Sign Up for FY2017 Funding for Conservation Programs through NRCS

2/21/2017

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For Immediate Release

February 17, 2017

Joyce Purcell, Assistant State Conservationist-Programs

(860) 871-4028

 

 


Another Chance to Sign-Up for FY2017 Funding for Conservation Programs


scenic farm

TOLLAND, CT – Thomas L. Morgart, State Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Connecticut, has announced a third sign-up for funding for the agency’s FY2017 conservation programs.

 

Agricultural producers wanting to conserve water or address water, air, or animal waste issues; reduce erosion; improve wildlife habitat; obtain a seasonal high tunnel; or just plain improve conservation on their farming operation should consider submitting their application to receive financial assistance. Interested? Begin by filling out eligibility forms. Once you qualify, ensure your application is submitted to your local NRCS office by March 17, 2017.

 

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program for those engaged in livestock, forestry, or agricultural production – including organics. The program offers financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices on eligible agricultural land, and provides payments for implementing conservation practices that have a positive environmental impact, while protecting long-term agricultural production and sustainability. Eligible crop production includes—but is not limited to—field-grown ornamentals, fruits, orchards, plant materials in greenhouses, row crops, vegetables, and vineyards.

 

The Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Program provides financial assistance to help manage risk and solve natural resource issues through conservation, as well as for seasonal high tunnels.

 

Although NRCS accepts applications for EQIP and AMA year round, to be considered for funding during this ranking period, applications must be received by March 17, 2017. Applications received after that will be accepted and considered, if funds are still available. 

 

To find out more about EQIP, or fill out eligibility forms, or obtain an application, contact your local USDA Service Center, or check out the Getting Started section of our website.

 


Connecticut Farm Bureau Member Farms Donate 698,952 Pounds of Surplus Food to Foodshare and Connecticut Food Bank

2/7/2017

Wethersfield, Connecticut (February 7, 2017)  In a year when the lack of rainfall caused challenges for farmers, Connecticut Farm Bureau  member farms donated 698,952 pounds of excess produce, vegetables and milk between November 1, 2015 and October 31, 2016.  These numbers are tracked according to reports provided by Foodshare and Connecticut Food Bank.

Connecticut Farm Bureau has encouraged its member farms to develop relationships with these hunger-fighting organizations to share any abundance of crops so it is not wasted.  The amount donated has nearly doubled in two years, and last year these donations topped the half million pound mark at 505,771 pounds.

"This is an impressive increase in donations," said CFBA President Don Tuller.  "I know that the drought this summer cut back on the corn crop on my own farm so the yield just wasn't as high.  For so many farms to make a point to donate their excess food to these food security organizations is really heart-warming.  Farmers are generous, family oriented people who care about their neighbors.  This really shows that everyone in Connecticut benefits from a robust farming sector.

"Plus," he added, "these numbers do not account for the many donations that Farm Bureau member gardeners and other farm members may also make directly to their local municipal or church-run food banks and soup kitchens which go un-recorded."

The donating farms represent all types and sizes of farm operations across the state.  The donor farms include Belltown Hill Orchards of South Glastonbury, Berruti Orchard of Glastonbury, Bishop's Orchards of Guilford, Blue Hills Orchard of Wallingford, Botticello Farms, LLC of Manchester,  Bussa Orchards of South Glastonbury, Bushy Hill/Clark Farm of Granby, Cecarelli Farm of Northford, The Farmer's Cow of Lebanon, Fair Weather Acres of Rocky Hill, Ferrari Farm of South Glastonbury, Futtner's Family Farm of East Hartford, Gresczyk Farm of New Hartford, Grouten Farm of Farmington, Hayward Farm of New Hartford, High Hill Orchard of Meriden, Horton Farm of South Glastonbury, Jones Family Farm of Shelton, Lyman Orchards of Middlefield, Maple Lane Farms of Cheshire,  Mitlitsky Eggs of Lebanon, Mountain Dairy of Storrs,  Norton Brothers Fruit Farm of Cheshire, Oxen Hill Farm of Suffield and East Granby, Reichle Farms of South Windsor, Rose's Berry Farm of South Glastonbury, Stone Gardens Farm of Shelton, Tulmeadow Farm of West Simsbury and Andrew Urbanowicz of Suffield.

There are no tax incentives in Connecticut for food donations by farmers, but federal law changes in late 2015 now make it possible for smaller food donors to qualify for some tax benefit


CFBA President Don Tuller Elected to American Farm Bureau Board

1/31/2017

Wethersfield, Connecticut (January 17, 2017)  Donald Tuller, co-owner of Tulmeadow Farm in West Simsbury and President of Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, Inc., was elected to represent 12 Northeast states on the Board of Directors of American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF)

Tuller was elected for a two-year term by delegates at the annual AFBF convention held in Phoenix.   Maryland Farm Bureau President Chuck Fry was reelected to a two-year term and will also will represent Farm Bureau members from the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.  They join New Jersey Farm Bureau President Ryck Sudam and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Richard Ebert as Directors who were elected last year.

"This is a great honor, but also an important responsibility," says Tuller.  "It has been at least 18 years since a Connecticut Farm Bureau President was elected to serve on the national board.  The perspective of New England agriculture within the Northeast is something I really want to make heard.  Our experience growing and marketing farm products here is different from the southeast, the Midwest and the far western states.  It's great to be a voice at the table."

American Farm Bureau is a national federation of all state Farm Bureaus that operates under non-partisan, grass roots governance.  For the past hundred years all policies pursued by the organization are generated from individual members within county Farm Bureau organizations.  State leaders and the policy they promote on behalf of farming members are voted in by delegates of the county Farm Bureaus.  Farm Bureau is local, county, state, national and international in its scope and influence and is non-partisan, non-sectarian and non-secret in character. Farm Bureau is the voice of agricultural producers at all levels.

Tuller is a member of Hartford County Farm Bureau and has served as President of Connecticut Farm Bureau since 2008.  He was just elected for another two-year term as state President in November.  For more than twenty years, Don has served in Connecticut Farm Bureau leadership capacities; at the state level as First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary, as well as a member of the Connecticut Farm Bureau Board of Directors and Connecticut Farm Bureau Young Farmer Chairman. At the County level, Don has served as Director of Hartford County
Farm Bureau, Policy Development Chairman and Legislative Chairman.  Don served as a member and Chairman of the Simsbury Conservation Commission and Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Agency, and is a member of the Simsbury Land Trust and was Volunteer Firefighter for 32 years.  He graduated from UCONN, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources with a B.S. in Animal Science.  Don and his wife Carol have one daughter, Emily.

Tulmeadow Farm is a 265-acre farm operation that includes greenhouse and field vegetable production, plus beef cattle, hay and grass silage bales, a CSA for subscribing customers, and a popular ice cream stand and farm store.  Their ice cream is served at the Farm Store and distributed to retailers and restaurants around Connecticut. Don farms together with his cousin Buzz Tuller.  Members of the Tuller family have been farming the land in West Simsbury, Connecticut continuously since 1768, almost 250 years so far.


AFBF Annual Meeting Speaker: Farmers Must Engage State Legislators on Need for Extension

1/9/2017

PHOENIX, January 9, 2017 – Thanks to the foresight of Congress more than 100 years ago, the nation’s Land Grant and Cooperative Extension System has stable funding from the federal government.

But across the country, Cooperative Extension services are facing budget cuts from state legislatures. That’s where Farm Bureau members can step in to help lobby for adequate support for Cooperative Extension services in their states and communities.

That was the message of Dr. Richard Bonanno, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina University, who spoke during a workshop held at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2017 Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show.

While the federal government provides yearly funding for Extension services, those dollars must be matched by state governments, Bonanno, said. That’s why cuts in state funding can hamper Extension’s ability to offer programs.

“We need to do a better job of engaging our state politicians about the need for stable funding. Level funding, or small decreases in Extension budgets can impact our ability to interact with the public, provide youth development programs like 4-H and offer food and nutrition programs,” Bonanno said.

North Carolina, for instance, has lost 200 agents since 2010 because of budget cuts. That reduces the ability of Extension agents to get out in the field and have face-to-face contact, Bonanno said.

As the nation’s Extension system enters its second century of existence, it faces issues like funding, how to connect the public with agriculture, and increased urbanization.

In North Carolina, some urban counties questioned the need for funding Extension when they did not have any farmers living in the community, Bonanno said. But Extension was able to show why it needs a county-by-county presence, he said.

 

“In Charlotte, for instances, they support Extension funding because of the growth of the local food movement,” he said. “They now want the county to have Extension run a county farm to teach residents about their food supply.”

And while the growth in local foods has helped the public understand more about agriculture, Bonanno, a former president of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau, said he wants to make sure the public understands the whole picture of the nation’s agriculture system.

“To me, a big part of local foods is a desire on the public to understand their food supply,” Bonanno said. “The abundance and affordability of our food supply requires we have all types of farmers, and all types of agriculture.”

Connecting with American Farm Bureau

#AFBF17 is the official hashtag of AFBF’s 2017 Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show. Follow AFBF on Twitter (@FarmBureau) and Facebook. Visit http://www.fb.org/newsroom for convention photos, live streaming video, recorded video and audio downloads (RSS).

 


Farm Bureau President to Congress: Slash Regulations, Reform Immigration/Ag Labor

1/8/2017

PHOENIX, January 8, 2017 – American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall and thousands of Farm Bureau members today asked Congress to pass sweeping reform of regulations that burden the lives of farmers and ranchers. Their request followed by days the introduction of major legislation to reassert congressional authority over agencies that increasingly ignore the law and basic constitutional limitations on their power.

 

“The election should send a message—loud and clear—to our politicians: ignore rural America at your own risk!” Duvall said.

 

During his annual address, Duvall issued his request for Farm Bureau members to send e-mails—using their smart phones—to Congress about the need for regulatory reform. And they responded on-the-fly.

 

Duvall also called on Farm Bureau members to explain how, every day, the men and women who grow food for America and the world work to make the environment better.

 

“Just think about it for a minute,” Duvall said. “By using modern technologies, today’s farmers grow more crops on the same amount of land, using less plowing and pesticides, feeding more people. By developing more uses for our crops, like energy, we are making our economy more sustainable. If farmers don’t take care of our land, we cannot stay in business.”

 

Duvall reminded the 5,000 farmers and ranchers in attendance that a reliable and profitable supply of labor is central to economic sustainability. He called on Congress to pass legislation to assure farm laborers can work without fear of deportation.


“Without a legal supply of labor, too many farmers face lost crops, and they can’t compete on the world market,” Duvall said. “Mr. Trump says he wants to keep American jobs from going overseas. One way he can do that is by keeping America’s food production in America.”

 

A transcript of Duvall’s speech can be found here: http://www.fb.org/files/Speech_Transcript.pdf.

Connecting with American Farm Bureau

#AFBF17 is the official hashtag of AFBF’s 2017 Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show. Follow AFBF on Twitter (@FarmBureau) and Facebook.


Connecticut's Debbi Tanner Re-elected to represent Northeast for a 2-year term; Farm Bureau Women Focusing on Leadership in 2017

1/7/2017

PHOENIX, January 7, 2017 – Continued focus on sharpening leadership skills is critically important for Farm Bureau members and volunteer leaders, according to national Women's Leadership Committee Chair Sherry Saylor, an Arizona crop farmer.

 

Saylor encouraged Farm Bureau women to engage and connect more with consumers in the coming year. She made her remarks to the American Farm Bureau Women at AFBF's 2017 Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show in Phoenix, which runs through Jan. 11.

 

"Take advantage of every opportunity to increase your skills in successfully articulating messages about farming and ranching," Saylor urged attendees. "It's important to establish credibility in relationships so people will come talk to us – farmers – about food and agriculture."

 

Citing a mantra of John Calipari, head basketball coach at the University of Kentucky, she added, "Success in any business is based on relationship, trust and respect – great advice for farmers as they interact with consumers."

 

Elections

 

Saylor, Isabella Chism of Indiana, Marieta Hauser of Kansas, Lorenda Overman of North Carolina, Debbi Tanner of Connecticut and Carol Guthrie of Idaho were re-elected to two-year terms on the WLC. Saylor was re-elected chair and Chism was re-elected vice chair.

 

The AFBF delegate body is expected to approve the election of the six members at the conclusion of the organization's annual meeting.

 

Connecting with American Farm Bureau

#AFBF17 is the official hashtag of AFBF's 2017 Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show. Follow AFBF on Twitter (@FarmBureau) and Facebook.

 

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Connecticut Dairy Summit to Focus on Key Issues Facing Connecticut’s Dairy Industry

12/22/2016

Wethersfield, Connecticut (December 22, 2016)  Regional and local dairy industry experts will convene at Room 2E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on January 3, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a Connecticut Dairy Summit to outline the many factors that have an impact on this agricultural business sector.  The summit is free and open to anyone to attend.

An alliance of twelve business, non-profit and governmental organizations are partnering to outline the challenges and opportunities facing dairy farms.  Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) Executive Director Henry Talmage plus CFBA Dairy Committee co-chairs Ben Freund of Freund's Farm in East Canaan and Peter Orr of Fort Hill Farms in Thompson will moderate this interactive summit.  Connecticut Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky will welcome the participants to the Capitol with introductory remarks.

Agricultural economists from The University of Connecticut's Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics will provide updated data about the economic impact of dairy as a local business sector, and senior-level representatives from the Northeast Dairy Foods Association, Inc. and Agri-Mark will provide analysis on the market, changes in consumer demands and provide an update on the national pricing.  Representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will outline a federal dairy support program update.  Farm Credit East, the leading agricultural lender in the northeast, will include an overview about dairy farm investments.

"Connecticut's dairy farms, now just under 100 of them, are currently experiencing a very tough time with milk prices yielding income well below the cost of production," says CFBA Executive Director Henry Talmage. "We know that dairy is a farming sector that experiences peaks and valleys, yet it keeps a majority of Connecticut's farmland working and productive.  Those of us involved with this group of farmers felt it was time to really look at the issues and opportunities they are experiencing, and help our legislators, municipal leaders and local consumers learn the facts, too, as we look to the future."

The summit is considered to be an open discussion, and will include a panel discussion with Connecticut dairy farmers about the investments in technology and the future plans that they have for their farms.

Dairy farms work more than 63,000 acres of Connecticut farmland as pasture or cropland for growing feed for their cows.  Connecticut dairy farms produce 396 million gallons of milk annually (2015), a small portion of the total amount of milk consumed in Connecticut each year.  Dairy is the second largest agricultural sector in the state behind the nursery and green industry, returning more than $800 million in sales annually.  Dairy processing leads primary agricultural processing, accounting for more than half of all agricultural food processing in Connecticut.  Dairy farms employ more than 800 workers on the farm, and more than 700 workers are involved in dairy product value-added manufacturing and distribution across the state.

Organizations coordinating this summit include Connecticut Farm Bureau, Agri-Mark, Northeast Dairy Foods Association, Inc., University of Connecticut's College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Connecticut Dairy Milk Promotion Board, New England Dairy & Food Council, Working Lands Alliance, USDA, Very Alive, Farm Credit East and The Farmer's Cow.


 

 



Barn Bookcase Donated to Groton’s Claude Chester School by New London County Farm Bureau and Connecticut Farm Bureau to Promote Agriculture Literacy

12/20/2016

WETHERSFIELD, CT  December 20, 2016--Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) Women’s Leadership Committee has delivered a barn-shaped bookcase loaded with books about farming and agriculture to the Claude Chester Elementary School in Groton.   The bookcase is sponsored by New London County Farm Bureau who purchased the materials which were then assembled by students from Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School and painted by Farm Bureau volunteers.

The bookcase comes supplied with 15 books about farming and agriculture, also donated by New London County Farm Bureau, The CFBA Women’s Leadership Committee and Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation, representing what Connecticut farms produce including books on beekeeping, maple production, apple orchards and dairy.   “The aim is to provide a special place within the library where books on agriculture can be cleverly displayed by school librarians and enjoyed by the primary school students,” says Debbi Tanner, Chair of the CFBA Women’s Leadership Committee.

Part of the celebration of the bookcase donation included New London County Farm Bureau volunteer Susan Brett Davis reading one of the story books called The Beeman, and a beeswax candle-making activity with a group of more than 100 third and fourth grade children who assembled. The Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee has coordinated this project with placing 20 barn bookcases in primarily urban elementary schools throughout the state, and another dozen are planned for the coming year.  All the elements have been donated and built by volunteers.

Another major supporter of the project is The Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation (CTAEF) which committed a $2,000 donation toward the overall project to purchase books along with farm businesses, county Farm Bureaus and individuals who have also made donations. Each book is marked with an individualized book plate naming the donor.

                                                                                                             

“There are many great books we consider to be ag-accurate for young readers.  We are selecting books that reflect different aspects of Connecticut agriculture,” says Ms Tanner.  The committee is focusing its efforts on projects that enhance education and promote understanding of agriculture.

New London County Farm and Home Bureau is one of eight county Farm Bureaus in Connecticut and includes farmers and residents as its members. New London County is made up of 21 towns, and has more than 65,000 acres of land in farms and aquaculture--more than 900 farms, in fact. It tops the state in poultry and egg production involving more than 100 farms. Aquaculture along the shoreline is also an important part of the local industry. 

About the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association
Since 1919, The Connecticut Farm Bureau Association has provided a strong, clear voice in state agricultural issues. As a non-governmental, membership organization serving farm families, the Connecticut Farm Bureau's mission is to advocate for agriculture and find solutions for concerns facing production agriculture in our counties, state and nation.  Volunteer leaders, including the Women's Leadership and Young Farmer Committees,  and staff work closely with state and federal regulatory agencies and elected officials on issues ranging from economic viability, property rights, taxation, land use planning to labor laws and farmland preservation.  Connecticut Farm Bureau believes that representing the interest of farmers also benefits all Connecticut residents who enjoy safe, locally grown, farm-fresh products. For more information visit www.cfba.org.

 


Farm Credit East to Host Webinar on Business Basics for Beginning Farmers

11/3/2016

Farm Credit East will host a business basics webinar for beginning and startup farmers on Tuesday, November 15, at 11:00 AM. This webinar is open to all beginning farmers and free to participate.

 

Covered in this webinar will be business management concepts important for beginning farmers, such as basic financial statements, cash flow and budgets. The webinar will also provide tips on how to approach a lender and examples from successful beginning farmers.

 

Presenters for this webinar will be Chris Laughton, Farm Credit East Director of Knowledge Exchange, and Gary Matteson, Vice President for the Farm Credit Council’s Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach.

 

If you’re a beginning farmer, be sure to attend this informative session on November 15 from 11:00 AM to 12 noon. This webinar is open to all interested Northeast farm related businesses and is free to participate. To register, visit FarmCreditEast.com/webinars.

 

https://www.farmcrediteast.com/News/media-center/press-releases/20161103BeginningFarmersWebinar

 

 



Senator Chapin to Host Listening Session for Farmers on Drought Impacts

10/26/2016

State Senator Clark Chapin, in cooperation with UConn Extension, Connecticut Farm Bureau, and Natural Resources Conservation Service, will host a listening session for agricultural producers to share experiences of drought and water quantity concerns in recent years, and to offer input for planning and preparing for future drought events.

 

The listening session will take place in the Legislative Office Building, Room 2C from 8:30 – 11:30 AM on Tuesday, November 15, 2016.

 

The session will include an overview from UConn and partners on drought impacts to date and an outlook for the 2017 growing season. There will be a facilitated conversation and comment session that addresses the current state of drought preparedness for agricultural producers and opportunities for improving drought preparedness and agricultural water security.

 

RSVP for the program here: http://bit.ly/2emR5Xv

 

 

For more information, please contact Angie Murdukhayeva (angie@uconn.edu, 860-486-7176).

 

 


Registration Open for CT NOFA's Offers Whole Farm Planning Course--10-session course starts October 29

10/20/2016

CT NOFA's Whole Farm Planning Certificate Course is a multi-week, intensive training course for farmers who aspire to improve their business and farm management practices.

Along with passion, drive and very hard work, creating and growing asustainable farm business requires expert training and planning. CT NOFA's Whole Farm Planning Certificate Course is designed to help you realize the farm of your dreams by teaching the business and planning skills needed to run farms sustainably and profitably. Farmer and lead instructor Sherry Simpson has trained farmers to run successful businesses for seven years through intensive classroom and hands-on training. 

This year's 10-session course starts October 29, 2016 and occurs approx. every three weeks on Saturdays through May 13, 2017.

Whole Farm Planning Certificate Course Curriculum

  • Orientation & Holistic Goal Setting
  • Time Management & HM/HG Review
  • Financial Planning I
  • Financial Planning II
  • Marketing Planning
  • Business Planning
  • Leadership & Communication
  • Land Planning
  • Grazing Planning
  • Biomonitoring & Soil Fertility

Upon successful course completion, participants will receive a Whole Farm Planning Certificate from CT NOFA.

  • Course tuition is $650 per farm (farmers and their partners are encouraged to attend together). Payment plans are available.
  • Limited partial scholarships are available; please note your interest on the application form.
  • Past Beginning Women Farmer course graduates may sign up to take a single class at any time to refresh their skills and share their success stories.

2016-2017 Schedule Whole Farm Planning Certificate Course
DATE / TOPIC /LOCATION

October 29: Orientation & Overview of Holistic Management (CFPA)
November 19:  Time Mgmt. & Holistic Management Review (CFPA)
December 3:
Financial Planning I (CFPA)
January 7: Financial Planning II (CFPA)
January 28: Business Planning Basics (CFPA)
February 18:
Creating a Marketing Plan (CFPA)
March 11:
Leadership & Communication Skills (On-farm location TBD)
April 1: Land & Infrastructure Planning(On-farm location TBD)
April 22: Grazing Planning (On-farm location TBD)
May 13: Soil Fertility Basics & Enviro. Impact (On-farm location TBD)
and ...
May 27: Only in the event of a snow cancellation on any of the previous dates, classes will move out by one date and May 27 will be the final class

Class times are 9:00 am to 3:00 pm but may vary slightly depending on the location. CFPA = Conn. Forest and Park Association, 16 Meriden Road, Rockfall, CT

APPLY NOW (Click Here): Course enrollment very limited. Please use this form to apply and pay for the WFP Course. We will confirm your acceptance via email. Questions can be addressed to CT NOFA staff at: organic@ctnofa.org or 203-308-2584.

PLEASE APPLY ASAP ~ All Applications due ASAP to ensure your best chances of acceptance.

For questions about this course, please email CT NOFA staff at: organic@ctnofa.org or leave a message at the office: 203-308-2584.

MORE ABOUT THE COURSE:

CT NOFA’s Whole Farm Planning Certificate Course teaches farmers the business and planning skills they need to run their farms sustainably and profitably.

Creating and growing a sustainable farm business requires expert training and planning along with passion, drive and very hard work. CT NOFA’s Whole Farm Planning Certificate Course is designed to help you – the 68% of new farmers who didn’t grow up on a farm - realize the farm of your dreams.

