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Education

This webinar discusses conservation practices available to cotton farmers. It outlines weed control benefits, water use efficiency, and reduction of chemical fertilizers. If you are interested in reducing costs while maintaining yields, this webinar is for you....

In this episode, Andrew Coggins, NCAT's Rocky Mountain West Regional Director and a specialist based in Butte, Montana, with NCAT’s ATTRA sustainable-agriculture program, talks with Alexis Bonogofsky, Northern Coordinator of the Quivira Coalition's New Agrarian program. Alexis discusses the New Agrarian program, which supports apprenticeships and mentors in agriculture. The Quivira Coalition recently brought the program to Montana for the first time. For more information on this topic, you can contact Andrew Coggins directly at andrewc@ncat.org. Related ATTRA Resources: List of Internships Beginning Farmer Other Resources: Quivira Coalition website Quivira Coalition Facebook page Mannix Brothers Ranch website Vilicus Farms website Please call ATTRA with any and all of your sustainable agriculture...

In this episode of "Scaling Up," an occasional series at ATTRA, Rockiell Woods, director of NCAT's Gulf States Regional Office in Jackson, Mississippi, talks with Dr. Bill Evans, Director of Horticulture at Up in Farms Food Hub in Jackson, Mississippi. Rockiell and Bill discuss land and water considerations when scaling up a farm. You'll hear about how to determine the best use for land and the economic feasibility of scaling up. They also talk about the importance of the source and quality of water for your operation. For more information on this topic, you can contact Rockiell Woods directly at rockw@ncat.org. ATTRA Resources: Scaling...

In this episode, NCAT's Tammy Howard has a conversation with her colleague, Adrian Card, about his 15-year career as an extension agent in Boulder County, an increasingly urban area of Colorado. Adrian talks about his experiences with developing useful tools and programming for farmers in the front range of Colorado. Tammy Howard is an agriculture specialist at NCAT's Rocky Mountain West office in Butte, Montana. Adrian Card is the founder of the Colorado Building Farmers Program and co-founder of the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. For more information on this topic, you can contact Tammy Howard directly at tammyh@ncat.org. Related ATTRA Resources: Getting...

In this episode, Colin Mitchell, a sustainable agriculture specialist with NCAT's ATTRA sustainable agriculture program, discusses regenerative rangeland management with Travis and Mandy Krause of Parker Creek Ranch in D'hanis, Texas. Travis and Mandy are taking part in NCAT's Soil for Water Project. Colin works out of NCAT's Southwest Regional Office in San Antonio, Texas. Travis describes three of the regenerative practices they use on their ranch: holistic multipaddock grazing, pasture cropping, and contour subsoil ripping. He then discusses the changes they’ve seen from 2010-2019 in the ranch’s soil and ecological health while using these practices. Mandy then passes off their two...

In this episode, Lee Rinehart, an agriculture specialist with NCAT's ATTRA sustainable agriculture program, talks with Jill Pegnataro of GreenWave, a nonprofit focused on expanding opportunities for fisherman and farmers to start sustainable shellfish and aquatic plant farming enterprises. Jill works as a farm manager and instructor with GreenWave in New Haven, Connecticut. Lee works out of NCAT's Northeast Regional Office in Keene, New Hampshire. Jill and Lee talk about how Jill got into vertical ocean farming, how vertical ocean farming works, the skills and resources some needs to begin ocean farming, and how to get started. For more information on this...

What do Energy Corps members do? Watch this video to find out! Energy Corps members and staff describe the events that take place during a service year, what host sites they serve at, and what they love about living in Montana....

With support from the USDA, NCAT Agriculture Specialists Marisa Alcorta and Rex Dufour have helped Spanish-speaking farmers in California's Central Valley experiment with cover crops to improve soil quality and provide habitat for beneficial insects and pollinators. This video documents Elias Cosio, an almond grower from near Modesto who has been collaborating with NCAT and NRCS as he plants the first cover crop in his orchard...

Josh Slotnick, Director of PEAS Farm in Missoula, MT, made us think about the effects of a global food system in which the cost is cheap but the price is high and spoke about the culturally regenerative power of creating local alternatives. Over 100 high school students, educators, and activists converged in Missoula October 6-8, 2013 for the Growing Leaders Youth Summit to plant big ideas about how to diversify the future of food. It was the largest event of its kind in Montana and showed that a #YouthFoodRevolution is gaining momentum in Big Sky country. http://farmtocafeteria.ncat.org/ The 2013 Growing Leaders Youth Summit...

Bob Marshall, owner of Biga Pizza in Missoula, MT, award-winning chef, and in this clip at least, comedian, cracked us up after serving up delicious pizzas featuring veggie toppings grown at PEAS Farm and spoke about the 3 reasons he sources locally grown foods for his restaurant. Over 100 high school students, educators, and activists converged in Missoula October 6-8, 2013 for the Growing Leaders Youth Summit to plant big ideas about how to diversify the future of food. It was the largest event of its kind in Montana and showed that a #YouthFoodRevolution is gaining momentum in Big Sky country. http://farmtocafeteria.ncat.org/ The...

