It’s officially summer and you’re probably in over your heads. But if you can come up for air, we want to collect your USDA successes/frustrations, introduce our new staffers and this season’s Bootstrap Bloggers, and update you on our fight for affordable farmland.

USDA is Asking for Your Advice

The USDA is making a real effort to serve new farmers and just rolled out a new website this week to introduce them to the agency. Check out usda.gov/newfarmers to learn more about low-interest loans, crop insurance, conservation programs and more!

And while USDA makes explicit they are here to serve all new farmers (from row-crop farms to CSAs), many of the agency’s services still aren’t reaching the young farmers who need them most. That’s why NYFC led advocacy to create the new FSA microloan program and to change the Farm Storage Facilities loan to include wash and pack stations.

USDA is looking to our coalition for advice on how to better serve new farmers. Right now, we’re asking members to share their experiences with USDA (the good, bad and ugly)–which programs work, which do not, and what services USDA could provide that are better tailored to new farmer needs. Based on this information, NYFC will advocate for change within the agency.

If you have had a particularly good or bad experience with USDA, let us know. If you have advice for USDA, we want to know that too! Email our policy analyst, Eric, at eric@youngfarmers.org

Fight for Affordable Land

 

Finding affordable farmland is one of the toughest challenges for any farmer. In 2013, NYFC released Conservation 2.0: How Land Trusts Can Protect America’s Working Farms, a report detailing how land trusts can help transition land between generations of farmers.

Following up on the report, NYFC and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition together fought and won a small Farm Bill change with big potential. We added farm viability” to the purpose of the federal program that funds farmland conservation. To us, farm viability means farmland owned and operated by farmers – and more public dollars to conservation projects that keep farmers on the land.

The USDA is now in ‘rulemaking’ – a process to determine how to implement the new language. That’s why we traveled to DC this month to meet with Chief Weller of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to share our vision of farm viability. We asked NRCS to fulfill the program’s new purpose by funding projects that keep farmland at its agricultural value  –  the highest value a farmer is able to pay for it. With the support of federal funding, more land trusts across the country will be able to protect farmland from development and keep it in production and affordable to future generations.

Read More: Keep Farmland for Farmers (NY Times)

Holly and Eric Are Here to Help

We have two new editions to the NYFC team. At the end of May, Holly Rippon Butler joined the coalition as our Land Access Campaign Manager and Eric Hansen as our DC-based Policy Analyst. Read more about who they are and how they can help you!

Are you Following Hannah, Nate, Anna and Seth … the 2014 Bootstrap Bloggers?

Nate and Liz apprenticed at Maple Wind Farm in Huntington, Vermont before starting Nightfall Farm in Indiana.

In this fourth season of the Bootstrap Blog project, we’re following new farmers from North Dakota, Indiana, Wisconsin and California. Each month, they’re sharing stories about success and failure in the field. Read up:

 

Events

Northeast

Exeter, RI – June 18 Young Farmer Nights Little River Farm, Exeter, RI, 101 William Reynolds Road, starts at 6pm. New this year! Diverse vegetable operation run by Bob & Camille. A real stunner of a hoophouse. For more info: youngfarmernetwork.org

Plainfield, VT – June 29 Vermont Young Farmers Coalition, Farm Olympics at Onion River Farmstead  61 Onion River Rd. Plainfield, VT. 11-3pm Potluck and BBQ to follow.  Prepare yourself for remay relay, obstacle cources, electric deer fence limbo, blind folded speed seeding, zucchini bank off and best farmer “costume” for more info: kenziee3@gmail.com, 802.426.3233, maggie.f.bowling@gmail.com, www.facebook.com/VTYoungFarmers

Wrentham, MA – July 2 Young Farmer Nights White Barn Farm 458 South Street, Wrentham, MA, starts at 6pm. White Barn Farm is a small, family-run farm in Wrentham, MA. New addition to the YFN roster! youngfarmernetwork.org

Matunuck, RI – July 14 Young Farmer Nights Matunuck Oyster Bar Vegetable Farm Potters Pond, Matunuck, RI, starts at 6pm. Vegetable Farm supplying the Matunuck Oyster Bar in South County. We’ll learn about the farm-to-table model this farm/restaurant partnership uses.  youngfarmernetwork.org

Jamestown, RI – July 30 Young Farmer Nights Windmist Farm 71 Weeden Lane, Jamestown, RI, starts at 6pm. Windmist Farm is a beautiful diversified livestock farm in Jamestown! youngfarmernetwork.org

Rehoboth, MA – August 11  Young Farmer Nights Rosasharn 57 County Street, Rehoboth, MA, starts at 6pm.  A perennial YFN favorite! Goats. Vegetables. Tree house.  youngfarmernetwork.org

Cranston, RI – August 27 Young Farmer Nights Scratch Farm 35 Pippin Orchard Road, Cranston, RI, starts at 6pm.  Scratch Farm, located at Urban Edge in Cranston, is a 2 acre diversified vegetable operation. We’ll walk the field and hear about Scratch’s seed saving practices from the proprietor of Small State Seeds herself.  youngfarmernetwork.org

