Sustainable Ag News

AFRI Sustainable Agricultural Systems Program Announces Funded Projects

ATTRA - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 17:43
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced that it has invested $77.8 million in research that will focus on sustaining a more abundant, nutritious, and accessible food supply through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s (AFRI) Sustainable Agricultural Systems program. Eight universities will lead projects aimed at integrating sustainable agricultural approaches covering the entire food production system. Western Illinois University will lead research aimed at developing pennycress as an oilseed crop. New Mexico State University will focus on improving the efficiency of Southwestern ranches using precision farming. North Carolina State University is leading a multi-institutional project that focuses...
Categories: Ag News

Cost Studies for Growing Organic Romaine and Strawberries Released

ATTRA - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 17:28
Related ATTRA Publication: Strawberries: Organic Production University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Agricultural Issues Center and UC Cooperative Extension have released cost studies with sample costs to produce and harvest organic strawberries for fresh market and romaine lettuce hearts in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. The cost analyses are based on hypothetical well-managed farming operations using practices common to the Central Coast region. The costs, materials, and practices in the studies are intended to assist growers in estimating their own costs. Ranging analysis tables show net profits over a range of prices and yields. Free copies of these cost...
Categories: Ag News

Canadian Study Finds Neonicotinoid Pesticides Threaten Wild Birds

ATTRA - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 16:59
A University of Saskatchewan study published in the journal Science found that neonicotinoid pesticides could be responsible for a decline in wild songbird populations. Using new tagging and tracking technologies, researchers found that white-crowned sparrows who consumed small doses of imidacloprid suffered weight loss and delays to their migration. “Our study shows that this is bigger than the bees—birds can also be harmed by modern neonicotinoid pesticides, which should worry us all,” said one of the study’s co-authors.
Categories: Ag News

New York Provides Funding for Conservation Easements on Dairies

ATTRA - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 16:46
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that more than $18.6 million in funding will support conservation easement projects on 25 New York dairy farms. Through the Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program, dairy farms can diversify their operations or transition their farms to the next generation at more affordable costs, while ensuring the land forever remains used for agricultural purposes. The projects awarded in this funding round will protect 10,253 acres of viable agricultural land comprised of prime soils. Following the success of Round 1 of this program, New York State is launching a second round of the Farmland Protection...
Categories: Ag News

Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership Announces Projects in Eight States

ATTRA - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 12:43
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that it will invest $48 million in wetland conservation projects in eight states through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership. WREP project partners are providing nearly $2.3 million in matching funds for projects that will protect, restore, and enhance more than 15,000 acres of wetlands in critical watersheds. The partners work directly with eligible landowners interested in enrolling their agricultural land into wetland conservation easements. The projects in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee are briefly described online.
Categories: Ag News

Report Outlines Agricultural Reform Agenda

ATTRA - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 12:03
The Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) has published Growing Better: Ten Critical Transitions to Transform Food and Land Use, The Global Consultation Report of the Food and Land Use Coalition. The global report proposes a reform agenda—centred around ten critical transitions—of real actionable solutions. FOLU says these could deliver the needed change to boost progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement, help mitigate the negative effects of climate change, safeguard biodiversity, ensure more healthy diets for all, drastically improve food security, and create more inclusive rural economies. The report and executive summaries are available online.
Categories: Ag News

National Farm Safety and Health Week September 15-21

ATTRA - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 07:35
The theme for the 2019 National Farm Safety & Health Week, September 15-21, is “Shift Farm Safety into High Gear.” According to USDA, this week is an opportunity to spread awareness of the inherent risks associated with work in the agriculture sector and commit to improved practices that advance the health and safety of farm and ranch operators, their family members, and their hired workers. The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety is providing informative webinars each day of the week, focusing on special daily themes.
Categories: Ag News

Fifth Volume of Farmers’ Guide to Disaster Assistance Released

ATTRA - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 07:25
Farmers’ Legal Action Group has announced the release of the fifth volume in its seventh edition of the Farmers’ Guide to Disaster Assistance. This fifth volume, Disaster Set-Aside Program, describes the rules for 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 volume and others in the edition are available free online.
Categories: Ag News

Hulless Barley Research Progressing

ATTRA - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 07:16
MOSES Organic Broadcaster reported on research that is underway on developing hulless barley varieties specifically for organic production. A multi-year project led by Oregon State University and funded by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative is progressing in three different regions. It has already resulted in the release of a new variety, ‘Buck,’ and has produced resources that share production and utilization results from trials with feed and brewing barley.
Categories: Ag News

European Study Finds Climate Change Threatens Future of Region’s Agriculture

ATTRA - Wed, 09/11/2019 - 18:28
A European Environment Agency report, Climate Change Adaptation in the Agricultural Sector in Europe, finds that crop and livestock production is projected to decrease and may even have to be abandoned in parts of Europe’s southern and Mediterranean regions due to the increased negative impacts of climate change. The report looks at the key climate change problems facing agriculture in the EU and the outlook for the years ahead. It also gives an overview of how EU policies and programs address climate change adaptation and includes examples of feasible and successful adaptation actions. The report notes that adaptation at the...
Categories: Ag News

Planned Hemp Cultivation Acreage Quadrupled in 2019, Says Report

ATTRA - Wed, 09/11/2019 - 18:17
Grassroots advocacy group Vote Hemp has released its 2019 U.S. Hemp License Report, showing more than quadruple the acreage planned for hemp cultivation in the United States in 2019 as compared with 2018. The number of acres of hemp licensed across 34 states totaled 511,442 in 2019. Vote Hemp estimates that 230,000 acres of hemp will actually be planted and just 50 to 60% of that will be harvested due crop failure, non-compliant crops, and other factors, resulting in 115,000 to 138,000 acres of harvested hemp in 2019. In addition, states which license processors reported 2,880 processing licenses, an increase...
Categories: Ag News

