In this edition:
Sustainable Agriculture Conference (Early Bird Registration Opens July 16th)
Farm Bill 2012 – Updates and Calls to Action
Keeping Deer Out of the Garden
Barn Storm Tour Rolls Into Columbia, SC THIS WEEKEND (7/14 & 15)
Come visit us at the All Local Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning and afterwards hang out at City Roots Farm for a Local Food Meet-Up. Then, Sunday afternoon we’ll be at the The Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival.
> For more Barn Storm Tour stops and to volunteer, visit www.carolinafarmstewards.org/bst
Learn to Cook Local with Mary Haglund of Breakfast of Course! (Mary’s Too)
Tuesday, July 24th 6:00pm-8:00pm
Forsyth County Agriculture Building, 1450 Fairchild Road, Winston-Salem NC
> The last class taught by Mary sold out! Get your tickets today! https://netforum.avectra.com/eWeb/Shopping/Shopping.aspx?Site=CFSA&WebCode=Shopping&cart=0
NC Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council Meeting
July 26 from 1-4 pm at the Martin Building at the State Fairgrounds
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture’s High Country Farm Tour
Aug. 4-5, 2012
Tour local, sustainable farms and discover the delicious meat, dairy, fruits, fish, and veggies produced right in the High Country! CFSA is a proud sponsor of the High Country Farm Tour.
> Learn more about buy your tickets at: http://farmtour.brwia.org/index.html
Social Media for Farmers Workshops
Aug. 14, 2012 in Winston-Salem
Aug. 16, 2012 in Pittsboro
9:00-4:00pm both dates (workshops cover the same material; no need to sign up for both!)
Want to harness the power of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to reach new customers and grow your farm business?
You won’t want to miss this all-day hands-on workshop designed especially for farmers and taught by social media experts, Johanna Kramer (@durhamfoodie) and Cary and Grace Kanoy (GeoCore Films).
You will leave this workshop with a fully-functioning Facebook and Twitter page (or upgrade your existing pages), the skills to shoot your own short farm video using your cell phone, camera, or camcorder, and the training to take better farm photos. Limited to 25 participants!
Cost: ONLY $10!
> Space is limited. Register today! http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/social-media-for-farmers/
This workshop is hosted by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association in partnership with Know Your Farms, BRWIA, BioBusiness Center and Laboratory, Mountain BizWorks, Blue Ridge Food Ventures, Center for Environmental Farming Systems, NC Cooperative Extension, the 10% Campaign, and Food Corps with funding from the Golden LEAF Foundation.
Eastern Triangle Farm Tour
Sept. 15-16, 2012
Mark your calendar for the 7th Annual Eastern Triangle Farm Tour on September 15 and 16. We are pleased to be once again featuring two dozen beautiful farms in the areas north, east and south of Durham and Raleigh. Think Holly Springs, Bunn, Louisburg, Franklinton, Wake Forest, Rougemont and Bahama. We’ll also have urban farms and gardens in Durham and Raleigh. The tour focuses on teaching where our food comes from and how to grow in harmony with nature.
This year, we are pleased to be offering three special and free classes as a part of the tour:
- Frank Hyman will be teaching about fall vegetable gardens,
- Bountiful Backyards will do a talk on fruit trees, and
- Bob Davis we be reprising his popular urban chicken class from last year.
We want to thank Whole Foods Market for their very generous financial support –they are co-sponsors of the tour.
> Tickets and full info will be available starting in late July – early August at the new carolinafarmstewards.org.
Know Your Farm’s Charlotte Area Farm Tour
Sept. 15-16, 2012
CFSA is a proud partner in this year’s 4th Annual Charlotte Area Farm Tour! The tour brings together thousands of people to celebrate local farms and farmers. During September 15 & 16, 2012 over 40 working farms will open their doors to the public to showcase what they do. Load up the car and visit farms on Saturday and Sunday. They’ll be farm fresh meals before and during the tour and a fun Saturday morning cycling event!
