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NCAT - News 10/26/2020 21:40
The Midwest Grazing Exchange, a new website created by the Midwest Perennial Forage Working Group, is a free matchmaking service that aims to connect graziers and landowners. Graziers can search for forage to graze and landowners can search for livestock to graze their land in a six-state region that includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. The site allows visitors to create listings for land or livestock they have to offer, search and save existing listings, and find information on grazing contracts and regenerative grazing, as well as locate organizations and grazing specialists that can offer support in each... .
NCAT - News 10/26/2020 20:54
In the first month that applications for the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) were open, USDA approved more than $7 billion in payments to producers. CFAP 2 provides agricultural producers with financial assistance to help absorb some of the increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Since CFAP 2 enrollment began on September 21, 2020, FSA has approved more than 443,000 applications. The top five states for payments are Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, and Kansas. USDA has released a data dashboard on application progress that is updated weekly. CFAP 2 applications will be accepted... .
NCAT - News 10/23/2020 20:28
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has released the results of the 2019 Organic Survey, which show total sales of $9.93 billion in organic products, an increase of $2.37 billion, or 31% percent, from 2016. There were 16,585 certified organic farms, a 17% increase from 2016, which accounted for 5.50 million certified acres, an increase of 9% over 2016. The top organic sector was livestock and poultry products. Survey results showed that $2.04 billion in organic products were sold directly to retail markets, institutions, and local/regional food hubs, while another $300 million in organic products were sold directly to consumers,... .
NCAT - News 10/23/2020 20:08
USDA has published the final rule for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program update as directed by the 2018 Farm Bill. The changes incorporated in the final rule include higher payment caps for producers participating in the Organic Initiative, advance payments for historically underserved producers, and new language specifically including soil health and weather and drought resilience in the national priorities. In addition, the Conservation Innovation Grants program was changed to include field research and lower matching funds requirements for historically underserved producers. Also, the Conservation Innovation Grants program now includes opportunities for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials and Soil Health Demonstration... .
NCAT - News 10/23/2020 19:51
Farmers’ Legal Action Group (FLAG) has published a third edition of its Farmers’ Guide to Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). FLAG noted that there have been a number of changes to the program since the second edition came out in June. This third edition describes the two main aspects of CFAP—the component of CFAP that provides direct payments to farmers (what this Guide calls the CFAP direct payments program, or CFAP for short) and the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. The guide is available free online. .
NCAT - News 10/23/2020 00:07
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production nationwide and many hoped it would be a profitable new crop for farmers, reports Politico. However, after a boom in acreage planted last year, plantings of industrial hemp were down in 2020. Growers say a drop in price and a lack of markets have discouraged wider adoption of the crop. A patchwork of state regulations, combined with USDA requirements and pending FDA regulations, also complicate entry into this industry. .
NCAT - News 10/22/2020 20:35
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) is accepting applications for its 2020-2021 Farm Beginnings program. The eight-week course is a farmer-led program to help guide those with a strong commitment to creating a sustainable farm business achieve their goals. Designed for farmers with at least one year of production experience, this series of intensive workshops will help you to develop a whole farm plan through realistic goal setting, reflection, and assessment of your resources, skills, and markets—and give you the business-planning tools necessary to implement your plan successfully. Applicants from Maine will be given priority. The course takes place... .
NCAT - News 10/22/2020 17:56
Research published in Agricultural & Environmental Letters notes that information regarding soil health is often too generalized. Practices that are beneficial in one region could create challenges in another. Postdoctoral scientist Grace Miner says that practices need to be tested at the regional level to determine their effects, and that more study is needed on how soil health improvements impact crop yield. .
NCAT - News 10/22/2020 00:28
The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture has released a two-page report on Cherry Tomatoes in Self-Wicking Containers. In 2020, the Kerr Center horticulture program trialed several varieties of cherry tomato from the Sun series indoors in self-wicking containers that provide water and fertilizer from a reservoir. This free report contains the results of that trial. .
NCAT - News 10/20/2020 20:49
A new University of California report, Statistical Review of California Organic Agriculture, 2013-2016, says that organic agriculture continues to expand in the state and now includes more than 360 commodities. According to the report, the number of organic growers in California jumped from 2,089 in 2013 to 3,108 in 2016, based on data collected from farms that register as organic with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. In 2016, the top-10 organic commodities (by sales value) were cow milk, strawberries, carrots, wine grapes, table grapes, sweet potatoes, almonds, raspberries, salad mix, and chicken eggs. California organic sales were $3.1... .
NCAT - News 10/20/2020 18:15
USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory in Corvallis, Oregon, working in cooperation with the Oregon State University Agricultural Experiment Station, has introduced three new blackberry varieties. Eclipse, Galaxy, and Twilight are thornless blackberries that blend desirable traits of eastern erect-cane blackberries and western trailing blackberries. Because the varieties mature at different times, they help cover gaps in the fresh-market harvest season. .
NCAT - News 10/19/2020 19:14
Related ATTRA Publication: Biochar and Sustainable Agriculture Research from Rice University shows that in some regions, extensive use of biochar could save farmers a little more than 50% of the water they now use to grow crops. This would lead to a monetary savings over and above the acknowledged carbon benefits of biochar application. The study provides formulas to help farmers estimate irrigation cost savings from increased water-holding capacity (WHC) with biochar amendment. Results with biochar depend on the type of soil and the characteristics of the biochar itself. The greatest benefits were found to occur in regions with sandy... .
NCAT - News 10/19/2020 09:53
The Global Alliance for the Future of Food has released Systemic Solutions for Healthy Food Systems, a guide for governments to take action for better food systems that promote human, ecological, and animal health and well-being. The 19-page online guide provides 14 recommendations to tackle the interconnectedness of food systems through policy and practice. The recommendations are supported by a set of case studies from different countries, cultures, and contexts, contained in a companion publication, Systemic Solutions for Healthy Food Systems—Approaches to Policy & Practice. .
NCAT - News 10/19/2020 09:37
North Carolina A&T professor Chyi Lyi (Kathleen) Liang is heading a project that’s introducing specialty vegetables to North Carolina Growers, reports the Greensboro News & Record. Liang says that specialty vegetables now imported to the state by ethnic groceries and restaurants could be grown locally by small-scale farmers. Her project is identifying crops that grow well in the state and introducing them to farmers, restaurant owners, grocers, and others through workshops, demonstrations, and training. The aim is to help small-scale farmers diversify and earn more profit. .
NCAT - News 10/16/2020 23:48
Regenerative Agriculture and the Soil Carbon Solution, a new white paper from Rodale Insitute, says that a global switch to regenerative crop and pasture systems could draw down more than 100% of annual CO2 emissions. The full paper, as well as a fact sheet and action toolkit, can be downloaded. According to Rodale Institute, the new publication shows that a global switch to a regenerative food system could not only feed the world while reducing chemical exposure and improving biodiversity and soil health but could also be the key to mitigating the climate crisis. The paper was compiled through extensive... .

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