2017 Census of Agriculture – Sign Up to Be Counted!

 

The 2017 Census of Agriculture is coming up! Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census, to be mailed at the end of this year, is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches, and those who operate them.

The Census of Agriculture provides critical information about agriculture in our country, including numbers of farmers, land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures, and other topics. This data is then critical for helping to shape policies, services, and assistance programs that benefit family farmers.

Producers who are new to farming or did not receive a Census of Agriculture in 2012 still have time to sign up to receive the 2017 Census of Agriculture report form by visiting www.agcensus.usda.gov and clicking on the ‘Make Sure You Are Counted’ button through June. NASS defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year (2017).

For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture and to see how census data are used, visitwww.agcensus.usda.gov or call (800) 727-9540.

Photo © Patty O'Brien / www.summercrowphotos.com

Photo © Patty O’Brien / www.summercrowphotos.com

 

Contracting in Agriculture–new resource from USDA

eating 2If you are a farmer considering entering in an agricultural production contract, check out the new guide: Contracting in Agriculture: Making the Right Decision, Information for Farmers from USDA.
http://sustainableagriculture.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/2016-Drake-FSA-NSAC-Production-Contracts-Guide.pdf

The Drake University Agricultural Law Center has assisted the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in updating this resource.  It is now available on the Farm Service Agency and National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition websites.The full brochure can be found at the bottom of the New Publications section on the NSAC website. http://sustainableagriculture.net/publications/

This guide is designed to help you understand production contracts – and to help identify the questions you should consider as you decide whether contracting is right for you. At the end of this guide you will find a list of other sources of information about contracting, including the USDA website, which may help you decide whether contracting makes sense for you and your business.

Survey for Farmers on “Intermediated Markets”

Image courtesy of AgBiz Assist

Image courtesy of AgBiz Assist

A new study, funded by USDA, and led by Syracuse University, New York University, the Pennsylvania State University, and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) seeks to examine local and regional agricultural production and intermediated markets.

The study will examine the opportunities and risks of four main marketing opportunities for farmers—direct-to-consumer, direct-to-institution, direct-to-retail, and selling to intermediaries (such as distributors or food hubs), who in turn sell the products as local food. We are interested in all farmers’ perceptions of these markets, whether currently selling to these markets or not.

The survey has several intended benefits for farmers, including the identification of technical assistance and information needs to help scale up farms for marketing to intermediaries. A national outreach and technical assistance program, conducted by NCAT’s ATTRA Program (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service) will be developed based on the results of this research.

The survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. It includes questions to gather basic information about your farm, production, and marketing practices, and your technical assistance and training needs.

Here is the link to the survey: https://nyu.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_81Z2uih9NPHcnTD

This survey is voluntary, but your input is critical. Your participation in this research is confidential; your responses will not be linked to your contact information in any way.

We appreciate your time! Thank you.

*This project was supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant #2016-68006-24739 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Save the Date for the 2017 AgrAbility National Training Workshop!

AgrAbility is an organization that works to enhance the quality of life for farmers and ranchers with disabilities. They work on helping farmers find gainful employment in production agriculture, gain access to appropriate assistive technology needed for work and daily living activities, and more.

Join them for the 2017 AgrAbility National Training Workshop from March 20-23 in Knoxville, TN. This event is the premier training event addressing issues of disability in agriculture. It brings together professionals and consumers from all over the country to participate in educational sessions, breakout groups, tours, and networking events.  For more information, visit the event website

unnamed

New Publication! Farm Animal Welfare Certification Guide

If you’re a farmer looking to meet the growing consumer demand for labels that certify higher animal welfare standards, check out the new Farm Animal Welfare Certification Guide from the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS).

The guide is available in hard copy and digital formats, and helps farmers assess and compare different welfare certification programs. In addition to comparisons of different certification programs, the guide presents case studies of other farmers who have integrated welfare certification into their businesses. And, most importantly, the guide shares unique funding opportunities that support farmers in transitioning to welfare certification.

Print

 

 

Save the Date: Good Food Festival, March 16-18, 2017

Save the date for the 13th Annual Good Food Festival & Conference! The Good Food Festival & Conference is a celebration of the Midwest’s growing local food economy. The event will connect farmers, food producers, investors, trade buyers, policy makers, activists, families and Good Food lovers over three dynamic days.

Here are the details:

Date: March 16-18, 2017

Time: Thursday and Friday, 8:30 am – 6:00 pm; Saturday, 10:00am – 5:00 pm

Location: UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL 60608

Learn more here: http://www.goodfoodfestivals.com

Photo © Patty O'Brien / www.summercrowphotos.com

Photo © Patty O’Brien / www.summercrowphotos.com

Save The Date! National Conference on Farm & Ranch Access, Tenure & Transfer

unnamed

Changing Lands, Changing Hands

A National Conference on Farm and Ranch Access, Tenure and Transfer

June 13-15, 2017 · Denver, Colorado

Who? This conference will bring together service providers, policymakers and advocates working on land access, farm succession, conservation, beginning farmers, tenure arrangements, and farm landowners.

