Friday, August 17th is the last day to enroll in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). This program is for eligible producers who agree to take sensitive land out of production. In return, the producer will receive an annual rental payment and cost-share assistance for installing practices from the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Land must be eligible and suitable for certain conservation practices which include, but not limited to, riparian buffer, wetland restoration on flood plain, filter strips, and grass waterways. Contracts for this program can last 10-15 years and payments will reflect the updated soil rental rates. For more information, please visit the CRP Continuous Enrollment Period. Or contact your local Farm Service Agency Office.
If you have any questions regarding various programs available from the Farm Service Agency, please send them to us.
National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is ending is collection of responses to the 2017 Census of Agriculture on July 31, 2018. NASS send the census around every five years to gather data on the state of agriculture across the US. The census is used to get a snapshot of ag in the US to help inform future decision making. All responses are confidential. Access the survey here or call 866-294-8560.
If you have general questions regarding the Census of Agriculture, please contact us.
The United State Department of Agriculture is partnering with Texas A&M. This pilot project will focus on making it easier for veterans to start farming. Here are some highlights of the program:
- Goal of Program is to make it easier for veterans to meet requirements for loans from the Farm Service Agency (FSA);
- 15 to 18 veterans will be selected to go through this project;
- Focus on:
- Business Planning,
- Introductory workshops, and
- Production education;
Veterans interested in this program should gather information and plan to apply. Applications will be open from June 15 and July 20, 2018.
Application are available here.
Full press release if available here.
The Farmer Veteran Coalition is hosting their 2018 Stakeholder Conference in Kansas City, MO. The conference will be from Wednesday, November 14 to Saturday, November 17 at the Intercontinental Kansas City. Find out more information here.
Scholarships are also available to Farmer veterans interested in attending the conference. The scholarships are available for travel and lodging. Applications are due September 1, 2018. Applications are available here.
This conference will be a wonderful opportunity to learn about resources available and also to network with other veterans interested in farming. Contact the Farmer Veteran Coalition for more information.
A webinar is scheduled for Friday, March 16th at 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. as part of the Nebraska SARE Webinar Series. The webinar title is, “A Visit to Slow Foods Nation, Denver 2017”. This past summer Jerry and Renee Cornett of Prairie Plate Restaurant near Waverly, NE received a SARE Travel Scholarship to participate in this event. This event focuses on a number of food issues and there are several opportunities to participate in different discussions and programs. More than 10,000 chefs, policymakers, farmers and food lovers from all over the world will be talking about food justice, sustainability and management. There was discussion over agricultural issues and all kinds of food were there as well. Jerry and Renee will talk about their experience at this event during the webinar. The link to the webinar is: https://unl.zoom.us/j/193166489. This webinar will be recorded if you are unable to participate at this time. If you have questions, contact Gary Lesoing at (402) 274-4755.
This past weekend, Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Michelle Soll from the Farm and Ranch Project, spoke at the Women in Ag conference in Kearney, NE. She spoke to the attendees over Saturday brunch, highlighting the struggles she is witnessing with her work. While there, she was interviewed by the Kearney Hub about the importance of her work with the Rural Response Hotline and the Farm and Ranch Program. Find the article titled, Michelle Soll there to provide assistance, advice for Nebraska Rural Response Hotline, here.
If you need assistance or would like more information, please call the Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.
LINCOLN, Jan. 19, 2018 – Agricultural producers wanting to enhance current conservation efforts are encouraged to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps private landowners build their business while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of their entire operation. NRCS plans to enroll up to 10 million acres in CSP in 2018.
While applications for CSP are accepted year round, applications must be received by March 2, 2018, to be considered for this funding period.
Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like nutrient and pest management, cover crops and tree plantings– all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land. CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.
Some of these benefits of CSP include:
- Improved cattle gains per acre;
- Increased crop yields;
- Decreased inputs;
- Wildlife population improvements; and
- Better resilience to weather extremes.
NRCS recently made several updates to the program to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications help producers see up front why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds, and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives. These tools also enable producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process.
Producers interested in CSP are recommended to contact their local USDA service center or visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted.
The Farmer Veteran Coalition will be opening up applications for their eighth annual fellowship fund on February 1, 2018. The application will be open until March 1st at 5 p.m. pacific time.
The Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund is a program that provides assistance to veterans who are beginning farmers and/or ranchers. The money does not go directly to the farmer, but instead goes to a third party or toward items that the veteran has indicated will help them with their farming.
Since the start of the fellowship fund, it has awarded over $1.5 million to veterans! Breeding of livestock, fencing, all-terrain vehicles and tractors are the most popular items that have been given.
For more information on eligibility and requirements for the fellowship fund, click here. The application, once open, will be posted there as well.
The National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) conducted a survey named National Young Farmer Survey in 2017. They surveyed 3,517 current, former, and aspiring U.S. farmers under the age of 40. A few interesting findings from the responses were: 60% of the respondents were women, 75% of the respondents did not grow up on a farm, and 69% were highly educated, having degrees past high school. The highest percentage of respondents (30.48%) were in the Northeast part of the United States. The average age of the respondents was 29 and more than 10% of the respondents were farmers of color or indigenous farmers.
For the survey, the NYFC gathered information pertaining to the top challenges that beginning farmers face. They found that the top challenges were access to land, student loan debt, finding labor help, and health insurance. Money seems to be a big factor when it comes to young and beginning farmers. A lot do not have the current means to obtain land, whether it be because they have significant loan debt or do not have enough credit to apply or receive loans to launch their farms. Since farming can be a dangerous career, health insurance is a must. Health insurance also costs money, but respondents say the Affordable Care Act is the most helpful insurance policy for them.
The survey also discusses how lawmakers can help young farmers start their farms despite the obstacles. Lawmakers can help young farmers by addressing land access and affordability, helping them manage their student debt, increase the skilled agriculture workforce, protect affordable health care, enable farmers to invent on-farm conservation, improve finances, and address racial inequality. If lawmakers helped with the above, young and beginning farmers would not face as many challenges of beginning a farming career.
Although beginning farming comes with challenges and risks, this generation has the skills to power through the ups and downs of starting a farming business. The NYFC survey results indicate that the young farmers of this generation are more diverse than those who have been farming for several years. Young farmers now are interested in operating smaller farms, committed to sustainable farming, and are optimistic about the future. The responses surely show that there isn’t one just type of farmer and that you don’t need to have farming history or past experience to want to be in the farming business.
If you are interested in reading the entire NYFC survey report, you can view it here.