Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Updates 10.13.15

New Newsletter from Small Farms & Alternative Enterprises: “The Cultivator Newsletter”

The Cultivator is an online monthly newsletter published by the UF/IFAS Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Extension Team. The objectives of the newsletter are to share practical production and marketing information and build a strong network among small and medium scale farmers and other food system stakeholders across Florida. To sign up, click here and be sure to select “The Cultivator Newsletter” under “Email Lists”.


Sales from US Organic Farms Up 72%, USDA Reports

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the results of the 2014 Organic Survey, which show that 14,093 certified and exempt organic farms in the United States sold a total of $5.5 billion in organic products in 2014, up 72 percent since 2008. Learn more here.




Producer and On-Farm Research CFPs Released

Please continue to “Funding Opportunities” to find submission details

Producer Grants are grants for farmers interested in conducting sustainable agriculture research on their farms. Individual farmer grants are $10,000 and farmer co-op grants are $15,000 for up to a two-year project. On-Farm Research Grants are for ag professionals, such as Extension specialists, NRCS, or governmental groups who regularly work with farmers on research projects. Those grants can be funded for up to two years for $10,000.


Nominations for Southern SARE Administrative Council NGO Member Requested

The Administrative Council of the Southern SARE program is seeking nominations of NGO representatives with expertise in sustainable agriculture and its impact on the environment and rural communities to replace an outgoing Administrative Council member. NGO members are directly involved in setting the goals of the Southern Region SAREprogram. The Administrative Council depends on outstanding nominees that you and your colleagues from across the region may put forward. We strongly encourage you to invest the effort required to advance good nominees. To be considered, we must receive your email nominations by November 15, 2015. The deadline for a person to complete the Southern SARE On-Line Application is December 31, 2015. Email nominations to:

John Mayne, Ph.D.

SSARE Assistant Director

(828) 626-2680


Nominations for Southern SARE Administrative Council Producer Member Requested

The Administrative Council of the Southern SARE program is seeking nominations of a producer experienced with sustainable agriculture and its impact on the environment and rural communities to replace an outgoing Administrative Council member. Producer members are directly involved in setting the goals of the Southern SARE program. All AC members are members of standing committees, which may meet or communicate through conference calls to decide policy issues related to SSARE. The Administrative Council depends on outstanding nominees that you and your colleagues from across the region may put forward. We strongly encourage you to invest the effort required to advance good nominees. To be considered, we must receive your email nominations by November 15, 2015. The deadline for a person to complete the Southern SARE On-Line Application is December 31, 2015. Email nominations to:

John Mayne, Ph.D.

SSARE Assistant Director

(828) 626-2680




Record Keeping for Profit Management for Vegetable Growers

October 22, 2015 at 3:30PM

One of the most frustrating dilemmas farmers face in profitable decision making is having accurate information for those decisions.They may keep receipts for expenses, and record how much product is selling, but how do they determine the labor costs for each crop when there are so many crops in the field? This free webinar will help you learn some of the tricks of the trade across the spectrum from paper and white boards to computers and phone apps and put you on the right track in addressing these challenges with the farmers looking to you for assistance. Register here.


Cost-Benefit Analysis for Vegetable Equipment Purchasing Decisions

November 19, 2015 at 3:30PM

"Should I add more labor or should I finally purchase that one piece of equipment to streamline the operation?" Farmers may ask you this question that could mean thousands more in profit on the farm. This free webinar will show you how to assist farmers in answering this question. Register here.


Schedule F vc Profitability Accounting for Vegetable Farmers

December 17, 2015 at 3:30PM

All farmers have to file a Schedule F to stay in compliance with the IRS. Unfortunately the accounting systems used to ensure tax filing are not the same as those necessary to provide the producer with knowledge of what management actions to take to increase profitability. In this free webinar you will get a glimpse of an extension agent working with a farmer who discovers just this problem. Together they learn how to look at the farm a little differently to better determine what key management areas need to be adjusted to improve profitability. Register here.




Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs
The USDA's guide, Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs, aims to address the uncertainty of rules for purchasing locally grown products in schools. The guide is particularly valuable for school food professionals operating a National School Lunch or School Breakfast Program and provides information in meal planning, fundamentals of procurement, and mechanisms for sourcing local products.


