Category Archives: NCAT Southeast Regional Office

Novel Nutrient Management Method: Applying Poultry Litter in Subsurface Bands

Novel Nutrient Management Method: Applying Poultry Litter in Subsurface Bands
By Nina Prater, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist

Getting nutrients right in farming is a balancing act. When planning to apply fertilizers and soil amendments, farmers must consider their soil type, climate, the time of year, the crops they are raising, water availability, soil health, water quality concerns, and the nuances of the many different macro- and micronutrients that plants require. The way nutrients are applied is also an important consideration. A series of research projects have been conducted at the Dale Bumpers Small Farm Research Center in Booneville, AR, to assess a new way of applying poultry litter (the manure and bedding removed from commercial poultry houses) by inserting it into the soil.  

Poultry litter is a National Organic Program (NOP) approved fertilizer and is readily available in many parts of the U.S. The litter is often surface applied, but this can lead to nutrient loss through nitrogen volatilization or surface runoff. A novel technology has been developed to reduce nutrient loss from poultry litter. Named the “Subsurfer,” it is an implement pulled behind a tractor that inserts poultry litter into the soil in bands and reduces nutrient losses to the air, soil, and water by over 70%. The Subsurfer was initially developed for use in pastures, but researchers have been conducting studies to determine best practices for its use in organic cropping systems. While not yet commercially available, the results of the studies suggest that it is a promising technology that can help solve nutrient-loss issues while maintaining productivity and improving both crop quality and soil health.  

Dr. Amanda Ashworth, Research Soil Scientist with USDA’s Agriculture Research Service (ARS) Poultry Production and Product Safety Research Unit, has conducted research to determine the optimal crop row distance from the poultry litter bands for the greatest crop yield and quality. Planting directly into the litter would damage the plants, so the litter has to be inserted to the side of the plant row. But what distance is best for different crops? 

How Litter is Applied 

The ARS Subsurfer is pulled behind a tractor, inserting the litter approximately 4 inches beneath the soil surface, with wheels that close the soil up over the litter after it is inserted. The litter must have a moisture content of 35% or less. A seeder can be attached to the Subsurfer so that the fertilizing and seeding can be done in one pass. In these research plots, a GPS was used to ensure accurate spacing of seeds and litter bands.  

An additional finding of the research was that the crop quality was improved with the use of the Subsurfer, even as compared to plots that were fertilized with urea. Dr. Ashworth found the additional nutrients contained in poultry litter led to this improved quality. The liming properties of the poultry litter, as well as additional macro- and micronutrients it contains, provide a more complete “diet” to the crop in ways that urea, which only supplies N, could not.

There is potential for the Subsurfer to help with nutrient management on small to medium-sized farms, organic and conventional alike. The equipment can only cover approximately 20 to 30 acres in one day, so it is not likely to work well on farms in the thousands of acres, but for smaller-scale operations, it could provide a way to fertilize efficiently.

Citations

A tractor pulling the subsurfer attachment across a field.

Ashworth, A.J., D.H. Pote, T.R. Way, and D.B. Watts. Effect of seeding distance from subsurface banded poultry litter on corn yield and leaf greenness. Agronomy Journal. 2020; 112:1679–1689.

Ashworth, A.J., C. Nieman, T.C. Adams, J. Franco, and P.R. Owens. Subsurface banded poultry litter distance influence on the multifunctionally of edamame (Glycine max Edamame’) yield and leaf greenness. Pending Publication.

Photos courtesy USDA ARS.

Related ATTRA Resources

Meet The Subsurfer: ATTRA Blog
Meet The Subsurfer: ATTRA Podcast
Arsenic In Poultry Litter: Organic Regulations
Sweet Corn: Organic Production
Edamame: Vegetable Soybean
Nutrient Management Plan (590) for Organic Systems
Soil Management: National Organic Program Regulations

The information contained in this blog is also available as a downloadable fact sheet here. This factsheet is produced by the National Center for Appropriate Technology through the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program, under a cooperative agreement with USDA Rural Development. This factsheet was also made possible in part by funding from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, Specialty Crop Grant AM180100XXXXG157.

Welcoming Carlos Vences, NCAT’s New SARC Program Assistant

Welcoming Carlos Vences, NCAT’s New SARC Program Assistant

We are excited to have a new staff member in NCAT’s Southeast office—and not just because he owns dairy goats and we’re looking forward to a farm visit during kidding season. Carlos Vences joined us recently as NCAT’s new Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Communities (SARC) Program Assistant. Although he’s based in NCAT‘s Fayetteville, Arkansas, office, Carlos will lend a hand to NCAT programs across the U.S. As the… Continue Reading

Fruit and the Freeze of 2021

Fruit and the Freeze of 2021

Better Than I Feared but Worse Than It Looks By Guy K. Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist Photo at right: Peach flowers from a previous spring, a sight we won’t be seeing much of this year because of the deep freeze. A dipping polar vortex delivered a cruel and chilling Valentine’s gift to the Midwest and… Continue Reading

Providing Water to Livestock in Frigid Weather

Providing Water to Livestock in Frigid Weather

By Linda Coffey, Margo Hale, and Dave Scott, NCAT Livestock Specialists Weather events bring all sorts of challenges to livestock producers, but perhaps none more than severe winter weather. The bitterly cold temperatures in February 2021 sparked a conversation among NCAT Livestock Specialists about how we provide water to stock during such times. Since spring… Continue Reading

