Resource Partners Event Roundup

Center for Rural Affairs

April: The Center for Rural Affairs (CFA) has two events this month. In partnership with The Farmer Veteran Coalition and the Drake University Agricultural Law Center, CFA is hosting the WI Farmer Veterans Tour and Workshop on April 12.  Veterans and family members interested in farming careers are invited to attend this event at Growing Power Farms in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A tour of the farm and its composting and aquaponics system will be followed by workshops at the farm. Admission is free and seating is limited so register here to reserve your spot!

Also on the 12th is the Farm Dreams Workshop. Women interested in farming and ranching will be able to participate in a four-hour workshop to get a feel for the professions and learn how to take the first steps to enter the field. The workshop takes place at the Syracuse Public Library in Syracuse, Nebraska and costs $5. Participants must register in advance and can contact virginiam@cfra.org or call 402.992.5134.

May: On May 10 the Farm Business Financing Workshop for Women will take place at the Lewis and Clark Center in Nebraska City, Nebraska. The event is an intensive business planning and farm-financing course to help women farmers and ranchers design a business plan and access financing for agricultural operations. Contact virginiam@cfra.org or call 402.992.5134 to register in advance. The event costs $5 and lunch is included.

June: For those thinking about venturing into the farmers market business, the June 7 event Selling at Farmers Markets gives tips and tricks to find the best location, customer base, product, presentation and price to maximize success. Located in Ashland, Nebraska, this event costs $5 and includes lunch. Contact virginiam@cfra.org or call 402.992.5134 to register.

On June 21, Selling Through a CSA will teach women getting started in gardening, farming, and ranching about the advantages of selling through a community supported agriculture system. The workshop will take place at the Webermeier Public Library in Milford, Nebraska. Contact virginiam@cfra.org or call 402.992.5134 to register in advance 

National Center for Appropriate Technology (ATTRA)

April: On April 25 the National Center for Appropriate Technology (ATTRA) will host Entering the Institutional Food Market. Montana farmers, ranchers and processors will be provided information and technical assistance.  Register for this $10 event here by April 20 to reserve a spot.

June: With Montana adopting a new energy code requiring blower door and duct tightness testing for all new homes, there are emerging business opportunities in residential energy efficiency. On June 2, the Home Energy Rater and Energy Star Training in Missoula, Montana will provide comprehensive energy auditor training with an emphasis on new residential construction and the Home Energy Raters rating process. Participants will be prepared to take the tests required to become a certified Home Energy Rater, a Northwest Energy Star Homes Verifier and a Northwest Energy Star Homes Performance Tester. Register online and click here for more details 

Rodale Institute

April: Interested in having your own chickens? On April 26 the Rodale Institute is hosting the Backyard Chickens event to educate those looking to learn how to make chickens a part of their family and get fresh eggs everyday. Participants will learn about cost, breeding, housing, feeding, protecting and handling chickens, as well as leave with a list of recommended books and resources on how to complete this project efficiently. Register ahead of time here.

The Greenhorns

 April: . The future of farmland is unclear. In the next 20 years an expected 400 million acres of U.S. farmland will change hands. On April 26 and 27 Our Land: A Symposium on Farmland Access in the 21st Century at UC Berkeley will delve into the historical context, long-term implications and economic impact and stewardship potential of this impending transition.

May: On May 3 The Greenhorns is hosting Farmland Seekers to provide technical assistance around land and capital access and transition. Attendees will learn essential tools for building and navigating relationships with lenders, investors, landowners, partners, boards, conservation organizations, neighbors and more!

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Agricultural apprenticeship roundup

Beginning farmers account for approximately 10 percent of all US agricultural production, according to data collected from the USDA Census of Agriculture. Moreover, a beginning farmer operates about 20 percent of all farms. As such, there is an increased need for training and education opportunities for these farmers entering the field.

The Economic Research Service recently released a brief using data collected from 2011 with shocking results: only 25 percent of beginning farmers earn a positive margin of profit from farming. With the changing landscape of agriculture, beginning farmers are more important than ever. For this reason, it is crucial that beginning farmers are able to access the tools necessary to be successful. Many national organizations offer apprenticeships for those interested in farming.

Before beginning an apprenticeship, those interested in the opportunity should look into the Farm Internship Curriculum that Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (Western SARE) put together. This guide comprehensively describes the workweek of an individual farmer.

ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

ATTRA has offered apprenticeships in sustainable and organic agriculture since 1989 in the US, Canada and the Caribbean. Potential apprentices can browse the farm and location possibilities for free. The listings are posted directly from farmers seeking apprentices or interns. For more information, visit: https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/internships/

Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association

The Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association created the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program (NABAP). This two-year on-farm program is designed for beginning biodynamic or organic farmers, in addition to one classroom course. Upon completing the program, apprentices receive a biodynamic farming certificate from the Biodynamic Association. Click here for more information: https://www.biodynamics.com/nabdap

CRAFT – The Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training

CRAFT is broken down by region, but each farmer-led branch is specifically designed to educate farmers through mentoring and a social network of support. CRAFT farmers are specialized in organic, sustainable or biodynamic practices in growing vegetables, livestock or grains. For more information on an apprenticeship with CRAFT, find your specific region here: http://www.craftfarmers.org

Beginning Farmers LLC

The Beginning Farmers LLC is dedicated to providing beginning and aspiring farmers with the resources and educational tools they need to succeed. As such, Beginning Farmers aggregates on-farm internship postings on its website. The Beginning Farmers’ blog announces internship postings, while its employment page collects information on regional resources with internship or apprenticeship opportunities, organizations with information on other jobs generally related to agriculture and links to international listings of agricultural jobs. For more information, visit: http://www.beginningfarmers.org/internship-and-employment-opportunities/

Beginning Farmer Resources

As a beginning farmer you may face a number of obstacles: from access to land, to developing your skills, to planning out your finances, and even to figuring out what to grow and how to sell it. Plus, you may run into plenty of questions while trying to start up your business. The guides below will be particularly helpful resources during this time. Check them out, and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have unanswered questions: email or call 1-800-FARM-AID.

The Greenhorns’ Guidebook for Beginning Farmers  is written for young farmers by young farmers. It is meant to be a helpful resource and guide into the field of sustainable agriculture.

The Land Stewardship Project and the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture worked together to publish Resources for Beginning Farmers: Building a Sustainable Future. This guide provides a listing of resources for beginning farmers who are entertaining the idea of earning a living by sustainably producing food and fiber. These resources are updated annually on the MISA website.

BeginningFarmers.org has an extensive array of resources, publications, events, forums and other tools for beginning farmers. And similarly, Start2Farm.gov lets you explore what it takes to start a farm and to find resources.

Local farming listservs are great resource for finding jobs, bouncing around ideas, and connecting with other farmers in the area. See if there is one near you by tapping into a local CRAFT group.

For more information, head to the Farmer Resource Network’s beginning farmer page.

Urban Farmer Survey

Do you farm in an urban or peri-urban area? If so, New York University, Penn State University, and the National Center for Appropriate Technology welcome your participation in a nationwide survey.

Researchers will use survey results to examine urban and peri-urban farming in the United States, specifically pinpointing:

  1. Technical and informational needs that can be met through outreach programs;
  2. Production, management, and marketing risks for urban farms and the development of programs to address those risks;
  3. And community and policymakers’ awareness of the benefits of urban farming.

Results will be used to create a national outreach and technical assistance program for urban farmers.

There are two surveys—one for urban farmers nationwide and another for Philadelphia farmers specifically (with additional questions related to the Penn State Extension).

Surveys should take about 20 minutes to complete.

For a paper version of the survey, or if you have any questions, contact Lydia Oberholtzer from Penn State University at 301-891-0470 or lso3@psu.edu

Participants will be entered into a drawing to win one of ten $75 gift cards

New Guides for Organic Operations

To describe the relevant organic requirements, provide best practices, and further explain the certification process for certified organic farmers, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has partnered with the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) to provide the following detailed guides:

These guides provide helpful information for both beginning farmers and current organic operations looking to adopt new management approaches. Digital downloads of all guides are free, and print versions are $3.00.

Heritage Pastured Poultry Workshop for Montana Growers

As consumer interest in pastured poultry continues to grow around the country, an upcoming workshop presented by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center (MMFEC) and the Salish Kootenai College will take a closer look at the opportunities and challenges for heritage pastured poultry operations, with a focus on Montana.  The workshop, “Heritage Pastured Poultry Production: Opportunities and Challenges,” is being funded by the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA).

