• 07Oct
    The Margin Protection Program (MPP), established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer.

    MPP, which replaces the Milk Income
    Loss Contract program, gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Enrollment began Sept. 2, and ends on Nov. 28, 2014, for 2014 and 2015. Participating farmers must remain in the program through 2018 and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee each year. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrollment each year.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also launched a new web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the Margin Protection Program that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource is available here.
    The 2014 Farm Bill also established the Dairy Product Donation Program. The program authorizes USDA to purchase and donate dairy products to nonprofit organizations that provide nutrition assistance to low-income families. Purchases only occur during periods of low dairy margins. Dairy operators do not need to enroll to benefit from the Dairy Product Donation Program.
    To read more about the program, visit the USDA website.
  • 16Sep

    Boot Camp for Farmers – Financial and Food Safety Success – Monday, September 22, 2014, 6:00 – 8:30 pm

    Workshop will be held via webinar: https://connect.msu.edu/upfe/; Webinar is Free, please RSVP below

    Note: If you have not been on an adobe connect webinar before, please use this link to test your internet connection ahead of time:  http://connect.msu.edu/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm

    The U.P. Food Exchange, in partnership with Morse Marketing Connections, would like to invite you to a free webinar to learn about potential ways to grow your business and connect to new markets in the Upper Peninsula.

    Financial and food safety experts will share successful ways specialty crop farmers are opening doors to new markets through improved financial readiness and food safety practices.

    Ann Herrington of Greenstone Farm Credit will be presenting on financial literacy and business planning for profitability.  In addition, the U.P. Food Exchange will provide an update on how to reach new markets and the resources they are providing regarding food safety including the Group GAP pilot.  Please RSVP by Friday, September 19, 2014, by calling 906-635-6368 or by contacting walkmich@msu.edu.

  • 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.

  • 05Sep

    Promoting Access to Farmland for New and Established Farmers – Webinar

    Date: Wednesday, September 10, 2014  Time:12:00 PM – 1:15 PM EDT

    Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/529496746

    Join us on September 10th for the fifth webinar in our New England Food Policy series.  In this webinar we will look at policies to address one of the single biggest challenges facing new and established farmers alike—access to affordable farmland.   We will look at state policies around state-owned land and its availability for farmers.  We will examine how some states are promoting land linking, listing and matching efforts, and what USDA programs are available to support these efforts.  We’ll discuss state Purchase of Development Rights programs and how they can be used to expand affordable land access.  We will also consider ways that tax laws, such as current use, might be used to strengthen land tenure, and will highlight Connecticut’s one-of-a-kind Farmland Restoration Program. Presenters include Kathy Ruhf with Land For Good, Cris Coffin with American Farmland Trust, and Kip Kolesinskas, former CT state soil scientist and consulting conservation scientist.

    After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

    System Requirements
    PC-based attendees
    Required: Windows® 8, 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
    Mac®-based attendees
    Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer
    Mobile attendees
    Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

  • 27Aug

    FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Direct Farm Ownership Loan Program – FSA, USDA

    Low-Interest Loans Can Help Producers Start or Expand Farms

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Illinois Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, (SED) Scherrie V. Giamanco announced that farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSA’s direct farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014.

    Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay.

    FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

  • 15Aug

    Teacher or farmer: how would you decide?

    The average age of a dairy farmer in New York is 57 according to the latest farm census figures. That means many North Country dairy farms are thinking about the next generation and “Who’s going to take over the family farm?” NCPR’s summer intern Monique Cornett started out this summer with a mission: to learn how to milk a cow….
    Read More
  • 11Aug

    Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers - By BREN SMITH; New York Times SundayReview | OPINION 

    At a farm-to-table dinner recently, I sat huddled in a corner with some other farmers, out of earshot of the foodies happily eating kale and freshly shucked oysters. We were comparing business models and profit margins, and it quickly became clear that all of us were working in the red.

    The dirty secret of the food movement is that the much-celebrated small-scale farmer isn’t making a living. After the tools are put away, we head out to second and third jobs to keep our farms afloat. Ninety-one percent  of all farm households rely on multiple sources of income. Health care, paying for our kids’ college, preparing for retirement? Not happening. With the overwhelming majority of American farmers operating at a loss — the median farm income was negative $1,453 in 2012  — farmers can barely keep the chickens fed and the lights on. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

    Open Source Farming: A Renaissance Man Tackles the Food Crisis - By Dahr JamailTruthout | Report

    Given Anthropogenic Climate Disruption and our dwindling capacities for producing enough healthy food, a cutting-edge farming technique that dramatically increases produce yields from a design engineer in Port Townsend, Washington, may well already be filling a critical void. Scientist Joe Breskin seems to have found a solution for dramatically increasing vegetable yields in greenhouses, doubling the length of growing seasons and feeding more people for less money – all while using cutting-edge energy efficiency techniques.”Heated greenhouses are not new, but the way we are doing it is,” said Breskin, who describes himself as a “senior generalist, engineering design consultant” who likes to “fix complex, interesting things that don’t work.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE


  • 06Aug

    Harvesting Honey and Winter Hive Management on Sunday, August 17th, from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm at NH Honeybee, 138A Alstead Hill Road in Gilsum, NH. This workshop will focus on the fall honey harvest and successful methods for overwintering honeybee colonies in backyard or commercial apiaries. Join beekeeper and owner of The New Hampshire Honey Bee, John Solomonides as he leads a discussion on techniques for extracting honey and winter hive management. Registration fee $10. Register online at https://nofanh.org/nofa-event/honeybees-harvesting-honey-winter-hive-management/