Juneberry: the Delicious Native American Fruit with a Thousand Names

Juneberry: the Delicious Native American Fruit with a Thousand Names

By Guy K. Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist At right: Juneberry fruits look quite like medium-sized blueberries, but the juneberry is actually much more closely related to apples and pears. Photo: Guy Ames, NCAT. Of the many names for this plant, “chuckleberry” is certainly my favorite, but I’ve only seen it in writing, never heard it… Continue Reading

Getting Started in Livestock: Lessons Learned

Getting Started in Livestock: Lessons Learned

By Linda Coffey, NCAT Livestock Specialist Thinking back to 1986 and our first farm is a fun thing to do. From then until now, we’ve raised a lot of livestock and have done several types of enterprises—feeder to finish, dairy, eggs, breeding stock, birth to finish. NCAT Southeast Regional Director and Livestock Specialist Margo Hale… Continue Reading

Farm Equipment and Infrastructure

Farm Equipment and Infrastructure

By Margo Hale, NCAT Southeast Regional Director, Armed to Farm Program Director, and Agriculture Specialist Last week, I shared a few thoughts about getting started with livestock. In the Getting Started with Livestock Podcast, NCAT Livestock Specialist Linda Coffey and I discussed our farm goals, how our livestock enterprises help us meet those goals, and… Continue Reading

Getting Started with Livestock

Getting Started with Livestock

By Margo Hale, NCAT Southeast Regional Director, Armed to Farm Program Director, and Agriculture Specialist My day begins with a hot cup of coffee and a quick check of our farm. What a thrill to find a new baby calf from our Belted Galloways, to watch the antics of our pig, to have my girls… Continue Reading

USDA Programs Can Help Farmers Succeed

USDA Programs Can Help Farmers Succeed

By Margo Hale, NCAT Southeast Regional Director, Armed to Farm Program Director, and Agriculture Specialist I have worked on NCAT’s ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program as an Agriculture Specialist and educator for more than 15 years. Over the years, I have taught thousands of farmers through workshops and presentations. I am often surprised by the number… Continue Reading

Healthy Animals, Happy Farm

Healthy Animals, Happy Farm

Strategies for Sheep and Goat Care By Linda Coffey, NCAT Livestock Specialist If you have raised sheep or goats, you likely have experienced the joy of “lamb races,” in which a group of lambs will suddenly get the urge to run and play, just for the fun of it. This week, I watched for at… Continue Reading

Farm Update: Late Summer in the Ozarks

Farm Update: Late Summer in the Ozarks

Army Worms, Bees, No-Till Drilling, Soil pH By Nina Prater, NCAT Agriculture Specialist As we round the corner from summer into fall, I always like to look back and assess how we did on our farm during the busy summer months. We did not suffer a bad drought this summer, though it was touch and… Continue Reading

Apples and Pears: How to Tell When They’re Ripe

Apples and Pears: How to Tell When They’re Ripe

By Guy K. Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist It’s the time of year when apple and pear growers are watching their trees like hawks. . .because the crows are watching the trees, too—like, well, crows. Ripening fruit becomes attractive to crows and many other critters. The fruit sugars are just too much to resist. And beating… Continue Reading

Incubator Farm Project in its Second Season

Incubator Farm Project in its Second Season

By Luke Freeman, NCAT Horticulture Specialist Photo at right: Sunflowers bloom in the farm plot of Jenni Vaughn, who joined the Incubator Farm Project in 2019. New Incubator Farmers We are excited to announce that we have two new incubator farmers participating in the Woolsey Incubator Farm program in Fayetteville, AR! Their names are Lucy… Continue Reading

Selling Meat During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Selling Meat During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Margo Hale, NCAT Southeast Regional Director and NCAT Livestock Specialist When the COVID-19 pandemic started, I, like many of you, was focused on working from home while also homeschooling my daughters. I was busy postponing and rescheduling several NCAT training events and figuring out how to best serve our ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture clients. As… Continue Reading

Pear Trees Exemplify Resilience

Pear Trees Exemplify Resilience

By Guy Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist Photo: New leaves provide a startling and beautiful contrast to the diseased leaf on the left. “Resilience” is the latest buzz-word in the lexicon of sustainable agriculture. . .and for good reason. Resilience is the ability to recover or bounce back after a challenge or setback. In agriculture, it… Continue Reading

What the Brown Rot Hath Wrought

What the Brown Rot Hath Wrought

By Guy Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist I don’t grow peaches. That unhappy confession is despite the fact that I grow peach trees. And rot. I grow a lot of brown rot. In the humid eastern half of the United States, if you don’t somehow protect your peaches from both brown rot and the plum curculio, chances are your… Continue Reading

Dairy Goats for the Farm

Dairy Goats for the Farm

By Linda Coffey, NCAT Livestock Specialist Photo at right: Caramel and Rosie Petunia with Caramel’s new owner. Photo: Courtesy Paula Hartgrave. This week, I will be sending a young dairy goat named Caramel to a lovely family. The seven-year-old girl who will be in charge of the goat is so excited; she and her parents… Continue Reading

Wine Cap Mushroom Production: Getting Started

Wine Cap Mushroom Production: Getting Started

Photos and text by Nina Prater, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Image at right: Jeremy Prater practicing his shiitake mushroom inoculation skills at the mushroom workshop in Fayetteville, AR. Last year, the NCAT Southeast office partnered with the University of Missouri’s Agroforestry Center to host a one-day mushroom cultivation workshop in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Gregory Ormsby Mori… Continue Reading

