New Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS) publications added this spring
The University of Florida IFAS Extension offers a database of fact sheets available for free download on the Internet that has many publications of interest to farmers and ranchers in Northwest Florida. This article provides links to a few of the new fact sheets that were recently added to the collection pertaining to commercial agriculture. Click here.
Southern SARE Seeking NGO Nominations for Administrative Council
The Administrative Council of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) program is seeking nominations of non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives with expertise in sustainable agriculture to replace outgoing Administrative Council members. NGO members are directly involved in deciding the future of research and education of the Southern SARE program. One NGO seat will be filled. NGO representative nominations from all 13 states in the Southern Region, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands will be considered. Please see the attached document for more information. To be considered, we must receive your email nomination by June 19, 2015 and the online application by July 10, 2015.
Call for Papers: Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
A call is currently out for a special issue of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development addressing “labor in the food system.” Manuscripts are due September 22. Another call will be issued very soon for commentaries on “race and ethnicity in food systems work.” Manuscripts are due June 15.
Net Houses Help Farmers in the Fight Against Pests
A new bulletin is available from Alabama Cooperative Extension on using net houses around high tunnels to protect against pests and encourage beneficial insects. Download the bulletin here.
Latest Research and Education Grants Awarded
Expanding markets for value-added products in Texas, jump starting new pawpaw varieties, and the sustainability of organic farms under the H2A Program are just a few of the projects funded through Southern SARE’s Research and Education Grants –the organization’s flagship grant program that emphasizes a whole systems approach to sustainable agriculture lead by teams of interdisciplinary researchers.
Growing Roots in Farm to School Webinar Series
USDA Farm to School staff and guest speakers have just what you need to start or expand your farm to school program in the new year. This 11-part webinar series will help you build your farm to school skills and develop new strategies for bringing local foods into the lunchroom. To join a webinar, register here.
? Tying it All Together and Digging In, May 28, 2:00 pm
Free Risk Management Series
Join the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), along with the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), North Carolina Cooperative Extension, and Farm Service Agency (FSA) for a series of FREE workshops designed to help you manage risk for your farm. To participate in this online workshop series all you need is a computer and internet access. Register online or over the phone (828-236-1828) to receive your log in information for these online trainings. To learn more about each workshop and register visit asapconnections.org/events/workshops-trainings.
Should Crop Insurance Be Part of Your Farm Risk Management Plan?, June 10 @ 8AM EST
How to Pay for It: Grant, Loan, and Cost Share Options for Farms, June 17, 8AM EST
Sell What You Grow: Diversifying Your Market Opportunities, June 24, 8AM EST
Alternatives to antibiotics in poultry production
Friday, June 12, 2015 at 3:00 PM EDT
Poultry producers are frequently looking for treatment options aside from antibiotics. This presentation by Dr. Irene Hanning-Jarquin will provide an overview of herbs, spices and plant extracts as alternatives to antibiotics. Connect here.
Ready Community: Vulnerability and Resilience
Friday, June 26, 2015 at 2:00 PM EDT
Studies have shown that resilient communities are those that can prepare for, respond to, and rebound quickly from disasters. These abilities do not happen by chance. Dr. Deborah Tootle, Iowa State University Extension, will explain how planning and reducing vulnerabilities. Connect here.
National Good Food Network: Creative Financing for Food
Thursday, June 18, 2015, 3:30PM-4:45PM EDT
Is access to capital holding your food business back from thriving? Whether you run a farm, food hub, processing facility, retail store, co-op or shared kitchen this webinar will introduce you to new and creative sources of capital. Register here.
Livestock First Aid and Safety
Friday, July 21, 2015 at 2:00 PM EDT
Injured animals and animals under stress react differently than they do in normal circumstances. If you don't work with livestock often, you may not completely understand how to keep yourself and animals safe in stressful situations, or how to provide first aid to injured animals. Connect here.
New EDIS Fact Sheets Available
The University of Florida IFAS Extension offers a database of fact sheets available for free download on the Internet called EDIS (Electronic Data Information Source) that has many publications of interest to farmers and ranchers in Northwest Florida. Each fact sheet has a PDF or printer friendly link in the top left corner. The following are just a few of the new fact sheets that were recently added to the collection pertaining to commercial agriculture production.
New Resource to Help Food Hubs Support Sustainable Farm to School Programs
With help from USDA's Farm to School Grant Program, The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) published a new resource for Food Hubs and Farm to School Programs: Using Food Hubs to Create Sustainable Farm to School Programs. After an intensive year of collaborative research, pilot partnerships and case studies throughout the state of Vermont, the Center of UVM Center for Rural Studies reported that local food purchases among schools engaged with their regional Food Hub increased by 58% overall. This new resource is designed to better equip and strengthen connections between food hubs across the nation and their local and regional schools.