CT NOFA’s Whole Farm Planning Certificate Course has trained new and experienced farmers to run successful farms for seven years through intensive classroom and hands-on training with successful, seasoned mentors excited to share their wisdom and best practices.

Lead instructor and farmer Sherry Simpson has been the co-coordinator of Holistic Mananagement's Beginning Women Farmers program for the past five years. CT NOFA has partnered with Holistic Management International for six years to implement the Beginning Women Farmer (BWF) Program. This year we are expanding the program to serve all experienced and aspiring farmers dedicated to growing their businesses into sustainable, profitable enterprises with the Whole Farm Planning Certificate Course.

Along with her husband Art Talmadge, Simpson runs Cranberry Hill Farm, a small, sustainable farm in Ashford Connecticut. Simpson and Talmadge credit their Holistic Management International training with completely transforming the way they farm and will share many of their own experiences during the class, which Talmadge co-teaches. Cranberry Hill Farm was named a "Heritage Farm" by the New England Heritage Breeds Conservancy in 2005 in recognition of their devotion to raising heritage breeds of livestock and heirloom varieties of vegetables and flowers.


Funding for Northeast Agricultural Producers: Farm Credit East Releases Report on Grants and Incentives

10/17/2016

There are a number of grants and incentives available for Northeast agriculture businesses, but learning about their availability and navigating the application can be a challenge. To help with this process, Farm Credit East recently released a report identifying federal and regional grants, loan guarantees and other incentives available to assist Northeast producers of all types and sizes.

 

"Grants can be a great resource to raise the capital needed to take on larger projects," said Nathan Rudgers, Farm Credit East director of business development and grant writing expert. "Unfortunately they're often under-utilized because they can be time consuming and involve quite a bit of paperwork."

 

The report includes funding opportunities available in the seven states served by Farm Credit East: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. Programs are divided into broad categories according to their main focus: beginning farmers, business development, local foods, conservation, energy, organic and research.

 

Additionally, Farm Credit East offers grant writing services to help Northeast farms and agribusinesses grow, change or expand their enterprises. Having worked with value-added producer grants, economic development programs, energy-related grants and special state programs, Farm Credit East understands program requirements and works with producers to identify grant opportunities and navigate the application process.

 

"Matching the appropriate program to a producer's activity or investment is a key part of the equation that we do well," said Nathan. "After determining a grant's applicability to a business's objectives, we work with the producer to tell the story of what their farm or agribusiness is trying to achieve, ensuring the objectives and requirements of the application are met."

 

To view the full Farm Credit East Knowledge Exchange Report, Grants and Incentives for Northeast Agricultural Producers, visit FarmCreditEast.com. Also on FarmCreditEast.com, you can view a video interview with Nathan Rudgers on grant opportunities for Northeast producers. If you'd like to obtain additional information on reports available from Farm Credit East's Knowledge Exchange program, please email Chris.Laughton@FarmCreditEast.com or contact your local branch office.



Immigrants Fill Needed Roles in State Economy: An Op-Ed by CFBA Executive Director Henry Talmage

10/13/2016


Connecticut Farm Bureau Executive Director Henry Talmage authored an Op-Ed that appeared in the New Haven Register on October 13.

Read it here:


http://www.nhregister.com/opinion/20161012/forum-immigrants-fill-needed-roles-in-state-economy



USDA Designates Providence County in Rhode Island as a Primary Natural Disaster Area; Includes Windham County, CT

9/12/2016

WASHINGTON,Sep. 9, 2016 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Providence County in Rhode Island as a primary natural disaster area due to losses caused by a recent drought.

“Our hearts go out to those Rhode Island farmers and ranchers affected by recentnatural disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in ournation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers,and rural communities through these difficult times. We’re also telling Rhode Island producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”

 Farmers and ranchers in Windham County in Connecticut also qualify for natural disaster assistance because the county is contiguous.

 All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on Sep. 9, 2016,making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part oftheir actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits,taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repaymentability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

 Other FSA programs that can provide assistance, but do not require a disasterdeclaration, include the Emergency Conservation Program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program; Livestock Indemnity Program; Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program;and the Tree Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

 FSA news releases are available on FSA’swebsite at www.fsa.usda.gov via the “Newsroom” link.


GenerationNext: Farm Credit East Hosts Seminar Series to Assist Young Farmers with Business Skills

9/7/2016

A successful manager is required to master many aspects of the farm business. To help the next generation develop the necessary business and financial skills, Farm Credit East is looking for young leaders interested in attending upcoming GenerationNext seminars. These seminars, focused on furthering management and business knowledge, will begin in November.

Farm Credit East’s GenerationNext helps young leaders identify areas for personal growth and development, improve business management skills and network with other young industry leaders. It is optimal for producers, ages 20 to 35, who will be the next generation operators of a farm business. Whether just entering into a management role or an experienced manager, participants will gain valuable insights from Farm Credit East farm business consultants and from their GenerationNext colleagues.

“A key take-away of many participants is effective communication with the current generation,” said David Rifenburgh, Farm Credit East farm business advisor. “GenerationNext helps to develop a balance of respect for the accomplishments of the older generation and trust in the ability of the next generation to take over the business.”

While each session is customized for the participants attending, the program is typically offered in a three part series, with one month between each session. The first class covers leadership and employee management. The second session focuses on understanding financial records, including budgets, inventory and investments, to develop and achieve goals. The final session’s focus is based on the group’s interests. Past topics have included customer service, marketing and risk management.

Each seminar includes group discussion tailored to the skills and needs of the class, idea sharing and networking opportunities. In addition, participants receive a self-paced, computer-based course and a take-home portfolio with handouts and worksheets that support the topics covered by the program.

GenerationNext seminars typically begin in November and run through January. Farm Credit East currently seeks interest of young leaders to attend upcoming seminars. Session locations will depend on interest. Click here for more information or contact your local Farm Credit East office.


American Farm Bureau Asks USDA for Emergency Dairy Assistance

8/11/2016

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 11,2016 -- Against a backdrop of plummeting farm-level milk prices and farm cash receipts for milk sales, the American Farm Bureau Federation this week asked the Agriculture Department toprovide emergency assistance for the nation’s dairy farmers.

 

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, AFBF President Zippy Duvall said AFBF supported a recent request from 61 members of Congress asking USDA to provide emergency assistance.

 

Duvall noted the U.S. all-milk price fell to$14.50 per hundredweight in May, the lowest level since 2009. In addition, he told the USDA, dairy farm cash receipts from milk sales have fallen $16 billion since the record highs of 2014.

 

“The decline in dairy farm revenue has led many dairy farm families to exit the industry,”Duvall wrote. “In 2015 we lost 1,225 dairy farms – many of those small dairy farm operations where the average herd size is fewer than 200 milking cows.”

 

The AFBF President said lower dairy exports, increased production in Europe, expansion of the U.S. dairy herd due to economic signals in 2014 and a record high domestic cheese inventory continued to weigh on domestic markets. USDA is projecting a 2016 average milk price of $15.70 per hundredweight, down 35 percent from 2014 and the second lowest level in the past decade.

 

U.S. dairy producers, meanwhile, have been slow to adopt USDA-sponsored tools to manage dairy market price risk, due to the program costs and benefits being less attractive to some production segments. In 2015, just 25,000 of the 45,000 U.S.dairy farms signed up for the new Margin Protection Program enacted in the 2014 farm bill. Only 23,000 enrolled this year – a majority of them at catastrophic coverage only.

 

Duvall said AFBF was “extremely appreciative” of USDA’s deadline extension to sign-up for MPP as well as the expansion of a farm's production when new family membersjoin the business. He noted AFBF also believes the $11.2 million in MPP assistance announced last week will help, but more can be done.

 

Duvall asked USDA to buy additional dairy products to be used in USDA’s nutrition programs and for donations to food banks.

 

“Specifically,we believe cheese could be purchased in a quantity that would help the dairyindustry and yet not negatively impact our exports of cheese products,” Duvall said. “If the Department spent $50 million, it could purchase 28 million poundsof cheese for domestic feeding programs. This would not only be beneficial to those in need of food, but also would help reduce the record high inventoriesand would provide a positive price impact for dairy producers.”

 

Letter to SecretaryVilsack PDF

 

 


Connecticut Shellfish Initiative Vision Plan Released: Public Comment Welcome before July 29

6/23/2016

Connecticut Sea Grant and NOAA Fisheries announce the release of the Connecticut Shellfish Initiative Vision Plan for Public Comment. The plan, created by a diverse group from industry, regulatory agencies, academia and citizens, is the result of three years of fruitful discussions regarding the future of the state's commercial, recreational and natural shellfish resources. We welcome your input. Please consider the questions below and submit your comments to: shellfish@uconn.edu, by 5pm on Friday, July 29. To request a paper copy, please call (860) 405-9128 or email andrea.kelly@uconn.edu

Questions:

1. Is the purpose of the Connecticut Shellfish Initiative Vision Plan clear to you?

2. Does the Vision Plan cover the issues you feel to be valid?

3. How would you suggest improving Part 1 (background/recommendations)?

4. What, if any, additional recommendations would you have included?

5. What, if any, additional context would you have included in Part 2 (chapters/appendices)?

4. Did you participate in the development of the Vision Plan by attending workshops, meetings, conference calls or providing input in some manner?

5. If you would like to participate on a committee to help develop the Implementation Plan, please provide us with your first and last name, email and phone number.



UConn Extension Willing to Complete Pasture/Forage Surveys this Summer

6/15/2016

Are your pastures producing the optimal nutrition for your livestock?

UConn Extension has announced that Holly Lewis, UConn Extension summer intern, has been engaged to visit farms this summer to measure the quantity of pasture that farm animals are consuming.

She will collect, dry, and weigh a couple of samples, then calculate the available forage intake.Then she will help farmers complete a grazing plan.

Please call Joyce Meader at 860-230-4395 if you are interested in having her visit.

Ms Lewis is available daytime or evening on weekdays starting May 23rd.



Farm Credit East Releases Dairy Farm Financial Report

5/10/2016

Enfield, Conn. — Farm Credit East, the leading lender to the Northeast dairy industry, recently released the 2015 Northeast Dairy Farm Summary. This annual report compiles the financial results of hundreds of Northeast dairy farms to assess the financial health of dairy farm businesses in the region. This year, 487 dairy farms participated.

2015 was a challenging year for Northeast dairy producers as milk prices fell dramatically from 2014 levels. Many costs, such as feed, labor and fuel, declined in 2015, but not enough to counter falling milk prices. Average net earnings per cow declined from $1,169 in 2014 to $14 in 2015. The report also shows the wide variation in financial results among dairy farms as the top 25 percent of farms in the summary averaged earnings of $291 per cow compared to a loss of $245 per cow for the bottom quartile.

Farm Credit East’s annual Northeast Dairy Farm Summary looks at farms from New York, New England and New Jersey. The summary is used to help farms benchmark their results and identify areas for potential improvement. For a copy of the 2015 Northeast Dairy Farm Summary, visit FarmCreditEast.com/DFS, or contact your local Farm Credit East office.

Farm Credit East also hosted a webinar on Monday, May 9, to review the results of the 2015 Dairy Farm Summary and to discuss the current economic situation and strategies being employed by Northeast dairy producers. To view a recording of this webinar, visit FarmCreditEast.com/webinars.


Connecticut Farm Bureau Association Purchases Wethersfield Office Building; Plans to Move its Operations in June.

5/3/2016

Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) has purchased a 17,600 square foot professional office building at 78 Beaver Road in Wethersfield, CT.  CFBA plans to move its office operations to approximately 3,000 square feet of space that is currently vacant. The majority of the building will be occupied by several existing tenants.

“CFBA has been working on a relocation plan for the past several years that included the development of specific search criteria to best meet the needs of our members.  We wanted to be close to Hartford and easily accessible from all over the state. This building met that objective while also offering the ability to reduce our own occupancy expense and provide rental income to diversify the revenue stream to the association,” said Henry Talmage, CFBA Executive Director. 

CFBA has been leasing space at 775 Bloomfield Ave. in Windsor since 2004 when it sold its previous office on Pigeon Hill Road in Windsor.

 “The CFBA Board of Directors has done its due diligence evaluating existing leases, as well as reviewing detailed financial analysis of the property.  We believe that this property, located in a desirable community with convenient access to Hartford and major highways, will be a good home for CFBA and a solid long-term investment for the association,” said Don Tuller, President of Connecticut Farm Bureau.

The Working Lands Alliance, which currently sublets an office at the Connecticut Farm Bureau, will also relocate to the building. 

Founded in 1919, CFBA is the largest statewide agricultural organization serving all types of farmers with a current membership of nearly 4,500.  The mission of the Connecticut Farm Bureau is to elevate the stature of agriculture in our state.  Through education, market promotion and legislative advocacy, CFBA strives to increase farm income and to improve the quality of life not only for Connecticut farmers, but also for their consumers. The CFBA Board of Directors who approved the purchase is made up of representatives from each of the eight county Farm Bureau associations.

 For more information about CFBA contact Margaret Chatey, Director of Marketing and Communications at 860-768-1100 or visit www.cfba.org.


Farm Tour and Talk to Spotlight Crucial Role of Agriculture in Fighting Climate Change: How Soil Carbon Management Benefits Human and Environmental Health, hosted by CTNOFA and Fairfield County Farm Bureau

4/28/2016

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (CT NOFA) and Fairfield County Farm Bureau (FCFB) are pleased to invite the public on May 5, from 6- 8 pm, to attend a farm tour at The Hickories in Ridgefield led by farmer Dina Brewster, followed by a reception and presentation about the role of carbon in soil health and climate change by CT NOFA Executive Director, Jeff Cordulack.

Since the beginning of recorded history, societies have understood that human activities can deplete soil productivity, yet only recently have we realized the value of carbon in the soil. Proper Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) levels can improve crop and pasture yields and water holding capacity, increase soil food web diversity; reduce overland water flow and sedimentation of waterways, and improve groundwater recharge.

“I’m honored to be invited to The Hickories by Dina Brewster and to be co-hosting this event with Tim Brady, President of the FCFB” says Cordulack. “Working together on improving farm productivity and reducing climate change is a great way for our organizations to collaborate. This program will provide an introduction to the topic of soil carbon, the soil food web, and how we can sequester carbon from the atmosphere with organic methods to help fight climate change.”

While the actual amount of carbon that can be stored in the soil is dependent on the farm management practices, soil type, climate, and the initial soil carbon level of the site, the potential to store carbon in soils worldwide is vast. Come learn how we all play a role in this powerful solution.

“Bringing the carbon conversation down to earth, I am eager to take participants on a tour of my working farm in Ridgefield Connecticut” says Brewster. “I have been “carbon farming” for 11 years now, and am eager to share both the successes and challenges of building soils while producing and harvesting food for our community. I am flattered to be able to bring the complex and crucial conversation about carbon and agriculture to The Hickories."

This event is open to the public and intended for farmers, gardeners, and others interested in the topic.

“We are delighted to combine our talents with Jeff and CTNOFA on an incredibly important topic - what we can and need to do to protect and improve the quality of our soil. CT NOFA and Fairfield County Farm Bureau have very complimentary missions, and we look forward to future opportunities to partner and provide educational opportunities for agriculturalists of all types” says Brady.

The Hickories farm store will be open so bring your own bags or coolers to stock up on organic vegetables, herbs, flowers, seedlings, eggs, heritage pork and lamb, and woolen goods from their sheep. Light snacks and refreshments will be served.


This event is hosted by The Hickories, 136 Lounsbury Rd, Ridgefield, CT. Admission is $15 person in advance, and $20 at the door, and  includes refreshments. Register online at ctnofa.org or call 203-308-2584.

 

About The Hickories

The Hickories is a working farm in Ridgefield Connecticut that produces certified organic fruit, vegetables, and flowers, as well as pasture raised meats and woolens. thehickories.org

 

About Jeff Cordulack

Jeff Cordulack, the Executive Director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (CT NOFA), studied Natural Resources Management and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University. He is a Connecticut native who spent the last decade with the National Audubon Society in Greenwich and another eight years with SoundWaters in Stamford. In July 2015, he took the helm of CT NOFA and is now elevating the importance of ecologically-sustainable farming methods while working to ensure the growth and viability of organic agriculture, organic food, and organic land care.

About CT NOFA 

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut, Inc. (CT NOFA) is the first and leading grassroots association advocating for organic food, farming, gardening and land care in Connecticut. We connect people in the local-sustainable food and land care movements with organic resources and cutting-edge educational opportunities. Our organization’s emphasis is on training organic farmers, gardeners and land care professionals on the latest sustainable practices; promoting organic products and practices to consumers; and bringing attention to critical state and federal policy issues affecting our international food system and global environment. CT NOFA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1982 and one of the seven State Chapters of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. ctnofa.org

About Fairfield County Farm Bureau

Fairfield County Farm Bureau was founded in 1915 and is a membership organization dedicated to farming and the future of Connecticut farms. FCFB has a mission of advocacy, education and market promotion. FCFB is a member of Connecticut Farm Bureau and jointly, they serve their members by advocating for agriculture, and educating the public and elected officials on issues that keep farm families productive: economic viability, land use, labor, taxation and the protection of farmland. Connecticut Farm Bureau’s work of proactively representing the interest of farmers is vital to providing safe, locally grown, farm-fresh products and a high quality of life for all Connecticut residents. cfba.org

 


CFBA Launches Discounted Propane Program for Members through Superior Plus Energy Services.

4/19/2016

The Connecticut Farm Bureau is pleased to announce a new member benefit program offering discounts on Superior Plus Energy Services propane used for many aspects of Connecticut Agriculture.

With more than 5,000 agricultural customers in the northeast, Superior Plus Energy Services understands the pressure farms are under. They have the expertise to help—from storage and unique pricing solutions that optimize your purchasing power, to security of fuel supply, commitment to service and cutting edge technology. Working closely with each farm, Superior’s dedicated Commercial Energy Solutions Representative will make recommendations that yield significant benefits—both financially and environmentally.

“CFBA is proud to add discounted propane as a new piece of our benefits package to members,” says Randolph Blackmer, President of Connecticut Farm Bureau Member Services Company.  “We hope that members and other farmers will recognize the value of this discount to their farm business’ bottom line and will take advantage of a Farm Bureau membership to earn this discount.”

CFBA members can check on the current price of the propane, which is updated regularly, by logging on to the  members-only portion of the CFBA website.  The price is posted on the Member Benefits page. The goal of Superior Plus Energy Services is to ensure the appropriate resources are identified to reinforce that the best purchasing decisions are being made. They will provide a free needs analysis and estimate outlining your options, in order for you to make informed decisions. Certified service technicians will provide tanks rentals, installation and set-up at no additional charge. And, state-of-the-art technology is used to plan and manage delivery schedules.

In addition, members are entitled to discounted prices based on annual usage volume: 1 – 1,000 gallons, 1,001 – 4,999 gallons and over 5,000 gallons. The largest discounts can be realized at the 5,000 gallon and higher volume.

To learn how you can start saving money, please contact Steve Merhar at 860-379-3322 or SMerhar@superiorpropane.com.



USDA to Conduct Labor Survey with Farms during April

4/7/2016

The U.S. Department of Agricultures National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct its biannual Agricultural Labor Survey during the second half of April. The survey will collect information about hired labor from more than 1400 Northeastern farmers and ranchers.

The beginning of the year is the time when agricultural producers plan out the rest of their growing seasons and is a great time to assess on-farm labor needs, said King Whetstone, Director of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Northeastern Regional Field Office. The data that farm operators provide through NASSs Agricultural Labor Survey helps federal policymakers base labor policies on accurate information.

USDA and the U.S. Department of Labor will use statistics gathered in the Agricultural Labor Survey to establish minimum wage rates for agricultural workers, administer farm labor recruitment and placement service programs, and assist legislators in determining labor policies.

In the survey, NASS asks participants to answer a variety of questions about hired farm labor on their operations, including total number of hired farm workers, the average hours worked, and wage rates paid for the weeks of January 10-16 and April 10-16. For their convenience, survey participants have the option to respond online.

By asking about two separate time periods each of the two times we collect data during the year, we are able to publish quarterly data and capture seasonal variation, said Whetstone. This approach helps us ensure that anyone using our data can conduct more accurate analyses.

NASS will compile, analyze, and publish survey results in the May 19 Farm Labor report. All previous Farm Labor publications are available online at http://bit.ly/FarmLabor. For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office at

1-800-498-1518.

###

NASS provides accurate, timely, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. We invite you to provide occasional feedback on our products and services. Sign up at http://bit.ly/NASS_Subscriptions and look for NASS Data User Community.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).


Farm Credit East Releases 2016 Insights & Perspectives Report

3/22/2016

Enfield, Conn. Farm Credit East, a farmer-owned cooperative, recently released its 2016 industry outlook report. This report addresses market outlooks for multiple industries, including dairy, grain, tree fruit, wine, greenhouse and nursery, scallops and forest products. It also provides information on regulatory and legislative actions relating to farm labor and what producers can expect for 2016.

As the economy has become more global, knowledge and financial insights have become even more critical to business success, said Bill Lipinski, Farm Credit East CEO. At Farm Credit East, we have an incredible network of agricultural experts, both internally and industry professionals, that are knowledgeable of industry trends and information. We hope this report provides useful insights as producers navigate business challenges in the coming year.

The report opens with an article from Farm Credit East senior leaders on operating in todays business environment and adapting for success. Following, Farm Credit East Director of Knowledge Exchange, Chris Laughton, provides economic outlooks for various Northeast agriculture industries and Farm Credit East tax consultants provide insights on strategies for long-term business success.

In addition, the report features nine short perspective papers from academic and industry thought leaders, including:

  • Mark Stephenson, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, and Chuck Nicholson, Ph.D., Penn State University, take a look at the current dairy situation.
  • Carl Zulauf, Ph.D., Ohio State University, provides a 2016 grain and oilseed outlook.
  • Desmond ORourke, president of Belrose Inc., provides a tree fruit outlook for 2016 and beyond.
  • Frank Gasperini, executive vice president of the National Council of Agricultural Employers, discusses what ag employers can expect in 2016.
  • Michael Gitter, First Press Public Relations & Consulting, looks at 2016 wine industry and marketing trends.
  • Charles Hall, Ph.D., Texas A&M University, provides an update and outlook on the greenhouse and nursery industry.
  • Paul Jannke, Forest Economic Advisors, LLC, takes a look at the 2016-17 lumber outlook.
  • Ron Smolowitz, Coonamessett Farm, considers status and trends of the U.S. Sea Scallop Fishery.
  • Jamie Jonker, Ph.D., National Milk Producers Federation, discusses animal care.

