National Center for Appropriate Technology

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Updated: 21 hours 54 min ago

Episode 220. Grazing Management Strategies for Drought

Thu, 09/16/2021 - 07:52
In this episode of Voices from the Field, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Tracy Mumma and Regenerative Livestock Specialist Justin Morris discuss how important it is to adapt livestock grazing strategies to drought conditions. They talk about the need to develop a drought plan, re-evaluate stocking rates, and invest in the future of your forage through careful management when emerging from a drought. Related ATTRA Resources: Regenerative Grazing Managed Grazing tutorial NCAT Soil for Water Project NCAT is scaling up its Soil for Water project to include livestock producers and farmers across eight states. Soil for Water supports a network of...

Episode 219. Soil Health: the Land Core Approach to Climate Mitigation

Wed, 09/08/2021 - 12:22
In this episode of Voices from the Field, NCAT Agricultural and Natural Resource Economist Jeff Schahczenski talks with Aria McLauchlan and Harley Cross about how to measure the impact that soil health practices can have in migrating the impacts of weather and climate disruption. Aria and Harley are co-founders of Land Core, a non-profit organization advancing soil health policies and programs that create value for farmers, businesses, and communities. Land Core guided the successful passage of language supporting soil health at the USDA in both the House and Senate in 2019 and built a broad coalition that helped secure more...

Episode 218. Embracing Opportunities, Even in a Pandemic

Wed, 09/01/2021 - 11:42
In this episode of Voices from the Field, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Mike Lewis sits down with Wayne Riley, executive director of the Laurel County African American Heritage Center in London, Kentucky, to discuss his work in the community, including the challenges and benefits that have arisen during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Laurel County African American Heritage Center is a non-profit founded in 2004 to preserve African American history in Laurel County, Kentucky, and devoted to helping those in the area increase their self-reliance and take greater control of the social and financial aspects of their lives. The heritage center...

Episode 217. Flexibility in an Unexpected Growing Season

Wed, 08/25/2021 - 11:27
In this episode of Voices from the Field, two agriculture specialists who work out of NCAT’s headquarters in Butte, Montana, talk about responding to the unexpectedly dry and hot conditions of this year’s growing season. NCAT’s Small-Scale Intensive Farm Training program (SIFT) operates a high-altitude urban demonstration farm in Butte. Farm manager John Wallace and NCAT Rocky Mountain West Regional Director Andrew Coggins give an update on the changes in crops, pest management, and growing strategies the season brought, and their efforts to work with, not against, the changes. ATTRA Resources: SIFT. Small Scale Intensive Farm Training SIFT 2018: Lessons...

Episode 216. Sheep and the Sun: Solar Grazing with Lexie Hain

Wed, 08/18/2021 - 12:44
This week’s episode of Voices from the Field takes a look at solar grazing, the practice of using livestock to manage the vegetation under solar panels. Sheep are widely considered the best animal for solar grazing, and they are being used in many countries with great success. National Center for Appropriate Technology Livestock Specialist Linda Coffey talks with Lexie Hain, a co-founder of the American Solar Grazing Association. Lexie, who began grazing sheep at solar arrays in 2016, talks about how she began solar grazing and offers practical tips for anyone who is considering the practice. With agricultural land in...

Episode 215. ‘Urban Ag is People Taking Care of People’

Wed, 08/11/2021 - 12:57
In this episode of Voices from the Field, we travel to Jackson, Mississippi, for a discussion of urban agriculture with NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Felicia Bell and Otis Wright, an urban farm manager and consultant. Otis talks about his experience with urban agriculture, as well as the ways he has found that urban agriculture can benefit communities beyond providing nutritious food. ATTRA Resources: Urban and Community Agriculture Other Resources: 100 Black Men of America Tougaloo College Contact Felicia Bell via email at feliciab@ncat.org. Please complete a brief survey to let us know your thoughts about the content of this podcast....

Episode 214. Attracting and Protecting Pollinators

Wed, 08/04/2021 - 13:00
In this episode of Voices from the Field, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Mike Lewis sits down with Dr. Tom Webster from Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension Services to talk about the role pollinators play in farm ecosystems, how to attract more pollinators, and how to protect them when they arrive. It all comes down to planning, and Dr. Webster offers some great strategies for increasing pollinator health and diversity on your farm. ATTRA Resources: A Pictorial Guide to Hedgerow Plants for Beneficial Insects Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees Contact Mike Lewis via email at mikel@ncat.org. Please complete a brief survey to...