> For all the details and to buy your advance tickets, visit http://knowyourfarmstour.com/
Sustainable Agriculture Conference
Oct. 26-28, 2012 in downtown Greenville, SC
EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION OPENS ON JULY 16th!!
The Sustainable Agriculture Conference is the premier forum for networking and education for local and organic agriculture in our region, and features 50+ cutting edge and practical workshops on horticulture, livestock, farm businesses, soils, grains, food culture and more.
Planning for the 27th Sustainable Agriculture Conference (October 26 – 28) is well underway. We get more excited each time we travel to Greenville, SC to prep. Greenville has one of the nicest downtowns in the Southeast and CFSA-ers are in for a treat. Believe it or not, there are over fifty restaurants and night spots within walking distance of our hotel. This is going to be a delight for all our foodies. On top of that, Greenville’s riverfront park is jaw-dropping and just a short walk from the hotel.
The food at the conference is always something special and this year will be no different. We are pleased that Kris Reid is again our food coordinator – she is busy reaching out to farmers and suppliers for this year’s tasty meals. Kris’ work on the food for our 2011 conference was recently featured in Convene magazine. (http://content.yudu.com/A1wpej/ConveneMay2012/resources/60.htm) Convene is the publication of the national event planners association and reaches a large and influential audience. Go Kris!
For this year, we were excited to hear two items regarding our Hyatt Hotel hosts. A May 31 report on NPR noted that the Hyatt Hotel chain has announced that it will soon purchase only sustainably-raised meats, eggs and dairy. They are the first large hotel chain to take this step. In addition, the Greenville Hyatt is converting its hotel restaurant into a farm to table eatery called Rooster. Needless to say, the Hyatt’s chef is excited to be working with Kris.
Besides the setting and the food, what else might entice you to join us this year? How about a wonderful array of awesome workshops and tours!? This year we are honored to be bringing in top farming trainers like Michael Phillips, Ellen Polishuk, Paw Dawling and Ron Morse. In addition, we are scheduling sessions on all the topics you want: small-scale livestock, permaculture, pollinators, food justice, cooking, gardening and soils. We’ve added some new areas this year: aquaculture, international exchanges, farm tourism, climate-proofing farms and raw milk! We have three hands-on classes this year – chicken tractoring, mushrooms and worms. On the policy front, we have lined up representatives from the National Sustainable Ag Coalition, the Organic Seed Alliance and FoodCorps. How to choose?!
On Friday, look for six mobile tours this year, including a Community Garden Tour. Plus, we’ve got no less than nine pre-conference classes, including an off-site all day class at Parson Produce and a half day class at Mushroom Mountain. These classes will likely sell-out.
> All the details at our new website! http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/sac/
Thanks to everyone who has helped with the conference planning so far! A special thanks to the great folks at Clemson for their support. We also appreciate the wonderful participation of helpers from NCSU, NCA&T and CEFS.
Local Foods Feast & Keynote!
Save the Date: CFSA Local Foods Feast, 6:30 pm, Friday, Oct 26, 2012
Hyatt Regency, Greenville, SC
Want to do more to support local food and organic farms? Want to enjoy amazing, local organic food?
Be part of the CFSA Local Foods Feast. This magical, mouthwatering meal made with only the best in-season, sustainably grown ingredients supplied by local farms is one of the highlights of CFSA’s annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference.
The evening features keynote speaker Debra Eschmeyer – FoodCorps founder and recipient of the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in recognition of her school food reform efforts. A go-to expert on food systems and policy, Debra is also an organic farmer and a phenomenal speaker!
The Feast can be purchased without registering for the full conference (registration opens July 16th). Proceeds from the event support the CFSA’s work to help sustainable family farms thrive in the Carolinas.
- Thank you to Slow Food Upstate and Whole Foods Market for their generous support of this event! Whole Foods Market and Slow Food Upstate Earth Market are Bountiful Local Food Feast Sponsors. Earth Markets are part of a worldwide NETWORK of farmers’ markets respecting the SLOW FOOD philosophy. Learn more about how you can sponsor the Feast below!
