There's a new resource for new farmers. The US Dept of Agriculture recently launched a new website designed based on feedback from new and beginning farmers and ranchers around the country who cited unfamiliarity with programs and resources as a challenge to starting and expanding their operations. The site features advice and guidance on everything a new farm business owner needs to know, from writing a business plan, to obtaining a loan to growing a farming or ranching operation, to filing taxes as a new small business owner. By answering a series of questions about their operation, farmers can use the website's Discovery Tool to build a personalized set of recommendations of USDA programs and services that may meet their needs. Check it out at www.usda.gov/newfarmers
FARMERS’ MARKET FOOD SAFETY TRAINING Iowa State University has designed four online modules to provide science-based information on safe food production and handling specific to farmers' markets, with a focus on specialty foods and good agricultural practices (GAPs). The intended audience is farmers market managers and farmers market vendors. Webinars include:
Pre-Harvest (40 minutes)—GAPs implementation prior to harvest that will mitigate food safety risks that can devastate a farm business.
Post-Harvest (39 minutes)—GAPs from harvest to sales of your product.
Marketing and Best Practices at the Market (35 minutes)—Promotion and communication of your food safety efforts, including sampling methods, will increase profits and best practices at the market.
Value-Added Products (69 minutes)—Best food safety practices for value-added products to meet regulatory requirements.
What to Expect:
No cost (FREE)
Take one or all four modules
Learn at your own pace (do not need to complete a module in one sitting)
Convenient online training, 24 hours/7 days a week, without leaving the farm
On-farm food safety and marketing training by Iowa State University
Identification of resources to help ensure safe sale of foods
Internet connection is required
At the conclusion of all four courses, participants receive a Certificate of Completion suitable to display at their vendor's booth or market stall.
USDA Publication on Small Farms: Approximately 294,000 U.S. farms operated on 10 or fewer acres in 2007. While most small acreage (SA) operations did little farming, about 50,000 had sales of $10,000 or more in 2007. This report focuses on SA farms, especially those grossing $10,000 or more per year, and examines such characteristics as production strategies, types of products, sales, household income, and financial performance. Find it here.
Small Farm Classifieds can be found online here. Ads are free and reach over 900 email subscribers and more via online posting.
CASE STUDIES: GROWING LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS The Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University has published a series of case studies focused on growing local food systems. This Center has been a great asset to advancing food system work, and Colorado State will begin partnering with them even more closely on metrics for food system assessment. See Case studies here.