Peach Leaf Curl

Peach Leaf Curl

By Guy K. Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist In Northwest Arkansas I’m seeing peach leaf curl in my orchard. It’s April, but the calendar date is not as important as the growth stage of the peaches. The professionals call this time “shuck split.” The “shuck,” or the last remnant of the flower, is splitting and falling… Continue Reading

Electric Deer Fence Tips and Resources

Electric Deer Fence Tips and Resources

By Luke Freeman, NCAT Horticulture Specialist Photo at right: Kenny Simon presenting at NCAT’s Deer Fence Workshop on October 15, 2019. Photo by Colin Massey, Arkansas Extension. Last November we hosted a workshop in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on constructing a low-cost, solar-powered electric deer fence for a farm, garden, or food plot. Since people are planting… Continue Reading

Elderberries: Easy to Grow Medicine

Elderberries: Easy to Grow Medicine

By Guy K. Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist I can hardly think of a perennial fruit easier to grow than elderberries. And I can hardly think of a food item with a stronger claim to health benefits. Coupling the ease of growing with this fruit’s new popularity as an effective medicine, this could be an opportune… Continue Reading

Restorative Pruning

Restorative Pruning

It Takes More Than a Nip and a Tuck, but You Can Bring Those Old Trees Back Into Production By Guy K. Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist Long-neglected fruit trees quite often simply die of disease or trunk borer damage, especially in the South where I live.  But if they don’t die, one of the two… Continue Reading

Young and Beginning Farmers Come Together

Young and Beginning Farmers Come Together

A Recap of the Young Farmer National Leadership Convergence By Luke Freeman, NCAT Horticulture Specialist Photo at right: Luke enjoying the Colorado snow! In November I attended the National Leadership Convergence in Boulder, Colorado, hosted by the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC). This was a fantastic opportunity to meet other young farmer leaders from across… Continue Reading

Dwarfing Apple Rootstocks: Pros and Cons

Dwarfing Apple Rootstocks: Pros and Cons

To Be or Not to Be Little. That Is the Dwarf Fruit Tree Question. By Guy K. Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist At right: The author beneath a full-size Koyama pear tree. Photo courtesy Ozark Natural Foods. Whether ‘tis nobler to suffer the posts and cables of outrageous trellis systems… Okay, I’ll stop. Most professional orchardists… Continue Reading

Livestock Guardian Animals: Protecting the Flock

Livestock Guardian Animals: Protecting the Flock

By Linda Coffey, NCAT Livestock Specialist Photo (right) courtesy Lewis Fox, Fox Farms You walk out to check your sheep, and find the best lamb is missing. Your dairy goats go out to graze with their kids, and come home later without your daughter’s best show prospect. One day you come home to find a… Continue Reading

Grafting Fruit Trees

Grafting Fruit Trees

The Science and Craft (and a Little Magic) By Guy K. Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist People practiced the craft of grafting well before they understood the science. Grafting dates back to at least 1,000 B.C. The ancient Chinese, Greeks, and Romans all knew about grafting as witnessed by their written records. But much of the… Continue Reading

Fall Planting Fruit Trees

Fall Planting Fruit Trees

A Hair’s Breadth Makes a Huge Difference By Guy K. Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist All across the South and as far north as USDA Climate Zone 5, fall planting of fruit trees can help get fruit trees off to a big head-start compared to fruit trees planted in spring. Why? The answer is a small… Continue Reading

Register Now: Electric Deer Fence Workshop

Register Now: Electric Deer Fence Workshop

Do you struggle to protect your farm or garden from deer damage? Join NCAT and University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension for an Electric Deer Fence Workshop on Friday, November 15! You’ll learn how to construct a low-cost solar-powered deer fence for your farm, garden, or food plot. You’ll also learn other ways to keep wildlife… Continue Reading

Beginning Livestock Workshop: Recap and Resources

Beginning Livestock Workshop: Recap and Resources

On October 4, NCAT Southeast Regional Director Margo Hale and Livestock Specialist Linda Coffey traveled to Judsonia, Arkansas, to lead a workshop for beginning livestock producers. They share highlights from the day-long event below. We thoroughly enjoyed this workshop, for many reasons. It was a pleasure to work with Ryan Pace, who hosted the group.… Continue Reading

Put a Certification Label On It?

Put a Certification Label On It?

Certified Naturally Grown vs. Certified Organic vs. Who Cares By Guy K. Ames, CNG grower and NCAT Horticulture Specialist When you work hard to produce food in an ecologically sound way that customers can purchase without fear of pesticide residues, you may wonder if you should take the next step and make it “official” through… Continue Reading

International Partners Fight Against Internal Parasites

International Partners Fight Against Internal Parasites

NCAT Livestock Specialist Linda Coffey recently traveled to Ghent, Belgium, to attend an international meeting focused on managing internal parasites in sheep and goats. Following is her report on what she learned during the trip. I have been privileged to be involved as a member—along with NCAT Southeast Regional Director Margo Hale and NCAT Livestock… Continue Reading

Register Now: Certified Naturally Grown Workshop

Register Now: Certified Naturally Grown Workshop

Are you interested in learning how to become Certified Naturally Grown (CNG)? If so, this workshop is for you! NCAT Horticulture Specialists Guy Ames and Luke Freeman will lead a three-hour Certified Naturally Grown Workshop on Thursday, October 24 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. The event will take place at Cobblestone Farm, 1210 N. 54th… Continue Reading

