• 06Nov

    Developing and Operating Individual Development Accounts (IDA’s) for Beginning Farmers

    Amidst the ongoing funding and budget debates on Capitol Hill, organizations that work with beginning farmers and understand the need for farmer financial training have used federal funding through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) to pool their resources and expertise in order to replicate this model and establish more agricultural IDA programs across the country.

    A collaborative of 16 organizations, led by California FarmLink, has recently published their findings from this 3 year project and best practices for how to start an agricultural IDA program in a new step by step manual – A Guide to Developing and Operating an Agricultural Individual Development Account (IDA) Program.

    In the Guide, readers will learn the basics of IDAs and find a comprehensive collection of resources that the project partners have shared that cover many aspects of IDA program development, implementation, and management, such as marketing materials, financial education resources, program agreements with participants, evaluations and assessments, and program administration tools

  • 31Oct

    American Farmers Are Growing Old, With Spiraling Costs Keeping Out Young: The nation’s farmers are 17 years older than the average American worker.

    Jess Piskor and Abra Berens are business partners on their Bare Knuckle Farm in Northport, Michigan. The small-scale farm grows sells produce through a CSA and at the local farmers market and also host private dinners on the farm.

    Abra Berens (at left) and Jess Piskor are business partners on their Bare Knuckle Farm in Northport, Michigan. The small-scale farm sells produce through a CSA and at the local farmers market, and hosts private dinners. Photograph by Fritz Hoffmann, National Geographic

    Andrea Stone for National Geographic; Published September 19, 2014

    TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan—Art McManus slowly threads his 2001 white GMC pickup through a rolling grove of cherry trees, their limbs heavy with crimson fruit. Eyeing his 25-year-old grandson working with a crew of farmhands, he stops to watch them attach a mechanical shaker that grips a tree and violently rocks its cherries into a canvas catch frame and conveyor.

    “Each one of those trees is like a child—when a limb breaks, it bothers me,” says McManus, who planted this orchard of maraschino cocktail cherries more than a decade ago. “It took all this time to get it to this point, and I’d like to keep it going.”

    But the 73-year-old owner of the 150-acre Southview Orchards isn’t sure he can make that happen. None of McManus’s three grown children wants to take over the tart cherry farm.

    Read the complete National Geographic article HERE

  • 27Oct

    Missouri Beginning Farmer Program 2015 Webinar Series

    Jan. 23 - Assessing the Economics of Crop Choices on a Start-up Market Farm, Part 2

    Feb. 6 - Food Safety and Good Agricultural Practices, Part 1

    Feb. 13 - Food Safety and Good Agricultural Practices, Part 2

    March 5 - Financing for Beginning Farmers, Part 1

    March 12 - Financing for Beginning Farmers, Part 2

    April 2 - Grazing Goats, Part 1

    April 9 - Grazing Goats, Part 2

    May 7 - Legal Issues with Direct Marketing, Part 1

    May 14 - Legal Issues with Direct Marketing, Part 2

  • 22Oct

    GBAF Announces First Farmer Loans in Connecticut

    The Greater Berkshire Agriculture Fund (GBAF) is a program of The Carrot Project focused on the Greater
    Berkshire area, including Dutchess and Columbia Counties in NY, Litchfield County, CT and Berkshire County, MA. We’ve been developing technical assistance and loan programs in the region for two years, and we are very pleased to announce our first two loans ever in Connecticut.

    Our experience working in the Greater Berkshire region has shown that farm and food businesses in Berkshire and Litchfield Counties are geographically isolated from lending and technical assistance services. We are eager to continue technical assistance in the region, and look forward to developing further services in partnership with other providers.
    Of particular note is Maple Hollow Farm in New Hartford, CT,  a Christmas tree farm nearing its fourth decade. Christmas tree production may seem like an outlier among The Carrot Project’s mostly farm and food clients. Working with the Steadman family highlights the importance of serving non-food businesses that also contribute to maintaining the working landscape economy and providing for regional needs beyond food, such as fiber and wood products.
    For more on Maple Hollow and Chubby Bunny farms, see their full profiles below.
  • 14Oct

    USDA Expands Microloan Program for Beginning Farmers

    USDA microloan program limit to be raised to $50,000 to help beginning and family farmers.