Understanding the Operations within the Farm to Institution Movement
Farm to Institution New England (FINE) recently released two publications created by their Corporate Food Service Action Project that focus on operational practices of food service management companies. The two reports are useful tools to better understand local food procurement, the importance of contracts, and the request for proposal process to increase the purchase of local food. Read the full reports: Food Service Management Companies in New England and Leveraging Contracts for Local Food Procurement.


Running a Food Hub: A Business Operations Guide
The USDA report, Running a Food Hub: A Business Operations Guide, was just released and provides ample resources to the ins and outs of food hub operations. The second report in a 3-part series, this 'how to' guide provides in-depth guidance on starting and running a food hub enterprise, including classifications, operations, marketing, products and servicing, and risks. Check out the recently released report, or take a look at Volume 1: Lessons Learned From the Field.


Municipal Zoning for Local Foods guidebook

Municipalities in Iowa and across the nation are increasingly recognizing the multiple benefits of urban agriculture; however, zoning regulations can unintentionally impede urban agriculture. To respond to this challenge the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University funded Gary Taylor and Andrea Vaage to develop the Municipal Zoning for Local Foods in Iowa guidebook. The guidebook provides practical guidance and sample zoning code language designed to reduce the barriers to, and promote production and sales activities commonly associated with urban agriculture.  Although written for Iowa, the guidebook contains practical information and code language applicable to any local jurisdiction.

The guidebook can be found by going to and clicking on the “Local Food Systems projects” tab the top of the page. 


Conferences & Workshops


Florida Pomegranate Association Annual Meeting

October 23, 2015 from 9AM-3:30PM in Lake Alfred, FL

FPA is scheduling a variety of educational programs discussing pomegranate production and essential cultural practices.  John Preece, Research Leader at the National Clonal Germplasm Rep/ARS/USDA/UC and Glenn Wright, Ph.D., Extension Horticulturist for the University of Arizona, The School of Plant Sciences, Yuma Agiculture Center, are our guest speakers. The Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC), IFAS/UF pomegranate research team will be presenting the latest research information for Florida pomegranates. All current and prospective pomegranate growers and enthusiasts, commercial investors, nurseries, Master Gardeners, and interested homeowners are encouraged to attend. Learn more and register here.


Florida’s Outstanding Tree Farm Tour

October 23, 2015 from 9AM-2PM

Tree Farmers, forest landowners, and forestry and natural resource professionals are invited to join us to tour the award winning Alter-Bevis Farms.  A congratulatory awards luncheon for John and Elizabeth Alter, Florida’s 2015 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year will take place following the tour. This event is free but pre-registration is required. Please contact the UF/IFAS Jackson County Cooperative Extension Service at (850) 482-9620 or via email: Doris Williams. RSVP by noon on Friday, October 16th.


FAMU Fall Crop Field Day

October 24, 2015 from 8AM-3PM in Quincy, FL

Farm tours, seminars, and crop demonstrations, will be held at the FAMU Demonstration Farm near Quincy, on Saturday, October 24.  The event is free, and includes lunch.  Online registration is now open.


Cattle and Kelp: Agriculture in a New Economy
October 24, 2015 in Churchtown, NY

The Schumacher Center for a New Economics hosts the day-long 35th Annual E.F. Schumacher Lectures in Churchtown, New York. This year's lecturers, Allan Savory and Bren Smith, will offer alternatives to traditional farming methods that are based on natural systems, and offer a holistic management model that aims to reverse desertification and its effects. Read more about the Lectures and the Schumacher Center for a New Economics.


New Leaf Market Co-op: 8th Annual Farm Tour

October 24-25, 2015 in Tallahassee, FL

Take advantage of this once-a-year event. Twenty-eight local farms are opening their doors and inviting you to experience farm life. Each farm is offering something special. Families can enjoy tours that include barnyard animals, farm-fresh goods and refreshments. You can attend a workshop on beekeeping, take a hayride or talk to farmers who are committed to organic production. Visit working cattle and goat ranches, a dairy or a winery. And of course, purchase amazingly fresh goods directly from the farm. More information here.


