VDACS Webinar Announced: Business Assistance Resources for Virginia Beginning Farmers and Ag Entrepreneurs
|Webinar Series 3:Business Assistance Resources for Virginia Beginning Farmers and Ag Entrepreneurs|
|Stephen Versen, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer ServicesTo participate in this webinar please go to:
Politicians love small businesses; they also love farmers. As a result, farmers and entrepreneurs in Ag-based businesses enjoy a bigger suite of government assistance programs than just about any other group. However, there is also a lot of confusion about what really is available: reasonable loans to beginning farmers (yes), grants to raise alpacas (no). To help sort all this out, Stephen Versen, a Project Manager in the Agriculture and Forestry Development Services unit at VDACS (Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services), will be discussing some of the most useful state and federal programs and answering your questions about accessing them. Major topics to be discussed are USDA loan and grant programs, as well as assistance available through the Commonwealth of Virginia, including: the Virginia Grown/Virginia’s Finest programs and the new Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID). For more information about the webinar or questions, please contact webinar organizers Matt Benson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kim Niewolny (email@example.com).
Check out the project website at www.vabeginningfarmer.org for recordings of past webinars and to see what other exciting initiatives are being developed!
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer
|No registration is required. A few minutes before 3PM, go to the website address above and login by typing in your name under the “guest account”. You will then be taken to the webinar. Once logged in, run the audio wizard setup (Select MEETING/RUN AUDIO SETUP WIZARD) to ensure your computer speakers are hooked up and on. To hear the audio and presenters, speakers must be turned on. For additional technical assistance, contact Carl Estes with Virginia Tech at (540) 231-1385. During the webinar, questions can be typed into the chat box on the left hand side of the screen. A recording of this webinar will be available at the Virginia Beginning Farmer Project website afterwards.|
|The Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project is sponsored through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) of the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Award # 2010-49400-21720.|
Farm Credit of the Virginias, ACA Meets with Congressman Goodlatte to Discuss Agriculture in Virginia’s 6th District and Beyond
Farm Credit of the Virginias is part of the Farm Credit System which was formed in 1916, literally by an act of Congress. The Farm Credit Act was approved by Congress and amended over time to keep Farm Credit in a position to provide a consistent source of credit to farmers, ranchers and rural communities.
While each Farm Credit association has its own management and a member-elected board of directors, the actions of Congress have a significant impact on how we are able to serve your needs as a customer. That is why Farm Credit of the Virginias works hard to convey to our elected officials in Washington, D.C., your needs and concerns with regard to your ability to make a profit and continue in farming.
As more and more members of Congress come from the urban areas of our states, it becomes even more important for the voice of rural Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland to be heard. To be most effective, our employees and directors work on an ongoing basis to know not only the congressmen and women, but also their staff members who deal with agricultural issues.
Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project Announces Webinar: Exploring Best Food Safety Practices and GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) Certification for Beginning Farmers
Webinar Series 2:
Exploring Best Food Safety Practices and GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) Certification for Beginning Farmers
Wythe Morris, Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent, Commercial Horticulture
To participate in this webinar, please go to:
Local and regional food systems that connect farmers to nearby markets are continuing to grow throughout Virginia and the U.S. Because of this, many farmers are experiencing a wider array of marketing opportunities such as through farmers markets, restaurants, grocery stores, schools, colleges, universities, and hospitals. Through a 2011-2012 survey of Virginia beginning farmers and ranchers, respondents indicated that they had lower levels of knowledge about food safety and good agricultural practices (GAP) certification compared to other production practice needs. Virginia beginning farmer respondents also indicated that they were utilizing numerous direct and intermediate marketing channels for distribution and sale of their products. The purpose of this webinar is to help Virginia beginning farmers and ranchers and other agricultural service providers understand the policies, regulations, and processes that allow for safe food production, distribution, and consumption. Please join us for a presentation by Mr. Wythe Morris, Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent in Commercial Horticulture as he describes best food safety practices and the GAP certification process. Following this presentation, you will have an opportunity to ask Wythe your questions as he helps guide you through safe food production and certification. For more information about the webinar or questions, please contact webinar organizers Matt Benson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kim Niewolny (email@example.com).
Recordings of past webinars can be found on the project website: http://www.vabeginningfarmer.aee.vt.edu/webinar/Archive/webinar-archive.html.
