• 03Jul

    2015 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) Stakeholders Feedback Webinar 

    The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) staff at NIFA will hold a webinar to receive your feedback/comments about the BFRDP program and process.

    July 9, 2015 - 1:00 – 2:00 pm (EDT)

    Topics: Questions and Comments Open Forum 

    Access the July 9th webinar

    (Or copy and paste: http://nifa-connect.nifa.usda.gov/stakeholders/)

    Please note:

    •    There is no pre-registration.

    •    Use the access links above at the scheduled time of the webinar to begin viewing.

    •    Our system, Adobe Connect, will allow for 200 connections on a first-come first-served basis. If there are multiple people at your organization interested in participating in the webinar, please do so under one connection, i.e. one computer.

    ●Please post comments, suggestions, feedback in the chat box at any time during the webinar

    •    If you are unable to connect to the webinar, please use the following conference call line. We will also post PowerPoint slides the day of the webinar to allow you to follow along.

    Call-in number: 888-844-9904

    Access code: 6824450#

    •    The link to the FY 2015 Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program is included for your reference: http://nifa.usda.gov/sites/default/files/rfa/15_BFRDP%20final%20to%20post.pdf

    If you would like to provide input but cannot join the webinar, your comments are welcome via email to bfrdp@nifa.usda.gov, or by phone to the program leaders (Jill Auburn, 202-720-2635 or Denis Ebodaghe, 202-401-4385).  Stakeholder input is welcome any time, but needed by July 15, 2015, to be most useful for development of the 2016 Request for Applications.

  • 02Jul

    Holistic Financial Planning Workshop
    Date: Wednesday, July 8
    Time: 9am-5pm, Lunch provided at 12:30
    Location: Angelic Organics Learning Center, 1547 Rockton Road, Caledonia, Illinois 61011
    Cost: Free for CRAFT Members
    RSVP: Email Farmer Training by Friday, July 3

    Please RSVP by Friday, July 3rd to farmertraining@learngrowconnect.org.

    Those who RSVP will be informed of last minute changes and be provided lunch, therefore it is in your best interest to RSVP.

    The Holistic Financial Planning (HFP) workshop, hosted by Cree Bradley, provides tools and a process to help participants manage and allocate their money, resources, labor and time to achieve the best possible financial outcomes that moves them towards the future they desire. HFP includes a thorough process of looking at one’s whole financial picture, to include farm and off-farm work, as applicable, as well as personal income and expenditures, and prioritizes wealth generation and planning for profit within a framework that is attainable and motivating. HFP distinguishes between financial planning, management, and accounting in a way that fluidly connects these activities, creating an annual financial plan that can be monitored for cash flow and enterprise analysis, while also providing a strong framework for long-term capital, infrastructure, and quality of life investments.

    Participants will identify their current financial situation while envisioning their future financial goals. The session will provide step-by-step instruction and financial planning sheets (hard copy and electronic templates). Pencil will be put to paper to ground the financial planning process, prepping folks for financial planning work they can try for the 2016 season while also providing decision-making concepts such as gross profit analysis, marginal reaction, and the weak link solar chain that can be applied immediately towards a more holistic way of thinking about farm enterprises and our lives in general.

    The HFP process harnesses human creativity and logic to help participants take control of their financials, thinks about wealth in the form of dollars, social wealth, solar wealth, and biological/mineral wealth. Farm enterprise budgets are less cumbersome and often, the financial plan is a richer, deeper document for many who have used this process. HFP will offer a surprisingly refreshing and motivating take on financial planning; a worthwhile break in our otherwise busy summer farming season.

    Cree Bradley is a practitioner of Holistic Management, a value based decision-making process for managing natural resources that generates financial strength and improves quality of life while enhancing the environment that sustains us. Utilizing her formal education of Holistic Management, as well as personal experience of applying Holistic Management principles and practices to her operation, Chelsea Morning Farm, she will cover key topics one needs to know to start managing agricultural pursuits holistically. The session will be designed for interaction between participants and partners and will include hands-on components. It is highly recommended that adult family members (spouses) and farm business partners attend together as possible.