This report, titled Northeast Agriculture 2016: Insights and Perspectives, was compiled by Farm Credit East in the first quarter of 2016. To view the report contact your local Farm Credit East office or visit FarmCreditEast.com.

https://www.farmcrediteast.com/News-and-Events/News/20160322InsightsPerspectives.aspx


USDA's National Ag Statistics Service Report: 2015 New England Farms and Land in Farms

2/23/2016

The number of New England Farms increased slightly while land in farms remained unchanged from 2014 according to
Gary Keough, State Statistician of the USDAs National Agricultural Statistics Service, New England Field Office
Farm numbers and land in farms are differentiated by six economic sales classes. Farms and ranches are classified
into these six sales classes by summing the sales of agricultural products and government program payments. Sales
class breaks occur at $10,000, $100,000, $250,000, $500,000, and $1,000,000. Producers were asked during the
2015 mid-year surveys to report the value of sales based on production during the 2014 calendar year.

Following are the number of farms and land in farms in New England States,


Connecticut
The number of farms in Connecticut for 2015 is estimated at 6,000 farms, unchanged from 2014. Total land in farms,
at 440 thousand acres, is unchanged from 2014. The average farm size for 2015 is 73 acres, also unchanged from the
previous year.


Number of farms by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999 at 4,000 farms, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999 at 1,550 farms, unchanged.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more at 90 farms, unchanged.


Farmland by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999 at 150 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999 at 110 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more at 100 thousand acres, unchanged.


Average sizes of farms by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999: 38 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999: 71 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999: - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999: - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999: - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more: 1,111 acres, unchanged.


Maine
The number of farms in Maine for 2015 is estimated at 8,200 farms, unchanged from 2014. Total land in farms, at 1.45 million acres, is unchanged from 2014. The average farm size for 2015 is 177 acres, also unchanged from the previous year.


Number of farms by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999 at 5,000 farms, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999 at 2,400 farms, unchanged.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999 at 340 farms, unchanged.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999 at 220 farms, unchanged.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999 at 110 farms, unchanged.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more at 130 farms, unchanged.


Farmland by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999 at 480 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999 at 400 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999 at 100 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999 at 110 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999 at 90 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more at 270 thousand acres, unchanged.


Average sizes of farms by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999: 96 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999: 167 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999: 294 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999: 500 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999: 818 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more: 2,077 acres, unchanged.


Massachusetts
The number of farms in Massachusetts for 2015 is estimated at 7,800 farms, unchanged from 2014. Total land in farms, at 520 thousand acres, is unchanged from 2014. The average farm size for 2015 is 67 acres, also unchanged from the previous year.


Number of farms by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999 at 5,000 farms, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999 at 2,000 farms, unchanged.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999 at 380 farms, unchanged.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more at 80 farms, unchanged.


Farmland by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999 at 210 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999 at 140 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999 at 50 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more at 50 thousand acres, unchanged.


Average sizes of farms by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999: 42 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999: 70 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999: 132 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999: - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999: - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more: 625 acres, unchanged.


New Hampshire
The number of farms in New Hampshire for 2015 is estimated at 4,400 farms, unchanged from 2014. Total land in farms, at 470 thousand acres, is unchanged from 2014. The average farm size for 2015 is 107 acres, also unchanged from the previous year.


Number of farms by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999 at 3,100 farm, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999 at 1,050 farm, unchanged.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.


Farmland by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999 at 240 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999 at 150 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.


Average sizes of farms by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999: 77 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999: 143 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999: - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999: - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999: - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more: - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.


Rhode Island
The number of farms in Rhode Island for 2015 is estimated at 1,250 farms, up 10 farms from 2014. Total land in farms, at 70 thousand acres, is unchanged from 2014. The average farm size for 2015 is 56 acres, also unchanged from the previous year.


Number of farms by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999 at 720 farms, up 10.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.


Farmland by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999 at 20 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999 - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.


Average sizes of farms by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999: 28 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999: - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999: - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999: - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999: - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more: - withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.

Vermont
The number of farms in Vermont for 2015 is estimated at 7,300 farms, unchanged from 2014. Total land in farms, at 1.25 million acres, is unchanged from 2014. The average farm size for 2015 is 171 acres, also unchanged from the previous year.


Number of farms by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999 at 4,050 farms, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999 at 2,100 farms, unchanged.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999 at 490 farms, unchanged.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999 at 350 farms, unchanged.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999 at 160 farms, up 10.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more at 160 farms, down 10.


Farmland by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999 at 340 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999 at 320 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999 at 140 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999 at 150 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999 at 90 thousand acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more at 210 thousand acres, unchanged.


Average sizes of farms by sales class are:
Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999: 84 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999: 152 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999: 286 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999: 429 acres, unchanged.
Sales Class $500,000 - $999,999: 563 acres, down 37.
Sales Class $1,000,000 or more: 1,400 acres, up 87.
The complete Farms and Land in Farms report is available online at

http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/FarmL...





Farmers: Please Take this Survey by March 15 from U.S. Department of Agriculture

2/23/2016

Do USDA Programs Work for You?

Many farmers and ranchers find it confusing and complex to participate in USDA programs. At the same time, USDA staff are concerned that farmers and ranchers who could benefit from their programs frequently do not apply. American Farm Bureau launched an online survey to collect feedback from farmers and ranchers on USDA programs. The survey is open to all U.S. farmers, ranchers, producers and growers. You dont have to be a Farm Bureau member to complete it. All survey responses will be anonymous. The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete. The survey closes March 15.

Now is your chance to let USDA know what you think of their programs! Take the survey today at http://usdaprograms.questionpro.com

The survey evaluates the experience of farmers and ranchers with ten USDA programs administered through the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Agricultural Marketing Service, and Rural Development.

  • Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program
  • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
  • Conservation Stewardship Program
  • Direct Farm Operating Loans
  • Direct Farm Ownership Loans
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
  • Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program
  • Guaranteed Farm Loans (farm operating and farm ownership)
  • Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG)
  • Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

Please contact Lisa Benson with any questions.

Lisa Benson, PhD

Director of Rural Development

American Farm Bureau Federation

600 Maryland Ave., SW, Suite 1000W | Washington, DC 20024

Tel: 202.406.3685


2016 Crop Insurance Sign-up Deadlines

2/16/2016

Is your 2015 risk management plan adequate for 2016?

The 2014 Farm Bill has a number of enhancements to existing programs as well as a number of new programs to help manage your crop risk. Protection for crops not listed above may be available from a crop insurance agent by written agreement. NAP, Noninsured Crop Disaster Program, provides financial assistance for noninsurable crops. For NAP, contact your local county FSA USDA office.

Whole Farm Revenue Protection, plus Corn, Fresh Market Sweet Corn, Tobacco, and Potatoes March 15, 2016

Livestock Gross Margin Dairy and Swine Last Business Friday of each month

Nursery May 1, 2016

Additional information is also available at: www.ctfarmrisk.uconn.edu and to find a RMA Insurance Agent go to www.rma.usda.gov/tools/agent. This information is part of the Connecticut Crop Insurance Education and Information Project, a cooperative effort of the USDA Risk Management Agency, UConn Extension, and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. This institution is an equal opportunity employer and provider.


Farm Credit East Survey: Northeast Producers are Cautiously Optimistic but Concerned with Labor Availability, Financial Volatility and Regulatory Burdens

2/10/2016

Enfield, Conn. Farm Credit East released the findings of a survey today indicating Northeast farm, fishing and forestry producers are cautiously optimistic for their businesses in the year ahead, but are increasingly concerned about a number of challenges, including farm labor availability, government regulations, price volatility and shrinking operating margins. This survey asked Northeast producers to provide insight into their 2015 business results and perspectives on the year ahead.

A cross section of more than 100 Northeast producers responded to this survey. Key results included:

  • 77 percent of respondents continue to be optimistic or cautiously optimistic for the future of their farming enterprise.
  • Northeast producers are growth-minded going into 2016, with 98 percent of respondents planning to either maintain or increase production in the coming year. Additionally, respondents indicated the top focus of their 2016 business plan to be the availability of land (42%), business transfer (33%) and restructuring operations (33%).
  • In terms of gross farm income, more than half of respondents experienced growth in 2015; however the overwhelming majority of dairy farmers in the survey reported lower gross and net farm incomes.
  • The top three major concerns of Northeast producers in the coming year continue to be availability of labor, financial volatility and compliance with regulations (state and federal combined).
  • Survey respondents anticipate consumer buying habits to stay about the same as they have been in previous years, with a cautious outlook on spending in 2016.

This survey was conducted in early January 2016. The survey was open to any farmer, fisherman or forest products producer operating within the seven Northeast states of New York, New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The survey was made available on Farm Credit Easts website and social media sites. To view the full report of Farm Credit Easts Pulse of Agriculture survey results, visit FarmCreditEast.com.


Farm Businesses Donate Bookcases to Two Eastern Connecticut Schools

12/29/2015

Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) Womens Leadership Committee delivered two barn-shaped bookcase loaded with books about farming and agriculture to the Franklin Elementary School in Franklin and Sweeney School in Willimantic.

FranklinElementaryBookBarn.jpg


The bookcases donated to Franklin Schools library was sponsored by the Alan Holmberg of Full Bloom Apiaries in North Franklin who purchased the materials.It was assembled by students from Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School and painted by Farm Bureau volunteers.The bookcase comes supplied with 15 books about farming and agriculture, also donated by Full Bloom Apiaries and the Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation.Part of the celebration of the bookcase donation included Mr. Holmberg reading a story book called The Beeman, and a beeswax candle-making activity with a group of K-3rd grade children who assembled.

Dan and Carolyn Huff of Big Boys Toys in Pomfret donated the barn bookcase to Sweeney School.It was assembled by students at the H.H. Ellis Technical High School in Danielson.Following the presentation of the bookcase students learned how to make butter.

Books were donated to Sweeney School by Windham County Farm Bureau and the Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation. The books were carefully selected to represent what Connecticut farms produce including books on beekeeping, maple production, apple orchards and dairy. The aim is to provide a special place within the library where books on agriculture can be cleverly displayed by school librarians and enjoyed by the primary school students, says Debbi Tanner, Chair of the CFBA Womens Leadership Committee.We hope this cultivates a connection to local farming.

Sweeney School making butter.JPG

The Farm Bureau Womens Leadership Committee is coordinating this project with a goal to place 20 barn bookcases in primarily urban elementary schools throughout the state.All the elements have been donated and built by volunteers.O.L Willard of Willimantic was a major supporter of the project which enabled CFBA to build more bookcases than originally planned.

Another major supporter of the project is The Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation (CTAEF) which committed a $2,000 donation toward the overall project to purchase books along with farm businesses, county Farm Bureaus and individuals who have also made donations. Each book is marked with an individualized book plate naming the donor.

There are many great books we consider to be ag-accurate for young readers.We are selecting books that reflect the diversity of Connecticut agriculture, says Ms Tanner.The committee takes on projects that enhance education and promote understanding of agriculture.

Full Bloom Apiaries produces quality natural honey products from hives across Eastern Connecticut, queens and bee colonies, as well as pollination services for farmers agricultural needs.

Big Boy's Toys LLC is operated by Dan Huff and is located in Pomfret, CT.The company offers new and used equipment and a large selection of parts, accessories and service for farm and garden equipment, tractors, hay equipment, commercial and lawn mowers, hydraulic hoses, and PTO shafts.


FarmStart: Helping Beginning Farmers Get Started

12/28/2015

Enfield, Conn. FarmStart, an innovative Northeast program to help young people get started in farming, is pleased to announce that it is now in its tenth year of support for beginning farmers. Farm Credit East has released a report to illustrate the programs success through the profiles of 11 FarmStart participants.

Farm Credit has a long-term commitment of helping individuals get started in farming, forest products and commercial fishing, said Bill Lipinski, Farm Credit East CEO. In line with that commitment, ten years ago, Farm Credit East and CoBank initiated FarmStart, LLP, a program to support talented, hardworking individuals entering agriculture. Yankee Farm Credit joined the program in 2011. Now celebrating its tenth year, FarmStart has invested over $7 million to more than 150 participants.

The first initiative of its kind in the United States, FarmStart helps to fulfill Farm Credits vision of a vibrant, entrepreneurial agricultural community by giving strong, new entrants a healthy start, noted Lipinski. The program invests working capital of up to $50,000 to help beginning northeast farmer-owned businesses become operational. In addition, a FarmStart advisor works with each participant to help the new business evaluate their financial results.

In celebration of the programs tenth year, Farm Credit East released Investing in the Success of Beginning Farmers: Ten Years of FarmStart. This report profiles 11 FarmStart participants, some who are just getting started and others who have graduated the program. Each shares their advice for getting started and the new approaches many are using to garner success in the competitive agriculture industry. The report also looks at key challenges new farmers face.

To learn more about the FarmStart program, or for a copy of Farm Credit Easts FarmStart 10-Year report, please visit FarmCreditEast.com.


Farm Credit East extends more than $5.8 billion in loans and has 21 local offices in its seven-state service area. In addition to loans and leases, the organization also offers a full range of agriculturally specific financial services for businesses related to farming, horticulture, forestry and commercial fishing. Farm Credit East is governed by an 18-person board of directors. For more information, go to FarmCreditEast.com.


Barn Bookcase Donated to Killingly Central School by John Bennett Stables and Connecticut Farm Bureau to Promote Agriculture Literacy

12/17/2015

PC170094.jpg











CAPTION ABOVE: Six members of the team from H.H. Ellis Technical High School who built barn bookcases for the Connecticut Farm Bureau Women's Leadership Committee project, led by their teacher James Gallow. The group has agreed to build another dozen in the coming year.

Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) Women's Leadership Committee has delivered a barn-shaped bookcase loaded with books about farming and agriculture to the Killingly Central School in Dayville, CT. The bookcase is sponsored by the John Bennett Stables in Putnam, CT which purchased the materials that were than assembled by students at H.H. Ellis Technical High Schoo in Danielson and painted by Farm Bureau volunteers.

The bookcase comes supplied with 15 books about farming and agriculture, also donated by John Bennett Stables, representing what Connecticut produces including books on beekeeping, maple production, horses, apple orchards and dairy. "The aim is to provide a special place within the library where books on agriculture can be cleverly displayed by school librarians and enjoyed by the primary school students," says Debbi Tanner, Chair of the CFBA Women's Leadership Committee.

The celebration of the bookcase donation included State Senator Mae Flexer reading a story book, How Did That Get in My Lunchbox? The CFBA Women's Leadership Committee representatives Debbi Tanner and Carolyn Huff guided a group of children in making butter. The Farm Bureau Womens Leadership Committee has coordinated this project with a goal to place 20 barn bookcases in primarily urban elementary schools throughout the state.All the elements have been donated and built by volunteers.

Another major supporter of the project is The Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation (CTAEF) which committed a $2,000 donation toward the overall project to purchase books along with farm businesses, county Farm Bureaus and individuals who have also made donations. Each book is marked with an individualized book plate naming the donor.

Read more about this event and see additional photos as covered by the Norwich Bulletin:

http://www.norwichbulletin.com/article/20151217/NE...


CFBA's Joan Nichols Receives Pathfinder Award from WLA

12/1/2015

JNichols WLA Education Award.JPG

The Working Lands Alliance announced its selections for the 2015 Farmland Preservation Pathfinder Awards at their Annual Meeting on November 17th.WLA honored Joan Nichols, Ben Freund, and The Last Green Valley with this years Pathfinder Awards for their work in advancing farmland preservation through leadership, advocacy, planning, and education.

Joan Nichols is Connecticut Farm Bureaus Director of Member Relations and Community Outreach. She is also a certified forester and a private consultant to landowners. In each role, she shows a passion for Connecticut agriculture and a commitment to educating farmers, government officials, town staff, commissioner members and many others about a variety of agricultural issues.

Nichols is an invaluable resource, and her colleagues rely on her for her extensive experience in taxation, land use, farmland preservation, right-to-farm and other regulatory issues. In particular, Nichols has done outstanding work in educating officials and farmers about PA 490, which is recognized as one of the most important pieces of legislation keeping farmland in farming.

In addition, the Tool Kit for Connecticut Farmers she created will continue to help producers, agricultural commissions, and Agri-Science and Technology Center teachers advocate for agriculture in their communities. Over her career, Joan has made a lasting impact on farmland preservation efforts in Connecticut.

Ben Freund owns and operates Freunds Farm with his brother Matt and their families. Freund and his family truly understand the value of farmland protection, having protected 55 acres of their own farmland and having earlier expanded their operation by purchasing 200 acres of preserved farmland.

TLGV developed Green and Growing: A Call to Action, a comprehensive regional plan to expand food, fiber and forest production and related agricultural economies. TLGV is also a founding member of the AgVocate Program and an active member of CT Resource Conservation and Development Council and the Celebrating Agriculture Committee.

TLGVs continued educational work, its consistent efforts to promote agriculture as a preferred land use, and its commitment to many long-standing initiatives that showcase agricultural businesses make it an excellent choice for this years Pathfinder Award for Outstanding Group.

Lisa Bassani, the WLA Project Director said, This years Pathfinder Award winners are truly leaders on agricultural and farmland preservation issues and their work has had a profound impact in each corner of our state. We are delighted to recognize them for their unparalleled commitment to preserving farmland and advancing agriculture in Connecticut.

Established in 2003, the Farmland Preservation Pathfinder awards are designed to recognize individuals and groups that have significantly advanced farmland preservation through leadership, advocacy, planning, and education. Award winners over the last ten years have included municipalities, land trusts, farmers, town committees, and many individuals and groups who have logged countless hours in the name of preserving Connecticuts most valuable resource our farmland.


CT NOFA Whole Farm Planning Certificate Course Kicks Off December 5

11/30/2015

CT NOFAs 10-week, intensive Whole Farm Planning Certificate Course provides new and aspiring farmers

develop a whole farm plan that begins with holistic goal setting, reflection, and a realistic assessment of resources, skills, and markets. Next, participants will learn critical business planning and management skills necessary to successfully implement the whole farm plan.

Min Tang-Schomer, 2014-2015 course participant

Lead instructor and farmer Sherry Simpson has been teaching CT NOFAs whole farm planning workshops for over five years and is co-coordinator of the Beginning Women Farmers program

Click Here to Register

Course tuition is $650 per farm. Farmers and their partners are strongly encouraged to attend together. Payment plans and limited partial scholarships are available. Past Beginning Women Farmer course graduates may sign up to take a single class at any time to refresh their skills and share their success stories.

For additional course information, please visit CT NOFAs website. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the program, please contact Connecticut Co-coordinator Deb Legge at Deb@ctnofa.org, or call 203-308-2584.


AFBF Reports Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner up Slightly to Just over $50

11/19/2015

Nov. 19, 2015 -The American Farm Bureau Federation's 30th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year's feast for 10 is $50.11, a 70-cent increase from last year's average of $49.41.

The big ticket item - a 16-pound turkey - came in at a total of $23.04 this year. That's roughly $1.44 per pound, an increase of less than 9 cents per pound, or a total of $1.39 per whole turkey, compared to 2014.

"Retail prices seem to have stabilized quite a bit for turkey, which is the centerpiece of the meal in our marketbasket," AFBF Deputy Chief Economist John Anderson said. "There were some production disruptions earlier this year due to the highly pathogenic Avian influenza outbreak in the Midwest. Turkey production is down this year but not dramatically. Our survey shows a modest increase in turkey prices compared to last year. But we're now starting to see retailers feature turkeys aggressively for the holiday. According to USDA retail price reports, featured prices fell sharply just last week and were actually lower than last year," he added.

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers.

Foods showing the largest increases this year, in addition to turkey, were pumpkin pie mix, a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, cubed bread stuffing and pie shells. A 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix was $3.20; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.61; and two nine-inch pie shells, $2.47.

"Despite concerns earlier this fall about pumpkin production due to wet weather, the supply of canned product will be adequate for this holiday season," Anderson said.

Items that declined modestly in price were mainly dairy items, including one gallon of whole milk, $3.25; a combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour), $3.18; a half pint of whipping cream, $1.94; and 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, $2.29. A one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery (79 cents) and one pound of green peas ($1.52) also decreased slightly in price.

The average cost of the dinner has remained around $49 since 2011. This year's survey totaled over $50 for the first time.

"America's farmers and ranchers are able to provide a bounty of food for a classic Thanksgiving dinner that many of us look forward to all year," Anderson said. "We are fortunate to be able to provide a special holiday meal for 10 people for just over $5 per serving."

The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the government's Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home. For October, the most recent month available, the food at home CPI posted a 0.7 percent increase compared to a year ago (available online at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm).

A total of 138 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 32 states. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey.

Shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages. Another option for busy families without a lot of time to cook is ready-to-eat Thanksgiving meals for up to 10 people, with all the trimmings, which are available at many supermarkets and take-out restaurants for around $50 to $75.

The AFBF survey was first conducted in 1986. While Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau's survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

Item

2014

Price

2015

Price

Difference

16-pound turkey

21.65

23.04

+1.39

Pumpkin pie mix, 30 oz.

3.12

3.20

+.08

Rolls, 12

2.17

2.25

+.08

Cubed stuffing, 14 oz.

2.54

2.61

+.07

Pie shells (2)

2.42

2.47

+.05

Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs.

3.56

3.57

+.01

Milk, 1 gallon whole

3.76

3.25

-.51

Misc. ingredients

3.48

3.18

-.30

Whipping cream, pint

2.00

1.94

-.06

Fresh cranberries, 12 oz.

2.34

2.29

-.05

Green peas, 1 lb.

1.55

1.52

-.03

1-pound relish tray (carrots and celery)

.82

.79

-.03

TOTAL

49.41

50.11

+.70

Year

Average

1986

$28.74

1987

$24.51

1988

$26.61

1989

$24.70

1990

$28.85

1991

$25.95

1992

$26.39

1993

$27.49

1994

$28.40

1995

$29.64

1996

$31.66

1997

$31.75

1998

$33.09

1999

$33.83

2000

$32.37

2001

$35.04

2002

$34.56

2003

$36.28

2004

$35.68

2005

$36.78

2006

$38.10

2007

$42.26

2008

$44.61

2009

$42.91

2010

$43.47

2011

$49.20

2012

$49.48

2013

$49.04

2014

$49.41

2015

$50.11

- See more at: http://fbnews.fb.org/FBNews/Top_News/Thanksgiving_...

NRCS Reminds Potential Applicants to Sign Up for Conservation Programs Before New Ranking Period Ends November 20

10/26/2015

A reminder to agricultural producers who want to conserve water or address water, air, or animal waste issues; reduce erosion; improve wildlife habitat; obtain a seasonal high tunnel; or just plain improve conservation on their farming operation keep in mind that to be considered for the first ranking period of FY2016, applications must be submitted by November 20, 2015.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program for those engaged in livestock, forestry, or agricultural production including organics. The program offers financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices on eligible agricultural land, and provides payments for implementing conservation practices that have a positive environmental impact, while protecting long-term agricultural production and sustainability. Eligible crop production includesbut is not limited tofield-grown ornamentals, fruits, orchards, plant materials in greenhouses, row crops, vegetables, and vineyards.

The Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Program provides financial assistance to help manage risk and solve natural resource issues through conservation, as well as for seasonal high tunnels.

Although NRCS accepts applications for EQIP and AMA year round, Applications received after that will be accepted and considered, if funds are still available.

Interested? Start by filling out eligibility forms. To find out more about EQIP, fill out eligibility forms, or obtain an application, contact your local USDA Service Center: Danielson (860) 779-0557; Hamden (203) 287-8038; Norwich (860) 887-3604; Torrington (860) 626-8258; Windsor (860) 688-7725, or check out the Getting Started section of our website at: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/ct...


LAND OWNERS AND MUNICIPALITIES BENEFIT FROM CONNECTICUTS LAND USE VALUE ASSESSMENT LAW, PA 490. CONNECTICUT FARM BUREAU HOSTING SEMINAR AND DISTRIBUTE UPDATED PA 490 GUIDES.

10/20/2015

The protection of farmland, forest land and open space is considered vital to the future of Connecticut for both food security and natural resource preservation. Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) will host a free seminar Tuesday, October 20 and Thursday October 22 at 6:00 pm about Public Act 490 to help landowners and municipalities understand how this law is applied.Connecticut Public Act 490 (PA 490) was created to help reduce this pressure by allowing these types of lands to be taxed by municipalities at a rate that reflects their current use, rather than the highest possible value. Connecticut Farm Bureau is hosting these seminars to help explain PA 490 and how the law is applied.

Attendees will receive the free, newly updated PA 490 Guide, plus an overview of how land is classified under the program, what its limitations and restrictions are, and how landowners can work with their local assessors to have their property classified under the program. The program will be held October 20 at the Lebanon Fire Safety Complex and October 22 at the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association office, 775 Bloomfield Avenue in Windsor, CT.

Maintaining farmland, open space and forest land provides economic benefits to municipalities beyond the scenic beauty and beneficial habitat for wildlife. According to the just-updated PA 490 Guide, published by CFBA with a grant from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, property tax revenues generated by farm, forest or open space land are far greater than the municipalitys expenditures to service that land. For example, in Connecticut it is estimated that it costs $1.09 to service residential homes for every $1.00 of tax revenues they contribute, but farmland, forest land and open space requires only 31 cents in service costs for each dollar in tax revenue contributed.Cows, cornfields and hardwood stands dont require much for municipal services compared to housing developments, says Joan Nichols, Director of Member Relations and Community Outreach with the Connecticut Farm Bureau.Its in the best interest of every community to provide full benefits of PA 490 to property owners who wish to file on the land they own.

Since PA 490 was enacted, Connecticut Farm Bureau has become the trusted resource for municipalities and landowners when it comes to understanding how the program works, says Ms Nichols. For more than thirty years, we have published and distributed a guide to PA 490 and have worked with landowners, assessors, government officials, and others to help them understand how the law works and how it can be used to preserve open space and help towns receive a fair assessment value for properties. These lands have fallen under the increased pressure of urban development and rising property taxes.

Since PA 490 was passed in the 1960s there have been a number of court cases that have further clarified the way the law works, says Nichols. If used correctly, PA 490 facilitates a partnership between landowner and assessor and is a smart growth tool, preserving open space lands that not only add intangible aesthetic value to a town, but also contribute more tax money than they consume in town services. However to be effective, towns and landowners need to have a full understanding of the program.Through the years, Farm Bureaus presentations about PA 490, plus one-on-one work with members and municipal assessors has gone a long way to help everyone better comprehend this important law.

To download a copy of the PA 490 guide and the required filing forms, visit www.cfba.org/pa490guide.htm. Additional questions about the seminars should be directed to the Connecticut Farm Bureau at (860) 768-1100.

The PA 490 Guide is funded in part by matching funds from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture through the Community Investment Act PA 05-228.


DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE URGES POULTRY OWNERS TO REGISTER FLOCKS

10/12/2015

The state Department of Agriculture today urged all poultry owners in Connecticut to register the location of their flocks with the state as a precaution to help reduce the risk of spreading a disease that has led to the disposal of more than 48 million birds in the West and Midwest since late last year.

No cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) have been detected in Connecticut - where there are an estimated 5 million poultry or the Northeast. The virus poses a low risk to humans and the food supply.

Poultry are typically infected by direct contact with wild birds or a contaminated environment, and there is concern that the virus may spread to the Northeast during the fall or spring wild bird migration. It is also spread by the movement of infected poultry, contaminated poultry equipment, and people who can transfer the virus between farms on their shoes and clothing.

Most of Connecticuts poultry are owned by several large and medium-sized commercial egg-producing operations, with the remaining in backyard and relatively small commercial flocks.

It is particularly important that small-flock owners register with the state, because the virus typically spreads to poultry from wild birds and, once established, can grow rapidly.

Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky said voluntary registration provides valuable information about the locations and numbers of poultry kept in the state.

The information will be used only for emergency response purposes if HPAI is detected in Connecticut, and will help the state prepare a robust response.

The key to limiting the spread of disease is knowing specifically where birds are being raised and having timely communication with farmers and other owners, Reviczky said. Registering the location of birds is a proven tool to help accomplish both goals. We strongly urge those with flocks big and small to register them. Its an important step for farmers and for Connecticuts HPAI response team.

Poultry owners may register their flocks with the state by going to the homepage of the Dept. of Agricultures website: CTGrown.gov.

The Department of Agriculture and other state and federal agencies have created a task force that is preparing for a potential incident of HPAI in Connecticut, and is ready to implement a response plan if necessary.

The task force includes the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) which is responsible for monitoring the wild bird population the Department of Public Health, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, and the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory.

The agriculture department is also working with the USDA, UConn, and the Connecticut Poultry Association to raise awareness of the virus and how to reduce the risk of its spread, and has an emergency-response plan in place if needed.

In addition to registering flocks, the state recommends the following steps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus:

Eliminate opportunities for domestic birds to interact with wild birds by closing holes in coops and installing bird netting.

Restrict the movement of poultry, poultry equipment and people between farms. The virus can be spread through manure, equipment, vehicles, egg flats, crates, and people whose clothing or shoes have come in contact with the virus.

Those who must visit another premises with poultry should practice strict bio-security measures, such as wearing clean clothes and shoes, and keeping vehicles clean and free of dirt, manure and other organic material.

Monitor the health of birds on a regular basis and know the signs of the virus, which include high mortality, nasal discharge and respiratory distress; swelling around the head, eyes and neck; decreased consumption of food and water and a drop in egg production.

Domestic poultry are already monitored by the agriculture department in a number of ways:

All poultry and hatching eggs imported into the state must have credentials ensuring that they are disease-free and meet other health standards.

Large commercial poultry or egg-production operations are inspected and birds tested whenever flocks are moved.

Poultry auctions and live markets are also inspected and tested, as are domestic birds being entered into agricultural fairs or exhibitions.

Connecticut also has strict importation restrictions to prevent the introduction of poultry disease into the state.

Only licensed poultry dealers may sell live poultry here.

Poultry may only be moved into Connecticut from areas known to be free of avian influenza, and must be tested for the virus before entering the state.

Imported poultry must be accompanied by an import permit, which are free and available calling the department at 860-713-2508.

Any poultry owner seeking to participate in the free quarterly avian influenza surveillance program should contact the agriculture department at 860-713-2504.

Suspected cases of HPAI may also be reported to the agriculture department at 860-713-2504, or the USDAs toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.




Shark Tank Investor Barbara Corcoran to Address 97th AFBF Annual Convention

10/7/2015


Acclaimed real estate mogul and Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran will give the closing session keynote address at the 97th American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show in Orlando, Florida, on Jan. 11, 2016.

Nearly 7,000 Farm Bureau members from across the nation are expected to gather in Orlando Jan. 10-13 to hear from distinguished leaders and participate in a grassroots policy-setting process that will guide AFBF through 2016.

Barbara Corcoran
Click on the image for a high resolution version.

Corcoran, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country, turned a $1,000 loan into a $5 billion real estate business. She is currently an investor on ABCs No. 1 show on Friday night, Shark Tank and has helped more than 30 entrepreneurs succeed in their respective industries.

We are excited to have Barbara Corcoran as one of our keynote speakers, said AFBF President Bob Stallman. American Farm Bureau is extremely supportive of rural entrepreneurs. Providing our members the opportunity to learn from one of the most successful businesswomen in the nation is a great fit with our Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge.

The challenge provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations being cultivated in rural regions of the United States. Nearly $145,000 is up for grabs to help competitors finance their business ventures. Finalist teams for the 2016 competition will be announced Oct. 15.

Barbara Corcoran will make a great addition to our annual convention, Stallman said. Hearing about her remarkable success story will be an inspiring way to kick off a great year for the agriculture industry.

Connecticut Farm Bureau members can register for the 97th AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show through their state Farm Bureau office by calling Cathy Beaudoin at 860-768-1100


Be Safe on the Farm with Help from Grainger: National Farm Safety & Health Week September 20-26

9/20/2015

Simplified, Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard Now in Effect

Every year since 1944, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the proclamation, the third week of September has been dedicated to National Farm Safety & Health Week. This recognition week is designed to educate farmers and help prevent injuries that occur on the farm. Connecticut Farm Bureau presents how to employ smart farm practices and avoid preventable injuries. Together, along with the National Safety Council and organizations all over the country, we can minimize the risk of farming accidents and keep everyone safe.

If you work with agricultural chemicals or other potentially dangerous materials, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, diesel fuel and/or disinfectant products, you should understand the new label requirements and Safety Data Sheet (SDS) format. As of June 1 of next year, all chemical manufacturers are required to use a new labeling and the SDS format established under Globally Harmonized System (GHS) criteria for classifying the health and physical hazards of the chemicals they produce.1

By June 1, 2016,1

Here are some things you should know about the new labels and SDSs:

Hazard definitions are now more specific, ensuring consistency across the board. There are more specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards and for the classification of mixtures.

Labels now need to include six standard elements for classified hazards: product identifier, manufacturer contact information, hazard pictograms, signal word (DANGER or WARNING), hazard statements and precautionary statements.

The SDS format, formerly the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), is now the key Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The information required on the SDS is essentially the same as the former MSDS; however, it will now be required to be organized in a specific 16-section format.

  • Sections 1 8 of the SDS contain general information about the chemical identification, hazards, composition, safe handling practices and emergency control measures.
  • Sections 9 16 contain other technical and scientific information, including the date of preparation or last revision.

Here is a sample SDS in the 16-section format for AATREX 4L from Syngenta.

What do chemical users need to do?

First and foremost, always read and follow the packaging label and SDS.

Chemical users and their employers should continue to update their files with the new Standard Data Sheets as they become available. Update hazard communications programs if new hazards associated with the chemicals used in your operation are identified. You should also familiarize yourself with the nine pictograms and what they stand for so you know what types of hazards you are dealing with.

According to the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University, here are some basic tips to prevent chemical injury and exposure2

  • Guard against splashes, spills and skin contact when mixing, handling and applying chemicals. At a minimum, wear long pants, long sleeves (or coveralls) and enclosed shoes.
  • Wear additional protective equipment as recommended by the label. This may include chemical-resistant gloves, goggles and/or a face shield and an approved respirator.
  • Mix and prepare products in a well-ventilated area.
  • Use only the amount and concentration specified by the label.
  • Do not mix different products unless allowed by label directions.
  • Launder chemical-soiled clothing separately from other laundry, and triple rinse.
  • Avoid inhaling sprays, dust and vapors.


The Center for Food Security and Public Health also provides some best practices for safe chemical storage:2

  • Limit storage areas to the minimum needed to discourage storing unnecessary chemicals.
  • Store chemicals in a secure area. Keep them in locked, weatherproof areas located above ground to prevent moisture problems, like rusting and disintegration. Locate storage areas at a safe site that will not be subjected to flooding. Make sure the area is well lit with a sign indicating the area contains chemicals, and provide at least two emergency contact numbers. Keep storage areas dry and well ventilated, avoiding freezing and extreme high temperatures. Keep chemicals out of reach of children and pets.
  • Store chemicals in their original containers. Keep the containers tightly closed and clearly labeled. If labels become worn or damaged, re-label the container with its contents or discard the chemical. Never store chemicals in damaged containers, and never use food or beverage containers to store chemicals.

What are the benefits of the new standard?

There are more than 43 million workers who produce or handle hazardous chemicals in more than 5 million workplaces across the country. These new standards are expected to prevent as many as 500+ injuries and illnesses and 43 fatalities.

The new standard is a more consistent hazard information source in the workplace and the format is easier for workers to comprehend. The productivity improvements, fewer SDS and label updates, and the new, simpler hazard communication training are expected to save American businesses more than $500 million.

All of these changes are ultimately intended to make users more aware of the products they are dealing with so that they safely utilize them. For more information about the new HCS, visit the Grainger GHS compliance site.


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1. Are You Ready? GHS Hazard Communication Standard Final Rule, W.W. Grainger, Inc. 2013. http://static.grainger.com/images/GHS-Standard-Rule.pdf

2. Agrochemicals on Your Farm: Safety, The Center for Food Security and Public Health, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. http://www.prep4agthreats.org/Assets/Factsheets/Ag...


Connecticut Farm Bureau Announces Partnership with Caterpillar to Offer Members Discounts on Equipment

9/8/2015

Connecticut Farm Bureau and Caterpillar Inc. announce a new partnership that will provide members up to $2,000 in purchase incentives on Cat machines. In addition, Caterpillar plans to support Farm Bureau programs in 2016 and coordinate with Farm Bureau on other efforts.

Our extensive product line, with more than 300 Cat machines, reflects our commitment to the ongoing success of American agriculture and rural businesses, said Dustin Johansen, Caterpillar Agriculture Industry Manager. We're proud to partner with Connecticut Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation and help members get their jobs done with the highest quality, best value equipment, attachments and integrated solutions in the industry.

Eligible equipment includes Cat skid steer loaders, compact and multi-terrain loaders, wheel loaders, telehandlers, backhoe loaders, hydraulic excavators and track-type tractors. A range of incentives are offered:

  • Small Wheel Loaders: $2,000
  • Compact Wheel Loaders: $1,000
  • Small Dozers: $1,000
  • Backhoe Loaders: $500 - $1,000
  • Compact Track Loaders: $500 - $1,000
  • Multi Terrain Loaders: $500 - $1,000
  • Skid Steer Loaders: $500 - $1,000
  • Telehandlers: $500 - $1,000
  • Mini Hydraulic Excavators: $250 - $500

Everyone at Connecticut Farm Bureau is pleased about this new Member Benefits program, said Randolph Blackmer, president of Connecticut Farm Bureau Member Services Company. Caterpillar and agriculture have a shared history that goes back more than a hundred years, and our new partnership will make it easier for our members to improve productivity and efficiency to maintain profit margins.

The Farm Bureau Member Benefit discount on Cat machines can be combined with any current retail discounts, promotions, rebates or offers available through Caterpillar or its dealers, with the exception of other membership purchase incentives (NCBA discount).

All Connecticut Farm Bureau members are eligible. Discounts cannot be applied to past purchases. Members must provide a valid Member Verification Certificate to the Cat dealer at the time of purchase to receive the discount. Certificates are available by logging in as a CFBA member to www.cfba.org

and clicking on the Member Benefits tab.


About Caterpillar

For 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2014 sales and revenues of $55.184 billion, Caterpillar is the worlds leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment. For more information, visit www.caterpillar.com.


AFBF's President Stallman Announces Departure in January

7/14/2015

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 14, 2015 American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman announced today that he will not seek reelection in January 2016 following 16 years at the helm of the nations largest, most influential general farm organization. Stallman, a cattle and rice producer from Columbus, Texas, is the 11th president during AFBFs almost 97-year history.

It has been a tremendous honor to serve the nations Farm Bureau members and represent agriculture and rural America, Stallman said. After 16 years as AFBF president, six as Texas Farm Bureau president and several more in other Farm Bureau roles, it is time to hand over the reins of leadershipa decision that is made easier by knowing the great leadership and foundation that exist to continue moving Farm Bureau forward. I am as optimistic as ever about the future of American agriculture and Farm Bureau.

On the wall of the AFBF office is a quote by President Thomas Jefferson: Agriculture is our wisest pursuit because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness. I couldnt agree more, and I would add that a most rewarding pursuit is working for the men and women who make up American agriculture. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to do so.

AFBF has thrived under Stallmans presidency. Farm Bureau membership nationwide has grown by more than 1 million member families. Programming has grown to include more efforts to build rural communities and economies and more leadership development programs to help farmers and ranchers become advocates for agriculture and citizen leaders in their communities. AFBF has grown organizationally, particularly with the acquisition of the IDEAg farm events and publications business in 2013. And AFBF has grown in its effectiveness as an advocate in the courts for farmers and ranchers freedom to operate, and it remains the most visible, influential voice in the nations capital for farmers and ranchers of all types, sizes and regions.

While the presidential gavel will change hands, what defines Farm Bureau will remain the same: our grassroots strength and our commitment to strengthening Americas agricultural and rural communities, Stallman added.

In addition to his Farm Bureau roles, Stallman has served on numerous boards and federal and state committees, including the White House Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, the State Departments Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, the Farm Foundation board of trustees, the board and founding leadership of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, the board of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology and the House Agriculture Committees Commission on 21st Century Production Agriculture.

A new AFBF president will be elected to a two-year term at the 97th annual meeting of voting delegates, Jan. 12, 2016, as part of the AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Tradeshow, Jan. 10-13, 2016, in Orlando, Florida.

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Connecticut Farm Bureau Young Farmers to host Farm to Table Pig/Lamb Roast Fundraiser on August 2nd

7/9/2015

Connecticut Farm Bureau Associations (CFBA) Young Farmers Committee, a group of farmers under age 35 active in farming and agricultural related careers, are hosting their sixth annual Pig Roast featuring Connecticut- raised pork, lamb, seasonal vegetables and ice cream. This family-friendly, farm-to-table style meal will be hosted at Pleasant View Caf at 452 South Road, Somers, CT on Sunday afternoon, August 2nd from 1:00-4:00 pm, rain or shine. Tickets are $20/person (children under 12 years are free) and available for sale at www.cfba.org or at the gate.

For folks who enjoy meeting their local farmers and savor a great home-cooked meal, why not come join us at the table? says Young Farmer Committee Chair, Amanda Freund of East Canaan.This years meal will feature pork from Pine Grove Farm in Southington, lamb from Kalenauskas Farm in Woodbury, and a variety of delicious vegetables from farms around the state, plus-- my favorite-- ice cream from Connecticut creameries! It will be a great opportunity for families to meet the next generation of farmers who are producing our food and agricultural goods in this state,

The gathering will also include hay rides and music, plus a silent auction of baskets of Connecticut-grown foods.

CFBA Young Farmers are from across the state, and their backgrounds are diverse:from raising beef and dairy, to growing tobacco, shellfish, sunflowers, teaching agriculture education, studying agriculture at college, and working in agricultural lending.Proceeds from this fundraiser help finance Young Farmer programs which have included social media training, direct engagement with legislators, coordinating farm and agribusiness tours as well as sending select members to a national leadership conference.

The Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation will also be awarding its 2015 scholarship winners at the dinner.The Mission of the Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation is to seek and administer funds for the benefit of programs that promote Connecticut agriculture through education, and CTAEF partners with organizations like Connecticut Farm Bureau to enhance understanding of agriculture.


Working Lands Alliance Releases Updated Farmland Protection Guide For Connecticut

6/25/2015

Windsor, CT, June 25, 2015 -- The Working Lands Alliance, a project of American Farmland Trust, today released its updated educational guide, Conservation Options for Connecticut Farmland. The comprehensive guide, produced in partnership with Connecticut Farmland Trust, has become a go-to resource for landowners, land trusts, and municipalities in Connecticut interested in protecting their farmland.


Protecting our farmland in Connecticut has never been more important. With this updated educational guide, we can be sure that our landowners, land trusts and municipalities have the tools and information they need to permanently protect the prime farmland resources in all of our communities urban, suburban and rural. Our farmland is the cornerstone of our quality of life here in Connecticut, and we hope this revised guide will stimulate many more efforts to protect our working lands across the state, said Lisa Bassani, Project Director of the Working Lands Alliance.


The newly-revised guide provides updated information on federal and state farmland protection programs and answers questions landowners may have about protecting their land with an agricultural conservation easement. The guide also includes information on tax considerations and estate planning, as well as extensive information on grant programs and other resources needed to make farmland preservation a reality. The case studies in the guide highlight some of the most innovative and effective farmland protection efforts happening in the state.


Connecticut Farmland Trust is pleased to partner with American Farmland Trust to produce a new edition of Conservation Options. The publication has become an invaluable tool for us when talking with farmers and other landowners on how to best protect their land, said Elisabeth Moore, Executive Director for Connecticut Farmland Trust.


Conservation Options for Connecticut Farmland, previously revised and updated in 2006 and 2009, is currently in its fourth edition. Over more than a decade, this guide has been an effective educational tool for numerous agencies and organizations throughout the state, such as the CT Department of Agriculture, USDA-NRCS, Connecticut Farmland Trust, and numerous land trusts. It has been used extensively to educate landowners and land trusts about the many options available to successfully protect the farmland parcels that define our communities.


The project was funded by matching funds from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture through the Community Investment Act. The Connecticut office of the US Department of Agricultures Natural Resources Conservation Services also provided funding for the project.


To obtain hard copies of Conservation Options for Connecticut Farmland please contact Lisa Bassani at lbassani@farmland.org or contact the Working Lands Alliance at 860-683-4230. Electronic copies of the guide may also be downloaded on the Working Lands Alliance website: http://workinglandsalliance.org/resources/


The Working Lands Alliance, a project of American Farmland Trust, is a statewide coalition dedicated to preserving Connecticuts productive farmland. To learn more about the Working Lands Alliance, visit: www.workinglandsalliance.org or call 860-683-4230.


Learn more about American Farmland Trust at www.farmland.org. Follow AFT on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AmericanFarmland or Twitter www.twitter.com/farmland.


Agricultural Producers in Connecticut Still Have Time to Apply for Direct Farm Ownership Loan Program

6/22/2015

Low-Interest Loans Can Help Producers Start or Expand Farms

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Connecticut Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced that farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest loans available through the FSA direct farm ownership program. Applications must be approved by Sept. 30, 2015, to take advantage of the funding available.

Eligible farmers and ranchers can borrow up to $300,000 to buy farmland, construct or repair buildings, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation. The interest rate can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay.

New farmers and ranchers, military veterans, and underserved farmers and ranchers also are encouraged to apply. Each year Congress targets 80 percent of available loan funds to beginning and targeted underserved farmers and ranchers. Targeted underserved groups include American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Asians, Blacks or African Americans, Native Hawaiians, or other Pacific Islanders, Hispanics and women.

For more information about farm loan, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/farmloans, or contact your local FSA office. To find your local FSA county office, visit https://offices.usda.gov

For more information about farm loan, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/farmloans, or contact your local FSA office. To find your local FSA county office, visit https://offices.usda.gov.



