The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service holds a series of webinars through its Science and Technology Training Library. On July 11, 2013
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EST, they will hold a webinar about farming for beneficial insects led by Nancy Lee Adamson, Ph.D., a
pollinator conservation specialist. The webinar will cover how pollinators and other beneficial insects can help to ensure a healthy harvest and how farmers can support pollinators and natural enemies of crop pests (predators and parasitoids) by providing diverse habitat. New research will also be covered about how habitat adjacent to cropland supports improved pollination and reduces pest pressure. For more information, or to sign up, click here.
Pennsylvania Women’s Agriculture Network (PA-WAgN) has begun hosting virtual seminars called FARMINARS. On July 1st PA-WAgN will provide a FARMINAR on urban agriculture.
During this online seminar Kirsten Reinford will share how she found space to farm in an urban setting, and how she was able to gather support and raise money to start her farm, Joshua Farm, in Harrisburg. Kirsten will also explain how her farm became a SNAP program vendor.
Joshua Farm is a thriving urban farm that has a CSA, farm stand and market. The farm employs youth from the area and holds service-learning workshops, cooking classes, and guest speakers.
To participate, log into https://meeting.psu.edu/pawagn, and enter as a guest. For more information contact Patty Neiner: 814-865-7031; email@example.com
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) buys more than $530 million worth of frozen, processed, and fresh fruits and vegetables each year to supply schools, food banks and to distribute during disasters. Learn how to sell your farm’s produce to AMS at a free interactive webinar on Thursday June 27th at 2:00 pm EST. This free webinar is open to fruit and vegetable growers, and processors and distributors of all sizes.
The webinar will discuss how the USDA Commodity Procurement program works and what products the USDA buys; go over requirements for selling to the USDA and how small, socially disadvantaged, women and veteran-owned businesses can get involved; and provide all of the tools and resources necessary to do business with USDA. The webinar will conclude with a Q+A session.
Space is limited. Click here to register.
Earlier this month, USDA announced the Farm to School Grant Program. The purpose of the program is to assist in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs.
Farmers and ranchers are eligible for certain categories of grant awards. In this funding round, USDA is soliciting applications for three types of grants:
- Planning grants are intended for school districts or schools just starting to incorporate farm to school program elements into their operations.
- Implementation grants are intended for school districts or schools to help scale or further develop existing farm to school initiatives.
- Support Service grants are intended for state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, agricultural producers or groups of agricultural producers, and non-profit entities working with school districts or schools to further develop existing farm to school initiatives and to provide broad reaching support services to farm to school initiatives.
Proposals are due at midnight EST, April 24, 2013. In all cases, a 25% cash or in-kind match of the total project cost is required.
For all questions pertaining to the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- An upcoming webinar for those interested in learning more about the Support Service Grants will be held Thursday, March 7, 1:00 p.m. EST. Both an Internet connection and telephone line are required to see and hear the webinar.
- Access the webinar by clicking here.
- Phone: 888-396-9185 Passcode: 3927574
Penn State Extension is offering a “Cover Crop Innovations” webinar series, starting February 4th. Five webinars will cover topics such as using winter-killed cover crops to reduce tillage in organic vegetable production, interseeding cover crops in standing corn fields, cover crops for small dairy farms, managing insects following high-residue cover crops, and more.
Webinars are free and open to the public, and will take place on Mondays from 12-1pm EST in February and March. For more info and to register, visit here.
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)
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/.
On February 7th, a webinar on “Pastured Poultry Production and Profitability” is being offered by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), Montana Mission Mountain Food and Cooperative Development Center, and Salish Kootenai College as part of the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) education and community outreach program. NCAT Sustainable Poultry Specialist Terrell “Spence” Spencer will present the basics of pastured poultry production, advantages and pitfalls of the business, and the keys to staying profitable. This free, hour-long webinar kicks off a series of workshops that will be offered in Montana this March.
The webinar is open to everyone. To register, go to https://attra.ncat.org/poultry.
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is offering a new webinar to help beginning farmers establish on-farm accounting habits and skills. The recorded webinar, “Farm Finances: Organizing and Understanding Your Numbers,” covers a range of topics to assist farmers in financial record-keeping and data organization, including:
- Financial goal setting
- Understanding financial statements
- Assessing profitability and financial viability
- Record keeping
- Examining and minimizing costs
- Seeking loans
The webinar video is available for viewing free of charge on the NCAT website.
Deadlines for the USDA Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) Farm to School Grant Program are quickly approaching! In this first funding cycle, FNS anticipates awarding up to $3.5 million to support Farm to School planning and implementation efforts in eligible schools. Be sure to mark your calendars: all eligible applicants are encouraged to submit a Letter of Intent by May 18, 2012, and final Farm to School grant proposals are due by June 15, 2012.
National Farm to School Director Deborah Kane and Grants Management Specialist Greg Walton will present two upcoming webinars to provide more information about the Farm to School Grant Program:
- Tuesday, May 15, 3:00 pm EST – Implementation Grants webinar
- Thursday, May 17, 1:00 pm EST – Planning Grants webinar
All webinar participants must register in advance.
For more information about the program, check out the new FAQ guide and sample planning and implementation grant proposals, now available on the Farm to School Grant Program website.