the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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did drought kill your trees? here’s some help…

2012 and 2013 were tough years for planting/growing anything in much of the US.  If it wasn’t flooding, it was a drought.  drought kill your trees?

Trees died.  The FSA office of USDA is here to help (with cash to recoup your losses). Even for losses you may have had two years ago!

The Details

The farm bill was recently extended, so what’s old is new again.  Here’s how it worked last time around:


1) Read the above links
2) Call your FSA office 
3) Be nice
4) File an FSA-899 form
5) IMPORTANT DETAIL: If you’re a Beginning Farmer (10 years farming or less in last 10) or Historically Underserved (look up the definition if you don’t know), you are EXEMPT from the crop insurance requirement.  THAT MEANS YOU CAN APPLY EVEN IF YOU HAD NO CROP INSURANCE.
6)Tell Grant how it goes for you.


 


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drones: coming to a farm near you?

From Mid-Missouri Public Radio

Drones

Unmanned aerial vehicles aren’t just for spies or for the battlefield. Farmers all over the country think drones can give them a leg up, too.

Tech-savvy farmers have been waiting for years for the government to make up its mind about the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Right now, anyone flying a drone for business instead of as a hobby is actually breaking federal law. But the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which oversees U.S. airspace, says it plans to roll out rules for drones this year.

Privacy and public safety concerns abound when it comes to camera-mounted machines flying around.   That’s the primary reason the United States lags behind other nations in allowing unmanned vehicles for commercial use.  ,

Still, farmers with acres and acres of land want to keep an eye on their investment. Instead of spending days driving the edges of fields in a truck or ATV, farmers could use drone-mounted cameras to produce thermal image maps that can tell if crops aren’t properly irrigated or if they are being eaten by insects. For the complete article and to listen to the radio piece, click HERE!

This is also a Farm Hack project!


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a young farmer designing/running a profitable perennial farm

For those of you out there  interested in permaculture and needing camaraderie in the young farmers growing perennials for a living realm, meet Grant Schultz of Versaland. He’s transforming a 145 acre corn and soybean farm in Iowa into a broad acre perennial farm, capturing grants from the USDA,  implementing farm hack strategies (electric tractor), and offering workshops.

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He was recently interviewed on the Permaculture Voices Podcast. Click to learn more about Grant and how he’s making it all happen.

 


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featured resources: enterprise budgets and a farmhack shop!

First, Ethan shares over 1,000 enterprise budgets!  Read his piece, “The Power of Enterprise Budgets: Permaculture, garlicHolistic Management, and Financial Planning“. At the end, he’s got this treasure trove: “In order to support the ongoing development of ecological agriculture, I’m making available to you all the all the enterprise budgets I have collected in the last 2 years – more than 1090 of them. I ask only that you keep seeking and creating out new budgets to add to the collection – especially ones that use real data from small-scale organic and permaculture operations. Download ‘em here – careful, this is a 130mb file.”

Second, and brand spankin’ new, Farm Hack’s Open Shops! You have to check it out. Dozens of amazing hacks with how-to’s, plans, photos, etc.   The garlic clove separator, pictured here, among them.

 


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farm hack press

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Farm Hack
by Courtney White, originally published by The carbon pilgrim  | NOV 1, 2013

Welcome to the virtual coffee shop for agrarians!

Pull up a laptop and join the conversation. Do you have a farming issue on your mind, or maybe a tool design that you’d like to share, a crop problem that needs to be solved, a beginner’s question that needs to be answered, or an intriguing idea that needs to be floated? If you do, Farm Hack is the place to go.

It’s not the Bellyache Café, however. Leave all complaints, rants and political opinions at the door. Continue reading


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farm hack south dakota!

farmhackFarm Hack South Dakota
Friday, November 1
11 am to 4 pm
Collaborative workshop with a tour of Cycle Farm, presentations by local farmers, break-out groups & a roundtable discussion, or “hack” to come up with creative solutions to human powered tools to support beginning farmers and ranchers.Open to Public. Great for tinkerers, hackers, makers, engineers, designers, farmers, ranchers, and eaters!