Online Curriculum Available for Lavender Growers

ATTRA - Wed, 09/11/2019 - 17:51
Related ATTRA Publication: Lavender Production, Markets, and Agritourism Michigan State University Extension has introduced a self-paced, online course, “Growing Lavender: A Curriculum for Growers.” The course was developed under the leadership of Michigan State University, Kansas State University, and the United States Lavender Growers Association, with funding from the USDA’s North Central Regional Center for Rural Development. It addresses the needs of both beginning and more seasoned growers, including commercial growers, with seven learning modules that take approximately an hour each to complete. The course utilizes videos, audio, Web resources, and interactive content, and it includes examples from growers in...
Categories: Ag News

Report Highlights State Efforts in Financing Agricultural Conservation

ATTRA - Wed, 09/11/2019 - 17:35
A report released by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) highlights 14 state-level programs that use nontraditional financing mechanisms, including crop insurance discounts and transferable tax credits, to incentivize conservation adoption. Innovative State-Led Efforts to Finance Agricultural Conservation found that states that embrace innovative new ways to finance on-farm conservation can deliver multiple benefits to farmers, state residents, taxpayers, and the environment. For example, farmers benefit from support in adopting conservation practices, which is particularly important in a depressed farm economy. State residents benefit from improved water quality, reduced agricultural water consumption,...
Categories: Ag News

Land Stewardship Project Executive Director to Step Down

ATTRA - Wed, 09/11/2019 - 17:27
The Land Stewardship Project (LSP) announced that Mark Schultz will be stepping down as the nonprofit organization’s executive director. Schultz will be working closely with LSP’s board of directors in coming months to ensure a seamless and effective transition. During Schultz’s tenure as executive director, LSP launched a major soil health program, established a 501(c)(4) political action arm called the Land Stewardship Action Fund, advanced work on racial and gender justice, grew the organization’s membership base, and developed strong relationships with allied groups locally, regionally, and nationally. LSP will begin an extensive search for a new executive director in October.
Categories: Ag News

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Adopts Climate Resiliency Policy

ATTRA - Wed, 09/11/2019 - 17:10
The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) adopted new climate resiliency policy at its Annual Meeting. NASDA announced that it “acknowledges the necessity of adapting to a changing climate to protect and enhance our nation’s natural resources, while also building a resilient agricultural and food supply chain.” NASDA’s policy asserts that addressing climate resiliency in agriculture requires a comprehensive approach. NASDA encourages the collaboration of governments, corporations and philanthropic communities to develop incentive-based programs and pursue research that helps agriculture adapt to the effects of a changing climate.
Categories: Ag News

Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union Chartered

ATTRA - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 15:42
The National Credit Union Administration announced that it has granted a federal charter and Share Insurance Fund coverage to Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union. The credit union will serve the employees and approximately 13,000 members of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and the Maine Farmland Trust. It was chartered to make affordable member business loans to small farms, farmers, and other food producers within its field of membership. Loan funds will be available through mission-based deposits. Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union expects to begin operations this fall.
Categories: Ag News

UK’s National Farmers Union Unveils Plan for Farming to Reach Net Zero Greenhouse-Gas Emissions

ATTRA - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 15:31
The National Farmers Union in the United Kingdom has released Achieving Net Zero: Farming’s 2040 Goal, a report that puts forth a strategy for British farmers to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. The strategy is based on three pillars: improving farming’s productive efficiency, improving land management and changing land use to capture more carbon, and boosting renewable energy and the wider bio-economy. According to NFU, the first of these pillars is about reducing emissions, using a wide variety of techniques to enhance productivity and deliver the same output or more from every farm, and working smarter to...
Categories: Ag News

University of Minnesota Extension Offers Online Fruit-Growing Class

ATTRA - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 11:44
Related ATTRA Publication: Fruit Trees, Bushes, and Vines for Natural Growing in the Ozarks University of Minnesota Extension is offering an online course on growing fruit. The self-paced online course will teach students how to plan, plant, and manage fruit trees, bushes and vines for success throughout the growing season. Through the course, participants will learn to grow apples, pears, grapevines, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, stone fruits (such as plums, cherries, apricots, and peaches), and other fruit such as currants, gooseberries, kiwiberries, elderberry, aronia, and serviceberry. An optional, in-person session offers an opportunity to meet with the instructor and fellow students...
Categories: Ag News

Vermont Public Radio Explores Success of State’s Farm to Plate Program

ATTRA - Mon, 09/09/2019 - 21:21
Ten years after Vermont’s Farm-to-Plate Investment Program was created, Vermont Public Radio’s Did It Work? series explored the program’s accomplishments. The initiative aimed for economic development in the state’s food and farm sector, job creation, and improved access to healthy food. Stakeholders helped create a strategic plan in 2011, and the state’s lawmakers have committed nearly $9 million for matching grants through the Working Lands Enterprise Fund. According to this evaluation, the program has largely worked, as local food spending has tripled since the program began, and the number of food and beverage manufacturing businesses has grown 72%. The feature...
Categories: Ag News

Delaware Valley University Offering Small Farm Livestock Course

ATTRA - Mon, 09/09/2019 - 20:57
Related ATTRA Publication: Small-Scale Livestock Production Delaware Valley University in Pennsylvania is offering a non-credit short course designed for people who want to raise their own livestock. It’s the second year the course has been offered, due to the increasing public interest in small farms and homesteads. The six-week course takes place each week on Tuesday evening. Topics include soil, beef and pigs, poultry, sheep and goats, equines, and alternative animals.
Categories: Ag News
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