Do you have a sustainable agriculture question? Text an expert

The popular “Ask an Ag Expert” feature on ATTRA’s website now includes a texting option.

Just text a question to askanag@ncat.org, and you’ll get a reply via your phone from the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s (NCAT) staff of sustainable-agriculture experts.

“Farmers and ranchers are about the busiest people on the planet,” said Carl Little, head of NCAT’s sustainable-agriculture programs. “Now if they have a question about sustainable–ag issues, they don’t have to put off asking it until they have time to sit down at a computer or make a phone call.”

ATTRA-National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service has been the nation’s leading resource for information on sustainable agriculture since 1987. NCAT developed and maintains ATTRA through a cooperative agreement with the USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

ATTRA covers a wide range of topics, including reducing pesticide use on cropland, promoting food safety in sustainable production systems, reducing farm energy use and costs, enriching soils with the use of cover crops, and providing technical assistance in the growing areas of local farmers markets and urban gardening.

Through ATTRA, NCAT has strived not only to have the answers sustainable-ag producers need but to have them available in a range of easily accessible options. Since ATTRA began, its mainstays have been its more than 400 staff-generated sustainable-agriculture publications and databases along with its free sustainable-agriculture telephone hotline.

As the Internet grew in popularity, NCAT made its publications available online, either to download or order as a hard copy.

The “Ask an Ag Expert” feature on the website allowed farmers who might not have time to call the helpline the more convenient option of email. Now, as video gains in popularity, ATTRA offered 14 webinars this year – often partnering with other sustainable-ag organizations – on topics ranging from whole-farm insurance to evaluating farm-energy options to organic cover-crop rotations.

And the new texting option isn’t the first nod to the growing popularity of smart phones: earlier this year, ATTRA created a smart-phone and tablet-friendly “Mobile View” for

its website to make the site easier to navigate on smaller screens. Check out all of what ATTRA has to offer at www.attra.ncat.org.

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