A Toolkit to Help Your Community Understand the Economic Impacts of Your Local Food System Initiatives
In 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service convened a team of regional economists and food system specialists to develop a best practice Toolkit for evaluating the economic impacts of local food system activities. The team, coordinated by Dr. Dawn Thilmany McFadden at Colorado State University, hopes that this Toolkit can guide and enhance the capacity of local organizations to make more deliberate and credible measurements of local and small-scale economic activity and other ancillary benefits. The Toolkit is made up of seven modules that can be grouped into two stages of food system planning, assessment and evaluation. The first set of modules (1-4) guides the first stages of an economic impact assessment and includes framing the system, relevant economic activities and assessment process as well as collecting and analyzing relevant primary and secondary data. The second set of modules (5-7) provides a more technical set of practices and discussion of how to use the information collected in stage one to conduct a more rigorous economic impact analysis. Visit their website for additional information.
Building a Food Hub From the Ground Up: A Facility Design Case Study of Tuscarora Organic Growers
A new report by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service provides readers a snapshot of food hub facility planning, construction, costs, capacities, etc. Read the full report to discover how a food hub can rely on community equity to launch a lean start-up, growing as demand increases and changing the scale of operations when necessary helped to build a thriving business.
Conferences & Workshops
Small Farms & Alternative Enterprises Events Calendar
The University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has a thriving Small Farms & Alternative Enterprises (SFAE) Extension Program. This program offers many different workshops at various locations around the state. For a complete list of events, workshop details, and registration information, visit the SFAE Events Calendar. Check back frequently for updates on opportunities near you!
“Discover the Cover” Workshop
Thursday, June 4, 2015 from 4:00PM-8:30PM
Expand your knowledge of cover crops and how they can play an integral role in the health of your soil, weed suppression and in increasing the impact of beneficial organisms on managing crop pests by attending this workshop at the Suwannee Valley Agricultural Extension Center in Live Oak, FL. Learn from exciting research carried out at SVAEC and at a local blueberry farm. Join us to explore the world of cover crops and the many benefits they can provide to your farm. Register here.
Perennial Peanut Field Day
Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 9:30 AM
The Perennial Peanut Producers Association and the University of Florida are teaming up to host a Field Day at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna, FL. Topics to be covered at the event will include: a producer panel, establishment into bahia pastures, herbicide management, variety trials, and a commercial perennial peanut hay farm and planting operation. More information.
Georgia Organic Farm Field Day
Thursday, June 11, 2015, 10AM-3PM
This event, hosted at Lola’s Organic Farm in Glenwood, Georgia, will cover such topics as cover crops, native pollinators, integrated weed management, transitioning to organic production, and pruning and grafting. For more information, contact
Florida Organic Growers and Coldwater Gardens On-Farm Workshop
Thursday, June 11, 2015, 10AM-3PM
This on-farm workshop at Coldwater Gardens in Milton, Florida will include topics on increasing on-farm diversity, mushroom cultivation, season extension with high tunnels and the programs that can help you build your own farm. The workshop cost is $10 and includes a garden lunch by Chef Lindy Howell. “Glamping”, or glamourous camping, is available for overnight stays. For more information and to register, please visit or contact Mary Hathaway at or call 904.419.3609.
Recipe to Reality Seminar
Saturday, June 13, 2015, 8:30AM-5:00PM, Tallahassee, Florida
Are you dreaming of making and selling your family’s secret-recipe barbecue sauce? Do you have an idea for a food product? This intensive one-day training is for you! Offered in partnership with the University of Nebraska, this seminar covers critical issues in developing a successful food manufacturing business. Avoid costly mistakes and gain in one day, information that could take months to research on your own! Pre-registration is required. Tuition is $350 and must be received by May 30. Space is limited, so early registration is encouraged. Registration includes refreshments and workshop materials. Register online at . See the attached flyer for any additional information.
AFHVS/ASFS Annual Meeting and Conference
June 24-28, 2015, Pittsburg, PA
“Bridging the Past, Cultivating the Future: Exploring Sustainable Foodscapes.” Chatham University is pleased to host the Joint 2015 Annual Meetings and Conference of the Association for the Study of Food and Society and the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society. Emphasizing a holistic intellectual and material landscape, this year's theme emphasizes the need to plan forward by looking backwards, by imagining and creating spaces where agricultural and culinary practices mesh with opportunities for environmental, social, cultural, and material sustenance. Taking our cue from Pittsburgh's history and character, symbolized by its many bridges, the conference theme encourages a focus on the processes that help us explore across divisions, whether they shaped by disciplines, theories, methods, or activist priorities, material needs, cultural and agricultural histories, historical or modernist narratives. We invite participants to explore the ways in which people have or have not created social and ecological landscapes, and what can be learned historically, globally, and locally about our capacity to create and maintain viable social, economic, and cultural food landscapes. More information.
Deep South Stocker Conference
August 6-7, 2015 in Montgomery, Alabama
The seventh annual Deep South Stocker Conference is headed to Alabama. This year’s conference will be held August 6-7, 2015 in Montgomery, Alabama. This conference is a joint effort between the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the Mississippi State University Extension Service, and the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Additionally, a trade show will be held in conjunction with the conference to allow stocker operators the opportunity to network with industry professionals and to become aware of products and services that can improve their profitably and product quality. Visit the website for more information.
Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference
Locations and dates vary- See below
The Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference announced five regional conferences across Florida in 2015 and 2016. These regional events will be designed with your region and your needs in mind. Wherever you are in Florida the conference is coming closer to you. More information and updates on these events to come. The planning teams are busy working to put together great events for you. This year make sure not to miss these two regional conferences:
Northeast Florida, August 14 & 15, 2015 at the University of North Florida Student Union, Jacksonville. Registration opens on June 1st.
? Central Florida, November 6, 2015 at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, Apopka.
“Train-the-trainer” Grant Calls for Proposals Released
The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) for the Professional Development Program (PDP) Grants is now open.The Professional Development Program is a “train the trainer” program, providing funding to agricultural professionals to train Cooperative Extension agents, USDA field personnel, and other ag professionals and educators in areas of sustainable agriculture production practices. Pre-proposal submission deadline is June 1, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
Southern SARE Releases Research & Education Grants Call for Proposals for FY2015
The organization is accepting pre-proposals for projects that focus on sustainable agriculture based on a systems approach to research that aims to understand how complex systems function as a whole, often beginning with a conceptual model. to follow the guidelines for writing and submitting the grant application. The deadline for submitting pre-proposals is 11:59 p.m. EST on June 1, 2015. If selected, applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal in August. Grants will be announced in February of 2016. The objective of the SARE program is to enable farmers and ranchers to move profitably toward production systems compatible with the goal of sustainable agriculture, including promoting good land stewardship, protecting the health and safety of people and animals, enhancing quality of life, and strengthening rural communities.
USDA NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
Pre-proposal due July 8, 2015
RCPP, created by the 2014 Farm Bill, empowers local leaders to work with multiple partners—such as private companies, local and tribal governments, universities, non-profit groups and other non-government partners—along with farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to design solutions that work best for their region. Local partners and the federal government both invest funding and manpower to projects to maximize their impact. The focus of the program is on technical assistance to landowners in the context of conservation and stewardship of natural resources, not on research. For more information: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/farmbill/rcpp/
Agriculture & Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Food Security Program
Due June 4, 2015
NIFA is requesting applications forAFRI Food Security Challenge Area Program for FY 2015. AFRI is a competitive grant program to provide funding for fundamental and applied research, education, and extension projects in food and agricultural sciences. The goal of this program is to invest in agricultural production research, education, and extension programs for more sustainable, productive and economically viable plant and animal production systems. In FY 2015, applications are sought in the following priority areas:
Agricultural Production Systems
Breeding and Genomics of Crops and Livestock
1. National Strategy for Sustainable Crop and Livestock Production in the United States
The amount anticipated to be available for support of this program in FY 2015 is approximately $16.8 million. The full announcement can be found at http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=272432
Farmers Market Coalition Free SNAP/EBT Equipment Program –Open NOW
The USDA Food Nutrition Service partnered with the Farmers Market Coalition to provide eligible farmers markets and direct marketing farmers with electronic benefit transfer (EBT) equipment necessary to process Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. We’re excited to announce that the result of this partnership, FMC’s Free SNAP EBT Equipment Program is open now on a first come first serve basis! Don’t wait! Learn more here: http://farmersmarketcoalition.org/programs/freesnapebt/
USDA Rural Development’s Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program
The 2014 Farm Bill requires USDA to set aside at least five percent of Business and Industry (B&I) program loan guarantees for projects that focus on local food business enterprises. Details on how to apply for local food funding through the B&I program are available on the Rural Development website. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The B&I program has the authority to fund local food infrastructure in urban areas as long as the project supports farm and ranch income and expands healthy food access in underserved communities.
USDA Microloans Available for Small Farmers
The Microloan Program, available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), is a relatively new option to help beginning farmers get started, or to assist existing small farms in expanding their operations. Farmers may borrow up to $35,000 with limited collateral requirements, and have up to seven years for repayment. Find our more information here.
National Institute of Food and Agriculture Grants
More information on any of the grant programs listed can be found at http://www.csrees.usda.gov/fo/funding.cfm#.
AFRI Foundational: Bioenergy, Natural Resources, and Environment
AFRI Foundational: Critical Agricultural Research and Extension
Specialty Crop Research Initiative
AFRI: Water for Agriculture Challenge Area
Biomass Research and Development Initiative
AFRI Foundational Program
AFRI Foundational: Exploratory Research
Whole Foods Market Local Producer Loan Program
Whole Foods Market is providing up to $10 million in low-interest loans to independent local farmers and food artisans. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
League of Environmental Educators in Florida Grants List
This website gives a great list of grants available for various types of community and classroom projects. Really worth perusing. Due dates vary by grant. http://leef-florida.org/core/item/topic.aspx?s=0.0.110.37432&tid=85010
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