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

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

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

USDA to Release 2012 Census of Ag Data

Every five years, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) takes a hard look at the state of US agriculture by conducting a Census of Agriculture. In a very real way, the census is one of the few opportunities farmers have to tell the USDA about their operations—who they are, and what they need. Today, USDA will publish its full report of the 2012 Census of Agriculture. Below is a snippet of the agency’s preliminary report,... Read More

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