Local Food Feast Sponsorships Available
Support your local farmers by becoming a Local Foods Feast Sponsor. Contact Alice Alexander or call 919-824-4799. All sponsors will be recognized in our promotions.
$1,000 – Local Foods Feast Bountiful Sponsor – Table of 10, and CFSA membership; OR 4 tickets and one conference scholarship for a young farmer, and CFSA membership
$500 – Local Foods Feast Abundant Sponsor – 4 tickets, and one year CFSA membership
$250 – Local Foods Feast Plentiful Sponsor – 2 tickets, one year CFSA membership
$50 general tickets for non-conference participants will be available August 1st.
Sustainable Agriculture Conference – Partnership Opportunities
For more info contact Alice Alexander.
Conference Sponsorship and Exhibitor Opportunities
Gain recognition as part of the growing sustainable agriculture success story! In addition to being front and center at the conference, sponsors enjoy promotions via publications, media, web links, and social media that reach another 45,000 consumers in the Carolinas.
> Contact Alice before Sept. 1, 2012.
Provide young farmers an invaluable educational and networking opportunity. Given the increasing average age of farmers (58 and climbing), for the Carolinas to maintain a viable agricultural industry, every effort must be made to encourage and educate new generations of farmers.
A charitable gift of $250 provides registration and meal events for one young farmer.
> Contact Alice for more details or to donate.
Interested in a Scholarship to the Sustainable Agriculture Conference?
Are you a beginning farmer or rancher with less than 10 years’ experience? Would you like to attend the Sustainable Agriculture Conference (Oct 26-28, 2012, Greenville), and could benefit from financial assistance? CFSA wants to expand our offerings of conference scholarships by approaching county farm bureaus, who might appreciate the resources and networking opportunities the conference could provide to a young or beginning farmer in their district. CFSA can solicit county farm bureaus on your behalf, to ask for scholarship funds for you to attend from your county. Last year we were pleased to receive $500 in support from the Wake County (NC) Farm Bureau.
> If you are interested, please email Alice and provide to me:
- A very short profile of you and your farming experience and future plans
- Your local Farm Bureau, and if you have any contacts on staff or the board
- Have you been to a CFSA conference before – when, and were you on a scholarship?
A limited number of scholarships will also be available through CFSA’s Growing Green Farmers initiative, with generous funding support from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). More details coming soon!
Barn Storm Tour for Local Food Hits More Than 35 Stops throughout Carolinas
With a summer harvest in full swing, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association launched its first Barn Storm Tour of the Carolinas last week. The tour sends two intrepid CFSA employees to more than 35 farmers markets and stops throughout North and South Carolina.
Our goal: to raise awareness about local, organic food and farming and build support for it in the 2012 Farm Bill!
Along the way, we’ll provide resources to help farmers, restaurateurs and food business owners grow their businesses. The tour’s goals include creating a more robust Local Food Finder (www.carolinalocalfood.org), CFSA’s new one-stop website for finding local food, farms, food artisans, food trucks and restaurants. Consumers can search for local food purveyors based on location or specified search term and will be directed to full farm, restaurant and shop profiles with details on how to buy their goods.
Another focus of the tour is the 2012 Farm Bill, a piece of federal legislation that is revamped every five years, affecting food in a myriad of ways that includes farms, both big and small, and federal assistance programs like SNAP benefits. Just last week the US Senate passed its version of the bill, but there is much work still to be done to ensure that this massive piece of legislation helps rather than hinders local, sustainable agriculture.
“People don’t think they can make a difference in big legislation, but they can,” says Jared Cates, CFSA’s Community Mobilizer. “Calling your representative is easy, and gives you a direct way to affect the local food system for the better. These representatives need to hear from North and South Carolinians to ensure that sustainable agriculture priorities are part of the bill.”
The House bill includes direct spending cuts of $35 billion, about $11 billion more than the Senate-passed bill. The bill is set to be addressed by the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee tomorrow, July 11.
