NYFC Presents at Western Governors Association Drought Forum

WGA Drought Forum Panel

Presenters at the 2014 WGA Drought Forum

California Capital Building

California State Capitol where the WGA Drought Forum was held

National Young Farmers Coalition was invited to present during the Western Governors Association forum on “Drought Impacts and Solutions in the Agricultural Sector”. Many academics and water resource managers from California were in attendance along with several ranchers and farmers.  Jerry Brown, Governor of California and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval made an appearance for opening remarks to begin the two day event.

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Farmers Rising in Oregon!

Farmers Rising OR event - Sarah & Andrew from AdaptiveMorning dew evaporates off the grass as more than one hundred beginning farmers and ranchers sit on straw bales outside a barn in Springfield.  They are listening intently as farmers Sarah Kleeger and Andrew Still describe their experience founding and growing Adaptive Seeds LLC, a Sweet Home based producer of open pollinated, organic seed.
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New Federal Farm and Food Policy Guide Available

Guide CoverEarlier this week, our friends over at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) released their updated Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs . In the Guide, NSAC comprehensively describes each federal program supporting sustainable agriculture and how young farmers can access them.

If you are looking for information on a specific program, the Guide makes it easy to find it. Or, if you are looking for a farm loan, the Guide outlines all of your federal loan options. It’s also a great resource for learning more about the landscape of food and agriculture policy in general. (more…)

Water Tour brings farmers together from across Southwest

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Farmers of Southwest CO Young Farmers Chapter gather for a potluck and photo shoot for NYFC film “Resilient”

Below average precipitation combined with warm and dry summers make it difficult for producers to grow enough to make a profit and forecasts of low precipitation patterns suggests this may be a new normal.  With water being a critical resource for managing a successful farm, drought resiliency is an important skill. This week the National Young Farmers Coalition, in partnerships with the Family Farm Alliance, brought together a diverse group of more than 50 farming and ranching professionals  to discuss the question: “What are farmers and ranchers doing to be more resilient in times of drought?”

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Why Young Farmers Should Check Out Jean-Martin Fortier’s Six Figure farming Workshop

[Editor’s Note: We’re excited to help promote Jean-Martin’s tour as he works to engage young farmers with practices designed for small acreages. This article was written originally written by Moss Dance, of Ripple Farm on Vancouver Island, BC.]

HVYFC 2014 Fourtier event image

“It may well prove that micro, low-cost, low-input, high-diversity and high-productivity systems have a major role to play in rebuilding regional food security.” ~ Severine von Tscharner Fleming, The Greenhorns

In March, 2014, I had a chance to check out JM Fortier’s Six Figure Farming workshop in Victoria, BC. I’m a small-scale market gardener with about 1 acre in organic veggies on Vancouver Island and I was intrigued by the fact that JM and his wife gross $140,000/year on their 1.5 acre farm. I was REALLY curious to hear how they do that! (more…)

NYFC launches “RESILIENT,” new film on water conservation in the West

The National Young Farmers Coalition proudly announces the release of its short film “RESILIENT: Soil, Water and The New Stewards of The American West.” Resilient Play image

Within the context of historic drought and increasing urban demand, “Resilient” highlights the work of innovative farmers and ranchers across western Colorado who are adapting to a drier climate. They are building soil, enhancing irrigation efficiency, and saving water, all while forging resilience in the face of great change.

Watch. Share. Host a screening. Get involved today!

The film launch follows a farm tour and symposium in Southwest Colorado co-hosted by NYFC and the Family Farm Alliance, which brought together over 50 farmers, ranchers and service providers for three days of collaboration around these issues. We also offered a sneak-peak of “RESILIENT” to the Durango community the second night of the tour. Read more about that event in High Country News.

Stay tuned for more from the farm tour. And be sure to share the video!

Bootstrap @ Forager Farm: Where Policy Meets the New Farm

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 presetAs a first-year farm selling direct-to-consumer vegetables policy is not something we’ve had to deal much with as of yet. However, the overarching Food Safety Modernization Act or FSMA rules still to be implemented tend to hang over the decisions we make as a farm in the next couple of years.

We have plans of integrating livestock into our vegetable operation, including a small goat dairy as well as laying hens and pastured pork. This allows us the ability to turn waste from the vegetables into a saleable product and also provides a built-in fertility program. Not to mention utilizing the animals to manage weeds (especially perennial), clean up finished crop, and incorporate cover crops. (more…)

Kentucky Conference and Young Farmer Visits

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Carolyn, Jacob and baby Finn with Cotton the dog on their farm outside of Lexington, Kentucky. Thanks for being great hosts!

The Conference

Last week I traveled to Lexington, Kentucky for the American Farmland Trust’s “Farmland, Food and Livable Communities” conference. The conference was the first of its kind to focus on these challenges at the national level and it brought together a broad spectrum of service providers, funders, land trust staff, and young farmers. (more…)

Bootstrap @ Lemonade Springs Farm – The Tough Reality of Marketing the Start-Up

Lemonade Springs Farm - packaged meatMarketing is the worst part of farming. Contrary arguments and examples exist, I suppose, outside my wallowing amidst the misery of my chosen profession. But this is a known truism; that the dirt-farmer’s is a challenging existence, a rough lot, made worse by the gristmill of the soul that is “sales”. I doubt anyone gets started in farming to get rich, nor do I think most farmers much care for marketing their products. Most of us would rather be digging carrots than hocking them.

Sales is the most essential thing to master if you wish to do this for a living, though, and while I wish dearly that I was writing this from aboard my yacht, the truth is that I’m damned poor and not getting much less poorer. Marketing, it turns out, is hard. But, we (mostly) pay our bills, and while money worries are never absent, I am able to keep myself in fine jugged wines and pay my Harper’s subscription, which is what counts. La vie bohéme, y’all. (more…)

The FSA Microloan Expansion is Coming November 7th!

Microloan ProgramYesterday, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced a major expansion to the microloan program. Starting on November 7th, the cap on microloans will be raised from $35,000 to $50,000. We are thrilled to see FSA expand this program that is critical to young farmers!

Microloans provide operating loans to small and beginning farmers. They have less paperwork than a typical FSA loan and allow for a repayment period as long as seven years. Since the program’s inception, over 7,300 microloans have been made. (more…)