Incubator Farm Project Cultivates Farmers and Community

Incubator Farm Project Cultivates Farmers and Community

Spearheaded by NCAT Southeast’s Luke Freeman, the Woolsey Farm Project is a collaboration between NCAT, Cobblestone Farms, and the City of Fayetteville, Arkansas. It is supported by an EPA Environmental Education Award. We’re a few months into the project now, and we thought it was time for an update on this exciting program! Background and… Continue Reading

Register Now: NCAT Beginning Livestock Workshop

Register Now: NCAT Beginning Livestock Workshop

Join NCAT for a one-day beginning livestock workshop at beautiful Wholly Cow Farms in Judsonia, Arkansas. NCAT Southeast Regional Director Margo Hale and NCAT Livestock Specialist Linda Coffey will teach sessions on business planning, marketing, and sustainable livestock production. Farmer Ryan Pace will lead a tour of the farm and share his experiences raising organic… Continue Reading

Sour Rot on Grapes

Sour Rot on Grapes

By Luke Freeman, NCAT Horticulture Specialist The grape harvest has begun here in Arkansas and we have all been enjoying delicious locally-grown table grapes. If you are growing grapes yourself you may be noticing some diseases that have caused your grapes to rot before you can harvest them. One disease you may see, which is… Continue Reading

Milestones and a Reunion at Armed to Farm Indiana

Milestones and a Reunion at Armed to Farm Indiana

We completed our twentieth Armed to Farm training, and our first in the Midwest U.S., back in May! We were excited to partner with Farmer Veteran Coalition of Indiana and AgrAbility to host a group of 18 veterans in Crawfordsville, Indiana, May 13-17. It was great to reconnect with Sara Creech, alumnus of our very… Continue Reading

Alternative Poultry Feeds

Alternative Poultry Feeds

By Margo Hale, NCAT Livestock Specialist and Southeast Regional Office Director Finding sources of feed often presents a challenge for sustainable or organic poultry producers. Many producers would like to source local and organic feeds, and many would prefer diets that do not rely heavily on corn and soybeans. In order to do this, farmers… Continue Reading

Japanese Beetles: Exotic Pests and Domestic Defenses

Japanese Beetles:  Exotic Pests and Domestic Defenses

By Guy K. Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist Ever since Columbus sailed the ocean blue, travel and trade between the eastern and western hemispheres have been responsible for releasing stowaway pests and diseases into ecosystems unprepared for their devastations. Some of these are quite famous, like Dutch elm disease and chestnut blight, both brought from the… Continue Reading

The Disease Triangle and the Rotten Rainbow

The Disease Triangle and the Rotten Rainbow

Excessive Rain Causes Challenges for Fruit Growers By Guy K. Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist The so-called Disease Triangle is a Venn diagram that illustrates the interplay among the factors that cause disease. The factors that must be present for disease to occur are: a susceptible host, the presence of the pathogen, and a conducive environment.… Continue Reading

Disease Resistance Among Apple Varieties

Disease Resistance Among Apple Varieties

It’s Relative, Not Absolute! By Guy K. Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist The concept of disease resistance among apple varieties seems to be often misunderstood.  Rarely is resistance so strong that it is absolute or immune. There are some bona fide scab-immune apple varieties (e.g., Williams Pride, Liberty, Pristine, and Enterprise). And there are some cedar… Continue Reading

The Farmer’s Footsteps or “Can I see some I.D.?”

The Farmer’s Footsteps or “Can I see some I.D.?”

By Guy K. Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist Sure, that’s a strange title for my blog, but I can explain: I have two, somewhat distinct, important points to make here. Ambushed Elderberries This morning before heading for the office, I took one of my usual walks to enjoy the cool morning temperatures and to see whatever… Continue Reading

Spring Conditions Favor Fire Blight Infection in Apples and Pears

Spring Conditions Favor Fire Blight Infection in Apples and Pears

By Guy K. Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist With an overabundance of rain in most of the eastern United States and May temperatures warming, conditions are conducive for outbreaks of the “shoot blight” phase of fire blight. The primary infection site for the causal organism of fire blight, the bacteria Erwinia amylovora, are the tender tissues… Continue Reading

NCAT Southeast Wraps Up Six-Session Workshop Series

NCAT Southeast Wraps Up Six-Session Workshop Series

NCAT Southeast staff recently wrapped up a series of workshops—one per month for six months—with the same group of farmers from Arkansas and Oklahoma. The “Taking Your Farm to the Next Level” workshop series started in November 2018 and concluded in April 2019. The participating farmers had several years of production experience, but wanted to… Continue Reading

“Petal Fall” Is a Key Time for Managing Fruit Tree Pests

“Petal Fall” Is a Key Time for Managing Fruit Tree Pests

By Guy K. Ames, NCAT Horticulture Specialist Major pests of apples, peaches, plums, cherries, and pears enter and/or become active in orchards as soon as the petals begin falling from the flowers. In the eastern half of the United States the plum curculio (photo at right) moves from overwintering sites in or near the orchard… Continue Reading

Free Workshop: Learn to Put Your Land to Work

Free Workshop: Learn to Put Your Land to Work

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), the City of Fayetteville, and Cobblestone Farms are partnering to conduct the free “Putting Your Land to Work” workshop. Join us on Thursday, June 6, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Cobblestone Farms in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Learn what you can do with your farm property, or what… Continue Reading

New Food Processing Guidebook for Farmers Available!

New Food Processing Guidebook for Farmers Available!