Yale Food Systems Symposium
October 30-31. New Haven, CT

Students from the Yale Law School, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale School of Public Health and Yale College unite over the third-annual Yale Food Systems Symposium. This year's conference aims to bring together diverse groups of people and perspectives across the food system and features keynote addresses from Olivier De Schutter, Dorceta Taylor and Ricardo Salvador. Find more information about the event and to register on the Yale Food Systems Symposium website.


Florida Ag Expo 10th Anniversary

November 4, 2015 from 7:30AM-4PM

Now celebrating its 10th year, the Florida Ag Expo is the only show offering Florida fruit and vegetable growers the opportunity to get the latest information on new production trends and techniques, sample new varieties and participate in field trials. Producers of tomato, strawberry, pepper, cucurbits and more will discover new ideas for increasing their yields and bolstering their business. The educational agenda at the Florida Ag Expo includes updates on new varieties, diseases, crop inputs, weeds, marketing, protected agriculture and more. The Florida Ag Expo also features an expansive exhibit area where scores of industry suppliers spotlight the latest products, equipment and service innovations. Learn more and register here.


Field to Tray Conference

November 4-5, 2015 in Rockville, MD

“Strengthening Farm to School Purchasing in the Mid-Atlantic” will bring together farmers, food service professionals, suppliers and other stakeholders from our region for a day of digging in to local food procurement strategies. For a day of workshops, learning and networking, register here.



Mid-Florida Specialty Crops Conference

November 6, 2015 in Apopka, FL

Are you in the ornamental industry and are considering producing greenhouse vegetables? Or perhaps diversifying into relatively new crops such as blueberries or grapes? If you are looking into diversifying or improving your agricultural production and markets, this is the place for you! For other farm operators, regardless of their farm size, there are plenty of networking and learning opportunities. It will be a full day of learning and you will have a diverse program to choose from. Check out the Conference Program, find out more information and Register at:


University of Maryland Eastern Shore – Small Farm Conference

November 6-7, 2015 in Princess Anne, MD

As November rolls in, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Small Farm Program gears up for their 12th annual Small Farm Conference set for November 6-7, 2015. The overall objective of the conference is to provide a venue where participants can come together to network and learn about new opportunities and strategies that promote farm profitability and sustainability.  For more information about the conference or to register, please visit our website at


Sustainable Agriculture Conference
November 6-8, 2015 Durham, NC

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association celebrates their 30th anniversary with the Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Durham, North Carolina. The 2-day conference boasts 66 workshops, 12 hands-on intensives, and more than 50 renowned speakers to bring together farmers, health advocates, agripreneurs, ag-tivists and consumers to what may be the Farm and Food Event of the Year. Find more about pre-conference tours, workshops and registration information by visiting the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association website.


NFREC Beef Unit Cattle & Equipment Silent Auction

November 12, 2015 starting at 11AM CT in Greenwood, FL

The NFREC Beef Research Unit will be holding a silent auction to sell approximately 35 pregnant, and 20 open commercial cattle at the unit on November 12.  They will also be offering used gates, panels, and cattle handling equipment following recent renovations to their facilities.


Slow Food First Coast’s “Tour de Farm” 2015

November 15 from 12PM-5PM

The Slow Food First Coast Tour de Farm 2015 will provide the community with a first-look into the fall harvest and an opportunity to learn about our local food system. Join us – and folks from across the First Coast – to see where your food comes from and meet the farmers who produce it! Take part in the Slow Food First Coast journey to strengthen the connection between local food, strong farms and healthy communities. Individuals, families, cyclists, groups and businesses are invited to sample delicious ‘farm to fork’ dishes prepared by local chefs and artisans, attend educational workshops, enjoy a walking tour of the farms, plus much more. Learn more here.


2015 Small Ruminant Production Conference

November 20, 2015 from 9AM-5PM in Ocala, FL

UF/IFAS Extension Marion County and the Central Florida Livestock Agent's Group invites you to our Small Ruminant Production Conference.  This program will focus on goat and sheep health, nutrition, production efficiency and management of your herd or flock.  Topics will include:

·         Coping with Heat Stress

·         Caseous Lymphadenitis in Sheep and Goats

·         Fundamentals of Reproductive Anatomy and Physiology

·         Estimating Forage Yields

·         Genetic Selection

·         Weed Assessment

·         Stockpiling and Line Grazing

·         Overseeding in Small Paddocks

·         Selenium Supplementation

·         Sheep/Goat Management Calendar

·         Diversifying the Goat and Sheep Farm

·         Carcass Preparation

Register here.



