the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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farm advocacy 101

upcoming webinar from RAFI USA


Farm Advocacy 101
Tuesday, March 11th, 3:00 – 3:45 pm ET
>> Click here to register.

Sitting across the table from a banker or a loan officer is often intimidating and scary, especially when the farm is on the line. Who can farmers depend on to sit on their side of the table and provide guidance, or at least act as a witness, a note-taker, a second set of eyes and ears? Since the Farm Crisis of the 1980s, farm advocates have helped farmers navigate the maze of regulations that govern agriculture and access to farm credit. Continue reading

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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.

grant schultz1

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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food business planning 101

Fare Resources is a Bay Area-based food and farm business consultancy building strong communities through food business consulting, company fare, and education. In March we are launching a 10-class business planning series for start-up and new food business entrepreneurs. In this series we will guide you through the process of writing a business plan and making your lofty IDEA a practical, possible REALITY. We feel strongly about offering business planning services at a fraction of the cost of the consulting work we do.  Continue reading

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maine grain alliance


The Maine Grain Alliance seeks applications to award mini-grants of $200 – $1,000 to fund need-based technical assistance (TA) that will help grain-based business owners secure economic opportunities in Maine.  A total of $2500 will be awarded in this round of grants. 

For more information about the Maine Grain Alliance and its other programs, please visit  The Maine Grain Alliance is a 501c3 non-profit organization.  This technical assistance grant program is made possible by a donor-advised grant program at the Maine Community Foundation.

For more information about the request for proposals email Please email completed proposals to: Application Deadline: August 30th 5:00 pm. Awards Announcement: September 20th.


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farm business class

Registration is now open for the Vermont New Farmer Project farm business class Growing Places.


This Summer:
Growing Places for aspiring and start-up farmers
Location: Vital Communities offices, White River Junction, VT
Time: 5:30 – 8:30 pm
Dates: June 24, July 8, July 22, & August 5
Fess: $100-$135
Registration Deadline: June 10; early discounts available for registrations by May 31.

This four session course introduces new and aspiring farmers to important topics, resources and services integral to getting their farm started off right.  Participants will learn about the cornerstones of farm business development—goal setting and decision making, accessing capital and financial management, exploring markets, and learning about the resources and services available to support beginning farmers.  Continue reading

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strawberry sustainability grant

berriesany farmers out there have spring strawberries on the brain? check out this opportunity from the University of Arkansas:

The Strawberry Sustainability Initiative grants program administered by the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and is open to applicants from across the country. They anticipate awarding 20 to 25 grants ranging from $50,000 to $200,000.

You can find more information in the attached RFP and press release. The grant program’s website is, plus a blog at In addition, you can connect via Facebook and Twitter.

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amazing inventory of tax info

for beginning farmers. Coming up tomorrow at 7 PM EST,  February 12, 2013: Filing a Schedule F: Federal Tax Preparation for Farmers.

AND, Check out the archives,  Including:

  • Filing Farm Taxes (January 2012).
  • Ins and Out of Insurance (September 2010)
  • Reaping the Rewards of Farm Financial Records (December 2012).
  • Tax Time Techniques for Beginning Farmers (Jan 2011)


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support food entrepreneurship on Kiva Zip

seedstarta note from friend of the Greenhorns, Johnny Price, project director of Kiva Zip

Dear friends,

I’m writing to you as great innovators, entrepreneurs and organizers in the food / agriculture space, who have expressed support and interest in our Kiva Zip project.
I wanted to flag one loan in particular to you in Vallejo CA. Of his business Vallejo Gardens, Kip (the borrower) writes: “Vallejo Gardens mission is to be a beacon of restoration, creativity and good food in the historic downtown area of Vallejo, CA. Vallejo Gardens promises a commitment to a local living, thriving economy, by keeping our dollars in our beloved city and its food choices closer to home.”
Unfortunately Kip has not been getting a great deal of funding — he is currently only 20% of the way to his goal, and his loan is set to expire on February 6th. If you want to help Kip out, you can make a $25 loan to him by clicking on the link above. Any help you can give Kip in promoting his loan to your networks, e.g. through social media, would be greatly appreciated. He promises to repay you over time.
If you haven’t become a lender on Kiva Zip yet, this one would be a great one to start on!
Hope you’re enjoying your starts to 2013!

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big news this week: announcement of GOOD program at USDA

goodfinally the rules are out and announced!

Micro lending we’ve all been lobbying for is for real!
this is welcome indeed. And we hope the beginning of far more accessible credit provided thru Farm agencies.
Also encouraging that rule changes are possible inside the USDA, and solutions can be found via democratic shuffling, not only by philanthropy, private capital, kickstarter etc.
USDA Finalizes New Microloan Program: Microloans up to $35,000 aim to assist small farmers, veterans, and disadvantaged producers
MEMPHIS, Jan. 15, 2013—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a new microloan program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designed to help small and family operations, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers secure loans under $35,000. The new microloan program is aimed at bolstering the progress of producers through their start-up years by providing needed resources and helping to increase equity so that farmers may eventually graduate to commercial credit and expand their operations. The microloan program will also provide a less burdensome, more simplified application process in comparison to traditional farm loans.
     “I have met several small and beginning farmers, returning veterans and disadvantaged producers interested in careers in farming who too often must rely on credit cards or personal loans with high interest rates to finance their start-up operations,” said Vilsack. “By further expanding access to credit to those just starting to put down roots in farming, USDA continues to help grow a new generation of farmers, while ensuring the strength of an American agriculture sector that drives our economy, creates jobs, and provides the most secure and affordable food supply in the world.” Continue reading

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canadians way ahead on young farmer financing

Young farmers show interest in new FCC Young Farmer Loan

In just over six months, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) has approved over 800 loans worth more than $187 million under the Young Farmer Loan launched in April by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and FCC President and CEO Greg Stewart. The average loan size is $217,000.

This new loan offers qualified producers who are under 40 years of age loans of up to $500,000 to purchase or improve farmland and buildings. The loan includes features and options that address this demographic and support their long-term success, including variable rates at prime plus 0.5%, special fixed rates and no loan processing fees. FCC set aside $500 million for the Young Farmer Loan when it was first announced. Continue reading

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eqip yourself.

Funds Available For Organic Producers
Application Deadlines Rapidly Approaching

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for the 2013 EQIP Organic Initiative, and has $50 million to give to organic (and transitioning) producers who will be implementing conservation practices on their land.

Every state has a different application deadline, with some (California, Illinois, Colorado, Arkansas) as soon as November 16th, 2012. Many states have set their cut-off date as soon as December 3rd . And, some states have multiple deadlines.

See our EQIP Organic Application Deadline Chart to see when your state’s deadline is. Jump on this funding NOW for your organic conservation practices, before the deadlines come and go.

To apply, contact your state’s NRCS local office here.

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GOOD NEWS, farmcredit making progressive moves

 in lending to local food producers.

Lenders are making strides in overcoming conservatism and commodity focus that is typical in the farming community,
and particularly in farm agency finance arms.

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