The US Department of Agriculture announced last week that new added protections are available for fruit, vegetable and specialty crop growers under the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. The new options were built into the 2014 Farm Bill and are meant to specifically address natural disasters that impact specialty crops.
The USDA’s press release further explained:
“Previously, the program offered coverage at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production. Producers can now choose higher levels of coverage, up to 65 percent of their expected production at 100 percent of the average market price.”
To learn more about the program, you can visit this Web tool created by the USDA in partnership with Michigan State University and the University of Illinois.
The USDA will provide $52 million in grants supporting specialty crop producers in the U.S. Under the 2013 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, 54 grants will fund 694 initiatives assisting fruit and vegetable producers, as well as markets for other specialty crops.
These grants are intended to help initiatives including creating organic and sustainable practices, pest and disease control, and increasing food safety, among others.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack underscored how investments like these will act to strengthen rural communities by supporting both local markets and public access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Click here for more information about these grants.
The Tilth Producers of Washington and the Washington Young Farmers Coalition invite specialty crop farmers to apply to host “Crop Mob” workshops. Workshops will provide an opportunity to join together and support a fellow grower, while learning valuable skills from experienced farmers. The goal is to provide a fun, educational experience for all participants while helping a grower complete a large project.
This is open to all Washington state farmers, with priority given to members of the Tilth Producers of Washington. Crop Mob / Workshop ideas must fit the specialty crop requirements but otherwise are flexible. Past sessions and ideas include:
- Infrastructure projects – hoop houses, green houses, fencing, netting, irrigation, moving compost or compost facilities, etc.
- Equipment projects – learning how to use machinery and/or implements; threshing, seed cleaning, etc.
- Pruning, planting seedlings or nursery stock, crop processing, etc.
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM) projects.
Tilth Producers and the WAYFC will provide:
- Experienced growers partnered with each workshop to provide knowledge and instruction;
- Logistical and organizational assistance, including planning, outreach and publicity, registration, and volunteer support. Host stipends are available.
- Help developing a work plan for approximately 15-25 volunteers with a range of skill levels (farmers and non-farmers).
Application forms are available on the Tilth Producers website and should be returned by February 20, 2013 to:
Jacqueline Cramer, Education Coordinator – Jacqueline@tilthproducers.org, 206.632.7506