Send an Organic Farmer to Washington, DC
Personal visits from farmers make a big difference in convincing legislators to embrace sustainable ag. More visits will be necessary as the Farm Bill moves forward—and you can help CFSA make it happen!
In this edition:
Piedmont Farm Tour – April 28-29
Upstate Farm Tour – June 2-3
Still a Few Seats Left: SC NxLevel Business Planning Course
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! CFSA On the Road.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program – APPLY NOW!
Our expert, Karen McSwain, is on hiatus until this summer. If you’re intested in writing a short article for this feature, email Amy!
FARM BILL UPDATE: Take Action to Support Two Important Local Food and Farm Bills
NCSU DEAN SEARCH:Continue NC State’s Tradition of Agriculture Research and Extension. Add Your Voice to the College of Ag. and Life Sciences (CALS) Dean Search!
JUST LABEL IT:Just Label It Campaign for GM Food Labels
|SAVE THE DATES :Cobblestone Farmers’ Market Opens – April 17Piedmont Farm Tour – April 28-29> Online tickets are available now at our online store.
Upstate Farm Tour
– June 2-3 Social Media for Farmers Workshops
NEW! August 14 – Forsyth County
August 16 – Chatham County
Sustainable Ag Conference – Oct 26 – 28, 2012 in Greenville, SC
*Note: Dates have changed due to requests by participants.
** Discounted registration now extended through March 11th, but spaces are limited so register now!
March 12 – April 30
Clemson University’s Institute for Economic and Community Development, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, and BizBuilderSC are offering NxLevel® for Agricultural Entrepreneurs beginning March 12, 2012. This eight week program offers new and established farmers and other food entrepreneurs the tools and resources to create and implement a plan for growth and success. NxLevel® for Agricultural Entrepreneurs is specifically designed for entrepreneurs interested in cultivating a stronger local food system and is ideal for urban/rural farmers, food artisans, chefs, value-added business owners, those involved in food media, agritourism, processors, retail, and farmers’ market managers.
This program is designed to help agriculture and food entrepreneurs hone the skills needed to create, manage and/or grow successful businesses. NxLevel® is a product offered through BizBuilderSC. Experienced entrepreneurs facilitate the programs, and guest speakers, specializing in session topics, supplement their knowledge. Topics include: business basics; planning & researching tools; legal issues including liability, taxes, and insurance; marketing; budgeting; financial analysis & resources; and more!
Additional guest speakers will cover issues related to sustainable agricultural production. The registration fee includes comprehensive learning materials, as well as resources to easily develop a professional business plan. Participants who actively engage in program activities will graduate with a professional business plan, ready to serve your farm or business!
Classes begin on March 12, 2012, and run for eight weeks; 5:30 – 8:00 pm, Monday evenings at the Pendleton Library, convenient to I-85. Class space is limited to 30, and the special discounted price of $145 is available until March 11th. To register, visit www.BizBuilderSC.com.
Leland Gibson of Gibson Farms in Westminster shares his experience with the NxLevel® program:
“When I signed up for the NxLevel Class, I was struggling to write a business plan for my farm. The class helped to break the business plan into workable sections and at the end of the class it was a simple matter of putting the information together into a very nice professional looking business plan. What I got out of the class went far beyond writing a business plan. The
contacts I made while attending this class are the true value of this class. The networking opportunities before, during, and after class, with both the class participants and the weekly speakers, help to foster new ideas for my farm and identify new markets for my products. I cannot think of any other venue where I could have met and networked with so many people
that had the knowledge to help me along in my journey in Sustainable Farming.“
This program is hosted by the Clemson Institute for Economic and Community Development and the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, in partnership with BizBuilderSC. This project is made possible with support from Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SAWG) and USDA’s Risk Management Agency. www.ssawg.org | www.rma.usda.gov/
Learn to Cook Local with Chef Jeff
Cultivate Piedmont continues its Learn to Cook Local cooking class series with Chef Jeff Bacon of Triad Community Kitchen. Learn to Cook Local is a series of monthly cooking classes in the Winston-Salem area taught by local chefs who are using local, seasonal food in their restaurants or businesses.
Triad Community Kitchen is a program of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwestern NC that offers a 10 week culinary training program to unemployed, underemployed or homeless individuals in addition to running a thriving catering business that uses locally sourced food whenever possible. Chef Jeff is a certified executive chef and the head of Triad Community Kitchen, as well as a dedicated community man. Cobblestone Farmer’s Market had the pleasure of hosting Triad Community Kitchen once a month for lunch at the market in its 2011 season. Regular market goers will remember Chef Jeff’s spicy watermelon barbecue sauce-yum!