Suggested donation of $5.
Bring a potluck item to share for lunch.Part of Dakota Rural Action‘s 26th Annual Meeting & Celebration. Find out more at http://bit.ly/DRA26thAM


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farm hack press

Hacking the Fields: Crowdsourcing DIY Tools for Sustainable Farming
In the brave new world of farm technology, communities are inventing new tools and cutting out Big Ag.

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For some farmers, the fate of a tractor or combine can make or break an operation. But with their high price tag and narrow application, these massive tools don’t always have a place on smaller, diverse farms.

 

But a DIY weed-torching flamethrower? That just might be worth the time and money for mid-sized organic operations.

 

read the full article here

 


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Maker Fair features farmhack

Open Sourcing our Food System With Farm Hack

At first glance, the maker movement might seem a world apart from the analog domain of soil, plants, and food. You can’t eat an Arduino after all. At least that’s what I thought.

While microcontrollers are indeed inedible, it’s exciting to see how makers are building devices and sharing technology that reaches into new areas that I thought stood outside a maker’s reach. Like food production.

Stereotypes of technophobe, straw-chewing farmers abound, but the truth is our food system is highly industrialized, mechanized, and computerized—overly so if you ask me. It’s also a largely closed, proprietary system that’s designed to keep the pesky public out. Strange, that something as fundamental to our existence as food would be largely hidden from view.

This system also makes it hard for new and young farmers to get into farming and to compete with big corporate farms when they do so. All that technology and R&D costs a lot of money.

Farm Hack is sticking a big wrench in the cogs of that system. Guided in equal parts by ideals of sustainability and open source, the nonprofit group has a developed a community of 20,000 members that develops, shares, tweaks, and hacks tools that make farming and food production accessible to all.

Rest of the article here.


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getting started on farmhack

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Hi there Greenhorns,
Many of you have heard that we’ve launched our Farm Hack IndieGogo Campaign!  Yippee!
Some of you have attended Farm Hack events in the past, or looked at the online tools.
But perhaps a few of you are not yet comfortable navigating the site,
Here are some intro links that Dorn made to help  you get started:
What a great, good world of open-source it all is.
See you at the upcoming events? 
And at this weekend’s Maker Faire, Common Ground Fair, and Farmaid!


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farm hack’s road to maker faire

Farm Hack is in an online voting competition for $2,500 so that they’ll have a truck to take them to Maker Faire in NYC this fall. Let’s help them do it!

Here’s the scoop:0

The truck will take a route from Cambridge, MA up to Burlington, VT hitting places in the Pioneer Valley and NH. Then towards NYC through the Hudson Valley, picking up all the Farm Hacks we can and to make it easier and more stress free for others to attend.

Send this out to your friends! voting is open!
VOTE HERE


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farmhack featured in NOVA article

Farms of the Future Will Run on Robots and Drones
By Taylor Dobbs on Tue, 09 Jul 2013

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On a sunny day in an otherwise rain-soaked May, Forrest Watson, dirt caked on his work boots, kneels in the middle of his uncle’s cornfield and points at one of the thousands of knee-high stalks.

“This one,” he says, “should be over here,” poking the soil a few inches away.

It’s peculiar to think that Watson, 22, would be so particular about the location of a single stalk of corn among the 1,455 acres planted on his uncle Jeff’s farm in Avon, New York. But Mulligan Farm is a particular place. The tractors, which drive themselves, don’t stray from their paths by more than an inch. The planter, towed behind a tractor, knows the nutritional content of every square foot of every field. It plants more seeds in richer soil and fewer in the thinner stuff. Jeff Mulligan, the farm’s owner, hopes they’ll soon have access to small drones that can fly over the fields and monitor plant health from above.
Read the full article HERE


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nofa-ny farm hack event

Scaling Up the Beginning Farm with Innovation and Appropriate Technology

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July 9, 2013, 3:30 -6:00pm followed by potluck dinner
Juniper Hill Farm, 82 Loukes Lane, Wadhams(Westport) NY 12993

On-farm equipment hacks and energy efficiency are effective strategies to increase output and scale up the farm, but how does the smart farmer prioritize projects and maintain a low cost for making such improvements?  At Juniper Hill Farm, the answer has been a mixture of DIY ingenuity to hone just the right infrastructure and tools, along with taking advantage of incentives and grants to implement the costlier infrastructure needed to run the farm well.

More event details HERE
Farm Hack forum HERE

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