At each stop on the tour, CFSA will be collecting local food stories that show just how much farmers and food businesses grow and support the local economy – and why consumers should buy local and organic. “The big idea behind this tour is to tell those powerful local food and farming stories that will inspire more people to support sustainable agriculture,” says Victoria Bouloubasis, Barn Storm Tour Coordinator. Stay tuned to the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association blog, www.carolinafarmstewardsblog.org, for new Barn Storm Tour local food stories all summer.
The tour features CFSA-sponsored community meetups at each stop, such as a very successful and casual Meet Your Urban Farmer event at Durham’s Fullsteam Brewery on July 8. (Read all about it at http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/19237086/article-City-farmers-hold-meeting?instance=search_results) They’ll allow for farmers and food artisans to showcase their hard work, and for conscious consumers to learn how to become more involved and supportive of these efforts.
> Find out when the Barn Storm Tour rolls into your town, how to volunteer and more at www.carolinafarmstewards.org/bst.
This coming weekend we’re heading down the road to Columbia, SC. Come visit us at the All Local Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning and afterwards hang out at City Roots Farm for a Local Food Meet-Up. Then, Sunday afternoon we’ll be at the The Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival. We’re excited about coming to SC and talking to folks about local foods and CFSA! https://www.facebook.com/events/418511904857221/
www.carolinafarmstewards.org Gets an Upgrade
CFSA unveiled its new and improved website in June! Now, we serve our members and web visitors better with a cleaner, easier-to-navigate design, enhanced resources in our new web toolbox, upgraded Internship Referral Service listings, advanced event calendars and an archive for our eNews and newsletters!
> Check out the new site and let us know what you think by emailing Amy Armbruster, CFSA’s Communications Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CFSA’s Local Food Finder Launches this Summer
We are excited to announce that we are adding new features to our popular online Local Food Finder this summer. CFSA’s Local Food Finder makes it easy for new customers to find local, sustainably grown food. Listings will now feature more than just contact information and product descriptions. Farms, farmers’ markets, restaurants, artisan food businesses and more can showcase their businesses with these enhanced options:
- photos and videos
- links to social media, such as Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, or Flickr albums
- show just how local you are on our interactive Google Map
- login anytime to update your listing
- And best of all, you can link your listing with other listings on the Food Finder. So, even if you do not sell your products directly to consumers, you can let people know which restaurants, co-ops, or stores carry them!
If you are in North or South Carolina and your business or organization is a part of the local, sustainably grown food movement, you need a listing on CFSA’s Local Food Finder!
> Add or upgrade your existing listing today! http://localfood.carolinafarmstewards.org/profile.php
> Check out the new Local Food Finder as we add new listings and upgrade old ones all this summer at www.carolinalocalfood.org.
The Local Food Finder upgrade was funded by a grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation.
- Check out the Local Food Finder iPhone app. It’s 99 cents and proceeds benefit CFSA. http://itunes.apple.com/app/nc-sc-farm/id357413311?mt=8
Cobblestone Markets Honored as One of America’s Best!
We are honored and thrilled that the Old Salem Cobblestone Farmers Market was recently named one of America’s Best Farmer’s Markets by US News! Read the story and learn about other wonderful farmer’s markets in the nation here: http://travel.usnews.com/features/Americas_Best_Farmers_Markets/
And, the Cobblestone Farmers’ Market Downtown and the Old Salem Cobblestone Farmers’ Market received Best Farmers’ Market in Winston-Salem by Smitty’s Best!
The Markets are run by Cultivate Piedmont, a program CFSA.
More Exciting Cobblestone Market News
Cobblestone Farmers Markets now accept WIC vouchers through the Farmers Market Nutrition Program! Not only are both our Tuesday Downtown Market and Saturday Old Salem Market set up to accept WIC vouchers, but through the generosity of the Winston-Salem Foundation, we are able to provide matching funds for each WIC voucher spent, doubling the amount of money WIC participants can spend on fresh, healthy local food!
> Visit the information tent at either market location or email Adrienne Outcalt, Program Manager for Cultivate Piedmont to learn more.
