The NCAT sound and sensible project focused on educating farmers and ranchers in the Gulf States region about organic production, as well as helping facilitate organic certification.
Rock Woods, Gulf States Regional Director for the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), knows the importance of persistence. Rock wanted to help more farmers in the southeast learn about organic certification, but he also knew that farmers are busy. That’s why Rock and NCAT launched a sustained engagement and outreach effort to reach potential organic farmers, and his persistence paid off!
NCAT is one of 13 organizations that the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) partnered with to create educational materials that support the sound and sensible initiative to make organic certification more affordable, accessible, and attainable. Read more »
Forest Service scientists use a greenhouse in Washington State to grow bluebunch wheatgrass as part of their current reciprocal transplant project. It is one of the largest and most intensive projects of its kind ever attempted.
Wildfires in sagebrush and other range ecosystems are increasing in frequency and severity, often in relation to drought conditions and intrusive species like cheatgrass, a non-native, highly flammable invasive species that establishes itself as a monoculture and crowds out native grasses and forbs.
“What’s preferable to a monoculture is a diverse plant community that includes native grasses, forbs and shrubs,” said Francis Kilkenny, leader for the Great Basin Native Plant Project, a joint effort of the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, or BLM. Read more »
2016 Agricultural Outlook Forum panelist, farmer Randall Hildreth at his 500 acre farm in Marengo County, Alabama. Nearly 200 of those acres were in Heir Property status and are currently in the process of getting a cleared title. (Photo courtesy of Randall Hildreth)
Focus on land tenure and transition issues has grown considerably in recent years, especially its impact on new and beginning farmers. “New and beginning farmers are the future of American agriculture,” said Deputy Secretary Harden. “The average age of an American farmer is 58 and increasing, so we must help new farmers get started if America is going to continue feeding the world and maintain a strong agriculture economy.” As the age of the principal farm operator continues to increase, the focus on this issue intensifies. Land tenure, succession and estate planning, and access to land for new and beginning farmers will be among the topics discussed in a session at USDA’s 2016 Agricultural Outlook Forum this month. Read more »
Students attending the Westwide Snow Survey Training, in Bend, Oregon this year, construct their own snow shelters and spend the night in them. Training covers a variety of topics focused on outdoor survival. Photo by Jenn Cole.
On a sunny January morning in 2010, Tony Tolsdorf had no idea that a walk in the woods would become the longest night of his life.
“It was really warm that morning, probably 55 or 60 degrees,” he recalls. “It was one of those days where you just have to get outside and do something, so I went for a hike in the Columbia River Gorge.”
His plan was to hike on a creek side trail for about seven miles, then climb onto a ridge and hike back toward his car. Read more »
NRCS offers conservation webinars year-round. Hosting, automated reminders and CEU accreditation; made possible by our conservation partner, Southern Regional Extension Forestry. (Click for a larger version)
Conservation science is a broad, deep field that’s growing all the time. To help people brush up on conservation practices and learn about new technologies, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers hundreds of free conservation webinars from its online Science and Technology Training Library.
Available live or on-demand, these webinars also count as Continuing Education Units for many different certifying organizations and programs. Read more »
Colorful ARS-bred carrots, packed with healthful pigments to punch up their nutrition level. ARS photo by Stephen Ausmus.
This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
Organic carrots are coming into their own. About 14 percent of U.S.-produced carrots are now classified as organic, making carrots one of the highest ranked crops in terms of the total percentage produced organically. With production and demand increasing in recent years, organic-carrot growers need help deciding which varieties to grow. Some varieties perform well as a conventional crop, but not so well under organic conditions. While conventional growers also can fumigate to control nematodes, bacterial diseases and fungal pathogens, organic growers don’t have that option. Read more »