The FSA Microloan Expansion is Coming November 7th!

Yesterday, 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... Read More

USDA Launches Local Food Directories, but Still Needs More Listings

Jubilee Farm, a biodynamic vegetable farm in Washington State, hosts an on-farm market. Image courtesy: Dennis Lussier / PCC Farmland Trust Building on the success of its on-line Farmers Market Directory, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is creating directories for CSAs, food hubs, and on-farm markets (such as farm stands). Farmers or marketing managers can upload information on their market, CSA, hub, or farm to the respective directory.... Read More

Calling All Experimenters, Tinkerers, and Innovators: SARE Has Funding for You!

Participants spread wildflower seeds that will become pollinator habitat at the Dirt Works Incubator Farm as a part of a SARE-funded project. (Photo courtesy of USDA) Did you know the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program offers grants directly to farmers? Through it’s Farmer Rancher Grant Program, SARE funds individual or groups of farmers to test solutions to their sustainable farming challenges. For example, grants could... Read More

Hangout with USDA!

USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden addresses Champions of Change at a White House event (Photo courtesy of USDA) Next Tuesday, USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden will be hosting a Google+ Hangout to talk all about new farmers and the Farm Bill. Passed at the beginning of 2014, the Farm Bill has a ton of programs, resources, and opportunities for new farmers. USDA is middle of implementing this law right now, so it is the perfect time for an update!... 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

New Reports Outline Steps Needed to Build an Inclusive Food System

One of the new reports from the Center for Social Inclusion In U.S. agriculture, there is a long history of discrimination against minority populations and women. For many years, these groups were purposefully excluded from Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs in their own communities. A series of class action lawsuits, most notably Pigford v. Glickman, brought these practices to an end. Read More  Read More

USDA Announces Increased Funding to Organic Growers

Last month USDA announced $13 million in Farm Bill funding will be available for organic certification cost share assistance, a win for small and beginning farmers who want to go organic. Secretary Tom Vilsack said the move is in response to an increasing consumer demand for organic products, and USDA “need[s] to make sure that small farmers who choose to grow organic products can afford to get certified.” Programs administered by the National... Read More

5 Farm Bill Changes You Should Know About

The 2014 Farm Bill changed several USDA programs to benefit beginning farmers and ranchers. These changes have already taken affect – all you need to do is ask about them at your local FSA or NRCS office! EQIP Advance Payment Option President Obama signing the farm bill. Image courtesy of whitehouse.gov. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides funding to help farmers pay for on-farm conservation improvements. These activities... Read More

NYFC June Newsletter: USDA Seeks Input, Fight for Affordable Farmland, New Staff, Events

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. Read More  Read More

USDA 2012 Census of Agriculture Full Report Now Available

On May 2, USDA released the full 2012 Census of Agriculture data report. Performed every five years, the census takes an in-depth look at all aspects of US agriculture, and informs law and policymakers for years to come. In my last post, I reviewed USDA’s preliminary census report, which found that in general, the number of US farms is shrinking while the size of remaining farms is growing, and while older white males top the charts as principal... Read More

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