With help from a team of farmers, economists, and food experts, Mike Morris (National Center for Appropriate Technology) and Sue Beckwith (Texas Center for Local Food) have created an entertaining and useful new workbook, Beyond Fresh: a Food Processing Guide for Texas Farmers. Available from NCAT’s ATTRA website here for just $19.95, the book walks… Continue Reading

Growing Edible Mushrooms Workshop: Recap and Resources

Growing Edible Mushrooms Workshop: Recap and Resources

Twenty-five participants came from all over Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois to attend the Growing Edible Mushrooms workshop on Tuesday, April 2, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. NCAT’s Southeast Office partnered with Phillip Owens of the USDA ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farm Research Center and Gregory Ormsby Mori of the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry to… Continue Reading

Beginning Farmer Workshop with NCAT’s Luke Freeman

Beginning Farmer Workshop with NCAT’s Luke Freeman

Join NCAT Horticulture Specialist Luke Freeman and University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension staff for an information-packed evening designed to help beginning farmers plan for success. Workshop Details This workshop is geared towards beginning farmers or those who are considering getting into farming. Luke will talk about whole farm planning and selecting the right farm enterprise.… Continue Reading

Register Now! Lambing Production Weekend with NCAT’s Linda Coffey

Register Now! Lambing Production Weekend with NCAT’s Linda Coffey

Join NCAT Livestock Specialist Linda Coffey, Heifer Ranch staff, and USDA Agriculture Research Service’s (ARS) Dr. Joan Burke for an information-packed weekend all about lambing production! This Lambing Weekend will take place April 12-14, 2019, at the beautiful 1,200 acre Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas. This event is the final in a series of four… Continue Reading

NCAT Southeast Hosts Inaugural Armed to Farm 2.0

NCAT Southeast Hosts Inaugural Armed to Farm 2.0

We held our first Armed to Farm 2.0 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, February 25-March 1, 2019. This training was open to veterans who had previously attended one of our Armed to Farm training events. We had a fantastic group of 18 participants, from 10 states, for the week. They represented nine Armed to Farm events from… Continue Reading

New at ATTRA: Videos on Pruning Grapes

New at ATTRA: Videos on Pruning Grapes

Have you pruned your grapevines yet? Annual pruning is critical to healthy, productive grape vines. Growers should prune grapes in late winter or early spring before new growth begins, then return mid-season to cluster thin. In two new videos from NCAT, which are part of the High Tunnel Grape Project video series, we’ll show you… Continue Reading

Applications Available for Indiana Armed to Farm Veteran Training

Applications Available for Indiana Armed to Farm Veteran Training

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is now accepting applications from military veterans who want to attend our week-long Armed to Farm (ATF) training. ATF allows veterans and their spouses to experience sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and explore agriculture as a viable career. About Armed to Farm ATF’s engaging blend of farm tours,… Continue Reading

Pruning Fruit Trees for Organic Disease Management

Pruning Fruit Trees for Organic Disease Management

The following blog is an excerpt from a soon-to-be completed publication on pruning fruit trees by NCAT Horticulture Specialist Guy Ames (right).  Given the season—time to prune!—we wanted to get this out to our clients. You can contact Guy or our other horticulture specialists with questions about fruit tree production by emailing askanag@ncat.org or calling… Continue Reading

NCAT Staff Savor Southern SAWG Conference Experience

NCAT Staff Savor Southern SAWG Conference Experience

NCAT Southeast agriculture specialists Margo Hale, Linda Coffey, Guy Ames, Nina Prater, and Luke Freeman made the (relatively) short trip from Fayetteville to Little Rock, Arkansas, last month for the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) Conference. Following is a reflection on their experience at this popular annual event. The SSAWG Conference draws a very… Continue Reading

Defeating Parasites in Sheep and Goats: Webinar Series

Defeating Parasites in Sheep and Goats: Webinar Series

Internal parasites are the worst health problem for small ruminants, and can be devastating to a flock or herd. It is possible to combat this persistent enemy, though! ATTRA – Sustainable Agriculture and Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) are teaming up to offer a three-part webinar series that will teach producers tools and strategies to… Continue Reading

High Tunnel Tour Recap, Research Results, and Resources

High Tunnel Tour Recap, Research Results, and Resources

High tunnel production had top billing at the recent Arkansas-Oklahoma Horticulture Industries Show held in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in January. NCAT’s Horticulture Specialist Luke Freeman helped lead a pre-conference tour of high tunnels at the University of Arkansas Research Farm on Thursday, January 3. Several presenters discussed high tunnel fruit and vegetable production during the conference… Continue Reading

Apply Now for Incubator Farm Plots in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Apply Now for Incubator Farm Plots in Fayetteville, Arkansas

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is excited to announce that applications are open for incubator farm plots through our Woolsey Farm Project! Spearheaded by NCAT Southeast’s Luke Freeman, the Woolsey Farm Project is a collaboration between NCAT, Cobblestone Farms, and the City of Fayetteville. The project aims to provide beginning farmers with access… Continue Reading

NCAT Southeast Ag Specialists Set to Speak at Southern SAWG Conference

NCAT Southeast Ag Specialists Set to Speak at Southern SAWG Conference

Are you headed to the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group’s (SSAWG) annual conference in Little Rock, Arkansas later this week? Almost all of the NCAT Southeast staff will be there! Margo Hale, Linda Coffey, Guy Ames, and Luke Freeman will speak at concurrent general conference sessions on Friday. On Saturday, Margo and Linda will facilitate… Continue Reading