Three guest speakers from across the U.S. talked about the work they are doing to create more just and accessible food systems in their communities: Scarlett Kaplan, S.A.V.E. Club at Hellgate High School in Missoula, MT; Ayisah Yusef, Rural Coalition in Washington, DC; Phil Nguyen, The Food Project in Boston, MA. Over 100 high school students, educators, and activists converged in Missoula October 6-8, 2013 for the Growing Leaders Youth Summit to plant big ideas about how to diversify the future of food. It was the largest event of its kind in Montana and showed that a #YouthFoodRevolution is gaining momentum...

Gerardo Marin, co-director of Rooted in Community from Berkeley, CA, spoke about the role of art in the youth food movement and about the power that beauty and culture can bring to activism. Over 100 high school students, educators, and activists converged in Missoula October 6-8, 2013 for the Growing Leaders Youth Summit to plant big ideas about how to diversify the future of food. It was the largest event of its kind in Montana and showed that a #YouthFoodRevolution is gaining momentum in Big Sky country. What's next? You decide. www.farmtocafeteria.ncat.org The 2013 Growing Leaders Youth Summit was produced by NCAT and...

Victoria Pozos Bernal, a Food, What?! alumna from Watsonville, CA, spoke about her experience growing up the daughter of a farm worker and the role it played in her transformation from summertime raspberry picker to full-time food justice activist. Over 100 high school students, educators, and activists converged in Missoula October 6-8, 2013 for the Growing Leaders Youth Summit to plant big ideas about how to diversify the future of food. It was the largest event of its kind in Montana and showed that a #YouthFoodRevolution is gaining momentum in Big Sky country. What's next? You decide. www.farmtocafeteria.ncat.org The 2013 Growing Leaders Youth...

Do you market lamb directly to consumers? Learn to use your hands to tell when a lamb is finished! Companion fact sheet available at https://attra.ncat.org/product/putting-a-hand-on-them-how-to-tell-when-your-lamb-is-finished/ Learning to master correct live-animal evaluation of fat lambs will help you provide a superior, differentiated product to your customers. It also can reduce the overall cost of producing a premium lamb by more accurately determining when the animal is finished, thereby better controlling feed costs. Whether you're a producer or you raise lambs for your own consumption, this video will answer the question, "When is my lamb ready to be butchered?"...

Dr. Michel Cavigelli, a soil scientist at the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Lab at the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) in Maryland, talks on "Organic Research and Needs: Cover Crops, Crop Rotation, and Soil Health" at the 2013 Montana Organic Association meeting at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, Montana. He is lead scientist of a long-term cropping systems project evaluating the sustainability of organic and conventional methods....

Doug Crabtree and partner Anna Jones-Crabtree operate Vilicus Farms, a diverse dryland crop farm based 36 miles northwest of Havre. Growing certified organic heirloom and specialty crops within a 5-year rotation of small grains, oilseeds, broadleaf, and legume crops, Vilicus Farms practices advanced land stewardship at a scale that matters. Doug and intern Nathan Austin-Powell spoke about the operation during the 2013 Montana Farmers Union annual meeting in Great Falls, Montana....

This calculator provides a simple and prompt means of analyzing your grazing program as your work your way through the grazing season. It will make management decisions much easier and give you confidence that you are on track with your grazing plan....

During the October 2013 Montana Farmers Union state meeting in Great Falls, Montana, Dr. Clain Jones of Montana State University discusses past and ongoing research projects in the state on the effectiveness of cover crops....

Ann Baier is an organic program specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology. She is a U.C. Davis graduate with a Master of Science degree in International Agriculture Development and Agronomy. She has experience providing training and education to minority and limited resource farmers. She also is an inspector for the California Certified Organic Farmers and was the Executive Director of Roots and Wings, a nonprofit organization that provides farm- and garden-based education and training programs to young people. Ann was keynote speaker June 5, 2013 at a pastured poultry workshop in Hamilton, Montana. The workshop was presented by the National...

Jim Adkins, founder of the International Center for Poultry (ICP), located in Old Fort, North Carolina, addresses that question and others during a March 2013 workshop in Great Falls, Montana. The workshop was presented by the National Center for Appropriate Technology, Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center, and Salish-Kootenai College. It was funded by the USDA Risk Management Agency. For the past thirty years, Jim has raised over fifty breeds and varieties of standard bred poultry (that includes chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys). In 1994, he received his poultry judging license from the American Poultry Association which has taken him to thirty...

Janie Burns raises grass-fed lamb and pastured poultry on her 10 - acre Meadowlark Farm south of Nampa, Idaho. Over the past 24 years, she also has raised a wide variety of crops and sold to restaurants CSDs and retail stores. In 2003, she and a business partner began HomeGrown Poultry, LLC, a poultry-processing business in New Plymouth, Idaho. In addition to her faming and business ventures, Janie is on the board of the Treasure Valley Food Coalition and the advisory committee of the University of Idaho's Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. She has previously served on the board...

This webinar covers how TSPs, NRCS personnel, and Conservation Planners of all types can promote sound environmental practices that enhance biodiversity conservation and improve the production capabilities of organic farm, ranch, wild crop harvest, and handling operations. National Organic Program (NOP) regulations require the conservation of soil, water, wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife resources. Recently, the NOP modified its auditing of organic certification agencies, which is resulting in more scrutiny being paid to conservation by organic operations. This webinar discusses how conservation professionals can instruct existing and transitioning organic operators to maintain and improve the natural resources on their working lands through the...

