New capital for new farmers : BOOTSTRAP AT OLD HOMEPLACE FARM

By Maggie Bowling, Old Homeplace Farm The winter before we started the buying club, we counted twenty-two deer in my future vegetable field over the course of one night. I’m sure you can imagine what we chose as our very first farm investment. Will has an off-farm job as an elk biologist (yes, there are elk in Kentucky), so luckily he already had experience building deer and elk barrier fences. One-and-a-half years later, and we still haven’t... Read More

USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Programs by the Numbers

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) funds the construction of hoop houses such as this one. (Photo courtesy of USDA) Last month, USDA hosted an event honoring the White House’s Future of American Agriculture Champions of Change, including NYFC’s own Lindsey Lusher Shute. This event recognized the need for young farmers and highlighted USDA resources targeted at these farmers in particular. Read More  Read More

Introducing Good Life Farm, from Interlaken, New York

Good Life Farm is perched on a hill on the west side of Lake Cayuga. On a chilly fall evening, I watched Melissa Madden instruct an employee on the art of driving two draft horses towards the turkey pasture. The last rays of the day’s sunlight illuminate the land, and it’s easy to see why Melissa and her husband, Garrett Miller, chose this life.   Read More  Read More

Tell me more about… the Conservation Stewardship Program

This is a part of a blog series on different federal programs in the USDA and how they affect the average beginning farmer.  As we work towards improving legislation and pushing for reform in the Farm Bill, we decided to create these quick tutorial pages to act as a reference.  Let us know if there is a particular program that you’d like us to write about next! Vegetated Buffer Strips – photo courtesy of NRCS The Conservation Stewardship... Read More

Database of EQIP Deadlines Now Available From OFRF

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has compiled a one-stop database for information on applying for EQIP Organic Initiative grants, available here. EQIP – the Environmental Quality Incentives Program – supports voluntary conservation programs for farmers and ranchers.  It offers financial and technical assistance to eligible participants to install or implement structural or management practices on agricultural land.  The... Read More

Ranching for Conservation along the U.S./Mexico Border

Thirty-eight miles from the Arizona/Sonora border lies a fourth-generation ranch managed by two young ranchers, Sarah and Joe King. The ranch spreads over 55,000 acres of private and state land, rising up over the Baboquivari Mountains. Sarah and Joe raise 450 head of grass-fed cattle to sell at auction, slaughtering only a few due to the lack of local processing options. Ranching in the borderlands, with little forage and water, is no easy task.... Read More

Third and Final EQIP Organic Initiative Application Deadline is Approaching!

The last chance to apply for assistance through the EQIP Organic Initiative for 2012 is June 1, so if you’re interested read on and apply! EQIP, a voluntary soil, air, and water conservation program of the USDA, provides technical and financial assistance for farmers looking to implement conservation programs on their farms.  The program, administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (an agency within the USDA), includes an Organic... Read More

Time to Apply for the NRCS Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative

Towards the end of 2011, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service announced the opportunity for farmers to apply for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative. February 3rd marked the end of the first application period for the application. While applications can be submitted continually, there are two more evaluations coming up this year,with deadlines on March 30, 2012 and June 1, 2012. The Seasonal... Read More

Chesapeake Watershed – Conservation Practices

Last month, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service published a new study assessing the effects of  structural and management conservation practices on cultivated land in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The study looked at how various  conservation practices effect erosion, soil quality and estuary health. Specifically, the study looked at “reductions in losses of sediment, nutrients and pesticides from farm fields;” “enhancement of... Read More