Transforming Food Access Summit

January 11-13, 2016 in Atlanta, GA

Nutrition incentives have played a transformational role in providing affordable access to healthy fruits and vegetables for hundreds of thousands of low-income consumers. From national policy makers to community-based organizations engaged in incentive programs and local and regional food supply chains, attendees will take away practical and innovative tactics to improve access to healthy food. To learn more about summit objectives and registration, please visit their website.


Growing Farm Profits In-Service Training

January 26, 2016 from 9:30AM-5:00PM

Come to our day-long Growing Farm Profits In-service Training in Lexington, Kentucky on January 26, 2016, right before the 25th Annual Southern SAWG Conference. Free to Agricultural Professionals. Here's just a taste of what we will cover: 

  • Differences between profit management and financial management 
  • Drivers to profitability 
  • What data really needs to be tracked 
  • Evaluating profitability of various crops and various markets 
  • Analyzing data to determine the impact of decisions

Register here.



2016 Sustainable Farming Association Annual Conference
February 13, 2016 St. Joseph, MN

The Sustainable Farming Association (SFA) of Minnesota works to support the development of sustainable farming systems through farmer-to-farmer networking, innovation, demonstration and education. SFA’s annual Conference will be held at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota. Register early to be a sponsor or exhibitor or contribute suggestions for new topics or ideas that you’d like to see to the planning committee. Find out more about the work Sustainable Farming Association is doing and register for their conference.


Save the Date! Third Biennial National Food Hub Conference Announced

March 30-April 1, 2016 in Atlanta, GA

This is the only national conference with a laser-like focus on the success of food hubs. Remember to write this conference into your grant requests (contact us if you would like assistance in budget estimation). Contact us if you are interested in becoming a 2016 sponsor. More information to follow as the conference approaches. The Wallace Center is currently seeking proposals submissions to lead session.  Proposals submission are due October 25, 2015. The full announcement is available here and the online application is here


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 CalendarCheck back frequently for updates on opportunities near you!


Funding Opportunities


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.


Southern SARE Producer Grants

Deadline: Friday, November 13 at 5PM

Calls for Proposals for the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program Producer Grants are now open! Producer Grants are funding opportunities for farmers/ranchers and farmer groups interested in conducting sustainable agriculture research on their farms. Note that these are research grants and cannot be used to help pay a farmer to farm.


Southern SARE On-Farm Research Grants

Deadline: Friday, November 13 at 5PM

Calls for Proposals for the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program On-Farm Research Grants are now open! On-Farm Research Grants are funding opportunities for ag professionals who work directly with farmers on sustainable ag production and marketing research.


USDA Seeks Applications for $16.8 Million in Grants to Empower SNAP Participants to Make Healthy Eating Choices

Deadline: December 16, 2015

Funded projects will test community based strategies that contribute to our understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants through incentives at the point of purchase, supported by efficient benefit redemption technologies, that inform future efforts. Applications are due December 16, 2015. NIFA will host a webinar for applicants on October 14, 2015 at 2:00 p.m., EDT at



NRCS Cost Share Assistance

Deadline: December 18, 2015

Florida farmers and ranchers can apply until Dec. 18, 2015, for financial and technical assistance from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs for fiscal year 2016 funding. Although applications are accepted on a continuous basis for all programs, funding selections are typically made once a year. Learn more here.


Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives 
Deadline: December 18, 2015
In celebration of their 100th anniversary, Farm Credit seeks nominations to identify and honor 100 rural leaders who are changing the future of agriculture and rural communities for the better. Once the panel of experts has evaluated the nominees, the top 100 "Fresh Perspectives" honorees will be announced in March 2016. If you would like to nominate yourself or someone you know for their influential work in rural agriculture, 
visit the Farm Credit 100 website.


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


Grant Program

Due Date

Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program


Community Food Projects (CFP) Competitive Grants Program



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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