• 18Dec

    USDA Provides Greater Protection for Fruit, Vegetable and Other Specialty Crop Growers
    Free Basic Coverage Plans and Premium Discounts Available for New, Underserved and Limited Income Farmers

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that greater protection is now available from the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program for crops that traditionally have been ineligible for federal crop insurance. The new options, created by the 2014 Farm Bill, provide greater coverage for losses when natural disasters affect specialty crops such as vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, syrup, and energy crops.

    “These new protections will help ensure that farm families growing crops for food, fiber or livestock consumption will be better able to withstand losses due to natural disasters,” said Vilsack. “For years, commodity crop farmers have had the ability to purchase insurance to keep their crops protected, and it only makes sense that fruit and vegetable, and other specialty crop growers, should be able to purchase similar levels of protection. Ensuring these farmers can adequately protect themselves from factors beyond their control is also critical for consumers who enjoy these products and for communities whose economies depend on them.”

    Previously, the program offered coverage at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production. Producers can now choose higher levels of coverage, up to 65 percent of their expected production at 100 percent of the average market price.

    The expanded protection will be especially helpful to beginning and traditionally underserved producers, as well as farmers with limited resources, who will receive fee waivers and premium reductions for expanded coverage. More crops are now eligible for the program, including expanded aquaculture production practices, and sweet and biomass sorghum. For the first time, a range of crops used to produce bioenergy will be eligible as well. Read more »

  • 17Dec

    Online Mushroom Production Course Offered Feb. 2015 

    Oyster Mushroom ProductionForest mushroom cultivation is an emerging niche crop with potential to improve farmer stewardship of forests while offering a unique and highly desired product. Learn the background, techniques and economics of small outdoor (forest grown) commercial mushroom production in an online course starting February 24th.  BF 150: Woodland Mushroom Cultivation is a 6-week online course that consists of weekly real-time webinars followed by homework, readings, and discussions on your own time in an online setting. This class is part of the line-up of 12 online courses offered this Fall, Winter and Spring by the Cornell Small Farms Program. Click here to learn which courses would be best for you, read about our team of experienced instructors, see answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and view the calendar of course offerings for 2014-2015.

  • 17Dec
    Direct Marketing Livestock and PoultryGuide to Direct Marketing Livestock and Poultry

    The Resource Guide to Direct Market Livestock and Poultry helps to clarify and explain the complex laws in layman terms, discussing slaughtering and processing at the custom, state, and federal levels and guiding farmers through the logistics of the various market channels. You can view the guide online or download it for free as a PDF .

  • 16Dec

    Women Farmer Programming: MOSES Organic Farming Conference

    Women Farmers OrganicCalling all women farmers, landowners and food entrepreneurs, educators and activists — look forward to seeing you at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference, Feb. 26-28 in beautiful LaCrosse, WI.   Full conference info here.
    For those who haven’t yet attended, the MOSES Conference is the largest event in the U.S. about organic and sustainable farming with 3,000+ kindred spirits passionate about changing our food system and all with a healthy dose of spring fever.  Inspiring to say the least!
    Below (click “Read More”) is a summary of our  MOSES Rural Women’s Project programming at the conference, providing resources, networking and collaborative opportunities for women farmers, educators, activists and entrepreneurs.  A special warm welcome to beginning women farmers.
    Note a couple of deadlines:
    •  Early registration deadline (with some cost savings):  Jan. 18.
    •  Scholarship deadline Dec. 21; more info here.
    •  Volunteer opportunities info here; (limited and scheduled in the order they are received; apply soon!) Read more »
  • 16Dec

    Rutabaga Riches: Farm Finances for Farmers course
    Date: Friday and Saturday, January 9 and 10
    Location: Rockton, Illinois (just outside of Beloit, Wisconsin).
    Cost: Early-Bird Price: $179 (until 12/12 @ 9:00pm)/Regular Price: $219
    Registration: purplepitchfork.com/rutabaga-riches-conference; Registration is limited, and early-bird pricing is only available for a short time.

    $100 scholarships available for 2014 CRAFT members, email AOLC right away about this opportunity at craft@learngrowconnect.org

    Taught by Chris Blanchard and Badgerland Financial Services’ Paul Dietmann, this course is entirely focused on helping farmers gather, understand, and use financial information about their farming and marketing operations. This course is for beginning and experience farmers alike – and for people planning to get into farming who want to get off on the right foot! Regardless of experience level, this course will provide essential information to help participants move their farms forward.

    The Rutabaga Riches course is going to cover all of the basics for farm finance, including:

    • How to set up a bookkeeping system that is easy to operate and provides useful information to enable better decision-making;
    • Creating balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements that participants can use to understand the a farm’s financial health;
    • When and how to access credit, including establishing and maintaining a relationship with a lender;
    • Information about how to price products, including how to track labor and other inputs to accurately identify cost of production and the cost of marketing through different outlets;
    • Using the gathered information to make decisions about operational changes, equipment purchases, and building infrastructure.

