2013 funding is available for the Rural Energy for America (REAP) program from the USDA. This program gives financial assistance in form of loan guarantees and grants to farmers and rural small businesses for conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Funds are also available for energy audits and assessments. Some eligible REAP projects include: solar panels, anaerobic digesters, installation of irrigation pumps or ventilation systems, as well as conducting energy audits and feasibility studies for such projects.
All grant and combination grant and loan proposals are due April 30th. Applications for feasibility studies are also due April 30th. Guaranteed loan applications (that don’t have a grant component) are due July 15th.
For more information about REAP, visit the USDA’s REAP portal, as well as the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s REAP page.
Details on how to apply for REAP funding available in the Federal Register.
For help with the application process, contact National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT).
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Registration link: http://bit.ly/ZdyelN
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)
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.
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will present a free, hour-long webinar on Thursday, November 29th at 1 pm EST, providing guidance for farmers and other professionals on the Adjusted Gross Revenue Lite (AGR-Lite) crop insurance program and its potential to serve small-scale, diverse, specialty crop, organic and direct-market farmers.
AGR-Lite is a unique type of federally subsidized crop insurance that is based on whole-farm revenue, rather than a specific crop or commodity. With AGR-Lite, farmers of diverse operations, specialty and high-value or organic crops and livestock can insure based on their farm’s historic revenue.
The webinar will also introduce NCAT’s new AGR-Lite Wizard assessment tool, which assists farmers in determining how whole-farm insurance can benefit their operation. The tool is available at www.agrlitewizard.com or by calling 1-800-346-9140.