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

Access to Efficiency: Resource Stewardship Evaluation

August 22, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Tom Driscoll, Director of NFU Foundation and Conservation Policy National Farmers Union’s other weekly blog, the Climate Column, has highlighted the value of conservation planning, which assists with the selection and implementation of practices that address specific conservation concerns, such as pest management, biodiversity, or soil health. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) … Read More

Access to Capital: FSA Loan Servicing

August 16, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Tom Driscoll, Director of NFU Foundation and Conservation Policy  In Fiscal Year 2016, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) issued 29,602 direct loans to farmers and ranchers totaling $2.39 billion. Of those, almost 17,800 were allocated to beginning producers. The proportion of loans to beginning producers is high because in many cases, FSA is the … Read More

Access to Capital: FSA Loans

August 8, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Steven Emmen, NFU Intern As noted in prior Beginning Farmer Forum posts, beginning farmers often times have smaller operations, which means less land and capital. Consequently, they may require hefty loans to get their operations off the ground, but acquiring that amount of money is challenging since they also have shorter production histories and … Read More

Access To Markets: Food Safety Education

August 2, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Barbara Patterson, NFU Director of Government Relations  Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2010. It will require many producers to comply with new regulations if they grow food for human or animal consumption. The regulations are intended to protect consumers from food-borne illness. Many producers who will be regulated by FSMA … Read More

Access to Efficiency: Small Business Innovation Research Program

August 1, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Tom Driscoll, Director of NFU Foundation and Conservation Policy  The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) found that the percentage of U.S. farms operated by women farmers almost tripled over the past three decades, from five percent in 1978 up to fourteen percent in 2007. This is encouraging news, given the impending transition … Read More

Access to Efficiency: Environmental Quality Incentives Program

July 25, 2017Beginning Farmers

By Tom Driscoll, Director of NFU Foundation and Conservation Policy  In NFU’s Climate Column, we’ve discussed a number of practices, including cover crops and no-till, that can build soil fertility with fewer inputs, thus saving producers money. Conservation planning with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can be an important first step … 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