We are thrilled to have Jeff as an instructor for our March class! He will be teaching how to cook late winter/early spring dishes with locally sourced ingredients.
When: Wednesday, March 14th from 6-8 pm
Where: Triad Community Kitchen at Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC
3655 Reed Street, Winston-Salem NC 27107
Cost: $20 per person
These classes are coordinated by Cultivate Piedmont, a program of CFSA and focus on seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms.
> To learn more, “like” the Cobblestone Farmers’ Market Facebook page.
Sign up Now for Summer Social Media for Farmers Workshops
These all-day hands-on workshops designed especially for farmers and taught by social media experts have been popular! All February and March workshops are now sold out, but there are plenty of seats available for the Aug. 14 (Winston-Salem) and Aug. 16 (Pittsboro) workshops. Snag your seat today to learn how to set up your Facebook page (or upgrade your existing page), develop the skills to shoot your own short farm video using your cell phone, camera, or iPad, and get the training to take better farm photos – everything you need to reach new customers and grow your farm business using social media!
Here’s what our workshop participants are saying about the class:
Fantastic workshop! Great ideas for photography and video. Set-up Facebook account at workshop and gained the confidence needed to utilize the site. Would not have had a Facebook account if it weren’t for this class. Also planning to set-up Twitter account based on information from this class. Thank you for offering this opportunity!
[Presenters] Johanna, Grace and Cary were awesome. They were very helpful and knowledgeable about the information they presented.
Loved the handouts and one on one interaction!
> Details and register at www.
These workshops are funded by a grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation and presented in partnership with BRWIA, Know Your Farms, BioBusiness Center, Blue Ridge Food Ventures, Mountain BizWorks, NC Cooperative Extension, CEFS, Food Corps and the 10% Campaign.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! CFSA On the Road
February is always a busy time of year for us, but this month CFSA staff have had the privilege of attending some outstanding events – across the Carolinas, and half-way across the country!
Here are some dispatches from our travels:
Putting Your Farmland to Work Conference in Warrenton, NC (Feb. 3)
Chad Ray (Chad Family Farms, Bunn NC) was the lunchtime presenter at this conference, and wow is he ever enthusiastic in his presentation! Our favorite quote: “When you buy food from local farmers do you know what they do? They spend it. Where you ask? They spend it at the tractor store, the local diner, the farm supply, the local garage, and many more places. Farmers probably better than any other business sector realize you can be the happiest, most fulfilled, and most successful by spending your money in the community that you live.”
As well as providing practical advice, Chad gave CFSA a great shout-out for helping him promote his business. Thanks, Chad!
ASAP Business of Farming Conference in Asheville, NC (Feb. 25)
“Thanks to all the great folks who stopped by CFSA’s table at the conference! We loved hearing from you. Great conference, ASAP!”
MOSES Organic Conference in Wisconsin (Feb. 23-25)
Fred Broadwell, CFSA’s Program Manager, just attended the MOSES Organic Conference in Wisconsin, the largest organic conference in North America with 3,300 people! He was there to gather ideas and meet people for our trainings here in the Carolinas. “Wisconsin has five times more organic farms than we do, so we can certainly learn from their example. Like in the Carolinas, the movement is very strongly pulling in young people. That was great to see!”
Shared Tables Symposium at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University (Feb. 28-29): CFSA’s Program Manager, Fred Broadwell, was the moderator for a lively panel discussion of Farming in North Carolina. Read more about the symposiums rock-star keynote speakers, Will Allen and Tom Philpott from our favorite Indy blogger, Victoria Bouloubasis: http://www.indyweek.com/BigBite/archives/2012/02/28/day-1-of-shared-tables-symposium-poses-bold-challenge
And, stop by our table and say hi at these upcoming events:
This weekend, we’ll be at the Organic Growers School in Asheville: http://www.organicgrowersschool.org/content/1505
And, then, we’re off to Clinton, SC for the first SC Organic Growing Conference, to be held on March 10, 2012, at Presbyterian College. Tracks, class descriptions, and instructors are listed at: http://www.scorganicliving.com
March 17-18, we’ll be exhibiting alongside Gibson Farms at the Spice of Life Food & Fitness Feast in Greenville, SC: http://www.spiceoflifefest.com/
Farm Selections Announced for the 2012 Upstate Farm Tour!