And finally, Learn to Cook Local, the cooking class series focused on preparing seasonal, local meals taught by local chefs is back! Also back by popular demand is instructor Mary Haglund of Breakfast of Course! (Mary’s Too). Mary is a regular market goer and has been doing farm to table at her restaurant long before it was cool. Breakfast of Course! was also recently featured in the Huffington Post as a destination point in the Yadkin Valley wine region. Her last class sold out, so make sure you sign up soon! Pre-registration is required.
Learn to Cook Local with Mary Haglund of Breakfast of Course! (Mary’s Too)Tuesday, July 24th 6:00pm-8:00pm
Forsyth County Agriculture Building, 1450 Fairchild Road, Winston-Salem NC
ORGANIC AND TRANSITIONING FARMER SURVEY RESULTS!
Thank you to all that participated in our recent Organic and Transitioning Farmer Survey. Your responses were carefully reviewed and will be used to guide our future work developing resources for organic farmers in the Carolinas.
Here are a few highlights from the survey:
There were 125 responses to the survey, with about 2/3 from North Carolina and 1/3 from South Carolina. Just over 1/4 of respondents were from certified organic operations.
The greatest number of participants (76%) grow vegetables commercially, with small fruits, eggs, livestock for meat, and flowers coming in next.
A majority of respondents (50% cert. organic, 73% non-cert) identified certification cost as being one of the most challenging/prohibitive aspects in the certification process.
Please be aware that cost-share money is available through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program to cover up to 75% of certification costs up to $750. This federal program is administered by each state’s Department of Agriculture and is non-competitive. Fill out the paperwork and get reimbursed!
- NC farmers can find more information and forms at the bottom of the following page: http://www.ncagr.gov/markets/commodit/horticul/ncorganics/
- SC farmers can find forms labeled as “Organic Application” and “Organic Application W-9 Form” at: http://agriculture.sc.gov/forms
- National Organic Program details on cost-share:
Once your farm becomes organic certified, you can send an in your application along with a W-9 Form, proof of certification and receipt of your certification fees to the following contacts:
Amy London & Fred Broughton
SC Dept of Agriculture
Wade Hampton Office Building, 5th Floor
1200 Senate Street
Columbia, SC 29201
E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
The time it takes to keep records necessary to obtain organic certification was another major challenge for certified organic growers (68%) and a deterrent to non-certified growers (59%). Surprisingly, 75% of respondents spent 2 hours or less a week on record keeping.
CFSA will be working on developing user-friendly computer software to help streamline farmers’ effort to keep detailed records. In the meantime, check out the record keeping templates and examples available on our website for recording field activities: http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/record-keeping/
INTERPRETING NATIONAL ORGANIC PROGRAM (NOP) REGULATIONS:
43% of non-certified respondents have trouble understanding NOP regulations.
This is understandable since the regulations are a “moving target” as describe by one organic inspector, constantly being revised and updated. But it is possible to keep up to date with changes that are made. Visit the NOP website and sign up to receive their Organic Insider updates which inform you about important revisions and news within the NOP: http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin/ea?v=001tanuLSmJHqsq1D840Z7eyw%3D%3D
To read the NOP regulations and other helpful information, visit their main webpage: NOP
CFSA’s Karen McSwain has recently put together an excellent resource, an Organic Production Handbook which is available for free download on our website.
In it you will find a section dedicated to breaking down the jargon of the National Organic Program regulations to help you understand the guiding principles behind organic production. It also features a step-by-step guide to the certification process.
MOST DAMAGING PESTS AND WEEDS:
The top 10 pests from survey responses: Deer, squash bugs, flea beetles, aphids, stink bugs, cucumber beetles, Colorado potato beetles, bean beetles, cabbage worms, squash vine borers,
Top 5 Weeds: Amaranths (pigweed, spiny, calalou, etc.), Bermuda grass, Johnson grass, nutsedge, chickweed
Diseases: Downy mildew, powdery mildew, late blight, fire blight
We will keep you posted on upcoming training sessions for farmers interested in transitioning to certified organic production and the release of our Organic Transition Handbook that is being compiled in the coming months. Thanks again for participating in the survey! If you have any other questions about the results or need some direction in beginning the organic certification process, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
> If you would like to join our email list to receive updates, please email email@example.com with ”Transitioning Farmer Interest List” in the subject line.
