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.

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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

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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!

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.

Greener Fields Together

Greener Fields Together is a local and sustainable produce program which helps farmers make capital investments and infrastructure improvements through Cultivating Change, a local farm grant program. Greener Fields Together donated $60,000 to farmers throughout the country in 2016 so that farmers can focus on farming and, for a fleeting moment, not be burdened by the weight of the food system.

Congratulations to farmers that received grants! Learn more about some of the winning projects here:

http://www.greenerfieldstogether.org/news/sustainable-agriculture-local-farm-grants

“QuickBooks for Farmers” online course starting October 5th

Image courtesy of AgBiz Assist

Image courtesy of AgBiz Assist

Do you ever wish that your farm’s financial information was better organized and easier to use to make business decisions? If so, then the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project’s new online course, BF 204: QuickBooks for Farmers, might be for you!

This course will teach you the basics of using QuickBooks, a popular accounting software, from a farmer’s perspective. All farmers are welcome to participate, beginning and experienced alike. The only prerequisite is a desire to start using QuickBooks for your farm’s recordkeeping.

The course last six weeks, running from October 5 through November 9, 2015. It involves participating in one weekly webinar each Monday night from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Eastern, plus additional readings and homework assignments.

The cost is $200 per person. Visit the course’s webpage to register and to learn more about the specific topics covered.

KY, PA, and LA Communities: Grow your farm to school program with a Seed Change mini grant!

Seed Change, an initiative by the National Farm to School Network, is providing one hundred $5,000 mini grants to programs in Kentucky, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. These grants will help schools and districts start new farm to school activities or ramp up existing programs. Eligible programs include: nonprofit schools, preschools, Head Start programs or school districts in these states. Grants can be used for local food for tastings, new processing equipment, hosting events, building school gardens and more.

The deadline for applications is coming up! Apply by Monday, June 15th at midnight ET. Click here for more information and to apply for a mini grant.

Apply for the 2015 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

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

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

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.

Click here for more information about this program, and view the request for applications on NIFA’s website.

NRCS Webinar: Transitioning to Organic

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.

The webinar is scheduled for Feb 18th at 3:00pm EST. For more information and to join the webinar, visit the USDA’s Science & Technology Training Library.

U.S. Composting Council Conference this Week!

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.