    USDA has announced that it is: raising the borrowing limit for its microloan program from $35,000 to $50,000;simplifying the lending processes; updating required “farming experience” to include other valuable experiences; and expanding eligible business entities. The changes take effect on Nov. 7, 2014.

    The microloan changes announced today will allow beginning, small and mid-sized farmers to access an additional $15,000 in loans using a simplified application process with up to seven years to repay. These efforts are part of USDA’s continued commitment to small and midsize farming operations, and new and beginning farmers.

    To find out more, read the USDA news release.

  • 24Sep
    2014 is the 10th anniversary of Stateline Farm Beginnings®, a yearlong 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! Located at the Angelic Organics Learning Center in Caledonia, Illinois.
    There are only six spots left for this year! If you’ve been thinking of enrolling in Stateline Farm Beginnings, don’t delay! Applications are due October 1st. Please feel free to pass this along to your friends.
    Thank you – and we hope you will help us build the local food system!
  • 15Sep

    2014 Growers Academy  in Virginia

    An 6-session learning/training series focused on sustainable farming methods and business models

    September 23 – October 28, 2014 (Tuesdays, 6-9 pm • Wytheville, Virginia)

    Pre-registration by Thursday, 9/18th

    FOR WHO? New, dreamed about, and growing or transitioning agricultural businesses.  The course is a tailored and comprehensive approach to farming as a small business, so you can leave with renewed confidence and practical information and actions to make your farming effort whatever size you want it to be. Read more »

  • 11Sep
    Apply Today for the Beginning Women Farmers Training Program in CT!

    If you are a beginning (less than ten years experience) women farmer in Connecticut and you are interested in joining the program, we are now accepting applications for the 2014/2015 session. The training begins in early November and consists of 10 all-day Saturday sessions. The first six are throughout the winter and will be held at Goodwin College in East Hartford, CT. The four remaining sessions are on on-farm at different locations throughout the state. Click HERE for an online application.

    From a recent graduate:
    All the individuals (peers and instructors/mentors) I have meet during this class have taught me something, and have helped me unearth my own self confidence in myself along with the weaknesses I struggle with. And it feels wonderful to have a small group of people who have a similar mindset or love for farming, the land, and good food. All of this has nurtured the flame and love I have for this life style I live.“-Jessica Kroeber

    The 2014/2015 dates:

    November 1, November 22, December 13, January 17, January 24, February 7, February 28, March 21, April 11, May 2, May 16 (snow date)

    While there is a small fee to join the program in the Northeast, scholarships are available for those in need of financial assistance. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the program, please contact Deb Legge, Connecticut Co-coordinator or call 203-308-2584. To learn more about the current program, past sessions and Holistic Management International, click HERE.

  • 10Sep
    Sign up now for Stateline Farm Beginnings
    The Illinois Food, Farm, & Jobs Act has called for support of programs that recruit, train, and provide technical assistance to beginning farmers in order to meet the demand for 5,000 more local farmers in Illinois by 2020. Angelic Organics Learning Center has been fulfilling that role by training farmers for the past ten years. Our Stateline Farm Beginnings® program is proud to announce the next class starting in October 2014. Click here to apply by October 1st.
  • 09Sep

    NFU Beginning Farmers Institute Holds First Session

    WASHINGTON (Sept. 8, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) participants are in Washington, D.C., this week to take part in the first session of the institute. Participants will learn financial, marketing, public speaking and planning skills.

    “It has become increasingly difficult for beginning farmers to succeed,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “That is why programs like BFI are so important, because they give beginning farmers an opportunity to learn important leadership and farm-management skills that benefit not only themselves, but also the communities and economies they support.”

    BFI participants include Nicole Vojtech of Ohio; Tracey Zink of Nebraska; Courtney Krueger of North Dakota; Chris Holman and Kriss Marion of Wisconsin; Harrison Topp of Colorado; Glen Hughes of Indiana; Erin Bailey of Washington; Rick Duvall of Illinois; Chelsea Kruse of New Hampshire; Troy Hunoff of South Dakota; Nicholas Levendofsky, Matt and Leah Ubel of Kansas.

    The selected individuals from across the nation range from cattle ranchers and grain farmers to those growing for farmers markets and urban farmers. The institute is a yearlong program and is sponsored in part by Farm Credit, CoBank, DuPont Pioneer, CHS Foundation, FUI Foundation and the NFU Foundation. More information can be found at www.NFU.org/education.


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