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Updated: 17 hours 31 min ago

Publication Helps California Farms and Ranches Thrive in the Face of Climate Change

Wed, 08/21/2019 - 18:01
Related ATTRA Publication: Climate Change and Perennial Fruit and Nut Production: Investing in Resilience in Uncertain Times California Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN) has released Cultivating Climate Resilience in Farming, an eight-page report that provides a science-based review of some of the most significant impacts of climate change on California agriculture and what is predicted in the coming decades. The report also includes “stories of California farmers and ranchers coping with climate impacts, some strategies they are using, and recommendations for needed resources and tools to keep California producers viable and thriving in the face of the sobering challenges ahead.”
Categories: Ag News

Research Grants Support Viability of Small and Medium-Sized Farms

Wed, 08/21/2019 - 16:56
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced the award of $5.8 million for 16 research projects through the Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities program area of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s (AFRI) 2018 Foundational program. According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the grants to universities across the country will support research on the continued viability and profitability of small and medium-sized farms. Many of the projects focus on under-served groups of farmers.
Categories: Ag News

Compost Key to Carbon Storage in Soil, Long-Term Study Shows

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 15:01
Related ATTRA Publication: How to Add Compost on Your Small Farm A 19-year study by scientists at the University of California, Davis, found that adding compost is key to storing carbon deep in semi-arid soils. The study compared soil carbon changes at 6-foot depth in conventional, cover-cropped, and compost-added plots of corn-tomato and wheat-fallow cropping systems. This research found that conventionally managed soils neither release nor store much carbon. Cover-cropped soils stored carbon only in the 12 inches nearest the surface, and they actually lost carbon at lower depths. However, when both compost and cover crops were added in an...
Categories: Ag News

Video Compares Summer Lettuce Varieties

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 14:20
Related ATTRA Publication: Scheduling Vegetable Plantings for Continuous Harvest Practical Farmers of Iowa has released a video on the results of a research project in which six farmer-cooperators compared four lettuce varieties to determine which grow and taste best during summer in Iowa. In this 5-minute video, PFI horticulture and habitat programs manager Liz Kolbe explains the research project testing Concept, Cherokee, Magenta, and Nevada lettuce varieties. Also, Jordan Scheibel, of Middle Way Farm in Grinnell, talks about what he’s looking for in a heat-tolerant lettuce variety and how it can help benefit his operation.
Categories: Ag News

Grants for Texas Urban and Rural Conservation Projects Awarded

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 14:02
The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas has announced that 32 projects will receive more than $262,000 in grants awarded through Texas Urban and Rural Conservation Projects (TURCP). To address food deserts and educate urban citizens and youth on the benefits of locally grown fresh produce and greening of the urban landscape, NRCS awarded competitive TURCP grants to establish community and pollinator gardens and construct high tunnel systems and rainwater harvesting systems. TURCP project grants are available up to $4,000 for a community garden, $3,000 for pollinator gardens, $6,500 for a high tunnel and $5,000 for a rainwater harvesting...
Categories: Ag News

Study Explores Soil Compaction in Fields with Grazed Cover Crops

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:44
Related ATTRA Publication: Livestock as a Tool: Improving Soil Health, Boosting Crops The Pasture Project, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Sustainable Farming Association, and Land Stewardship Project partnered on a four-year NRCS-USDA Conservation Innovation Grant to demonstrate the economic and soil health benefits of livestock grazing on cover crops. Practical Farmers of Iowa reports on the experience of three Iowa farmers who participated in a study that compared soil compaction in conventionally managed row crop fields where no cover crops were planted and no grazing occurred with fields where grazing of cover crops occurred. The cover crop was a six-species mix...
Categories: Ag News

Niche Meat and Poultry Producers, Processors Participate in Stakeholder Roundtables

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:29
Related ATTRA Publication: Meat Plants: Improving Profitability in Small and Very Small Operations The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) reports that it has been working closely with the Niche Meat Processors Assistance Network, the American Grassfed Association, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) to ensure that FSIS’ regulatory approach is right-sized for small and very small meat processing plants. Through this effort, niche producers and processors participated in seven regional stakeholder roundtables where attendees held an open dialogue that directly addressed meat and poultry food safety, as well as the negative impacts of a...
Categories: Ag News

USDA Announces Rural Energy for America Program Grants

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:16
USDA has announced the award of $9.3 million in grants for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across the nation through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP supports renewable energy and energy efficiency projects with grants and loan guarantees for farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses and institutions. These announcements are part of the $50 million Congress appropriated for REAP in fiscal year 2019. Projects selected for funding in all 50 states and Puerto Rico are listed online and include installation of solar arrays to power small and organic farms.
Categories: Ag News

Multimedia Series Explores Sustainable Future for Agriculture

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 15:59
Follow the Food, a multimedia series by BBC Future and BBC World News, investigates how farmers, researchers, and innovators around the world are working to secure a sustainable long-term future for the global food supply chain. Eight episodes available online address topics such as high-tech farming, waste reduction, soil, water, and sustainable food systems. The stories combine text, images, graphics, and video to introduce issues in agricultural production and the research that seeks to address those issues and enable future production.
Categories: Ag News

Multi-Year Purchase Agreements Can Advance Sustainable Agriculture

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 15:19
Multi-year purchase agreements can help to advance adoption of sustainable agriculture practices, says a feature on Conservation Finance Network. For example, Pipeline Foods’ Farm Profit Program enrolls growers in a 10-year agreement to purchase their organic crops. The assurance offered by a long-term agreement can help farmers weather the transitional period to organic production. Some organic producers value long-term contracts because they alleviate the need for marketing crops every year, and having a long-term agreement can motivate banks to lend. The feature points out that long-term contracts can also support expensive conservation measures, or practices that take a long time...
Categories: Ag News

