the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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land for food

For any young farmers with the ability to travel, this would be a great experience. unnamed

As part of its biennial conferences, IUFN is happy to invite you to a new international workshop, LAND FOR FOOD. It will address a central question : How can we reconcile land use policies with local food policies? 

Held over two days in the heart of Paris, the LAND FOR FOOD provisional program is build on interaction. It will start with an Open forum the will invite participants to deconstruct some commonly held beliefs and to discuss together ‘Land for food by 2050’ foresight scenarios designed with our partners. On the second day, you are invited to take part in multi-disciplinary co-design workshops, resolutely oriented towards practical innovation around  arable land preservation, rural-urban linkages or urban farming potential as well as policy tools such as food flow analysis or food sensitive planning.

JOIN other local authorities, local decision-makers, and international researchers for this unique occasion to design together the future of local food policies for urban regions.

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small farms: apply now for a “lift”

beekman logo

Beekman 1802 Mortgage Lifter Sauces is a pasta sauce company which has pledged to donate 25% of their profits to help give individual small farms a “lift.” On April 29th, 2014, Beekman 1802 will divide $13,264 between four small American farms (entries due by midnight, April 22nd). The amount will be divided into four “Mortgage Lifter Lifts:”

One $10,000 Lift
Three $1088 Mini-Lifts

START HERE to submit your profile and apply for a lift!

To learn more about Mortgage Lifter, click HERE


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the greenhorns are happy to release

OURLAND  Episode 4: Access to Grazing

Market demand continues to swell for ethically raised, pasture-based livestock, poultry, eggs and milk. These products fetch a major price premium over the conventional, confinement raised alternative, and present the possibility for small scale producers to make a livelihood. Young graziers are joining the fray to meet that market appetite, inspired by Joel Salatin, Jim Gerrish and the incredible soil-building potential of grass-fed animal husbandry.

For farmers who build their own low-cost infrastructure: hen houses, portable electric fencing, moveable pens and pig enclosures, the need to own land is no longer first priority. They can improve the land they’re on through grazing, by virtue of the animals’ manure, but also from the intensive management and impact of animals, creating a state change in the pasture itself, promoting plant growth, diversity, and increased organic matter. These are measureable outcomes with benefits to landowners, soil micro-organisms, the grazing animals, and water quality.

For landowners, the benefits of leasing grazing land to graziers are many and include a tax benefit for “agricultural use”, as well as the joys of enlivening pastures with contented mother cows, tick-eating hens, and young entrepreneurs.

For the farmers, it is a balance of managing a small business without clear title or much solid infrastructure, often on multiple parcels, and negotiating for fair terms and solid tenure with absent or risk-averse owners. These kinds of partnerships are increasing, particularly in areas adjacent to urban centers, where price pressure for recreation, second homes, winegrapes, and leisure activities has priced farmers out of the market for ownership. When both parties manage the relationship with care and work together, making decisions that are best for animals, place and people, its a win-win solution for local food sovereignty.

Visit the OURLAND page for more episodes and reading material.

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usda press release: organic markets are growing, 2014 farm bill funding helps access these markets

USDA organic

In today’s press release, the USDA has announced new figures that show the organic industry continues to grow domestically and internationally. Certified organic farms and businesses in the United States have witnessed a 245% increase since 2002 while consumer demand continues to increase exponentially. To help producers further access these markets, the 2014 farm bill has included provisions to support the organic community, including:

  • $20 million annually for organic research, agricultural extension programs and education.
  • $5 million to fund data collection on organic agriculture for policy reform.
  • Expanded options for organic crop insurance
  • Expanded exemptions for organic producers who are paying into commodity “check off” programs, and authority for the USDA to consider an application for the organic sector to establish its own check off.
  • Improved enforcement authority for the National Organic Program to conduct investigations.
  • $5 million for a technology upgrade of the National Organic Program to provide up-to-date information about certified organic operations across the supply chain.
  • $11.5 million annually for certification cost-share assistance, which reimburses the costs of annual certification for organic farmers and livestock producers by covering 75% of certification costs, up to $750/year.