Episode 213. Using Drones in Agriculture

Wed, 07/28/2021 - 09:32
In this episode of Voices from the Field, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Colin Mitchell talks with Matt Kutugata about using drones in agriculture. Before Matt started pursuing his Ph.D. in Agronomy from Texas A&M, he worked with Colin and the rest of NCAT’s Southwest Regional office team on the Subtropical Soil Health Initiative as a graduate researcher at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley. Much of Matt’s research has been driven by data gathered by drones. He and Colin discuss ways drones increasingly are being used in agriculture, including scouting agricultural operations and using multispectral cameras to monitor...

Episode 212. Forty Years Later, Mr. Burch is Back on the Farm

Wed, 07/21/2021 - 13:29
In this episode of Voices from the Field, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Asha Tillman shares the story of James Burch, who left Carroll County, Mississippi, for the military and other pursuits some 40 years ago. Now, he has returned to pursue his dream of starting Coleman’s Farm. As a beginning farmer, Mr. Burch is full of plans and advice for other beginning farmer veterans. ATTRA Resources: Armed to Farm: Sustainable Agriculture Training for Military Veterans Farm Start-Up Beginning Farmer Tutorials A Beginning Farmer Tells Her Story Other Resources: AgPlan Using an Excel Sheet for Farm Financial Records USDA Natural Resources...

Episode 211: Native Plants Offer More Than Beauty to the Farmscape

Thu, 07/15/2021 - 11:27
Native plants bring both beauty and resilience to the farmscape. In this episode of Voices from the Field, Eric Fuselier, an environmental project manager at the Arkansas and Oklahoma civil engineering firm Crafton Tull, tells the story of native plants and the benefits they offer in a conversation with NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Nina Prater. Farmers can use native plants in many creative ways to provide such benefits as biological pest control, bioremediation, and erosion control. Eric and Nina also talk about different ways farmers can create profitable enterprises with native plants, such as native forage species for livestock, native...

Episode 210. Harnessing the Power of Worms in Composting

Wed, 07/07/2021 - 15:30
Not all superheroes wear capes, that includes worms. In this episode of Voices from the Field, Nina Prater, sustainable agriculture specialist in the NCAT Southeast office in Fayetteville, Arkansas, talks with Matt Casteel, owner of Wurmworks, a composting business in Jackson, Mississippi. The two take a closer look at worms as composting superheroes. Casteel explains how to identify “good” compost, the ins-and-outs of worm composting, why compost is so good for soil health, and how composting can put food waste to good use. ATTRA Resources: Worms for Bait or Waste Processing Vermicomposting: The Basics Managing Soils for Water: How Five...

Episode 209. Meet NCAT: Linda Poole Explains There’s No Cookbook for Regenerative Grazing but Networks are a Key Ingredient

Wed, 06/30/2021 - 15:59
In this episode, you can make the acquaintance of NCAT’s new Regenerative Grazing Specialist, Linda Poole. Linda’s love of working wildlands began with riding horseback at her family’s Eastern Washington ranch and led to a Master of Science degree in wildlife ecology from Oregon State University. She managed The Nature Conservancy’s 60,000-acre Matador Grassbank in Montana and raises sheep her own homestead in Malta, Montana. Linda has developed a wealth of experience that will be a great contribution to NCAT’s sustainable-agriculture resources. Linda’s NCAT colleague, the other Linda – Linda Coffey of NCAT’s Arkansas office – welcomes her new co-worker....

Episode 208. Meet NCAT: Justin Morris’ Experience Deepens our Regenerative Agriculture Resources

Wed, 06/23/2021 - 11:11
Regenerative Livestock Specialist Justin Morris may be new to the National Center for Appropriate Technology, but he’s no stranger to using grazing as a tool to improve pasture quality and soil health. In this interview with NCAT Program Specialist Tracy Mumma, Justin explains how he first became interested in managing grazing to improve the land resource and discusses how livestock producers can start using grazing as a tool. He goes on to describe what regenerative agriculture means to him and the positive effect that it can have on soil health, environmental health, and producer well-being. Related ATTRA Resources: Justin Morris...

