On-Farm Water Stewardship Resources

Water conservation practices hold incredible potential for reducing farmer’s use of increasingly expensive and precious water resources.

The Ecological Farming Association’s Water Stewardship Project provides education and outreach materials about implementing on-farm water conservation measures, including a variety of resources, and videos case-studies.

The California Agricultural Water Stewardship Initiative also offers a variety of resources for water stewardship practices, including a helpful overview of different water stewardship approaches and practices and an extensive library of publications, technical services agencies, organizations and policy papers on the topic.

We also recommend checking out the USDA’s California State Natural Resources Conservation Service YouTube videos, providing a quick glimpse into some of the Agency’s most popular conservation opportunities.

Upcoming Food Sovereignty Summit in Wisconsin

The Oneida Nation, First Nations Development Institute, Intertribal Agriculture Council and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College invite you to this year’s Food Sovereignty Summit. Learn from Native nonprofits and Native nations about best practices in the areas of food sovereignty and food systems.

This year’s summit will be held April 15-18 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
The summit offers three professional training tracks (though attendees can attend sessions in multiple tracks): 

Track 1: Sustainable Agricultural Practices

Track 2: Community Outreach and Development

Track 3: Business Management, Finance and Marketing

Registration rates are as follows:

Student–$80.00 for full conference
Food Producers–$100.00 for 1 day /
$150.00 for full conference
Non-Food Producers–$150.00 for 1 day / $250.00 for full conference

Click here for more information and to see a summit schedule.

New Farmland Succession Guides from Land for Good

Three new (free!) publications from Land for Good are designed to help “senior” and “junior” farming generations get the farm succession process going, from setting goals to understanding legal and financial terms used in farmland and business transfers.

Farm Succession and Transfer: Strategies for the Junior Generation focuses on the beginning farmer’s side of land transfer. The guide walks you through the entire process, including technical information like the types of transfer, legal issues that need to be resolved as a contract is worked out, types of agreements to use, and how to develop contingency plans.

The second two guides complement the “Junior Generation” guide, with one for senior farmers and one for service providers who will have a role in the process.

All guides available for free. Land for Good has a variety of resources for those looking to lease or acquire farmland, including an online course in Acquiring your Farm. Visit the Land for Good website at http://www.landforgood.org.

Urban Farmer Survey

Do you farm in an urban or peri-urban area? If so, New York University, Penn State University, and the National Center for Appropriate Technology welcome your participation in a nationwide survey.

Researchers will use survey results to examine urban and peri-urban farming in the United States, specifically pinpointing:

  1. Technical and informational needs that can be met through outreach programs;
  2. Production, management, and marketing risks for urban farms and the development of programs to address those risks;
  3. And community and policymakers’ awareness of the benefits of urban farming.

Results will be used to create a national outreach and technical assistance program for urban farmers.

There are two surveys—one for urban farmers nationwide and another for Philadelphia farmers specifically (with additional questions related to the Penn State Extension).

Surveys should take about 20 minutes to complete.

For a paper version of the survey, or if you have any questions, contact Lydia Oberholtzer from Penn State University at 301-891-0470 or lso3@psu.edu

Participants will be entered into a drawing to win one of ten $75 gift cards

Online Conference: CSA Expert Exchange on March 15th

The CSA Expert Exchange is an online conference that will bring farmers together to learn about CSA issues important to them. The conference will occur Friday, March 15th, from 11am – 4pm EST (8am – 1pm PDT) and can be accessed with any web browser anywhere in the world. You will be able to see video of the presenters, view slides and participate in the discussion in real time.

Topics include community involvement, strategies for increasing member retention, certifications, equipment, finding the right scale for your CSA operation, and legal issues. For more information, read the agenda.

Cost is $45, viewed live or archived. Register now!

Small Farm Central is providing 20 scholarships to new and beginning farmers to attend the CSA Expert Exchange at no cost.


Are You Counted? USDA Extends Ag Census Deadline

It’s not too late to be counted in the U.S. Census of Agriculture!

Farmers and ranchers across the country are heeding the call to have their voices heard and their farms represented in the 2012 Census of Agriculture. With 1.4 million Census forms returned, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) thanks everyone for speaking up by sending in their Census form.

For those who missed the deadline, USDA reminds producers that their farm is important and needs to be counted. As a result, Census forms are still being accepted.

Farmers and ranchers can return their forms by mail or online by visiting a secure website, www.agcensus.usda.gov. Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate in the Census and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential. Anyone with over $1,000 in ag sales in 2012 is considered a farmer for the Census of Agriculture.

*Those that didn’t receive a questionnaire in the mail should sign up at the same site by March 31 and USDA will send them a questionnaire.