What Can Farmers Do About Climate Change? Dynamic Cropping Systems

February 21, 2017Climate Column

By Laura Lengnick, founder of Cultivating Resilience, LLC Some of America’s forward-thinking farmers and ranchers are innovating more flexible crop rotations that allow them to fine-tune crop choices in response to increasing weather variability.  This kind of crop rotation strategy is called “dynamic cropping.”  Dynamic cropping is an ecologically-based management strategy that optimizes production through the … Read More

Access to Land: Farm Legacy Letters

February 21, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Teresa Opheim, Editor of The Future of Family Farms: Practical Farmers’ Legacy Letter Project About five years ago, a farmer stopped during a farm tour and confided that he worried that his son would not be able to continue farming. The farmer’s land-owning mother had just died, and her farmland was being divided among her children. … Read More

Access to Efficiency: Kolousek Family & Intensive Grazing

February 17, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Lura Roti, South Dakota Farmers Union Shadowing an engineer for a few days his sophomore year of college was all the exposure Scott Kolousek needed to realize he would be happier building a career on his family’s Wessington Springs cattle and crop farm. “That experience saved me a lot of time pursuing the wrong … Read More

Access to Capital: Red Dog Farm & Farm Credit

February 16, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Karyn Williams, owner of Red Dog Farm I didn’t grow up in a farming family. In fact, I grew up in the suburbs of Seattle. My great-grandparents were farmers, back in Missouri, during the Dust Bowl years. When they moved out west with my then-6-year-old grandmother, I suspect they wished for a non-farming life for their … Read More

Access to Capital: Farm Credit

February 14, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern In previous weeks, the Beginning Farm Forum’s has presented several ways that beginning farmers and ranchers can access capital, including  the Farm Service Agency and crowdfunding. Today, we’re examining Farm Credit, a national organization made up of over 70, member-owned cooperative associations that provide financial services to farmers, ranchers and rural business across the U.S. Farm Credit … Read More

Access to Land: Christensen Farm Family & Succession Planning

February 13, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Lura Roti, South Dakota Farmers Union Ask Marlow Christensen and his three sons, Dale, Don and Doug, why they chose farming as a career and their responses are similar. “It’s all we’ve ever known,” explains Dale, who, like his younger brothers, joined the family operation full-time right out of high school. His brother, Don, … Read More

What Do Farmers Need to Know About Climate Change? Developing Protocols for Environmental Markets

February 13, 2017Climate Column

By Kristen Ford, Program Manager for Farmer Veteran Coalition Relatively few range or pasture land projects are producing marketable greenhouse gas (GHG) credits, and producer awareness of environmental markets is extremely low. Through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG), Farmer Veteran Coalition, a national nonprofit organization that … Read More

Ten Reasons to Attend NFU’s Women’s Conference

February 10, 2017Blog

By Lisa Kivirist, Endowed Chair at the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, author of Soil Sisters Just as we farmers need to care for our soil, we also need to nurture our minds and plant new idea seeds to shape a healthy business vision. That’s exactly what’s on the menu for women farmers at this year’s … Read More

Access to Markets: LocalFood App

February 9, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Elise Rothman, Founder of LocalMotive Is there a proven strategy to boost demand and revenue for local food? And if so, can the local food shift be measured? LocalMotive, a Public Benefit Corp out of Manitou Springs, Colorado, thinks they may have the answers. In 2015, they piloted LocalFood, a mobile application (“app”) that uses … Read More

NFU at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture

February 7, 2017Blog

By Chris Holman, NFU Member In mid-January, I flew to Berlin to attend the annual Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA), this year entitled “Agriculture and Water – The Key to Feeding the World.” While there, I represented National Farmers Union (NFU) and the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), and served as the North American … Read More

Access to Markets: Local Food Databases

February 7, 2017Blog

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern As technology revolutionizes travel, products, games, and people, food producers should be looking to identify its role in food access. In what ways can technology facilitate the relationship between farmers and consumers? During the most recent Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry hearing on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program … Read More

What Can Farmers Do About Climate Change? Silvopasture

February 6, 2017Climate Column

By Tom Driscoll, Director of Conservation Policy and NFU Foundation As discussed previously in the Climate Column, trees sequester carbon that, if left in the atmosphere, would trap heat and contribute to climate change. Growing trees on farmland allows producers to store more carbon while simultaneously achieving other advantages for their farms’ productivity. The National Agroforestry Center (NAC) shares information on … Read More

