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- 2021 Michigan Virtual CSA Fair on Friday, February 26th
The Michigan Statewide CSA Network, a collaboration between Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS), MSU Extension, and Taste the Local Difference, is excited to announce their upcoming Michigan virtual CSA Fair on February 26th. Those that would like to learn more about what a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share is, what their options are, and even find a CSA program in their area are invited to join this virtual open house. The Fair will feature two different drop-in Zoom sessions - a “lunch hour”, from 12-1pm, and a “happy hour” session from 5-6pm - for participants to explore local CSA programs. Participants can join regional breakout rooms to learn more about offerings in their area, or join a general information room to learn more about community supported agriculture broadly. Those interested in participating should register through MSU Extension: https://events.anr.msu.edu/event.cfm?eventID=CF883E5B1EA654E1058FB0CFB4BDFBA7E730104902D5BC1BF230F7BBDF0029FA Kelly Wilson, the Director of Community Partners with Taste the Local Difference, says that “CSA programs are a unique opportunity for consumers to get to know a local farm while receiving a consistent supply of farm fresh produce throughout the growing season. Since shares are typically purchased in spring, they also help farmers with critical early season funds to purchase valuable inputs for the main growing season.” Kelly also adds that, “they are fun opportunities to try new-to-you foods and, while all CSAs are unique, many provide recipes and preparation tips to help you use your share.” Taste the Local Difference supports farms and CSA programs throughout Michigan. Their online directory of farms allows users to search for a CSA program by county, growing practices, farm certifications, and more. Additionally, their blog includes articles on seasonal recipes and how to make the most of a farm share. About Taste the Local Difference: Taste the Local Difference is Michigan’s local food marketing agency and media company. Since 2004, our mission has been to educate consumers about the value of local food, and support food and farming entrepreneurs in building successful, well-connected, and thoughtful businesses. Our passionate staff members provide curated marketing services to local food businesses throughout the state. Learn more at localdifference.org
- Staff Highlight: Jen Silveri
Jen Silveri is our Director of Field Operations at MIFFS and we would like to recognize all of her hard work to ensure our organization's mission. Read on to learn more about Jen and her constant work with MIFFS! "I have worked for MIFFS for 5 years as a Co-Director. Before working for MIFFS, I was actively engaged as a board member for an additional 5 years." "I am inspired by all of the amazing people I work alongside at MIFFS and all of the amazing and weird things I learn from them. I learn something new every day at work and get really excited to continue to learn more about our connections to the ecosystem. I love being able to exchange that knowledge, and get excited about it with people and cultures." "I believe climate change and land access are the biggest challenge facing agriculture today. I believe it is absolutely vital to work with the land, knowing its strengths and challenges and letting those guide what and how we farm. We need to think about how to leverage, incorporate and support the regeneration of naturally resilient features of the land that can support and enhance farming. We need to adjust our farming practices to be more in sync with natural systems rather than fighting against them. I strongly believe that one of the ways we do this is by looking to practices of other land stewards from different cultures and diverse climates, many of whom have lost access to the land or whom have had it stolen. Those voices usually have the most valuable things to teach us. We need to find better ways to support equitable access to land, seek opportunities to learn from each other and problem solve together." "If lawns were looked at as an agricultural crop, it would be the largest irrigated crop in the US. They are by large, managed by untrained homeowners who unlike farmers, are unregulated and often have no training/experience in nutrient or pest management." MIFFS would like to once again thank Jen for all of her dedication to help this organization run smoothly and thrive!
- Insurance for Beekeepers
On October 7, 2020, MIFFS Veterans in Agriculture Network Coordinator, Nick Kaminski and GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Philip Preston discussed what crop insurance options exist for beekeepers and the benefits of insuring apiaries. Philip is a beekeeper and an Insurance Specialist for Greenstone Farm Credit Services in west Michigan. Philip discussed eligibility requirements for beekeepers to access crop insurance policies including: Apiculture RI (API), Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP), Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm Raised Fish (ELAP), and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP-2). A recording of the webinar can be viewed here. Check out the resources below to learn more! Other resources are available below: Greenstone Farm Credit Services Crop Insurance Guide USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) Apiculture Website USDA RMA Apiculture Insurance Fact Sheet USDA Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) USDA Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) USDA Whole Farm Revenue Protection Fact Sheet
Risk Management & Crop Insurance Toolkit Risk Management and Crop Insurance are important aspects of farming. They are often overlooked or misunderstood, often leading to producers giving up and not following through with an active policy for coverage. MIFFS has gathered resources to help understand risk management a bit better and and connect with entities that will help with the writing of policies and coverage. The decision tree below outlines some programs that might be useful and is a good place to start the process of insuring your business, haga clic aquí para ver el árbol de decisión en español. Image Title Description/Descripción Link/Enlace
Educational Materials Title Description Michigan Land Link To help connect new farmers with acreage they need and to help protect farmland from development, we're developing a land linking website. If you or someone you know is ready to sell or lease their land, consider posting it at [mifarmlink.org/list-your-land]mifarmlink.org/list-your-land. Together, we can ensure Michigan's farming industry continues for generations to come. 10 CENTS A MEAL FOR MICHIGAN'S KIDS & FARMS Michigan’s innovative 10 Cents a Meal for Michigan's Kids & Farms program has released its 2018-2019 Evaluation Results. The 57 former grantees purchased 93 different fruits, vegetables, and beans, grown by 143 farms located in 38 Michigan counties, and involved 20 additional businesses such as processors, distributors, and food hubs. A Call to Build Trust and Center Values in Foods Systems Work In September of 2019, 70 people from across the U.S. came together to learn from each other about the work of coordinating state level food system plans. The initial intention for this gathering was to surface promising practices of developing and implementing food systems plans—meaning guiding documents, such as the Michigan Good Food Charter or the Vermont Farm to Plate Strategic Plan, that are developed with public input, set out a vision for the food system of a particular place, and identify high priority policies and strategies. A Guide to Water