• 27Feb

    Apply Now: Veterans to Farmers Course Description for 2015 Year

    Veterans to Farmers is offering two course options for veterans in the 2015 year. One is through our own CEA course and the other is through collaboration with Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield (DBG). Both options are free to veterans and offer the ability to receive a stipend payment while gaining experience and knowledge in those fields.   Upon completion every veteran will have the option to enroll into a Building Farmers course to also address the business skills needed to be successful.

    1. (CEA) – Controlled Environmental Agriculture                Online Class – Hands on training at Healthy Roots Farms (HRF)

    This exciting option will provide veterans the opportunity to enroll in a 12 week online CEA course offered through C.S.U. The 12 week course will cover many different subjects related to greenhouse operations.  Upon meeting the requirements for the course a certificate of completion will be awarded.
    Along with the C.S.U coursework, you will participate in 6 weeks of hands on training at Healthy Roots Farms, an operational greenhouse located in Firestone, Colorado. During the six weeks you will become familiar with the everyday operations that take place. (Denver Location Coming Soon)

    *Requires a dedicated 15 hrs. per week in Firestone, Colorado
    *Will require self-discipline for online coursework
    *Students are paid a stipend for 6 weeks
    *Will require adherence to all operating policies at HRF

    2. Small Scale Vegetable Production                                  Located at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield (DBG)             

    Have you ever wanted to see what it takes to be a Market Farmer? Or maybe you wonder how a CSA farm operates and functions? Or… maybe you just want to work with the earth and ditch the cubicle.
    Well you are in luck! DBG will be in need of some extra help this year as they expand. Veteran to Farmers felt that veterans were the perfect fit for that job.  This collaboration provides veterans a very unique opportunity by offering hands on experience and knowledge of a functional farm while getting paid.

    *Requires a dedicated 15 hrs. per week at Chatfield, Colorado location
    *Will require self-discipline for self-study coursework
    *Students are paid a stipend for 12 weeks
    *Will require background check and adherence to DBG volunteer policy

    If you or any veteran you know might be interested in applying for either course please E-mail Richard Murphy/Program Manager to request an application. Rich@veteranstofarmers.org

  • 14Feb

    Conservation Stewardship Program SignupFarmers: Sign up for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Before February 27, 2015

    With a February 27 deadline approaching, farmers and ranchers have only a few weeks to apply to enroll in the federal Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

    What is CSP?

    CSP is the nation’s largest conservation program by acreage and is widely popular among farmers and ranchers. Since the program began in 2009, nearly 70 million acres of farm and ranch land have been enrolled in the program.

    CSP rewards producers for the conservation and environmental benefits they produce on their working agricultural lands. All private agricultural land, including cropland, pasture, and rangeland, is eligible to enroll in CSP.

    For example, CSP contract-holding farmers can receive payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, rotational grazing, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and the transition to organic farming.

    How do I Sign Up?

    Details on this year’s program are available for free in an Information Alert published this week by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

    Farmers and ranchers must submit initial applications to their local NRCS office by Feb 27 to have their applications considered for 2015. Applications will be scored and ranked based on farmers’ current and planned on-farm conservation activities, and the applications offering the highest level of environmental benefits will be awarded CSP contracts.

    See this  Information Alert and the Farmers Guide to CSP!

    Are you interested? NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT!

    Farmers and ranchers interested in enrolling in the program for 2015 have until February 27 to go to their local NRCS office and sign up. The initial sign-up process is easy!

    Download this new CSP Information Alert for step-by-step instructions, the updated Farmers’ Guide for comprehensive program details, and help spread the word!

    - – -

    Did you enroll in CSP in 2011?

    If so, then this is the last year of your five-year CSP contract and thus you now have the opportunity to sign-up to renew your participationin the program for 2016-2020. You must apply to renew by March 31. Refer to our Information Alert for further information.

