One of the biggest challenges that a new farmer faces is finding and securing land. Land trusts can be one source of help. Land trusts are non-profit organizations that are setup by a community to protect a resource like wildlife habitats or farmland.
The National Young Farmers Coalition recently released a guide to help farmers who want to partner with land trusts to procure affordable land. The guide explains the technicalities of working with such groups and provides farmers with a toolbox of practical information and resources to get a partnership started.
Keynote speakers include Dr. Roger Moon, a veterinary entomologist at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Guy Jodarski, a staff veterinarian for Organic Valley, CROPP Cooperative. Dr. Moon will talk about pests and organic dairy, and Dr. Jodarski will cover innovative ways to deal with livestock health, nutrition, and management challenges.
Sessions include farmer-to-farmer panels that feature certified organic farmers telling stories of their challenges and successes.
Registration closes Wednesday, March 4th. Visit UVM Extension for more information and to register.
The 2015 Request for Applications (RFA) for the USDA Community Food Projects Grant Program through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture has been released. Applications have a strict deadline of Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 5 pm EST.
The deadline is approaching for the 2015 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) administers this program, which funds initiatives aimed at helping beginning farmers and ranchers. Individual are not eligible for this program. Groups like State Cooperative Extension Services, community based organizations, non-profits, and colleges and universities may apply for a grant to support educational courses, technical assistance programming, and outreach initiatives.
The deadline for applications is 5:00 pm EST on Friday, March 13th.
If you’re curious about making the transition to organic production, tune into the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s upcoming webinar. This webinar will cover different types of NRCS support that producers can utilize for the transition. Specifically, how producers can use a Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) 138 to help identify conservation practices that are a good match for their operation.
Enrollment is now open for the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Conservation Stewardship Program. Farmers and ranchers have until February 27th to submit applications for this year’s funding. The CSP is win for both farmers and the environment, as it gives farmers financial incentive to engage in conservation activities like cover crops, rotational grazing, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and the transition to organic farming. According the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, since 2009, when the program began, nearly 70 million acres of farm and ranch land have been enrolled. Learn more about the CSP at NSAC’s blog, and visit your local NRCS office to get the enrollment process started.
The USDA is inventorying organic producers, certified and not, across the U.S. This information will help the agency track organic agriculture’s economic impact as well as trends and opportunities for organic products. The 2012 Census of Agriculture showed substantial growth in the organic market—an increase of 83 percent since 2007.
Approximately 17,000 organic producers received the census in early January. Organic farmers are required by law to respond. Survey responses are due by mail by on February 13th or online by April 3rd.
Data collected from the survey will help boost organic producers’ needs. Results will help the government assess crop insurance programs for organic producers, determine funding and extension support for organics, and calculate disaster payments for producers.
It’s conference season! PASA is taking part with their 24th Annual Farming for the Future Conference from February 4 – 7 in State College, PA.
The conference will feature over 100 workshops over the weekend to educate attendees with courses ranging from Vegetable Farm Irrigation to The Deeper Wisdom of the Biodynamic Preparations. The conference also presents the Future Farmers Program for children from kindergarten to eighth grade.
2015 is the international year of soils; so what better way to celebrate than to join the U.S. Composting Council for their 23rd annual conference. The conference, which is titled Organics on the Rise, attracts more than 1,000 attendees to its innovative workshops, presentations, equipment training, and trade show. Industry leaders will explain new techniques on collecting and using compost and ways to produce renewable energy from organics. Technical sessions include: The Status and Future of Community Composting; Commercial Vermicomposting; Bioenergy: Advances in Heat Recovery and AD On-site Microsystems; Home and School Composting Programs: Development and Successes; and Right-Sizing the Compost Operation: From On-Site on Up, and many more. The conference will be held in Austin, TX at the Renaissance Hotel. Click here for more information.
Don’t miss Southern SAWG’s (Sustainable Agriculture Working Group) annual Sustainable Ag Conference from January 14 – 17 in Mobile, AL. The event will host over 1,000 farmers and food advocates for a weekend of education in sustainable farming practices.
The conference website lists some of the programming available:
Sustainable and organic crop production, in fields and in high tunnels
Grazing and holistic livestock management
Direct and cooperative marketing
Farm and food policy
Farm enterprise and business management
Farm to school
Local food systems
The entire conference program is available on Southern SAWG’s website here. Click here for more information and to register.