Access to Efficiency: Conservation Stewardship Program

November 28, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Tom Driscoll, Director of NFU Foundation and Conservation Policy NFU’s Climate Column has covered a number of farming practices, including conservation tillage and rotational grazing, that can help farmers increase profits by saving money on inputs, energy, and labor. Beginning farmers can receive assistance to implement such practices, as well as incentive payments for the environmental benefits … Read More

Access to Markets: Rural Development Grants

November 14, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Tom Driscoll, Director of NFU Foundation and Conservation Policy As we discussed last week on the Beginning Farmer Forum, the business infrastructure – such as federally-inspected livestock processing facilities for smaller orders and mills that service demand for local feed or flour – that would help beginning farmers connect with emerging markets often doesn’t exist … Read More

Access To Markets: Business & Industry Loan Guarantees  

November 7, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Tom Driscoll, Director of NFU Foundation and Conservation Policy As we’ve discussed here on the Beginning Farmer Forum, access to markets is among the greatest challenges for new producers. Oftentimes, beginning farmers face fewer obstacles in emerging markets than in well-established ones. For example, beginning farmers may be able to grow products appropriate for local and … Read More

Access to Markets: Homegrown by Heroes

October 31, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Natalie Grote, NFU Intern Many veterans, upon returning home from serving our country, discover a newfound passion for farming or ranching. After putting in hours of hard work to start their operations, farmer veterans are often determined to both make a living as well as bolster their local economies by selling their homemade products, … Read More

Access to Markets: Farm to School

October 24, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Tom Driscoll, Director of NFU Foundation and Conservation Policy A growing interest in local and regional food offers lucrative opportunities for beginning farmers, and growing farm products for these markets often require a less significant investment in land and equipment than other production methods would. However, direct-to-consumer sales do require that farmers spend a … Read More

Access To Markets: Virginia Grown and State Labels 

October 11, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Tom Driscoll, Director of NFU Foundation and Conservation Policy The market for local and regional food is an important one for beginning producers. A January 2015 report to Congress issued by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) notes that “producer participation in local food systems is growing, and the value of local food sales…appears to be … Read More

Access to Capital: Farm Ownership Loans

October 4, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Natalie Grote, NFU Intern The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers both direct ownership loans as well as guarantees for ownership loans from private banks. Direct loans have lower income requirements and generally do not require as extensive farm practice as private loans. Additionally, unlike most private lenders, FSA will work … Read More

Access to Efficiency: Soil Health Cuts Carbon and Input Costs

September 19, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Tom Driscoll, Director of NFU Foundation and Conservation Policy, & Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Coordinator It’s the second day of Climate Week NYC, an event dedicated to keeping climate action at the top of the global agenda, making the discussion of agriculture and sustainability particularly apropos. Farmers and ranchers maintain vast potential to mitigate … Read More

Access to Credit: FSA Direct Farm Operating Loans

September 7, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Natalie Grote, NFU Intern Last week on the Beginning Farmer Forum, we discussed why microloans are a compelling alternative to traditional loans for beginning farmers and ranchers. However, for some producers, more traditional Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans may make sense. FSA offers a number of loan options, including direct farm operating loans and direct farm ownership loans, … Read More

Access to Capital: FSA Microloans

August 29, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Tom Driscoll, Director of NFU Foundation and Conservation Policy The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), as a lender of first opportunity, has expanded its support of beginning farmers and farmers participating in emerging markets by offering microloans. These loans were first introduced in 2013 and were specifically authorized in the 2014 … Read More