Carolina Ground Receives Grant from the Community Foundation of WNC to Continue Work to Keep Our Food Dollars in the Carolinas
by Jennifer Lapidus, CFSA’s Organic Grains Program Coordinator
On the milling front, we have some very exciting news: the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) has awarded CFSA a significant grant for Carolina Ground. This investment will enable Carolina Ground to hire a miller and continue to support a general manager as the mill becomes self-sustaining. Additionally, this support will enable us to continue the important outreach to bakeries and restaurants throughout Western NC and beyond — keeping our food dollars in the Carolinas. This funding support comes from the foundation’s Food and Farming Initiative. Carolina Ground meets several of the goals of CFWNC’s Food and Farming Initiative, including revitalizing a North Carolina-based grain economy, supporting the profitability of bakeries and artisan bakers, encouraging the development of a food system that values local food and offers employment opportunities, and promoting and supporting an emerging community-based project. The Foundation was impressed with our success in bringing small bakeries together to become a formidable buyer for Carolina growers, which soon morphed into identifying other grain and potential grain users. The groundwork laid that enabled the launch of Carolina Ground also paved the way for the Riverbend Malt House, a newly launched malt house in WNC connecting Carolina brewers with Carolina-grown and malted barley. We have proven that our community is willing to engage in their future, and that we can create new models of sustainable production in our own backyards.
Carolina Ground is a small-scale grain milling and storage operation in Asheville supplying artisan bakers with high-quality, stone-ground, Carolina-grown organic bread flour. Carolina Ground is an initiative of CFSA’s Organic Bread Flour Project, which aims to create a model approach to regional processing from grain to loaf.
We are so pleased to be partnering with the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina on this project and look forward to achieving our mutual goals.
> Keep up with Jennifer and mill at the Carolina Ground blog: http://ncobfp.blogspot.com/2010/10/carolina-ground-l3c.html
CFSA’s Roland McReynolds Wins Prestigious Fellowship
CFSA Executive Director Roland McReynolds has been awarded a prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship. The fellowship program is sponsored by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a non-partisan American public policy and grantmaking institution dedicated to promoting better understanding and cooperation between North America and Europe. This month Roland is visiting European countries including Germany, Montenegro, Turkey and Greece, and he will be meeting with farmers and ag policy makers there to learn about how those countries are preparing for a sustainable food future. For a fascinating example of how the current European financial crisis is driving food system change, take a look at this article on Greece’s ‘Potato Movement.’ Roland is excited and honored to be representing CFSA and local, organic agriculture on this trip.
A Record-breaking Crowd Flocked to Upstate Farm Tour
With sunny skies, a soft breeze, and mild temperatures, Mother Nature smiled upon the 2012 Upstate Farm Tour and helped CFSA deliver the most successful South Carolina farm tour in the event’s six year history.
Sixteen hundred tour guests enjoyed the tour in record numbers, making over 6,600 tour visits over the weekend! Within one hour of the tour, Chef Joe Fredette of Summa Joe’s restaurant had served one hundred farm-fresh meals under the shade trees of Split Creek Farm, while by Sunday evening, not crumb of Lisa Marvel’s scrumptious strawberry pies remained at the Red Fern Farm dessert stop.
Families enjoyed hayrides, baby animals, creek-side picnicking, as well as the banjo sing-a-long at Huckleberry Farm, where farmer Cole Blumer composed an original barnyard song just for the tour! Home gardeners and aspiring farmers took home tips and inspiration from some of the most successful and acclaimed sustainable producers in the state, and guests went home with coolers full of farm-fresh produce, meats, and dairy products, as they took advantage of a fun weekend to discover and connect with local food sources.
CFSA would like to thank our co-sponsor, Whole Foods Market, whose partnership and support make the Upstate Farm Tour possible. Thanks, too, to the countless friends who helped promote the tour, and the incredible volunteers and volunteer supervisors whose contributions are invaluable. Our appreciation also to Slow Food Upstate who helped bring the educational component of the tour to a new level, and to tour photographer, Emma Hauser, who so beautifully documented the event.
