National Center for Appropriate Technology

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Updated: 14 hours 19 min ago

Episode 191. Electric Fencing 101. Part 1

Wed, 03/03/2021 - 11:01
In this episode, Nina Prater, a sustainable agriculture specialist with NCAT’s southeast office in Fayetteville, Arkansas, talks about electric fencing with her husband, Jeremy Prater. Jerry is the owner and operator of Cedar Creek Farm, a sustainable diversified livestock operation in the Ozarks of Arkansas. Jeremy has used electric fencing to manage cattle, goats, hogs, and poultry. In this episode, Nina and Jeremy talk about why electric fencing is such a useful tool in management-intensive grazing; the NRCS’s cost-share program for electric fence; how to adapt existing fence; and other ways electric fencing can be used to contain and manage...

Episode 190. Alderspring Ranch. Part 2

Wed, 02/24/2021 - 11:06

This episode is the second in a two-part series featuring NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Kara Kroeger talking with family members Glenn, Melanie, and Linnaea Elzinga from Alderspring Ranch in Idaho. Glenn and his family raise wild, organic grass-fed beef on their remote family ranch and deliver their products to customers across the nation. In this episode, they discuss the family’s innovative marketing strategies and tools. In the first part of the series, they discuss the family dynamics they have cultivated, how each family member determines his or her role, and the effects of COVID-19, among other topics. The link to...

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Episode 189. Alderspring Ranch. Part 1

Wed, 02/17/2021 - 12:21

This episode is the first in a two-part series featuring NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Kara Kroeger talking with ifamily members Glenn, Malanie, and Linnea Elzinga from Alderspring Ranch in Idaho. Glenn and his family raise wild, organic grass-fed beef on their remote family ranch and deliver their products to customers across the nation. In this episode, they discuss the family dynamics they have cultivate, how each family member determines his or her role and the effects of COVID-19, among other topics. In the upcoming second part of the conversation, they talk about Alderspring’s innovative marketing tools. For more information on...

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Episode 188. Perspectives on Agroforestry with Rowan Reid. Part 2

Wed, 02/10/2021 - 11:31

In this episode, the second of a two-part series, NCAT Southwest Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Colin Mitchell continues his conversation with guest Rowan Reid from Australia on agroforestry -— farming with trees. Rowan was a senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne for 20 years, is the managing director at the Australian Agroforestry Foundation, and has written or co-authored eight books, including his most recent release: Heartwood: The Art and Science of Growing Trees for Conservation and Profit. In part two, Colin and Rowan talk about tools farmers need for producing high- value timber on their farm, fire management, farmer- to- farmer...

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Episode 187. Perspectives on Agroforestry with Rowan Reid. Part 1

Wed, 02/03/2021 - 14:55

In this episode, the first of two, NCAT Southwest Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Colin Mitchell speaks with guest Rowan Reid from Australia to discuss agroforestry — farming with trees. Rowan was a senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne for 20 years and is managing director of the Australian Agroforestry Foundation. He has written or co-authored eight books, including his most recent release: Heartwood: The Art and Science of Growing Trees for Conservation and Profit. Colin and Rowan talk about balancing conservation and production, defining agroforestry, Rowan’s path to become a “forester among farmers”; and how agroforestry can help improve the...

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Episode 186. Is Farm to School Right for You?

Wed, 01/27/2021 - 12:30

In this episode, Kei Matsunami, the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s Montana local foods specialist, talks with Chris Gaskell of Grasmick Produce of Twin Falls and Boise, Idaho. Grasmick Produce is Montana’s contracted USDA Foods and DoD Fresh vendor. Chris talks about how he has worked with local producers to offer more Montana-grown fruits and vegetables to schools participating in farm-to-school efforts. He discusses requirements, such as volume and item specification, as well as important considerations regarding distribution logistics and pricing. This conversation with Chris Gaskell is part of a series of podcasts and videos for Bringing the Farm to...

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Episode 185. Microbial Inoculants: Fact and Fiction

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 12:20

In this episode, Mike Morris, NCAT’s Southwest Regional Director, talks with Dr. Barbara Bellows about her new ATTRA publication, Microbial Inoculants. Also known as biofertilizers or biostimulants, microbial inoculants contain beneficial microorganisms and are intended to stimulate plant growth, reduce pest and disease problems, and protect plants from various stress conditions. Dr. Bellows is a soil scientist with the Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research at Tarleton State University. She has been researching production methods for microbial inoculants and the various factors that can make them effective or ineffective. In this podcast, she explains how microbial inoculants work, offers practical...

