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Cover Crop Resources for the South

February 14, 2017

SARE_Southern_CMYKLast July 2016, SARE and North Carolina State University hosted a Southern Cover Crop Conference is Goldsboro NC. Some wonderful videos were captured from the demonstration plots showcasing tools used in managing cover crops, cover crop mixes and species, and interviews with many of the scientists leading cover crop efforts in the southern region.

You can find the videos here.


Crimson clover cover crop, in bloom.

The Southern SARE website is also a great resource for learning more about cover crops. Tip: Use the search function in the upper right window.

SSAWG 25th Anniversary Celebration!

January 19, 2016

It’s not too late to sign up for the SSAWG conference!


ssawg 25 yrs_2


Farmers Markets on Military Bases

November 18, 2015

Reposted from the USDA blog. Quick link to the guide, here.

Bringing More Farmers Markets to Service Members

Guide for Farmers Markets on Military Installations

The cover of the new Guide for Farmers Markets on Military Installations, which is filled with effective strategies to bring farmers markets’ community spirit and local food to service members and their families stationed at installations across the country.

As we take time this week to honor America’s veterans, we are also thinking about how we can improve the health and welfare of military communities across the country.  That’s why we are so proud to release the first-ever Guide for Farmers Markets on Military Installations.  By assisting military installations in establishing farmers markets, the guide will help increase access to fresh, local food for soldiers on military installations.  On-base farmers markets also connect members of the military with their surrounding communities and offer family-friendly gathering places where children can learn where their food comes from.

In a truly collaborative effort, my agency, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), created this detailed manual with the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) Healthy Base Initiative (HBI), and in partnership with Wholesome Wave.  It explains how commanders can establish and successfully operate farmers markets on military installations.

The guide is filled with effective strategies to bring the benefits of farmers markets to service members and their families stationed at installations across the country.  It also highlights success stories, showcasing existing farmers markets on military installations in Fort Bragg, NC; Fort Meade, MD; Fort Belvoir, VA; Camp Lejuene, NC; and Quantico, VA.

We know that farmers markets play an important role in communities and in American agriculture.  Today, more than 8,400 farmers markets are at the heart of towns and cities throughout the nation.  Farmers markets bring people together, putting customers face-to-face with the farmers and ranchers who produce fresh, local foods, while also creating jobs and marketing opportunities for these producers.

That’s why supporting farmers markets is a key part of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s commitment to strengthening local food systems, which he identified as one of four pillars of the Department’s efforts to revitalize rural economies.  The Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative coordinates the department’s policy, resources and outreach efforts related to local and regional food systems.  At AMS, we have a long history of supporting local and regional food systems, such as farmers markets, through grants, research, technical assistance and market information.

We’re honored to have worked with the DoD and Wholesome Wave on this new guide, and we look forward to helping service members, their families and their communities enjoy the benefits of farmers markets.

– See more at:

New USDA Website for New Farmers

November 2, 2015

The USDA has a new website for aspiring farmers. It’s full of resources for new farmers, women in ag, veteran farmers, young farmers and farm in transition.  The site also has a ‘Discovery Tool’ search function.  The launch of the new website was made in conjunction with USDAs announcement of an expansion of its support of new and beginning farmers to support the next generation of farmers.

Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture

October 29, 2015

Reposted from blogpost, Acting on Climate through Sustainable Agriculture: White House Champions of Change. 

Read more about the 12 Champion Farmers here.

Acting on Climate through Sustainable Agriculture: White House Champions of Change

On Monday, the White House honored 12 Champions of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture who are implementing practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve environmental conditions while sustaining local economies. In panel discussions at the White House, the Champions shared the techniques they are using on their farm such as planting cover crops, practicing no-till, installing biodigestors, and optimizing nutrient application.

Ag Champs of Change

The Champions all recognize the important role that our nation’s farmers, ranchers, and agricultural educators can play in addressing climate change. Their actions build on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s strategy, released in April 2015, to reduce net emissions and enhance carbon sequestration from agricultural and forestry practices by over 120 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent by 2025.

In addition to the panel discussion, the Champions had an opportunity to tour the White House Garden which planted cover crops this week as a demonstration of the importance of these actions in improving soil quality, reducing erosion, and increasing soil carbon. In recognition of the importance of sustainable practice, the White House announced that it will plant cover crops in the White House Kitchen Garden this week to improve soil quality, reduce erosion and increase soil carbon.

These efforts come at an important moment. In a little over a month, countries from around the world will meet in Paris on a climate change agreement. The work of our Champions and federal initiatives and programs exemplify America’s continued leadership in land-management strategies that mitigate emissions and adapt to climate change and build momentum for an agreement that takes a strong step forward toward a low-carbon, sustainable future.

SSAWG ‘Growing Farm Profits’ Webinar Series

September 22, 2015

SSAWG has a great set of webinars coming up this fall for agriculture professionals that work with diversified specialty crop producers. Read more details here.

Growing Farm Profits

Record Keeping for Profit Management for Vegetable Growers, October 22, 2015 | 3:30 pm (ET)

One of the most frustrating dilemmas farmers face in profitable decision making is having accurate information for those decisions.They may keep receipts for expenses, and record how much product is selling, but how do they determine the labor costs for each crop when there are so many crops in the field? This free webinar will help you learn some of the tricks of the trade across the spectrum from paper and white boards to computers and phone apps and put you on the right track in addressing these challenges with the farmers looking to you for assistance.
Cost-Benefit Analysis for Vegetable Equipment Purchasing Decisions, November 19, 2015 | 3:30 pm (ET)

“Should I add more labor or should I finally purchase that one piece of equipment to streamline the operation?” Farmers may ask you this question that could mean thousands more in profit on the farm. This free webinar will show you how to assist farmers in answering this question.

Schedule F vs Profitability Accounting for Vegetable Farming, December 17, 2015 | 3:30 pm (ET)

All farmers have to file a Schedule F to stay in compliance with the IRS. Unfortunately the accounting systems used to ensure tax filing are not the same as those necessary to provide the producer with knowledge of what management actions to take to increase profitability. In this free webinar you will get a glimpse of an extension agent working with a farmer who discovers just this problem. Together they learn how to look at the farm a little differently to better determine what key management areas need to be adjusted to improve profitability.


Southern SARE Accepting Proposals for Producer and On-farm Research Grants

September 4, 2015

SARE_Southern_CMYKSouthern SARE is accepting proposals for their Producer and On-farm research grants programs. The deadline to apply is November 13, 2015. One of the primary differences between the programs is that the On-Farm Research grant is not open to producers. It’s only available for researcher to conduct research on grower farms.  If a producer would like to apply, they need to go through the Producer grant program.  Both programs have budget limits of $15,000 and projects can last up to 2 years. Both of these program call for collaboration between producers/growers and researcher/extension or other agency.  Some examples of successful projects can be found on the SARE database.