Author: NCAT IT

In this podcast, Robert Maggiani, a sustainable agriculture specialist with NCAT’s ATTRA sustainable agriculture program, talks with Juan Raygoza about his farm in South Texas. Juan moved to the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas in 2007 with little money. His goal was to farm vegetables for his family. At first he borrowed land to farm, and then was able to purchase seven acres with the help of a USDA loan and is now owner of Terra Preta Farm in Edinburg, Texas. NCAT has worked with him on several projects over the past five years and helped...

In this episode, Sue Beckwith and Mike Morris, co-authors of the new book Beyond Fresh: a Food Processing Guide for Texas Farmers, discuss the book and the issues it addresses. The book, a workbook, is focused mostly on Texas farmers, helping them decide whether they should move beyond just selling fresh and whole fruits and vegetables by trying to create and sell value-added food products. Beyond Fresh isn’t a how-to book for creating particular products. Rather, it looks at product development, storage and distribution, regulations, labeling, market trends and more – as part of determining whether a product will be profitable for...

In this episode, we hear a conversation between Rockiell Woods, director of NCAT’s Gulf States Regional Office in Jackson, Mississippi, and Sam Humphrey, director of the NCAT Demonstration Farm at Piney Woods School near Jackson. The purpose of the farm is to give hands-on training to farmers and producers in the region, as well as to the students of Piney Woods. This Demonstration Farm is part of Mississippi Food Justice Collaborative, NCAT’s multifaceted food-justice project, which is working to improve access to healthy, culturally appropriate food for historically disadvantaged communities throughout Mississippi. It’s funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Rockiell, a sustainable agriculture...

In this podcast, Tammy Howard, a horticulture specialist with NCAT’s ATTRA sustainable-agriculture program, talks with Anna Elbon and Kim Gilchrist about their low-income local-food access work with farms and farmers markets in Montana. Anna Elbon owns Glacier Tilth Farm in Dixon, Montana, with her husband Matthew Whyatt. They started accepting SNAP cards for their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program last year. Kim Gilchrist is a food access program manager at the Community Food and Agriculture Coalition in Missoula, Montana. She helped start the Double SNAP Dollar program which is a SNAP incentive program for farms, farmers markets, and some retail locations throughout Montana. Tammy works at...

In this episode, Kara Kroeger, a sustainable agriculture specialist with the NCAT ATTRA sustainable agriculture program, talks with Kate Greenberg – who at the time was the acting Western program director of the National Young Farmers Coalition and chair of the board of the Quivira Coalition. Kate has since left those positions to become the Colorado Agriculture Commissioner. Kara works out of NCAT’s Southwest Regional Office in San Antonio, Texas. Their discussion was recorded during the recent “Regenerate” Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which was sponsored by the Quivira Coalition, Holistic Management International, and the American Grass-Fed Association. Kara and Kate have a wide-ranging...

In this episode, Felicia Bell, an agricultural specialist with NCAT’s ATTRA sustainable agriculture program, talks with Dr. Ayanava Mujamdar, an entomology and plant pathology Extension Service specialist at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. Felicia works out of the NCAT Gulf States Office in Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. A, as he’s known, talks about creating an Integrated Pest Management plan for organic operations that takes into account conditions in the southern states. He talks about a three-step method of organic pest control – cultural practices, exclusion methods, and finally organic bio-insecticides – as well as specific strategies for each. He also emphasizes proper management,...

In this episode, Margo Hale, NCAT's Southeast Regional Director, has a conversation with farmer Terrell “Spence” Spencer about his poultry-processing facility. Margo is a livestock specialist with NCAT's ATTRA sustainable-agriculture program at NCAT’s Southeast office in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Spence is a pastured-poultry producer in northwest Arkansas, raising nearly 12,000 broilers on pasture each year. He shares the challenges he has faced in regard to finding a reliable processor for his chickens and how that led to him opening a poultry-processing facility. For more information on this topic, you can contact Margo Hale directly at margoh@ncat.org Resources Mentioned in the Podcast Across the Creek Farm Facebook...

In this episode, Andrew Coggins, the Sustainable Agriculture Project Coordinator with NCAT ATTRA’s SIFT -- Small-Scale Intensive Farm Training program -- talks with John Wallace, who manages NCAT’s SIFT farm. Andrew and John are both specialists with NCAT’s ATTRA – the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service – and work at NCAT’s headquarters in Butte, Montana, where the SIFT farm is located. Butte is in a USDA zone 3 area, and its cold climate and short growing season can be … let’s just say challenging. Starting in 2017, the SIFT farm began growing fruit bushes to see which would thrive best in Butte, including...

In this episode, Colin Mitchell, an agriculture specialist with NCAT’s ATTRA – the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service – talks with Daniel Reyes, the founder of the Myco Alliance in Austin, Texas. Colin works out of the NCAT Southwest Regional Office in San Antonio, Texas. Mycology is the study of fungi, an important topic in agriculture and soil science. Myco Alliance is a science and education company focusing on mycology in the central Texas area. In this podcast, Colin and Daniel cover a range of topics, from raising mushrooms – a type of fungi – to the role of fungi in soil health...