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer
No registration is required. A few minutes before 3PM, go to the website address above and login by typing in your name under the “guest account”. You will then be taken to the webinar. Once logged in, run the audio wizard setup (Select MEETING/RUN AUDIO SETUP WIZARD) to ensure your computer speakers are hooked up and on. To hear the audio and presenters, speakers must be turned on. For additional technical assistance, contact Carl Estes with Virginia Tech at (540) 231-1385. During the webinar, questions can be typed into the chat box on the left hand side of the screen. A recording of this webinar will be available at the Virginia Beginning Farmer Project website afterwards.
The Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project is sponsored through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) of the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Award # 2010-49400-21720.
The following is from Dr. Richard Wilkes’ Office, State Veterinarian, regarding the EHV-1 outbreak in Florida:
For individuals inquiring about transporting horses from Florida to Virginia:
• They are not permitted to travel to Virginia if they are originating from a premises quarantined in Florida – it is possible that requests for special permits for movement may be considered at some point in the future, but are not being considered now.
• Calls concerning Florida horses that are not under quarantine and inquiring about restrictions should be reminded that bio-security is very important in reducing the transmission of this disease, that we request that body temperatures should be recorded on the CVI before travel, and that horses with elevated temperatures are not allowed to travel to Virginia. But there are no restrictions at this time prohibiting movement of healthy non-quarantined horses from Florida to Virginia.
For questions, contact, Dr. Wilkes at 804/692-0601 or Dr. Charles Broaddus at 804/786-2483.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is continuing to work to ensure proper safeguards are taken to prevent further spread of the disease. Florida is intending to update their website daily for the most current information: (http://www.freshfromflorida.com/ai/).
Local Food Development and Processing Specialist
Prince Edward County, Virginia
Virginia Food Works is seeking a Specialist to assist small businesses and area farms to create Virginia grown and processed food products through the Prince Edward County Cannery and Commercial Kitchen. Virginia Food Works is a nonprofit organization with a core mission to implement programs that will strengthen the capacity of Virginia farm-based producers to enter and succeed in value-added food manufacturing and sales.
Duties will include:
Market Development - recruit commercial food clients; attend industry trade shows and conferences; promote services through media and personal appearances
Operational – provide on-going development of operational manual and protocols; coordinate food production- including delivery and storage for containers and raw food products, write grants to support non-profit’s mission
Processing – assist Commercial clients with the production of food products using the Cannery and Commercial Kitchen’s equipment
Educational/Business Development – meet with growers to develop recipes for commercial production and assist with market development, work with area resources (Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, etc.) to promote services
Willingness to operate commercial equipment (training will be provided)
Strong writing/communication skills
The position requires that the employee would need to live in or near the town of Farmville, VA.
Interested applicants should contact Allie Hill, Project Director of Virginia Food Works via VirginiaFoodWorks@gmail.com Please include any relevant experience in your letter. Application deadline is March 15th, 2013.
ABOUT THE DAIRY MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE
The Dairy Management Institute (DMI) is a benchmarking program designed to help dairymen assess the strengths and weaknesses of their dairy operation. DMI began in 2000 as a joint effort between Farm Credit and Virginia Cooperative Extension. The program has grown to include 85+ herds across Virginia.
Our goal is to help participants improve profitability and efficiency on their farms. Data output provides producers with an individualized analysis of their business. This can be used to:
• Easily identify weak links
• Make management decisions
• Seek financing
• Develop future plans for the business
Participating dairymen submit farm income and expense numbers for the prior year. The data is compiled to obtain group averages. Participants receive the following individualized data:
• Key financial measures for your farm and the group such as:
–Net income per cow
–Cost per hundred weight
–Debt payments per cow
–Lbs. shipped per worker
–Break-even milk price
HOW IT WORKS
Participants can submit a financial statement and DHIA herd code for a more complete analysis of their dairy business. Also, at the meeting, you will hear from respected speakers on financial and herd management issues, panel discussions with fellow producers sharing
their keys to success, group discussions and valuable networking.
Lunch is FREE! DMI is fully funded by Farm Credit of the Virginias with no cost to participating producers!
• The volatility and complexity of the dairy industry today make it more important than ever to know your financial position, including cost of production. Dairymen must be able to quickly and adequately analyze their current operations to ensure that the farm business remains profitable and viable for the next generation.
• This program will help you easily determine your cost of production and break-even milk price…information that is essential to making good management decisions and utilizing risk management tools.
• Find the weak links in your operation and identify where changes can be made to increase profitability.
• Pinpoint trends in your dairy operation that can help you better plan for the future.
• Network with other progressive dairymen. Hear what is working for them and how they are moving their operations forward.