    Please RSVP if you would like to attend. Lunch will be provided.

  • 01Jul

    Obama Administration Assists Communities in Building Local Food Systems to Foster Economic Growth

    Investment Helps Improve Public Health and the Environment, Diversify Local Economy

    Today, the Obama Administration invited communities to participate in Local Foods, Local Places, a federal initiative providing direct technical support to build strong local food systems as part of a community’s emerging economic action plans. Under this effort, a team of agricultural, transportation, public health, environmental, and regional economic experts will work directly with local communities to spur local economic growth and improve the quality of life for all residents.

    Local food sales topped $11.7 billion in 2014 according to industry estimates, underscoring the economic benefit that a local food system can offer a community.

    “EPA is pleased to support the Local Foods, Local Places with our many partners,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We know new development has a big impact on our air quality and water quality and on human health.  Supporting farmers markets, community gardens and other food-related enterprises in established neighborhoods can help protect the environment, improve health and create jobs and new business opportunity. It’s a win for everyone.”

    This is the second year of the Local Foods, Local Places program. In 2014, 26 rural and urban communities  participated in the program to create year-round, downtown markets featuring foods from local farmers; establish retail outlets to help revitalize small-town main streets; build centrally located community kitchens or food hubs to aggregate and market local foods; support business incubators to help entrepreneurs start food-related businesses on main streets; enhance public spaces for people to walk or bicycle to farmers markets and local restaurants; assist schoolchildren to grow their own food and make healthy local food accessible to families, including via SNAP benefits; and develop community gardens in walkable, transit-accessible places.

    Technical support teams through Local Foods, Local Places helped Osceola, Arkansas (population 7,700) develop a new health foods cooking curriculum for the local school district, create a plan for a new downtown farmers market and implement infrastructure improvement efforts; guided North Little Rock, Arkansas (population 62,000) to enhance the livability of an emerging neighborhood though a new food hub; and worked with Wheeling, West Virginia (population 28,000) to revitalize underused property into a community orchard, multi-use food facility, and a mobile market.

    Local Foods, Local Places is a partnership between USDA, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Transportation (DoT), the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA).  The effort is part of the White House Rural Council’s “Rural Impact” effort to improve quality of life and upward mobility for kids and families in rural and tribal communities. Together, the agencies are investing $800,000 to support this round of assistance.  Application guidelines and deadlines are available on line.

    More information about Local Foods, Local Places: http://www2.epa.gov/smart-growth/local-foods-local-places

  • 30Jun

    Sweetwater Farm is a non-profit, community-supported urban organic farm and educational center located in the Town n’ Country area of Tampa (just northwest of TIA). Through their hands-on programs, visitors of all ages practice appropriate land stewardship and master sustainable agriculture techniques.

    Apprentices work seasonally from September/October through the end of April/May growing certified organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers for their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and their on-site Sunday Market. Bending, lifting, and carrying bins of produce are part of the daily routine. Apprentices will work closely with the Farmers, part-time Interns, kids, and Volunteers.

    Sweetwater recruits 3-4 Farm Apprentices each season to dig right in and learn the basics of sustainable farming through our full-time hands-on program. Apprentices live on farm property in our Apprentice house (which also serves as the Education Center) and receive a stipend of $100 a week. Each Apprentice will have their own private sleeping area, and will share a common area that includes a full kitchen, bathroom with shower, and living area with an enclosed porch. The house has Wi-Fi for internet access. Apprentices work with our Farmers 40-45 hours for 5 days of the week (including weekends). Apprenticeships are considered complete at the end of the Season and Apprentices will be required to vacate the Apprentice house at that time.

    Interested applicants should email Kaitlin at programs@sweetwater-organic.org for more information and to apply.

  • 29Jun

    One of the more divisive issues on the farm is whether or not to incorporate guinea fowl. The truth is, people either love them or hate them and take a firm stance on their chosen side. Guineas are known for being obnoxious creatures that don’t have a whole lot of activity taking place inside their tiny heads, but this is no reason to dismiss them as unwelcome on your farm for they have plenty of good traits to boast.

