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Updated: 14 hours 43 min ago

Episode 171. Climate-Smart Agriculture

Wed, 09/30/2020 - 14:37

In this episode, Colin Mitchell, a sustainable agriculture specialist based out of NCAT’s Southwest Regional Office in San Antonio, Texas, is joined by Jeanne Merrill, policy director at the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN). Colin and Jeanne discuss different “Climate Smart Agriculture” tools and policies in California, including the Healthy Soils Program; the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program; the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program; the Sustainable Agriculture Lands Conservation Program; the Alternative Manure Management Program; and the Climate Adaptation Program. They also discuss carbon markets, water quality trading, and other issues. Related ATTRA Resources: Publications Payments for Ecosystem Services...

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Episode 170. Native Seeds 

Wed, 09/23/2020 - 14:16

In this episode, Kara Kroeger, a sustainable agriculture specialist who works out of NCAT’s Southwest Regional Office in San Antonio, Texas, talks with Bill Nieman, the owner of Native American Seed, a native seed company in Junction, Texas. Bill shares his history in the native-seed business and talks about how native seeds can help improve ecosystem health, among other benefits. He also shares success stories of folks he’s worked with over the years. Related ATTRA Resources Seed Production and Variety Development for Organic Systems Seed Saving: What Beginners Need to Know Other Resources Native American Seed Hill Country Alliance The...

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Episode 169. Livestock Guardian Dogs

Wed, 09/16/2020 - 14:05

In this episode, Linda Coffey, a Livestock Specialist with NCAT’s Southeast Regional Office in Fayetteville, Arkansas, talks with Janet Vorwald Dohner, a farmer and noted expert on livestock guardian animals. The author of four books about the wonderful dogs that serve as livestock guardians, Jan brings more than 40 years of experience and a wealth of research and knowledge to the conversation in hopes of helping people succeed with these dogs. Jan talks about the history and traits of livestock guardian dogs and how to find and manage them. She explains how to handle some common problems experienced by dog...

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Episode 168. Water Quality Trading

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 14:08

In this episode, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Colin Mitchell is joined by Brian Brandt, the Agriculture Conservation Innovations Director at the American Farmland Trust. Colin and Brian discuss ecosystem service markets with a focus on water quality trading, a type of ecosystem service market that pays farmers for the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices that improve water quality through the reduction of runoff from manure, nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers, and sedimentation from soil erosion. Brian goes into extensive detail discussing a multistate water quality trading pilot project focused on the Ohio River Basin watershed and a new pilot on the...

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Episode 167: Veterans Discuss USDA Programs

Wed, 09/02/2020 - 13:29

In this episode, Margo Hale, NCAT’s Southeast Regional Director and Director of NCAT’s Armed to Farm Program, talks with Eric Grandon and Sara Creech. Eric is an Army veteran and owner of Sugar Bottom Farm in Ovapa, West Virginia. Sara is an Air Force veteran and owner of Blue Yonder Organic Farm in North Salem, Indiana. Both are alumni of NCAT’s Armed to Farm program, a week-long, sustainable agriculture training for military veterans. Eric and Sara share their experiences in accessing various USDA programs. They talk about the programs and services they have utilized, how those programs have helped them...

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Episode 166. Agriculture in Turkey

Wed, 08/26/2020 - 10:59

In today’s episode, Justin Duncan, sustainable agriculture specialist at NCAT’s Southwest Regional Office in San Antonio, Texas, interviews Helen Smiley, a sustainable agriculture consultant located in Turkey. Helen is formerly of Texas and was invited to Turkey to educate refugees in organic farming. She shares some of the differences in agriculture in Turkey versus Texas — from giant-sized cabbage to purple carrots. For more information on this topic, you can contact Justin Duncan directly at justind@ncat.org. Related ATTRA Resources: Organic Specialty Crop Production in Texas: A Grower’s Handbook Please complete a brief survey to let us know what you thought...

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Episode 165. SIFT Farm’s Unusual Year

Wed, 08/19/2020 - 11:57

In this episode, Andrew Coggins, director of the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s Rocky Mountain West office, has a conversation with farm manager John Wallace about the unusual growing season so far 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 farmers, urban...