Quality, Climate, Social, and Economic Outcomes Estimation Tools: Quantifying Outcomes to Accelerate Farm Conservation Practice Adoption This guide by American Farmland Trust provides outcomes quantification information that could be useful to managers of projects funded by NRCS, the USEPA, state and local programs, and corporations with supply chain sustainability goals. The guide features seven water quality tools, three climate tools, one social tool, and three economic tools that can be used without requiring project managers to have computer modeling experience. A Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu Climate change has impacted and will continue to impact indigenous peoples, their lifeways and culture, and the natural world upon which they rely, in unpredictable and potentially devastating ways. Many climate adaptation planning tools fail to address the unique needs, values and cultures of indigenous communities. This Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu, which was developed by a diverse group of collaborators representing tribal, academic, intertribal and government entities in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, provides a framework to integrate indigenous and traditional knowledge, culture, language and history into the climate adaptation planning process. Developed as part of the Climate Change Response Framework, the Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu is designed to work with the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) Adaptation Workbook, and as a stand-alone resource. The Menu is an extensive collection of climate change adaptation actions for natural resource management, organized into tiers of general and more specific ideas. It also includes a companion Guiding Principles document, which describes detailed considerations for working with tribal communities. While this first version of the Menu was created based on Ojibwe and Menominee perspectives, languages, concepts and values, it was intentionally designed to be adaptable to other indigenous communities, allowing for the incorporation of their language, knowledge and culture. Primarily developed for the use of indigenous communities, tribal natural resource agencies and their non-indigenous partners, this Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu may be useful in bridging communication barriers for non-tribal persons or organizations interested in indigenous approaches to climate adaptation and the needs and values of tribal communities. Agribusiness Resources for Novel Coronavirus Michigan State University Extension has compiled a list of financial resources for Michigan farmers. The list includes a list of programs and their descriptions, along with MSU Extension contact information, eligibility and where and how to apply. Agrifood Safety Produce Bites Produce Bites features MSU Extension Educators, Michigan Produce Safety Technicians, fruit and vegetable growers, and others in the industry to talk about anything and everything related to produce safety. Join us as we discuss how growers are implementing food safety on their farm, challenges relating to food safety, and clarification on certain aspects of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. Agroecology Now! Transformations Towards More Just and Sustainable Food Systems This new open access book develops a framework for advancing agroecology in transformations towards more just and sustainable food systems focusing on power, politics and governance. It explores the potential of agroecology as a sustainable and socially just alternative to today’s dominant food regime. American Rescue Plan Analysis And Guidance Federal child nutrition programs help ensure kids have access to nutritious food where they live, learn and play. An Annotated Bibliography on Structural Racism Present in the U.S. Food System, Eighth Edition This annotated bibliography provides current research and outreach on structural racism in the U.S. food system for the food system practitioner, researcher, educator, and advocate. Structural racism in the United States has been defined as the “normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics—historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal—that routinely advantage Whites while producing cumulative and chronic outcomes for people of color.” This resources identifies literature that links the social construction of Whiteness and its intentional or consequential impact on structural racism within the United States’ local food movement. It is focused on recent peer-reviewed and gray literature* materials that are national, regional, and local in scope that included significant references. An Evaluation of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program The Farmers to Families Food Box Program is unique in its role to support both farmers and people who lack the resources to access the food they need,” said Professor Emily Broad Leib, Faculty Director for the Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC). “However, there is tremendous potential for USDA to make changes to support more small- and mid-size farms and farms owned by women and people of color; better alleviate hunger; and mitigate senseless food waste. Our report offers recommendations to strengthen the Program accordingly. It is critical for USDA to address these issues as our economy struggles amid COVID-19; further, with changes, this Program also could serve as the model for a long-term food system solution. An updated edition of the Funding Sources for Food-Related Businesses directory is now available from the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. Farmers, food producers, distributors, food hubs, and other food-related businesses can use this resource to identify national and Michigan opportunities for financial support. BIPOC in Agriculture and Food: A Resource Guide This dynamic, community-sourced resource guide offers lists and descriptions of BIPOC owned and operated organizations, schools, farms, restaurants, and companies. It also highlights media, petitions, grants, and initiatives curated for and by BIPOC. Bee Better Certification The Xerces Society developed Bee Better Certified to promote pollinator conservation in agriculture. The Bee Better production standards are science-based and field-tested, guaranteeing that the actions farmers take actually improve pollinator well-being. Black farmers in the US: The opportunity for addressing racial disparities in farming hile the role of the agriculture economy has grown, the share of Black farmers in the United States has declined over the last century. Today, just 1.4 percent of farmers identify as Black or mixed race compared with about 14 percent 100 years ago. These farmers represent less than 0.5 percent of total US farm sales. Further, Black farmers operate at 70 percent of US peer-level farm revenue with a 14 percent operating margin gap versus their peers, before government payments. Building Soils for Better Crops Now more than ever, it is abundantly clear that healthy soils play an essential role in productive agricultural systems. Soils are foundational to the food we eat and fundamental to life on earth. Focusing on sustainable soil management has shown to increase farm and ranch profitability, improve crop yield and provide other critical services related to water, air and climate. SARE’s newest book, the fourth edition of Building Soils for Better Crops, provides rich detail on ecologically sound practices for developing and maintaining healthy soils. It is a must-read for farmers, educators and students alike. Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities A Guide to Federal Programs for Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry, Entrepreneurship, Conservation, Food Systems and Community Development Bulletin E-3425 Loans & Security: An Introduction to Farm Collateral Managing a farm involves investing time and money toward creating a successful business. Of these investments, having enough money to cover farm needs or offset losses is a concern for beginning farmers. A common resource for new managers to obtain money, or cash, is by seeking a loan from a farm lender (creditor). A loan is not simply a source of funds, but an investment in your farm business and its plans for success. By providing funds, lenders help to reduce risk concerns that a lack of cash can create. A loan helps to secure your ability to pursue production goals. However, by ensuring your ability to operate, a lender takes on an amount of your farm’s risk from potential losses. For lenders to agree to such investments, they need to offset their risk concerns. The primary risk concern to lenders is nonpayment by a farm due to limited cash. A lender will approach reducing their concerns in a way similar to that of a farmer, by pursuing risk management options. The best form of risk management for a loan is for the lender to secure an interest in your farm’s collateral. Throughout this publication, we will review basics of securing a loan and how to identify collateral on your farm. We will also review how managing available collateral can reassure lenders investing in your business. These reviews will include explanations of key phrases or technical terms frequently used in discussions of farm collateral. CONVERSATIONS FROM THE FIELD: CROP INSURANCE FOR ORGANIC OPERATIONS This resource contains 14 individual case studies—or snapshots—of our conversations with each farmer and agent. You are invited to read through the entire series, or focus on the case studies that are most relevant to you. For example, you may consider finding a farmer whose operation looks similar to yours. Short biographies are included with every case study. Or, maybe you want to learn more about a specific topic. COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program MSHDA has federal funds available to help tenants facing pandemic-related hardships avoid eviction while also ensuring landlords can recoup owed rent through the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program. MSHDA administers CERA through its statewide network of local nonprofit agencies. We encourage everyone who is eligible to apply today and take advantage of a program that can help restore housing stability. COVID-19-Related Employee Retention Credits: How to Claim the Employee Retention Credit Employee Retention Credit for qualified wages Certification Review Essentials This course is for organic certification reviewers and describes how effective reviews of the Organic System Plan (OSP) and inspection report support organic compliance. This course guides certification reviewers through OSP requirements and critical control points, OSP assessment, inspection report review, and applying skills using case scenarios. This course helps reviewers gain confidence in completing effective and efficient reviews that lead to appropriate and defensible certification decisions. City of Detroit Land Based Projects: A Path to Purchase, Permit and Design This guide is one of five packets on how to buy publicly owned land and create land based projects in Detroit. Download these resources at www.DetroitMi.gov/Land or pick up at 2 Woodward Ave. Cleaning and Sanitizing: Scrub Before You Spray! It's important to remember cleaning and sanitizing are two different things. Cleaning is the physical removal of dirt and filth, whereas sanitizing is the treatment of a surface to reduce the microbes living on a surface. What does the FSMA Produce Safety Rule require in regards to cleaning and sanitizing? Closing the Loop - Marketing Your Food Safety Certification Slides from Webinar Food safety certification is no easy undertaking. While there are many reasons to go the certification route, a central reason is market access. Whether you already have a buyer asking for it, hope to gain a new buyer through it, or just want to get ahead of the curve, food safety certification is a useful tool in moving your produce from farm to table. There is a lot more to using this tool than just passing an audit. Once your certification is in hand, how do you communicate it to existing or potential buyers? What types of buyers ask for it? While many guides reference food safety certification, they typically only describe how to get certified, not what happens after. College of Melissae Center for Sacred Beekeeping The College of the Melissae teaches toward intuitive style and asks you to explore communication with the bee. When we handle bees through listening, scent and timing, minimize intrusion and encourage excellent forage environment, we are doing something that is largely outside the current Western methodologies. Crops, Plants, and More: Learn About Farming! Agriculture is the foundation of civilization, and it's where all of the food you eat and the clothes you wear come from. Whether you think you want to have a career in agriculture, you want to learn more about how farmers work, or you'd like to start growing plants in your own backyard, finding out more about agriculture is a good place to start. Economic Landscape, a monthly publication of USDA AMS Agricultural Analytics The Agricultural Analytics Division (AAD) provides economic, statistical, analytic, and scientific expertise in support of both Agency and industry stakeholders functions consistent with USDA’s scientific integrity policy. FAQs on American Rescue Plan Debt Relief for Socially Disadvantaged Borrowers The American Rescue Plan includes provisions for USDA to pay up to 120% of loan balances, as of January 1, 2021, for Farm Service Agency (FSA) Direct and Guaranteed Farm Loans and Farm Storage Facility Loans (FSFL). FSMA Water Testing Labs in Michigan The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) tasks vegetable and fruit growers with testing their well water and surface water sources for generic E. coli. Enforcement of this water-testing will begin in 2022. FTC Episode 116: Health Insurance Options – What to Consider During Open Enrollment For many families, having health insurance is a key factor in determining if a member of the family may take an off-farm job simply for the benefits. Do those benefits outweigh the potential cost of child care? What factors should you consider to matter what your stage of life? We talk about the options to consider during open enrollment. Face Mask Requirements and the Americans with Disabilities Act: What should farmers markets do to comply with the ADA during the COVID-19 pandemic? During the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers markets across the country have had questions about how to ensure the health and safety of market vendors and customers by requiring the use of masks at markets. In general, markets have a duty to take reasonable steps necessary to protect the health and safety of market participants. Having a mask policy can help markets mitigate public health risks. However, markets must respect the rights of individuals who are not able to wear a mask due to a disability. Markets can protect themselves from legal risks by assessing their ability to provide reasonable modifications and keeping thorough records of ADA requests. Farm Commons Farm Commons is a nonprofit organization providing farmers with the proactive legal counsel they need to become the resilient base of a healthy food system Farm Commons Advanced Farm Employment Law Course: Self-Paced Farmers and ranchers: Are you ready to strengthen your labor program? Do you want to create systems that will manage your employment law obligations now and into the future? These may feel like big questions, but the good news is you have the power to get a handle on your minimum wage, overtime, and workers’ compensation obligations while creating fair and equitable management systems on the farm. You can do all of this and more, and this course is designed to help you do it. This advanced course supports farmers and ranchers in gaining the legal knowledge and applied skills needed to effectively manage employment liabilities. You will walk away from this multimedia and producer-focused course having taken action in the areas of: Minimum Wage Overtime Pay Managing the risk of worker injuries Avoiding discrimination in hiring and firing Payroll tax and paperwork obligations Aligning in-kind wage (non-cash) payments with the law Classifying workers according to the law. Farm Loan Discovery Tool Farmers and ranchers can use the Farm Loan Discovery Tool on farmers.gov to find information on USDA farm loans that may best fit their operations. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers a variety of loan options to help farmers finance their operations. Farmer to Farmer eCommerce Platforms Report This report synthesizes input from 170 respondents on 23 different platforms and highlights the nine most popular platforms used by the participating farmers. Farmers Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program With interest growing nationwide in farming practices that can protect natural resources and reduce the impacts of climate change, this is a key time for producers to explore CSP. This guide is a resource for farmers who want to learn more about CSP or who are thinking about enrolling in the program. Farmers and Asbestos Agricultural workers and farmers are exposed to asbestos in farm equipment and building materials. Vermiculite, a mineral that's safe in its pure form, can also pose a risk if asbestos contaminated the vermiculite mine. Asbestos has been found in vermiculite soil mixes and conditioners. Farmers’ Guide to Business Structures Establishing and maintaining the right business structure for your farm operation lays the foundation for a stable, resilient farm business. Forming a business structure can help manage risk by protecting the owners’ assets from the business’ liabilities; promote good business practices through accounting and decision-making protocols; raise funds from outside investors; and ease the ownership transition process. For most farmers and ranchers, choosing a structure is straightforward. Complexity arises when drafting organizing documents to support your structure of choice, or, determining how it will operate. Farmers’ Guide to the Value-Added Producer Grant Program This guide includes everything farmers and ranchers need to know about the program to determine if it is a good fit for their operation. Note that the application deadline has been extended until May 4, 2021. Farmland Access Legal Toolkit This toolkit explains legal arrangements that provide farmers more affordable and equitable farmland access and help landowners balance earning income for retirement with making their land affordable to the next generation of farmers, and makes useful information available to farmer and landowner advocates. Financial Risk Management for Specialty Crop Producers Financial Risk Management for Specialty Crop Producers was developed to provide an in-depth exploration of maintaining, refining, and growing a farm business. It is designed specifically for specialty crop producers with a few years of experience running a farm business, though the information is applicable to farmers at many stages of development. Written by experienced farmers and professionals serving farmers, the text explores the tools for budgeting and financial planning; skills and strategies for accessing capital; structures and considerations for accessing land; crop insurance products; foundational business management practices; and strategic planning for ongoing success. Each chapter includes relevant examples of forms and calculations. Findings of the 2019 National Food Hub Survey The 2019 survey builds on results from 2013, 2015, and 2017 to identify trends in food hub operations, economic growth and viability, social mission, and opportunities and challenges faced by food hubs nationwide. Food Safety Outreach Program The Food Safety Outreach Program will complement and expand the national infrastructure of the National Food Safety Training, Education, Extension, Outreach, and Technical Assistance Competitive Grants Program. The Food Safety Outreach Program will build upon that national infrastructure, with a sustained focus on delivery of customized training to members of the target audiences. Awardees will develop and implement food safety training, education, extension, outreach and technical assistance projects that address the needs of owners and operators of small to mid-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially-disadvantaged farmers, small processors, or small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers. Grant applications will be solicited directly from those in local communities to include those from community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, food hubs, farm cooperatives, extension, and other local groups. Food Sovereignty in the USA: A Selection of Stories. The Narrative Collective of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance compiled a series of stories that explore the concept of food sovereignty. These stories highlight food sovereignty in action, what the struggle looks like, and how it’s already taking shape. GRASSROOTS GUIDE TO FEDERAL FARM AND FOOD PROGRAMS Welcome to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s (NSAC) Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs! This guide provides an in-depth look at dozens of federal programs and policies most important to sustainable agriculture, and details how they can be accessed by farmers, ranchers, and grassroots organizations nationwide. Get Started! A guide to USDA Resources for Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers A new multi-agency guide for USDA assistance for underserved farmers and ranchers is now available. If you are a farmer or rancher and are a minority, woman, veteran, beginning, or limited resource producer, you can use this booklet to learn about assistance and targeted opportunities available to you. This includes programs offered through the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Risk Management Agency. Heirs’ Property Heirs’ property is property passed to family members by inheritance, usually without a will, or without an estate planning strategy. Typically, it is created when land is passed from someone who dies “intestate,” meaning without a will, to their spouse, children, or others who may be legally entitled to the property. However, even if the person who died had a will, they may still create heirs’ property by leaving the property to multiple heirs. In both instances, the heirs own the property as “tenants in common,” which means they each own an interest in the undivided land. In other words, rather than each heir owning their own individual lot, they all own the whole property. Finally, unless the heirs go to the appropriate administrative agency or court in their locality, and have the title or deed to the land changed to reflect their ownership, the land remains in the name of the person who died. For the heirs, owning property as tenants in common without clear title leads to many problems. Insurance Options for Vegetable Growers Vegetable farmers face many challenges. In 2017 and 2018, excessive rain rotted the last few pickings of