  • 02Feb

    Article: Ten ways to support the next generation of farmers

    A new wave of food pioneers, mostly from non-farming backgrounds, is turning to careers in agriculture. But farming is a career path filled with obstacles, and today’s young farmers need our support.

    By Maryann Conigliaro, The Christian Science Monitor

    “Over the last 30 years, the average age of farmers has steadily increased, according to the U.S. Census Bureau . The U.S. Department of Agriculture  (USDA) reports that half of all current farmers are likely to retire in the next decade, leaving a large gap for the next generation to fill. Fortunately, a new wave of food pioneers, mostly from non-farming backgrounds, is turning to careers in agriculture. This career path comes with its fair share of hurdles. According to Lindsay Lusher Shute , executive director and co-founder of the National Young Farmers Coalition  (NYFC), “Capital and land top most young farmers’ lists” as their biggest challenges. Here are 10 ways to help the next generation of farmers nourish future consumers:”

    Learn about 10 ways to support the next generation of farmers by reading the full article at: http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Bite/2015/0126/Ten-ways-to-support-the-next-generation-of-farmers

  • 26Jan

    Sales Contracts for Farm Produce & Making Employment Law Work For Your Farm – Farm Commons

    Sales Contracts for Farm Produce: Why and How
    Date: Monday, February 2nd; Time: Noon, Central. (10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern)

    Everyone loves local food! Consumers, restaurants, grocery stores, schools, and child care facilities are buying more and more product. No matter the size of the buyer, a good relationship between buyer and farmer is key to making these sales profitable over the long-term. The right sales agreement- a written one that addresses ordering, cancellation, and payment terms- can help keep everyone happy. Learn how and why farmers should pay attention to the “terms” of their sales and strongly consider writing down sales agreements. Register now at our website!

    Making Employment Law Work For Your Farm
    Date: Tuesday, February 3rd; Time: Noon, Central. (10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern)

    Employment law is probably the single most complex legal concern for farmers. Especially for the diversified farm, navigating farm and non-farm employment law is no walk in the park. This webinar will break down federal minimum wage, workers’ compensation and overtime, plus migrant worker laws. (They apply to more than just migrant workers!) Worker-exchange programs, independent contractors, employment manuals, injury liability, discrimination and a host of other concerns round out the discussion. Checklists and flowcharts will help make the process easy.
    Register now at our website!
    See upcoming and archived webinars from Food Commons here!

  • 20Jan

    Finding Farmland ResourceIn 2010, National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) was founded by a group of farmers who were struggling to find affordable farmland to start and grow their businesses. Five years later, they know that accessing farmland is still one of the biggest obstacles young farmers face.

    The good news is that there is a growing movement of land trusts working to keep farmland in the hands of farmers. NYFC has been working closely with groups across the country to support these efforts. Now, NYFC is excited to release a new resource designed specifically to help farmers connect and partner with land trusts - A Farmer’s Guide to Working with Land Trusts.

    Over the past fifty years, land trusts have protected millions of acres of farmland from development. The National Young Farmers Coalition believes that these groups now have a critical role to play in helping the next generation of farmers access land. But young farmers must be proactive!

    This guidebook illustrates the possibilities for potential partnership with a land trust and offers practical information and tools for approaching your land trust and building the relationship.

    Take a look through the guide today (it’s free to download, or you can purchase a copy at NYFC’s online store), and if you decide that partnering with a land trust to access land is right for you, NYFC hopes they have provided a resource that will guide you towards a successful relationship!

  • 17Jan

    Farm Vegetables in the FieldVibrant Valley Farm is heading into its third full season as a women owned and operated CSA, restaurant and flower farm. We will be farming on Sauvie Island, just 10 miles outside of Portland and home to one of the state’s largest wildlife refuges. This past year we successfully ran a 35 member CSA program, provided vegetables to over 15 local restaurants in Yamhill and Multnomah counties, and delivered fresh cut flowers to New Seasons, a local grocery store in the area. This season we will increase our production two fold adding more CSA memberships and restaurant and flower accounts while continuing to branch out to our greater community with partnerships and educational programming. Vibrant Valley Farm is committed to engaging with our community and to celebrating ecologically sound practices and good stewardship of the land. We are currently working on organic certification.