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Episode 164. Soil Sessions: Understanding Soil pH

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 14:37

In this episode, Nina Prater, a soil specialist with NCAT’s ATTRA sustainable-agriculture program, and NCAT’s Southeast Regional Director Margo Hale discuss soil pH. They cover the basics – why it’s important, how to measure pH, and how to best remedy soil acidity, which is a common concern in Arkansas where they live. They don’t discuss alkaline soils in as much depth because it is not Nina’s area of expertise. But as she points out, NCAT’s ATTRA program does have other specialists who can address that soil issue with farmers. Margo is a livestock specialist, and she earned degrees in Animal...

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Episode 163. Farming Medicinal Plants

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 11:58

In this episode, Devona Bell, NCAT’s Director of Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Communities, has a conversation with Maya and Ed Skopal. Maya and Ed own I-TAL ACRES, a medicinal plant farm and apothecary in Floyd County, Virginia. The Skopals discuss their philosophy of medicinal plants, some of the plants they grow and the methods they use to grow them, how the medicinal plants are processed into products, and I-TAL ACRES’ business philosophy. For more information on this topic, you can contact Devona Bell directly via email at devonab@ncat.org. Please complete a

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Episode 162. Starting a Farm: Soil Considerations

Wed, 07/29/2020 - 14:44

Today’s podcast is part of the occasional series entitled “Starting a Farm” 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 episode is about soil considerations on a new farm. They talk about factors that affect soil, how to have yours tested, and the various ways you can improve your soil. For more information on this topic, you can contact Rockiell Woods directly at rockw@ncat.org. Related ATTRA Resources: ATTRA Soil Resources Sustainable Soil Management How to Add Compost on Your Small...

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Episode 161. Integrated Pest Management in Idaho Flocks

Wed, 07/22/2020 - 16:26

In this episode, NCAT Livestock Specialist Dave Scott has a conversation with Caleb Pirc of Good Shepherd Farm in Meridian, Idaho, about integrated pest-management strategies for their sheep operations. Dave, who, among other duties, works with NCAT’s ATTRA sustainable-agriculture program out of NCAT headquarters in Butte, Montana, is the co-owner of Montana Highland Lamb near Whitehall, Montana. Caleb, who also is the director of governmental affairs for the Idaho Wool Growers Association, raises registered Katahdin. He and Dave talks about reducing parasites in their flocks through grazing strategies, selective deworming, and selecting for genetic resistance in their animals, including the...

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Episode 160. Hydroponic Trials at NCAT’s SIFT Farm

Wed, 07/15/2020 - 14:11

Today’s episode is about hydroponic systems NCAT has used at its Small-Scale Intensive Farm Training Program (SIFT) demonstration farm. Lilianna Bento, Energy Corps Intern at NCAT, interviews Andrew Coggins, Director of NCAT’s Rocky Mountain West regional office in Butte, Montana, about innovations and simplifications made to their hydroponic system since 2016. For more information on this topic, you can contact Andrew Coggins directly at andrewc@ncat.org. Related ATTRA Resources: SIFT 2018: Lessons from a Small-Scale Urban Intensive Farm SIFT 2019: Continuing Lessons from a Small-Scale Urban Intensive Farm SIFT Blogs: Hydroponics: Root Indicators By John Wallace, SIFT Farm Manager SIFT Hydroponics...

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Episode 159. Small Ruminants: All About Health

Wed, 07/08/2020 - 11:52

In this episode, Margo Hale, Director of NCAT’s Southeast Regional in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Linda Coffey, Livestock Specialist with NCAT also located in Fayetteville, discuss ruminant health: how to encourage health, prevent illness, work with a veterinarian, and manage so that your flock or herd is mostly trouble-free. They discuss tools and supplies they like to have on hand. They also share the contents of the first-aid kit of Dave and Jenny Scott, owners of Montana Highland Lamb. Dave is a Livestock Specialist in NCAT’s Rocky Mountain West Regional office in Butte, Montana. For more information on this topic, you...