The sixth annual Upstate Farm Tour, scheduled for June 2nd & 3rd, will be bigger and better than ever, featuring a total of 25 sustainable farms. Our congratulations to this year’s participants:
- AgSouth Demonstration Farm – educating youth and communities on sustainable production and business practices
- Field & Flower – cut flowers
- Friends at the Farm – restaurant produce farm & kitchen
- Gibson Farm – certified organic beef
- Huckleberry Farm – exotic poultry breeders; eggs
- Timm’s Mill – historic water-powered grits mill
- Walker Century Farm – pastured beef & pork
- Bethel Trails Farm – diverse livestock including baby animals
- Bio-Way Farm – certified organic vegetables; useful plants
- Buffalo Farms – pastured, pure-bred bison
- Clemson Student Organic Farm – certified organic produce
- Early Bird Worm Farm – vermiculture; homestead farm
- Garden Delights – urban farming
- Greenbrier Farm – sheep; cattle; chickens; pigs; goats; vegetables
- The Happy Berry – blackberries, blueberries, grapes, figs
- Happy Cow Creamery- dairy cattle
- Hurricane Creek – hydroponic vegetables & herbs
- Live Oak Farm – heritage livestock; agricultural history center
- Lucky Acres – alpacas
- Milky Way Farm – raw milk dairy
- Mushroom Mountain – mushroom production & research
- Parson Produce – vegetables; herbs; honey
- Patient Wait Farm – pastured, heritage turkeys
- Red Fern Farm – lamb; wool; vegetables; herbs; bedding plants
- Split Creek Farm – goats; artisan cheese; goat milk products
Detailed tour information and passes will be available soon at www.. Tour directories and passes will also be available this spring at Whole Foods Market in Greenville, as well as other select locations across the Upstate.
Want to volunteer? Email CFSA regional coordinator, Diana Vossbrinck, as early as possible for your preferred choice of farm! diana@.
At last week’s very productive Board Meeting, CFSA elected new leadership and welcomed new board members. Congratulations to our new Board President, Jerry Dewitt! Thank you to Barbara Lawrence, our past President, who will be returning to her post as Treasurer. Paul Finkel continues as Assistant Treasurer. Our new VP is Frachelle Scott, our past Treasurer. And, Marnie Record will be our new Secretary. Thank you to our out-going Board Members, Amy Griner Stafford and L.D. Peeler for your many years of service. And welcome to our newest member, Daniel Parson!
2012 Board of Directors
Jerry Dewitt, President
Holly Springs, NC
Bethel Trails Farm
Gray Court, SC
Looking Back Farm
Tom Krebs, CPA
Laura Lengnick, Ph.D.
Warren Wilson College
Crooked Creek Farm
Old Fort, NC
Joey R. Preston
Elizabeth City, NC
The Green Sage Café
Live Oak Farms
Take the Southeast Seed Survey
by Brian Cricket Rakita, CFSA’s Saving Our Seeds Project Coordinator
I hope you are all having a productive winter. Let’s all hope for at least one good cold snap to break some of the life cycles of the insects that will soon be plaguing our farms.
The new forming Southeast Organic Seed Coop needs your help. To make this a success both for the partners and the growers of the region, they need to know what your seed needs are. Please, take a few minutes and go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SoutheastSeed to answer a few questions about what seeds you need.
Special thanks to our partners who helped CFSA provide Organic Production training to 140 Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) employees. We held three one- day trainings across the state to provide NRCS employees with organic production information they need in order to provide better financial and technical assistance to organic and transitioning growers. Partners included NC NRCS State Office employees, David Lamm with the NRCS Eastern Regional Tech Center, Tom Elmore of Thatchmore Farms, Sue Colluci from NCSU Cooperative Extension, Dr. Keith Baldwin from NC A&T, Dr. Chris Reberg-Horton from NCSU, Gerry Cohn from Organic Valley, and Steve Moore from Elon University. Special thanks to Organic Valley for sponsoring the training.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program – 2012 Initiatives
Get your applications in ASAP!The next batching date is March 30, 2012. That means, on that day, states will rank and send all applications to national headquarters to be approved. That means you NEED to start the application process NOW. In the past, states have been allocated a certain amount of money for the EQIP-OI program. That is no longer the case; contracts will be approved at the national level. The final batching date is June 1st. Contact your local NRCS office NOW to get the application process started.
For more information about the program and application process please visit CFSA’s website https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/eqip.shtml.