Access to Land: Boulder County Land Lease Program

February 3, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern, and Vanessa McCracken, Agricultural Resource Specialist for Boulder County Parks & Open Space  Boulder County, whose most populous city is the eponymous Boulder, Colorado, is home to the University of Colorado Buffs, and is infamous for an expansive population of tree hugging, rock loving, spiritually centered citizens. In the 1970’s, an intergovernmental … Read More

Access to Land: Farming on County Property

January 31, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern As land values in many parts of the county continue to rise, and as urban development threatens rural landscapes, county governments have begun taking stewardship of farmland and its development rights in order to make the land available to farmers. Though programs vary in structure and funding, they share the … Read More

Chapter Elects First Female Muslim President in NFU History

January 30, 2017Blog

By Tommy Enright, Wisconsin Farmers Union Communications Associate The Wood-Portage-Waupaca County Chapter of Wisconsin Farmers Union made history in November with the election of Alicia Razvi, a CSA farmer from Stevens Point, as their chapter president. Razvi served as the chapter’s secretary/treasurer for two years prior to her election to the office of president. “Two … Read More

What Can Farmers Do About Climate Change? Forest Farming

January 30, 2017Climate Column

By Tom Driscoll, Director of Conservation Policy and NFU Foundation Last week, the Climate Column discussed one practice, alley cropping, that builds climate resilience of farmland by incorporating trees. The National Agroforesty Center (NAC) promotes other such practices, including forest farming. Forest farming “is the cultivation of high-value specialty crops under the protection of a forest canopy that has been … Read More

Access to Markets: Organic Q&A With Harrison Topp

January 26, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern Harrison Topp, NFU member and Director of Membership for Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, is the operator of Topp Fruits in Paonia, Colorado. Topp holistically manages the stone fruit orchard, giving special consideration to environmental stewardship and resource management. The orchard first received organic certification two years ago. In this Q&A, Harrison … Read More

Access to Markets: Organic Certification

January 24, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Coordinator Although Organic Certification has only been offered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for about 15 years, there are already more than 20,000 organic operations nationwide. According to the USDA, Organic Certification is given to operations that “demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and … Read More

What Can Farmers Do About Climate Change? Alley Cropping

January 23, 2017Climate Column

By Tom Driscoll, Director of Conservation Policy and NFU Foundation The Climate Column has covered many practices supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). In addition to its own work promoting conservation practices, NRCS also collaborates with the United States Forest Service to provide resources through the National Agroforestry Center (NAC) to help farmers contribute to climate resilience. NAC promotes … Read More

Access to Education: Young Farmers Conference

January 19, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Christy Ottinger, Manager of Little Gunpowder Farm As a beginning farmer, I try to seize every opportunity to further my education and learn more about all aspects of farming. Thus far, I have done this by attending conferences during the winter, participating in NFU’s Beginning Farmers Institute, and enrolling in short workshops during the season. … Read More

Access to Education: Introduction

January 17, 2017Beginning Farmers, Blog

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern Snow and cold weather may slow down food production, but there is no off-season for farmers. Even when it is too cold for crops, farmers are readying for the spring, researching new production methods, educating themselves on new farm technologies, and planning market strategies. Thorough  preparation for the growing season can greatly reduce … Read More

What Do Farmers Need to Know About Climate Change? United States Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization

January 17, 2017Blog, Climate Column

By Tom Driscoll, NFU Director of Conservation Policy and Education National Farmers Union (NFU) members understand the negative impacts of climate change are exacerbated by greater concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the Earth’s atmosphere. Everyone in the world should be concerned about the broad consequences of climate change, but family farmers are particularly worried about the direct impact climate change … Read More

Access to Markets: Selecting Seeds

January 12, 2017Beginning Farmers, Blog

By Whitney Will, Farm Manager at Roaring Gardens at TCI Lane Ranch January is a time for dreaming about the next season of farming, planning the garden, and ordering seeds. For me, looking forward to the next season always starts with looking back on previous ones. What worked well last season? Which vegetables did we need … Read More

NFU at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture

January 11, 2017Blog

By Chris Holman, NFU Member Next week, I will be flying to Berlin, Germany to represent National Farmers Union (NFU) at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFAA). NFU’s participation in this forum is tied to its role as a founding member of the World Farmers Organization (WFO). If you are a relatively new member of Farmers Union … Read More

Access to Markets: Growing for a Farmers Market

January 10, 2017Beginning Farmers, Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Coordinator Farmers markets can be an important source of supplementary income and public exposure for both small scale producers and beginning farmers and ranchers. Not only do they provide access to additional markets and new consumers, but they also eliminate the costs of processing, storage, wholesale, and distributing associated with traditional … Read More