    Self-Care and Ergonomics for Farmers on Sunday, August 24th, from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm at Nubanusit Neighborhood and Farm at 25 Steele Road, Peterborough, NH. Join Lydia Sivel-Irons, aka. “The Flexible Farmer”, as she stretches out in a workshop on protecting your working body, injury prevention and body mechanics for farmers.  Information will include proper body ergonomics for hand and tractor scale.  So gather your apprentices for an afternoon of understanding efficient movements for lifting hay bales, weeding crops, riding a tractor, and other common farm tasks. Registration fee $10. Register online at https://nofanh.org/nofa-event/nofa-nh-protecting-body-self-care-ergonomics-farmers/.
    Draft Power for Specialty Crops on Sunday, September 7th, from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm at Hillside Springs Farm & CSA Garden, 32 Comerford Road, Westmoreland NH.  Join Kim Peavey and Frank Hunter and their horses for an afternoon of exploring the art and science of draft power and equipment for growing specialty crops.  Participants will have hands-on experience of working the team and hooking up various implements, so bring your boots!  Registration fee $10.  Register online at https://nofanh.org/nofa-event/draft-power-equipment-specialty-crop-growers/.
  • 04Jul

    USDA Announces New Support for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

    Department Implementing New Farm Bill Programs, Unveiling New Centralized Online Resource to Support Next Generation of Farmers
    U.S. Agriculture

    Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden has announced the implementation of new Farm Bill measures and other policy changes to improve the financial security of new and beginning farmers and ranchers. Harden also unveiled www.usda.gov/newfarmers, a new website that will provide a centralized, one-stop resource where beginning farmers and ranchers can explore the variety of USDA initiatives designed to help them succeed.

    “New and beginning farmers are the future of American agriculture,” said Deputy Secretary Harden. “The average age of an American farmer is 58 and rising, so we must help new farmers get started if America is going to continue feeding the world and maintain a strong agriculture economy. The new policies announced today will help give beginning farmers the financial security they need to succeed. Our new online tool will provide one-stop shopping for beginning farmers to learn more about accessing USDA services that can help their operations thrive.”

    USDA’s New Farmers website has in depth information for new farmers and ranchers, including: how to increase access to land and capital; build new market opportunities; participate in conservation opportunities; select and use the right risk management tools; and access USDA education, and technical support programs. These issues have been identified as top priorities by new farmers. The website will also feature instructive case studies about beginning farmers who have successfully utilized USDA resources to start or expand their business operations.

    Today’s policy announcements in support of beginning farmers and ranchers include:

    • Waiving service fees for new and beginning farmers or ranchers to enroll in the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for the 2014 crop year. NAP provides risk management tools tofarmers who grow crops for which there is no crop insurance product. Under this waiver, announced via an official notice (PDF, 171KB) to Farm Service Agency offices, farmers and ranchers whom already enrolled in NAP for the 2014 crop year are eligible for a service fee refund.

    • Eliminating payment reductions under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for new and beginning farmers which will allow routine, prescribed, and emergency grazing outside the primary nesting season on enrolled land consistent with approved conservation plans. Previously, farmers and ranchers grazing on CRP land were subject to a reduction in CRP payments of up to 25 percent. Waiving these reductions for new and beginning farmerswill provide extra financial support during times of emergency like drought and other natural disasters.

    • Increasing payment rates to beginning farmers and ranchers under Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) (PDF, 288KB). Under this provision,beginning and farmers can claim up 90 percent of losses for lost livestock, such as bees, under ELAP. This is a fifty percent increase over previously available payment amounts to new and beginning farmers.

    In the near future, USDA will also announce additional crop insurance program changes for beginning farmers and ranchers – including discounted premiums, waiver of administrative fees, and other benefits.

    These policy announcements are made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

    The Deputy Secretary made these announcements at the inaugural meeting of the reconvened Beginning Farmer and Rancher Advisory Committee held at the University of California Davis, California. This Advisory Committee, composed of 20 members, including Extension agents, lenders, farmers, ranchers and academics will meet through 2015 to learn, discuss, and formulate recommendations to USDA on how to support new and beginning farmers.

    A fact sheet outlining significant USDA efforts to support beginning farmers and ranchers, and other Department-wide accomplishments, are available on www.usda.gov/results.

  • 13May

    NOFA-New Hampshire  and Vital Communities Host “Focus on Farmers” Mixer - A Gathering of Local Farmers and Food Producers to Network and Discuss Farming in Grafton County

    When: Sunday, May 19th, 2014

    Where: The Farm at Woods Hill, Bath, NH

    The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire and Vital Communities’ Valley Food & Farm program are coming together to celebrate farmers as Grafton County gears up for the 2014 growing season. On Sunday, May 18, local farmers are invited to the beautiful Farm at Woods Hill in Bath, N.H., for local food and beverage, live music, a farm tour, and lively discussions on the topic of marketing farm products and your farm. Danielle Allen from Your Farm in Fairlee, Vt., and Julie Moran from the North Country Farmers Co-op will help guide the discussion. The event is informal, and conversations will both enhance attendees’ marketing strategies and expand their networks of collaborators. Read more »

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