    First and foremost, a guinea is the best watchdog you will ever have. While Rover sleeps in the shade, you can rest assured the guineas will be on the lookout for anything amiss. Should something not sit right with them, whether it is a car pulling up or an aerial predator overhead, the guineas will vocalize their concern in a way few are able to miss. Then, when your guineas raise the alert, other animals will learn to respond, taking cover from threats right along with them.

    Guineas make for excellent pest control. A tick problem is no match for a flock of guineas. Though chickens will also eat ticks, guineas have more of a reckless sense of abandon when it comes to foraging, being willing to leave no stone unturned in the quest for a tasty insect. Though ticks are what they are most well-known for eating, it doesn’t stop there; bug such as ants, earwigs, and beetles are on the menu as well. Additionally, guineas are not fans of snakes. If you have a snake problem, guineas can help eradicate it by killing small snakes and alerting you to big ones.

    Photo: Poultry Hub

    Photo: Poultry Hub

    Since guineas are such voracious foragers, they tend to go pretty easy on the feed bill. In the warm months when bugs are plentiful, guineas will rarely make a stop at the food bowl, preferring nature’s bounty instead. Speaking of eating, guineas make a delicious meal. The birds themselves taste a lot like chicken although they can be slightly gamey. The eggs laid by guineas are smaller and harder than that of a chicken but those taste great as well.

    The overall health of guineas also tends to be better than that of chickens. They dust bathe frequently which helps prevent mites and lice and are generally known to rarely become ill. The birds themselves winter well, being extremely tolerant of cold weather. They can be housed in the same type of environment as chickens and eat the same feed, so adding a few to your flock shouldn’t be much of a challenge to your farm or workload.

    Though guinea fowl has so much to offer, the decision to acquire such birds does often come back to tick control. With diseases such as Lyme’s, the Heartland Virus, Powassan Virus, and other tick borne illnesses becoming more and more prevalent, adding guineas to your farm is an invaluable way to strengthen your defenses. Remember it is possible for not only humans but also other farm animals to contract such disease, so adding a funny-looking, loud flock of birds to your farm could be the best protective investment you ever make.

  • 28Jun

    National Working Group Releases Report on Cover Crops and Soil Health

    The National Working Group on Cover Crops and Soil Health—consisting of 19 leaders from various agriculture, conservation, and farm organizations—has released a set of recommendations pertaining to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies and programs. The recommendations support the mutual goal of making American agriculture more sustainable through improved soil health. The report was released during the group’s meeting with USDA leaders in Washington, D.C., June 16-17.

    “These recommendations provide numerous policy options for continued advancement of cover crops and soil health,” said National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Peters. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with USDA and our partners to seek new and innovative strategies to protect and preserve our nation’s soils for the future.”

    The report outlines in detail 10 recommendations, including:

    1. Creating a “Mini-CAP” grant program on cover crops and soil health;

    2. Developing a strong public-private partnership to provide improved cover crop cultivars;

    3. Integrating cover crops and soil health into targeted intramural research programs within ARS;

    4. Establishing a National Consortium on Cover Crops and Soil Health;

    5. Collecting and reporting on cover crop acreage annually through the Farm Service Agency as part of their annual crop data reporting effort;

    6. Decoupling crop insurance eligibility from cover crop management practices;

    7. Incentivizing the use of cover crops through federal crop program;

    8. Seeking strategic opportunities to further support cover crops within existing NRCS programs;

    9. Using a triple-strategy conservation approach for fields coming out of CRP; and

    10. Addressing the unique needs of moisture-limited famers and ranches in the West through research on practices that best contribute to soil health, crop insurance adjustments, and the adaptation of NRCS incentive programs to meet regionally-specific soil health needs.

    Dr. Rob Myers, a University of Missouri agronomist and co-chair of the Working Group, said “It has been gratifying to discuss ways of advancing the use of cover crops and other soil health practices with USDA leaders. I think there is common agreement on the need to do more in this area.”

