Tag Archive for: Education

“Your soil health is going to keep you in business. If you take care of your soil, the land will give back to you.” Tina Weldon and her partner Orion are among a growing network of farmers, ranchers, and land managers who are taking steps to catch and hold more water in the soil.

Join the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) on Thursday, February 17 for the world premiere of its film Soil for Water, with a panel discussion to follow.

NCAT’s Soil for Water project is working to capture and hold more water in the soil by building a growing network of farmers, ranchers, and land managers who are taking steps to regenerate the land and strengthen their businesses. This voluntary, free network is now available to farmers, ranchers, and land managers in all 50 states.


Don’t miss the world premiere of Soil for Water on February 17 at 11:00 a.m. MST/1 p.m. EST and join us for a panel discussion with the nationwide team working to support regenerators, and two Texas ranchers who are already seeing success.

Click here to register for this free, informative film screening and panel discussion.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is partnering with Holistic Management International (HMI) to bring its Armed to Farm training to the Southwest. Armed to Farm will take place March 28-April 1, 2022, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Participants will attend classroom sessions and travel to local farms for hands-on learning experiences.

Armed to Farm trainings include an engaging blend of farm tours, hands-on activities, and interactive classroom instruction. NCAT Sustainable Agriculture specialists will teach the training sessions. Staff from HMI, USDA agencies, and experienced crop and livestock producers will provide additional instruction.

This training is for military veterans in the Southwest, with preference given to those in New Mexico. The number of participants will be limited. Spouses or farm partners are welcome as well but must submit a separate application.

Click HERE to apply by February 11. NCAT will notify selected participants by February 18.


NCAT is organizing and hosting this Armed to Farm event in partnership with Holistic Management International. Funding is provided by USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.


Please contact Margo Hale at margoh@ncat.org or 479-442-9824.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology and Natural Resources Conservation Service will partner to host the seventh annual Latino Farmer Conference, a Spanish-language sustainable agriculture event created for Latino farmers.

“Farmers who attend the Latino Farmer Conference are more likely to be starting out, and more than half of them grow specialty crops,” said NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Omar Rodriguez. “These are just two reasons why an annual learning event created by and for Latino farmers is such a valuable resource.”

The Latino Farmer Conference is a yearly event that seeks to build networks and provide learning opportunities for farmers on a range of technical and social issues relating to sustainable agriculture. The free conference aims to provide, trusted, practical, and culturally relevant information. Each session is created based on farmer feedback, and all content is presented in Spanish.

This year’s conference will be virtual and is scheduled for December 8, January 12, and February 9. Conference session topics will include:

  • 8: Farming with Drought and Strategies for Adaptation
  • 12: Business Management, Marketing, and Farm Labor Management
  • 9: Integrated Pest Management and Organic Farming

This year’s online format will allow new farmers and partner organizations to become aware of and access the quality information that is typically shared to an exclusive group of in-person attendees. Additionally, recordings of past presentations and other resources can be accessed at any time through NCAT’s Latino Farmer Conference website or the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture website.

The Latino Farmer Conference is hosted by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) in collaboration with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and would not be possible without the generous donations made by partners and friends working in regenerative agriculture.


Regístrese Gratis para la Conferencia del Agricultor Latino de NCAT
NCAT y NRCS se asocian para organizar la séptima conferencia de agricultura sostenible en español

El Centro Nacional para Tecnología Apropiada y el Servicio de Conservación de Recursos Naturales presentan la séptima Conferencia del Agricultor Latino, un evento de agricultura sostenible en español creado para todos los agricultores de habla hispana.

“Generalmente, los agricultores que asisten a la Conferencia del Agricultor Latino son principiantes y más de la mitad de ellos producen cultivos de especialidad,” dijo el especialista en agricultura sostenible de NCAT, Omar Rodríguez. “Estas son solo dos razones por las que un evento de aprendizaje anual creado por y para agricultores latinos es un recurso tan valioso.”

Este evento anual busca construir redes y brindar oportunidades de aprendizaje para los agricultores interesados en una variedad de temas técnicos y sociales relacionados con la agricultura sostenible. La conferencia es gratuita y tiene como objetivo proporcionar información confiable, práctica, y culturalmente relevante. Cada sesión se crea en base a los comentarios de los agricultores y todo el contenido se presenta en español.

