Provides technical assistance and direct payments to producers.

 Cotton and wool producers in the states of California, Georgia, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming are invited to apply to the new program “Climate Beneficial Fiber: Building New, Accessible, and Equitable Market Opportunities for Climate-Smart Wool and Cotton.”  

 With funding from USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Program, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and its partners — Carbon Cycle InstituteFibershedNew York Textile LabSeed2Shirt, and the Colorado State University Department of Soil and Crop Sciences — are ready to provide technical assistance and $18 million in direct payments to producers, enabling them to choose and adopt climate-smart conservation practices that fit with their farming operations and goals. 

 Participating farms and ranches will work with experts to create a tailored plan that identifies opportunities to bring more carbon into soils and vegetation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Participants will then receive incentive payments for adopting practices that — besides being “climate-smart” — have benefits such as increasing the water-holding capacity of soils, reducing the need for expensive synthetic fertilizers, and boosting overall farm productivity. 

 The program provides technical assistance and planning at no cost to producers and pays 75 to 90 percent of the average cost of implementing recommended practices. Over the next five years, the program hopes to sign up 100 agricultural operations and impact two million acres of land.  

 At least 40 percent of all program benefits will go to small and underserved farmers, and a special initiative is encouraging Black farmers in southern states to grow climate-smart cotton. “We’re making it a priority to reach and include folks who have not traditionally benefited from this type of program,” said NCAT Executive Director Fred Bahnson. “We strongly encourage cotton and wool producers of all sizes to apply.” 

 Building on the Climate Beneficial™ Verification program already developed by Fibershed, the program is also working with well-known clothing brands and textile manufacturers to expand markets for climate-smart wool and cotton. Growing concerns about textile-derived microplastics, land-use impacts, “fast fashion,” and human rights have prompted an industry-wide shift to seek natural fiber sources with verified benefits to land and climate.  

 “Our long-term goal is to create a self-sustaining consumer market and regional manufacturing systems that reward cotton and wool producers with price premiums for drawing down carbon from the atmosphere,” said Fibershed Executive Director Rebecca Burgess. “That’s good for rural communities as well as the planet.” 

 Producers interested in learning more can visit the Climate Beneficial Fiber Partnership website ( and fill out an interest form.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will bring its Armed to Farm training back to California this spring. Veterans who want to attend the week-long training in San Diego can apply online now.

Armed to Farm gives veterans and their spouses the opportunity to experience sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and explore career opportunities in agriculture. At Armed to Farm, participants learn about business planning, budgeting, recordkeeping, marketing, USDA programs, livestock production, fruit and vegetable production, and more. Participants gain a strong foundation in the basic principles of operating a sustainable farm. In addition, Armed to Farm attendees join a nationwide network of supportive farmer-veterans and agricultural advisors.

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 USDA agencies and experienced crop and livestock producers will provide additional instruction.

Applications are available here and are due by March 4, 2022.

Veterans from Western states will receive selection priority for this training. The number of participants will be limited. NCAT will notify selected participants by March 11. Spouses or farm partners are welcome as well but must submit a separate application.

Dates, Location, and Cost

Armed to Farm will take place April 18-22 in San Diego, California. Participants will attend classroom sessions and travel to local farms for hands-on learning experiences.

The event is free for those chosen to attend; lodging, transportation to local farms, and most meals will be provided. Participants must pay their own travel costs to and from the event, but travel scholarships are available through a partnership with Ranchin’ Vets.

NCAT reserves the right to postpone this event if necessary due to COVID-19. Attendees must have received COVID-19 vaccinations, including a booster shot, and must provide a copy of their vaccination card.


NCAT is organizing and hosting this Armed to Farm event with support from USDA NRCS, the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, and USDA NIFA’s AgVets program.


Please contact Rex Dufour at or 530-792-7338.

Soil for Water’s Regenerator’s Atlas of America is now live!

With producers and consumers in mind, we have developed a platform where regenerative farmers and ranchers across the country can create a profile for their operation to be placed on the Atlas. By planting a flag on the map, producers can let people know who they are and where they’re located, and how they are regenerating their soils to hold more water.

Users can explore these farm and ranch profiles by filtering for a variety of topics. For producers, it can increase your operation’s visibility, open new markets, and allow you to connect and learn from others in your field. For consumers, it can connect you with farms and ranches in your area that have local goods and services that benefit the community.

If you are a producer, help us grow the Regenerator’s Atlas of America by planting your farm or ranch on the map today.

Registration is now open for the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s Soil Health Innovations Conference: Soil for Water, March 15 and 16.

This two-day virtual conference will be highly interactive, offering producers and educators from around the country the chance to participate in a critical conversation about soil health.

Speakers will include David Montgomery of Dig2Grow, Alejandro Carrillo of UnderstandingAg, and agroforestry expert Dr. Hannah Hemmelgarn. Find the full conference agenda, here.

Emerging technologies and innovative practices are shining a light on the importance of healthy soils for the future of regenerative agriculture. These promising approaches are coming at a time when there is a growing commitment among producers, food companies, and policy makers to improve the resilience of healthy food systems at their very roots.

The conference will bring together leading experts and innovative farmers from around the U.S. to share the latest in soil science, best practices in soil management, opportunities for policy change, and the emerging technologies that will drive the future of sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

Don’t miss this chance to examine current practices as well as the concepts, techniques, and practical applications that may be available in the future.

Details and Registration

When: March 15-16, 2022

Where: Online


Organizations, agencies, and individuals who would like to sponsor the conference can find sponsorship information here.

Exhibitor and vendor information is available here.

For more information, contact Rex Dufour at or Sandra Booth at or call 406-494-4572.

By Robyn Metzger, Armed to Farm Coordinator

The National Center for Appropriate Technology has launched a new website for its farmer veteran training program, Armed to Farm. The site, ARMEDTOFARM.ORG, features program news, promotes upcoming training opportunities, and connects alumni with sustainable agriculture resources and other farmer veterans.  

NCAT developed the first Armed to Farm training in 2013 through a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Project with the University of Arkansas. The program has expanded over the past eight years with support from a cooperative agreement with USDA-Rural Development. The program has helped more than 800 veterans, and their spouses or farm partners, from 45 states. 

Visitors to the new Armed to Farm website will find a calendar of events that highlights not only NCAT-sponsored events, but also veteran-focused educational opportunities offered by other organizations around the country.  

The Join Our Network section provides options for staying in touch with the Armed to Farm team and fellow farmer veterans, including sign-up forms for email news and the Veterans in Agriculture Listserv. Visit the News page to find details on upcoming training events, post-training recaps, and spotlights on Armed to Farm alumni. We love to hear and share alumni stories!  

Speaking of alumni stories, be sure to check out the About page to view a short video starring three alumni and their farms. They share their experiences with the program and how it helped them as they started out. While you’re on that page, you can meet the five NCAT staff members who make up the core Armed to Farm team.  

If you have any questions about Armed to Farm or other farmer veteran resources, feel free to contact any of the team members. We are here to help!  

We have at least 20 Armed to Farm events lined up for the next three to four years, and planning is already underway for Spring 2022 events in California, New Mexico, and Texas. Visit ARMEDTOFARM.ORG today to sign up to receive email alerts when the event application periods open!