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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Access to Markets: Why Media Matters in Agriculture

May 16, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Tommy Enright, Wisconsin Farmers Union Communications Associate Some farms garner a great deal of media attention while similar farms fly below the radar. Why is this? To be sure, there are farmers doing enough awesome things in their communities that people take notice. But more likely, they are good at marketing themselves. In my experience, … Read More

Access to Efficiency: The Affordable Care Act

May 11, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern Healthcare coverage is a lingering concern for most beginning farmers. Farm work is by no means safe work. Physical demands, heavy machinery, sharp tools, and other unexpected dangers are inevitable risks on operations of all sizes. Those without health care coverage are nagged by the thought of how much a mistake could cost, both … Read More

Access to Efficiency: Health Care

May 9, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Coordinator Access to affordable and effective health care is a fundamental concern for many Americans. However, farmers, ranchers, and rural communities face several unique obstacles to acquiring and paying for coverage. Rural communities experience higher rates of poverty, unemployment, chronic and mental health issues, and risky behaviors than their urban … Read More

Access to Land: Erin’s Acres Farm

May 4, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Erin Cuseo, Owner & Operator of Erin’s Acres Farm As a first generation vegetable farmer in Colorado, one of the main challenges I face is accessing land. With increasingly high prices and a lack of available agricultural land, finding a long-term solution may take a farmer like myself many years. Not every property will suit … Read More

Access to Land: Leasing Farmland

May 2, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern For a beginning farmer, who may not have the means to purchase their own land, leasing is often the most viable route to starting an operation. Typically, a lease doesn’t require a hefty downpayment or burdensome loan, and the financial risk is shared between the landowner and the tenant. However, farm … Read More

Access to Land: The Wonneberg Ranch Family & Succession Planning

April 28, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Lura Roti, South Dakota Farmers Union As its mother protectively stands guard, her newborn calf, supported precariously by its wobbly legs, looks curiously at its surroundings and then begins nursing. For four generations, this heart-warming scene has signaled spring on the Wonnenberg Ranch near Dallas, Texas. And even though it’s been a part of … Read More

Access to Markets: Colorado Herb Cooperative

April 28, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Stephanie Syson, Lead Grower & Owner of Biodynamic Botanicals The United States is a large consumer of medicinal herbs, mainly in the form of value-added products such as dietary supplements, teas, personal care products, cosmetics, and other nutraceuticals. However, many of the herbs used to make these products are imported from foreign markets. In … Read More

Access to Markets: Cooperatives

April 25, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern Although you might not know it, cooperatives are woven throughout every industry in the United States, including housing, banking, agriculture, food retail, and healthcare, providing people with basic goods and services through collectively owned and democratically organized businesses and organizations. Opportunities for cooperatives exist when a group of people or organizations share a … Read More