What? This national conference will explore the issues surrounding land access, tenure and transfer. Topics include:

  • Historic and contemporary perspectives on land access and transfer
  • Paths to ownership
  • Role of easements and conservation
  • Succession advisor team building
  • Public policies: state and federal
  • Working with non-farming landowners
  • Special populations: African American, Native American, immigrant, refugee, military veteran, women
  • Farmland investor models
  • Many more!

This event is hosted by Land For Good, in cooperation with the US Department of Agriculture.

Early Bird Registration opens February 1, 2017

Learn more here!

2016 Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference

Hosted by Farmer Veteran Coalition, the Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference will take place November 30 – December 2 in East Lansing, MI.

The conference will bring together farmer veterans, as well as the organizations that support them- from government agencies to nonprofit groups.  Participants can attend workshops on all aspects of farming, as well as visit other farms in the area.

Here are the details:

  • WHEN: November 30 – December 2
  • WHERE: Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Michigan State University ( 219 South Harrison Rd. East Lansing, MI)
  • COSTS: Full sessions – $400; Thursday session including hosted dinner: $200; Exhibit Booth Space: $1,000

For a full agenda for the conference, visit the conference web page.

Support Available for Community Food Project Applicants and Grantees

Since 1996, the USDA’s Community Food Project Grant Program (CFP) has been supporting the alleviation of food insecurity in low-income communities through projects which:

  • Promote community self-reliance in meeting their own food needs;
  • Encourage comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition issues;
  • Meet food needs through food distribution, community outreach to assist in participation in Federally assisted nutrition programs, or improving access to food as part of a comprehensive service; and
  • Meet specific state, local or neighborhood food and agricultural needs including needs relating to equipment necessary for the efficient operation of a project, planning for long-term solutions, or the creation of innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit agricultural producers and low-income consumers.

Last week, the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) posted a Request for Applications (RFA) for the next round of CFP funding. $8.64 million dollars of funds are available. The turnaround time to submit an application is very tight, with applications due no later than 5:00 pm EST on November 30, 2016.

The application process often takes more than two weeks to complete, which is why we need your help spreading the word to organizations in your community with experience in:

Community food work, particularly concerning small and mid-sized farms, including the provision of food to low-income communities and the development of new markets in low income communities for agricultural producers;

Job training and business development for food related activities in low-income communities or;

Efforts to reduce food insecurity in the their community, including food distribution, improving access to services, or coordinating services and programs?

Please forward this post and make them aware of this great opportunity!

For this round of funding, three types of grants are available:

Community Food Projects, examples of which include community gardens with market stands, value chain projects, food hubs, farmers’ markets, farm-to-institutions projects, and marketing and consumer cooperatives. All projects must involve low-income participants. The maximum Community Food Project award in a single year is $125,000 and the maximum award over four years is $400,000.

Planning Projects, examples of which include community food assessments’ coordination of collaboration development, GIS analysis, food sovereignty study, and farm-to-institution exploration.  All projects must involve low-income participants. The maximum Planning Project award is $35,000 for the total project period.  The maximum grant period is three years.

Farm Aid is collaborating with New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and additional partners to provide free one-on-one technical assistance and resources to CFP Grant Program applicants and grantees. Support services include building capacity, developing resources, and providing support through our technical assistance referral network. Visit New Entry’s website to view resources or past webinars or submit a request for assistance form.

There is also an upcoming webinar to help prepare applicants:

Webinar – CFP Application Process  (Hosted by New Entry): Thursday, October 20 at 1pm EST 
Join us for a free webinar to learn about the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Community Food Projects (CFP) grant application process and Grants.gov submission. Register Here

Grant Opportunity for Farmers Focused on Animal Welfare

Photo © Patty O'Brien / www.summercrowphotos.com

Photo © Patty O’Brien / www.summercrowphotos.com

Livestock and Poultry Farmers: Apply for a Fund-a-Farmer grant today!

Are you a livestock or poultry farmer who wants to improve animal welfare on your operation? You may be eligible to receive a Fund-a-Farmer grant from the Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), a nonprofit organization that promotes humane production of meat, milk and eggs

FACT will award grants of up to $2,500 for two types of projects: Animal Welfare Certification Projects and Pasture Improvement Projects. Check out the grant guidelines for the full details and apply online! Applications are due by November 21, so don’t delay. FACT is also offering a free online information session to help farmers with their applications. Register for the webinar and learn more about this unique funding opportunity.