Access to Efficiency: USDA Programs and Services Benefit New and Beginning Producers

July 17, 2017Beginning Farmers

By James Tillman, Acting Associate Chief for Conservation, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Are you interested in protecting the soil, water, plants, and air and achieving economic sustainability on your newly acquired farm, ranch, or forest? Would you like to increase your marketing and income potential while focusing on increasing wildlife habitat on some of … Read More

From the Field: Farming is a Risky Business

July 6, 2017From the Field

By Matt Perdue, NFU Government Relations Representative Farming is a risky business. A sudden storm, enduring drought, or proliferation of crop disease can decimate a crop. Even when farmers produce a bumper crop, market downturns can still make it a struggle to make ends meet. In Montana’s “Golden Triangle,” farms of all sizes and types … Read More

Access to Capital: Kiva Microloans

June 27, 2017Beginning Farmers, Blog

By Steven Emmen, NFU Intern Access to capital is one of the toughest hurdles a beginning farmer will overcome. Beginning producers frequently don’t have collateral to offer lenders. And it can be hard to build a good credit score as a farmhand or apprentice. New farms may also lack accurate income projections that are used … Read More

What Should Farmers Know About Climate Change? Irrigation Water Management

June 26, 2017Blog, Climate Column

By Skylar Schneider, Executive Assistant, National Farmers Union Climate change presents a multitude of challenges for farmers, as extreme temperatures and erratic rainfall patterns can negatively impact crops. In order to prepare for these extreme conditions, such as drought, farmers can adopt energy-conserving practices. For example, water is a valuable natural resource that is absolutely … Read More

Access to Efficiency: Climate Change & Water

June 20, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Steven Emmen, NFU Intern Farmers and ranchers who are feeding a growing population often think about more. The more crops planted and the more they yield, the more mouths are fed, right? However, when speaking in terms of efficiency, whether it’s inputs, land, or water, farmers and ranchers need to think about less. In … Read More

What Should Farmers Know About Climate Change? Livestock & Carbon Sequestration

June 19, 2017Climate Column

By Jonathan Reinbold, Sustainability, Research & Grant Manager at Organic Valley Here’s an interesting paradox: livestock is both a major contributor to and a solution for excess carbon in the atmosphere, which is intensifying climate change. The most conservative estimates suggest that raising livestock accounts for nearly 15% of global greenhouse gases emitted each year; the … Read More

What Can Farmers and Ranchers Do About Climate Change? Market Access for Pastured Meat

June 12, 2017Climate Column

By Tom Driscoll, Director of NFU Foundation and Conservation Policy The Climate Column has covered a number of grazing practices that encourage soil health, such as prescribed grazing and rotational grazing. These practices store atmospheric carbon in the soil while protecting forage from the increasingly volatile precipitation patterns driven by climate change, allowing producers to both mitigate … Read More

Access to Efficiency: Water Rights Q&A With Harrison Topp

June 8, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Steven Emmen, NFU Intern Earlier this week, we briefly discussed what the prior appropriation system is and its unique characteristics. To give beginning farmers a better idea of the practical application of prior appropriation, we reached out to a farmer on the western slope of Colorado. Harrison Topp manages a peach farm and is currently … Read More

Access to Efficiency: Water & Prior Appropriation

June 6, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Steven Emmen, NFU Intern It would be very difficult to be a successful farmer without adequate access to water. Depending on the topography of the region and the basin that a farmer is diverting from, they will face vastly different issues when acquiring water. When managing water resources there are two things to always remember: the … Read More

What Do Farmers Need to Know About Climate Change? Nitrogen Management Pilot Project

June 5, 2017Climate Column

By Robert Parkhurst, Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Markets Director at Environmental Defense Fund With international trade pressures, low commodity prices, and unpredictable weather patterns, it’s a tough time for agriculture right now. But farmers are now and have always been innovative and resilient – and very resourceful. That’s why a new opportunity might be of interest to … Read More