"Pastured Poultry Production and Profitability" covers the basics of pastured poultry production as well as common advantages and pitfalls of getting started in the business and keys to keeping operations profitable. It was offered by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), Montana Mission Mountain Food and Cooperative Development Center, and Salish Kootenai College as part of the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) education and community outreach program. It also announced a Montana-based pastured poultry production and marketing workshop series set to begin in March. NCAT Sustainable Poultry Specialist Terrell "Spence" Spencer will be the webinar presenter. While this webinar will kick off the...

This webinar is presented by Harriet Behar, organic specialist with Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES, organic inspector, and approved Technical Service Provider (TSP) with the NRCS. She takes participants on a virtual tour of a farm, identifying conservation concerns and possible mitigation strategies to address those concerns as well as areas that affect organic certification. In addition, she covers the manner in which these issues will be incorporated into the written NRCS Conservation Activity Plan 138 for the transition to organic. The webinar will be the third in a four-part series providing aid to those who might want to become...

The National Center for Appropriate Technology, with funding from the National Network of Public Health Institutes, held a statewide meeting on October 12, 2012, to discuss the obstacles and opportunities of having more fresh, nutritious, locally grown food in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health-care institutions. Farmers, ranchers, health institution officials, and others gathered at the NCAT headquarters in Butte, Montana, to take part. Dave Prather, General Manager of Western Montana Growers Cooperative, delivered one of the keynote addresses....

The National Center for Appropriate Technology, with funding from the National Network of Public Health Institutes, held a statewide meeting on October 12, 2012, to discuss the obstacles and opportunities of having more fresh, nutritious, locally grown food in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health-care institutions. Farmers, ranchers, health institution officials, and others gathered at the NCAT headquarters in Butte, Montana, to take part. Mark Branovan, Hospitality Services Director at St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota, delivered one of the keynote addresses....

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) with 10 partners are offering a webinar series on how to become a Technical Service Provider (TSP) for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and assist transitioning and certified organic producers. The webinars are part of an NRCS National Conservation Innovation Project. "Doing NRCS Conservation Activity Planning for Organic Farmers and Ranchers" is presented by Katy Green, who is perhaps the most experienced TSP working with NRCS and organic producers in the United States. Katy will share her efforts at developing conservation activity plans in compliance with NRCS standards (known in NRCS lingo as...

In "Becoming a Technical Service Provider for NRCS: An Introduction," Harriet Behar with the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) begins a four-part webinar series with an introduction that will help you navigate the process to become a Technical Service Provider (TSP) to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Technical Service Providers (TSPs) are individuals or businesses with technical expertise in conservation planning and design for a variety of conservation activities. TSPs are hired by farmers, ranchers, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, or public agencies to provide these services on behalf of the NRCS. The webinar also discusses the Conservation Activity...

This webinar, broadcast October 25, 2012, focuses on tools and techniques for small-scale crop production. National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) Agriculture Specialist Andy Pressman discusses the importance of investing in good quality and well-designed tools, their different purposes, and how to use them to properly plant and maintain crops....

From a conservation perspective, biodiversity and protection of natural resources are covered in the National Organic Program's (NOP) regulations. Biodiversity conservation is part of the definition of organic farming, and the NOP requires that farmers and ranchers maintain or improve their soil, water, wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife. In addition, seven other NOP regulations relate to biodiversity and natural resource conservation. This webinar explores NRCS Conservation Practice Standards that help operators meet these NOP requirements, including those protecting resources, providing conservation buffers, and supporting wildlife habitat. It includes a discussion of the Live Earth Farm's conservation efforts near Watsonville, California. The...

The USDA Organic Rules require a soil-building crop rotation that controls erosion, maintains or improves soil organic matter content, manages deficient or excess plant nutrients, and provides for crop pest management. Sod, cover crops, green manure crops, catch crops, and various mulches are included in the rotation to perform these functions, which correspond to the purposes for NRCS Conservation Practices such as Conservation Crop Rotation, Cover Crop, Strip Cropping, and Nutrient Management. Because organic producers do not use synthetic fertilizers and can use only a very limited list of pesticides or fungicides, they depend to a greater degree on crop rotation...

Florida Organic Growers (FOG)lead NRCS staff on short virtual tours of three certified organic operations in Florida and Puerto Rico. Each organic grower touches on the philosophical and practical aspects of growing organic crops in semi tropical and tropical regions -- including their main production challenges and successes. They also discuss the ways they manage their soils, water, crops, wildlife, and other resources. The growers point out the ways they conserve natural resources in their farms while also identifying areas in they need support to increase their resource conservation. The webinar is being presented by NCAT with funding through the...

This webinar addresses multi-species cover crops that can be used to improve soil health, increase biological diversity, and benefit the bottom line in no-till grain operations. An increasing number of grain farmers are experimenting with these "cocktails" of cover crops such as legumes, grasses, and companion crops to keep the soil covered year-round. During this webinar, Jay Fuhrer, District Conservationist with the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in Bismarck, North Dakota, shared his experience with this innovative no-till approach. Fuhrer presented four on-farm case studies to illustrate how to successfully use cover crop "cocktails" to enhance crop production and livestock forage...

