Helping you do whatever you want . .

Posted by on April 17, 2011 in Farms & Farmers, Land, Services & Supports | Comments Off on Helping you do whatever you want . .
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Wandering around display tables and talking to people at the CSFC, I got a bit of a sense of the breadth of services available to farms and farmers in the USA – particularly small ones or those interested in becoming organic. Some really impressive institutions, organisations, programs and resources and lots of ideas for anyone who feels like setting up new services in Australia!

The ones that stand out from my pile of brochures and notes (with appropriate blurbs) are:

California Farmlink

Our mission is to build family farming and conserve farmland in California by linking aspiring and retiring farmers; and promoting techniques and disseminating information that facilitate intergenerational farm transitions.

We offer a range of services to beginning farmers and landowners, including transitioning farmland and technical assistance in business planning, equity building and farm succession. If you are a beginning farmer looking for land and/or technical assistance, start by submitting our “Aspiring Farmer Questionaire”. If you are a landowner looking to post your land opportunity on our website and/or receive succession planning assistance please complete a “Retiring Farmer Questionaire”.

These people help with all sorts of legal and financial arrangements etc and were mentioned by quite a lot of the farmers as being critical in getting them started.

National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA and a project of NCAT)

Incredible resources and publications with useful info on all sorts of helpful things, including a recent focus on small(farm)-scale energy production! Among the publications I picked up were:

  • Micro-Scale Biogas Production: A Beginners Guide
  • Renewable Energy Opportunities on the Farm
  • An Illustrated Guide to Sheep and Goat Production

Website is packed with amazing resources for Such a shame, great resources for beginning farmers; local marketing, processing and distribution; urban agriculture etc.

Sadly, when I just went to the website to confirm the URL I find that their funding has been cut (in general USA budget cuts of everything), so go and have a look asap.

Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA) – Programs supporting transition to organics

Fiscal year 2011 marks the third year of USDA’s Organic Initiative and up to $50 million is available to help producers to plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns in ways that are consistent with organic production. For example, conservation practices might include planting cover crops, establishing integrated pest management plans, constructing seasonal high tunnels, or implementing nutrient management systems consistent with organic certification standards.

Eligible producers include those certified through USDA’s National Organic Program, those transitioning to certified organic production, and those who meet organic standards but are exempt from certification because their gross annual organic sales are less than $5,000.

Organic Initiative funding is provided through NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a voluntary conservation program that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. The 2008 Farm Bill provided assistance specifically for organic farm operations and those converting to organic production.