• Hear from well-known speakers as to best management practices on successful dairy operations.
• Improve your ability to secure financing. Farm Credit and other ag lenders alike, value the DMI data and encourage their clients to participate in the program.
• Introduce the next generation of your dairy business to the financial aspects of running a farm operation. Family members\bookkeepers are highly encouraged to attend as well.
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about managing the single largest expense on your farm!
DATES AND LOCATIONS
March 27, 2013
Rocky Mount, Virginia
March 28, 2013
April 1, 2013
All Meetings 9:30-2:30
Data Submission Deadline: March 5, 2013
Assistance is available in getting your information pulled together the first year you participate.
For more information or to sign-up, please contact:
Patti Craun, Dairy Specialist\Relationship Mgr.
Farm Credit of the Virginias, ACA
P.O. Box 2550, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
540.434.5385 ext. 5223 or 800.919.FARM
USDA Announces 45th General Sign-Up for the Conservation Reserve Program
MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 16, 2013-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced at the National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will conduct a four-week general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), beginning May 20 and ending on June 14. CRP has a 27-year legacy of protecting the nation’s natural resources through voluntary participation, while providing significant economic and environmental benefits to rural communities across the United States. Under Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, USDA has enrolled 11.7 million acres in various CRP efforts.
“Since the 1980s, the CRP program has established itself as a benchmark in voluntary conservation efforts, providing American producers with assets to address our most critical resource issues,” said Vilsack. “Last year, during one of the worst droughts in generations, the CRP proved vital in protecting our most environmentally sensitive lands from erosion. Emergency haying and grazing on CRP lands also supplied critical feed and forage for livestock producers due to the drought. And the program continues to bring substantial returns to rural areas, attracting recreation and tourism dollars into local economies while sustaining natural and wildlife habitat for future generations.”
Additional sign-ups for continuous CRP programs-such as Highly Erodible Land Initiative and Initiative to Restore Grasslands, Wetlands and Wildlife-will be announced in spring 2013.
Currently, about 27 million acres are enrolled in CRP, which is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to help them safeguard environmentally sensitive land. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and enhance wildlife habitat. Contracts on 3.3 million acres of CRP are set to expire on Sept. 30, 2013. Producers with expiring contracts or producers with environmentally sensitive land are encouraged to evaluate their options under CRP.
Producers that are accepted in the sign-up can receive cost-share assistance to plant long-term, resource-conserving covers and receive an annual rental payment for the length of the contract (10-15 years). Producers also are encouraged to look into CRP’s other enrollment opportunities offered on a continuous, non-competitive, sign-up basis and that often provide additional financial assistance. Continuous sign-up dates will be announced at a later date.
Over the past 27 years, farmers, ranchers, conservationists, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts have made CRP one of the largest and most important USDA efforts. CRP continues to make major contributions to national efforts to improve water and air quality, and to prevent soil erosion by protecting the most sensitive areas including those prone to flash flooding and runoff. CRP has also helped increase populations of pheasants, quail, ducks, and rare species, like the sage grouse, the lesser prairie chicken, and other grassland birds. Highlights of CRP include:
CRP has restored more than two million acres of wetlands and two million acres of riparian buffers; Each year, CRP keeps more than 600 million pounds of nitrogen and more than 100 million pounds of phosphorous from flowing into our nation’s streams, rivers, and lakes. CRP provides $1.8 billion annually to landowners-dollars that make their way into local economies, supporting small businesses and creating jobs; and CRP is the largest private lands carbon sequestration program in the country. By placing vulnerable cropland into conservation, CRP sequesters carbon in plants and soil, and reduces both fuel and fertilizer usage. In 2012, CRP resulted in carbon sequestration equal to taking about nine million cars off the road.
The Obama Administration is leading a host of federal agencies in the America’s Great Outdoors initiative to develop a 21st century conservation agenda and reconnect Americans to the outdoors. At the same time, USDA continues to enroll a record number of acres of private working lands in conservation programs, working with more than 500,000 farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and prevent soil erosion. Since 2009, USDA has enrolled more than 50 million acres into the Conservation Stewardship Program to incentivize the most productive, beneficial conservation practices. And USDA’s work in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Mississippi River Basin, and Gulf of Mexico are among 19 initiatives applying the most effective conservation practices to increase agricultural and environmental returns. USDA science is also helping to focus work in areas to reduce problematic nutrients making it to rivers and streams by as much as 45 percent.
For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit a local FSA service center or http://www.fsa.usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).