> Check out her excellent photos on our facebook page (and like us while you’re there!): http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.427348723952982.92624.109053382449186&type=3
Deepest thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy the event, and to our participating farms that are so deserving of our appreciation and celebration.
> Plan to join us Oct. 26th on one of the 4 fun farm tours planned as part of the Sustainable Agriculture pre-Conference (http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/preconference/)
> And save the date: June 1 & 2, 2013 for the seventh annual Upstate Farm Tour!
Farm Bill 2012 – Updates and Calls to Action
The Farm Bill is a massive piece of legislation that comes up every five years or so, and sets US policy for everything from food stamps and school lunches, to soil and water conservation, to subsidies for growing certain crops, to beginning farmer support programs, and so much more. For the first time in decades, there are proposals on the table that would make comprehensive reforms to this law. We have a chance to make history.
This past week the Senate finished its work on the 2012 Farm Bill. There was bi-partisan support for a number of positive amendments, including provisions for increased research on organic production and a number of programs supporting farmers markets and local food producers.
While the Senate has finished its work on the Farm Bill for the time being, the House has delayed committee markup by a few weeks. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Lucas (R-OK) had been planning to hold markup this week but announced that markup has been pushed back to July 11. The decision came after discussions with Majority Leader Cantor (R-VA), who says he wants to “push the pause button” on the bill and assess the political situation.
CFSA is supporting two bills that have been included in the Senate version of the bill. These bills, the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act (bill no. HR 3286 in the House of Representatives, S 1773 in the Senate) and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act (HR 3236/S 1850), together would make huge strides in reforming the Farm Bill.
These two bills will:
▪ Make it easier for farms to go organic
▪ Enable access to land, credit, and crop insurance for new farmers
▪ Help new producers become good land stewards
▪ Provide training, mentoring, and research that beginning farmers and ranchers need to be successful
▪ Support jobs and economic opportunities in local and regional food markets
▪ Improve processing and distribution infrastructure for local and regional agriculture
▪ Expand access to healthy food for consumers, including underserved communities
▪ Protect minority and women farmers from government discrimination
▪ And achieve many other needed reforms
We can thank Rep. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina for signing on as a co-sponsor of both bills!
Rep. David Price has signed on to the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act, and Rep. Larry Kissell has signed on to the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act.
Call your Representative and tell them to sign on and support these bills! Find their contact info here. The House leadership needs to know that voters want a Farm Bill this year.
CFSA will continue to keep sending out updates as the House Committee begins its work. Assuming passage of a bill out of Committee by July 13, attention from grassroots organizations across the nation will be squarely focused on the House Republican leadership. To date, they have shown very little interest in taking up the farm bill this year, even though the current farm bill expires on September 30. With so little time left, and with the House in session the month of August and big chunks of September, floor time for the farm bill will be difficult to come by. Whether there is a 2012 Farm Bill or not will largely rest in the hands of the top House Republican leadership.
North Carolina Legislative Round-Up
The NC General Assembly concluded its “short session” work before the July 4th holiday. While most of the session’s work and debate revolved around adjustments to the state budget for fiscal year 2012, which starts July 1, 2012, the legislature considered a couple of issues that are of interest to the local food crowd:
The NC Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council was reathorized until July 2015 by S491. The bill passed the House with a strong majority and passed the Senate with unanimous bi-partisan support. A special thanks to Senator Rouzer and Representative Dixon for their leadership in support of this bill. The Governor signed the bill into law on June 26.
S820, a bill to legalize hydraulic fracturing for natural gas extraction, was vetoed by the Governor on July 1. The General Assembly voted to override the veto on July 2, making the Clean Energy and Economic Security Act law. The vote to override her veto of the fracking bill was 29-13 in the Senate and 72-47 in the House.”It’s disappointing that the leaders in (the) General Assembly would allow fracking without ensuring that adequate protections will be in place for drinking water, landowners, county and municipal governments, and the health and the safety of families in North Carolina,” Perdue said in a statement. “I hope the General Assembly will re-visit this issue and strengthen the safeguards before fracking begins.”