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food is a USDA initiative to promote sustainable local and regional food systems that will support small and mid-sized farms and ranches, promote healthy communities and protect our natural resources....

Grass-finished beef can command higher market prices and help a rancher's bottom line. During this webinar you'll learn how ranchers are using more pasture and less grain to produce high quality beef, and how ranchers who raise grass-finished beef find ways compete in the market place. Several challenges in grass-based meat production exist, especially for small-scale producers who have a hard time finding access to processing plants and penetrating local markets. Presenters for this webinar were NCAT agriculture specialists Jeff Schahczenski and Lee Rinehart. Jeff Schahczenski, an agriculture economist in NCAT's Montana office, has expertise in agricultural public policy and alternative...

In this episode, Rockiell Woods, director of NCAT's Gulf States Office in Jackson, Mississippi, begins an occasional series on scaling up agriculture operations with Bill Evans, director of horticulture with Up in Farms Food Hub in Jackson. Rockiell and Bill talk about when scaling up – increasing production or investing in ways to reduce costs – is appropriate. They also set the stage for discussing other issues a small producer considering scaling up would need to address, such as marketing, finance, and labor costs. For more information on this subject, you can contact Rockiell Woods directly via email at rockw@ncat.org. Related ATTRA Resources: Food...

In this episode, Martin Guerena, a sustainable agriculture specialist with NCAT's ATTRA sustainable agriculture program talks with "Amigo Bob" Cantisano. Bob is a pioneer in California organic agriculture, and he is well known as the founding organizer of the annual Ecological Farming Conference, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2020. It is one of the largest sustainable agriculture gatherings in the western United States. Martin works at NCAT’s Western Regional office in Davis, California. Martin and Bob discuss the history of organic agriculture and what Bob sees as its challenges and opportunities going forward, including regulatory practices, labor challenges, and increased...

In this episode, John Wallace, manager of NCAT's SIFT farm, talks with Robin Kelson of the Good Seed Company in Whitefish, Montana. Robin and John discuss questions that beginning seed savers often have as well as resources that are available for those who want to get into the subject in more depth.
By John Wallace, NCAT Agriculture Specialist...

In this second half of a two-part series, Steve Thompson, executive director of NCAT, sits down with Loren Birdrattler, project manager of the Blackfeet Agriculture Resource Management Plan, or ARMP. They take a closer look at a new partnership between NCAT and the Blackfeet Nation to evaluate the feasibility of a multispecies meat-processing plant. This project is a key part of the Tribe’s strategy to create local markets for producers, engage youth more directly in agriculture, and provide healthy, culturally appropriate food for tribal members in this remote corner of rural Montana. In this episode, Loren and Steve have a conversation...

In this first part of a two-part series, Steve Thompson, executive director of NCAT, sits down with Loren Birdrattler, project manager of the Blackfeet Agriculture Resource Management Plan or ARMP. They talk about a new partnership between NCAT and the Blackfeet Nation to evaluate the feasibility of a multispecies meat processing plant. This project is a key part of the Tribe’s strategy to create local markets for producers, engage youth more directly in agriculture, and provide healthy, culturally appropriate food for tribal members in this remote corner of rural Montana. They also talk about the landscape, culture and history of land...

In this episode Guy Ames, horticulture specialist with NCAT’s ATTRA sustainable agriculture program at NCAT’s Southeastern Regional Office in Fayetteville, Arkansas, talks with Jared M. Phillips, author of the new book Hipbillies: Deep Revolution in the Arkansas Ozarks. In his book, Jared writes about the back-to-the-land movement of the 1960s and 1970s and how that counterculture affected the Arkansas Ozarks. Jared holds a doctorate in American history and is assistant professor of international studies at the University of Arkansas. He lives and works on a small, traditional farm outside of Prairie Grove, Arkansas. In this podcast, Guy and Jared also talk about...

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 get his farm certified...

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, 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. For more information on this topic, you can contact Tammy Howard directly at tammyh@ncat.org. Related...

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 at lee@ncat.org. Related ATTRA Resources: Aquaponics –...

In this episode, Justin Duncan, a specialist with NCAT's ATTRA – the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service – talks with Noah McDonald, the Hamer-Hayes Fellow at the Southeastern African American Farmers' Organic Network (SAAFON), about efforts to preserve the heritage and lands associated with farmers in the southern regions of the country. Justin works out of NCAT's Southwest Regional Office in San Antonio, Texas. Justin and Noah's informal conversation took place between presentations during the recent Black Farmers & Urban Gardeners National Conference in Durham, North Carolina. You can get in touch directly with Justin Duncan via email at justind@ncat.org. SAAFON website Related ATTRA...

In this episode, Robert Maggiani, a sustainable agriculture specialist with NCAT's ATTRA – the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service – who works out of NCAT's Southwest Regional Office in San Antonio, Texas, has a conversation with Thea O'Carroll, the founder and CEO of YieldOrganic. YieldOrganic is an online marketplace based in San Antonio for organic and non-GMO crops. Thea is a fourth-generation farmer, who along with her family, transitioned their northeast Nebraska grain farm to organic about 10 years ago. She and Robert talk about YieldOrganic – how it works and how it came about. You can get in touch directly with...