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Episode 158: Conservation Easements

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 17:13

In this episode, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Colin Mitchell interviews Chad Ellis, CEO of the Texas Agriculture Land Trust (TALT) and a board member of the Ecosystem Service Marketplace Consortium (ESMC). Colin works out of NCAT’s Southwest Regional Office in San Antonio, Texas, and among other projects works with NCAT’s ATTRA sustainable agriculture program. Colin and Chad discuss the role of TALT in the creation and monitoring of conservation easements for working farms and ranches. Chad also explains conservation and mitigation banking and how TALT helps facilitate those opportunities. Chad and Colin then move on to talk about ecosystem service...

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Episode 157. Pandemic Adaptation

Wed, 06/24/2020 - 11:56

In this episode, Martin Guerena, a sustainable agriculture specialist with NCAT’s Western Regional office in Davis, California, speaks with Hope Sippola and Shane Zurilgen of Fiery Ginger Farm in West Sacramento. Among other duties, Martin works with NCAT’s ATTRA sustainable-agriculture program. Their conversation includes a description of the operation, as well as some of the challenges they’ve faced and the opportunities they’ve found due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They provide ideas to help producers adapt to the changes in their markets. For more information on this topic, contact Martin Guerena directly via email at marting@ncat.org Related ATTRA Resources: ATTRA COVID-19...

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Episode 156. Mississippi Minority Farmer Alliance

Wed, 06/17/2020 - 16:03

In this episode, NCAT agriculture specialist Felicia Bell talks with Carolyn Jones of the Mississippi Minority Farmer Alliance. Felicia works in the NCAT Gulf States Office in Jackson, Mississippi, including work with NCAT’s ATTRA sustainable agriculture program. Felicia and Carolyn talk about engaging young people in agriculture and the importance of involving the entire community in the effort to secure the future of minority farmers and land owners. For more information on this topic, contact Felicia Bell directly via email at feliciab@ncat.org. Related ATTRA Resources: Economic Development – MS Food Justice Collaborative Education – MS Food Justice Collaborative Local Food...

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Episode 155. California FarmLink (Español)

Wed, 06/10/2020 - 12:35

En este episodio, Martin Guerena, un especialista en agricultura sostenible con el programa ATTRA del Centro Nacional de Tecnologia Apropiada (NCAT), habla con Brett Melone, el Director de Préstamos de California FarmLink. California FarmLink, que comenzó en 1999, ayuda a los agricultores principiantes, de recursos limitados, inmigrantes y otros desatendidos que intentan acceder tierra o financiamiento. Se enfoca particularmente en las regiones de la Costa Central, Valle Central y Costa Norte de California. Martin, quien trabaja en la Oficina Regional Occidental del NCAT en Davis, California, habló con Brett durante la reciente Conferencia EcoFarm de la Asociación de Agricultura Ecológica...

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Episode 154: Using Cover Crops in an Organic Walnut Orchard

Wed, 06/03/2020 - 12:03

In today’s episode NCAT staffer Rex Dufour interviews organic walnut farmer and processor, Russ Lester, at Dixon Ridge Farms in Winters, California. Russ shares some very practical thoughts about why he uses cover crops and explains how multi-functional cover crops are to his orchards. Rex Dufour has been a sustainable agriculture specialist with NCAT/ATTRA since 1994, and opened NCAT’s Western Regional Office in California in 2001. For more information on this topic, you can contact Rex Dufour directly at rexd@ncat.org. Related ATTRA Resources: Managing Soils for Water: How Five Principles of Soil Health Support Water Infiltration and Storage Tipsheet: Assessing...

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Episode 153. COVID-19 Impacts on Local Livestock Producers

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 11:36

In this episode, NCAT Southeast Regional Director and ATTRA Livestock Specialist, Margo Hale, talks with Rebecca Thistlethwaite. Rebecca is the director of the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (NMPAN) and works with livestock producers, processors, and marketers all across the country. Their discussion covers some of the opportunities and challenges livestock producers are seeing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They discuss ideas and resources to help producers adapt to the changes in their markets. For more information on this topic, contact Margo Hale directly via email at margoh@ncat.org. Related ATTRA Resources: ATTRA COVID-10 Resources Working with Your Meat Processor Working...

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Episode 152: Starting a Farm

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 11:45

Today’s episode is the first in 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 how many acres are needed and what crops to choose. 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...

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