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.

Hispanic & Women’s Discrimination Claims Process Now Open

The claims process for Hispanic & women farmers and ranchers claiming discriminatory FSA practices is now open. Farmers who faced discriminatory denials of farm loans or service assistance by the USDA between 1981 and 2000 can file their claims through March 25, 2013. This voluntary claims process offers an alternative to litigation and requires no fees or legal representation. At least $1.33 billion will be made available for awards and payments, and an additional $160 million will be available in farm debt relief to eligible farmers and ranchers. To register for a claims package, call 1-888-508-4429 or visit www.farmerclaims.gov.

Farm Aid’s partner, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives released Tips for Completing Claims Form for Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers to assist farmers in the claims process. The guide provides in-depth explanations of each question on the USDA claims form and step-by-step instructions for how to answer and file properly. For direct assistance from the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, contact John Zippert, Director of Programs, at 205.652.9676 (johnzippert@federation.coop) or Mircha King, Lawsuit Legal Coordinator, at 800.503.5678 (mirchaking@federation.coop).

Another Farm Aid partner, the Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN) will host a free webinar on January 8, 2013 at 11 AM EST/10 AM Central Time to address questions about eligibility and offer assistance in filing claims. Representatives from the Farmers Legal Action Group and Rural Coalition/Coalicion Rural will be presenting. The public is invited to log-in here, or access the archived webinar through WFAN after the event.

 

Farmers’ Guide to Navigating Organic Contracts

In response to the growing use of written contracts in the booming organic sector, the Farmers’ Legal Action Group (FLAG), one of our Resource Partners, just released the Farmers’ Guide to Organic Contracts. The guide was created to help USDA-certified organic farmers make informed decisions and offer solutions when negotiating with organic buyers about their contracts. The guide assists farmers in evaluating offers, negotiating contract terms, managing performance, and finding solutions to contract disputes.

The guide is organized into the following sections:

  • Overview of Contract Laws Relevant to Farmers
    A basic overview of contract law helpful for farmers, including creating an enforceable agreement and successfully changing formal agreements within a contract period
  • Practical Contracting Toolkit
    A primer on contract basics, negotiation strategy tips and advice to manage an agreement
  • Explaining How Organic Regulations Interact with Contracts
    How contracts may affect farmers’ compliance with organic regulations, and how regulations can affect farmers’ ability to satisfy contracts
  • Examples of Unfavorable and More Favorable Contract Language
    A detailed examination of 100+ types of organic contract provisions from price to GMO testing
  • Information About Solving Common Contract Disputes
    How to enforce an organic contract against a buyer and tips for finding a qualified contract attorney and handling a lawsuit, including ten common contract dispute situations

To access a free download of Farmers’ Guide to Organic Contracts and for other FLAG publications and agriculture contract resources, visit the FLAG website.