The Rural Advancement Foundation-International (RAFI) has been tracking this issue closely and you can find more information on their website about how this new law may affect landowners rights in NC. Check out their latest blog about the bill here (http://www.rafiusa.org/blog/house-fracking-bill-leaves-gaps-in-landowner-protections/) and here (http://www.rafiusa.org/blog/three-ways-that-s-820-violates-your-private-property-rights/). Also, information for landowners can be found on our mineral rights page here (http://www.rafiusa.org/gaslease.html).
Keeping Deer Out of the Garden
Eric Soderholm, Organic Transition Coordinator
Deer are undoubtedly one of the most serious pests for farmers here in the Carolinas. There is nothing more aggravating than waking up to find that, in the course of one night, an entire field has been mowed down by a herd of hungry foragers. Although pressure from deer is somewhat unpredictable, a number of factors may cause deer populations to rise including mild winter conditions, reduction of nearby habitat and fewer active hunters or natural predators in the region. To avoid substantial economic loss, there are a number of options to ward off deer and it is worth investigating what works best for your farm or garden before investing in any particular method. Here are few tips I have learned from other farmers and found to be somewhat successful:
- A hungry deer will eat almost anything, but there are particular vegetable crops that are more desirable such as lettuce, greens, legume crops, the tops of root crops, sweet potato leaves, etc. Without significantly disrupting crop rotations, try to plant these more palatable crops further away from wooded edges or fallow, unmanaged areas. It may also be wise to plant a buffer of summer cover crops and less tasty crops on the exterior rows of a field. Additionally, deer will be less likely to browse on crops that are nearer to buildings where there is higher human and vehicular traffic.
- Floating row cover is effective at excluding deer from the crops they like best. Using wire hoops, you can protect crops by covering them during peak deer feeding time: overnight. If you use this method, make it part of your daily routine or designate a member of your family/crew to cover in the evening and uncover first thing in the morning.
- Be creative and experiment with various natural deer repellents. Some farmers make arrangements with local barber shops or dog groomers to pick up discarded hair to spread on the perimeter of fields. Others stick whole bars of soap on rebar posts in and around vulnerable crops. If you slaughter poultry on your farm, it could be useful to collect and dilute blood to pour around your gardens. Before using any repellents, read and research the ingredients to be sure it is not harmful to the environment. If you are certified organic, check with your certifying agent before using any repellents to be sure you are in compliance with NOP regulations.
- If deer pressure is extremely high or unpredictable, fencing in your garden or vegetable fields may be your only option. Depending on which methods you choose, this can be very costly. Keep in mind that deer are excellent jumpers and, if desperate enough, can clear fences unless they are very tall. Many farmers site vulnerable crops inside 10-12’ woven wire or multi-line high tensile fences. However, you might be surprised to find a low positioned, single hot wire is enough to scare off deer. Described below is my take on an innovative single wire system being used by Jimmy Livingston, of Wabi Sabi Farm in South Carolina, to keep a voracious deer population out of his 1-acre garden:
- Mow the perimeter of your garden very low and keep it well groomed to avoid a fence short out. Set your corners on the fence using rebar posts with electric fence insulators at a height of about 10”. Then, cut 2” PVC pipe into 1.5’ sections and pound the pipe sections into the ground at regular intervals (about 8” deep) around the perimeter of the field using a rubber mallet. Drill a ¼” hole near the top of each pipe. Run a light gauge electric wire through each of the pipes and the corners posts and tighten it using a ratchet tensioner, being careful not to over tighten and break the wire. Connect the wire to a plug-in or solar fence changer. Jimmy claims that the deer will tear it down for the first week, and then they will stay clear. Deer tend to either browse into the wire and get popped on the face or they just step into it when emerging from the cover of nearby woods.
> Keeping deer out of productive fields is an ongoing battle. If you have found other methods to be effective in your own garden, please share them with Eric to be added to our growing library of resources in the For Growers section of our new website.
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