2012 Environmental Quality Incentives Program – Organic Initiative:
NRCS helps certified organic growers and producers working to achieve organic certification install conservation practices for organic production. New for fiscal year 2012, applicants will be evaluated continuously during the ranking periods. Applications meeting or exceeding a threshold score may be approved for an EQIP contract before the end of the ranking period. Applications rating below the threshold score will be deferred to the next period. A new threshold score will be established at the beginning of each ranking period. This new scoring process allows organic producers to implement conservation practices in a timelier manner.
2012 Environmental Quality Incentives Program – Seasonal High Tunnel Pilot Initiative:
NRCS helps producers plan and implement high tunnels, steel-framed, polyethylene-covered structures that extend growing seasons in an environmentally safe manner. High tunnel benefits include better plant and soil quality, fewer nutrients and pesticides in the environment, and better air quality due to fewer vehicles being needed to transport crops. More than 4,000 high tunnels have been planned and implemented nationwide through this initiative over the past two years.
*** NEW THIS YEAR — If you currently have a high tunnel that was NOT cost shared by NRCS you ARE EILIGIBLE to apply for one this year.
2012 Environmental Quality Incentives Program – On-Farm Energy Initiative:
NRCS and producers develop Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP) or farm energy audits that assess energy consumption on an operation. NRCS then uses audit data to develop energy conservation recommendations. Each AgEMP has a landscape component that assesses equipment and farming processes and a farm headquarters component that assesses power usage and efficiencies in livestock buildings, grain handling operations, and similar facilities to support the farm operation.
There are two new conservation practices that address energy.
1) Renewable Energy Systems (716) – develop systems to utilize renewable energy sources to meet on-farm energy needs including hydropower, solar and wind.
2) Farmstead Energy Improvements (374) – develop and implement improvements to reduce, or improve the energy efficiency of on-farm energy use.
HOWEVER, in order for you to qualify for them you must first have an Agriculture Energy Management Plan (AgEMP) completed by a Technical Service Provider certified by NRCS. They are offering cost share assistance to complete these under:
1) Ag. Energy Management Plan – Headquarters (122)
2) Ag. Energy Management Plan – Landscape (124)
If you apply for an AgEMP in 2012 you will then be eligible to apply for Practice 716 and/or 374 in 2013. These practices will help cost share the implementation of some of the recommendations from the AgEMP.
**You may be able to qualify for Practice 716 and/or 374 in 2012 if you already have had an energy audit done that meets the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers S612 standard.**
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) is providing cost share reimbursements for the costs of organic certification through September 2012. Last year they provided cost share assistance to 90 organic farmers in North Carolina for a total of $54,000. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to get cost share assistance to help cover your certification fees!
What costs qualify? Allowable expenses include application fees, inspection costs, travel costs, user fees, sales assessments and postage. Late fees, materials and supplies, equipment and transitional certifications are not eligible.
How do I apply? Submit your Organic Cost Share Application and supporting documentation to NCDA&CS by September 30, 2012.
How much am I eligible for? Payments are limited to 75% of an individual producer’s or handler/processor’s certification costs up to a maximum of $750 per certification per year. Expenses related to the certification must have been incurred between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012.
Contact Heather Barnes with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Work an Internship into Your Spring Farm Plan
As producers across the Carolinas start thinking about spring planting of crops and pastures, we believe it is also the perfect time to think about our collective efforts to cultivate the farmers of our future.
CFSA farm members with knowledge to share, a story to tell, and a need for some temporary help around the farm are encouraged to take advantage of our Internship Referral Service, now in its second season.
The Internship Referral Service is an online tool, connecting sustainable farms throughout the Carolinas with aspiring farmers looking for hands-on learning opportunities. CFSA members may post internship listings throughout the year at no cost, and openings may be viewed by anyone who visits our website. Applicants apply directly with the farm, giving both parties the opportunity to share goals and expectations before making a commitment.
Over the next couple of months, CFSA will be marketing the Internship Referral Service to college and university agriculture departments and career centers throughout the Carolinas. So, now is the perfect time to develop and promote your on-farm opportunity!
Not sure what to offer in an internship? CFSA offers a Farmer-Mentor Handbook which may be downloaded from the site. Are you interested in applying for an internship but want to learn more? We also offer a Prospective Internship Handbook.
The Internship Referral Service is a part of CFSA’s Growing Green Farmers program, which also includes scholarships to the annual Sustainable Ag. Conference, apprenticeships in South Carolina, and farm tours for beginning farmers. Thank you to National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA) and the National Center for Appropriate Technology for their support of this program.