In this episode, Tammy Howard, a horticulture specialist with NCAT's ATTRA program, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, who works out of NCAT's headquarters in Butte, Montana, sits down with Lawrence Rhone of Farm Retreat Rhone in Flaxville, Montana. Lawrence is a graduate of NCAT's 2017 Armed to Farm training for veterans interested in sustainable agriculture as a career. NCAT has offered numerous Armed to Farm trainings, and the one Lawrence took part in was held in Montana's Mission Valley. Since then, he has made significant progress towards his farm-based retreat center for veterans. In the podcast, he talks about using his...

In this episode, we talk with Dave Halpin, a young beginning farmer who, with his wife, has recently reached the “jumping-off point” and has begun planning to begin an operation in St. Charles County, Missouri. After you listen to Dave's story, be sure to check out ATTRA's extensive – and free – resources for beginning farmers. A good place to start is on our Beginning Farmer Page. ATTRA has a wide array of free resources for all aspects of sustainable farming – publications, webinars, videos, databases, and our popular Ask an Ag Expert hotline and email service....

In this episode, we talk with Margaret Krome, the Policy Program Director of the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, New York. She is also a board member of the National Center for Appropriate Technology. Margaret talks about the impact of the ATTRA program – which is managed by NCAT through a cooperative agreement with USDA Rural Business Cooperative Service – and the important sustainable-agriculture issues she sees going into the future. ATTRA resources on issues Margaret mentions in the episode – soil health, urban agriculture, cover crops, internships, and more – can be found on our website....

In this episode, Rich Myers of the National Center for Appropriate Technology talks with Gil Senger of Candlewick Farms in New York about his experience in the Armed to Farm agriculture-business training for veterans sponsored and hosted by NCAT/ATTRA. Veteran Resources  ...

In this episode, Daniel Prial of the National Center for Appropriate Technology talks with Abby Ferris, Member Services Coordinator with the National Farmers Union, about the role of her organization and the importance of educating consumers about how the agriculture industry works.
From time to time, we feature a popular question from ATTRA's Ask an Ag Expert feature on ATTRA: Voices from the Field. In this episode ,we discuss the question "What Are the Benefits of Using Draft Horses on the Farm." We also discuss the ATTRA publication Draft Animal Power for Farming.

Sometimes, you can find the benefits of sustainable agriculture in unexpected places. In this episode, NCAT sustainable agriculture specialist Felicia Bell talks with Cammie Kitchens, Chief Executive Officer of Fondren Cove Assisted Living in Jackson, Mississippi. Fondren Cove helps people with mental health issues, and Cammie's interest in sustainable agriculture began with an idea that being around farm animals could be therapeutic for clients. He also became an advocate of the role that that fresh, nutritious food can play in health. Now Cammie operates a demonstration farm, CK Ag, and is looking to move forward with the role of sustainable agriculture in...

In this episode, NCAT specialist Martin Guenera interviews Aldo Andres Marega, an organic farmer from El Gauchito Hill Farm in Yolo County California. The interview includes: biography, first years of experience, farmers markets and restaurant sales, challenges or challenges of fertilization and pest control, and advice for beginning farmers....

Entrevista con Aldo Andres Marega agricultor orgánico de El Gauchito Hill Farm en Yolo County, California. La entrevista incluye: biografía, primeros años de experiencia, mercados de agricultor y ventas a restaurantes, retos o desafíos de fertilización y control de plagas, y consejos para agricultores principiantes. Martin Guenera dirige la entrevista....

In this episode, NCAT Program Specialist Martin Guerena interviews organic famer Luis Guevara of Rancho La Familia from Santa Maria California. It includes his biography; 38 years of farming experience; early years and markets; reasons for diversification; current markets; production challenges; climate change challenges; pest control techniques; fertilization practices; compost; cover crops; rotations and advice to new and beginning farmers....

In this episode, NCAT Program Specialist Martin Guerena interviews Martin Barnes of Capy Organics in Yolo County, California. The interview touches on the farm's early years and starting the Davis farmers market; its first crops; diversification of crops; the transition from markets to CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture); the expansion to Southern California and the Pacific Northwest; technological innovation; expanding its CSA to 50,000 customers; its pest challenges then and now; its fertilization program with compost and foliar applications; and Martin's advice to beginning farmers on land and markets....

Entrevista con Luis Guevara agricultor orgánico del Rancho La Familia de Santa María California. La Entrevista incluye: biografía, experiencia de 38 años como agricultor, principios, mercados, diversificación de productos, expansión de mercados, desafíos de producción, cambio climático, control de plagas, fertilización, rotación de cultivos y consejos para agricultores principiantes....

In this episode, NCAT Local Food Specialist Demetrius Fassas talks about the challenges and opportunities of introducing a local food Harvest of the months in Plevna, a small town in rural eastern Montana. The school's two food-staff members, Connie Long and Bertie Reger, talk about the challenges of finding the food; the importance of having a supportive school administration; and the positive impacts of the program on the students. Please call ATTRA with any and all of your sustainable agriculture questions at 800-346-9140 or e-mail us at askanag@ncat.org. Our two dozen specialists can help you with a vast array of topics,...