Conference Sneak Peak: Horticulture Industries Show and High Tunnel Tour

Conference Sneak Peak: Horticulture Industries Show and High Tunnel Tour

Thinking ahead to your New Year’s resolutions? Add attending the Oklahoma & Arkansas Horticulture Industries Show (HIS) in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to the list! Join NCAT Horticulture Specialists Guy Ames and Luke Freeman at this popular event on January 4 and 5, 2019. Each year, HIS brings dozens of speakers together to provide regionally-appropriate information on specialty… Continue Reading

Ruminating on Small Ruminants at the Missouri Livestock Symposium

Ruminating on Small Ruminants at the Missouri Livestock Symposium

NCAT Southeast Livestock Specialist Linda Coffey traveled to Kirksville, Missouri, last week for the very popular Missouri Livestock Symposium, which draws thousands of attendees from across the U.S. Linda shares her reflections on the trip below. Friday Evening Activities and Keynote I enjoyed representing NCAT at the Missouri Livestock Symposium. As usual, a great crowd… Continue Reading

Meeting with a Mission: Helping Veterans Succeed in Agriculture

Meeting with a Mission: Helping Veterans Succeed in Agriculture

NCAT Southeast Regional Director Margo Hale and Armed to Farm Coordinator Robyn Metzger recently traveled to Kansas City for the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) Stakeholders Conference. Following is their report on the trip. From November 14-17, we joined hundreds of farmer-veterans, representatives from government agencies, and other support organizations at the FVC Stakeholders Conference. These… Continue Reading

Battling Borers in Organic Apple Production

Battling Borers in Organic Apple Production

NCAT Horticulture Specialist Guy Ames has operated Ames Orchard & Nursery since 1983. In this guest post, he shares his hard-earned wisdom on strategies for dealing with apple tree borers. ORGANIC APPLE PRODUCTION IN THE SOUTHEAST UNITED STATES has many challenges, and controlling trunk borers is one of the most serious. Left unchallenged, borers can… Continue Reading

Register Today for Oct. 18 Beginning Farmer Livestock Workshop

Register Today for Oct. 18 Beginning Farmer Livestock Workshop

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and the University of Arkansas are teaming up to offer a workshop for beginning livestock farmers on Thursday, October 18, 2018. The workshop will take place at The Farm at Barefoot Bend in Lonsdale, Arkansas, which is located between Little Rock and Hot Springs. NCAT Southeast Regional Director Margo Hale and… Continue Reading

Apply Now for ATTRA Farm Management Course

Apply Now for ATTRA Farm Management Course

Are you ready to take your farm to the next level? The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is now accepting applications from farmers who would like to participate in the “Taking Your Farm to the Next Level” training course. This six-part course will equip farmers and ranchers with the business and financial management skills… Continue Reading

Produce Growers: Register Now for Postharvest Handling Workshop

Produce Growers: Register Now for Postharvest Handling Workshop

On Wednesday, October 10, NCAT agriculture specialists Luke Freeman and Andy Pressman will team up with educators from the University of Arkansas and Heifer USA to present Scaling up Your Produce Farm: Postharvest Handling for Intermediated Markets. This one-day workshop is designed to help fruit and vegetable growers enter new markets. Workshop Details This on-farm workshop will… Continue Reading

Applications Open for Armed to Urban Farm in Washington, D.C.

Applications Open for Armed to Urban Farm in Washington, D.C.

In partnership with the United States Botanic Garden (USBG), NCAT is bringing the week-long Armed to Farm (ATF) training to Washington, D.C., for a special event focused on urban farming. Armed to Urban Farm will give veterans an opportunity to see sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and learn about urban farming as a viable career.… Continue Reading

May 25 Webinar: Using Social Media to Grow Your Farm Business

May 25 Webinar: Using Social Media to Grow Your Farm Business

Wondering how to get started with social media on your farm? Looking for ways to improve your social media skills? Join Lauren Manning, partner at Ozark Pasture Beef in Fayetteville, AR, and NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Luke Freeman as they present a FREE webinar on social media marketing for farms. This hour-long webinar begins at 12:00… Continue Reading

Sheep and Goat Producer Dewayne Smith Shares his Wisdom

Sheep and Goat Producer Dewayne Smith Shares his Wisdom

At a Small Ruminants workshop NCAT held in 2016, Mississippi goat producer Mr. Dewayne Smith spoke to the attendees about the learning curve for farming.  He said, “No matter what we’re talking about, you cannot skip a step, you cannot find a shortcut.  A shortcut will cost you in the end.  You have got to… Continue Reading

Cultivating Accessible Opportunities for Veterans in Agriculture

Cultivating Accessible Opportunities for Veterans in Agriculture

A Beginning Farmer Training NCAT Northeast Regional Office Director Andy Pressman is teaming up with Growing Warriors, the Kentucky AgrAbility Project, and Kentucky State University (KSU) to present Cultivating Accessible Opportunities for Veterans in Agriculture. This FREE, one-day workshop will take place April 14 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the KSU Research Farm,… Continue Reading

Fall Livestock Workshop Round-up

Fall Livestock Workshop Round-up

NCAT Southeast staff members Linda Coffey and Margo Hale teamed up with Ozark Pasture Beef (OPB) business partners Ann Wells and Ron Morrow to host a Producing and Marketing Grass-finished Beef and Lamb workshop on Thursday, October 19, in Fayetteville, AR. Ron was state grazing lands specialist with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in… Continue Reading

Scholarships Available for Veterans to Attend SSAWG Conference

Scholarships Available for Veterans to Attend SSAWG Conference

Limited scholarships are available for military veterans who would like to attend Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group’s (SAWG) annual Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference. Southern SAWG will host the 2018 conference January 17 through January 20 in Chattanooga, TN. This popular event focuses on practical tools and solutions to build the… Continue Reading