La conferencia de este año será virtual y está programada para el 8 de diciembre, el 12 de enero y el 9 de febrero. Los temas del año incluirán:

  • 8 de diciembre: Manejo Inteligente del Agua: La sequia y estrategias para adaptación
  • 12 de enero: Gestión Comercial, Marketing, y Acceso a la Mano de Obra
  • 9 de febrero: Manejo Integrado de Plagas y Agricultura Orgánica

El formato en línea de este año permitirá a los nuevos agricultores y organizaciones asociadas a conocer y acceder información de calidad que generalmente se comparte con un grupo exclusivo de agricultores quien atienden en persona. Además, las presentaciones grabadas y otros recursos se pueden acceder en cualquier momento a través del sitio web de la Conferencia del Agricultor Latino o el sitio web de agricultura sostenible de ATTRA.

La Conferencia del Agricultor Latino es organizada por el Centro Nacional de Tecnología Apropiada (NCAT) en colaboración con el Servicio de Conservación de Recursos Naturales (NRCS) y no sería posible sin las generosas donaciones hechas por socios y amigos que trabajan en agricultura regenerativa.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and Ranchin’ Vets have teamed up to offer a new level of support for military veterans interested in sustainable agriculture training opportunities. Ranchin’ Vets will fund a one-time transportation stipend directly to veterans selected to participate in NCAT’s Armed to Farm training program.

Armed to Farm is a sustainable agriculture training program for military veterans. NCAT manages the program with support from a variety of funding sources, including a cooperative agreement with USDA-Rural Development. Since launching in 2013, Armed to Farm has supported more than 800 farmer veterans from 45 states with hands-on and classroom learning opportunities. Farmer veterans learn how to make a business plan and market their products, how to access USDA programs, set business goals, and develop mentorships with seasoned farmers.

Armed to Farm has always been free for veterans and their spouses or farm partners to attend. NCAT covers the cost of lodging, most meals, and local transportation during the training. However, attendees have always been responsible for getting themselves to the training site, which could require long drives across several states or even airfare.

“We want everyone who is accepted into the Armed to Farm program to be able to participate, so we are excited to partner with Ranchin’ Vets to open this opportunity to even more farmer veterans,” said Margo Hale, Armed to Farm Program Director. “Although the training itself is free, the cost of traveling to the training can be substantial and has been a barrier to veterans attending Armed to Farm in the past. We’re very thankful for this opportunity to offer another level of support to the farmer veterans who attend Armed to Farm.”

Ranchin’ Vets, a California based 501 c (3) nonprofit organization founded in 2014, serves veterans on a national level, with a mission to assist in the reintegration of veterans from military to civilian life through a variety of programs offered within the ranching and agricultural industry.

The Ranchin’ Vets Operation Hire A Vet Program connects veterans with opportunities within the agricultural industry. Veterans in the program who need additional support receive a temporary stipend towards transportation, housing and clothing as they pursue agricultural opportunities.

“Through our Operation Hire A Vet Program, we recognized the need for a training program that will equip veterans with the tools they need to be successful in their agricultural endeavors. This partnership with Armed to Farm is an incredible opportunity to work together to assure that all veterans who are interested in pursuing this path will have access to resources that will help them thrive,” said Corey Downs, Ranchin’ Vets Program Director. “Our programs go hand-in-hand, providing veterans with fully funded access to professional agricultural training, as well as assistance in seeking and obtaining agricultural employment. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to work with Armed to Farm.”  

The travel stipends will be available starting with the next Armed to Farm training, scheduled for Dec. 1-3, 2021, in Athens, Georgia. For Armed to Farm participants to receive a transportation stipend, they must successfully register with Ranchin’ Vets.

For more information about Ranchin’ Vets, visit ranchinvets.org. See ARMEDTOFARM.ORG for more about NCAT’s Armed to Farm program.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology has released a series of 19 videos from its inaugural Soil Health Innovations Conference. The presentations feature nationally recognized experts and innovative farmers from around the U.S. who share the latest in soil science, best practices in soil management, and the emerging technologies that will drive the future of sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

“The Soil Health Innovations Conference occupies the cutting edge of soil health across the country – on-farm practices, soil biology, carbon markets, and public policy,” said Steve Thompson, NCAT executive director. “This set of videos adds to NCAT’s trusted knowledgebase and provides a free resource to any producer or land manager working to improve soil conditions.”

The keynote presentation by Dr. Fred Provenza, one of the country’s leading ecologists, is a highlight of the conference videos. He discusses the link between the health of soils and plants with the health of livestock and the people who eat these foods.

Dr. Robin “Buz” Kloot, a soil health research professor in the Environmental Health Sciences Department at University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health, spoke about helping farmers find their way forward using new soil testing techniques.