In this episode, Ken Mugg of Muff Family Farm near Tallapoosa, Georgia, talks with Margaret Scoles, executive director of the International Organic Inspectors Association, about the considerations that went into Ken deciding to become organically certified. The interview is part of a video, "What to Expect at an Organic Livestock Inspection."...

In this episode, we take a question from the "Ask an Ag Expert" feature offered by NCAT's ATTRA program. The question is whether it's a better idea to start a pastured poultry egg operation. To ask an ag expert a question – free of charge, go here....

In this episode, Dave Prather of the Western Montana Food Growers Cooperative talks about the challenges that were overcome when the cooperative was created....

In this episode, Tracy Potter Finns and Margaret Debona from Country Rail Farm near Huson, Montana, talk about why they became GAP certified and the process of developing their food safety plan. This podcast is also available as part of a video series – Farm Based Food Safety video series. Please call ATTRA with any and all of your sustainable agriculture questions at 800-346-9140 or e-mail us at askanag@ncat.org. Our two dozen specialists can help you with a vast array of topics, everything from farm planning to pest management, from produce to livestock, and soils to aquaculture. You can get in touch...

In the this episode, Michael McCormick, executive director of the Food Resource Center (FRC) in Livingston, Montana, talks about how the FRC grew from a more typical food pantry to a more active role in addressing poverty and its effects in the community. FRC now has a commercial kitchen, where it conducts vocational classes, and offers a lot of healthy food produced by local and Montana ag operations. The philosophy is to help people improve their lives, not simply feed them for a day....

In this episode, Demetrius Fassas, a Local Food Program Specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology, and Aubrey Roth, the Montana Food to School Coordinator with Montana Team Nutrition, discuss the producers' role in the "Harvest of the Month" program in Montana. The program features a different Montana agricultural product in participating schools each month. Please call ATTRA with any and all of your sustainable agriculture questions at 800-346-9140 or e-mail us at askanag@ncat.org. Our two dozen specialists can help you with a vast array of topics, everything from farm planning to pest management, from produce to livestock, and soils...

In this episode, Demetrius Fassas, a Local Food Program Specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology, and Aubrey Roth, the Montana Food to School Coordinator with Montana Team Nutrition discuss the "Harvest of the Month" program in Montana. The program features a different Montana agricultural product in participating schools each month and engages students through preparation of the food and "Don't Yuck My Yum" taste tests. Please call ATTRA with any and all of your sustainable agriculture questions at 800-346-9140 or e-mail us at askanag@ncat.org. Our two dozen specialists can help you with a vast array of topics, everything from...

In this episode, National Center for Appropriate Technology Sustainable Agriculture Specialists Dave Scott and Lee Rinehart discuss ATTRA's new Grazing Plan Calculator and run through an example of using it. The calculator, along with ATTRA's other grazing materials, are available at in our Livestock and Pasture section. Download the free calculator here....

Dave Scott, a livestock specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology and co-owner of Montana Highland Lamb near Whitehall, Montana, discusses how to prepare for the "before, during, and after" of shearing....

In this episode, Andrew Coggins, Agriculture Specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology, discusses the goals of cover cropping. He also describes the cover-cropping strategy NCAT’s SIFT demonstration farm at its headquarters in Butte, Montana....

In this edition, Andrew Coggins, Agriculture Project Coordinator at the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s headquarters in Butte, Montana, discusses the keys to creating an effective composting strategy....

In this episode, NCAT Horticulture Specialist Tammy Howard speaks with Betsy Miller, Montana Department of Agriculture food-safety coordinator, about new regulations coming into effect as a result of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. In this podcast, they focus on FSMA’s produce rule....

David Wise is a farm food-safety consultant in Montana. He currently works with farmers throughout the state on helping them with their GAP certification and doing internal auditing of farmers' food-safety plans. In this episode, Tammy Howard talks with him about the internal audit program and different food safety certification programs throughout the state....

This podcast features excerpts from a panel discussion on marketing that took place during an NCAT workshop on vegetable production and business management held at the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas, 1n May 2017. NCAT’s Southeast Regional director Margo Hale facilitated the discussion, and the panelists were (in order of appearance) Mary Bone of Lighthouse Produce Farms in Fargo, AR; Ben Maddox of New South Produce Cooperative in Little Rock, AR; and Paul Chapracki of Ozark Alternatives in Lowell, AR. In this segment the panelists discuss successful strategies for selling at the farmers market and through CSAs. They also offer...

Robert Maggiani, a horticulture specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology, talks with Larry Butler, co-owner of Boggy Creek Farm in Austin, Texas. They talk about the farm and the value added products it has sold over the years. The farm's website is available here. There is a short description of the farm here. The conversation is part of the Beyond Fresh project, a SSARE-funded project with the following objectives: 1. Research opportunities for value-added processing of sustainably grown fruits and vegetables in Texas, with special attention to the appropriate scale of production. 2. Increase the sales and profitability of value-added products...

