Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund

The Farmer Veteran Coalition has an exciting grant program that will be open for five weeks beginning February 1st, 2019 at 8 a.m. PST and closes on March 8th, 2019 at 5 p.m. PST.

What is in it for you?

The grant program will provide veterans with awards ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to make purchases to help with launching of their farm business.

What do you need to do?

  1. Go to the link posted on the Fellowship Fund page at between February 1st and March 8th, 2019.
  2. Complete the application. (The application consists of both short answer and essay questions and requires veterans to submit a business plan.)
  3. Submit Application.
  4. Wait for the award announcements in April.


A webinar to review the application followed by a Q&A session will be held Wednesday, February 13 at 2:30 p.m. PST. Registration is limited to the first 500 participants, but a recording will be posted to the Fellowship web page after it’s completed. To register, go to

Have any questions?

For eligibility and requirements, visit

View a list of frequently asked questions by visiting

If you have any further questions you can call the Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258 or visit

To find more resources and programs for beginning farmers and ranchers please visit, a component of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and

New USDA resources for beginning farmers

The USDA has a wonderful new resource for beginning farmers — the New Farmer’s website.  The website is aimed at beginning farmers to introduce and explain the multitude of USDA resources and assistance for beginning farmers.

And a multitude of USDA resources there are.  The website has a wealth of information — links to agricultural libraries, USDA service centers, risk management resources,, marketing news, FSA loan resources and so much more.

Go check out the New Farmer’s website.  It is well worth the time for all the resources provided.  And if any of the information there sparks a question, feel free to contact us!  We’re here to help.

A new USDA resource for organic farmers

Ever tried to navigate the USDA’s various websites for information on organic production, insurance products for organics, or just what kind of markets are available?  Well, look no more.  The USDA has recently unveiled a new one stop shop for all information it collects and disseminates concerning organic production.

The website truly is a great resource.  Maybe you are curious about organic certification and are beginning the process of determining if it is for your operation.  Then the Agricultural Marketing Service, via a link on the left-hand side of the website, can begin to answer your questions.  Maybe you are wondering whether you can purchase crop insurance for your organic fields?  Just click on the ‘Financial Resources’ link and you can find information on crop insurance, as well as loans, conservation assistance, and marketing assistance.

You can even delve into topics such as importing and exporting organic products.  You can find a wealth of information on importing and exporting various products, required trade forms, and training and enforcement materials with which to educate yourself.  You can even keep up with organic news from the USDA via their Organic 101 blog.

The resources on the USDA’s one stop organic shop are from all the various USDA agencies.  If you need help navigating the website or have questions, you are welcome to contact us!

Now that the government shutdown is over, what next?

Today, the federal government is open for business.  And while that is good news, there will still be some effects felt for a few days:

  • The USDA’s website is up and will be updated over the next few days.  USDA agencies, such as the Farm Service Agency, should be staffed as of this morning.
  • Because FSA is staffed, that will allow farmers and ranchers to get checks signed by the FSA, if applicable to their situation.
  • Certain statistical reports from the National Agriculture Statistical Service and World Agricultural Outlook Board will be cancelled or delayed because necessary data was not able to be collected during the shutdown.  Cancelled reports are the Crop Production and Cotton Ginnings reports from NASS and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates from WAOB, both scheduled for October 11.  The next release date is November 8.  Crop Progress reports scheduled for October 7 and October 15 are cancelled.  The October 18 Cattle on Feed report is postponed.
  • The Federal Reserve did release information on the state of the economy, including information from each Federal Reserve district concerning agricultural production.
  • No word yet on when direct payments will come out but I would expect those to begin showing up shortly.


Update on government shutdown for agriculture

Well, the government shutdown continues, with the Farm Bill also stalled.  What are the implications for agriculture?

The government shutdown and the Farm Bill

As discussed in Tuesday’s post, the Farm Bill also expired Tuesday.  What does that mean for farmers and ranchers?

We know that most USDA offices are closed during the shutdown.  This means you cannot seek assistance from, for example, the Farm Service Agency or National Resources Conservation Service because the offices are closed.  In pragmatic terms, this means items such as loan applications are not being processed by the Farm Service Agency.  Direct payments may also be impacted.  A list of programs that expired on October 1st and the implications is here.

Also, conferees have been appointed from the Senate to discuss the Farm Bill.  The House has not yet appointed conferees.  Conferees would allow the House and Senate to hold a conference committee in an attempt to resolve differences between the Farm Bills passed in the House and Senate respectively.  When more information is available, we will update you.

The USDA is closed, with a few exceptions.

As you likely know, the federal government shut down as of midnight eastern time.  If you haven’t been to the USDA’s website yet, take a gander and I’ll be right here waiting for your return.

What services are available from the USDAThis chart, if you search for the USDA, outlines what is and is not open.  Of interest to this audience, meat and poultry inspections continue, as does grain inspections, and the loans backed by the Rural Development Division will be monitored.  The Farm Service Agency is shutdown and in operation only for emergency and natural disaster response.   The National Resources Conservation Service is shutdown with the exception of protection of life and property.  The Risk Management Agency is shutdown and no employees will be at their offices.  Market analysis, forecasts, and analysis will not be provided because the Agricultural Statistical Service and Economic Research Service will be closed.

Please keep in mind that the above concerns the government shutdown and as more information becomes available, this post will be updated.  This post does not address the Farm Bill Continuing Resolution which also expires today.  More than the Farm Bill situation Thursday.

Update:  The National Farmers’ Union has a nice rundown of the implications of the shutdown.  Of note:

Farm program payments for crops planted in 2013 would continue after the farm bill expires September 30. However, payments would not be able to be delivered under a government shutdown.

Update 2:  The Wall Street Journal also discusses the implications for farm program payments and market projections, statistics, and analysis.