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Episode 184. An Interview with Senator Boozman

Wed, 01/13/2021 - 11:24

In this episode, Margo Hale, NCAT’s Southeast Regional Director, visits with U.S. Senator John Boozman of Arkansas. Margo has known the senator since she was a child and has worked with Sen. Boozman’s office on agriculture issues since he entered Congress. With Senator Boozman’s new role as Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Margo welcomed an opportunity to visit with the senator about issues affecting small farmers. In their conversation, Senator Boozman shares his connection to agriculture, and they talk about the diversity of Arkansas agriculture. They also discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on the food supply and...

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Episode 183. Demystifying Soil Health Indicators and Tests

Wed, 01/06/2021 - 11:51

In this episode, Mike Morris, NCAT’s Southwest Regional Director, talks with Dr. Barbara Bellows about her new ATTRA publication, Soil Health Indicators and Tests. Recent years have seen an explosion of new soil health tests, measuring a wide variety of indicators that depend on the activity of soil microorganisms. Dr. Bellows is a soil scientist with the Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research at Tarleton State University. In this podcast, she explains how more than a dozen soil health test procedures actually work and offers practical advice on choosing a test that will meet your needs. Related ATTRA Resources: Soil...

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Episode 182. Getting Started in Livestock. Part 2: Species Considerations

Wed, 12/30/2020 - 12:46

In this episode, NCAT Southeast Regional Office Director Margo continues her conversation with Linda Coffey, an NCAT livestock specialist, regarding tips for those considering raising livestock. Margo also is a livestock specialist and lifelong livestock producer, and she and Linda both raise livestock near Fayetteville, Arkansas, where the NCAT Southeast Regional Office is located. In Part 1 (Episode 179), they covered some of the main points to consider before beginning a livestock enterprise. This episode addresses more of the strengths, challenges, and primary needs of various animals. Many resources are mentioned and linked below to help you learn more and...

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Episode 181. Pandemics and the Farm

Thu, 12/17/2020 - 10:43

In this episode, Rockiell Woods, director of NCAT’s Gulf States Regional Office in Jackson, Mississippi, has a conversation about the effect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on farms – both as a growing operation and as a business. Joining him are Dr. Cindy Ayers-Elliot of Foot Print Farms in Jackson and Dr. Bill Evans, director of horticulture at Up in Farms Food Hub, also located in Jackson. For more information on this topic, you can contact Rockiell Woods directly via email at rwoods@ncat.org. Related ATTRA Resources: ATTRA COVID-19 Response Other Resources: Foot Print Farms Up in Farms Food Hub Please...

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Episode 180. Meet the Subsurfer

Wed, 12/09/2020 - 14:13

In this episode, Nina Prater, a sustainable agriculture specialist with NCAT’s southeast office in Fayetteville, Arkansas, talks with Dr. Phillip Owens and Dr. Amanda Ashworth about a new piece of farm technology called a subsurfer. Dr. Owens is research leader with the Dale Bumpers Small-Farm Research Center in Booneville, Arkansas, and Dr. Ashworth is a research soil scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service. The subsurfer inserts dry poultry litter into the soil without tilling the soil. It was originally designed for use in pastures, but Dr. Ashworth has been conducting research on the use of this technology in organic...

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Episode 179. Getting Started in Livestock: Part 1

Wed, 12/02/2020 - 14:08

In this episode, Margo Hale and Linda Coffey, lifelong livestock producers and long-time NCAT livestock specialists, talk about getting started in livestock. What is the appeal, and what are the important considerations? Margo is director of NCAT’s Southeast Regional Office in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she and Linda both work. In their conversation, Margo and Linda emphasize the importance of keeping farm goals and resources in mind and stress the need to start small but plan for expansion. They mention essential infrastructure to have in place before bringing livestock home and offer many tips that will help beginners succeed with livestock....

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Episode 178. Blockchain and Agriculture

Wed, 11/18/2020 - 14:39

In this episode, Jeff Schahczenski, NCAT agricultural and natural resource economist, and Marieke de Ruyter de Wildt discuss issues surrounding the possibly disruptive technology of blockchain as used in agriculture and food supply chain management. Blockchain technology is often described as a system that maintains a record of transactions across several computers that are linked to a peer-to-peer network, which allows for the easy distribution of digital information. Tanzanian-born Marieke is founder of The New Fork, a blockchain company based in Amsterdam. The New Fork builds new technologies for agri-food supply chains, specializing in blockchain. Marieke’s fascination with agri-food started...

