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

Access to Capital: Two Roots Farm & Slow Money

April 20, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Harper Kaufman, Co-Owner and Operator of Two Roots Farm Christian and I fell in love with farming not too long after we fell in love with each other. Before graduating from the University of Montana, we had our first farming experience at PEAS Farm, the university farm near campus. While there, we began to grasp the … Read More

Access to Capital: Slow Money

April 18, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern As public interest in local and organic food increases, new markets have emerged in response to higher demand for these products. However, producers often need access to additional capital in order to access these markets. In response, Woody Tasch authored Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered, a … Read More

Access to Land: The Birgen Farm Family & Succession Planning

April 14, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Lura Roti, South Dakota Farmers Union Like most South Dakota farms 50 years ago, the Birgen’s farm resembled that of the Old McDonald nursery rhyme. “We raised cattle, chickens, sheep, had milk cows and stock cows,­ but back then, everyone did. You sold cream and eggs,” recalls Matt Birgen, an 86-year-old Korean War Veteran … Read More

Access to Efficiency: Alicia Razvi & Women in Agriculture

April 13, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Alicia Razvi, President of the Wood-Portage-Waupaca County Chapter of Wisconsin Farmers Union In September of 2014, I walked into my first Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU) meeting. The chapter was forming a youth program, and I was curious about local food. Little did I know, walking into that coffee house meeting would lead me on a … Read More

Access to Efficiency: Women in Agriculture

April 11, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Melissa Miller, NFU Director of Education As National Farmers Union’s education director, I am lucky enough to travel the country to visit with dozens of women in agriculture every year. From Virginia to Oklahoma, Oregon to Wisconsin, these women never cease to amaze me with their innovative ideas and consistent hard work. I see women … Read More

Access to Land: Finding and Financing Farmland

April 6, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Ariana Taylor-Stanley, Owner and Operator of Here We Are Farm Though my husband, Adrian, grew up on a little farm, he has since become a computer scientist and, if not for my agricultural inclinations, would probably live in a sparse, walkable studio apartment in some metropolis. Conversely, I grew up in a downtown duplex and … Read More

Access to Land: Buying Land as a First-Generation Producer

April 4, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Jimmy Dula, NFU Intern Many clothing retailers don’t own their storefront, and bakeries often don’t own their kitchens. So why would farmers need to own their farmland? In any business, cash is king. Owning a large commercial asset, like farmland, ties up capital that could otherwise be used to grow a nascent business. In some cases, … Read More