Ocean farming is the new frontier for sustainable and restorative food production. More than that, it holds promise for job creation, coastal community development, and ecosystem restoration. In this podcast Lee Rinehart, a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology, is joined by Bren Smith, executive director of Greenwave, a non-profit focused on expanding opportunities for fisherman and farmers to start sustainable shellfish and aquatic plant farming enterprises. Bren, a former commercial fisherman turned ocean farmer and advocate, explains the multitrophic 3-D Ocean Farming concept, and invites listeners to share in a new vision for seafood production. For...

The world demand for seafood is increasing and is putting pressure on our oceans for protein. And as the human population increases, it is crucial that we foster ecological and regenerative systems to produce seafood that reverses the ocean degradation we have caused through overfishing and unsustainable fish farming methods. Fish production and harvest is largely industrial in nature. To be sustainable, fisheries must be developed on a place-based ecological model of restorative systems that regenerate and sustain our waters while providing opportunities for farmers and fishermen to reclaim the waterfront. In this video, National Center for Appropriate Technology Program Specialist Lee...

In this podcast National Center for Appropriate Technology specialist Luke Freeman hold a conversation about blackberries with Dr. John Clark of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. They get in depth on Dr. Clark's broad experience with blackberry research; changes in the industry; and new cultivars that are becoming available....

In this podcast, ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Luke Freeman talks with Dr. Curt Rom of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville about growing organic brambles in high tunnels. They touch on the advantages of growing in high tunnels and some of the obstacles Dr. Rom has dealt with during his research production of blackberries and raspberries. They also touch on the economics of growing organic brambles in high tunnels and how producers have successfully used high tunnels in areas where the climate isn't conducive to growing brambles. Luke recently updated the popular ATTRA publication, "Brambles: Organic Production," which is now...

Guy Ames, NCAT horticulturist and fruit grower in the Arkansas Ozarks, shares his experiences living with and trying to manage vertebrate pests like birds, deer, rabbits and more. Vertebrate pests distinguish themselves from insect pests and diseases by their ability to learn, an ability that makes them both harder to control and possibly more manipulable to control. Please call ATTRA with any and all of your sustainable agriculture questions at 800-346-9140 or e-mail us at askanag@ncat.org. Our two dozen specialists can help you with a vast array of topics, everything from farm planning to pest management, from produce to livestock, and...

Guy Ames, NCAT horticulturist and fruit grower in the Arkansas Ozarks, shares his experiences living with and trying to manage vertebrate pests like birds, deer, rabbits and more. Vertebrate pests distinguish themselves from insect pests and diseases by their ability to learn, an ability that makes them both harder to control and possibly more manipulable to control. Please call ATTRA with any and all of your sustainable agriculture questions at 800-346-9140 or e-mail us at askanag@ncat.org. Our two dozen specialists can help you with a vast array of topics, everything from farm planning to pest management, from produce to livestock, and...

No, the butcher did not have it for his dinner. By federal law, any beef that is older than 30 months is subject to the Specific Risk Material regulation. All custom, state, and federally inspected processing plants must remove the brains, eyes, spinal cord and a large portion of the vertebral column from the final cuts of beef. This results in the absence of some traditional cuts and 10-15 percent less pounds back in your box. In this podcast, NCAT livestock specialist Dave Scott and Justin Fisher of Ranchland Packing Company in Butte, Montana, discuss the law and its affects. Please...

In this episode of ATTRA: Voices from the Field, John Wallace, who manages the SIFT Farm at NCAT's headquarters in Butte, Montana, talks about the challenges of growing in the relatively short and cool climate at the farm. He discusses what SIFT has learned about overwintering, particularly focusing on parsnips and onion crops. John also talks about the cover crops the farm is experimenting with....

Hot humid areas need especially large and frequent inputs of organic matter to maintain soil fertility, yet standard cover crop recommendations don't always work in these locations. In this podcast drawn from his popular webinar, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Justin Duncan uses his own organic farming experience in Texas, discusses some particular cover crops (including some unfamiliar in the United States) that can be used build soil organic matter in hot and humid areas in USDA Hardiness Zones 8,9,10 and beyond. The webinar was is a product of the Subtropical Organic Agriculture Research (SOAR) project, and is based upon work supported...

Hot humid areas need especially large and frequent inputs of organic matter to maintain soil fertility, yet standard cover crop recommendations don't always work in these locations. In this podcast drawn from his popular webinar, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Justin Duncan uses his own organic farming experience in Texas, explains how to choose cover crops (including some unfamiliar in the United States) to build soil organic matter in hot and humid areas in USDA Hardiness Zones 8,9,10 and beyond. The webinar was is a product of the Subtropical Organic Agriculture Research (SOAR) project, and is based upon work supported by the...

Hot humid areas need especially large and frequent inputs of organic matter to maintain soil fertility, yet standard cover crop recommendations don't always work in these locations. In this podcast drawn from his popular webinar, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Justin Duncan uses his own organic farming experience in Texas, explains how to build soil organic matter in hot and humid areas in USDA Hardiness Zones 8, 9, 10, and beyond. The webinar was is a product of the Subtropical Organic Agriculture Research (SOAR) project, and is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of...

In this episode, NCAT Specialist Linda Coffey discusses her new publication, Working with Your Meat Processor. She finds that miscommunications between producers and processors often lead to different expectations, and she talks about some of the issues that often arise because of those differing expectations. Working with Your Meat Processor is available on the ATTRA website. Please call ATTRA with any and all of your sustainable agriculture questions at 800-346-9140 or e-mail us at askanag@ncat.org. Our two dozen specialists can help you with a vast array of topics, everything from farm planning to pest management, from produce to livestock, and soils...