USDA Opens Enrollment Period for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Safety-Net Programs

6/16/2015


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that eligible producers may now formally enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for 2014 and 2015. The enrollment period begins June 17, 2015, and will end Sept. 30, 2015.

The new programs, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, trigger financial protections for agricultural producers when market forces cause substantial drops in crop prices or revenues. More than 1.76 million farmers have elected ARC or PLC. Previously, 1.7 million producers had enrolled to receive direct payments (the program replaced with ARC and PLC by the 2014 Farm Bill). This means more farms have elected ARC or PLC than previously enrolled under previously administered programs.

Nationwide, 96 percent of soybean farms, 91 percent of corn farms, and 66 percent of wheat farms elected ARC. 99 percent of long grain rice farms, 99 percent of peanut farms, and 94 percent of medium grain rice farms elected PLC. For data about other crops and state-by-state program election results go to www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc.

Covered commodities under ARC and PLC include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain and sweet rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.

For more information please contact your local FSA office https://offices.usda.gov.


Questions?
Please contact your local FSA Office.


Barn Bookcase Donated to North Stonington School by Firefly Farms and Connecticut Farm Bureau to Promote Agriculture Literacy

6/1/2015

Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) Womens Leadership Committee has delivered a barn-shaped bookcase loaded with books about farming and agriculture to the North Stonington Elementary School. The bookcase is sponsored by Firefly Farms which purchased the materials which were then assembled by students from Ellis Technical High School in Danielson, and painted in classic barn red with white trim and a black roof by volunteer Debbi Tanner of Brooklyn, CFBA's Women's Leadership Committee chair. 

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The bookcase comes supplied with 10 books about farming and agriculture, also donated by Firefly Farms, representing what Connecticut produces including books on beekeeping, maple production, apple orchards and dairy. The aim is to provide a special place within the library where books on agriculture can be cleverly displayed by school librarians and enjoyed by the primary school students, says Debbi Tanner, Chair of the CFBA Womens Leadership Committee.

Van Brown, owner of Firefly Farms, was the first farm business owner to commit to assist Connecticut Farm Bureau in reaching its goal to place 20 barn bookcases with books across the state. I believe that books are a gateway to the imagination and to the soul of who we will become, says Mr. Brown, a full-time farmer from Mystic, CT.

Farming reminds us of our connection to the Earth and the miracle of growing things. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were farmers at a time when the best that our society had were drawn to farming. That is still the true, but there are fewer of us. We need more young people who see the joy and magic in bringing life forth from the Earth.

Part of the celebration of the bookcase donation included a representative of the CFBAs Womens Leadership Committee reading a story book about dairy, Clarabelle, and make butter with a group of children in honor of June Dairy Month. The Farm Bureau Womens Leadership Committee has coordinated this project with a goal to place 20 barn bookcases in primarily urban elementary schools throughout the state. All the elements have been donated and built by volunteers.

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Another major supporter of the project is The Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation (CTAEF) which committed a $2,000 donation toward the overall project to purchase books along with farm businesses, county Farm Bureaus and individuals who have also made donations. Each book is marked with an individualized book plate naming the donor.

As sponsors, our Ag Education Foundation sees this as a great opportunity to collaborate with Farm Bureau and farm businesses to put books in the hands of children who may not readily get to experience agriculture, says Tera Harlow, President of CTAEF. Were proud to support such a project.

There are many great books we consider to be ag-accurate for young readers. We are selecting books that reflect different aspects of Connecticut agriculture, says Ms Tanner. The committee is focusing its efforts on projects that enhance education and promote understanding of agriculture.

PHOTO CREDIT:  Allena Tillman-Brown


Barn Bookcase Donated to Nathan Hale School, Meriden to Honor Connecticuts Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year

5/28/2015

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Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) Womens Leadership Committee has delivered a barn-shaped bookcase loaded with books about farming and agriculture to the Nathan Hale School in Meriden. The bookcase is being donated to the school in honor of Marcia Johnson, the schools fifth grade teacher who was named Connecticut Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year for 2014.

The bookcase is sponsored by New Haven County Farm Bureau who purchased the materials which were then assembled and painted in classic barn red with white trim and a black roof by volunteer Austin Tanner of Brooklyn, a Windham County Farm Bureau volunteer. The bookcase comes supplied with 10 books about farming and agriculture, also donated by New Haven County Farm Bureau, representing what Connecticut produces including books on beekeeping, maple production, apple orchards and dairy. The aim is to provide a special place within the library where books on agriculture can be cleverly displayed by school librarians and enjoyed by the primary school students, says Debbi Tanner, Chair of the CFBA Womens Leadership Committee.

Image title

The Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation (CTAEF) made a $2,000 donation toward the overall project to purchase books for 20 bookcases, and farm businesses, county Farm Bureaus and individuals have also made donations. Each book is marked an individualized book plate naming the donor.

As sponsors, our Foundation sees this as a great opportunity to collaborate with Farm Bureau and farm businesses to put books in the hands of children who may not readily get to experience agriculture, says Tera Harlow, President of CTAEF. Were proud to support such a project.

There are many great books we consider to be ag-accurate for young readers. We are selecting books that reflect different aspects of Connecticut agriculture, says Ms Tanner. The committee is focusing on projects that enhance education and promote understanding of agriculture.

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Ms Johnson was named Connecticut Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year at the national conference in Hershey, PA and was also the recipient of 2013 and 2014 Connecticut AgriScience Award Grant sponsored by the Connecticut Trustees to the Eastern States Exposition, the Big E. With grant awards including an Artists in the Garden grant from Lowes, she has purchased plants, garden supplies and child-sized tools for a garden that includes eight raised beds which she established at the school and intends to expand. She had also established a garden at the John Barry Elementary School in Meriden.

Were pleased to place our first barn bookcase in Marcias school. She is cultivating within her students a love for growing food and the pride of accomplishment. That is agriculture education at its finest, says Ms Tanner.

Part of the celebration of the bookcase donation, CFBAs Womens Leadership Committee members read, The Bee Book, and made beeswax candles with a group of children. The Farm Bureau Womens Leadership Committee has coordinated this project with a goal to place 20 barn bookcases in urban elementary schools throughout the state. All the elements have been donated and built by volunteers.


Connecticut Farm Bureau helps lead the Community Investment Act Lobby Day.

5/15/2015

Farm Bureau was front and center at the CIA Lobby Day event held at the Legislative Office building on Wednesday May 13th. Along with representatives from the other CIA sectors, (Affordable Housing , Open space and Historic preservation) CFBA Executive Director Henry Talmage stressed how important CIA funded programs are to the entire agricultural community in Connecticut in his remarks to the attendees.

Approximately 30% of the programs delivered by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture are funded through CIA including the Dairy support program, Ag Viability and Farm Transition Grants, The entire CT Grown program as well as Farm Link, and the Food Policy, Seafood and Wine Development Councils. These programs are not funded anywhere else in the state budget and without CIA funding they will come to an end,  said Mr.Talmage.  He went on to say that several staff positions within the Farmland Preservation Program are funded through CIA .


Several legislators attended the Rally and spoke about the importance of the program. Speakers included Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney and Co-chair of the Environment Committee Senator Ted Kennedy. Also speaking at the Rally were Representatives Roberta Willis, Chris Davis, Terrie Wood, and John Shaban.


The budget negotiations are now in full swing and the timing of the Rally was good. Now we need to make sure that the Governor and Legislature understand fully the implications of diverting funding away from the Community Investment Act. We know there are real challenges to achieving a budget agreement and we recognize that our leaders have a very difficult task ahead of them. It is our job however, to make sure that ramification to the economy and quality of life for the residents of Connecticut  are fully understood if lawmakrers should sweep the CIA funds," said Mr. Talmage.


Several Farm Bureau members attended the rally and afterwards met with their representatives at the Capital to talk about what the CIA means to them. A few farmers even had a chance to visit with the Governor and talk about this important issue.



AFBF's Rural Challenge Competition to Award $145,000 to Agribusiness Entrepreneurs

4/30/2015

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 30, 2015 The American Farm Bureau Federation today announced applications for the Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge will be accepted beginning June 1 through June 30. Entrepreneurs will compete for $145,000 in startup funds.

The challenge, now in its second year, provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations being cultivated in rural regions of the United States. It is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses.

The inaugural challenge successfully identified rural entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, proving that great business ideas can germinate anywhere, said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. Were excited to see the new crop of ideas our members will bring to the table this year.

New this year, competitors must have an idea for a business that is related directly or indirectly to food and agriculture. Businesses directly related to food and agriculture include farms or ranches, value-added food processing, food hubs, community-supported agriculture programs (CSAs), farm-to-table restaurants and farmers markets. Businesses indirectly related to food and agriculture include support services such as crop scouting, agritourism, ag advertising agencies and ag tech companies that develop apps.

Also new, Farm Bureau will endeavor to connect top scoring teams with resources for crowdfunding loans to help them jumpstart their businesses.

Taking a startup company from innovative concept, to strategy, to reality often hinges on access to capital, said Dr. Lisa Benson, AFBFs director of rural development. The challenge and crowdfunding are great options for small rural business owners to access necessary funding to take their business to the next level.

Again this year, competitors must be based in a rural community as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Competitors primary residences or businesses must be located in a county with less than 50,000 residents or a town with less than 2,500 residents.

All applications, which include a business plan, video pitch and photo, must be submitted by June 30. Judges will review the applications and provide feedback to the participants. Participants have the option of resubmitting portions of their applications; resubmission is optional and participants are not penalized for not resubmitting their applications.

The top 10 teams will be announced on Oct. 15. This includes six teams who will win $10,000 in startup funds and four finalist teams who will win $15,000 in startup funds and compete in a live competition at AFBFs 97th Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, in January.

Finalists will compete for the grand prize title Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneur of the Year and $15,000 in additional startup funds to implement their ideas. One of the finalists also will be honored with the Peoples Choice Award and $10,000 in additional startup funding.

The competition timeline, detailed eligibility guidelines, a preview of the online application and profiles of the 2015 finalist teams are available at http://www.strongruralamerica.com/challenge.

Judges for the challenge come from a wide range of economic development backgrounds, including banking, universities and rural development non-profit organizations. Farm Bureau staff at the county, state and national level or one of Farm Bureaus affiliate companies may not serve as judges or enter the competition.

About the American Farm Bureau Federation

With family members at the county or parish level in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, the American Farm Bureau Federation is the unified national Voice of Agriculture, working to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities. AFBF is the nations largest and most influential grassroots organization of farm and ranch families. Additional information may be found at fb.org and facebook.com/AmericanFarmBureau. Follow AFBF on Twitter: @FarmBureau.

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Farmers' Input Needed on Regional Food Hub Feasibility: Take Survey Online

4/29/2015

Food hubs are facilities that often manage the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution or marketing of locally and regionally produced food. Food hubs vary in function, size and structure, so that they best serve the local community.

This past fall, the New London County Food Policy Council and United Way of SECT received a grant from the U.S. Department Agriculture to complete a county-wide Food Hub Feasibility study.

To take the survey please click on this link:  

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/nlcfhproducer

The survey will provide information on whether it is feasible to establish a food hub in the greater New London area to help farmers better distribute and sell their food and help consumers get more farm fresh, locally grown food in a convenient way.

New Venture Advisors, a consultant group with expertise in food systems has been selected to complete a study and they want to hear from farmers and those involved in agriculture.   All members of the New London County community who are a part of the food system are critically important in determining the success of this study and in the future, hopefully, the establishment of a regional food hub.

For more information or questions please contact Alicia McAvay, Farm Fresh New London County Schools Farm To School Coordinator, FRESH New London at (860) 574-9006


USDA: What You Need to Know About the Current Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Outbreaks

4/23/2015

Since December 2014, USDA has confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 in the Pacific, Central and Mississippi Flyways (migratory paths for birds). The disease has been found in wild birds, as well as in some backyard and commercial poultry flocks.

There are three important things that you need to know about this situation:

  1. Our food supply is safe.  Food is safe because the United States has the strongest AI surveillance system in the world.  We actively look for the disease, educate the public and producers on the most appropriate practices to ensure their health and safety, as well as provide compensation to affected producers to encourage disease reporting.
  2. The risk to humans is low.  No human infections with these viruses have been detected, and the CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks, and commercial poultry to be low.
  3. USDA will continue to do everything it can to support states and producers. We are coordinating closely with State officials and other Federal departments on rigorous surveillance, reporting, and control efforts. At the same time, USDA will continue to work with Congress to ensure that we are able to provide a much-needed safety net to the poultry producers who are experiencing economic hardships as a result of losses due to the disease.

Along with industry, USDA and its Federal and State partners are responding quickly and decisively to these outbreaks.  You can learn more about the situation and USDAs response by listening to a recording of the press conference: http://www.usda.gov/documents/usda-cdc-media-call.mp3.

You too can help by continuing to practice good biosecurity if you own birds.  All birds owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual birds deaths to State/Federal officials, either through their state veterinarian or through USDAs toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.

Learn more about biosecurity for backyard flocks at http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.  More information about USDA avian influenza efforts is available at http://www.usda.gov/avianinfluenza


SOURCE:   Blog Post created byDr. John Clifford, USDA Chief Veterinary Officer


CAES Lockwood Lecture April 29: The Natural History Gap and the Citizen

4/20/2015

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Announces a Lockwood Lecture

The Natural History Gap and the Citizen

A practical guide to what works and what does not in Citizen Science projects.


New Haven, CT - The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) announced today that a Lockwood Lecture by Sam Droege from the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, U.S. Geologic Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior, Laurel, MD will be held on April 29, 2015 in the Jones Auditorium at the Stations main campus at 123 Huntington Street, New Haven, CT.


He will be speaking on The Natural History Gap and the Citizen: A practical guide to what works and what does not in Citizen Science projects. Tea is at 10:30 a.m. and the presentation is at 11:00 a.m. The public is invited.


Sam Droege is world-renowned for his work with monitoring and the conservation of native bees and other insects, birds, and amphibians. Sam Droege grew up in Hyattsville, received an undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland and a Masters at the State University of New York Syracuse. Most of his career has been spent at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. He has coordinated the North American Breeding Bird Survey Program, developed the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, the Bioblitz, Cricket Crawl, and Frogwatch USA programs and worked on the design and evaluation of monitoring programs. Currently he is developing an inventory and monitoring program for native bees, online identification guides for North American bees at www.discoverlife.org, and with Jessica Zelt reviving the North American Bird Phenology Program.


CONNECTICUT FARM BUREAU RECOGNIZES REP. GENTILE AND ROJAS FOR COMMITMENT TO CONNECTICUT AGRICULTURE.

4/17/2015

Image titleConnecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) has recognized State Representatives Linda Gentile (D-104) and Jason Rojas (D-9) with Legislators of the Year Awards for their support of Connecticut agriculture in the 2014 legislative session.

The awards were announced at CFBAs annual meeting, but were recently presented to the representatives at their offices at the Legislative Office Building.

Connecticut Farm Bureau acknowledged Representative Gentiles work on the animal care bill in her role as Chair of the Environment Committee. Among her efforts on that bill, she authored an editorial in the New Haven Register calling for sound, science-based reason in legislating animal care in Connecticut.

"Representative Gentile laid out the issue so clearly for the committee and to the public through that editorial," says Connecticut Farm Bureau Executive Director Henry Talmage. "She advocated for a livestock advisory council working in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture and the Connecticut Farm Bureau and expressed her confidence that this collaboration could and would establish comprehensive, consistent and reasonable standards for all livestock."

Representative Jason Rojas was recognized for his support of Public Act 490, Connecticut's Land Use Assessment Law. As Chair of the Planning and Development Committee he assured PA 490 received special attention as Connecticut Farm Bureau and other agricultural partners worked to Image titlemake minor adjustments to the law to make it more workable for landowners. Passed in 1963, PA 490 enables Connecticut landowners to pay tax on land at its current use value rather than its highest value. This critical component prevents the forced conversion of farm, forest and open space land as a result of property taxation that is incompatible with current land uses. For 25 years CFBA has published a guide to PA 490 and served as a resource for landowners and municipal officials to optimize use of this law.

"Representative Rojas understands what a valuable law PA 490 is to preserving farmland and open space in Connecticut. We appreciate his cooperation in helping to advocate for adjustments to make it more workable for landowners," says Mr. Talmage.

Representative Gentile serves citizens of the 104th District in Derby and Ansonia. Representative Rojas serves the 9th District which serves parts of East Hartford and Manchester.


CT Northeast Organic Farming Association Seeks Executive Director

4/9/2015

CT NOFA (the Connecticut chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association) is seeking an experienced, energetic, and visionary leader to assume the position of executive director. The organization has distinguished itself as the first and leading grassroots association advocating for organic food, farming, gardening and land care in Connecticut, connecting people in the sustainable local food and land care movements with organic resources and education.




The Board of CT NOFA invites applications from interested individuals as well as nominations from third parties. Full details and other helpful information may be found on the CT NOFA website at www.ctnofa.org


Here are details on the position:

http://ctnofa.org/documents/JobAnnouncementCT%20NOFA_ExecutiveDirector_3-15.pdf


Middlesex County Farm Bureau Ag Day Baby

4/9/2015

Governor Dannel Malloy and the state legislators were given a view of Connecticuts vast agricultural products and businesses as CT Ag Day was celebrated at the Capitol on Wednesday, March, 18th, 2015.

Image title

Middlesex County Farm Bureau Womens Leadership Committee celebrated Ag Day by presenting Middlesex County agricultural products and certificates to the first baby born that day at Middlesex Hospital and his family. Kristopher Frederick Schonagel, son of Tiana and Christopher Schonagel  of Meriden , has been honored as the 2015 Agriculture Day Baby. Kristopher  was born at 5:04 A.M., weighing 6 Lbs. 14 oz., and was 18.0 inches long.


The basket of agricultural items were presented to Kristopher and his parents by Mary Krogh of the Womens Leadership Committee.  The basket  included eggs and beef franks from Maple Breeze Farm in Westbrook , eggs from  Becky McLean of  East Hampton , plants  from Balleks Garden Center in East Haddam, Haddam Neck Fair mug and magnets from the Haddam Neck Fair Association, maple candy from Strongs Farm in East Hampton , homespun fiber from Goose Down Farm-East Haddam, a plant from Running Brook Farm in Killingworth, cheese from Cabot Cheese,   and gift certificates for a wreath  from Peaceful Hill Tree Farm-East Hampton, pies  from Lyman Farm in Middlefield, and a gift certificate  from Pauls and Sandys too in East Hampton.


Northeast Agriculture: An Economic Engine for Growth

3/12/2015

In honor of National Ag Day on March 18, Farm Credit East celebrates the contributions of agriculture producers throughout the Northeast. The agricultural, commercial fishing and forest products industries contribute $99.4 billion to regional total sales and generate 474,482 jobs in the Northeast.

 

Northeast agriculture is characterized by its diversity and consumer focus. Major agriculture industries in the region include dairy, greenhouse, nursery, fruit and vegetable. 12 million acres are farmed in the Northeast.

 

“Often overlooked as an economic engine, agriculture creates economic activity and hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the region,” said Bill Lipinski, Farm Credit East CEO. “Agriculture has a bright future here in the Northeast and with appropriate state policies and community support will continue to enhance our economy.”

 

This information comes from a study recently released by Farm Credit East Knowledge Exchange titled Economic Impacts of Agriculture in Eight Northeastern States. This study was completed by Dr. Rigoberto Lopez, Nataliya Plesha and Dr. Ben Campbell, from the University of Connecticut. The study analyzes the importance of agriculture and related industries to the Northeast economy, as well as the changing structure of agriculture. To view a full copy of their summary report visit FarmCreditEast.com.


CFBA Urges Farmers to Speak Up on Behalf of Community Investment Act

3/6/2015

A significant portion of Connecticut's Department of Agriculture programs are funded through the Community Investment Act (CIA) which was formed in 2005 to provide dedicated funds to support worthwhile community-level investments across four sectors: Agriculture, Open Space Conservation, Affordable Housing, and Historic Preservation. The CIA is funded through a $40 surcharge on recording fees, which are distributed across those four sectors.  (http://www.communityinvestmentact.org/ to learn more)

Governor Dannel Malloy released his proposed budget and in it he calls for sweeping some of the unspent funds derived from the Community Investment Account, and diverting all future CIA funds from January 2016 through 2017 to the general fund. 

If these proposed cuts stand there will be no funding for the following programs starting the second half of fiscal year 2016 through end of fiscal year 2017:

  • The Agricultural Sustainability Account (Dairy Support Program).
  • Farmland Preservation Unit (Several positions within the CT Department of Agriculture are funded through CIA funds.)
  • Ag Viability and Farm Transition Grant programs,
  • Connecticut Grown program,
  • CT Farmlink,
  • The Seafood Advisory Council,
  • The CT Farm Wine Development Council,
  • The CT Food Policy Council.  

 

Connecticut Farm Bureau encourages all farmers who benefit from these programs and business owners involved with agriculture to join with partners involved with historic preservation, farmland preservation and affordable housing in letting their views be known on these proposed cuts. Contact your local elected representatives and members of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee to urge them to keep the CIA intact and working for the Connecticut sectors it was created to support. 

The Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee will hold a public hearing on Monday, March 9, 2015 at 11:00 am in Room 2E of the LOB on the following Bill of concern to Connecticut agriculture:  S.B. 946 AN ACT CONCERNING REVENUE ITEMS TO IMPLEMENT THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET.

Members of Connecticut Farm Bureau may contact joann@cfba.org or at 860-951-2791 for assistance in submitting written testimony or for guidance on how to testify in person.


USDA Offers CSP Renewal Option/Extends Deadline for General Sign-Up

3/3/2015

Tolland, CT— Lisa Coverdale, Connecticut State Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that USDA is offering a renewal option through March 31, 2015 for eligible agricultural producers and forest landowners with expiring Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contracts. These producers must be willing to adopt additional conservation activities aimed at helping them achieve higher levels of conservation on their farms and forests.

USDA will also extend the deadline for general sign-up CSP applications until March 13, 2015, providing farmers and private forest managers two additional weeks to apply for this funding round of $100 million.

“CSP producers are established conservation leaders who work hard at enhancing natural resources on private lands,” Coverdale said.  “This contract renewal period will provide greater opportunities for these conservation stewards to voluntarily do even more to improve water, air, and soil quality, and enhance wildlife habitat on their operations.  By extending the deadline for general sign-up applications, we are ensuring that landowners will be able to take advantage of this very important program.”

Changes in the 2014 Farm Bill will allow CSP participants with expiring contracts to renew them by exceeding stewardship thresholds for two or more existing natural resource concerns specified by the NRCS or by meeting stewardship thresholds for at least two new natural resource concerns such as improving water quality or soil health.

Nationally, about 9,300 contracts covering more than 12.2 million acres are nearing the end of their five- year term and may be renewed for an additional five years. The agricultural producer or forest landowner must complete all conservation activities contained in the initial contract before a renewal can be granted.