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Episode 177. Working-Lands Conservation Programs

Wed, 11/11/2020 - 14:09

In this episode, Jeff Schahczenski, an agricultural and natural resource economist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology, discusses working-lands conservation solutions with NCAT outreach specialist Rich Myers. Both work out of NCAT’s headquarters in Butte, Montana. In the 2018 Farm Bill, significant changes were made in the two most important federal working-lands conservation programs: USDA NRCS’s Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). Jeff and Rich discuss the importance of these programs to farmers and ranchers in supporting a more sustainable agriculture, as well as the recently adopted NRCS Conservation Assessment and Ranking Tool (CART), which...

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Episode 176. Starting a Farm: Water Issues

Wed, 11/04/2020 - 14:02

This week’s episode is part of an occasional series from Rockiell Woods, Director of NCAT’s Gulf States Regional Office in Jackson, Mississippi, and Bill Evans, Director of Horticulture at Up in Farms Food Hub in Jackson. This series is all about starting a farm. Today’s conversation is focused on water issues For more information on this topic, you can contact Rockiell Woods directly at rockw@ncat.org. Related ATTRA Resources: Evaluating a Farm Enterprise Financing Your Farm: Guidance for Beginning Farmers Planning for Profit in Sustainable Farming Basic Accounting: Guidance for Beginning Farmers Other Resources: Farm Answers Up in Farms Food Hub...

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Episode 175. Profiles of Tribal Mobile Markets

Wed, 10/28/2020 - 13:45

In this episode, Tammy Howard, an agriculture specialist who works out of NCAT’s Rocky Mountain West Regional Office in Butte, Montana, talks with two tribal food officials about their approach to sourcing food and selling it through their “mobile markets” in rural areas of Minnesota and Mississippi. They also discuss their approach to providing healthy, local food to tribal members. Zachary Paige is the coordinator of the White Earth Food Truck and facilitates the White Earth Food Sovereignty initiative of the White Earth Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. Daphne Snow manages the Choctaw Fresh program’s five farms on the...

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Episode 174. Solarization, Biosolarization, and the Pandemic

Wed, 10/21/2020 - 12:48

In this episode, Martin Guerena, a sustainable agriculture specialist based at NCAT’s Western Regional Office in Davis, California, speaks with Alex Ellison of Castlerock Farm in Walnut Creek, California. The conversation includes a description of the Castlerock Farm operation as well as the initial results and challenges of Castlerock’s trials in solarization and biosolarization. Alex also describes the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the farm. For more information on this topic, contact Martin Guerena directly via email at marting@ncat.org. Related ATTRA Resources: Soil Solarization and Biosolarization Tips for Selling at: Roadside Stands Market Gardening: A Start-Up Guide Other Resources: Castlerock Farm...

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Episode 173. SIFT Farm’s Unusual Year. Part 2.

Wed, 10/14/2020 - 12:42

In this episode, Andrew Coggins, director of the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s Rocky Mountain West regional office, continues his conversation with farm manager John Wallace about research in season extension and other topics at NCAT’s SIFT farm. Both Andrew and John work out of Butte, Montana. SIFT — or Small-Scale Intensive Farm Training program — aims to help communities increase their food security by producing their own healthy food. SIFT, with NCAT, has a working, sustainably managed, demonstration farm on five acres at our Butte office. This farm is the center of a program that teaches farmers and future...

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Episode 172. Small (Ruminant) Talk: Internal Parasites

Wed, 10/07/2020 - 12:34

In this episode, Margo Hale, NCAT’s Southeast Regional Office director and a livestock specialist with NCAT’s ATTRA sustainable-agriculture program, joins livestock specialist Linda Coffey to discuss the important problem of internal parasites. The conversation covers why internal parasites are such a force to be reckoned with, as well as ways producers can work with nature to manage their pastures and animals to minimize issues with parasites. Related ATTRA Resources: Animal Health and Nutrition Managed Grazing Tutorial Publications Adaptive Grazing: You Can Do It Tools for Managing Internal Parasites in Sheep and Goats: Pasture Management Tipsheet: Organic Approach to Animal Health...

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