For Growers

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NEW! Southeast Organic Seed and Variety Trials Report 

CFSA’s Southeast Organic Seed and Variety Trial Report was developed to support organic growers in two ways: to increase access to variety trials results and to provide a significant listing of organic seed purveyors.

 

NEW! Organic Input Finder 

Farmers have consistently identified the limited supply of organic agricultural inputs as one of the most significant obstacles to increasing organic crop production in the Carolinas. CFSA has done the legwork so you can find and purchase OMRI-listed and NOP-compliant organic inputs including OMRI-approved pesticides; organic dry or liquid fertilizers, potting mix, or cover crop seeds; organic and GMO-free hay and feed; or compost in the Carolinas?

 

NEW! SAMPLE FARM CAP 138

A Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) Supporting Organic Transition is a conservation plan outlining management practices that will assist producers/growers in the transition from conventional farming or ranching systems to an organic production system. 

 

NEW! Organic Enterprise Budgets

There are very few enterprise budgets for organic crops, particularly for fruit and vegetable crops. We are so excited to announce the release of ten enterprise budgets for organic fruit and vegetable production specific to the Carolinas! We feel these budgets are an important tool in helping producers make decisions about what crops to grow, how much to grow, and how to allocated their resources to meet their production goals.

 

Good Agricultural Practices for Small Diversified Farms: Tips and Strategies to Reduce Risk and Pass an Audit

NEW - Food Safety Videos

Many small-farm operators identify the food safety certification process as a roadblock to getting their fresh produce into food service, institutional and retail markets. Through a partnership with the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, North Carolina State University/North Carolina Cooperative Extension, the manual and supporting videos document real-world examples of how small, diversified farms can manage food safety risk without breaking the bank and without changing their crop production practices. Learn the tools and strategies to help your small, diversified produce farm sail through GAPs certification.

 

NEW: Record Keeping 

The National Organic Program’s record-keeping requirements are often cited as a barrier to certification. There are a number of commercially available record keep tools on the market and while many of them offer a free trial, we went ahead and reviewed them for you! We hope you find this information useful when thinking about purchasing software for your own use.

Also, check out a few of our favorite downloadable FREE recordkeeping templates!

 

 

Organic Produce Marketing Survey

This groundbreaking CFSA study finds a 7.3 Million gap between supply and demand for key organic crops.

 

Organic Transition Handbook for Produce Farmers

This handbook is designed to help farmers breeze through the organic certification process.  It includes key information about and resources on organic certification, recordkeeping, allowed and prohibited substances, developing an organic system plan, soil fertility and pest management, and marketing. 

 

CFSA Growing Your Local Food Business: A Guide to Laws and Regulations (2012)

South Carolina Regulatory Guide

North Carolina Regulatory Guide

A guide written for beginning and established farmers to help them understand the many federal and state laws and regulations that govern the production and sale of local foods. Specific sections provide outline requirements for farm-scale production and sale of meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, raw fruits & vegetables, honey, and low-risk manufactured foods (e.g., pickles and jams).

 

Organic and Non-GMO Feed and Hay Sources

Sourcing organic and non-GMO feed and hay for livestock is a major challenge for farmers and homesteaders alike. In response, we have assembled a list of farms and businesses that offer these products in the Carolinas.

 

Organic Production Handbook

This handbook includes invaluable information about organic practices, NOP regulations, EQIP conservation practices that support organic operations, organic nutrient management, ecological weed management, and a list of key resources for organic growers in the Carolinas.

 

Applying for the EQIP-Organic Initiative 

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) – Organic Initiative is a federal cost-share program to help organic and transitioning farmers implement conservation practices on their land. Read this informative page to learn about application requirements and deadlines, download necessary forms, and connect with NRCS Staff in the Carolinas.

 

Organic Carolinas Initiative

Learn about CFSAs commitment to increase organic farmers’ access to technical support, organic inputs, and marketing opportunities in the Carolinas.

 

Local Produce Safety Initiative

Are you a small-scale grower concerned about marketing to wholesale and institutional buyers that require GAP certification? Read about our efforts to make GAP certification practical and cost effective through training, cost share and a GAP manual in-development for small operations.

 

Internship Referral Service

Post your farm internship openings. Listing services are available to North Carolina and South Carolina CFSA farm members seeking interns.

 

Grower Events

Check out our Events Calendar for upcoming workshops, farm tours, our Sustainable Agriculture Conference and other grower-focused opportunities.

Open Farm Bill Grants

CFSA maintains this page as a service to our members and others to raise awareness of some USDA -funded grant opportunities that may be relevant to our members. We do not guarantee that the site provides information about all available grants for local, organic growers or processors. For a complete list of grants available from USDA, please visit grants.gov. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition also has a chart that provides a quick guide to Farm Bill related programs and grants, organized by issue and by who is eligible to apply or sign up.

 

Many of the Farm Bill services that are authorized directly to farmers are administered by local agencies and offices. Please contact your local Farm Services Agency office (NC, SC) or Natural Resource Conservation Service office (NC, SC) to inquire about grants and services available directly to farmers.

 

Grant

Agency

Eligibility

Close Date

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program

USDA , Farm Service Agency

Provides financial assistance to producers of noninsurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory or prevented planting occurs due to natural disasters. An eligible producer is a landowner, tenant or sharecropper who shares in the risk of producing an eligible crop and is entitled to an ownership share of that crop. The 2014 Farm Bill specifies that an individual or entity’s average adjusted gross income (AGI) cannot exceed $900,000 to be eligible for NAP payments. Check with your local FSA office for detailed eligibility information and to apply to the program.