    In other words, this course will provide participants with a whole toolbox of financial tools that will help them understand how to get where they want to go, without having to chain themselves to a desk – Chris and Paul want to help farmers understand and manage their finances so that they can put more of their energy into taking care of their farm, their family, and the environment.

  • 15Dec

    Here is the latest funding news from ATTRA – The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service:

    The FruitGuys Community Fund
    The FruitGuys Community Fund offers funding to support sustainability projects for small to mid-size farms. A primary goal of the fund is to help farms and orchards operate more sustainably and to promote advocacy that, over the long term, creates a more sustainable food system and healthier planet.
    Applications must be received by February 16, 2015.

    Minnesota Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program
    The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s 2015 Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program will award competitive grants up to $25,000 for on-farm sustainable agriculture research or demonstration projects in Minnesota. The program funds practices that promote environmental stewardship and conservation of resources, as well as improve profitability and quality of life on farms and in rural areas. Eligible recipients include farmers, educational institutions, individuals at educational institutions, and non-profit organizations.
    Applications are due January 23, 2015.

    Montana Growth Through Agriculture Program
    The Growth Through Agriculture program is a grant and loan program established by the Montana Legislature to strengthen and diversify Montana’s agricultural industry through development of new agricultural products and processes. Economic Development Projects may potentially be funded for a total of $150,000 in the form of a grant up to $50,000 and a loan up to $100,000. A $1 for $1 match is required.
    Application deadline is January 30, 2015.

    >> More Funding Opportunities

  • 15Dec

    Spring 2015 Permaculture Design Course Presented by Shenandoah Permaculture Institute

    This 72-hour design course will be held over 4 weekends near Staunton, Virginia.

    Course Dates: Feb 20-22, 2015; Feb 28-March 1, March 21-22, 2015; April 11-12, 2015

    To register contact Trevor Piersol at shenperminstitute@gmail.com

    Shenandoah Permaculture Institute is based in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and is dedicated to permaculture research and education. To learn more visit the Facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/kboeg4d

  • 14Dec
    Farm Crew

    The 2014 Farm Crew

    Red Fire Farm, located in Granby and Montague, Massachusetts, is seeking applicants for its 2015 crew. Red Fire Farm has been growing with certified organic practices since they started in 2001. The farm produces a wide variety of vegetables, flowers and fruit on 100 acres. They deliver CSA shares to 1600 member families across the state and sell at farmers markets, two farm stands and to wholesale customers throughout the region.

    The work at Red Fire is hard but fulfilling. They are committed to an extremely high quality product and take pride in what they do. Most of the positions involve long days spent outside no matter what the weather. Red Fire is looking for responsible candidates who are up for the challenge of keeping pace at a large scale farm. Some of the perks of working at Red Fire include fresh, in-season produce, a warm and friendly crew, opportunities for year-round farm work and advancement to leadership positions.

    Please see their website at redfirefarm.com for more detailed descriptions of the following jobs:

    • Crew Leader
    • Tractor operator/Production assistant
    • Flower Intern
    • Bedding Plant Assistant
    • Greenhouse Assistant
    • Intern
    • Packing Shed Assistant
    • Crew member

    Previous farm experience or experience working outdoors is a big plus, but it’s not necessary for all of the positions. After reviewing the information on the website, please contact the farm at jobs@redfirefarm.com.

  • 14Dec

    Fred Kirschenmann FarmerA look at the future of sustainable agriculture. What effect will climate change have on what you eat? What impact will it have on small farms and large?

    International and National Sustainable Agriculture Leader and former MFAI board member Fred Kirschenmann helped us celebrate our 30th Anniversary, as our inspiring keynote speaker, Sept. 30, 2014. While he was in town for the Celebration, he was interviewed by Norman Gilliland for University of the Air, Wisconsin Public Radio, in Madison. The interview is now available on the University of the Air web page at: http://www.wpr.org/shows/sustainable-agriculture-0

  • 13Dec

    Farm Intern Job Description: Steady Hand Farm in Amery, Wisconsin is Hiring for 2015

    Hay Mow in WisconsinInternship Overview: Join Steady Hand Farm (SHF) for the 2015 season for a unique Farm Internship opportunity and learn the ins and outs of a start-up small-scale diversified, vegetable farm.  What’s unique?  This is their first year of production as Steady Hand Farm.  Not only will you learn about what it takes to make a small-scale veggie farm work, you will experience the joys and challenges of the first season.  Working along with SHF farmers, you will undertake all of the day-to-day aspect of vegetable production as well as special projects needed to get our farm up and running.

    Your work will include seeding in the greenhouse, transplanting in the field, laying mulch, tractor cultivation, hand weeding, irrigating, harvesting, washing, packing and delivering produce.  Special projects may include building a high tunnel, putting up a cooler and more.

    How to apply: Send an email expressing your interest to Steadyhandfarm@gmail.com.  Please include a resume and cover letter explaining your interest in working for a small-scale veggie farm.   If we are considering you for one of our positions, SHF will send along a list of short answer questions, schedule an interview and ask for 3 references. Read more »

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