melons, watermelons, peppers, and tomatoes. In the prolonged wet 2019 spring, some growers reduced the number of plantings to focus on transplanted vegetables and pumpkins in the limited time they had between rain events. In 2020, favorable vernalizing conditions followed by heat caused bolting in early-planted biennial vegetables. Thankfully, risk management programs can take the edge off of major losses from lower yields, crop losses, or prevented planting from weather events such as these. Interpreting Water Test Results Water testing is an important part of ensuring food safety. The results from these water tests can be confusing. This guidance document addresses how to read and understand water testing results and what to do about them. Land Rent Calculator The Land Rent Calculator is designed to assist producers in comparing the impact of land rent payments against their farm's Net Farm Income. Land Reuse and Redevelopment: Creating Healthy Communities. Resource for Urban Agriculture Land Reuse and Redevelopment: Creating Healthy Communities is a free textbook and community resource providing guidance on reusing land safely. Each section of the book is written by land reuse stakeholders highlighting how ATSDR’s 5-step Land Reuse Strategy is implemented in best practices. It also highlights how safe land reuse can contribute to community resilience, partnerships, and sustainability. List of Startup Resources Small businesses make up 99.9 percent of all United States businesses, according to the SBA with 30.2 million small businesses in operation in 2018. If you want to be someone who owns one of those small businesses, you need to set yourself up for success during the startup phase. The best way to do that is to use the resources available to you, many of which can be found for free online. MANRRS Job Hub Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) is a national society that welcomes membership of people of all racial and ethnic group participation in agricultural and related science careers. MANRRS members are encouraged to be full participants in other professional societies for their basic disciplinary and career interests. However, MANRRS attempts to provide networks to support professional development of minorities. Mental Health Resource Promotional Toolkit This social media toolkit contains season specific content regarding mental health resources for workers in Ag. Be sure to share the winter & spring content through your various social media channels! Michael Fields Agricultural Institute Michael Fields Agricultural Institute Farmers or rural entrepreneur in the Midwest are invited to use a free Grants Advising service of the Institute. Grants Advisers help you decide whether a grant would be the best way to achieve your goals. Michigan Agricultural Mediation Program Michigan farmers can now mediate a wide range of disputes at no cost through the Michigan Agricultural Mediation Program (MAMP). The 2018 Farm Bill enables the MAMP to mediate agricultural issues involving leases, farm transitions, organic certification, next-door neighbors and more. To request free mediation or for more information, call (800) 616-7863 or go online at www.agmediation.org. All calls are confidential. Michigan On-Farm Produce Safety Team Did you know that Michigan produce growers enjoy more on-farm produce safety support than growers in other states? The Michigan On-Farm Produce Safety Team provides FREE educational programs and farm visits through a collaboration between the Michigan Produce Safety Technician Program and members of Michigan State University Extension. Michigan State University Extension's Farm Business Management programming Connection to listserv for MSU farm business management event notices, updates to the materials shared during the webinar, answers to common questions, and other useful educational materials. Midwest Grazing Exchange A new tool for connecting land with grazers is available that encompasses MN and surrounding states to make crossing state lines easier called the Midwest Grazing Exchange. Midwest Women's Herbal Midwest Women’s Herbal provides herbal education and opportunities for transformation. Immersed in the Wise Woman Tradition, grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, and children gather in a co-created village. Through earth-centered healing and nourishment we ally with the plants that grow around us. From the ground up we connect to weave ourselves, our families, and our communities into the dynamic spiral of health. Migrant Workers and Asbestos Foreign and migrant workers and mesothelioma is an issue that is too often ignored. Many of these workers have language barriers and may fear losing work or facing deportment for reporting unsafe working conditions. They often work in industries where asbestos exposure occurs, such as agriculture and construction. Municipal Policy Options for Healthy Food Access in Stores and Restaurants Municipal Policy Options for Healthy Food Access in Stores and Restaurants. This resource focuses on ordinances and other formalized municipal policies across tax, zoning, licensing and other areas that have been used throughout the country to improve healthy food access and offerings in restaurants and food stores such as grocery stores, corner markets, and bodegas. NCAT's Beekeeping for Beginners - YouTube Are you interested in keeping honeybees, or just learning more about them? Or are you a beginning beekeeper who would like to deepen your understanding of honeybees? In this virtual workshop held on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, master beekeeper Ed Levi provided an introduction to beekeeping. Ed served as the Arkansas State Apiary Specialist for over 25 years and has taught beekeepers around the world while also managing his own honeybee hives. NSAC CFAP 101 for Producers Starting September 21, 2020, USDA’s Farm Service Agency is accepting applications through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) for direct aid (payments, not loans) to agricultural producers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. National Food Safety Month Resources National Food Safety Month is highlighting cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting standards with five weeks of education around the theme of Know Safe & Show Safe. The way restaurants are cleaned and kept safe hasn't changed, but it's become more important to show your guests you are keeping their safety to the highest standard. Starting August 30th, check-in at FoodSafetyFocus.com where the National Restaurant Association and ServSafe will provide educational materials like posters, activity sheets, blog posts, and webinars. New Entry Sustainable Farming Project Online Mentor Training Toolkit Apprenticeship training programs that support mentors with professional development opportunities are in an excellent position to introduce new tools and resources to their mentors. Mentors will benefit from new resources and skills to address the many and nuanced aspects of running an agricultural business while providing a quality educational experience for their trainees. New Frameworks Guide Conservation Action on America’s Working Rangelands The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is unveiling new action-based frameworks to increase conservation work to address threats facing America’s working rangelands. These frameworks are designed to benefit both agriculture and wildlife in sagebrush and grassland landscapes of the western United States. Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops to protect against natural disasters that result in lower yields or crop losses, or prevents crop planting. Ohio State University: Meat Processing Business Tool Kit This toolkit is a set of resources for entrepreneurs interested in starting or expanding a meat processing facility or those interested in exploring the industry. These resources are tools that entrepreneurs can use as aids in their decision-making processes. The tools in this kit are focused on Ohio, but can be replicated for other geographies. All these tools are meant to be individualized based on an entrepreneur’s unique circumstances and goals. Using these tools does not guarantee success. On-Farm Readiness Reviews An On-Farm Readiness Review (OFRR) is a non-regulatory, free assessment of a farm’s readiness for inspection under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. This is a chance for you to have a one-on-one conversation and farm walk-around with Produce Safety Rule experts to evaluate pre-harvest, harvest, and post-harvest conditions and practices; assess what you are doing well; and identify areas for improvement in food safety practices on your farm. It is very important that routine farm processes and operations (such as washing, packing, and harvesting activities) are happening during the OFRR so reviewers can make accurate recommendations for produce safety improvements specific to your farm. Organic System Plans The Organic System Plan (OSP) is a document that serves as the basis for communication between an organic business, the certifier and the inspector. It is the foundation of the organic certification process. This course teaches requirements related to OSPs in the USDA organic regulations, examines the different functions of the OSP, discusses critical organic control points, and provides OSP evaluation and design considerations for certifiers. PSA Grower Training Courses The PSA team fast-tracked an Online PSA Grower Training course option and a Temporary Remote Delivery course option. PSA Short Videos Available with Spanish Narration The PSA released three additional short animated videos on handwashing, biofilms, and the On-Farm Readiness Review (OFRR) with Spanish narration. These videos are great for use during PSA Grower Trainings to reinforce the curriculum content and provide a quick brain-break for participant engagement. Physical Weed Control Forum The Brainard Lab at Michigan State University has launched a Physical Weed Control Forum for farmers, researchers, and tool/equipment manufacturers. Topics in this forum include small and large scale weed control techniques and can apply to mixed vegetable, flower, and field crop systems. The forum is a resource for farmers to view and share each other's system, tool, and equipment experiences and best practices for physical weed control. It is searchable by topic and easy to navigate. Feel free to browse around and respond to existing conversations, to start a new thread, ask for advice or troubleshooting on a tool or problem you have, share your successes, post videos or copy links to existing social media posts of physical weed control. Quality Management Systems - A Guide for Food & Farm Businesses This guide is designed to help food and farm businesses, food hubs, and USDA GroupGAP administrators develop a basic Quality Management Systems to identify and meet customer requirements, and to create systems for continuous improvement. Quantifying Economic and Environmental Benefits of Soil Health AFT used partial budget analysis to estimate the net economic benefits eight farmers have experienced from investing in soil health practices (e.g., no-till, strip-till, cover crops, nutrient management, conservation cover, compost application, and mulching). We also used USDA’s Nutrient Tracking Tool and USDA’s COMET-Farm Tool to quantify the water quality and climate benefits of these practices. Racism and Agricultural Health: White Paper The Racism and Agricultural Health: White Paper summarizes AgriSafe’s approach and feedback from our attendees during the Virtual Think Tank webinar. We hope that this is a valuable resource for those of you working on issues relating to diversity, equity and inclusion in agriculture. Please consider AgriSafe as a partner and a resource as we, together, “ Protect the People Who Feed the World.” Reaching Women in Agriculture: A Guide to Virtual Engagement SARE’s newest bulletin, Reaching Women in Agriculture: A Guide to Virtual Engagement, outlines a range of strategies and tools to help educators who have prior experience conducting in-person educational activities adapt their programming for online and hybrid spaces. Reaching Women in Agriculture features a number of effective strategies for planning, hosting and evaluating online events. Created in partnership with the American Farmland Trust (AFT) and University of Vermont Extension, the bulletin “was born out of AFT’s Women for the Land initiative and the Learning Circle model, which arose out of early partnerships with the Women Food and Agriculture Network,” said Gabrielle Roesch-McNally, PhD, guide author and AFT Women for the Land director. Experienced presenters, paired with well managed learning circles, breakout sessions, videos, chat and polling can help educators better capture and hold learners’ attentions. Encouraging participants to work together to solve real-life problems can assist learners in developing practical skills that can be applied in their own operations. The guide also encourages educators to use an equity lens to overcome barriers associated with online learning that may exclude some farmers and ranchers from participation. Recordkeeping Recordkeeping by certified operations and certifiers is a key requirement of organic certification. This course introduces certifiers and inspectors to a variety of recordkeeping systems encountered across the range of certified operations. It also examines challenges created by different operational activities and complexity levels. Finally, this course helps certifiers structure internal and collaborative recordkeeping reviews across operations. Resource Guide to Help Rural Communities Increase Access to Child Care Services The guide was developed in partnership by USDA Rural Development and the Office of Early Childhood Development in HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF). It provides useful information to help stakeholders in rural communities – including Tribes and Tribal organizations – address the need for improved access to affordable, high-quality child care and early learning facilities through USDA and HHS funding and technical assistance resources. Rural Resilience: Farm Stress Training In response to a growing rural mental health crisis, National Farmers Union (NFU), Farm Credit, the American and Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) announced a free online training program to help farmers, their families and neighbors identify and cope with stress. Seven Workforce Questions that Are Top of Mind During COVID-19: A Resource for Small Businesses Since the outbreak of COVID-19, small businesses and their employees have endured unprecedented challenges. For small business owners, it has become increasingly clear that the safety and stability of their employees is essential for business survival. The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program interviewed small business owners, business advisors, workforce intermediaries, and small business lenders to learn what kinds of support would be helpful to small business owners and their employees in this extraordinary time. Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranch Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranch spotlights innovative, SARE-funded research into a range of conservation options including soil management, such as using compost, conservation tillage and cover crops; plant management, featuring crop rotation, water-conserving plants and rangeland drought mitigation; and water management strategies such as low-volume irrigation and water recycling. Soil Health Indicators and Tests This publication takes a brief look at conservation tillage as it may be applied to organic cropping systems. A number of the most promising strategies and technologies are described, and abstracts of recent research are provided. The focus is on annual cropping systems. Both agronomic and vegetable cropping systems are discussed. Soil Health “How to” Video Series: How to Benefit from More Diversity Soil Health: How To… is a video series from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and farmers.gov that features producers overcoming big obstacles in the Southwest through better soil health. Soil Moisture Data from NASA Available Via New Tool Crop Condition and Soil Moisture Analytics is a new tool developed by USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service in collaboration with NASA and George Mason University. The tool maps soil moisture, providing farmers and ranchers with free access to high-resolution data that can help plan spring planting, track damage after disasters, monitor crop health, and more. State Farm to School Policy Handbook This handbook contains a summary and analysis of all 546 farm to school bills and resolutions from 2002 to 2020 from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. State Partnerships for School Markets Jenileigh Harris, a National Farm to School Network program associate, talks with Alma Maquitico from Anthony Youth Farm in southern New Mexico. Anthony Youth Farm is a small organic farm that provides farming and training opportunities for rural and low-income youth and sells its products to schools through a purchasing cooperative program facilitated by the New Mexico Public Education Department. Strawberries: Organic Production This publication provides an overview of organic strawberry production methods. It also covers integrated pest management (IPM) and weed-control techniques that can reduce pesticide use in strawberry production. It includes discussions of weeds, pests, diseases, greenhouse production, plasticulture, fertility, economics, and marketing. It also provides further resources. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Learning Library Search SARE-funded books, guides, videos and more. THE ANTI-RACIST FARMERS MARKET TOOLKIT Developed by a group of Black food system leaders and experts, the Anti-Racist Farmers Market Toolkit is intended to help market operators put anti-racism concepts into practice and action at their markets. The toolkit development has been supported by the Farmers Market Coalition, and is made for farmers markets operators everywhere who are ready to start working towards running an anti-racist farmers market. Team Nutrition Back to School Support Kit USDA Team Nutrition’s Back-to-School Support for new resources on Planning a Dynamic School Environment and School Meals Supply Chain Issues. The Dirt on Organic Farming: A new podcast by OATS Over the years, we at OATS have been asked some really tough questions about organic grain farming by skeptical farmers and agronomists. And so, we have set out to bring honest and fair answers to the six most common criticisms we hear. In The Dirt on Organic Farming, we openly discuss the sometimes messy promise of the organic opportunity. We combine expert interviews with real world examples to get beyond "us vs. them" and towards a more informed understanding of organic agriculture. Listen to the podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and Google Podcasts. The Economics of Sustainable Agriculture SARE’s “The Economics of Sustainable Agriculture” animation describes how practices such as crop rotation and reduced tillage can improve an operation’s bottom line sustainably. The newest episode in SARE’s “What is Sustainable Agriculture?” series provides a short and simple introduction to ecological practices that form the foundation of thriving and resilient farm systems. The Local Food System Response to COVID Resource Hub Local and regional farms and facilities tend to be more vulnerable to market disruptions as they are operated by smaller, new/beginning, historically underserved or low resourced producers and business owners. This searchable database contains insights and educational material from 16 partner organizations to help local and regional food producers and businesses adapt their market strategies in the current environment. The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) MAEAP is an innovative, proactive program that helps farms of all sizes and all commodities voluntarily prevent or minimize agricultural pollution risks. The Thrifty Food Plan And Pandemic Changes To SNAP: A Guide For Advocates The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated food insecurity in the United States. SNAP, the largest domestic federal nutrition program, is designed to respond in times of crisis. SNAP was one of the first avenues used by legislators during the pandemic to assist those in need. As a result, pandemic response legislation made significant changes to SNAP benefits to quickly provide food aid to those in need and infuse much needed funds into the economy. USDA Service Centers Provide Free, One-on-One Help for Farmers At USDA, we are committed to helping farmers complete loan applications, environmental reviews, and other paperwork free of charge. One-on-one support is available at more than 2,300 USDA Service Centers nationwide. USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service staff are usually co-located at these Service Centers and can help guide farmers to the best USDA assistance based on their unique goals, whether it is loans, conservation programs, or insurance. USDA: Soil Health: How to Use Cover Crops when Facing Many Production Challenges Soil Health: How To… is a video series from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and farmers.gov that features producers overcoming big obstacles in the Southwest through better soil health. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Soil Health “How to” Video Series Here at the Soil Health Theater, you can see and hear from some of America’s top soil health experts and innovative soil health farmers. From video demonstrations on soil health to videos featuring the men and women who are farming with Soil Health Management Systems, see for yourself why there’s a growing movement to “Unlock the Secrets in the Soil.” Producers explain how they increased the quality of their crops, increased water use efficiency, and reduced expensive inputs. Vermont Law School and NECAFS legal resources for Food Safety Compliance The Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety at the University of Vermont and the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School are pleased to share legal educational factsheets as an output of their joint project, the Extension Legal Services Initiative. This initiative identified, researched, and developed educational resources related to key legal questions associated with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. Video Series Walks Applicants Through CFAP 2 Application This video series provides a step-by-step look at form AD-3117, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) application. Farm Service Agency staff talk through each section of the form in eight simple videos, from the producer agreement to information that is commodity specific. Virginia Tech Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation Resources Our resources and partners page coonsists of our library of resources including our news archive and a list of literature that guides our work. We also list our partners on campus, in the community, and from Virginia Cooperative Extension. Our team has also compiled curricular resources for those interested in what's happening with food systems education on the Virginia Tech campus. Last we provide a samling of resources such as academic and professional organizations we participate in as well as a list of frontline organizations working at the intersection of food systems and justice and equity. Wallace Center 2020 Impact Report This report highlights the ingenuity, hard work and dedication that we, and more than 25 of our partners in service, demonstrated last year amid COVID-19. As the world responded to the double pandemics of the virus and racial injustice, our team—spread across the U.S.