Ongoing

Rural Economic Development Loan and Grants Program

Rural Development

Funding to support $38.6 million in loans and $9.2 million in grants is currently available. The commitment of program dollars will be made to applicants of selected responses that have fulfilled the necessary requirements for obligation. All applicants are responsible for any expenses incurred in developing their applications. Please contact your USDA Rural Development State Office to learn more about eligibility and applications.

Ongoing. 4:30 p.m. on the last business day of each month to be considered for funding in the following month.

Community Food Projects Grants Program

USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Eligible entities include public food program service providers, tribal organizations, or private nonprofit entities, including gleaners, meeting specific requirements as set out in the RFA. Among other requirements, applicants must have experience in one or more of the following areas: community food work, particularly concerning small and mid-sized farms, including the provision of food to low-income communities and the development of new markets in low income communities for agricultural producers; job training and business development experience for food related activities in low-income communities; or efforts to reduce food insecurity in the community, including food distribution, improving access to services, or coordinating services and programs.

3/17/2015

N.C. Specialty Crop Block Grants Program

USDA, N.C. Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services

NCDA&CS will accept grant requests ranging from $20,000 to $200,000 from nonprofit organizations, commodity associations, state and local government agencies, colleges and universities. Grants are not available for projects that directly benefit or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual.

3/27/2015

Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (Section 2501)

USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

The 2501 program provides grants to organizations that develop outreach programs and provide technical assistance to underserved farmers. Organizations that are eligible to apply for grant funding include: land grant institutions, tribal governments and organization, hispanic serving institutions, American Tribal Community Colleges, Alaska Native Cooperative Colleges, state controlled institutions of higher education, and community-based and non-profit organizations. Organizations must have demonstrated expertise in working with underserved, socially disadvantaged and/or veteran farmer communities.

4/13/2015

Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative

USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

1862 Land-Grant Institutions, 1890 Land-Grant Institutions, 1994 Land-Grant Institutions, For-profit Organizations Other Than Small Businesses, Other or Additional Information (See below), Private Institutions of Higher Ed, State Agricultural Experiment Stations, State Controlled Institutions of Higher Ed

4/30/2015

Farmers Market Promotion Program

USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service

All applicants under FMPP shall be domestic entities owned, operated, and located within the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The eligible entities are: Agricultural Businesses, Agricultural Cooperatives, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Networks, CSA Associations, Economic Development Corporations, Local Governments, Nonprofit Corporations, Producer Networks, Producer Associations, Public Benefit Corporations, Regional Famers Market Authorities, Tribal Governments

5/14/2015

Local Foods Promotion Program

USDA , Agricultural Marketing Service

Eligible entities may apply if they support local and regional food business enterprises that process, distribute, aggregate, or store locally or regionally produced food products. Such entities may include agricultural businesses, agricultural cooperatives, producer networks, producer associations, community supported agriculture networks, community supported agriculture associations, and other agricultural business entities (for-profit groups); nonprofit corporations; public benefit corporations; economic development corporations; regional farmers’ market authorities; and local and tribal governments

5/14/2015

S.C. Specialty Crops Block Grant Program

USDA , S.C. Department of Agriculture

SCDA will accept grant requests ranging from $20,000 to $200,000 from nonprofit organizations, commodity associations, state and local government agencies, colleges and universities. Grants are not available for projects that directly benefit or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual

5/15/2015

Farm To School Grant Program

USDA , Food and Nutrition Service

Funding is available to support school-based programs only. Eligible schools are considered pre-K-12 school food authorities (SFAs) that participate in the National School Lunch or Breakfast Programs and/or operate USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, Seamless Summer Option or Child and Adult Care Food Program on-site. Pre-K-12 non-profit private schools, charter schools, Indian tribal schools, and others that participate in the National School Lunch or Breakfast Programs, and/or operate USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, Seamless Summer Option or Child and Adult Care Food Program on-site, but are not associated with an SFA, are also eligible to apply. Eligible SFAs may apply for funding that spans the entire SFA, for a specific group of schools (e.g., only K-5 schools within an SFA), or for an individual school. In the case where an SFA exists, the application must come from the SFA and only one application per SFA is allowed.

Letter of Intent: 4/30/2015 Application: 5/20/2015

Specialty Crop Research Initiative

USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

1862 Land-Grant Institutions, 1890 Land-Grant Institutions, 1994 Land-Grant Institutions, For-profit Organizations Other Than Small Businesses, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS status, other than Institutions of Higher Ed, Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS status, other than Institutions of Higher Ed, Other or Additional Information (See below),Private Institutions of Higher Ed, Small Business, State Agricultural Experiment Stations, State Controlled Institutions of Higher Ed

7/2/2015

 

Organic Enterprise Budgets

Enterprise-Budgets-2013

UPDATED for 2015!

There are very few enterprise budgets for organic crops, particularly for fruit and vegetable crops. We feel these organic enterprise budgets are an important tool in helping organic producers make decisions about what crops to grow, how much to grow, and how to allocated their resources to meet their production goals.
 
CFSA has created organic enterprise budgets for 10 organic fruit and vegetables, with production specific to the Carolinas. These budgets were created in 2014 and updated in 2015 for even better performance and utility.

Learn More

Record Keeping

The National Organic Program’s record-keeping requirements are often cited as a barrier to certification.

There are a number of commercially available record keep tools on the market and while many of them offer a free trial, we went ahead and reviewed them for you! We hope you find this information useful when thinking about purchasing software for your own use.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT: Record Keeping Software

Learn More