    Jobs: We are actively seeking two farmers to assist in our production and assembly, 50 hours a week from the beginning of May until the end of October. We are looking for folks who are dedicated to learning about local food systems through growing food and flowers. Experience, team work, willingness to learn, adaptability, customer service, a strong work ethic, and belief in sustainable practices are prerequisites for any applicant and essential to the success of our operation. Read more »

  • 12Jan
    So you grow or raise everything on your farm using organic practices, but you’re not yet certified organic? At what point would it be worth the paperwork to become certified? Could your business benefit by being able to use the word “organic” in your marketing? Are you foregoing a price premium by not certifying? How hard is it, anyway? Dive into these questions in the 4-week online course BF 106: Organic Certification – What, How, and Why (or Why Not).  This course features presentations by certified organic farmers on what certification looks like on their farm and how they made the decision.

    The course is targeted to aspiring, beginner, and experienced farmers who are considering organic certification. 

    New this year! Participants who complete all requirements of one or more online courses are eligible to be endorsed for a 0% interest loan of up to $10,000 through

    BF 106: Organic Certification runs from Mon. Feb 2 – Mar 2 with Monday night webinars 6-7:30pm EDT. If you aren’t able to attend in real time, webinars are always recorded and posted for later viewing.

    All of our courses consist of weekly real-time webinars followed by homework, readings, and discussions on your own time in an online setting.

    This course costs $150, and up to 4 people from the same farm may participate without paying extra. See the course description page for more on the course learning objectives, instructors, and outline.

    These courses are part of the line-up of 14 online courses offered this Fall, Winter and Spring by the Cornell Small Farms Program. 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.

    Courses often fill very quickly, so don’t miss your chance to sign up today!

  • 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.

  • 08Dec
    USDA FUNDING NEWS
    New Awards Will Strengthen Farm to School Programs
    Local farmers, food businesses, and schools from 82 farm to school projects across the country received a boost this week with the announcement of over $5 million in funding from the Farm to School Grant Program by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack…Logo
    Organic Plant Breeding Research Grant Announced
    Farmers and consumers alike should be excited about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recent announcement that over $6 million will be awarded this year to support research related to plant health and production – including breeding for organic research that is the first step in developing new and improved varieties that farmers need to be successful and meet the growing demand for sustainable food…Logo
    Much Needed Funding Will Support Outreach to Minority and Veteran Farmers
    Farming is a risky business and has become increasingly difficult to enter over the past few decades. However, for the growing number of racially and culturally diverse or veteran farmers and ranchers in this country, starting and managing a successful farming operation is fraught with even greater challenges. That’s why NSAC is excited about the nearly $10 million in federal grants that were announced this week that will support outreach and technical assistance to minority, tribal, and veteran producers…Logo
    Local Food System Community Planning Awards Announced
    On December 3, the White House Rural Council, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies, announced 26 communities in 19 states chosen to take part in the Local Food, Local Places Initiative. The new initiative provides technical support to help them develop and implement action plans promoting local food and downtown revitalization…Logo
  • 24Nov

    A farmer’s dream come true: land to farm – By Hema Easley, Times Herald-Record

    New Farmer Unloading Vegetables
    CHESTER – Travis Jones always knew he’d be a farmer. During college, Jones worked summers on his father’s land in Blooming Grove. After graduating, he worked full time, dreaming of a time when he could farm his own land. That’s a challenge for farmers who don’t have the resources to buy expensive land. But this month his dream will come true. Together with four other young men and women, Jones will lease 30 acres of land from Chester Agricultural Center, LLC, a group of investors committed to making land affordable and accessible to experienced farmers.
    Read the full article at: http://www.recordonline.com/article/20141117/NEWS/141119400

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