NYFC March 2014 Newsletter:

We’ve kicked off the spring with an exciting win at the USDA!

Thanks to feedback from our coalition, the Farm Service Agency is making key changes to its facilities loan program that will increase access to diversified farmers. Want to be involved in NYFC’s next policy win?  Now’s your chance – we’re calling for applications for a new Policy Analyst for the coalition, one of two new positions.

In this March newsletter, we welcome Rachel Armstrong, attorney and founder of Farm Commons, to the Farmers Forum to answer your farm legal questions. We’ll report back from the Agricultural Outlook Forum in Washington, DC, and fill you in on the exciting events of our chapters across the country.

 

USDA Responds to NYFC Feedback with Major Changes to FSA Loan Program

The USDA announced major revisions to its Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) Program, a major win for young farmers who specialize in diversified operations and CSA’s.  The FSFL program is financed through the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) and provides low interest loans to qualified growers for cold storage buildings, wash equipment, grain silos and more.

NYFC worked closely with FSA to identify needed changes in the program. The new program has a more flexible application process that will allow for a much broader set of farms—including CSA’s, small farms, and diversified growers—to benefit. In the past, farmers had to have crop insurance coverage to qualify for the loan program. Diversified farmers are now eligible for a crop insurance exemption!

Click here to read the complete story

NYFC is Hiring for Two New Positions: Apply Now!

NYFC is currently hiring for two positions:

  • A full-time Policy Analyst to direct the coalition’s federal and state policy agendas and to coordinate relevant national campaigns,
  • And a part-time Communications Coordinator to lead NYFC’s press work, blog and email communications.

Interested in joining our  team?  You can find the complete job descriptions and application details on NYFC’s Opportunities page

The deadline for applications is April 2nd.

 

Your Farm Legal Questions Answered *This Week* on the Farmers Forum

Rachel Armstrong, attorney and founder of Farm Commons, answers your farm legal questions on the Farmers Forum this week, March 24th-28th.

As a food and farm advocate and attorney, Rachel is devoted to helping farmers resolve the business and legal issues that hinder local, organic and direct sales farmers from achieving their goals. Rachel started Farm Commons because she thinks farmers deserve specialized legal information that addresses the direct market farm’s unique goals.

Running a strong farm business is easier with the help of a knowledgeable attorney who truly understands the farm business and can help farmers meet their financial and social goals. Rachel is generously offering legal advice on the Farmers Forum this week, so head over now to post your questions!

 

NYFC Represents Young Farmers at the 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum

Last month, NYFC participated in a plenary session with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at the 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum, an annual USDA conference on the economic outlook of commodity agriculture and trade.

Speaking to an audience of 1,600 USDA staff, farm service providers, researchers and policy advocates, NYFC called for institutional changes to increase young farmer access to land and capital.

Click here to read the reportback from the event.

 

NYFC’s Organic Guide is Your Resource for Certification!

Don’t forget – NYFC’s Vegetable Grower’s Guide to Organic Certification is your comprehensive guide to organic certification for your farm. 

The report includes an overview of certification, the step-by-step process with practical tools and examples, and an in-depth directory of seed and supply sources.

Download the guide for free, purchase a copy at the NYFC store, or check out the resource guide online.

 

Western Farmers Showcase Drought Innovation

Next month kicks of a series of farmer profiles highlighting drought-resilient water management in the Colorado River basin and across the West! Western farmers will share their stories of on-farm conservation planning and innovation.

The project will culminate with the release of case studies on how the next generation of farmers can best plan for their futures.

Stay tuned for our profile of Paul Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol, CA!

 

Events

Pennsylvania Young Farmers Spring Potluck
CENTRE HALL, PA: March 29th

Join other PA young farmers at the spring potluck at Chase Farm!  Bring a dish to share, BYOB, kids and musical instruments welcome! (And don’t forget to sign up for the Facebook group, PA Young Farmers)

New Farmer Summit
BELLEVILLE, WI: April 4-5th

NYFC is co-sponsoring this Midwest young farmer convergence with MOSES and Renewing the Countryside at Primrose Valley Farm. Join us for two full days of workshops, networking, hands-on learning, contra dance and more! Click here for more info.

Texas Young Farmers Coalition Meet and Mingle Mixer
AUSTIN, TX: April 5th

Join TXYFC for an evening of mixing, mingling, and conversing with farmers and food lovers from around Texas. Celebrate the arrival of spring and a bountiful harvest. We’ll kick off the evening with a Farmer Panel Discussion. Throughout, please enjoy some delicious, micro-brewed libations and hors d’oeuvres! Beer and cider generously donated by Landlocked Surfer Brewing, Tony Grasso of Split Rail Ales / Field and Fare, and Spent Planet Fermentation.  See the TXYFC website for more info.

Wisconsin Young Farmers Bonfire
WAUNAKEE, WI: April 5th

Join the Wisconsin Young Farmers for the Maple Syrup Bonfire at Equinox Community Farm in Waunakee, WI.  Starts at 6 pm.  Click here for more info.

Yolo Farmers Guild Meeting
DAVIS, CA: April 7th

Join the Yolo Farmers’ Guild for its regular monthly potluck meeting on the first Monday of each month at 6:30pm.  Located at N St Common House, 716 N St., Davis, CA.

TXYFC 3rd Wednesday at Black Star Coop
AUSTIN, TX: April 16th

Grab a brew or a bite to eat with the TXYFC at Black Star Coop Pub and Brewery every 3rd Wednesday of the month! Chat with other folks interested in Texas agriculture, from farming and gardening to permaculture and aquaponics. All are welcome! 7pm-9pm

Rio Grande Farmers Coalition Spring Potluck
ALBUQUERQUE, NM: April 17th

Join the Rio Grande Farmers Coalition for a spring potluck to discuss the growning season, events, collaboration opportunities, irrigation, and more. Please bring a dish, a friend, and the beverage of your choice. RSVP for the potluck here.

Hudson Valley Young Farmers Coalition Spring Soiree
STANFORDVILLE, NY: April 26th

Join other Hudson Valley young and beginning farmers for a spring potluck before the season gets under way!  The event will feature live music and donated beer – further details will be posted on the HVYFC website.

OUR LAND: a Symposium on Farmland Access in the 21st Century
BERKELEY, CA – April 26th-27th

Agrarian Trust, a program of the Schumacher Center for New Economics, is pleased to announce the schedule for our 2014 Symposium, to be held at Wheeler Hall (UC Berkeley) and the David Brower Center.
In the next 20 years, an estimated 400 million acres of farmland will change hands as 70% of current farmland owners retire. Meanwhile, entering farmers struggle to compete with non-farming landowners for access to prime farmland, particularly in peri-urban areas.  We will examine this imminent inflection point from historical, ecological and political economy perspectives, and address both practical and philosophical approaches to transition. Read up on the event details and reserve your ticket today at: www.agrariantrust.org/symposium.

New Farmers of the Central Coast
CENTRAL COAST, CA – April (exact date TDB)

A “meet and greet” is planned for this April by the New Farmers of the Central Coast.  Stay tuned for more information, or visit their website to get involved.

 

 

In Solidarity,

Lindsey, Emily, Wes, Sophie, Kate, Ellie, Debbie, Kacey, Sarah and Daniel

 

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