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

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

Big USDA Wins for Young Farmers

This past week, USDA announced two big changes coming to your local county office. First, USDA will be hiring five new staff members at the state level to coordinate new farmer programs for the Farm Service Agency (FSA). The National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) has pushed USDA to provide specialized expertise for new farmers, and this job description is exactly what we have been asking for. Second, USDA announced that it is expanding it’s Farm... Read More

2016 Agriculture Appropriations: An Update

By Eric Hansen, NYFC Policy Analyst  Earlier this month, Congress reached a major milestone in its annual appropriations process, which funds the federal government. Both the relevant committees in the House and the Senate passed funding bills for the Department of Agriculture. These bills set spending levels for conservation programs and farm loans and include “policy riders” that alter Farm Bill programs. The Appropriations Process Each year,... Read More

“The Girl with Grit” – Reposted from the USDA Blog

A few of NYFC’s leaders who gathered this winter to education and organize! Starting a farm is no easy path, and overcoming financial obstacles is a huge part of the high risk of failure. New farmers often come up against high costs of land and equipment, just a couple of the many barriers to entry. If our generation is to successfully continue the American agricultural legacy, we need to work together to find solutions. Check out this great... Read More

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

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

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