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.
The Practical Farmers of Iowa offers free online seminars on a wide variety of topics. Most webinars are 90 minutes long and take place on Tuesdays from 7:00 – 8:30pm CST.
Some of the upcoming topics include:
- Specialty Crop Insurance (*special lunchtime webinar tomorrow, Jan. 24th)
- Explore the Profit Potential of High Tunnels
- Considerations for Year-Round Employment for Vegetable Farms
- Feed Alternatives to Corn and Soybeans
- Selecting the Right Genetics for a Grass-Based System
For more information and to register online, visit: www.practicalfarmers.org/farminar/.
The application period is open for the Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) Fund-a-Farmer Project: a micro-grants initiative that assists farmers in improving animal welfare. The Fund-a-Farmer Project grants up to $1,500 for projects that (1) help farms transition to pasture-based systems, (2) improve the marketing of their humane products, or (3) more generally enrich the conditions in which farm animals are raised. Last year, FACT awarded $13,000 to nine farms across the country.
Working, independent family farmers who raise pigs, broiler chickens, laying hens, dairy cows and/or beef cattle are eligible to apply for any of the grants. Projects involving goats and sheep are only eligible for marketing grants. Apply online at www.fundafarmer.org. Applications are due by May 1, 2013, and grants will be awarded in August 2013.
Cooperative Extension faculty and educators from northern New England are offering a workshop on January 17, 2013 in South Deerfield, MA, for dairy and livestock operations. Interactive presentations and discussions will give producers strategies for maximizing the impact of every dollar invested in their operations, including the following topics:
- Reducing shrink on your farm
- Alternative nutrient sources and nutrient management
- Beating high feed costs
- Maximizing forage quality
- High forage dairy diets
- Selecting profitable corn hybrids
- Modern vaccination program
- Other locally relevant topics
Register and find more information at: http://extension.umass.edu/cdle/events/cost-reducing-strategies-livestock-and-dairy-operations. Contact Mallory Ottariano with any questions: 413.545.5221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earlier this year, USDA launched its new Organic Literacy Initiative, an effort to help connect current and prospective organic farmers, ranchers, and processors with the USDA resources available to them.
As part of this initiative, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has partnered with the National Organic Program (NOP) on four new guides with detailed information about organic certification. They include information about organic requirements and best practices, and also further explain the certification process:
The guides can be downloaded for free or ordered as a paper publication for a small handling fee either at the links above or on the ATTRA website.