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NCAT - News 10/01/2020 00:01
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. .
NCAT - News 09/29/2020 22:17
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. .
NCAT - News 09/29/2020 20:57
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 to transitioning to certified organic production. The study also identified opportunities for policy... .
NCAT - News 09/29/2020 00:26
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. .
NCAT - News 09/28/2020 20:58
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... .
NCAT - News 09/26/2020 00:02
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... .
NCAT - News 09/25/2020 23:42
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... .
NCAT - News 09/24/2020 00:26
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... .
NCAT - News 09/23/2020 23:35
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. .
NCAT - News 09/22/2020 20:26
USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced modifications to the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) program to decrease paperwork and recordkeeping burdens for direct marketers beginning with the 2021 crop year. Participants in stakeholder meetings recommended RMA decrease the requirements for reporting yield and revenues for each commodity, which is especially difficult for direct marketers who may sell several commodities through a roadside stand. The newly implemented modifications allow growers to report two or more direct-marketed commodities as a combined single commodity code with a combined expected revenue for all commodities. Additionally, the combined direct-marketed commodities will count as two commodities in... .
NCAT - News 09/22/2020 19:08
Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides has posted a five-minute video titled Successes in Organic Hazelnut Production: Biodiversity and Management of Filbert Moth. The video features grower Taylor Larson of My Brothers’ Farm in Creswell, Oregon, demonstrating how to manage hazelnut orchards for increased biodiversity and healthy soil. This video was created with support from Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, and in cooperation with the Oregon Organic Hazelnut Cooperative. .
NCAT - News 09/22/2020 16:05
Walmart Foundation, Cargill, and McDonald’s are investing over $6 million in an initiative led by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that aims to make lasting improvements to the grasslands of the Northern Great Plains. The new program, known as the Ranch Systems and Viability Planning network, will support ranchers across the ecoregion—focusing primarily on Montana, Nebraska, and South Dakota—with technical expertise, training, and tools to help advance grazing practices that improve the health of the land. Organizers say that by improving management of one million acres over five years and avoiding conversion, this effort will result in increased carbon storage and... .
NCAT - News 09/22/2020 00:14
The Cornell Maple Program has a new notebook for producers available free online. The 202-page Sugarbush Management Notebook addresses topics such as maintaining a healthy sugarbush, sugarbush improvement, pest and disease monitoring, regeneration, ecosystem health, and more. The publication joins the Cornell Maple Program’s notebook series, which includes publications on beginning syrup production, marketing, production, and value-added products. .


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