RAFFL’s New Farmer Support Services are Back!

Recently, Jen Miller joined RAFFL’s staff as the new farmer program coordinator!  Previously, Jen worked on and managed farms for seven seasons, one of which was her own business, and completed a master’s degree in Community Development and Applied Economics, focusing on agricultural conservation programs.  At RAFFL she will focus on supporting and guiding new and aspiring farmers in the region.  RAFFL can now offer financial coaching, production technical assistance, business planning, and marketing coaching to farmers at various stages of business development.

If you have a question at any point during the season, want to use these services more intensively in the off-season, or are just interested in finding out more about the services available, contact Jen at jen@rutlandfarmandfood.org or 417-7096.

Making the Most of Your Forages: Grazing, summer annuals, and no-grain organic dairy production

Beidler Family Farm, Randolph Center
Randolph, VT

Brent & Regina Beidler have operated their certified organic dairy since 2000, and for more than seven years have managed their herd – now about 40 head – on a no-grain diet using just 160 acres of crop and pasture land. Join Brent Beider and UVM Agronomist Dr. Heather Darby as they lead a tour the farm to discuss grazing systems, summer annuals research, and the farm’s transition to no-grain production. This workshop was organized in collaboration with UVM Extension’s Northwest Crop and Soils Program.

Lunch is provided, and will be prepared in NOFA Vermont’s mobile wood-fired pizza oven.

About the Farm: Brent and Regina Beidler are members of Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative. They have diversifed the farm operation with the long term goal of being as independent as possible from outside inputs of animal feed, bedding and energy inputs. This includes a few small grain crops for local consumers as well as their animals. Other ventures include a small beef herd and some small scale vegetable production for the local school and retail outlets.

2nd CRAFT Workshop – This Sunday, July 13

Are you a farm worker, apprentice, or intern interested in learning more about agriculture and developing your skillset?  If so, the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) program is an opportunity for you to attend on-farm intensive workshops and network with other farm workers in the area!  Each meeting will include a farm tour and workshop followed by a potluck dinner.  The schedule for these Sunday evening events is listed below- plan on being there for a farm tour starting at 5 until dinner ends around 7:30.  Interested farm workers are expected to attend at least 3 of the 4 gatherings –this is still a great time to join us for this CRAFT season!!

CRAFT 2014 Schedule

  • Sunday, July 13 – Evening Song Farm, Cuttingsville – Financial planning & Starting up
  • Sunday, August 3 – Alchemy Gardens, West Rutland – Nutrient dense crop production
  • Sunday, August 17 – Yoder Farm, Danby – Specialty crop production

Questions? Contact Jen at jen@rutlandfarmandfood.org.

Salvation Farms is Hiring!

Salvation Farms is looking for a Vermont Commodity Program Director!

In an effort to reduce food loss on farms and decrease our dependence on food from far away sources Salvation Farms has created the Vermont Commodity Program to complement farm-fresh food rescue and farm to institution efforts within the state. The program includes aggregating, cleaning, processing, and packing surplus farm-fresh foods to increase access to locally produced foods by institutions serving Vermont’s most vulnerable. A major component of this program is to engage inmates in a meaningful work experience that serves Vermont communities all while providing them with marketable skills. Much of this position’s operational activities occur within a correctional facility.

For more details click on this link:

Vermont Commodity Program Director Position 

CRAFT Program – Starts Sunday, June 22

Are you a farm worker, apprentice, or intern interested in learning more about agriculture and developing your skillset?  If so, the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) program is an opportunity for you to attend on-farm intensive workshops and network with other farm workers in the area!  Each meeting will include a farm tour and workshop followed by a potluck dinner.  The schedule for these Sunday evening events is listed below- plan on being there for a farm tour starting at 5 until dinner ends around 7:30.  Interested farm workers are expected to attend at least 3 of the 4 gatherings and will receive a certificate of participation at the end of the season.

