Capital: the high cost of getting started – BOOTSTRAP AT WILLOW SPRINGS FARM

By Hannah Becker, Willow Springs Farm A neighboring farmer likes to joke, “You know how you make a million dollars as a farmer? Start out with two million!” While my comedic neighbor’s joke isn’t accurate, farming does take a LOT of money just to get the ball rolling. Start-up costs for a small-scale agriculture operation can quickly get into six or seven figures. Land, equipment, operating capitol, property improvement, livestock, seeds—it... Read More

5 things to love about USDA’s New Farmers website

By Eric Hansen, NYFC Policy Analyst  Yesterday, USDA announced that they are doubling down on their commitment to new farmers. The Department is aiming to boost beginning farmer participation in their programs and services by focusing $5.6 billion of existing funding on these farmers over the next two years. It is exciting to see this commitment to beginning farmers as well as the clear, measurable goals that the Department has set for beginning... Read More

Top 5 Things You Should Know About Farming

By Hannah Becker, Willow Springs Farm There are pros and cons to every endeavor, and farming is no exception. As a first-generation farmer, I did not have ancestral insight into the world of agriculture; the majority of my education came via trial and error. Looking back on my experiences thus far, here are the top five things I think new farmers should know: Farming is expensive I’d always heard, “it takes money to make money”—well this... Read More

I wanted to be a cowgirl – Bootstrap at Willow Springs Farm

By Hannah Becker, Willow Springs Farm One of my earliest memories is sitting on an old Paint gelding outside of Memphis, Tennessee. I couldn’t have been more than three or four, but from that moment on I was obsessed with becoming a “cowgirl”. Despite growing up on quarter-acre lots in suburbia, where the only cows I saw were on old Bonanza reruns, my passion to own my own cattle operation never wavered. Completely ignorant of all things agriculture,... Read More

Bootstrap at Willow Springs Farm: Meet Hannah

Welcome to our 2015 Bootstrap Blog series! Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing you to our four Bootstrap Bloggers, who are all in their first or second year of running a farm. Throughout the season, each Bootstrap Blogger will write about the highs and lows, glory moments and curveballs that come with farming.   Hi! I’m Hannah Becker, founding farmer of Willow Springs Farm. Located in Franklin County, Kansas, Willow Springs Farm... Read More

New NYFC report finds student loan debt is exacerbating farmer shortage

Today NYFC released a new report, Farming Is Public Service: A Case for Adding Farmers to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which shows that student loan debt is one of the key barriers preventing more would-be farmers and ranchers from entering agriculture. Read the full report here.  The report contains data from a new survey of more than 700 young farmers as well as data compiled from the USDA Census of Agriculture. Highlights... Read More

Announcing Our 2015 Bootstrap Bloggers

We are excited to announce the farmers selected for our fourth annual Bootstrap Blog series, which features young farmers and ranchers in their first or second year of running their own farm. Throughout the season, each Bootstrap Blogger will write about the highs and lows, glory moments and curveballs that come with farming. Farming is a capital-intensive business. Between 2000 and 2010, national farm values doubled, making it more difficult for... Read More

Tell New York Governor Cuomo To Act Now on Land Access for Young Farmers

A photo of the Beacon State Correctional Facility from the Empire State Development’s Request for Proposals, 2014. The Beacon facility is one of many decommissioned prisons across the State with farmland, greenhouses, and other infrastructure resources on site. Bill A07002 would help ensure beginning farmers have access to this land and resources. In August, we wrote a blog post about New York State legislation that would help beginning farmers... Read More

Start Organizing with the NYFC Organizing Handbook

We’re kicking off the brand new year with a brand new resource for local young farmer organizing – the Organizing Handbook: How to Bring Local Farmers Together for Shared Success! Read More  Read More

Farm bill moves toward conference as lawmakers and farmers call for beginning farmer support

This week marked an exciting development in the two-year-long push to deliver a new five-year farm bill.  Both the House and the Senate have already passed their own versions of the bill; the remaining hurdle is to reconcile the two with each other in a way that will win approval both both bodies.  Read More  Read More

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