Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Updates 6-17-15

**New items noted in RED**


Gator Football Ticket Special for Farmers

The Gator Ticket Office is proud to announce a special ticket offer for the agriculture community as well as their family and friends to attend a Florida Gator SEC football game.  Farmers, ranchers, and gardeners are eligible for a special discount to attend the Gator football team’s Homecoming game on Saturday, November 7th against the Vanderbilt Commodores. The priority seat ordering period ends on July 1, so act now!


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.


University of Maryland Food Safety Survey –Fruit and Vegetable Producers Needed!

We are conducting a nationwide survey of vegetable and fruit growers to better understand how the FDA’s proposed rule on produce safety under the Food Safety Modernization Act will impact them.  Our goal is to identify the current prevalence and cost burden of the kinds of food safety risk-reduction measures specified by the rule in order to determine how the rule will affect different types of growers. We hope you might be able to leverage your network of growers to help get the word out to anyone who may be interested in taking the survey. The survey is intended for farm owners and managers growing vegetables or fruit. It takes about 10 minutes to complete, all of the questions in the survey are optional, and we do not collect any identifying information about participants or farms. As an incentive to take our survey, participants have the opportunity to enter a drawing for a free Apple iPad after completing the survey. Take the survey here: using the password UFL. Contact Erik Lichtenberg for more information,




Southern SARE Grantee-Produced Info Product: Food Hub Starter Kit

The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) has compiled an annotated list of useful resources for food hubs in their Food Hub Starter Kit. The kit contains resources from projects throughout the country as well as references from the USDA and the National Good Food Network. Read more about the work that SSAWG is doing and access their Food Hub Starter Kit






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.


UF/IFAS Beef Cattle Economics Webinar Series

Various Dates- See Below

This webinar series is being conducted to discuss ways to increase your herd’s production, performance, and profitability. Cattle producers saw record feeder calf prices and profits in 2014 that changed the dynamics of the cow-calf industry. The goal of this webinar series is to provide timely production and economic information that can help producers operate in this volatile marketplace. The event is hosted by the Range Cattle Research and Education Center and the South Florida Beef-Forage Program. This series of presentations will take place on Wednesday nights from 6:30-7:00 pm ET (5:30-6:00 ET) during June and July. The following lists all the scheduled webinars:

  1. June 24th, 2015 – Beef Cattle Market Outlook
  2. July 1st, 2015 –  Marketing Opportunities for Feeder Calves
  3. July 15th, 2015 – UF 2015 Cow-Calf Budget
  4. July 22nd, 2015 – Projecting 2015 Cow-Calf Profitability
  5. July 29th, 2015 – Replacement Heifer Economics

You can register for the webinars here.


ASAP Connections Webinar Series
June 24, 2015. 8-9am EST
ASAP Connections has partnered with the Rural Advancement Foundation International, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, and Farm Service Agency to bring you a series of free workshops focused on farm risk management. The hour-long workshops offer an overview of options for accessing capital and determining appropriate marketing strategies for your operation, and the final webinar in the series is set for June 24. Visit the ASAP Connections website to learn more about their work and register.


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.


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.





Whole Farm Management Online Course for Beginning Farmers

Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management is now available nationally as an online, self-paced course.  Registration is open through June 30th at Growing Farms. The course has an organic/sustainable agriculture focus and provides farmers with the tools and knowledge needed to develop and manage a successful farm business. The course is intended for people who are considering starting a farm business, those within their first five years of farming and others who may be considering major changes to their farm business. The course is presented in an interactive and graphically rich format and features six farmers who share their experience and insights about farming in more than four hours of video. Six online modules lead you through the basics of managing a successful farm business. Check them out here.



USDA Develops Cover Crop Chart

An online tool called the “Cover Crop Chart” is helping farmers decide which cover crops to plant.  Cover crops can help reduce soil erosion, increase organic matter, improve early weed control, and provide forage for animals.  Drought conditions in recent years have renewed many growers’ interest in cover crops, which are typically grown during the off-season, to help mitigate effects of extreme weather conditions.


An Annotated Bibliography on Structural Racism Present in the US Food System

This publication is an annotated bibliography on selected resources and publications focused on structural racism in the U.S. food system. It provides current research and outreach on structural racism in the U.S. food system for the food system practitioner, researcher, and educator. Download the PDF at their website.


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.


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.



Conferences & Workshops


Small Farms & Alternative Enterprises Events Calendar

Various Dates

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!


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.


