agricultural Finance Industry Advance Conservation and Mitigate Climate Change

Tue, 09/08/2020 - 16:11

Environmental Defense Fund has released Financing Resilient Agriculture. This 49-page report provides a path forward for lenders to mitigate climate risks and finance resilient agriculture. It’s for agricultural lenders and lending institutions, as well as others interested in understanding the climate risks faced by the agricultural lending sector and the role of agricultural lenders in financing resilient agriculture. The report is available free online in PDF. The report’s foreword notes, “This report makes a clear and compelling case that long-term farm profitability is not undermined by near-term investments in conservation and climate resilience—it depends on it.”

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Categories: Ag News

Biological Pest Control Delivers Economic Benefits

Sun, 09/06/2020 - 20:53

Related ATTRA Resource: Biorationals: Ecological Pest Management Database Research published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution set a value of $14.6 to $19.5 billion annually on non-chemical crop protection in 23 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, reports CABI. This international study “unveils the magnitude and macro-economic relevance of biodiversity-based contributions to productivity growth in non-rice crops over a 100-year period between 1918 and 2018.” The study shows how 75 biological control agents mitigated 43 pests over the study period, and demonstrates the economic value of biological control in comparison to other agricultural strategies.

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Categories: Ag News

Researchers Argue for Curbing Use of Neonicotinoid Insecticides

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 22:51

Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from North Carolina State University and Pennsylvania State University argued for curbing the use of neonicotinoid insecticides by discontinuing the practice of applying them preventively on crop seeds. Although the practice is widespread in the United States, at least one study has cast doubt on its efficacy. Furthermore, evidence shows that these pesticides spread through the environment to pollinators, predators, and other insects they are not intended to kill. These scientists say that using less neonicotinoid insecticide could help reduce cascading effects on the environment from insecticides whose risks have...

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Categories: Ag News

New York Research Evaluates Ground Cherry and Goldenberry Production and Harvest

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 22:37

Research conducted by Cornell University and Cooperative Extension vegetable specialists and funded by Northern New York Agricultural Development Program evaluated production and harvest of ground cherries and goldenberries. Ground cherry (Physalis pruinosa) and goldenberry (Physalis peruviana) are warm-season annual crops that yield a yellow fruit popular as a healthy snack food. Golden cherry is currently grown and sold by farms in northern New York. It grows close to the ground and drops its fruit when ripe, making harvest labor-intensive. Goldenberry grows upright, is harvested by picking, and is being evaluated as a new crop for growers in northern New York....

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Categories: Ag News

A Greener World Launches ‘Certified Regenerative’ Label

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 21:46

Nonprofit certifier A Greener World (AGW) has launched a plan-based regenerative certification, Certified Regenerative by A Greener World. The new certification will provide a whole-farm assurance of sustainability, measuring benefits for soil, water, air, biodiversity, infrastructure, animal welfare, and social responsibility. The program will be backed by A Greener World’s ISO/IEC Guide 17065 accreditation. The core feature of this program is a farmer-led Regenerative Plan whereby farms assess risk, set goals, and track progress toward their own meaningful milestones.

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Categories: Ag News

Farmer Video Submissions Invited for MOSES Organic Farming Conference

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 21:31

The 2021 MOSES Organic Farming Conference will be a virtual event, tentatively scheduled for the last week of February. The planning team is inviting video submissions from farmers of Farmer Speed Presentations. Through a four-minute video, you can show others an insightful tip you’ve developed to make a farm chore easier, demonstrate a cool tool you’re using or hack you’ve created, or simply give a virtual tour of your farm. Farmer speed presentation videos must be submitted by October 31, 2020.

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Categories: Ag News

Video Series Highlights Cotton Producers Focusing on Soil Health

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 21:17

Related ATTRA Publication: Sustainable Cotton Production for the Humid South The Soil Health Institute is releasing Cotton & Covers, a Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton video series that follows three Southeastern cotton producers as they discuss their individual journeys to build profitable soil health management systems on their farms. The series features Sonny Price from Dillon, South Carolina; Zeb Winslow from Scotland Neck, North Carolina; and Burton Heatwole from Millen, Georgia. These cotton producers discuss why they decided to explore practices that promote soil health and the benefits they’ve discovered as they experimented with reduced tillage, increased cover crop species...

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Categories: Ag News

GRO Network Seeks to Gain Farmers Premium for Low-Carbon Grain

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 12:14

Related ATTRA Publication: Payments for Ecosystem Services Farmer’s Business Network has launched GRO Network™, a grain supply chain that creates value for environmental stewardship. According to GRO Network, buyers are looking for environmentally responsible agriculture products, while farmers want to expand conservation efforts and earn compensation for regenerative practices. GRO Network advocates for a near-term focus on emissions abatement to create immediate improvements for farmers and the environment, that can be tracked with existing farm technology. For buyers, GRO Network provides the technology, service, and tools to source and score Low-Carbon Grain. Bringing Low-Carbon Grain to the Agriculture Supply Chain,...

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Categories: Ag News