Other acclaimed speakers featured in these conference videos are Rick Clark of Farm Green, Dorn Cox of OpenTEAM, Dan Kittredge of Bionutrient Food Association, Aria McLauchlan of Land Core, Dr. Bianca Moebius-Clune of American Farmland Trust, and Arohi Sharma of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Presentations from innovative farmers and ranchers included rice, corn, soybean and cotton farmer Adam Chappell from Arkansas, organic walnut grower Russ Lester from California, and beef producer Cooper Hibbard from Montana.

An audience favorite at the conference was the Indigenous and Traditional Soil Health Practices presentation featuring speakers Mila Berhane, Greenland Nursery; Kelsey Ducheneaux-Scott, Intertribal Agriculture Council; Earcine Evans, Francis Flowers and Herbs Farm, and Twila Cassadore, Traditional Western Apache Diet Project.

These videos are free and available on YouTube, ATTRA.NCAT.ORG and SOILINNOVATIONS.NCAT.ORG.

As emerging technologies and innovative practices have made clear, healthy soil will play a foundational role in the future of sustainable, climate-smart agriculture. These innovations come at a time when there is a growing commitment among producers, food companies, policy makers, and consumers to improve the resilience of healthy food systems at their very roots. NCAT’s conference was a unique opportunity for these groups to come together for important conversation.

As students from around the country fill their backpacks with pens and paper, some rural Mississippi students are sure to toss in a pair of work gloves for the school year. Since 2019, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and The Piney Woods School have partnered to educate the next generation of sustainable farmers, ranchers, soil scientists and food security advocates. They’re now telling the story of this unique partnership in a new video.

Thanks to a grant from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, NCAT and The Piney Woods School are educating students about gardening, sustainability, and regenerative grazing practices at the school’s 200-acre on-campus farm, sparking interest in agriculture-related career fields. Not only has the site been used to provide hands-on sustainable agriculture training for students, but it’s also hosted workshops for beginning and small farmers across the Gulf States region.

“It has been so rewarding to share with teens from urban and rural backgrounds the idea that farming can not only be a fulfilling career path, but it is also key to strengthening local food systems and economies,” says NCAT Gulf States Regional Director and fourth-generation farmer Rock Woods. “Our unique partnership with The Piney Woods School will have a lasting impact and I can’t wait to see how these students put their knowledge to work.”

The number of farms has been on the decline in Mississippi, and nationwide, while the demand for locally and sustainably produced products has grown. Students learn the fundamentals basic to sustainable farming like the importance of soil health and managed grazing, while they also learn how diverse specialty crops and marketing can make farms more profitable.

From humble beginnings on a fallen log beneath a cedar tree in 1909, The Piney Woods School has grown to resemble a small college encompassing 2,000 acres, including several lakes, a unique rock garden amphitheater, and its demonstration farm. This farm serves as the backdrop for an intensive, hands-on training program that has expanded to teach farmers and future farmers, urban food producers, and traditionally underserved farmers how to produce high-value, nutrient-rich food on small parcels of land. Even as the pandemic has presented a new challenge for schools and communities, students at Piney Woods have been able to safely continue hands-on, outdoor agriculture learning.

Student Ceasar Stewart says he once thought he’d like to be a lawyer, but after his hands-on farm education, he’s more interested in agriculture and health.

“By the time I’m a senior, I would like to see more people at the farm growing more plants and making this place more resilient to humans,” Stewart says in a film produced about the partnership.

“As a career, I definitely want to work with the UN or a nongovernment organization,” says student Isis Bandele-Asante, “I definitely want to help with sustainability, especially in less developed nations and help to rebuild the economy by rebuilding their agriculture industries. So, I want to help them rebuild that and create a better life for the people there.”

Over the course of this partnership, NCAT has provided training to 70 students and more than 200 regional farmers. Over the last year, NCAT’s sustainable agriculture educational resources were accessed more than 3 million times through its trusted digital knowledge base at ATTRA.NCAT.ORG.



THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY has been helping people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources since 1976. Headquartered in Butte, Montana, NCAT has six regional offices in Arkansas, California, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Montana and Texas. Learn more and become a friend of NCAT at NCAT.ORG

THE PINEY WOODS SCHOOL is a co-educational program serving 8th through 12th grades in an experiential learning environment. As the nation’s oldest African American boarding school, we are celebrating 112 years of continuous operations and excellence in education. The cultural significance of the school is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. The 2,000-acre rural campus is located 20 miles south of Jackson, Mississippi. For more information, please visit: www.pineywoods.org