In this podcast, NCAT Energy Specialist Stacie Peterson discusses ATTRA's new Farm Energy Efficiency Tutorial. This series of lessons is designed for farmers who would like to increase the energy efficiency of their farm and processes. It features tutorials on farm building efficiency, outdoor lighting, irrigation efficiency, solar, small-scale wind, and biodiesel....

You've gone to great effort to raise a nice set of finished lambs and have them processed. Now what? It's great if you can sell them all as wholes or halves. But maybe you can't. How do you go about pricing individual cuts for profit? What is the smallest lamb that you should have in your direct-market program? How do you price high-demand cuts to cover the lower pricing of lesser-demand cuts? In the maze of cuts and cut prices, what is your profit per lamb? An interview with ATTRA Livestock specialist Dave Scott will answer these questions and more....

Tom Schneider of Montanans for Affordable Electricity speaks at the Harvesting Clean Energy Conference in Billings, Montana. The United States has at long last taken a significant step in addressing the escalating costs and risks of climate change in adopting rules to reduce carbon emissions pursuant to the Clean Power Plan. The State of Montana has an extraordinary opportunity and responsibility to develop its unique plan based upon a transition from its reliance on coal fired generation to a future based upon our abundant renewable energy resources and improved energy efficiency. There is substantial and mounting evidence that such a Montana...

USDA Deputy Undersecretary Lillian Salerno at Harvesting Clean Energy 2015 Lillian Salerno, USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Policy, makes the keynote address at the Harvesting Clean Energy Conference in Billings. Mont., on September 30, 2015. She talked about the USDA's fierce commitment to aggressively pursuing investments in renewable energy systems that in turn create jobs in rural communities, drive economic growth, and help reduce our dependence on foreign oil....

In this Organic Pest Management Webinar, NCAT's Rex Dufour will discuss basic principles, approaches, and practices for managing weeds, diseases, and arthropod & vertebrate pests in organic systems. Management tools and informational resources will also be discussed....

In this webinar, Guy Ames, a horticulture specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology, focus on the need for developing regionally- and locally-adapted fruit crops and how filling that need could benefit organic fruit growers and provide a decent on-farm income for detail-oriented farmers/nurserymen.. He also discusses fruit-plant propagation—including grafting, budding, cuttings, and other forms of asexual propagation....

This webinar discusses ecologically friendly practices that support organic pest management, including crop rotations, animal rotations, perimeter trap cropping, pheromone use, and other techniques, as well as their impacts on pests and beneficial. It was broadcast July 26, 2012, by NCAT and was funded in part by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. It builds on an earlier webinar, "Pest Management for Organic Production Systems, which also is available on this site. Rex Dufour, an NCAT program specialist, was the presenter for both webinars....

Randy and Lisa Hinebauch explain farming strategies on their 10,000-acre certified organic grain farm in Chinook, MT....

The U.S. renewable fuel standard requires 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel to be blended in transportation fuels by 2022. Out of this, 21 billion gallons must come from advanced bio-fuels; i.e., ethanol and/or hydrocarbon fuels from lignocellulosic biomass (conversion of non-grain resources such as agricultural residues, energy crops, etc.). Farm-scale thermochemical conversion technologies such as gasification and pyrolysis hold the potential to improve the farmers' bottom line. This webinar will provide some basic facts about gasification and pyrolysis technologies to the non-engineer. This webinar will be moderated by Leif Kindberg, NCAT Farm Energy Specialist and presented by Dr. Samy Sadaka,...

Mike Morris discusses his work on farm energy audits and the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) at the first Energy Training for Agriculture Professionals (ENTAP) held in 2009....

Farm-Scale Biodiesel Production: Taxes and Financial Incentives, the third in ATTRAs biodiesel webinar series, provides useful information about the federal and state fuel excise taxes that apply to biodiesel. The webinar also covers excise tax refunds for off-road use and exemptions and incentives that might apply to farm-scale biodiesel production. It also provides recordkeeping information and resources that are helpful in properly paying fuel excise taxes or qualifying for refunds or incentives. The webinar was presented by NCAT biodiesel specialist Al Kurki and National Agriculture Law Center staff attorneys Shannon Mirus and Rusty Rumley. For more basic information about brewing your own...

The second installment of ATTRA's farm-scale biodiesel production webinar series. DIY Biodiesel: Keeping It Safe, Keeping It Legal helps the novice biodiesel producer on the right track to establishing safe and legal production practices. It covers safety practices including personal safety, workspace safety, materials handling and regulations, waste stream handling, methanol, compatibility with equipment and environmental safety and regulations....

This video follows a farm family as they grow hydroponic tomatoes from seed all the way to selling at the Fayetteville Farmers' Market....

A hoophouse webinar presented by NCAT specialists Tammy Hinman and Andy Pressman. Topics include the uses and benefits of hoop houses, including increases in crop quality and yields; different types of hoop houses; construction, materials and cost estimates; management of crops, soil fertility, pests and weeds; and the economics and marketing of crops....