CRAFT 2014 Schedule

  • Sunday, June 22 – Larson Farm, Wells – Grazing & pasture management
  • Sunday, July 13 – Evening Song Farm, Cuttingsville – Financial planning & Starting up
  • Sunday, August 3 – Alchemy Gardens, West Rutland – Nutrient dense crop production
  • Sunday, August 17 – Yoder Farm, Danby – Specialty crop production

Questions? Contact Jen at jen@rutlandfarmandfood.org.

Youth Ag IDA Program – Application Deadline June 22!

Know of a young and hard-working person age 14-21, who isn’t afraid to work independently and is  ready to prepare for a future in agriculture? If so, you’re in luck- Vermont’s new and innovative young farmer business training program still has a few spots left for the next program round!

The UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s Youth Agriculture Individual Development Account (Youth Ag IDA) program (found online at http://www.uvm.edu/extension/youth/vtyouthagida/) is accepting applications for its next program round. We are seeking youth who are involved with or interested in agriculture to participate in a one-year program that will both provide learning opportunities to help acquire important business management skills, and help each participant save money towards the purchase of a business-related asset. Young farmers will exit the program possessing both seed capital and financial literacy skills: key components in establishing an independent enterprise or assuming more of a management role in the family farm operation.

Upon successful completion of the program, the participant’s savings will be matched at a rate of 2:1 (up to a total of $1,000 in match funding), giving young farmers two program dollars for every dollar they save toward the purchase of a productive farm asset.

What does this look like?

  • Participants attend a year (approximately 10-20 hours- depending on preference) of fun, informative, hands-on learning experiences
  • Participants complete approximately ten hours of online coursework
  • Participants develop a business plan
  • Each young farmer saves up to $500 that will be matched with program dollars
  • The program matches the young farmer’s savings 2:1 ($1,000 if she or he saves the maximum, $500)
  • The young farmer participant will then have that $1,500 to use for an asset purchase

The program will provide structured financial literacy training, business management coaching and mentoring from qualified farm business management specialists and established farmers. Participants will develop basic skills necessary to leverage their equity, manage capital productively and be a successful entrepreneur.

Even more importantly, participants will leave the program armed with increased confidence, their business plan and the skills that can help them put that plan into successful action, as they join the vibrant agriculture and food systems community that makes Vermont such a great place to live, grow, and appreciate the local bounty.

Applications and more information can be found on the program’s website at

http://www.uvm.edu/extension/youth/vtyouthagida/. The deadline for applications is June 22, with the program kicking off in late-June. Please email Program Coordinator Ali Zipparo with questions:azipparo@uvm.edu

Individuals requesting a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program should contact Ali Zipparo at 802-656-9139 by June 22, 2014.

 

Forage & Weed ID and Management Professional Development Training Project

Forage & Weed ID and Management Professional Development Training Project

A specially designed professional development project (PDP) in forage and weed identification and management is planned for agriculture service providers in New England over the next two years (2014-2016).

This project is open to personnel working in New England in Extension, USDA agencies, State agriculture agencies, and non-government organizations who are working with dairy and livestock farmers.

This NESARE-funded project will include two field training sessions, a series of 60-minute webinars offered monthly from November through March, and the development of resources and tools to use with farmers.   It is estimated that participant time commitment for the training and self-study will take about 40 hours per year.

Travel expenses to field sessions and project materials will be covered by the project.  The only cost to participants will be time, thought and energy related to their involvement.

By the end of this project, participants will be better equipped to advise farmers on their forage or weed related issues.  Participants are expected to actively take part and provide regular feedback regarding their related work with farmers and growers over the life of the project.

An application to participate in this project is required and can be accessed from the project website, http://pss.uvm.edu/pdpforage/

If interested, please complete the application (found on the website) and submit it to Principal Investigator, Dr. Sid Bosworth by July 8, 2014.  The training is limited to 20 participants so please fill out the application completely and submit it by the due date.

Feel free to pass this announcement onto co-workers and colleagues in New England.

This project is sponsored by USDA-SARE Northeast.