Access to Markets: Pricing

June 2, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern Pricing has been one of the most difficult ideas in farming for me to wrap my head around. Estimating cost of production can be difficult in a small but highly diversified operation. Most farmers don’t keep track of how many hours were spent weeding and managing rows of carrots versus rows … Read More

Stand Up for Family Farmers – Pass the Farmer Fair Practices Rules

June 1, 2017Blog

By Skylar Schneider, NFU Executive Assistant Nearly 100 years ago, Congress passed the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, which was written to both address abuses by major livestock and poultry meatpackers as well as ensure effective competition within the market. The act prohibits unfair practices and undue preferences, and aims to shield producers from anti-competitive … Read More

Access to Markets: The Perils of Price

May 31, 2017Blog

By Chris Holman, Co-Owner/Operator of Nami Moon Farms As beginning producers, what sorts of obstacles do we create in order to keep doing what we’re doing? There were plenty of them, but today let’s talk about one that will kill you and your farm faster than almost any other—price. When we started out at Nami … Read More

Farmers Union: Agitate, Organize, Educate, and Cooperate

May 31, 2017Blog

By Tom Giessel, NFU Historian Owen Franklin Dornblazer was the 11th person to join The Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union of America in 1902. He lived to the age of 94 and was active in organizational and membership work until the final few months of his life. At age 85, addressing the 1926 NFU convention, … Read More

What Do Farmers Need to Know About Climate Change? Federal Support for Climate Research

May 30, 2017Climate Column

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Coordinator Climate science, a multidisciplinary field that addresses the causes and effects of climate change, predicts future trends, and establishes mitigation and adaptation practices, is increasingly vital as extreme temperatures and erratic weather become more common. We all benefit from climate change research, but it is particularly critical for family … Read More

Access to Markets: The Greenway Farm Family & Farm Advocacy

May 26, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Lura Roti, South Dakota Farmers Union A $200 scholarship from the Davison County Pork Producers in 1984 launched Brad Greenway on an agricultural advocacy journey which has put him in front of thousands of consumers coast-to-coast and around the world to share his story. “That scholarship got me involved,” explains the third-generation pork producer. Brad’s engagement … Read More

Access to Markets: Value Added Producer Grants

May 25, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Matt Perdue, NFU Government Relations Representative When my mother was growing up on her family’s farm near Bergen, North Dakota, they produced most of the food they ate. Their eggs, butter, milk, cream, fruits, vegetables, beef, pork, and chicken were all raised and processed on the farm. The good Germans that they are, my … Read More

Access to Efficiency: Rural Development

May 23, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Tom Driscoll, Director of NFU Foundation and Conservation Policy One of the principles driving National Farmers Union is our dedication to the communities in which food producers live and work. The preamble to our policy states, “The goal of NFU is to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers, … Read More

What Can Farmers Do About Climate Change? Methane Digesters

May 22, 2017Climate Column

By Rori Cowan, Senior Program Associate at the American Carbon Registry Agricultural carbon offsets have been a hot topic in both the environmental and agricultural worlds in the last decade in the fight to mitigate climate change. While there have been substantial hurdles to implementation, such as prohibitive monitoring requirements, there have also been significant … Read More

Access to Efficiency: The Vedvei Farm Family & Cattle Breeding

May 19, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Lura Roti, South Dakota Farmers Union “It was nerve-racking to watch, but seeing that smile was priceless,” says Corrie, as she reminisces about watching her daughter show for the first time. A third-generation 4-H alumnus, Corrie says it’s exciting to see her daughter continue the family legacy of 4-H involvement and showing registered Charolais … Read More

The Future of Farming is Now

May 19, 2017Blog

By Natalie McGill and Stewart Lundy, Owners & Operators of Perennial Roots Farm Farmers tend to be rugged individualists. They might be a little rough around the edges, but that tough skin is just part of how they are able to do the hard work of farming. The constant ups and downs in farming require real … Read More