The renewal process is optional but benefits CSP participants with expiring contracts because it is non-competitive.  In order to renew, an agricultural producer or forest landowner must meet the minimum criteria established by NRCS. Contract renewal also offers these agricultural producers and forest landowners an opportunity to add new conservation activities to meet their conservation goals and protect the natural resources on their farms or forests. The 2014 Farm Bill includes an expanded conservation activity list that offers producers more options to address natural resource challenges. New conservation activities include cover crops, intensive rotational grazing, and wildlife-friendly fencing.

In conjunction with today’s announcement, USDA announced last month that it will make available $100 million this year through CSP.  Although CSP applications are accepted all year, farmers and forest landowners should submit applications by the funding deadline, extended to Friday, March 13, 2015, to ensure they are considered for this year’s funding.  Applications should be submitted to local NRCS offices, and as part of the CSP application process, applicants will work with NRCS field personnel to complete a resource inventory of their land, which will help determine the conservation performance for new and existing conservation activities. The applicant's conservation performance will be used to determine eligibility, ranking, and payments.

USDA offers financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers or forest landowners for the active management and maintenance of existing conservation activities and for carrying out new conservation activities on working agricultural land. Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, improved pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and tribal agricultural land. Applicants must have control of the land for the 5-year term of the contract.

Agricultural producers or forest landowners with existing contracts scheduled to expire this calendar year and who wish to renew for an additional five-year term must submit an application indicating their intent to renew to their local NRCS office prior to the national application deadline of March 31, 2015

To learn more about CSP contract renewals, visit your local NRCS office. Visit the Conservation Stewardship Programpage for more information about this program.

=============

For additional information, contact:

Joyce Purcell, Assistant State Conservationist-Programs

(860) 871-4028  *  joyce.purcell@ct.usda.gov

=============


CT NOFA Hosts Winter Conference in Danbury March 7; Scholarships Available for New Farmers

2/19/2015



Saturday, March 7, 2015
(snow date Mar. 8)
Western CT State University
Midtown Campus
181 White Street, Danbury
8:30 am to 5:00 pm


For all the conference details including programs, exhibiting opportunities and more, visit http://www.ctnofa.org/winterconference/index.html

In between workshops, attendees can visit with over 70 vendors, farmers and exhibitors featuring local foods, crafts, books, and sustainability initiatives.  Our legendary raffle will return with prizes that include garden supplies, Connecticut grown and crafted goods, exciting services and more.

In the interest of sustainability – Please remember:  bring your personal water bottle to the conference.  Western CT State University has filling stations!


Keynote

dr. nichols
Dr. Kristine Nichols

Rodale Institute Chief Scientist

"Regenerative Agriculture for Soil & Climate Health"

 

 

 

 

Online registration ends March 1, 2015

You'll have the option to pay with a credit card or mail in a form with a check.

register here

Scholarships Available for New & Beginning Farmers

 

Beginning farmers with less than 10 years experience are eligible to receive a scholarship covering registration costs!  Applications will be reviewed and accepted as they are received (first come first serve!) up until Feb.27th. Scholarship does not include lunch.

 APPLY TODAY FOR A SCHOLARSHIP! Click HERE

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS/WORKSHOPS

8:30 to 9:30 ~ Registration
9:30 to 10:45 ~ Workshop I
11:00 to 12:30 ~ Keynote
12:45 to 1:15 ~ Annual Meeting of the Members
12:45 to 2:15 ~ Lunch
2:15 to 3:30 ~ Workshop II
3:45 to 5:00 ~ Workshop III

Among the presenters will be Connecticut Farm Bureau Association:

Farmers Feeding Connecticut Families - Donald Tuller, Connecticut Farm Bureau Association; Steve Slipchinsky, Foodshare; Audrey Campos, Connecticut Food Bank

Connecticut Farm Bureau, Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare are partnering together to increase farm participation in the fight against hunger in our state-- Farm Bureau members donated more than 350,000 pounds last year. Learn about initiatives available to farmers and gardeners to channel excess food to neighbors who could benefit.CT NOFA's Winter Conference is Connecticut's largest food, agriculture and sustainability conference and will be back for a second year at Western Connecticut State University's Midtown Campus in Danbury - a terrific venue.  Join us to discuss the future of sustainable farming, celebrate local food and much more.

For a complete list of workshops, visit http://www.ctnofa.org/winterconference/2015WC_workshops.html

You don't have to choose workshops when you register for the Conference. On the day of the Conference you'll receive a program booklet with complete workshop descriptions, times and room numbers.

There will be some outdoor walking between buildings, so please plan to dress for the weather
 

 


Survey for Northwestern Connecticut Farmers to provide input to regional Ag planning.

2/19/2015


UConn Extension is seeking farners' help in conducting a regional agriculture survey for Nortthwestern Connecticut. The lead organization is the NW CT Economic Development Corporation (NW CT EDC).

 

NW CT Agriculture Survey

This survey is being conducted by the NW CT Economic Development Corporation (NWCTEDC) with the purpose of creating a regional agricultural inventory of farms, farm related businesses, and agricultural related services based in the twenty-one municipalities in Northwest CT. (NWCTEDC works closely with the Northwest Hills Council of Governments (NHCOG) and the NW CT Chamber of Commerce.)

Click here to take the survey.


A NW CT Regional Agriculture Directory and survey results will be posted at
www.nwctedc.com/agriculture.

If you have questions please contact
Rich Meinert at the UConn Agricultural Extension Center based at UConn-Torrington. Please encourage anyone in Northwestern Connecticut who is involved in agriculture to answer the survey.  We are suggesting a deadline of February 20th.  

 

Background:

A Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) was recently completed by NW CT EDC and approved by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA, under Dept. of Commerce).

 

Included in the CEDS are two objectives/initiatives related to agriculture:

Objective/Initiative #1A: Regional agriculture marketing plan and network

Develop and maintain a regional marketing plan and network to provide year-round markets for local growers and producers.

 

Objective/Initiative #1B: Agricultural infrastructure

Inventory, assess and improve the infrastructure needs for local growers and producers including the creation of greenhouses to allow for an extended growing season.

 

While developing strategies to implement those goals, it became evident that there is not currently an accurate inventory of existing agricultural assets in NW CT. You are all in a unique position of working with students living in communities with farms and other agricultural operations. The thought is to make this a community service project involving high school students with data collection about the agricultural operations within their home communities. This would be compiled at the regional level (NW CT) for the purpose of supporting local growers and producers by helping them to maintain and hopefully expand their current operations. Job creation and retention is the ultimate goal of the NW CT EDC. We’ve heard repeatedly that an aging workforce is a major issue, we are hoping to get younger people more involved with the region’s agricultural future.

 

 


Job Opening Available with New Haven County Farm Bureau

2/3/2015

A part-time Office Secretary position is available at the New Haven County Farm Bureau.    

 


The applicant should be able to maintain a small office in the home.
  The job averages
12 to 15 hours per week.  A background or interest in agriculture will be viewed positively.  The candidate will be responsible to the organization’s board of directors.  The candidate should be well organized with excellent interpersonal skills, fundamental computer skills, and the ability to work independently. 

 

Duties include:  Overall management of the functions of the office, maintaining financial records and organizing meetings.  For a complete job description please call the office at    203 269-0151.  Compensation will be based on experience. 

 

Please send resume and cover letter explaining why you are interested in the position to New Haven County Farm Bureau Inc., 1460 Durham Road, Wallingford, Connecticut

06492 by March 6th.


Connecticut Farm Bureau Expresses Concern and Encourages Swift Investigation of Goat Neglect.

1/27/2015

The Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) is greatly concerned with the reports of allegations relating to animal abuse and mistreatment of goats at the Butterfield Farm in Cornwall.  It was reported that on January 16 officials of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture discovered dozens of dead goats on the property and seized 74 goats that were apparently malnourished and deprived of water.

The Connecticut Farm Bureau encourages the development of diversified local agriculture and supports Connecticut farmers who produce agricultural products using professional, responsible, safe and humane farming techniques.   Connecticut livestock farmers take great care maintaining the health and wellbeing of their animals.  There is simply no place in agriculture for the abusive and neglectful circumstances that are under investigation at Butterfield Farm, and the Connecticut Farm Bureau and its members are appalled by this situation.

CFBA encourages the Department of Agriculture and the Attorney General to conduct a swift and thorough investigation and, based on the findings, pursue aggressive legal action against those responsible for the apparent abuse and death of these animals. 

 

About Connecticut Farm Bureau Association

Since 1919, The Connecticut Farm Bureau Association has provided a strong, clear voice in state agricultural issues. As a non-governmental, voluntary organization of farm families, the Connecticut Farm Bureau is united to find solutions for concerns facing production agriculture in our counties, state and nation. Volunteer leaders and staff work closely with state and federal regulatory agencies and elected officials on issues ranging from economic viability, property rights, taxation, land use planning to labor laws and farmland preservation.


A Message from NRCS to Growers Utilizing Seasonal High Tunnels through the EQIP Program

1/26/2015

Seasonal high tunnels have applicability to all farms, but may offer particular advantages to small, limited resource and organic farmers by extending the growing season, producing higher quality crops and improved yields, and addressing soil and water quality concerns.

However, improper maintenance can spell trouble during the winter months  ... 

The Blizzard of 2013 caused problems for some Connecticut growers utilizing seasonal high tunnels. Because high tunnels are not designed to hold the weight of heavy snow, NRCS recommends plastic be removed during winter months from those funded through the EQIP Program.

Make sure you take preventative steps so your high tunnel doesn’t become damaged during inclement weather or any other time. For a successful seasonal high tunnel experience, follow these guidelines supplied by the University of Vermont:

  • Tunnel Selection - Gothic designs have higher light transmission and shed snow easier. Most high tunnels are built of galvanized steel tubing and are available from many manufacturers. Steel makes a strong frame to carry snow or wind loads and still allow about 80% of the light to enter. Individual tunnels are easier and less expensive to build and maintain, and site preparation and assembly costs are less. In addition, expansion of growing area is easier without disturbing plant production.
  • Orientation - The ideal site is a slight southerly facing slope for good light and protection from northerly winds.
  • Installing Wirelocks - To prevent the single layer of greenhouse plastic on the high tunnels from wearing out at the pinch points of the wirelock: before you attach wirelock, cut long strips of plastic (old greenhouse plastic will work) 12” wide in half and staple along the edge. Place folded plastic over the high tunnel and force the wire through it. It is a little hard to get started, and you have to hold the extra piece so it doesn’t wander out of the channel. Having the 6” wide double layer gives you some leeway. You also can add another wire into the channel, which gives you more staggered pinch points.
  • Plan for Wet Conditions - In rainy years, many farms struggle with excess water flowing into tunnels due to insufficient perimeter drainage, causing delayed planting, slow growth, and root rot. Growers doing winter production should keep in mind that water flowing under a tunnel can remove heat from the ground.  Some farms don’t have water problems inside the tunnel, but outside, the driveways and walkways were not designed to deal with high traffic in the early spring when the ground is very wet.  Plan ahead for effective water diversion to prevent mud, ruts, and soil erosion.
  • Other suggestions for snow events include additional bracing, raising temperatures inside, and proper snow removal from top and sides of the high tunnel.
  • Preventing Wind Damage - Do not roll up both sides of the high tunnel if there is a cross wind. This will cause to wind to get under the high tunnel and lift it off the ground.  Keep the side against the cross wind rolled down if wind is 10+ mph.
  • Natural Ventilation - Tunnels needs the right set-up to maintain good ventilation naturally. Smaller, narrow houses can get away with roll-up sides as their only form of ventilation, but even these may suffer when there is little or no wind, since that’s what drives sidewall ventilation. Larger tunnels really need both
  • sidewall and ridge vents to assure good air movement. That way, the tunnel is vented by both wind and thermal gradients. Small roof vents, cut into the plastic, with heat-activated openers are a low-cost alternative to a ridge vent.
  • Sanitation Pays - Make tunnel cleanliness a priority in your efforts to prevent pest problems.  Recommended sanitation activities include regular washing of tools, containers, and equipment that comes in contact with plants or growing media using a greenhouse disinfectant.  Employees should be aware that they can carry pests from one tunnel to another and know how to minimize that risk.
  • To avoid the spread of disease, hose ends should not be left nearby.  Trash containers in the tunnel should be emptied daily. If any plants are discovered to have insect or disease problems they should be put in a plastic bag to minimize spread of spores or insects and then removed from the tunnel.
  • Outside the tunnel, weeds should be removed and turf kept closely mowed to limit the habitat for pests. Compost piles, dead plants, old pots and other breeding sites for insects and disease should be located as far from the tunnel as practical.

Applications for seasonal high tunnels are accepted on a continuous basis. The following rules apply for FY2015 for seasonal high tunnels through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in Connecticut:

  1. The payment practice is capped at $32,918.40 (8640 sq ft.) for standard payment and $39,571.20 for Historically Underserved participants.
  2. Gothic Style High Tunnels will be the only style funded in FY 2015.

For more information about seasonal high tunnels, contact your local NRCS Field Office.

 

For additional information, contact:

Joyce Purcell, Asst. State Conservationist-Programs

(860) 871-4028

joyce.purcell@ct.usda.gov

 


NRCS Invites Eligibility Applications for Conservation Program Applications

1/20/2015

Tolland, CT – Agricultural producers wanting to conserve water or address water, air, or animal waste issues; reduce erosion; improve wildlife habitat; obtain a seasonal high tunnel; or just plain improve conservation on their farming operation have another chance to apply for financial assistance through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as they have announced a second ranking period; however, you must first fill out eligibility forms. Once you qualify, your application must be submitted to your local NRCS Office by Friday, March 20, 2015.

     Although NRCS accepts applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Program year round, to be considered for funding during this ranking period, applications must be received by March 20, 2015. Applications received after that will be accepted and considered, if funds are still available. 

     EQIP is a voluntary conservation program for those engaged in livestock, forestry, or agricultural production – including organics. The program offers financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices on eligible agricultural land, and provides payments for implementing conservation practices that have a positive environmental impact, while protecting long-term agricultural production and sustainability. Eligible crop production includes—but is not limited to—field-grown ornamentals, fruits, orchards, plant materials in greenhouses, row crops, vegetables, and vineyards.

     AMA provides financial assistance to help manage risk and solve natural resource issues through conservation, as well as for seasonal high tunnels.

     To find out more about EQIP, or fill out eligibility forms, or obtain an application, contact your local USDA Service Center, or check out the Getting Started section of the Connecticut NRCS website.

=============

For additional information, contact:

Joyce Purcell, Asst. State Conservationist-Programs

(860) 871-4028

joyce.purcell@ct.usda.gov

=============

USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service

344 Merrow Road, Suite A

Tolland, CT 06084-3917

(860) 871-4011

Secretary Vilsack Highlights USDAs Efforts to Support Agriculture in the Long Term

1/13/2015

SAN DIEGO, January 12, 2015Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack emphasized the administration’s firm support of the farm bill and discussed USDA’s focus on the future of farming during a news conference today at the 96th AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show.

 

During his comments, Vilsack announced additional funding for a new Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program, as well as a new directive for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Advisory Council to survey land ownership in the U.S. and to work with land owners and new farmers to develop policies that focus on promoting conservation.

 

“Approximately one third of farmland is not owned by an operating farmer, and this could have an impact on conservation efforts going forward,” Vilsack said. He noted that the last time this issue was looked at in great detail was 1937. “We want to reassure the farming community that we are not only focused on the present, with implementation of the farm bill, but we also have an eye toward the long-term.”

 

Vilsack took questions on a range of topics, from the administration’s top priorities for the new Congress to tax reform and crop insurance. He emphasized an eagerness to work with the new Congress on opening up new markets through ongoing trade agreements and discussed the need to work together to achieve a permanent solution to agriculture’s labor shortage through permanent immigration reform.


Farmers Voice Matters in Building Trust with Consumers, from AFBF Annual Meeting

1/13/2015

SAN DIEGO, January 12, 2015 – Farmers will need to engage in conversations with consumers for the long term if they are to build trust in today’s food system.
  

That was among the messages delivered by Charlie Arnot, CEO of the Center for Food Integrity (CFI), at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 96th Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show. “Farmers are accustomed to fixing things in the next production cycle. Building trust with consumers has a longer horizon,” said Arnot, who presented findings from CFI’s 2014 consumer research into consumer skepticism, trending attitudes and trust-building transparency. The research was sponsored, in part, by AFBF.

The survey of 2,005 people looked into the concerns and attitudes of three groups of people: moms, millennials and foodies. Millennials are described as those ages 18-34. Foodies are people who are more likely to seek out information about food and food ingredients and to share information about cooking, food safety and nutrition.

CFI’s research showed that keeping healthy food affordable is a high priority for all three segments. Arnot called that finding “very good news” for those involved in food production when it comes to talking with consumers. “Everything you do can be talked about in that context,” he said. “If we address consumer concerns in that context, our messages will be better received.”
 

Arnot said that demonstrating shared values is more effective than demonstrating competence when it comes to building trust with consumers. “The goal is not to win a scientific argument, but to find meaningful and relevant ways to introduce science and technology. We’re really good at answering the ‘can we’ question. We need to get better at answering the ‘should we’ question. Educating the public is important, but it isn’t sufficient,” said Arnot.

More information about CFI’s 2014 research can be found at: http://www.foodintegrity.org/research/2014-research.


USDA FSA Announces Producer Education Forums for Programs

1/13/2015

CT FSA Public Meetings





Opportunity to Learn About the New Farm Bill Programs

 

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) will be hosting regional producer education forums to educate and inform producers on the new and revised programs that will be available from the 2014 Farm Bill.  Each location will feature a session on the new Agriculture Risk Coverage (County and Individual)/Price Loss Coverage (ARC/PLC) and revised Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP).


FSA wants to make sure that all producers know of the new and revised programs and opportunities available to them.  The ARC/PLC programs are new this year and will require commodity producers to make selections based on their business and the revised NAP program offers producers higher coverage and prices on their crops.


The 2014 Farm Bill eliminated DCP, ACRE, and direct payments.  ARC/PLC will replace these as the opportunity to cover commodity crops.  Producers should have already received information about the new deadlines and opportunity to reallocate base acres and update yields. The presentation will review the programs and election process they have to make for their farm business.


NAP protects against crop losses due to weather events and is available to any crop that is not eligible for federal crop insurance.  The program now offers coverage of up to 65% of losses and up to 100% of the market price, in addition to the previously available coverage up to 50% of losses at 55% of the market price. 


Please contact the state FSA office with questions: 860 871-4090, or your local FSA office.

 


*Producers are not restricted to only their home county presentation, but can come to whichever is most convenient for their schedule.



Governor Malloy Announces Connecticut Will Pilot Program for School Meals

12/17/2014

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman today announced that Connecticut is one of eight states selected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to participate in the Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables. The program is provided for under the federal Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the Farm Bill. Under the program, Connecticut will be able to increase its purchases of locally-grown fruits and vegetables for its state-assisted school meal program.
 
“Connecticut’s participation in this federal pilot is great news for our farmers, our economy and our children,” said Governor Malloy. “Our state is home to thousands of farming operations responsible for billions in economic activity. By increasing the amount locally-sourced healthy food options for our students, we help lay a foundation for lifelong successful habits.”
 
“This program helps encourage healthier habits in our young people—it creates a stronger future for families and for Connecticut,” said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman. “Thanks to investments in agriculture and a rich farming heritage, we are fortunate in Connecticut to have access to excellent locally-grown fruits and vegetables. This access, and the expansion of our school meals programs, promotes nutrition and better learning for students across the state.”
 
Nationally, USDA Foods – provided by the USDA to schools – make up about 20 percent of the foods served in schools. States use their USDA Foods allocation to select items from a list of 180 products including fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, poultry, rice, low fat cheese, beans, pasta, flour and other whole grain products. This pilot program will allow the selected states to use some of their USDA Foods allocation to purchase unprocessed fruits and vegetables directly, instead of going through the USDA Foods program.
 
In Connecticut the program is run by the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Federal Foods program. DAS staff have worked with local school districts and local food producers for many years to provide quality food items as a part of school meals.
 
Hearing the news of this development, DAS Commissioner Donald DeFronzo commented: “We are proud to be one of only eight states entrusted with this new flexibility to increase our purchase of high quality, locally grown or produced food items. This will provide a boost to our agricultural and food products sector, as well as assuring fresh and healthy meals for our school children to enjoy”. 
 
“Increasing the availability and amount of fresh Connecticut Grown fruits and vegetables in our schools will have a positive ripple effect on many levels,” Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky said. “This is a great opportunity to improve the nutritional health of our students while continuing to grow Connecticut’s farms and agricultural economy.”
 
These states were selected based on their demonstrated commitment to farm to school efforts, including prior efforts to increase and promote farm to school programs in the state, the quantity and variety of growers of local fruits and vegetables in the state on a per capita basis, and the degree to which the state contains a sufficient quantity of local educational agencies of various population sizes and geographic locations.
 
This pilot is designed to support the schools’ pre-existing relationships with vendors, growers, produce wholesalers, and distributors, and increase the use of locally-grown, unprocessed fruits and vegetables in school meal programs. While the pilot does not require sourcing locally grown foods, the project will enable schools to increase their use of locally-grown, unprocessed fruits and vegetables from AMS authorized vendors.
 

Ag Commissioner Steven Reviczky Reappointed by Governor Malloy

12/17/2014

HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that he will re-appoint Steven K. Reviczky as Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture (DOAG) when his second term in office begins on January 7, 2015.
 
“Steve has been instrumental in carrying out initiatives and implementing policy and programs to promote Connecticut agriculture while protecting public health, food safety and agricultural resources in the our state,” said Governor Malloy.  “I am honored to reappoint him to lead the Agriculture Department and look forward to continuing the impressive progress we have made over the last four years to grow and support Connecticut’s agricultural operations.”
 
Commissioner Reviczky was appointed to the position by Governor Malloy in January 2011. He also worked in DOAG’s Farmland Preservation Program from 1998 to 2006, and was Executive Director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau from 2006 until his appointment as Commissioner.  
 
One of Reviczky’s top priorities has been to modernize the agency’s operations and infrastructure in order to better execute its mission of protecting public health, ensuring food safety and growing Connecticut’s farms. With Gov. Malloy’s support, the agency has accelerated its efforts to keep farmland available for agricultural production and to restore dormant farmland to productive cropland.
 
Under Reviczky, the agency also has taken a more active role in animal-health and animal-cruelty issues, and in ensuring that shellfish taken from Connecticut waters are free of disease or contamination. It also has taken an aggressive approach in helping farmers repair and rebuild their operations damaged in a series of extreme weather events in recent years.
 
Reviczky also has strengthened Connecticut’s voice in agricultural policy through his election by his peers as President of the Northeast Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and as secretary/treasurer of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. He will become President of the national association in 2017.
 
