March 21, 2012
For over 20 years, the ATTRA program (Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas) has served as a reliable source of research-based information about sustainable agriculture, offering an expansive selection of publications, webinars, and listings of farming internships. In 2010, its staff answered over 60,000 requests on its 1-800 call line and brought over 5.8 million unique visitors to its website, from which users downloaded over 4.3 million publications. ATTRA’s workshops and other in-person presentations reached 177,000 attendees from 45 states.
Last year, ATTRA fans nationwide were shocked when the program, also known as the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, had its Fiscal Year 2011 funding completely eliminated. Thankfully, and in part due to the vocal objections of so many users of its services, Congress reinstated the program’s funding in FY 2012, though at the lower level of $2.25 million as opposed to $2.8 million in 2010.
Even after Congress committed the funds, it took months for the funds to actually be released. In early March the check finally arrived so the program can return to full functioning. The ATTRA staff want you to know that their doors are open again and encourage you to be in touch with them once again for your sustainable farming information needs.
Among many audiences who benefit, ATTRA’s resources are of particular assistance to beginning farmers. One such farmer, Dana Jokela, who works at Featherstone Farm in Rushford, Minnesota, says that “ATTRA has been invaluable in helping me as a beginning farmer. It has articles written by knowledgeable researchers and farmers in many areas of production and marketing.” Similarly, Alissa Moore, farm manager at Well Spring CSA in West Bend, Wisconsin, did four consecutive internships that she found using ATTRA’s directory of sustainable farming internships and apprenticeships before coming to manage Well Spring CSA.
Please visit ATTRA’s website to take advantage of these valuable resources, now that their doors are open once again.