South

Austin, TX – June 18: Texas Young Farmers Coalition Hang Out @ Black Star Coop! 7020 Easy Wind Dr, Suite 100, Austin, Texas, starts at 7pm.  Join TXYFC at the Black Star Coop Pub and Brewery every 3rd Wednesday of the month for some of the delicious brews and eats. Very casual. www.texasyoungfarmers.org

Manor, TX – June 22 Texas Young Farmers Coalition Crop Mob @ Tecolote Farm Tecolote Farm, 16301 Decker Lake Rd, Manor, TX.  8am – 11pm.  The spring rain brought goodness but it also brought weeds! Come out and help Tecolote Farm regain control of their River Property. We’ll weed out at the new River property and then join in for their Annual CSA Potluck! Farmer David will also be around to give a tour and spread his knowledge about farming in Texas. Pizza will be provided afterwards. If you would like to partake in the potluck, please feel free to bring a dish and join in. Cooler will be provided. Contact lorigh @ gmail.com to RSVP and for more information. www.texasyoungfarmers.org

Austin, TX – July 16 Texas Young Farmers Coalition Hang Out @ Black Star Coop! 7020 Easy Wind Dr, Suite 100, Austin, Texas, starts at 7pm.  Join TXYFC at the Black Star Coop Pub and Brewery every 3rd Wednesday of the month for some of the delicious brews and eats. Very casual.

Southeast

Prospect, KY – June 22 Beginning farmers Meet Up Louisville La Minga 13125 Hwy 42 Prospect, KY, starts at 5pm.  Community Farm Alliance Ag Legacy Initiative invites you to join other area farmers to share a meal and talk shop. Discussions with Caroline Heine from Seed Capital Kentucky, David Talifero from KIVA Zip loans, and Steve Paradis from Fresh Start Growers Supply. Bring a dish to share, a plate and a fork. RSVP to Carolyn@cfaky.org. communityfarmalliance.org/young-and-beginning-farmers

London, KY – June 28 Beginning Farmers Meet Up Eastern Kentucky Sustainable Harvest Farm 108 Pistol Creek Rd. London, KY, starts at 7pm.  Join other area farmers for an informal gathering to share a meal and talk shop.  Bring a dish to share, a plate, fork and lawn chair.

Blairsville, GA – July 5 Southeastern Young and Beginning Farmers Alliance Three Little Pigs Benefit – Camp out and Pig Roast Sun Dog Farm,18 Dockery Road Blairsville, GA 30512.  3.30pm.  For more info & tickets: m.bpt.me/event/702825

West

Santa Cruz, CA – June 24 Central Coast Farmers Guild Live Oak Grange Hall, 1900 17th Ave, Santa Cruz, CA, starts at 6pm. A Farmers Guild is a monthly gathering of farmers, ranchers and agriculture advocates who come together to socialize, share resources, build lasting relationships, and celebrate our local food communities.  www.farmersguild.org

Sonoma, CA – June 29 Sonoma Valley Farmers Guild Sonoma Valley Grange Hall, 18627 California 12, Sonoma, CA, starts at 6pm.  www.farmersguild.org

Albuquerque, NM – June 30 Rio Grande Farmers Coalition & The Ag Collaborative host Quick & Dirty “Farm to Restaurant” Prep MRCOG offices at 809 Copper Ave. NW, Albuquerque, NM.  3:30-5:30pm.  Speakers TBA. Contact the Ag Collaborative @ 505-724-3619, or localfoodnm@mrcog-nm.gov for more information. www.riograndefarmers.org

Sonoma, CA – July 1 North Coast Farmers Guild PARTY! Sonoma Valley Grange Hall 18627 California 12, Sonoma, CA, starts at 6pm.  www.farmersguild.org

Davis, CA – July 7 Yolo Farmers Guild Cook-out! Collins Farm new location, 9055 Olmo Lane, Davis, CA, starts at 6.30pm www.farmersguild.org

Nevada City, CA – July 31  Nevada County Farmers Guild First Rain Farm, 19832 Rector Rd. Nevada City, CA, starts at 6pm www.farmersguild.org

Midwest

Middletown, WI – July 8 Wisconsin Young Farmers Summer Gathering Capital Brewery Bier Garten in Middleton, WI.  5:30-9pm.  BYO Food! No Name String Band will be playing bluegrass.  wisconsinyoungfarmers.wordpress.com

Jamestown, MO – August 3 Missouri Young Farmers Coalition Crop Mob and Potluck Happy Hollow Farm, 17199 Happy Hollow Rd, Jamestown, MO, starts at 4pm.  More info: Liz Graznak – egraznak@gmail.com.  happyhollowfarm-mo.com

In Solidarity,
Lindsey, Sophie, Holly, Kate, Eric, Sarah, Debbie, Wes and Daniel

Copyright ©  2014 National Young Farmers Coalition. All rights reserved. 

NATIONAL YOUNG FARMERS COALITION

 

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