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

Enrollment Deadline for USDA’s Conservation Stewardship Program is Extended Two Weeks to March 13th

The USDA has announced that they are extending the deadline for applying to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) this year! If could use extra funding for on-farm conservation, CSP is the program for you.  You now have until March 13th (the original deadline was today, February 27th). What is CSP? CSP is a working lands program run by USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). It provides funding for farmers to take on conservation... 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’s Conservation Stewardship Program Enrollment Window is Closing Soon!

February 27th is the last day to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) this year! If could use extra funding for on-farm conservation, CSP is the program for you. What is CSP? CSP is a working lands program run by USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). It provides funding for farmers to take on conservation activities while simultaneously farming the land. For farmers that care about the environment, this program is... Read More

The 2014 Organic Survey is on the Way!

For the second time, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is conducting a census of organic farmers and ranchers. Much like the five year Census of Agriculture, the Organic Survey provides a snapshot of agriculture across the U.S. The survey asks specifically about an organic farm’s production in 2014. Question cover: Production of field crops, vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, berries, livestock and poultry; Production practices... Read More

New Whole Farm Crop Insurance Levels the Playing Field!

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) has just released a new type of crop insurance – Whole Farm Revenue Protection. Unlike most crop insurance products that are designed for a single commodity, this insurance is meant for diversified farms growing multiple crops. Now, diversified farmers will have access to yet another tool commodity farmers have had for years. Whole Farm Revenue Protection is crop insurance for an entire farm. This insurance... 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

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