—banded together to respond to our partners in service. Water Rule Resources for Growers Collection Still need help understanding parts of FDA's new proposed water rule? Check out this website for a collection of all of the water rule resources created by the Michigan On-Farm Produce Safety Team and the University of Minnesota Food Safety Program. What Rules Can A Market Make Regarding Speech? Many farmers markets have questions about free speech at markets, and in particular, what types of restrictions market rules can place on activities such as leafleting, political campaigning, or protesting. These activities can interfere with the operation of the market. Are farmers markets obligated to allow these types of activities as exercises of free speech under the First Amendment? sam.gov account quick tips sheet Quick tips sheet for registration on sam.gov
Webinars & Conferences More than Milk: Strong Bones and Injury Prevention for Women Working in Agriculture September 23, 2022, 4:00:00 PM Do farmers or ranchers really retire? Generational family operations frequently include the aging parents, the living legends of agriculture. Farmers and ranchers self-identify good health with the ability to work. The normal aging process slows down one’s ability to engage in meaningful activities physically and mentally, essentially to continue working. Swirl in the postmenopausal issues incurred by the female farmer, and a myriad of health hazards arise. More Info Breakfast on the Farm 2022 September 24, 2022, 1:00:00 PM Do you live in or around Alpena County? Well, make sure to mark September 24 on your calendar! You will be able to take your family to Breakfast on the Farm hosted by the Tolan Family from Risky Endeavor Dairy in Ossineke, MI. The event will include tours of the farm and great food. It is sure to be a fun time you won’t want to miss! More Info Education on the Farm EUP September 24, 2022, 2:00:00 PM Celebrate Conservation week with a hands on field day! Learn how to identify and mediate garden pests, explore the variety of season extension structures, and how to design and implement one for your space. Gain experience through a community build of a high tunnel to support resilient local food communities in the EUP! More Info Wild About: Conservation Webinar Series- Protecting your Groundwater September 27, 2022, 5:00:00 PM Protecting your Groundwater: Overview of groundwater protection, wellheads, and ways to protect it. This online conservation seminar series is for adults and older youth interested in conservation efforts in their yards, or properties. This series can also provide education and information and may be of interest to Extension Master Gardeners, Michigan Conservation Stewards, Master Naturalists, and generally anyone looking for ways to enhance their property to create a sanctuary for nature out their back door. More Info White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health September 28, 2022, 1:00:00 PM The Biden-Harris Administration will host the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health on September 28, 2022. In parallel to the conference, we will be announcing a National Strategy that identifies steps the government will take and catalyzes the public and private sectors to address the intersections between food, hunger, nutrition, and health. The five pillars described below define the scope of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. They are meant to help identify actions that can be taken by all parts of society — including the federal government; local, state, territory, and Tribal governments; nonprofit and community groups; and private companies. More Info Prepare to Write a 2023 Youth Educator Grant Proposal (SARE) September 28, 2022, 9:00:00 PM Join us for a Youth Educator proposal application online meeting on September 28, 2022, at 4pm CDT. NCR-SARE's Youth Educator Grant Program coordinator, Joan Benjamin, will review the process for applying, share tips for writing a good proposal, and answer your questions. More Info Farmers Markets at the Capitol September 29, 2022, 1:00:00 PM Now in their 17th season, MIFMA’s Farmers Markets at the Capitol are a staple of downtown Lansing’s summer landscape. The markets offer the smell of local floral bouquets, the sweet taste of vine-ripened produce, and so much more. Shoppers have a cornucopia of products to choose from including fresh produce, jams, jellies, baked goods, honey, maple syrup, meat, salsas, dips, pickled products, soaps, and more. Visitors can also take advantage of numerous food trucks throughout the market day parked along Capitol Avenue. More Info Farms are the Tapas September 29, 2022, 10:00:00 PM Join us in person or online at our premier farmland preservation event on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022! Enjoy locally sourced signature tapas dishes created by chefs from area restaurants competing to win the coveted Harvest Knife Award! Guests will have an opportunity to taste tapas; vote on their favorite dish; and virtually bid on silent auction items – all while supporting farmland preservation! With the help from attendees and our sponsors in 2021, over $17,900 was raised to help stem the loss of precious farmland in Ottawa County. These funds are essential for the program to carry out its purpose – protecting the land upon which we grow our food. More Info Project Wingspan: Agricultural Lands & Habitat Management Workshop October 13, 2022, 1:45:00 PM Learn about the benefits provided to agricultural lands from integrating pollinator habitat. The workshop will provide technical guidance to help you create and manage different habitat installation types to support your land, increase productivity, improve soil and water health, and support pollinators. Pollinator Partnership and Project Wingspan Agricultural Lands, in partnership with LaPorte County Soil & Water Conservation District, Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service invite members of the agricultural community to participate in the upcoming in-person workshop to increase knowledge of practices that both support pollinator conservation and directly benefit agricultural lands! More Info 2022 Michigan Sustainability Conference October 24, 2022, 4:00:00 PM The 2022 Michigan Sustainability Conference (MISCON), hosted by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, will be held October 24 - 25 at the Lansing Center, in Lansing, Michigan. This year’s day and a half program offers breakout sessions focusing on successful case studies, sustainable integration, decarbonization, fleet electrification, and funding opportunities. With plenary sessions strategically placed throughout the event, attendees will engage with various leaders, forming the nexus between business and communities. Whether you are joining us as a community leader or a business leader, you’ll walk away with the network of partners, the practical tools, and the creative fuel you need to keep on course with this rapidly evolving era. More Info Heading 2