'...Informing American Farmers
and agriculture professionals
about sustainable agriculture -
for a cleaner environment and
American Agriculture is in the midst of many
changes, brought on by spiraling production costs,
unstable market prices and increasingly difficult
environmental problems. While scientists and farm-
Sers search for solutions, ATTRA (Appropriate Tech-
nology Transfer for Rural Areas) serves as a bridge
between rapidly changing farming technologies
and farmers on the land.
Funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, De-
partment of the Interior, ATTRA is managed by the
National Center for Appropriate Technology. We
offer cost'ree r'c.r rrat ,.n and technical assistance
to farmers, county Extension agents, agricultural
support groups and agribusiness.
While we are interested in all aspects of agricul-
ture, our efforts at providing information are limited
to low input and sustainable agriculture practices.
These agricultural practices allow farmers to re-
duce adverse impacts on the environment, pro-
duce high qucviir, food and maintain good profit
The i Jar t.:.r ,j1 Center for Appropriate Technology
(NCAT) was incorporated in 1976 "...to help com.-
munities find better ways to do things to improve
theq, -il't, .:. i,.' u-ng skillsand resourcesathand."
NCAT's work started with energy issues and in 1986
expanded to address the national need for devel-
opment of a more sustainable and environmen-
tally benign ogri.-i.tur.-l industry. NCAT operates
ATTRA to promote energy and resource conserving
agricultural alternatives and to help farmers gain
greater control over their income and environ-
PROBLEMS IN AGRICULTURE -
SOLUTIONS THROUGH ATTRA
One major problem facing today's farmer
is scarcity of appropriate information. Many
farming methods and technologies that re-
duce production costs while returning profit-
able yields already exist. These techniques
can and are being successfully applied
across the country. But before the majority
of our famers can prosper by using low input
and sustainable methods, there must be an
open exchange of information. Farmers,
community leaders, environmental scientists
and economists all need access to timely
and accurate information.
ATTRA responds to this need by providing
information on a broad range of agr.-.ultural
questions from non-toxic control methods for
the codling moth to direct marketing of
"clean beef." We hear from people as di-
verse as an Extension agent in New York ask-
ing about cover crops to greenhouse opera-
tors in Texas asking about soil t..:..iari;:r.-.In.
Requests for i, ir.:..-r. r .1 can be initiated
in writing or by c'.I".-.j.. 1-800-346-9140. Each
request is referred to a Technical Specialist,
who reviews literature in the ATTRA Resource
Center, contacts research agencies, farmers
and other sp;. ,i-,.: in that field, and
searches a ja.:j~i.le databases and other net-
works for information.
The response often includes an ATTRA in-
formation brief, reprints from periodicals and
books, bibliographies, database search re-
suits and contact information for experts who
can provide additional information. The time
we allow for research on each question is
usually limited to three or four hours.
It may take two to four weeks for your in-
formation to reach you, so we encourage
questions that are relevant to long-term plan-
ning. We are not able to respond to ques-
tions which require overnight responses, as
some pest and weed problems do. Extension
agents, crop scouts and on-farm consultants
are recommended for problems which re-
quire immediate technical assistance.
How can I get a question answered? The be-'t way is to call us on our toll-free line, 1-800-340-9140 A Tecnical Specialist will take your call and record
information which is relevant to your questions. We also accept questions by mail. Our mailing aaaress Is ATTRA, P.O. Box 3657, Fayetteville, AR 72702.
What do you need to know when I call? In addition to your name, address, phone number ana spe..-,tic question, the Specialist will want to record
information about your operation. This infc.rrnation will help ensure that our response is appropriate to your situation and your inicrrmorlion needs.
Must I be a farmer for you to-take my question? No, the only thing we ask of questioners is 'hat they check with their local Cooperative Extension
Service personnel before they call us. We coopcerate closely with the Extension Service and proviae inio:rn-atio.n which is not readily available through
local extension offices. Most of our questions aIe from farmers though, or from people who are planning to ;.tart a small farm operation.
How long must I wait for an answer? You ,.jil receive a response within two to four weeks of your call.
What kind of materials can I expect to receive? The Specialist who handles your question will write you a personal letter in response. There will
probably be reprinted articles, excerpts from books, bibliographies, source lists and names of organizations and individuals who work in your area of
interest. The Specialist will summarize current research on your question and list other sources to contact
What sort of questions do you take? Any question concerning low-input/sustainable farming practices. The question may be general in nature, but
the more specific your question, the more direct our reply can be.
How long has this service existed and how can you do this for free? ATTRA is funded by a grant 'rom the U.S. Fish and W'iiNlliii Service, Department of
the Interior, and began operating in 1987. Within the agricultural industry there is a growing interest in changing the farming practices which cause water
pollution, soil erosion and the presence of agricultural chemicals in our foods. ATTRA's free service Is working in partnership with farmers, the Extension
Service and agricultural researchers to develop Information networks among low input and sustainable researchers, famers and ranchers.
Printed on 100% recycled paper
Our Technical staff has significant
hands-on experience in agricultural
production, marketing and research.
Most have earned master's degrees in
agricultural disciplines. Their combined
experience includes years of private
consulting, research, Cooperative
Extension work, large-scale farming,
organic market gardening, agricultural
writing, orchard management, nursery
operation and livestock production.
Guy Ames, MS, horticulture.
Alice Beetz, MS, horticulture.
Marcie Brewster, MS, agricultural
Steve Diver, MS, horticulture.
Donna Doel, MS, soil science.
Lance Gegner, BS, animal science.
Annabel Kellam, PhD, ruminant
rutrition & parasitology.
Jim Lukens, MS, agronomy.
Chris Rugen, MS, integrated pest
Lisa Scott, MS, horticulture.
APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER
FOR RURAL AREAS
P.O. Box 3657
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72702
ATTRA receives more than 100 calls a week from farmers, Extension agents and other agricultural specialists asking for specific information on sustainable
agriculture techniques. The use of our service has doubled since 1988. We have responded to more than 8,000 questions since the program began operating
More than 40 percent of the questions we take center on the reduction of agricultural chemicals used in field, fruit and vegetable crops. Fifteen percent
concern questions about raising animals, including animal feeds, health and pasture management. Sustainable production techniques, crop diversification and
marketing are other major areas of interest along with questions on fuel consumption, water management and the availability of equipment designed for
sustainable agriculture practices.
Following are some 'typical' questions we have answered over the years.
Grain farmer in Nebraska requests information on reducing purchased inputs in corn and soybean production.
Orchardist in Washington requests information on "low-spray" apple production.
Farmer in Pennsylvania requests information on the use of green manure crops for soil fertility enhancement.
Market gardner in Illinois requests information on organic pest control options for cucumber beetles, squash vine borers, and squash bugs.
Farmer in Indiana requests information on the feasibility of red or fallow deer production in his area.
Extension horticulturist in New York requests information on the potential allelopathic effects of sudan grass in a crop rotation with vegetables.
Farmer in North Carolina requests information on caged fish culture in an existing farm pond.
Cattleman in Arkansas requests information on rotational grazing.
County extension agent in Alaska requests general information on raising elk.
Organic grower in Idaho requests information on organic certification.
Farmer in South Dakota requests informationon on potential input-reduction techniques for dry-land small grains.
New farm owner in Connecticut requests information on improving and/or maintaining the productivity of previously mismanaged soil.
Cut flower grower from California requests information about least-toxic control of thrips.