“Connecticut leads New England in new farm growth and our farm families appreciate the Governor’s commitment to supporting their efforts and the work of the Department of Agriculture on their behalf,” Reviczky said. “This is an exciting time for agriculture in Connecticut and I am looking forward to continuing to lead an agency that plays a vital role in improving both the nutritional and economic health of our great state.”
 
Under Reviczky’s leadership, some of the department’s central accomplishments include:
 
  • Accelerating use of the Farmland Preservation Program, ensuring that Connecticut’s prime and important farmland remains available for agricultural production in perpetuity. The department recently marked the milestones of protecting 300 farms and 40,000 acres, and is now in the process of preserving more than 70 additional farms comprising about 7,000 acres.
 
  • Implementing Gov. Malloy’s $5 million Farmland Restoration Program, which offers farmers matching grants of up to $20,000 to bring more land into active agricultural production. More than 1,300 acres have been brought into production through clearing of rocks, stumps and invasive plants, installing wildlife fencing and planting cover crops.
 
  • Targeting agency grant programs to strengthen agricultural infrastructure to adapt to climate change and to prepare Connecticut farms for compliance with the federal Food Safety Modernization Act.
 
  • Protecting the 900-acre Southbury Training School Farm in order to ensure that this irreplaceable southwest Connecticut resource always remains available for agricultural production and to create additional opportunities for farming and related education. 
 
  • Advancing the goals of the Governor’s Council for Agricultural Development, which has solicited input and engaged hundreds of farmers and associated stakeholders in order to shape a long-range, strategic plan to grow Connecticut’s farms and increase agriculture’s contribution to Connecticut’s economy and job-creation efforts.
 
  • Creating a master plan for the modernization of the Hartford Regional Market. Covering 32 acres and containing more than 230,000 square feet of warehouse space, a railroad spur and 144 farmers’ market stalls, the Regional Market is the largest perishable food-distribution hub between New York and Boston. The master plan calls for construction of new facilities to accommodate an increase in wholesale and retail activity at the market, which has not undergone a significant updating since it was built more than 60 years ago.
 

Erin Pirro selected as Connecticuts Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award Winner

12/8/2014

The Connecticut Farm Bureau Board of Directors announced at the 95th Annual Meeting that Erin Pirro has been selected as the Young Farmers Excellence in Agriculture Award winner representing Connecticut.

This recognition is awarded to participants based on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability and involvement in Farm Bureau and other organizations.  Ms Pirro will represent Connecticut in the American Farm Bureau Association’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture Award competition at AFBF’s 96th Annual Convention in San Diego, California, January 10-12, 2015.

Ms Pirro, shown at left with her husband Jonathan, is a resident of West Granby.  She has been active with the CFBA Young Farmer Committee since 2000 representing her county for many years, and just completed her term as the committee’s representative on the State CFBA Board.  She has worked at Farm Credit East as a relationship manager in the commercial lending group, and currently works as a farm business consultant leading Farm Credit’s Agricultural Retail Benchmarks program.

Raised on Sepe Farm, a sheep farm in Fairfield County, Ms Pirro was active with 4-H and the local FFA chapter as a youth.  She is actively involved with the farm helping raise and market locally grown lamb and wool products and shearing services.  Applying her Master’s Degree in Agricultural Economics and her consulting experience with Farm Credit East to her own family farm, she has contributed to their growth with business and profit planning in addition to marketing and hands-on animal health and feeding practices.

In her application she claims that her passion is profitability, and stressed the importance of farms understanding their true cost of production, their pricing structure and their cash flow cycles.  “Ours is a capital-intensive industry,” says Ms Pirro, “and our farm operations need to be profitable enough to not only maintain but reinvest in our future—whether it’s retooling, expansion, diversification, or retirement planning.”

Through her work at Farm Credit East she has been active in offering a farm management boot camp called “Generation Next,” a three-day workshop for young farmers.  Ms Pirro has also made numerous presentations throughout New England including at Connecticut Farm Bureau’s Planning for Profit Conference, Harvest New England and the North American Farm Direct Marketing Association.

“Erin is an extremely strong candidate representing our state in the national Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award,” says Don Tuller, Connecticut Farm Bureau President.  “Her experience working with a variety of farms provides a perspective that serves agriculture well.  We are very proud to have her representing the future of Connecticut’s agricultural leadership and wish her the best at the AFBF competition.”

The national winner of the Excellence in Agriculture Award will get their choice of a 2015

Chevrolet Silverado or 2015 GMC Sierra, courtesy of GM and paid registration to the 2015 AFBF FUSION Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, Feb. 13-16. Three national finalists will receive a Case IH Farmall 45A, courtesy of Case IH, along with a $2,500 cash prize and $500 in merchandise, courtesy of STIHL.

 


Pork Producers Take Precautions to Prevent Spread PED to Piglets

12/7/2014

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) first emerged in the U.S. in May 2013. It is a coronavirus that infects the cells lining the small intestine of a pig, causing porcine epidemic diarrhoea, a condition of severe diarrhea and dehydration. It came to this country through Canada from China in blood plasma used in baby pig feed which is high in protein and very palatable to baby pigs. PED attacks baby pigs at one to two weeks old when they are still nursing the sow.  Once the piglets acquire PED they die from dehydration with an 80-100% mortality rate. 

Based on the latest data, PED is present in 32 states, Arkansas being the latest. Locally it has spread to Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.  So far it has caused the death of 8-9 million dead baby pigs.  Recently the USDA declared that farmers are required to report to your veterinarian or state Department of Agriculture if a case is confirmed on the farm.

PED usually spreads to farm from new stock animals, but it can also spread from farm to farm through manure on shoes or truck tires.

There is no vaccine developed yet to inoculate piglets, but Harris Vaccination Company is close to developing one. Until this happens, the best way to help control it is biosecurity.

On my farm no one goes into where the baby pigs are.   I step into a pan of bleach and water before I go into the barn.  I chose to quarantine two boars from my own sows this year during spring breeding as to not take a chance of bringing PED to my farm.

For more information on Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea, visit the American Association of Swine Veterinarians at www.aasv.org or www.vetmed.iastate.edu which is the website for Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine

 

Submitted by Tom Dexter, Hartford County Farm Bureau


LOW-COST AGRICULTURE COURSES OFFERED AT NONNEWAUG THROUGH PARTNERSHIP WITH STATE, NAUGATUCK VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE

12/4/2014

Three low-cost, non-credit agricultural training courses designed to help beginning and established farmers sharpen their production and operational skills are being offered this winter at Ellis Clark Regional Agriscience and Technology Center at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury.

 

The courses, which begin in early January and will be held on weekday evenings in conjunction with Ellis Clark’s adult education program, are:

 

  • Integrated Pest Management

  • Soils and Fertilization

  • Tractors for Beginners

 

The courses are the product of a collaboration between the Department of Agriculture, the state Board of Regents for Higher Education, the state Department of Education’s Agricultural Science and Technology Education Program, the Ellis Clark center and Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC). 

 

The 6-week pest-management class and 6-week soils class begin Jan. 7 and will be held on Wednesday evenings from 6:45 p.m. to 9:05 p.m. The fee is $125 for each, and $50 scholarships to defray the cost are available from the NVCC Foundation on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

The 4-week tractor course, offered by Nonnewaug, will be held on Jan. 7, 14 and 21 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Jan. 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will focus on an introduction to tractor basics including safe operation, tractor classification and selection, routine maintenance, and common implements (PTO & hydraulic) and their use.

 

The fee is $60, and no scholarships are available.

 

The pilot program was conceived during discussions of the 2014 Producer Education and Innovation working group of the Governor’s Council for Agricultural Development (GCAD).  Future plans include developing curriculum for agricultural certificate programs that ultimately could be stacked to earn an associate’s degree.

 

“These courses are the result of GCAD listening carefully over the past two and a half years to farmers and other stakeholders who have repeatedly expressed a need for practical, hands-on training,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky, who chairs the governor’s council. “I look forward to further building this relationship to offer a growing set of agricultural training options.”

 

Board of Regents President Gregory Gray said: “This agricultural education partnership will ensure that the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities are equipped to provide agricultural training to help Connecticut farmers. This initiative can help provide Connecticut residents with the skills and training they need to excel, and will help encourage these talented individuals back into the workforce.”

 

NVCC has a successful horticulture program focusing on ornamental crop production. The Ellis Clark center has an acclaimed, waiting-list-only high school agricultural program and a popular adult education program that includes courses on beekeeping, backyard poultry production, pruning, composting, cheese making and meat cutting.

 

“Horticulture is a broad discipline and many of our students understand the importance of locally supported and sustained agriculture,” said Daisy Cocco DeFilippis, President of NVCC. These courses are hopefully just the first step toward a long mutually beneficial relationship that benefits Connecticut farmers."

 

Bill Davenport, Agriscience Program Director at Nonnewaug High School, said:

“The original purpose of the 19 regional agriscience programs in Connecticut was to also provide further training for out-of-school youths and adults in the agricultural community. We are glad to be able to offer our facilities to help satisfy this demonstrated need for adult education for the agricultural community.”

 

More information on the pest management and soils courses is available at www.nv.edu/agriculture. 

 

Details of the tractor course, as well as that for additional adult education classes, can be found at www.woodburyffa.org.

 

Space is limited and students are encourage to register as soon as possible.

 

Contacts:

 

Laurie Hornbecker, Naugatuck Valley Community College

LHornbecker@nvcc.commnet.edu/203-575-8031

 

John Farrell, Ellis Clark Regional Agriscience and Technology Center

jfarrell@ctreg14.org/203-266-4038

 

Jane Williams, Board of Regents for Higher Education

JWilliams@commnet.edu/860-723-0614

 

Steve Jensen, Department of Agriculture

steve.jensen@ct.gov/860-713-2519


Land for Good Announces Job Opening for Connecticut Field Agent

11/21/2014

Land For Good (LFG) is a New England nonprofit organization specializing in farmland access, tenure and transfer. Our field agents educate and consult with farm seekers, established farmers and landowners. They partner with other groups on education, community outreach, advocacy and special projects toward improving farmland access and transfer in each New England state and across the region.

 

The Connecticut Field Agent is a part-time position starting at 8-16 hours per week with possibilities for more hours. Major responsibilities include: consulting with individuals, families, organizations and agencies; delivering workshops and other educational programming; and partnering with organizations and agencies to develop, improve and maintain land access and transfer services.

 

The ideal candidate will have excellent interpersonal and networking skills, plus a working knowledge and/or strong interest in farmland access, tenure and transfer issues. Education and/or experience in agriculture, land planning, and/or community development is preferred, as is strong familiarity with Connecticut.

 

The Connecticut Field Agent will work closely with other LFG staff, but will be based in a home office, or in space provided by a Connecticut organization or agency. Work schedule is flexible, and travel time and expenses are compensated.

 

Please contact info@landforgood.org or 603-357-1600 to receive a detailed job description or if you have any questions. LFG will accept letters of interest and resumes until the position is filled. Learn more about us at www.landforgood.org.

 

 

 


AFBF Survey Reports Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Rises, Still Under $50

11/21/2014

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 20, 2014 – The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 29th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.41, a 37-cent increase from last year’s average of $49.04.

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at $21.65 this year. That’s roughly $1.35 per pound, a decrease of less than 1 cent per pound, or a total of 11 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2013.

“Turkey production has been somewhat lower this year and wholesale prices are a little higher, but consumers should find an adequate supply of birds at their local grocery store,” AFBF Deputy Chief Economist John Anderson said. Some grocers may use turkeys as “loss leaders,” a common strategy deployed to entice shoppers to come through the doors and buy other popular Thanksgiving foods.

Year Average
1986 $28.74
1987 $24.51
1988 $26.61
1989 $24.70
1990 $28.85
1991 $25.95
1992 $26.39
1993 $27.49
1994 $28.40
1995 $29.64
1996 $31.66
1997 $31.75
1998 $33.09
1999 $33.83
2000 $32.37
2001 $35.04
2002 $34.56
2003 $36.28
2004 $35.68
2005 $36.78
2006 $38.10
2007 $42.26
2008 $44.61
2009 $42.91
2010 $43.47
2011 $49.20
2012 $49.48
2013 $49.04
2014 $49.41

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers.

Foods showing the largest increases this year were sweet potatoes, dairy products and pumpkin pie mix. Sweet potatoes came in at $3.56 for three pounds. A half pint of whipping cream was $2.00; one gallon of whole milk, $3.76; and a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.12. A one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery ($.82) and one pound of green peas ($1.55) also increased in price. A combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour) rose to $3.48.

In addition to the turkey, other items that declined modestly in price included a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.54; 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, $2.34; two nine-inch pie shells, $2.42; and a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, $2.17.

The average cost of the dinner has remained around $49 since 2011.

“America’s farmers and ranchers remain committed to continuously improving the way they grow food for our tables, both for everyday meals and special occasions like Thanksgiving dinner that many of us look forward to all year,” Anderson said. “We are blessed to be able to provide a special holiday meal for 10 people for about $5.00 per serving – less than the cost of most fast food meals.”

The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the government’s Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home (available online at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm), which indicates a 3-percent increase compared to a year ago.

Item 2013 Price 2014 Price Difference
Misc. ingredients 3.20 3.48 +.28
Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs. 3.36 3.56 +.20
Whipping cream, 1/2 pint 1.85 2.00 +.15
Milk, 1 gallon whole 3.66 3.76 +.10
Pumpkin pie mix, 30 oz. 3.10 3.12 +.02
1-pound relish tray (carrots and celery) .81 .82 +.01
Green peas, 1 lb. 1.54 1.55 +.01
Cubed stuffing, 14 oz. 2.67 2.54 -.13
16-pound turkey 21.76 21.65 -.11
Fresh cranberries, 12 oz. 2.42 2.34 -.08
Pie shells (2) 2.49 2.42 -.07
Rolls, 12 2.18 2.17 -.01
TOTAL 49.04 49.41 +.37

A total of 179 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 35 states. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey.

Shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages. Another option for busy families without a lot of time to cook is ready-to-eat Thanksgiving meals for up to 10 people, with all the trimmings, which are available at many supermarkets and take-out restaurants for around $50 to $75.

The AFBF survey was first conducted in 1986. While Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.


Cornell Small Farms Program Announces Winter Courses.

11/18/2014

  
   

 

   

 

         
   

Cornell University announces its programs for online courses for farmers coming up in January 2015.  These programs provide opportunities to hone your financial management and production  knowledge from the comfort of your cozy home.
   
    New this year!     Participants who complete all requirements of one or more online courses are eligible to be endorsed for a 0% interest loan of up to $10,000 through   

Kiva     Zip.
   
    Here are the next courses in the line-up:  

   

BF 102: Markets and Profits is a 6-week online     course aimed at aspiring farmers still forming their farm plans. Thurs. Jan. 15 to Feb. 19     with Thursday night webinars.
   
    BF 104: Financial Record Keeping is a 6-week     course for farmers who need guidance establishing an effective system for     tracking and analyzing their farm's performance. Mon. Jan 12 - Feb 15     with Monday night webinars.
   
    BF 203: Holistic Financial Planning is for     farmers with at least a few years of financial records on hand (in any     form!) who want to proactively plan to be profitable. Tues. Jan 20 - Feb 24     with Tuesday night webinars.
   
    BF 120: Vegetable Production I is a 5-week     course for aspiring and start-up farmers seeking to improve their crop     planning and planting skills (BF 121: Vegetable Farming II starts in late     Feb. and continues with season-long care to post-harvest handling). Wed. Jan 7 - Feb 11     with Wednesday night webinars.
   
    BF 140: Small-scale Organic Grain Production is     a new 7-week course for farmers of all experience levels to explore adding     a grain enterprise to their farms. Wed.     Jan 14 - Feb 25 with Wednesday night webinars.
   
    All courses consists of weekly real-time webinars followed by homework,     readings, and discussions on your own time in an online setting.
   
    Each course is $200, but multiple people from the same farm may participate     without paying extra. See the course description page for more on the course     learning objectives, instructors, and outline.
   
    These courses are part of the line-up of 14 online     courses offered this Fall, Winter and Spring by the Cornell Small Farms     Program. Learn which courses would be best for you, read about     our team of experienced instructors, see answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and  view the calendar of course offerings for 2014-2015.
   
    Courses often fill very quickly, so don't miss your chance to sign up     today!

   

 

 

 

 

         
   

Cornell Small Farms Program | | smallfarmsprogram@cornell.edu     | http://www.smallfarms.cornell.edu

   

DEEP Grant Program Aims to Replace or Remove Outdoor Woodburning Furnaces DEADLINE TO APPLY is OCTOBER 31.

10/9/2014

 Applications for funding are currently being accepted and will continue to be accepted through October 31, 2014. Connecticut residents who are interested in receiving a grant through the Outdoor Wood-fired Furnace Good Neighbor program should visit the

Good Deals for Good Neighbors webpage (www.ct.gov/deep/OWFIP) for specific details.

____________________________________________________________________________


As part of an overall effort to address public health and environmental issues raised by the use of Outdoor Wood Burning Furnaces (OWFs), Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced a grant program that offers a financial incentive for the removal or replacement of older, less efficient units.

DEEP said that its new "Good Deals for Good Neighbors" program will fund up to $4,000 of removal costs – and a total of $7,000 for residents and businesses that remove and replace their current OWF models with newer and more efficient units. This switch can save participants in annual operating costs on their new unit, in addition to the incentive provided through DEEP.

The "Good Deals for Good Neighbors" program is funded with $345,000 made available through the settlement of an interstate air pollution case against American Electric Power Service Corporation. The company, a Midwestern power generator, was found in violation of provisions of the federal Clean Air Act.

"This grant program is one of several steps we are taking to address health and environmental risks created through the improper operation of OWFs or by running older and less efficient units," said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee. "This program will provide grants to help home and business owners save money while making their neighborhoods more livable for neighbors and themselves."

"The settlement we reached with American Electric Power – the country's largest electric power producer – included a number of provisions aimed at reducing air pollution and improving Connecticut's air quality," said Attorney General George Jepsen. "It also included funding for the state to use for pollution mitigation efforts. This incentive program is a great and practical use of settlement funds that will directly benefit Connecticut residents and businesses. Newer outdoor wood-burning furnace models are less polluting and more efficient. I am pleased that this program will result in real reductions in air pollution in our neighborhoods."

Other steps taken by DEEP concerning OWFs include:

  • Actively supporting adoption of strong federal emission standards for wood burning devices by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Worked for passage of P.A. 14-92, which ensures that Connecticut’s requirements for the siting of OWFs – which include minimum setback from neighboring properties and mandatory heights for chimneys – will remain in place even if federal rules are adopted. Connecticut law also requires OWF operators to use only clean, dry, wood that has not been chemically treated.
  • In cooperation with Department of Public Health, developed training materials and trained local public health officials on wood burning to increase response times to OWF complaints and ensure proper enforcement of the state requirements.
  • Exploring the possibility of rules to restrict the use of OWFs on bad air days (days when air quality does not meet federal public health standards), while providing limited exemptions for essential use, especially in the agriculture sector.

Older, less-efficient OWFs emit wood smoke that impacts human health, primarily from breathing fine particulate matter. These fine particles are associated with serious cardiopulmonary health impacts and are a special concern for young children, asthmatics, persons with respiratory or heart disease, diabetics and the elderly. While increased heating costs are leading to increasing popularity of OWFs, some people are being affected by the nearby operation of units that are older, dirtier, improperly operated, or improperly sited. DEEP has received hundreds of complaints about wood smoke, mostly from neighbors of people operating OWFs.

Applications for funding are currently being accepted and will continue to be accepted through October 31, 2014. Connecticut residents who are interested in receiving a grant through the Outdoor Wood-fired Furnace Good Neighbor program should visit the

Good Deals for Good Neighbors webpage (www.ct.gov/deep/OWFIP) for specific details.


Landowners: Know Your Rights Under PA 490 by Attending CFBA's Seminar October 1

9/24/2014

Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) will host a free seminar Wednesday, October 1 at 6:00 pm about Public Act 490 to help landowners and municipalities understand how this law is applied.  The protection of farmland, forest land and open space is considered vital to the future of Connecticut for both food security and natural resource preservation. However, these lands have fallen under the increased pressure of urban development and rising property taxes. Connecticut Public Act 490 (PA 490) was created to help reduce this pressure by allowing these types of lands to be taxed by municipalities at a rate that reflects their current use, rather than the highest possible value. Connecticut Farm Bureau is holding this seminar to help explain PA 490 and how the law is applied.

Attendees will get an overview of PA 490, understand how land is classified under the program, what its limitations and restrictions are, and how landowners can work with their local assessors to have their property classified under the program.  The program will be held at the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association office, 775 Bloomfield Avenue in Windsor, CT.

“Since PA 490 was enacted, The Connecticut Farm Bureau has become the trusted resource for municipalities and landowners when it comes to understanding how the program works,” says Joan Nichols, Director of Member Relations and Community Outreach with the Connecticut Farm Bureau. “For more than a quarter century, we have published and distributed a guide to PA 490 and have worked with landowners, assessors, government officials, and others to help them understand how the law works and how it can be used to preserve open space and help towns receive a fair assessment value for properties.

“Since PA 490 was passed in the 1960s there have been a number of court cases that have further clarified the way the law works,” says Nichols. “If used correctly, PA 490 facilitates a partnership between landowner and assessor and is a smart growth tool, preserving open space lands that not only add intangible aesthetic value to a town, but also contribute more tax money than they consume in town services. However to be effective, towns and landowners need to have a full understanding of the program.  Through the years, Farm Bureau’s presentations about PA 490, plus one-on-one work with members and municipal assessors has gone a long way to help everyone better comprehend this important law.”

 In 2012 Connecticut Farm Bureau received a Pathfinder Award for Education from the Working Lands Alliance (WLA) for its efforts to promote farmland preservation through PA 490.  According to WLA’s awards announcement, “PA 490 is arguably the most effective program helping agriculture remain in business in Connecticut ... In fact, without the program and the requisite education led by Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, many argue that Connecticut agriculture would have disappeared long before we could have permanently protected farms through the purchase of development rights.”

To download a copy of the PA 490 guide and the required filing forms, visit www.cfba.org/pa490guide.htm.   Additional questions about the seminars should be directed to the Connecticut Farm Bureau at (860) 768-1100.

The seminar is open to all, and attendees are encouraged to call 860-768-1100 or email cathyb@cfba.org to indicate their plan to attend.


New Member Benefit--Discounts on Polaris Off-Road Vehicles Offered to Connecticut Farm Bureau Members

9/2/2014




Connecticut Farm Bureau is pleased to announce that a new member discount program with Polaris Industries Inc., is available to eligible members, effective immediately. The roll-out of the new three-year program with Polaris, the leading manufacturer of off-road vehicles, demonstrates Farm Bureau’s continued investment in exceeding member expectations.