For more information,  check out the USDA Organic Resources Page

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technology criticism from the beef world



Here’s an excerpt from a recent post in the Ranching for profit blog. The whole post can be found HERE

“According to one cattle industry leader quoted in a prominent publication, Those who are not willing to take advantage of the new technology may not be able to survive. He isn’t alone in believing that technology is good for ranching.  It is good for business. It just isn’t very good for the cattle business.”

Ranching for profit blog

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let’s help growing innovation get over the hump!

They are 67% funded with 12 days to go.  Every little bit counts!

Growing Innovation Online Library & Book

Why does this project matter? Because stakes is high! 

In case it's hard to see, this farmer's clever t-shirt says 'stakes is high'
In case it’s hard to see, this farmer’s clever t-shirt says ‘stakes is high’

To make a more serious point, success in agriculture is hard to achieve and harder to sustain. Tens of thousands of small farms go out of business each year. Those that make it often survive on precarious margins. To succeed, most small and mid-scale farmers need to innovate constantly. That’s why farmers go to other farmers for new ideas more than any other source, but most farmers are limited to only a few sources of inspiration.

The online library will provide an especially useful resource for beginning and transitioning farmers. Beginning farmers will find a rich storehouse of ideas for generating agricultural income. Transitioning farmers will find tested models and stories that they can relate to. Could this project be the seed bed for a national agricultural innovation library? It all starts right here!

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featured resource: protecting organic seed integrity

Protecting-Organic-Seed-Integrity-220x300Protecting Organic Seed Integrity 

Why Protect Organic Seed?
The organic seed industry is at the same time especially vulnerable to transgenic contamination and also a crucial link to reducing contamination. Organic seed, which by definition is free of genetically engineered (GE) contaminates, is the foundation of organic agriculture. Organic crops grown with contaminated seed will inevitably yield a contaminated crop. GE contamination, however trace, is unacceptable.

Compromised organic seed integrity has broad-reaching impacts on the viability of organic farms and the credibility of organic products. Organic farmers also risk the threat of patent litigation in the face of contamination. In order to limit GE presence in organic seed, growers need to become educated about best practices for contamination avoidance.

Ensuring the Integrity of Organic.
The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association has produced a manual, entitled Protecting Organic Seed Integrity: The Organic Farmer’s Handbook to GE Avoidance and Testing, to serve as a one-stop tool to help farmers, as well as seed handlers and seed companies, maintain genetic purity in organic seed, as well as organic food crops. Continue reading

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pesticide database

An incredible resource for information about pesticides, particularly the ones you see the containers of laying in the field near your house…pesticides

PAN Pesticides Database

The Pesticide Product Search page allows you search for formulated pesticide products. Formulated pesticide products typically contain mixtures of active ingredients and other ingredients. Active ingredients are listed on the labels of all U.S. pesticide products. If you wish to search for individual chemical active ingredients, use the Chemical Search Page. The Pesticide Product search page allows you to search for 376,798 current and historic U.S. registered pesticide products – these include 92,240 ‘parent’ products and an additional 284,558 products which are simply repackaged versions of the original product. Some of the most popular product searches are for: Roundup UltraDursban ProRaid Ant & Roach KillerWeed & FeedAdvantage 100Diazinon 50 WPParaquat Concentrate ESCarbofuran TechnicalDemand CS InsecticideSevin 10 Dust, and Mancozeb Fungicide.

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an mba student’s guide to entrepreneurship (because farmers are entrepreneurs)

Dreaming of starting a farm? Running a farm business? You don’t need an MBA to start a farm venture, but this online entrepreneurship guide does help shine light on the basics of starting a successful business. Included are free web resources to help you get off the ground. It’s worth a look.

Farm Business



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new data!

The 2012 Agriculture Census is out.  Download the PDF: 2012 Census.
It’s jam-packed with interesting statistics, so dig in! 

Screen shot 2014-02-26 at 10.39.40 AM



• Fewer female operators

• More minority operators

• Average age of farm operators continues to increase

• Fewer beginning operators

• Fewer small farms

• More reported farming as their primary occupation


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