Sunbelt Ag Expo Field Day

Thursday July 9, 2015, in Moultrie, Georgia

Farmers can get the latest and most pertinent Agricultural research and technologies information at the Sunbelt Expo Field Day. Thirty of the best known names in Agriculture showcase plots at The Darrell Williams Research Farm. These industry leaders will be at the Field Day to share their technologies and answer any questions you might have. 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.


Alabama Extension’s Ag Solutions Day- Enhancing Sustainability Options for Farmers

Monday, August 10, 2015, in Orange Beach, Alabama

Producers can learn more about climate adaptation strategies at Ag Solutions Day Aug. 10 in Orange Beach, Alabama. There will be breakout sessions held on the following topics:

·         Conservation tillage and high-residue cover crops

·         Sub-surface drip irrigation

·         Variable rate irrigation

·         Sod-based rotation

·         Sesame—A New Crop for Southeast

·         Use of Drones in Agriculture

The one-day event is free and will be held at the Orange Beach Events Center, 4671 Wharf Parkway. The meeting is slated for 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Central Daylight Time and lunch will be provided. Registration is encouraged by July 31. Visit to register online.  For more information, contact Jeana Baker at (334) 844-3922 or


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.

?         Central Florida, November 6, 2015 at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, Apopka. 



Funding Opportunities


USDA-FNS Farmers Market SNAP Support Grants
Deadline: June 18, 2015
The Food and Nutrition Service Agency has made additional funding available to increase SNAP client accessibility and support its establishment, expansion, and promotion at farmers markets. Farmers market organizations and associations, nonprofit organizations, and other organizations engaged in farmers market management are included in the eligible applicants. Grants range from $15,000 to $250,000. Learn more about the 
Farmers' Markets SNAP Support Grants and the application process. 


USDA-Rural Development Value Added Producer Grants
Deadline: July 2, 2015
Agricultural producers that are interested in entering into value-added activities can find assistance in the Rural Development’s Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG). VAPG funding is available to producers generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities and increasing producer income. Priority for the grant funding is given to beginning farmer/ranchers, socially-disadvantaged farmers/ranchers, small or medium-sized farm or ranches, cooperatives, or proposals for mid-tier value chains. Read more about eligibility criteria and the 
Value Added Producer Grant application process.

USDA-NIFA Agriculture Risk Management Education Partnerships Program
Deadline: July 6, 2015
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agency seeks eligible applicants for its Agriculture Risk Management Education Program (ARME). The program seeks to establish partnerships between risk management organizations and agricultural producers to provide producers with the knowledge, skills and tools necessary to make informed risk management decisions. The program will fund four regional Risk Management Education Centers and one Digital Center. Qualified public and private entities are encouraged to apply. For eligibility requirements and to begin the application process, visit the 
Agriculture Risk Management Education Partnerships webpage.


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:


 Southern Pine Beetle Assistance Program

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Florida Forest Service is now accepting applications for the Southern Pine Beetle Assistance and Prevention Program. The sign-up period will run from June 6 through July 18 and is available for non-industrial private forest landowners. The program provides incentive payments for the following:

·         Conducting a first pulpwood thinning

·         Conducting prescribed burning operations

·         Conducting mechanical underbrush treatments

·         Planting longleaf or slash pine

To learn more about this program and obtain an application form, contact a local Florida Forest Service office or visit


USDA-AMS National Organic Program, Organic Certification Cost Share Programs
Deadline: September 30, 2015
The Agricultural Marketing Services' National Organic Program has allocated funding for organic operators seeking assistance in defraying some of the costs of organic certification. NOL offers two organic certification cost share programs this year: The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program, which is available to producers and handlers in all 50 states, and the Agriculture Management Assistance (AMA) Organic Certification Cost Share Program, available to certified organic producers in 16 designated states. Each state has their own guidelines and requirements for reimbursement, so interested applicants should 
contact their appropriate state agency

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education – Farmer Rancher Grant Program
Deadline: Early August-Mid November
The North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NC-SARE) seeks farmers and ranchers with projects offering sustainable solutions to farm management. The Farmer Rancher Grant Program supports individual grant projects up to $7,500, and offers funding for group grant projects up to $22,500. Find out more information about the 
Farmer Rancher Grant Program and the application process.*
*NOTE: Visit the 
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Website for more grant opportunities specific to your state.


USDA Rural Development’s Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program

The 2014 Farm Bill requires USDA to set aside at least five percent ofBusiness 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


Grant Program

Due Date

AFRI Foundational: Exploratory Research


AFRI Foundational Program


Biomass Research and Development Initiative


AFRI: Water for Agriculture Challenge Area


Specialty Crop Research Initiative


AFRI Foundational: Critical Agricultural Research and Extension



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.



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