    Click here to view the report.

    The National Working Group on Cover Crops and Soil Health was formed on an ad hoc basis following the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health. That conference, held in February of 2014, was an invitation-only meeting of 300 industry and government leaders, farmers, researchers, educators, and NGO representatives. It was an action-oriented conference aimed at identifying barriers to further adoption of cover crop and soil health practices and proposing solutions for further growth, with a goal of 20 million acres of cover crops nationally by 2020. The full list of Working Group Members is available on page 16 of the report.

  • 27Jun

    Weed Eradication Strategies CRAFT Field Day in Illinois

    Date: Sunday, July 12, 2015; Time: 12pm – 3pm; Potluck at 3pm, Please bring a dish to pass; Location: Natural Farm Stand, 3206 Ill. Rt 173, Richmond, IL 60071

    Please RSVP by Thursday, July 9th to farmertraining@learngrowconnect.org.

    Those who RSVP will be informed of last minute changes to CRAFT events and field days, therefore it is in your best interest to RSVP.

    Join Gary Gauger and Sue Rekenthaler on their 30 acre farm to learn how they use cover crops, hand weeding, and mechanical cultivation to control weeds. Gary will also talk about his soil improvement practices.

    One of the unique practices at the Natural Farm Stand is the use of composted corn screenings to heat the bedding plant hoop house. For approximately $150 a season they can produce heat to grow close to 10,000 bedding plants that are then planted in their fields.

    The Natural Farm Stand has been in Gary’s family since 1923. They still use some of his grandfather and father’s old equipment. Their Certified Naturally Grown produce is sold at farmers markets,at a on farm stand, and at local restaurants.

  • 25Jun

    Farmshare Austin’s FarmerStarter program is designed to provide aspiring farmers with the essential skills and training needed to manage a sustainable farming business. Using a blend of hands-on in-field training and formal classroom education, students will gain practical knowledge and experience in organic and sustainable growing methods, as well as learning the business and financial planning skills necessary to establish a successful market farm.

    Students will live and work on a seven acre organic farm in an intensive four and a half month immersion learning experience. Students will receive extensive in-field training in organic vegetable production with mentorship from experienced staff, and will work cooperatively to accomplish daily tasks for a 60 member CSA. Students will be exposed to all aspects of a working farm and will develop in-depth skills through this seasonal program. Daily activities may include bed preparation, planting, weeding, irrigation, harvest, and packing.

    Farm Share Austin Beginning FarmersStudents will also receive 200 hours of formal educational time. Students will participate in bi-weekly classes, along with farm walks, discussions, workshops, and monthly local area farm tours with opportunities to work with and learn from agricultural professionals and expert farmers. Students will benefit from individual attention, small class size, and evaluations for educational and training goals. Students will receive practical skills training in areas including:

    • Organic vegetable production
    • Marketing
    • CSA distribution and management
    • Greenhouse management and propagation
    • Business planning
    • Equipment use & maintenance
    • Holistic farm planning

    We are seeking vibrant, enthusiastic candidates who are committed to participating in an intensive twenty week training program in organic vegetable production.  Applicants should have a passion for sustainable agriculture and be prepared to submerse themselves in an inclusive learning community. We strive to select individuals who can contribute a diverse set of skills and knowledge, and are ultimately looking to create a healthy, happy, and active learning community.

    Visit Farmerstarter.org to apply today!

  • 24Jun

    A list of young farmer and beginning farmers events, meetings, and meetups happening across the country in the summer of 2015…

    Petaluma, CA — June 28 — Farmers Guild Grazers Meet-up 
    5 p.m. at Monkey Ranch 5223 Red Hill Rd, Petaluma, CA
    A gathering of new, aspiring and established holistic land managers and livestock operators.

    Taunton, MA — July 1—Young Farmer Night at Spring Rain Farm
    At Spring Rain Farm.  
    More info on this event and the Young Farmer Network’s season of events at youngfarmernetwork.org.