Episode 207. What to Consider When Choosing U-Pick Crops

Wed, 06/16/2021 - 12:59
In this episode of Voices from the Field, National Center for Appropriate Technology Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Martin Guerena speaks with Robert Ramming to learn more about Robert’s U-pick operation near Woodland, California. Robert’s Pacific Star Gardens raises apricots, berries, melons, tomatoes, and eggs. It sells from a roadside stand and U-pick fields. Robert explains his crop choices for U-pick and why blackberries are great, and vegetables are not-so-good. He and Martin dive into pricing, insurance, choosing a location, and the importance of building customer loyalty. Plus, Robert discusses the effect the COVID-19 pandemic had on folks’ attitude toward their food....

Episode 206. Meet NCAT: Veteran Farmer Mike Lewis Brings Diverse Expertise to Our Team

Thu, 06/10/2021 - 10:12
In this episode of Voices from the Field, National Center for Appropriate Technology Southeast Regional Director Margo Hale talks with Mike Lewis, a new NCAT sustainable agriculture specialist. From his Kentucky farm, Mike explains that farming is part of his DNA. Mike is a military veteran who founded Growing Warriors, a veteran-oriented food security project. In addition, Mike became the first federally permitted hemp farmer in the U.S. since Prohibition. Listen to his conversation with Margo Hale to learn more about his background, what brought him to NCAT, and the expertise he’ll bring to the sustainable farmers and ranchers we...

Episode 205. Inoculating Legume Cover Crops

Wed, 06/02/2021 - 09:56
In this bonus episode, Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Colin Mitchell who works out of NCAT’s Southwest Regional Office in San Antonio, Texas, sits down with Stephanie Kasper, a biology research associate at University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley, to discuss ways to ensure successful nodulation of legume cover crops. In a crop rotation, legume cover crops have the potential to add bioavailable nitrogen to the soil for the next crop and to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. Colin and Stephanie discuss how to inoculate cover crops, legume cover crop planting tips, and troubleshooting potential causes of nodulation failure in...

Episode 204. School Purchasing Cooperative in Ohio

Thu, 05/20/2021 - 12:55
In this episode, Tammy Howard, a National Center for Appropriate Technology sustainable agriculture specialist at NCAT’s Rocky Mountain West Regional Office, talks with Alison Patrick of the Feed our Future initiative, based in northeast Ohio. Tammy and Alison talk about the Feed our Future Farm to School pilot program, which led to the development of a school purchasing cooperative and a wide expansion of local produce purchasing. She also discusses the important role that food hubs have played in providing the quantity and consistency that school require. Related ATTRA Resources: Feasibility for a Central Texas Food Hub Food Hubs Food...

Episode 203. Supporting Beginning Farmers Market Vendors

Fri, 05/14/2021 - 12:18
In this episode, Maura Henn, a community food system specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s Western Regional Office in Butte, Montana, talks with representatives of the Oregon Farmers Market Association. They are Kelly Crane, OFMA’s executive director; Amanda Cross, OFMA’s programs manager; and Mallory Rahe, PhD, assistant extension professor of Agriculture and Applied Economics at the University of Missouri. The discussion centers on OFMA’s beginning vendor support network and the ways OFMA aids beginning vendors. Related ATTRA Resources: Tips for Selling at Farmers Markets Farmers Markets: Marketing and Business Guide Low-Income Local Food Access – Podcast Celebrating Farmers...

Episode 202. Ag Strategies for Ogallala Aquifer. Part 2

Thu, 05/13/2021 - 11:34
This episode is the second of a two-part discussion with Kara Kroeger, a sustainable agriculture specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s Southwest Regional Office in San Antonio, Texas, and Dr. Chris Grotegut of Hereford, Texas, which is located in the Texas Panhandle. Chris is a veterinarian, farmer, and stockman, as well as a cutting-edge producer of organic crops and livestock. Hereford has rich agricultural history that is fueled by the waters of Ogallala Aquifer, which has been in perilous decline over the past hundred years as land has been plowed for row cropping and cattle feedlots. This decline...

Episode 201. Ag Strategies for Ogallala Aquifer. Part 1

Wed, 05/12/2021 - 14:40
This episode is the first of a two-part discussion with Kara Kroeger, a sustainable agriculture specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s Southwest Regional Office in San Antonio, Texas, and Dr. Chris Grotegut of Hereford, Texas, which is located in the Texas Panhandle. Chris is a veterinarian, farmer, and stockman, as well as a cutting-edge producer of organic crops and livestock. Hereford has rich agricultural history that is fueled by the waters of Ogallala Aquifer, which has been in perilous decline over the past hundred years as land has been plowed for row cropping and cattle feedlots. This decline...

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