The Farm Bill is up for renewal this year, although gridlock may block any action on this massive legislation until after the November elections. The sustainable agriculture movement has been doing a great job of preparing for this contest; two key bills already have been introduced that would dramatically increase the competiveness of local and organic food and give new farmers a fair chance to get their start in agriculture. You can read more about these two bills, the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act on our website, https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/alert_farmbill12.shtml.
Calls from you, right now, are essential to get our representatives on record and help get both these bills into the final Farm Bill. Key targets are listed below—if you live in their districts, please call them today and ask them to co-sign on both bills.
Rep. G.K. Butterfield, NC 1st District (Northeast NC), 202-225-3101
Rep. Renee Ellmers, NC 2d District (Southern and Eastern Triangle, Sandhills), 202-225-4531
Rep. David Price, NC 4th District (Northern and Western Triangle; has already signed on to Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act, needs pushing on Beginning Farmer and Rancher Act), 202-225-1784
Rep. Larry Kissell, NC 8th District (South-central NC from Fayetteville to Charlotte), 202-225-3715
Rep. Heath Shuler, NC 11th District (WNC), 202-225-6401
Rep. Mel Watt, NC 12th District (Greensboro to Charlotte), 202-225-1510
Rep. Trey Gowdy, SC 4th District (Upstate), 202-225-6030
Rep. Jim Clyburn, SC 6th District (Low Country and Midlands), 202-225-3315
NC Sen. Richard Burr, 202-224-3154
NC Sen. Kay Hagan, 202-224-6342
CFSA Farmer Goes to Washington
Next week, Bobby Tucker of Ofuskee Farm in Silk Hope, NC will be in Washington, DC as part of a national sustainable ag ‘Fly-In’ to support local and organic agriculture in the 2012 Farm Bill. Bobby is joining a dozen other beginning farmers from around the country to talk with members of Congress about why we need to include the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act in the Farm Bill this year. These two proposals would dramatically increase the competiveness of local and organic food and give new farmers a fair chance to get their start in agriculture. You can read more about these two bills, on our website, https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/alert_farmbill12.shtml.
Personal visits from farmers make a big difference in convincing legislators to embrace sustainable ag. Bobby will be sharing the story of how beginning farmer programs have helped Ofuskee Farm improve its stewardship of water resources, fueling more efficient crop production and other innovations to improve the profitability and sustainability of the farm. Bobby and the other entrepreneurial, community-minded new farmers making this trip help our representative see that real farmers are benefiting from the local, organic food movement. Plus, these visits are coinciding with a March 7 Senate hearing on healthy, local food production.
You Can Send an Organic Farmer to Washington, DC: More visits like these will be necessary as the Farm Bill moves forward—and you can help CFSA make it happen. With train or airfare and a one-night hotel stay, it can cost up to $500 to make the trip. Contribute to our ‘Send a Farmer to Washington’ campaign so we can cover more farmers’ travel costs and make it feasible for these hard-working men and women to take time away from their farms to speak out on our behalf.
> Donate Now to Send an OrganicFarmer to Washington, D.C.!
TAKE ACTION: Continue NC State’s Tradition of Agriculture Research and Extension.
Add Your Voice to the College of Ag. and Life Sciences (CALS) Dean Search
Dr. Johnny Wynne, Dean of NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Science, is retiring in July after over 44 years of service and leadership at NC State. The search for his successor has begun. The new dean will set the strategic direction for the College for the future. Therefore, it is critically important for CFSA’s members that the new dean is committed to continuing the College’s strong tradition in applied agricultural research and extension.
More information about the position and search committee can be found here: http://www.ncsu.edu/human_resources/ESS/CALS-Dean/index.php. The search committee will be providing some opportunities for the College’s partners, students, alumni, and stakeholders to provide comments about the qualifications and experience they would like to see in a new dean. If you would like to learn more about how you can contribute your comments or suggestions to the search committee, contact Shivaugn.
TAKE ACTION: Just Label It Campaign for GM Food Labels
More than 80% of processed foods at U.S. grocery stores are likely to contain genetically engineered ingredients.
And you wouldn’t know it, because the FDA doesn’t require labels for foods with genetically engineered (GE) ingredients ‒ also called genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Connect with CFSA – Join us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/carolinafarmstewards) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/carolinafarm) or contribute to our blog (http://www.carolinafarmstewardsblog.org)!
Share your News– Got a bright idea for a newsletter article or an upcoming event you’d like to publicize on the website? E-mail Amy.