• 13Jun

    The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has posted a new Agriculture Census Drilldown: Beginning Farmers and Ranchers – The new Census data continues to show the aging of the American farm population, with the average age of the American farmer increasing from 57.1 in 2007 to 58.3 in 2012.  What’s more concerning however, is the slow rate at which new farmers are entering agriculture, and the much faster rate at which older farmers are retiring from farming.

    Also See the Previous Post on Beginning Farmer Numbers in the Ag Census for more information

    Below – Number of “principal operators” by Age of Operator (2007 and 2012)

    Numbers of Farmers by Age

  • 12Jun

    CRP Signup and Beginning Farmer Transition Incentive Announced by USDA

    USDA began continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup on June 9 and also announced that retiring farmers enrolled in CRP could receive incentives to transfer a portion of their land through the Transition Incentives Program (TIP). TIP provides two additional years of payments for retired farmers and ranchers who transition expiring CRP acres to socially disadvantaged, military veteran, or beginning producers who return the land to sustainable grazing or crop production.

    The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers CRP, will coordinate the various CRP program opportunities. For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit a local FSA county office or go online to www.fsa.usda.gov.

  • 06Jun

    Angelic Organics Learning Center in Illinois is now accepting farmer applications for the Technical Assistance Program

    The Technical Assistance Program (TAP) pairs farmers with consultants who provide targeted, one-on-one expertise and assistance in the areas of land acquisition, business management, production and marketing. TAP grantees receive up to $500 worth of technical assistance. The overarching goal of TAP is to improve the economic viability of family farms in CRAFT.

    What is the goal of TAP?

    • To improve your farm’s productivity and efficiency

    • To inform AOLC of the needs of CRAFT farms, so that future programming is designed to meet these needs

    What would the farmer’s responsibilities be?

  • 26May

    Join USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden for a Google+ Hangout on May 28th: What the Farm Bill Means for New Farmers

    In February 2014, President Obama signed the new Farm Bill into law. But what does that mean for you as a new farmer or rancher?  What’s new about this Farm Bill and what programs can you use? What questions should you be asking? USDA is here to answer your questions.

    On Wednesday, May 28th at 3 p.m. EDT Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden will host a Google+ Hangout to discuss what the farm bill means for new farmers. Click here to join:  www.usda.gov/live

    The Agricultural Act of 2014 is an important piece of legislation that provides authorization for services and programs that impact every American and millions of people around the world. It also creates new opportunities for new farmers and ranchers to participate in USDA programs and makes key investments in the future of farming and ranching.

    This Google Hangout is part of a discussion series hosted by Deputy Secretary Harden on the changing face of agriculture and the opportunities presented by a career in farming or ranching.

    - See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2014/05/22/join-us-for-a-google-hangout-on-may-28th-what-the-farm-bill-means-for-new-farmers/#sthash.IZqb5Q9J.dpuf

  • 20May

    Farmer-led Beginning Farmer Training Program in Illinois Celebrating 10 Years

    Starting a farm business is no easy task. That is why Angelic Organics Learning Center coordinates the Stateline Farm Beginnings® program to help people plan and launch sustainable farm businesses. The application period for the yearlong program starting in October opens June 1st, 2014.

    Stateline Farm Beginnings® is a farmer-led training and support program designed to help people plan and launch sustainable farm businesses. Since 2005, graduates of the program have launched more than 55 new sustainable farms in Illinois!

    Stateline Farm Beginnings® has a 10-year track record in training beginning farmers in business planning. Since 2005:

            • Over 200 individuals have graduated from Stateline Farm Beginnings

            • Over 70% of our graduates are farming

            • Over 55 farm businesses have been started by graduates

    Visit the Stateline Farm Beginnings website for more information.

    Check out more beginning farmer training programs across the country at http://www.beginningfarmers.org/beginning-farmer-training-programs/

  • 08May

    Beginning Beekeepers Workshop At the Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center

    May 15, 2014: 6PM – 9PM and May 17, 2014: 9AM – 2PM

    About the Workshop

    This two-session class will prepare the beginning beekeeper for a successful season. The first class is a three-hour, classroom-based session that provides the student with a strong foundation of beekeeping knowledge. The second session includes instruction with both classroom and field-based modules. The fee for the 8-hour workshop is $99 and includes a beekeeping book and lunch on Saturday.

    Topics Include:

    History of the Hive and Honeybee; Honeybee Biology; Necessary Equipment; Honeybee Pests and Diseases; Laws and Regulations; African Honeybees; Pollen and Nectar Sources; and Harvesting Your Honey Read more »

  • 29Apr

    The following is an excerpt from an article written by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin on Beginning Farmers. Sen. Harkin has been a great supporter of beginning farmer legislation and authored much of the language on beginning farmer programs that is in the current farm bill. The article appeared in Iowa Farmer Today under the title Farm Bill Boosts Beginning Farmers. You can view the full article at http://www.iowafarmertoday.com/news/opinion/farm-bill-boosts-beginning-farmers/article_c7d5dab8-cca9-11e3-9cb2-0019bb2963f4.html

    A common refrain in rural communities across our country is we need more new farmers and ranchers. To keep U.S. agriculture thriving, we must help this new generation to produce vital supplies of food, fuel and fiber, conserve our natural resources, and help sustain and revitalize rural communities.