    Sebastopol, CA – July 7 – Farmers Guild Farmer Olympics & BBQ
    6 p.m. at Sebastopol Grange Hall, 6000 Sebastopol Ave (Hwy 12), Sebastopol, CA
    A celebration for the champions of local food, for farmers and families alike. Games, music, local food and drinks.

    Copake, NY – July 12 – Hudson Valley Young Farmers Coalition New Farm Tour + Potluck Series
    Tour at 6 p.m., potluck at 7p.m. Tiny Hearts Farm, County Rte 7A, Copake, NY
    Email sophie.ackoff@gmail.com for more info.

    Davis, CA — July 12 — Yolo County Farmers Guild Summer BBQ 
    6 p.m. at Heavy Dirt Farm, 24830 County Road 95, Davis, CA
    A community gathering for the next generation of food and those who support them.

    Smithfield, RI — July 13 — Young Farmer Night with Revive the Roots at Mowry Gardens
    At Mowry Gardens
    More info on this event and the Young Farmer Network’s season of events at youngfarmernetwork.org.

    Austin, TX – July 15 – Texas Young Farmers Coalition 3rd Wednesday 
    7-9 p.m. at the Blackstar Coop Pub and Brewery
    More info here. 

    Washington, CT – July 19 – New CT Farmers Alliance Summer Potluck 
    5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Waldingfield Farm, Washington, CT
    More info & RSVP at newctfarmers.com

    New Haven, CT — July 26 —New Ct Farmers Alliance Summer Potluck
    5-7 p.m. at New Haven Farms, New Haven, CT
    More info & RSVP at newctfarmers.com

    Saunderstown, RI — July 29 —Young Farmer Night at Casey Farm
    At Casey Farm
    More info on this event and the Young Farmer Network’s season of events at youngfarmernetwork.org.

    Pomfret, CT — July 31 — New CT Farmers Alliance Summer Potluck
    6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Unbound Glory Homestead, Pomfret, CT
    More info & RSVP at newctfarmers.com

    Stonington, CT — August 1—New CT Farmers Alliance Summer Potluck
    5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Terra Firma Farm, Stonington, CT
    More info & RSVP at newctfarmers.com 

    Exeter, RI —August 12 —Wild Harmony Farm in Exeter, RI 
    More info on this event and the Young Farmer Network’s season of events at youngfarmernetwork.org

    Austin, TX — August 19 — Texas Young Farmers Coalition 3rd Wednesday
    7-9 p.m. at the Blackstar Coop Pub and Brewery
    More info here. 

    Ghent, NY — August 22 — Hudson Valley Young Farmers Coalition New Farm Tour + Potluck Series
    Tour at 6 p.m., potluck at 7 p.m. at Ironwood Farm, 103 County Route 9, Ghent, NY 12075
    Email sophie.ackoff@gmail.com for more info.

    Durango, CO—September 10—Panel and film screening of The Great Divide
    4:30 p.m. reception, 5:30 screening, 7 p.m. panel at Durango Art Center, 802 E. 2nd Ave.
    NYFC will be moderating a panel of experts from agriculture and conservation sectors to discuss how we meet future demands for water in Colorado.

  • 24Jun

    “Struggle early, finish strong”: lessons learned on a St. Lawrence Co. farm

    “What is life and business like on a diversified organic vegetable farm in the 21st century? That’s what David Sommerstein set out to find when he did regular reports in 2014 from one such farm in the St. Lawrence County town of Lisbon, N.Y.

    In part two of A Year on the Farm, it’s early springtime, but it could still be weeks before the soil is warm enough to plant crops. Dan and Megan Kent of Kent Family Growers are in their greenhouse in Lisbon. They’re starting seeds, planning, and worrying about the growing season ahead.”

    Read the full article at: http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/28737/20150623/quot-struggle-early-finish-strong-quot-lessons-learned-on-a-st-lawrence-co-farm

Get Adobe Flash player

Page optimized by WP Minify WordPress Plugin