USDA Announces New Micro-loan Program

The USDA has launched a new program that will provide micro-loans of up to $35,000 to small, beginning, and socially disadvantaged farmers. The program aims to help producers pay for start-up expenses (like hoop houses for season extension, essential tools, irrigation, delivery vehicles, etc.) and annual expenses (seed, fertilizer, utilities, land rents, marketing, and distribution costs). The USDA has purposely simplified the application process for this program, making it less burdensome in comparison to traditional federal farm loans.

If interested in applying for a loan, contact your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. For more information, see this fact sheet on the FSA’s website.

New England Workshop on Cost-Reducing Strategies for Dairy and Livestock

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: Contact Mallory Ottariano with any questions: 413.545.5221 or

Winter Conference Round Up

‘Tis the season for farm conferences! Take advantage of the many opportunities to network with other farmers, farm service providers, and farm activists this winter! See what’s happening in your region and get registered for fantastic conferences happening near you. Farm Aid staff will be present at the conferences marked with an asterisk (*).

Are we missing a conference? Let us know by leaving a comment below.



Jan. 10-11 – Midwest CSA Conference – Eau Claire, WI

Jan. 10-12 – Practical Farmers of Iowa Conference – Ames, IA

Jan. 12 – Cascadia Grains Conference – Tacoma, WA

*Jan. 12 – NOFA-Mass Winter Conference – Worcester, MA

Jan. 17-19 – GrassWorks Grazing Conference – Wausau, WI

Jan. 18-19 – Future Harvest-CASA Conference – Lansdowne, VA

Jan. 23-26 – EcoFarm Conference – Pacific Grove, CA

*Jan. 23-26 – Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SAWG) Conference – Little Rock, AR

Jan. 24-26 – Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society Winter Conference – Aberdeen, SD

Jan. 25-27 – NOFA-NY Winter Conference – Saratoga Springs, NY

Jan. 26-27 – NOFA-NJ Winter Conference – Lincroft, NJ



Feb. 2-3 – Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference – St. Paul, MN

*Feb. 6 – 9 – Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture Conference – State College, PA

Feb. 7-9 – Organicology – Portland, OR

*Feb. 10-12 – Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) Conference – Saratoga Springs, NY

Feb. 15-16 – Small Farmer’s Conference – Albany, GA

*Feb. 15-17 – NOFA-VT Winter Conference – Burlington, VT

Feb. 16-17 – Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association Conference – Granville, OH

Feb. 16-17 – Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota Annual Conference – Chaska, MN

Feb. 21 – California Climate and Agriculture Summit – Davis, CA

Feb. 21-23 – MOSES Organic Farming Conference – La Crosse, WI

*Feb. 22-23 – Georgia Organics Conference – College Park, GA



March 1-2 – NOFA-NH Winter Conference – Laconia, NH

March 2 – CT-NOFA Winter Conference – Wilton, CT

March 2-5 – National Farmers Union Convention – Springfield, MA

March 10-12 – California Small Farm Conference – Fresno, CA

March 22-23 – New England Meat Conference – Concord, NH

March 29-30 – Just Food Conference – New York, NY

The 2013 New Farmer’s Almanac from The Greenhorns

The Greenhorns have released The 2013 New Farmer’s Almanac, full of “advice and entertainment for those dealing practically with the unknown.” Written for new and young farmers working to build a more sustainable food system, the almanac includes more than 300 pages of essays by young agrarians, useful illustrations, historical excerpts, lunar information, poems, and more. An ‘audio almanac’ of worksongs, farm lectures, interviews and other content accompanies the hard copy.

Order The 2013 New Farmer’s Almanac using Etsy, Paypal, or by sending a check or money order. The almanac will also be available at farmer conferences, feed stores, and independent bookshops. For information about bulk ordering, email

The Greenhorns’ mission is to promote, recruit and support the growing movement of new and sustainable farmers in the country. Learn more at