    It is well known most people seeking to get started in agriculture face very daunting challenges. Fortunately, there are many highly motivated and capable people who are dedicated to a career in agriculture. With just a little help, their prospects for overcoming those challenges really brighten.

    That is why it is so important to have national policies that encourage and enhance opportunities for young people who are aspiring to a life in agriculture. I am proud that as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I authored and included special provisions and dedicated funding for beginning farmers and ranchers in the 2002 and 2008 farm bills. These initiatives help educate and train young farmers. They also help them secure credit, lease or buy farmland, practice sound conservation and grow income-producing enterprises.

    In preparation for the new farm bill, I introduced legislation to extend and expand the assistance to farmers who are starting out. These provisions were included in the previous bills. I am encouraged the new bill incorporates a good share of my proposals to continue and strengthen help to beginning farmers across our nation.

    To aid beginning farmers in obtaining critically needed training and technical advice, the new farm bill extends and increases funding for grants to organizations conducting such educational programs. A new priority for use of these grants will be serving the needs of military veterans through agricultural rehabilitation and vocational training. The farm bill also creates a special liaison at USDA whose job is to advocate for and assist veterans — especially those who are starting out as farmers — in using agricultural programs…

  • 14Apr

    The 2014 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) Request for Applications has been posted!!!

    For 2014, $19.2 million is available for grants through the program.

    Applications must submit proposals by June 12, 2014.

    NIFA posted the RFA on their website which also has a wealth of  information about the program including notice of two upcoming webinars on the BFRDP

    • UPCOMING Webinar – General RFA introduction, April 30, 2-4pm (EST)

    • UPCOMING Webinar – For applicants with special audiences (includes veterans, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and farm workers), May 6, 2-4pm (EST)

    NIFA uses three grant types to offer awards: Standard Grants, Educational Enhancement Team , and  Curriculum and Training Clearinghouse.

    Note: These grants are not for land, equipment, or other farm costs. The recipient must be a collaborative, State, tribal, local, or regionally-based network or partnership of public or private entities, which may include: state cooperative extension service; community-based and nongovernmental organization; college or university (including institutions awarding associate degrees); or any other appropriate partner. Others may be eligible to apply.

  • 04Apr

    Farmers Wanted for 2014 Growing Season on Massachusetts Incubator Farm

    Open View Farm in Conway, Massachusetts (http://www.openviewfarm.org/) has for the past 5 years served as an incubator farm for new or young farmers ready to apply their farming knowledge and eager to experiment, learn and grow. We are a supportive community who believe strongly in the local food movement and have land to share. We tend sheep, chickens, a llama, a donkey, cats and a dog (http://www.openviewfarm.org/our-animal-companions/), and especially, family and friends (http://www.openviewfarm.org/people-on-the-farm/)!

    The Farm has great soil and southern exposure. We’ve been able to grow all kinds of vegetables here: celery, peas, lettuces, kale, arugula, spinach, pak choi, hardneck garlic, heirloom tomatoes, eggplants, specialty peppers, okra, green beans, tomatillos, parsnips, beets, carrots, squash, cabbages, herbs, and much more. We also have delicious perennials–asparagus, apples, raspberries, blueberries, and sorrel. There are tools, fencing, cold frames and lots of the necessary materials organized and available for use. We will prepare and deliver tilled fields.

    See the gardens here: http://www.openviewfarm.org/our-gardens/. Be sure to look through the photos!

    Past farmers have focused their attention in different ways, including soil development and testing, growing for market, growing for family, friends and educational purposes, as well as considering the viability of a CSA. These endeavors are the farmer’s to determine and we offer support, encouragement and sometimes extra hands for help. In the past we have happily hosted planting and harvesting days finished off with a meal provided by our family.

    We are seeking a farmer or farmers for the 2014 growing season. If you are interested, please contact Aimee at either aimeegelnaw@gmail.com or (413) 475-2244. We would love to meet you to see if we all make a good fit!

  • 15Mar

    Beginning Farmer Agri-tourism Workshop to be held on Wednesday, March 26th 2014, 9 am – 3:30 pm at Morgan Hill Community Center, Morgan Hill, California

    RSVP for this workshop by signing up at http://www.sagecenter.org/projects/beginning-farmer-rancher-program/.  For more information, please email beginningfarmerrancher@sagecenter.org or call 510-526-1793 x5.

    Cost: Program and lunch: $10 (or sliding scale). Free follow up technical assistance is available to a limited number of beginning farmers and ranchers in Alameda, Contra Costa & Santa Clara Counties.

    Audience: The program is geared to beginning agri-tourism operators; more experienced operators are welcome. Read more »

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