In this episode, Martin Guerana, a sustainable agriculture specialist with NCAT’s ATTRA – the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service – talks with Brett Melone, the Director of Lending with California FarmLink. California FarmLink, which began in 1999, helps beginning, limited-resource, immigrant, and other underserved farmers who are trying to get access to land or financing. It is particularly focused on the Central Coast, Central Valley, and North Coast regions of California. Martin, who works out of the NCAT Western Regional Office in Davis, California, spoke with Brett during the Ecological Farming Association’s recent EcoFarm Conference in Pacific Grove, California. Brett gives advice for...

In this episode, Linda Coffey, a livestock specialist with NCAT’s ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, at NCAT’s Southeast Regional Office in Fayetteville, Arkansas, talks with Ken Coffey, a Ruminant Nutritionist at the University of Arkansas about strategies for winter ruminant feeding. Linda and Ken, who are married, have raised sheep since 1986. They talk about a number of subjects, including feeding strategies; managing hay waste; assessing hay quality; protecting hay from winter weather; and nutrition and nutrition supplementation. For more information on this topic, you can contact Linda Coffey directly at lindac@ncat.org Related ATTRA Resources: Small Ruminant Resource Manual Ruminant Nutrition for Graziers Sheep: Sustainable...

In this episode, Nina Prater, a soil specialist with NCAT’s ATTRA – the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service – sits down for a conversation with NCAT Southeast Regional Director Margo Hale to talk about Margo’s recent soil test results for her 20-acre livestock farm. Margo and Nina both work out of NCAT’s regional office in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Margo and her family graze cattle and meat goats, and while they have been happy with forage productivity, they wanted to do soil tests to see if there was any room for improvement. Nina and Margo discuss the many, sometimes mystifying, numbers reported on a...

In this episode, Nina Prater, a Soil Specialist with NCAT’s ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service – at NCAT’s Southeast Regional Office in Fayetteville, Arkansas, sits down with Dr. Buz Kloot of the University of South Carolina to talk about a new composting system developed by Dr. David Johnson and Hui-Chen Su Johnson, dubbed the Johnson-Su Composting Bioreactor, which allows for beneficial-fungal growth. The conversation, which took place during the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) 2019 Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, also includes discussion of fungi-to-bacteria ratios as a soil health indicator, the five “Soil Health Principles,” and...

In this episode, Al Kurki, a specialist with NCAT’s ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, at NCAT’s headquarters in Butte, Montana, talks about growing oilseed and oilseed production with Bob Quinn of Big Sandy, Montana. Bob operates Quinn Farms and the Oil Barn in Big Sandy, Montana. The Oil Barn is a processing plant that produces 100% organic, high-oleic safflower oil that is grown and pressed in Montana. Al and Bob discuss growing oilseeds, processing them on the farm, and marketing the oil to institutional and retail markets – along with some sound advice for producers who might be interested in...

In this episode, Jeff Schahczenski, agricultural and natural resource economist for NCAT’s ATTRA -- the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service -- who works at NCAT’s headquarters in Butte, Montana, talks about the current and future development of organic field-crop markets with Jessie Bovay and Ryan Koory. Jessie and Ryan work with Mercaris, a national data service company that explores organic, transitional organic, and non-GMO field-crop prices and performs market analytics and trade identity preserved field-crop production studies. Ryan is a senior economist with Mercaris, and Jessie is director of business development. Organic field-crop markets are often referred to as “thin” markets, which...

In this episode, John Wallace, manager of NCAT/ATTRA’s SIFT farm –  which stands for Small-Scale Intensive Farm Training –  talks with Victorian Tilley about the farm’s shift from growing food to sell to growing food to help meet the nutritional needs of the community through donating to local charities. The SIFT farm is located at NCAT’s headquarters in Butte, Montana, where John and Victorian both work. Victorian is an Energy Corps member with AmeriCorps and is currently NCAT’s Farm Energy Educator. The farm’s goals in the past were focused on proving economic viability; now it has transitioned toward donating to charitable organizations...

In this episode, Tammy Howard, a specialist with NCAT’s ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, at NCAT’s headquarters in Butte, Montana, has a conversation with Rebeca Nolan of Dusty Hound Farms in Tetonia, Idaho. Rebeca and her wife, Amanda, began the farm in 2016. Rebeca shares their story and the strategies they employ to develop their farm, and she also talks about what she learned during NCAT/ATTRA’s Armed to Farm sustainable agriculture training for veterans. Amanda recently attended on of the Armed to Farm workshops in Montana. You can get in touch directly with Tammy Howard via email at tammyh@ncat.org Dusty Hound...

In this episode NCAT’s Rich Myers has a conversation about Whole Farm Revenue Protection Insurance with Jeff Schahczenki, an agricultural and natural resource economist with NCAT’s ATTRA – the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. Jeff has more than 30 years of experience working on issues related to sustainable and organic agriculture, with a recent interest in risk management and federal policy. He wrote and help developed a national Organic Research and Education Initiative project entitled, Is Organic Farming Risky? Overcoming and Understanding Crop Insurance Barriers to Expanding Organic Food Production and Markets. He previously worked on a four-year national research project to...

In this episode, Lee Rinehart, a specialist with NCAT’s ATTRA – the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service – talks with Brian Filipowich of Anacostia Aquaponics in Washington, D.C. Lee works out of NCAT’s Northeast Regional Office in Keene, New Hampshire. Brian has extensive experience with aquaponics systems. He and Lee discuss the history of aquaponics and its integrated production system, as well as the economic factors affecting it. Brian also has some advice about how to explore whether aquaponics is right for you without diving in head first. You can get in touch directly with Lee Rinehart via email at lee@ncat.org Other links...