FoodCorps Arkansas Orientation Has Recipe for Successful Service

FoodCorps Arkansas Orientation Has Recipe for Successful Service

Eleven FoodCorps Arkansas service members are serving in 19 schools in the state during the 2017-2018 school year. The group came together, along with FoodCorps Arkansas Fellow Amy Joens and NCAT staff members, for a state orientation September 18-20, 2017. One Part Classroom, One Part Kitchen The group spent their first day of training at… Continue Reading

Free Grass-finished Beef and Lamb Workshop

Free Grass-finished Beef and Lamb Workshop

Join NCAT and the farmers of Ozark Pasture Beef for a one-day workshop focused on producing and marketing grass-finished beef and lamb. Business partners Ron Morrow and Ann Wells of Ozark Pasture Beef are highly experienced farmers, grazing managers, animal handlers, marketers, and educators, and will share a wealth of information with participants. Activities will… Continue Reading

On the Road Again—Armed to Farm Edition

On the Road Again—Armed to Farm Edition

NCAT Southeast’s Regional Director Margo Hale had a busy August traveling to the Northeast, where she joined NCAT’s Northeast Regional Director Andy Pressman in facilitating two Armed to Farm events. Read on for Margo’s report about how she spent part of her summer. Queensbury, New York, July 31-August 4 Twenty-five attendees from all over New… Continue Reading

Food Safety Training: Getting Acquainted with Good Agricultural Practices

Food Safety Training: Getting Acquainted with Good Agricultural Practices

Guest Post by NCAT Horticulture Specialist Luke Freeman In August I visited Caston’s Blueberry Farm in Onia, Arkansas, for a food safety training that focused on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification and preparing farmers for a GAP audit. Many produce growers in the state are becoming interested in GAP certification as large buyers are starting… Continue Reading

Get The Dirt from NCAT Southeast

Get The Dirt from NCAT Southeast

Welcome to the summer edition of NCAT Southeast’s newsletter, The Dirt! We hope you’re enjoying this season of garden-fresh veggies and fruit, longer days, and bright sunshine. We’ve been busy in the office producing podcasts, publications, and tutorials, but we’ve also had a chance to get outside for some fun workshops—read about them below. You… Continue Reading

Arkansas Armed to Farm Trains 30 Veterans

Arkansas Armed to Farm Trains 30 Veterans

We recently trained our largest Armed to Farm class since the program began in 2013: 30 veterans from 15 states spent June 12-16 in Fayetteville, AR, learning about small-scale sustainable farming. If you’ve ever wondered exactly what we do all week, check out our detailed recap below! Monday: We spent the morning in the classroom,… Continue Reading

Armed to Farm Alumni Spotlight: Eric Grandon

Armed to Farm Alumni Spotlight: Eric Grandon

In 2011, Eric Grandon was searching his land for an answer. Eric served nearly 20 years in the Army, completing six deployments to the Middle East including combat tours during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom II. In 2011, Eric found himself in the middle of a PTSD flashback that left him unable to… Continue Reading

Deadline is This Week! Applications Available for June Armed to Farm Veteran Training

Deadline is This Week! Applications Available for June Armed to Farm Veteran Training

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is now accepting applications from military veterans who want to attend our week-long Armed to Farm (ATF) Training. ATF allows veterans and their spouses to experience sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and explore agriculture as a viable career. ATF’s engaging blend of farm tours, hands-on experience, and interactive… Continue Reading

FREE “Planning for Success” Workshops for Vegetable Producers

FREE “Planning for Success” Workshops for Vegetable Producers

With support from the Southern Extension Risk Management Center and Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, NCAT and Heifer International are offering a double-header of workshops for vegetable producers. These events will help you hone your production and business management skills to improve your operation’s efficiency and profitability. Day 1 — Planning for Success: Sustainable… Continue Reading

Applications Available for June Armed to Farm Veteran Training

Applications Available for June Armed to Farm Veteran Training

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is now accepting applications from military veterans who want to attend our week-long Armed to Farm (ATF) Training. ATF allows veterans and their spouses to experience sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and explore agriculture as a viable career. ATF’s engaging blend of farm tours, hands-on experience, and interactive… Continue Reading

Armed to Farm Veteran Training,
Fayetteville, Arkansas,
June 12-16

Armed to Farm Veteran Training,Fayetteville, Arkansas,June 12-16

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is now accepting applications from military veterans who want to attend our week-long Armed to Farm (ATF) Training. ATF allows veterans and their spouses to experience sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and explore agriculture as a viable career. Armed to Farm will take place June 12-16, 2017, in… Continue Reading

Let’s Grow Together: NCAT and Partners to Host Farm to School Summit

Let’s Grow Together: NCAT and Partners to Host Farm to School Summit

Arkansas teachers, school nutrition staff, farmers, and parents, would you like to: Learn about using garden activities to teach your students? Serve local food in the school cafeteria? Sell your farm products to a school? Help your school adopt a healthy environment? Then this training is for you! The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)… Continue Reading

A Plan’s the Thing: NCAT Specialists to Lead Farm Planning Workshop

A Plan’s the Thing: NCAT Specialists to Lead Farm Planning Workshop

Join NCAT Agriculture Specialists Lee Rinehart and Andy Pressman at the Kentucky State University Third Thursday Thing to learn farm planning strategies that can lower risks, increase profits, and improve production. The workshop will take place on Jan. 19 in Frankfort, KY, and will partially coincide with a workshop scheduled on growing grapes. Attendees at… Continue Reading

