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NCAT - News 09/18/2020 00:13
National Farmers Union (NFU) and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) announced that they are working together to foster diversity and inclusion in agriculture professions. The organizations signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) summarizing the ways in which they will collaborate to provide educational and leadership opportunities for young people of all racial and ethnic identities, develop federal policy priorities, and extend each other’s reach within agricultural communities. .
NCAT - News 09/17/2020 23:41
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has published its final decision on withdrawal of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule (OLPP) in the Federal Register. After reviewing the Economic Analysis Report related to the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule and the public comments on it, AMS issued its Final Decision concluding that no additional rulemaking action with respect to the OLPP Rule is necessary. .
NCAT - News 09/17/2020 14:46
North Central SARE reports that one of its grants supported Women’s Environmental Institute (WEI) in creating an online farmers market to support the regional food system in east central Minnesota. WEI received a two-year grant that helped it coordinate the effort to recruit participating farmers using sustainable practices, build the website, and develop a customer base. North Central SARE says that North Circle Online Farmers Market offers products from 22 farmers and producers, delivered at seven drop sites from June-October. Farmers post their offerings online, and customers place orders from Saturday to Wednesday. On Wednesday, sales close and WEI notifies... .
NCAT - News 09/17/2020 09:43
A study published in Scientific Reports by FAI Farms, the University of Bristol and The Norwegian University of Life Sciences shows that slower growing broiler chickens are healthier and have more fun than conventional commercial breeds. The study tested how varying stocking density and breed affected animal welfare in four production systems. The authors concluded in their study of commercial production settings that, while there are benefits of providing chickens with more space by slightly lowering the animal density, changing to a slower growing breed results in much better health and more positive experiences for these birds. .
NCAT - News 09/17/2020 00:17
USDA is letting residents and agricultural producers affected by recent wildfires know about assistance programs available through the department. These include USDA’s emergency loan program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. In addition, USDA can also provide financial resources through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program to help with immediate needs and long-term support to help recover from natural disasters and conserve water resources. Farmers and ranchers needing to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters can apply for assistance through USDA’s Emergency Conservation Program. There are also programs to help restore... .
NCAT - News 09/15/2020 20:40
A global study led by Lancaster University in the UK examined soil erosion data from 38 countries on six continents for insight on how erosion impacts soil longevity. The study revealed that more than 90% of the conventionally farmed soils in the study were thinning, and 16% had lifespans of less than a century. The study’s lead author noted, “This study provides the first evidence-backed, globally relevant estimates of soil lifespans.” He added, “Our study shows that soil erosion is a critical threat to global soil sustainability, and we need urgent action to prevent further rapid loss of soils and... .
NCAT - News 09/15/2020 20:28
The National Agricultural Law Center published a 12-page fact sheet that can help those considering adding a farm stay enterprise to their operation, Ten Legal Issues for Farm Stay Operators. The free, online resource reviews the top ten potential legal issues farm or ranch operators may face when considering adding a farm stay business. It also illustrates the connection between different types of farm stay and the resulting legal risks and requirements. The PDF publication includes a checklist to assist operators with the process of considering and managing farm stay legal issues. .
NCAT - News 09/15/2020 20:20
University of Tennessee Extension has published Considerations for Producing and Marketing Hops in Tennessee, a new manual to assist farmers and landowners who are considering growing hops. The 30-page guide addresses costs associated with establishing a hops plot, the annual costs associated with hops production, and marketing concerns like the craft brewing industry and agritourism. It also includes information on harvest, processing, and marketing hops to buyers. .
NCAT - News 09/15/2020 18:51
A modeling study by Tufts University, published in Environmental Science & Technology, found that some but not all U.S. metro areas could grow all the food they need within 155 miles. The study considered 378 metropolitan areas across the country, and found that metro centers in the Northwest and interior of the country have the greatest potential for localization. Although large portions of the population along the Eastern Seaboard and the southwest corner of the U.S. could not meet demand locally, other cities are surrounded by ample land to support local and regional food systems, researchers say. .
NCAT - News 09/14/2020 19:04
A feature in The Prairie Star describes how North Dakota rancher Lacey Block is marketing beef through Rancher’s Rebellion Beef Company, LLC, in North and South Dakota convenience stores and gas stations. Block describes navigating the regulations and paperwork for starting the business that supplies steaks, roasts, ribs, brisket, and ground beef from her own family’s ranch as well as neighboring ranchers. She located narrow coolers in local stores to avoid the markup that chain stores would charge. The business launched in February, just when demand for local beef increased. .
NCAT - News 09/14/2020 18:46
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 or Desiree Rucker at .
NCAT - News 09/11/2020 18:00
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 before September 18, 2020. .
NCAT - News 09/11/2020 17:48
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... .
NCAT - News 09/11/2020 00:36
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. .
NCAT - News 09/11/2020 00:22
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... .
NCAT - News 09/11/2020
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 cover crop brings up data sheets that offer more... .
NCAT - News 09/10/2020 00:35
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. .
NCAT - News 09/10/2020 00:15
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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