National Food Hub Survey Underway

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 14:58
The National Food Hub Survey is currently underway. It’s a collaborative research effort of Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) and the Wallace Center at Winrock International, conducted every two years. The survey helps to identify trends in economic growth, services offered, and customers served by food hubs nationwide. Participation in the online survey is voluntary and takes 30 to 60 minutes. Participating in the survey can help improve national understanding of food hubs and inform policy and programming, as well as provide data that can help food hubs.
Categories: Ag News

Perennial Crops Offer Model for Sustainable Food Production

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 15:15
The perennial grain kernza, developed by Wes Jackson at the Land Institute, is an example of a new model for agriculture that’s featured in Yale Environment 360. After 40 years of development, kernza is in commercial production, though still on a small scale as researchers continue to work to improve the plant’s yield. The perennial grain is just part of a conceived food-production model that incorporates a self-sustaining perennial polyculture of diverse edible plants, including lupine to fix nitrogen, several perennial grains, and sunflowers grown for oil. A similar approach in agroforestry is based on a complex, multi-layered edible forest...
Categories: Ag News

NRCS Announces Soil Science Collaborative Research Projects Selected for Funding

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 14:40
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the selection of 15 projects for funding through Soil Science Collaborative Research. Projects focus on soil science and soil survey research, and the information gained from the collaborative research will advance NRCS’ ability to provide scientifically based soil and ecosystem information. Descriptions of the funded projects are available online.
Categories: Ag News

Resources Available to Help Value-Added Producers in Montana

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 12:15
Related ATTRA Resources : Value-Added Food Products New legislation in Montana has allowed the number of Food and Agriculture Development Centers (FADC) in the state to increase from four to eight, and also reauthorized funding for them, reports the Montana Standard. FADCs provide assistance to businesses that add value to food, renewable energy, or agricultural products produced in the state, helping them acquire grants and financing.
Categories: Ag News

Organic Soil Health Management Training Available Online

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 16:28
Related ATTRA Publication: Nutrient Management Plan (590) for Organic Systems The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has introduced a free online training program for beginning farmers, existing organic farmers, and farmers in transition to organic production. The first module in the training is Organic Soil Health Management. The content throughout the training program focuses on organic specialty crop production in California. This open educational resource is a joint effort between OFRF, the University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (UC SAREP), and California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, with funding from the California Department of Food...
Categories: Ag News

First Open Source Technology Ecosystem To Address Soil Health and Mitigate Climate Change

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 16:18
Related ATTRA Publication: ATTRA Soil Resources Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment, together with founding collaborators Stonyfield Organic, the USDA’s LandPKS project, and Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), has announced the launch of OpenTEAM, the first open source technology ecosystem in the world to address soil health and mitigate climate change. OpenTEAM, or Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management, is a farmer-driven, interoperable platform to provide farmers around the world with the best possible knowledge to improve soil health. According to a press release, OpenTEAM offers “field-level carbon measurement, digital management records, remote sensing, predictive analytics...
Categories: Ag News

Weekly Newsletter for Hemp Growers to Debut

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 15:47
GIE Media Inc. has announced that Hemp Grower will launch August 20, 2019, as a weekly newsletter and website to serve the U.S. hemp industry and emerging hemp markets in North America. GIE plans to publish the first edition of the Hemp Grower print magazine in late 2019. The magazine will be published six times per year and will be free to hemp business owners, senior management, and growers. Hemp Grower will provide regulatory news, analysis of industry trends and business strategy, and expert advice on cultivation, extraction, marketing, financial topics, and legal issues
Categories: Ag News

Equitable Food Initiative Updates Labor Standards

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 11:36
Related ATTRA Publication: Beyond Basic Compensation Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) has released revised certification standards, including a new Ethical Charter Addendum, to help growers demonstrate that they abide by all the principles of the Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices. The Ethical Charter provides members of the fresh produce industry with guiding principles and values as a framework for responsible labor practices. EFI has launched the optional addendum with an updated certification program that has been carefully benchmarked to the Charter. Growers who are audited and certified to the full EFI standards and the addendum can be confident they abide...
Categories: Ag News

Online Tool Helps Farmers Find USDA Farm Loans that Fit

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 11:25
Related ATTRA Publication: Financing Your Farm: Guidance for Beginning Farmers USDA has launched a new Farm Loan Discovery Tool on farmers.gov that can help farmers and ranchers find information on USDA farm loans that may best fit their operations. Farmers who are looking for financing options to operate a farm or buy land can answer a few simple questions about what they are looking to fund and how much money they need to borrow. After submitting their answers, farmers will be provided information on farm loans that best fit their specific needs. The loan application and additional resources also will...
Categories: Ag News

Report Highlights Regenerative Agriculture Investment Strategies

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 11:20
A team of researchers from Croatan Institute, Delta Institute, and the Organic Agriculture Revitalization Strategy (OARS) has released Soil Wealth: Investing in Regenerative Agriculture across Asset Classes, a report that provides the most comprehensive look to date at the U.S. landscape of investment opportunities in regenerative agriculture. The report highlights 127 investments totaling $321.1 billion that explicitly integrate sustainable food and agriculture in their investment processes, with 70 of those strategies (with combined assets of $47.5 billion) including regenerative agricultural criteria in their investment strategy. The report provides an in-depth analysis of investments in farmland and investment opportunities that support...
Categories: Ag News