Webinar: Crop Planning for Vegetable Growers

Webinar: Crop Planning for Vegetable Growers

View the webinar here. Scaling up to meet the demands of wholesale or institutional markets requires careful planning and recordkeeping. NCAT Agriculture Specialist Luke Freeman will present a webinar on Dec. 14 to introduce strategies for crop planning. The free webinar will begin at noon EST/11 a.m. CST and will last one hour. The webinar… Continue Reading

Farm Foundations Workshop Helps Beginning Farmers Plan for Success

Farm Foundations Workshop Helps Beginning Farmers Plan for Success

Farm Foundations: Planning for Success Southeast Regional Director Margo Hale traveled to Kentucky to help conduct a workshop for beginning farmers on Saturday, May 21. Margo teamed up with Program Specialist Andy Pressman from NCAT’s Northeast office, Mike Lewis of Growing Warriors, and Dr. Shawn Lucas of St. Catharine College’s Berry Farming Program to present… Continue Reading

Veterans: Apply Today for NCAT’s Armed to Farm Training

Veterans: Apply Today for NCAT’s Armed to Farm Training

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is now accepting applications from military veterans who want to attend our week-long Armed to Farm (ATF) training in Fayetteville, AR. The event will take place June 6-10, 2016. ATF gives veterans and their spouses an opportunity to see sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and examine farming as… Continue Reading

FoodCorps Arkansas Winter Wrap-up

FoodCorps Arkansas Winter Wrap-up

For FoodCorps Arkansas, wintertime was a whirlwind of community events, taste tests, and celebrations. Hellstern Middle School service member Noa Borkan attended the grand opening of the Whole Foods Market in Fayetteville, AR, to speak on behalf of her school and accept a Whole Kids Grant of $2,000. Several service members in Springdale organized a Family… Continue Reading

NCAT Southeast Year in Review

NCAT Southeast Year in Review

As 2015 comes to a close, we’re reflecting on what we’ve accomplished through our programs such as FoodCorps, Armed to Farm, and ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture. It was a busy year at NCAT Southeast! FoodCorps Arkansas in Action The 2015-2016 service term began September 1, 2015. In just three and a half months, our 10 FoodCorps… Continue Reading

NCAT Intern Alum Spotlight: Checking In With Dr. Chelsey Ahrens

NCAT Intern Alum Spotlight: Checking In With Dr. Chelsey Ahrens

In October, the Southeast office staff was delighted to host one of our former interns, Chelsey Ahrens, for a day of training and resource-sharing. Chelsey interned with us back in the summer of 2009, when she was an undergraduate student at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. She helped produce several resources for the ATTRA… Continue Reading

Survey Says: Armed to Farm Program Helps Veteran Farmers

Survey Says: Armed to Farm Program Helps Veteran Farmers

About Armed to Farm Armed to Farm is a sustainable agriculture training program for military veterans developed by the National Center for Appro­priate Technology (NCAT). The program consists of a week-long training that includes a mix of educational classes, farm tours, and hands-on activities at successful livestock, crop, and agritourism operations. In July 2015 we… Continue Reading

Veterans: Apply Now for Agriculture Conference Scholarship

Veterans: Apply Now for Agriculture Conference Scholarship

Limited scholarships are available for military veterans who would like to attend Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group’s (SSAWG) annual conference. The popular conference, which is being held January 27 through January 30 in Lexington, Kentucky, focuses on practical tools and solutions to build the necessary bridges between farmers, marketers, ag professionals, and local-food system advocates.… Continue Reading

Register Now for Free Sustainable Livestock Workshop

How can a farmer establish a successful sustainable livestock operation? Like any other business enterprise, planning is the key to building a solid farm foundation. On October 15-16, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and the University of Arkansas will offer a workshop, “Farm Foundations: Planning for Success,” at Cedar Creek Farm in Cedarville,… Continue Reading

Texas Veterans Attend Armed to Farm Training

From April 13-17, NCAT hosted 25 Texas veterans for an Armed to Farm training in Castroville, Texas, 30 miles west of San Antonio. The training included classroom presentations, farm tours, and hands-on activities. A grant from the veterans’ organization Swords to Plowshares  helped cover the training costs, as did funds from the USDA Rural Development… Continue Reading

FoodCorps Arkansas: A Day in the Life

Ever wonder just what a FoodCorps service member does all day? Read on to find out from FoodCorps Arkansas Service Member Rachel Kraus. And if you like what you read, consider applying to become a service member for the 2015-2016 school year. Visit https://foodcorps.org/become-a-service-member/apply-now for more information and to apply. Hurry! Applications are due March… Continue Reading

New Year’s Resolution: See NCAT Specialists at Upcoming Conferences

It’s a new year with new conferences just around the corner! Specialists from NCAT Southeast will lead sessions and staff trade-show booths at three upcoming events. Guy Ames will present two sessions and participate in a roundtable discussion during the Horticulture Industries Show in Fort Smith, Ark., Jan. 16-17. Guy’s first session is titled “Climate… Continue Reading

NCAT Southeast to Host Goat Keeping 101 Workshop

Calling all Fayetteville, Ark., goat enthusiasts! Did you know that it is now legal to keep up to three female dwarf or pygmy goats in the city of Fayetteville, depending on your lot size? If you are seriously considering adding goats to your family, don’t miss the upcoming Goat Keeping 101 workshop hosted by the… Continue Reading