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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Access to Land: Farm Church Q&A

January 5, 2017Beginning Farmers, Blog

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern Allen Brimer is the farmer/pastor at Farm Church, an agriculturally-minded religious community. Brimer has extensive experience cultivating produce and raising farm animals, as well as over a decade of religious service. In this Q&A, Brimer tells us more about his operation and the challenges and opportunities he has encountered farming for … Read More

Access to Land: Farming for a Paycheck

January 3, 2017Beginning Farmers, Blog

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern Among the many alternative agricultural economic models that have cropped up in recent years, farming for a paycheck has become increasingly common. Unlike traditional farming models, in which a producer’s self-generated income is contingent on crop yields and sales, in this arrangement, a third party guarantees producers a fixed salary … Read More

Access to Markets: Managing a Farmers Market

December 29, 2016Beginning Farmers, Blog

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern Nestled next to Basalt Town Hall, with access to main street shops and eateries, the Sunday Market in Basalt, Colorado  is an economic driver for our rural mountain town. To the credit of previous market managers and board members, the 40-plus vendor market is the social occasion of the summer, … Read More

Access to Markets: Introduction

December 27, 2016Beginning Farmers, Blog

By Thomas Driscoll, NFU Director of Conservation Policy and Education Farmers and ranchers need a wide range of abilities and knowledge to succeed. Depending on the operation, a beginning producer may require aptitude in livestock nutrition, tractor repair, meteorology, regulatory permitting, purchase order negotiations, and more… all in the same day! But even the mastery of all … Read More

Access to Capital: Barnraiser Q&A

December 22, 2016Beginning Farmers

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern David Whittaker, Owner of Oak Meadows Farm in Ferndale, WA, successfully raised $5,365 through a Barnraiser crowdfunding campaign. David raises pastured hens, turkeys and quail for meat and egg production. Read through this short Q&A to find out more about his experience accessing capital to grow his operation. Why did … Read More

Access to Capital: Crowdfunding

December 20, 2016Beginning Farmers

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern Are you a farmer with a well-considered and lucrative plan for value-added production, but without the business history to secure a loan for the necessary equipment? Do you think your customers would pitch in to help you buy a smaller tractor if they could secure preferred access to the produce you … Read More

Access to Capital: Farm Service Agency

December 15, 2016Beginning Farmers

By Mike Nolan, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union; President, Four Corners Farmers and Ranchers Coalition Three years ago in August, I bought a small, 13-acre parcel of irrigated land in the Mancos Valley of Colorado. I had been farming for 6 years at that point, but paying a mortgage and building permanent infrastructure was completely new to me. … Read More

Access to Capital: Introduction

December 13, 2016Beginning Farmers

By Tom Driscoll, NFU Director of Conservation Policy and Education The stability of the food supply in the United States depends upon farmers’ access to credit. Credit presents challenges to all farmers and ranchers because cash flows differently for farms than it does for many other types of businesses. But obstacles to credit can be especially … Read More

Access to Land: Succession Planning

December 8, 2016Beginning Farmers

For beginning producers who farm and ranch on intergenerational family operations, good succession planning is essential to securing access to land. By Brittany Ann Bula, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Beginning Farmer Institute 2016-2017 As a 4th generation farmer, and as my parents grow older, the touchy subject of secession farming is brought up more often than not. … Read More

Access to Land: Introduction

December 8, 2016Beginning Farmers

By Tom Driscoll, NFU Director of Conservation Policy and Education National Farmer Union’s historic concern and advocacy for the vitality of family farming and rural communities demands that every person involved with the organization works to ensure beginning producers can successfully engage in farming and support their families with sustainable businesses. NFU’s policy, established by the … Read More

NFU Beginning Farmers Travel to California for On-Farm Learning Sessions

November 7, 2016Beginning Farmers, Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 7, 2016 Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106 SALINAS, Calif. (November 7, 2016) – The National Farmers Union (NFU) Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) reconvened in Salinas, California, on Friday, November 4, for the second of three annual programming sessions. Seventeen beginning farmers and ranchers from across the country attended the two-day, hands-on learning … Read More