• 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 »

  • 19Apr

    Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success Free Course for Farmers

    Online Course Materials and Notes Available for Educators to Use Free

    The Farmers Market Federation of NY and the NY Farm Viability Institute are cosponsoring an online course in Marketing aimed at farmers called Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success.  This program is funded by USDA SARE’s NE Professional Development Program and hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension Broome County.

    There is no charge for the course which can be taken by farmers at their convenience asynchronously and is accessible any time, day or night.  Participants do not have to follow a specific schedule which makes it easier for farmers to participate since they can move through the course at their own pace.  The course materials are also available at no charge for use by extension educators or other educators who wish to use the materials to teach this as an in-person class.

    The curriculum includes the following five components, or modules: Self-Assessment, Market Assessment, Customer Assessment, Communications Assessment, and Business Assessment.  Within each module there are three sessions which include a video of each live presentation, Q & A documents, glossary of terms, links to additional resources, an online discussion forum, homework assignments, and a quiz.  By completing all five modules, farmers will be able to learn essential marketing skills to analyze their personal and business capacity, determine optimal marketing channels, build their customer base, and increase their sales and profits.  After completing the course, participants will have all the knowledge needed to create their complete farm business and marketing plan.

    Successful completion of all sessions within each of the 5 components including the assignments and quizzes will earn the participant a Certificate of Achievement.  In addition, farmers who complete the course in its entirety will be eligible for borrower training credits through the USDA Farm Services Agency.

    To register for this free online curriculum to help farmers increase their marketing skills and grow their business, go to: http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/work-shop-programs/online-marketing-for-profit-course.html

    For more information on the curriculum, on teaching the course to groups of farmers, or on using the course to qualify for borrower training credits, please contact the Farmers Market Federation office at 315-637-4690.

  • 16Apr

    An invitation for all specialty crop, CSA and diversified farmers in southern Michigan:

    The Washtenaw Food Hub, with support from Morse Marketing Connections and MDARD, would like to invite you to a FREE half-day marketing workshop in Ann Arbor, Michigan to learn about potential ways to grow your business.

    Financial and food safety experts, value-added entrepreneurs and chefs as well as institutional buyers will share successful ways specialty crop farmers are opening doors to new markets through improved financial readiness and food safety practices. ** Please see the attached flyer with a description and schedule for the program.

    Who: Specialty crop farmers

    What: Free workshop including lunch and tour of the Washtenaw Food Hub – “Connecting Specialty Crop Farmers with New Markets and Food Hubs: Financial and Food Safety Options for Scaling Up”

    When: Monday, May 5, 2014 from 11:15am-4:00pm

    Where: Washtenaw Food Hub, 4175 Whitmore Lake Rd., Ann Arbor, MI. More info: http://washtenawfoodhub.com

    Registration for this workshop is free of charge but space is limited.

    Please RSVP before April 28, 2014 at: http://bit.ly/1hBTuVc

    Note: Participants coming from more than 30 miles may request a travel scholarship for funds to reimburse mileage.  Contact Chad Gerencer:  chad@morseconnections.com or 231-740-4056 for more information.

  • 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!

  • 17Mar

    March 2014 Workshops for farmers at the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in Wisconsin

    March 21st. Grant Writing 8.30-noon
    Need money for farm equipment, hoop houses, irrigation, or conduct research on your farm or start a community garden? Margaret Krome, MFAI Policy Director will help you ensign sound projects, find sustainable programs to consider and learn how to write a fundable grant proposal. Register at http://bit.ly/mfaiwfw

    March 28th. Soil 101 9.00-noon
    Heathy soil healthy farm and garden! Learn how organic matter and tillage impact the soil with our Research Director Jim Stute $40. Register here: http://bit.ly/mfaiwfw

    March 29th. Fundamentals of Seed Saving 1.00-4.00pm
    Save seeds! So important but we all need to know how. Come and learn from the experts from Seed Saving Exchange. $40 Register here:http://bit.ly/mfaiwfw

    Call if you have questions 262 642 3303 x100 or write Sandy Andrews: sandrews@michaelfields.org.

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