Jim Adkins, founder of the International Center for Poultry, will address the market potential for heritage poultry in Montana. Jeff Schahczenski, an Economics Specialist with NCAT, will review resources for pastured poultry production and examine the market and economic potential for pastured poultry products. Jan Tusick of MMFEC will review the Montana Poultry Growers Cooperative Poultry Processing Manual and HACCP systems for on-farm poultry processing.

The day will end with a tour of the Rough Diamond Farm, a pastured poultry operation outside of Great Falls that is developing a breeding-stock program for Ranger chickens.

  • Title: Heritage Pastured Poultry Production: Opportunities and Challenges
  • Location: Holiday Inn Express, 1625 Market Place Drive in Great Falls.
  • Date: March 14, 2013
  • Time: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Cost:  $15, which includes lunch
  • For more information: email Jeff Schahczenski at jeffs@ncat.org.
  • Registration link: http://bit.ly/ZdyelN

Farming Strategies in Today’s Changing Climate

On February 8th at Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) in Pittsboro, NC, the Abundance Foundation will host a one-day conference on “Farming Strategies in Today’s Changing Climate.” Farmers, agricultural scientists, technical assistance providers, and farm advocates are encouraged to register for the conference, where presentations, workshops, and discussion will address adaptation and mitigation practices in the wake of climate-related challenges facing agriculture and local foodsheds.

The conference is presented in collaboration with CCCC, the Center for Environmental Farming SystemsCarolina Farm Stewardship AssociationChatham County Cooperative ExtensionNC Strawberry Association, the American Livestock Breeds ConservancyRAFI-USA, and Piedmont Biofuels.

 

Join Us for Farm Advocate Workshops at PASA’s Farming for the Future Conference

A project of Farm AidRAFI-USA and several cooperating partners, the Farm Advocate Link is a newly established national network of farm advocates whose goal is to honor and support established advocates, welcome new and aspiring advocates, and provide ongoing training, professional development and a shared sense of purpose to farm advocates across the country.

The Farm Advocate Link will offer two workshops: Farm Advocacy 101 and Dealing with Disasters, at the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) Farming for the Future conference on February 8th & 9th. The workshops, open to everyone, will be led by Joel Morton of Farm Aid, Scott Marlow of RAFI-USA, and Lynn Hayes of the Farmers Legal Action Group (FLAG).

For descriptions of each workshop and more information about the Farm Advocate Link, visit www.farmaid.org/advocates. For more about the PASA conference, visit conference.pasafarming.org.

Upcoming Webinar on Organic Farm Conservation

This week, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT/ATTRA) will present a webinar with Harriet Behar, an organic specialist at the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES). The webinar, “Virtual Tour of Organic Farm Conservation Activity Planning,” will take place on Thursday, January 31st at 1pm EST.

This webinar is the third in a four-part series established for people interested in becoming NRCS-approved Technical Service Providers (TSPs). Behar is an approved TSP and will lead a virtual farm tour, identifying conservation concerns and possible mitigation strategies, as well as areas that affect organic certification. This unique webinar is helpful not only to potential TSPs, but any organic farmer interested in conservation practices on the farm.

To register for the webinar on January 31st, visit: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/576856170

The final webinar will be on Thursday, March 21st, on the topic of how NRCS TSPs can support biodiversity conservation in organic systems. See below for the first two webinars in the series:

Title:  Doing NRCS Conservation Activity Planning for Organic Farmers and Ranchers
Presenter: Katy Green of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA)

Title:  Becoming a Technical Service Provider for NRCS: An Introduction
Presenter: Harriet Behar of Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)

Upcoming Webinar on Pastured Poultry Production

On February 7th, a webinar on “Pastured Poultry Production and Profitability” is being offered by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)Montana Mission Mountain Food and Cooperative Development Center, and Salish Kootenai College as part of the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) education and community outreach program. NCAT Sustainable Poultry Specialist Terrell “Spence” Spencer will present the basics of pastured poultry production, advantages and pitfalls of the business, and the keys to staying profitable. This free, hour-long webinar kicks off a series of workshops that will be offered in Montana this March.

The webinar is open to everyone. To register, go to https://attra.ncat.org/poultry.