 

“Farm Bureau members in Connecticut are accustomed to having exclusive access to superior, high-quality brands, programs and products,” said Randolph Blackmer, President of Connecticut Farm Bureau Member Services.  “This generous special purchase program from Polaris will help our members save money on high-quality, off-terrain vehicles that can stand up to rugged use on farms. This program provides another outstanding example of how it pays to be a member of Farm Bureau,” he said.

 

Through the new program, eligible Farm Bureau members receive a $300 per unit discount on all Polaris Utility and Sport Vehicles, $200 per unit on all All-Terrain Vehicles and $300 per unit on all GEM Electric Vehicles. Members are eligible for the discounts 30 days after joining Connecticut Farm Bureau. Discounts are available for the purchase of specified Polaris off-road vehicles without exclusion in states that participate in the Polaris program.

 

To take advantage of the Polaris program discounts, CFBA members should log on to www.cfba.org with their membership number and password, click on Member Benefits on the tool bar and scross to Polaris.  Eligibility will be confirmed once a membership number and zip code is entered. A certificate will be made available online that must be printed and taken to the dealership of choice for presentation to the sales person. Certificates expire after 60 days.

 

 Polaris is a recognized leader in the powersports industry with annual 2013 sales of $3.8 billion. Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets innovative, high quality off-road vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles and the Polaris RANGER and RZR side-by-side vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles and on-road electric/hybrid powered vehicles.

 

Polaris is among the global sales leaders for both snowmobiles and off-road vehicles and has established a presence in the heavyweight cruiser and touring motorcycle market with the Victory and Indian Motorcycle brands.  Additionally, Polaris continues to invest in the global on-road small electric/hybrid powered vehicle industry with Global Electric Motorcars, Goupil Industrie SA, Aixam Mega S.A.S., and internally developed vehicles.

 

Information about the complete line of Polaris products, apparel and vehicle accessories are available from authorized Polaris dealers or anytime at www.polaris.com.


2014 Farm Bill Update: Be Aware of USDAs Crop Loss Protection Tools

8/28/2014

Enrollment deadlines are September 30 and November 20.  Prepare your farm's risk management plan today!

The farm bill provides improved crop insurance and the Non-insurable crop disaster Assistance Program (NAP) with new Buy-Up coverage as the primary risk management tools for crop farmers.  Together they can provide protection of input costs and much of the expected income for almost every crop grown in Connecticut.  The Bill was designed on the premise that farmers should and will assume the responsibility of using the appropriate amounts of protection for each crop from these two programs so that they will be able to sufficiently manage their risk exposures so that they will not experience a business financial interruption when disasters occur.

 

Crop Insurance Protection is available for up to 75% of your yield or revenue history (85% for some crops) for many crops and some livestock. Whole Farm Revenue Protection is also available.  New Farm Bill improvements include added benefits for new/beginning, organic and other crop producers. Farm level details are available from crop insurance agents (a list is available at: www.rma.usda.gov/tools/agent.html or from your FSA office.

 
The improved Non-insurable crop disaster Assistance Program (NAP) provides protection for most crops, similar to crop insurance at up to 65% of your yield history (when a crop insurance policy is not available) from the Farm Service Agency  (FSA ) office for the county.

 

There also are supplemental risk management programs for general field crops that have FSA established base acres. County and Individual Area Risk Coverage (ARC) are available that can provide up to 65 or 85 percent of revenue losses between 76 and 86 percent of historical revenue but the maximum payment is 6.5% or 8.5% respectively of expected revenue. This protection is available at no cost to you.

 

Alternatively, Price Loss Coverage (PLC) is available that provides protection when market prices are less than reference prices for crops that FSA established base acres on your farm(s).

 

Information for these programs is available from your county Farm Service Agency (FSA/USDA) office.

 

Each producer is personally responsible to develop a risk management plan for their farm(s) before the enrollment deadlines.  The USDA provides tools for you to consider for developing your plan.   ENROLLMENT DEADLINES are 9/30 for fall seeded grains and 11/20 for perennial fruit crops.  

 

Please note:   This material provides only a brief overview of USDA’s crop loss protection tools.  The 2014 Farm Bill contains many new provisions.  For specific policy information, signup deadlines and other information for your farm, please visit your county FSA USDA office and a licensed crop insurance agent.   General crop insurance and other program information can be found at the RMA USDA website at www.rma.usda.gov and the FSA USDA website at www.fsa.usda.gov .   Also visit the Connecticut Farm Risk Management and Crop Insurance Program website at www.ctfarmrisk.uconn.edu .  This website provides information on upcoming crop insurance and risk management programs, publications, crop insurance signup deadlines and crop insurance fact sheets.

 

                        

 

 

This institution is an equal opportunity provider


PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW AMERICAN ECONOMY AND AFBF RELEASE NEW IMMIGRATION REFORM AD

7/31/2014

 

 

New York, NY — The Partnership for a New American Economy and the American Farm Bureau Federation today released a new ad calling on Congress to pass immigration reform now. The ad features Bernie Thiel, a Texas farmer who has had to destroy some of his own crops for two years in a row because he has been unable to find the workers he needs to harvest.

 

The ad, which premiered today in Washington, D.C. taxis and airports, will play in the following locations:

 

  • Washington D.C. taxis
  • Reagan National and Dulles International airports
  • Movie theatres in 16 key congressional districts
  • Rodeos in Idaho and Louisiana
  • State Fairs
Watch the ad here.

“A farmer should never have to destroy a crop due to the lack of an adequate labor force,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. “If that situation doesn’t illustrate the clear need for agricultural labor reform, I’m not sure what will. Ultimately, as a nation we will decide whether we import our labor or import our food. While our nation’s current political climate makes comprehensive reform a challenge, we are determined that ensuring an adequate farm workforce and securing our borders are compatible goals that are worthy of continued pursuit.”

 

“This ad sends a clear message to Congress - if you don't fix our broken immigration system, it's American farms that will feel the pain," said John Feinblatt, Chairman of the Partnership for a New American Economy."Our farmers are struggling to do their jobs because they don't have the workers they need. So while Congress does nothing to address agriculture labor shortages, farms fail, food rots, and we import more produce from overseas.”

 

This ad is part of the Partnership’s ad campaign, launched in April to highlight the need for immigration reform across broad sectors of the economy. The Partnership’s first ad, which showcases immigrant inventions, can be viewed at www.immigrantmade.org.

 

About the Partnership for a New American Economy

                                        

The Partnership for a New American Economy brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. The Partnership’s members include mayors of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality to High Tech and Media to Manufacturing. Partnership members understand that immigration is essential to maintaining the productive, diverse and flexible workforce that America needs to ensure prosperity over the coming generations. Learn more at www.RenewOurEconomy.org.

 

About the American Farm Bureau Federation

 

The American Farm Bureau Federation is the unified national voice of agriculture, working to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities.

 

 


Farm Bureau hosts Local Connecticut Farms at Work Bus Tour August 9 to three Operations in Northeastern Connecticut

7/28/2014



Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) is hosting a day-long bus tour to three agricultural operations in Eastern Connecticut on Saturday, August 9. 

 

For just $45, adults may jump aboard a guided tour to Devon Point Farm in Woodstock, Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm in Sterling and Westford Hill Distillers in Ashford.  Connecticut-grown lunch is included as part of the day, as well as a Pig Roast dinner including live music and hayrides.

The tour is funded in part by a grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council under its project, Connecticut at Work.  The grants support a wide range of community-oriented programs that examine the past, present and future of work in the lives of Connecticut residents.  To reserve a space on the tour, visit www.cfba.org under EVENTS.  Seating is limited.  The coach bus departs Pleasant View Café, 452 South Rd. (Rte. 83) in Somers at 9:30 am and will return there about 5 pm for a Pig Roast dinner.

“With Farm Bureau’s mission to educate people about farming in Connecticut, we thought a multiple-farm tour might be a great way to help folks visit the farms and meet these farming families,” says Debbi Tanner, Chair of the CFBA Women’s Leadership Committee who is coordinating the event.  “Their diversified farming operations represent many different Connecticut Grown products.  I think our guests will enjoy their visits, and learn a lot about how—and why-- Connecticut agriculture works.   We’re very appreciative of the Connecticut Humanities Council for involving farming in their year-long project.”

Devon Point Farm raises pasture-raised beef and chickens, plus vegetables and operates a CSA.  Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm grows everything for the Thanksgiving table, specializing in pasture-raised turkeys, and operates a farm store.  Westford Hill Distillers, a craft distillery, ferments and distills local fruits into small-batch spirits.  The winding roads between the three destinations will acquaint guests with northeast Connecticut’s rural and rich farming region.

The Pig Roast at Pleasant View Café is hosted by the CFBA Young Farmer Committee who holds this event to raise funds to send young farming leaders, ages 18 to 35, to a national leadership conference.  The dinner is included in the price of the day-long tour.

It is also open to the public and features Connecticut-raised pork with all the fixings.  In addition to live music and dancing, the evening includes hayrides and games for children.  For those wishing to just attend the dinner tickets are $20 per person if reserved in advance, $25 at the door.  Children 12 and under are free. Tickets can be reserved at www.cfba.org.

A second tour is scheduled for October 4 featuring three farming operations in Fairfield County.  Watch for details.

About Connecticut at Work

Connecticut at Work travels across the state through December 2014. The program features the Smithsonian Institution’s The Way We Worked exhibition, with stops in seven communities: New Haven, Torrington, Hartford, Waterbury, Coventry, Stamford and Groton. Surrounding communities are adding local focus with community history exhibits, book and film discussions, author talks, performances and more. Connecticut at Work is an initiative of Connecticut Humanities, a non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. In the Coventry, Connecticut at Work is a partnership with Connecticut Landmarks. The Connecticut tour of The Way We Worked is made possible by Connecticut Humanities and Historic New England. For a calendar of events and more information, visit cthumanities.org/ctatwork.

About the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association
Since 1919, The Connecticut Farm Bureau Association has provided a strong, clear voice in state agricultural issues. As a non-governmental, membership organization serving farm families, the Connecticut Farm Bureau's mission is to advocate for agriculture and find solutions for concerns facing production agriculture in our counties, state and nation.  Volunteer leaders, including the Women's Leadership and Young Farmer Committees,  and staff work closely with state and federal regulatory agencies and elected officials on issues ranging from economic viability, property rights, taxation, land use planning to labor laws and farmland preservation.  Connecticut Farm Bureau believes that representing the interest of farmers also benefits all Connecticut residents who enjoy safe, locally grown, farm-fresh products. For more information visit www.cfba.org.

 

 


Department of Agriculture Invites Applications for Position of Agriculture Bureau Director

7/10/2014

The State of Connecticut has announced a job opening in the Department of Agriculture.  Details and application instructions:


DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

AGRICULTURE BUREAU DIRECTOR

PLEASE FOLLOW THE SPECIFIC APPLICATION FILING INSTRUCTIONS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE!

 

Open To:                             The Public – the exam process is waived

Location:                              165 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT

Job Posting No:                 11398

Hours:                                   Monday through Friday, 40 hours (full time)

Salary:                                   MP67 – 3,492.76 bi-weekly

Closing Date:                     July 23, 2014 by 4pm – no exceptions

 

EXAMPLES OF DUTIES: 

Directs the staff and operations of a Bureau; coordinates, plans and manages Bureau activities; formulates program goals and objectives; develops policies and procedures; interprets and administers pertinent laws and regulations; evaluates staff; prepares and monitors Bureau budget; prepares proposed legislation and regulations; maintains contacts with individuals both within and outside of the Bureau who might impact on Bureau activities; appears before legislative and professional groups; may testify at hearings on matters pertaining to the Bureau; prepares correspondence and reports; performs related duties as required. 

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE, SKILL AND ABILITY: 

Considerable knowledge of and ability to apply management principles and techniques; considerable knowledge of the technology and research pertaining to the Department of Agriculture; considerable knowledge of and ability to interpret and apply relevant State and Federal laws and regulations; knowledge of agricultural programs, such as farming, shellfish, livestock and/or soil and water conservation; knowledge of advertising and promotional techniques related to agricultural resources; considerable interpersonal skills; considerable oral and written communication skills; considerable organizational and planning skills. 

EXPERIENCE AND TRAINING:  General Experience:  Ten (10) years of experience in one or more of the following: agricultural land and resource management, such as agricultural production, farmland preservation, soil and water conservation and/or the shellfish industry; regulation and inspection of agricultural programs; and/or marketing agricultural products and activities. 

Special Experience:  Two (2) years of the General Experience must have been in a managerial or supervisory capacity. 

Substitutions Allowed:  1. College training in Agriculture, Animal Science, Business, Public Health, Public Policy or a related field may be substituted for the General Experience on the basis of fifteen (15) semester hours equalling one-half (1/2) year of experience to a maximum of four (4) years for a Bachelor's Degree.

2.  A Master’s Degree in an agriculture related program, Business, Public Health or Public Policy may be substituted for five (5) years of the General Experience.

3.  A Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine may be substituted for six (6) years of the General Experience.

*Note: Education may only be substituted for a total of six (6) years.                     

 

The official job specification may be viewed at:  http://das.ct.gov/HR/JobspecNew/JobDetail.asp?FCC=6141

The salary plan is available at:  http://www.das.state.ct.gov/HRDocs/CompPlans/MP%202013%2007%2012.pdf

 

The preferred candidate will have knowledge of agricultural practices, marketing campaign development, and land preservation programs and approaches and facilities management; knowledge advertising and promotional techniques related to agricultural; Understanding of applicable state and federal laws, regulations and programs relevant to agriculture promotion, farmland preservation and agriculture product aggregation processing and distribution; Experience with management principles and techniques;

Understanding of state and federal grant programs; Experience with farmland preservation; management experience; and communications skills.

 

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:  Interested and qualified candidates who meet the preferred skills should submit a cover letter that describes your interest and suitability for the position, resume and application for Examination or Employment (Form CT-HR-12 at  http://www.das.state.ct.us/cr1.aspx?page=13 ) to:

 

                                                        Deborah Craig, Human Resources Specialist

Department of Administrative Services/SmART Unit

165 Capitol Ave, 5th Floor East

Hartford, CT 06106

Confidential Fax:  (860) 622-4921

OR

Email to DAS.HR.SMART@ct.gov, MUST include Director 11398 (last name) in subject line.

Note:  The filling of this position will be in accordance with reemployment, SEBAC, transfer, promotion and merit employment rules, if applicable.

AN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION/EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
The State of Connecticut is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and strongly encourages the applications of women, minorities, and persons

Jay Leno to Address 96th AFBF Annual Convention in San Diego, January 11-14, 2015

7/10/2014

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 10, 2014–Acclaimed late night TV host Jay Leno will give the closing session keynote address at the 96th AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show in San Diego on Jan. 12, 2015. 

 

About 7,000 Farm Bureau members from across the nation are expected to gather in San Diego Jan. 11-14 to hear from distinguished leaders and participate in a grassroots policy setting process that will guide the American Farm Bureau Federation through 2015.

 

Leno, an admired stand-up comedian, is also a best-selling children’s book author, TV and movie voice-over artist, pioneering car builder and mechanic, and philanthropist. He has been widely characterized as “the hardest-working man in show business.”

 

“We are excited to have Jay Leno as one of our keynote speakers,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “We will be considering some very important policy issues during our time in San Diego, so it will be nice to take a break from the business at hand and share a lighter moment with Jay Leno.”

 

Leno’s late night television ratings domination has included hosting more than two decades of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” during which the show was a quarterly ratings winner for 19 consecutive years. While he was host, the show was honored by the Television Academy with an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy, Variety or Music Series. “The Tonight Show” has also been honored as Favorite Late Night Show in the annual TV Guide Awards as determined by voting viewers.

 

Farm Bureau members can register for the 96th AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show through their state Farm Bureaus starting Sept. 1.  Connecticut Farm Bureau members interested in attending should contact Ashley McCullough at 860-768-1104.  She will be handling group room reservations and other details for state leaders.

 

 

 

 

 


Congress, Administration Must Unite on Immigration Reform

7/9/2014

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 9, 2014 – During a Day of Action with events in Washington, D.C., and in more than 60 congressional districts across 25 states, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Partnership for a New American Economy, Business Roundtable and other groups are urging Congress and the administration to work together to enact immigration reform.

At a press conference in the nation’s capital, farm leaders and top business association CEOs discussed the critical need for immigration reform to drive job creation and economic growth in the United States, while representatives from state and local employer associations, state Farm Bureaus, local businesses and other industry leaders made a similar case at local events in Arkansas, California, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and more than 10 other states. The coordinated events cutting across various industries, sectors and communities show how wide and deep the need for immigration reform runs.

“Immigration reform is critical for the agricultural industry,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “Many farmers rely on an immigrant labor force and without reform, growers will begin to plant less labor intensive crops or food production will go off shore. Simply put, either we import our labor or we import our food.”

Failure to act is not an option, Stallman continued.

“As a nation, we can’t afford to continue with an immigration system we’ve long outgrown and is working more and more against our overall national interest.  We urge Congress and the administration to work together and with us to achieve real immigration reform that addresses the needs of farmers and the economy, as well as the country’s need for border security,” he said.

About the National Day of Action for Immigration Reform

Today, a coalition of leading business groups, including AFBF, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Partnership for a New American Economy, Business Roundtable, AmericanHort, Western Growers, and the National Association of Manufacturers launched a Day of Action for immigration reform. These compelling business voices are best positioned to speak on why immigration reform is in our national interest: we need changes to our immigration laws in order to drive job creation and economic growth for our country.

Despite a stalemate in Washington, agriculture, manufacturing and other business leaders are more united than ever, and we are not giving up on the importance of fixing this problem. We join today to deliver the message to the administration and members of Congress that immigration reform is an economic imperative. In order to drive this message home, we are coordinating a Washington, D.C., national press conference with events in more than 60 congressional districts in 25 states – all in a single day.


Connecticut Farm Bureau Young Farmers to host Farm to Table Pig/Lamb Roast Fundraiser on August 2nd

7/9/2014

Connecticut Farm Bureau Associations (CFBA) Young Farmer Committee, a group of farmers under age 35 active in farming and agricultural related careers, are hosting their sixth annual Roast featuring Connecticut- raised pork, lamb, seasonal vegetables and ice cream. This family-friendly, farm-to-table style meal will be hosted at Pleasant View Caf at 452 South Road, Somers, CT on Sunday afternoon, August 2nd from 1:00-4:00 pm, rain or shine. Tickets are $20/person (children under 12 years are free) and available for sale at www.cfba.org or at the gate.


For folks who enjoy meeting their local farmers and savor a great home-cooked meal, why not come join us at the table? says Young Farmer Committee Chair, Amanda Freund of East Canaan.This years meal will feature pork from Pine Grove Farm in Southington, lamb from Kalenauskas Farm in Woodbury, and a variety of delicious vegetables from farms around the state, plus-- my favorite-- ice cream from Connecticut creameries! It will be a great opportunity for families to meet the next generation of farmers who are producing our food and agricultural goods in this state,


The gathering will also include hay rides and music, plus a silent auction of baskets of Connecticut-grown foods.


CFBA Young Farmers are from across the state, and their backgrounds are diverse:from raising beef and dairy, to growing tobacco, shellfish, sunflowers, teaching agriculture education, studying agriculture at college, and working in agricultural lending.Proceeds from this fundraiser help finance Young Farmer programs which have included social media training, direct engagement with legislators, coordinating farm and agribusiness tours as well as sending select members to a national leadership conference.


The Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation will also be awarding its 2015 scholarship winners at the dinner.The Mission of the Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation is to seek and administer funds for the benefit of programs that promote Connecticut agriculture through education, and CTAEF partners with organizations like Connecticut Farm Bureau to enhance understanding of agriculture.


How Close Were We to Losing Connecticuts Thriving Horse Industry: Connecticut Farm Bureau works to defend Equine Liability

6/4/2014

Connecticut’s robust equine industry came under serious threat over the past 20 months, and Connecticut Farm Bureau led the agriculture sector in pushing for reasonable requirements for horse owners across the state.  The Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) is a statewide nonprofit membership organization of 5,000 families dedicated to all types of farming and the future of Connecticut agriculture.  CFBA has a long history or representing and advocating for its members from all sectors of agriculture.

The equine industry is included in the definition of agriculture as defined under Section 1-1q of the Connecticut General Statues.  Connecticut has more than 50,000 horses, the third highest density of horses per square mile in the nation, and the highest number of horses of any New England state.  To put this in perspective there are more than twice the number of horses than milking cows in Connecticut.

In September 2012, The Connecticut Farm Bureau was informed by Doug Dubitsky, a local attorney who does work with local horse farms about the pending Supreme Court Case of Vandrella v. Astriab Family Ltd. Partnership.  The case involved a young boy who was bitten on the cheek when he and his father stepped up to pet a horse in a paddock located behind a retail store where they’d bought plants.   The Supreme Court would be ruling on whether the Appellate Court properly concluded that horses as a species are naturally vicious. Such a conclusion would reverse the existing legal standard and have far-reaching consequences for the keeping of horses in the state.

Because owners would be liable for all injury or damage occasioned by a horse, regardless of what they knew about the animal, that risk could well become uninsurable. The viability of many Farm Bureau members depends on the ability to pair people with suitable horses, and to allow people to be in close proximity to horses. 

Furthermore, the standard of care required to keep the public away from horses would require massive capital investment to install secure, double-fenced paddocks and pens.  Insurance on horse farms, boarding operations, riding schools, petting zoos, trail riding operations, horse shows, parades and demonstrations, even backyard stables , would become exceedingly difficult-- perhaps impossible-- to obtain.  This ruling would have a devastating effect on horse farms, and many feared that horse farmers and horse owners would leave Connecticut in droves to relocate their operations to other states.

“Horse owners and breeders were shocked when this case was passed up the line to the state’s Supreme Court,” says John Bennett, Horse Unit Supervisor at the University of Connecticut’s Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, owner of a private stable in Putnam and an active leader of Windham County Farm Bureau.  “Each horse has its own unique behaviors.  They are a flight species and run from danger, and you learn to respect that when you work with them. We teach that to our UConn students every day.  But to claim that as a species they’re naturally vicious?  It just didn’t make any sense.”

Because of the potential impact of the decision on agriculture, the Board of Directors of CFBA voted to commit significant resources and legal assistance to file an Amicus Brief with the Supreme Court jointly from the Connecticut Farm Bureau and the Connecticut Horse Council.  The brief was filed in December of 2012 and the case was heard in September of 2013. 

“We’re a non-profit organization,” says Connecticut Farm Bureau President Donald Tuller, a farmer from West Simsbury, “and finances are always tight.  We’re here to serve our members first, however.  When one of our largest sectors of agriculture had the core of its business threatened, we couldn’t stand by and watch.  Only Farm Bureau had the organization, the will and the ability through its member network to put in our two cents on this case.  I give our board of directors a lot of credit for casting votes that evening to invest significant resources into this issue.”

Before the Supreme Court issued its ruling on the case, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy introduced a bill in February as part of his legislative package that would establish horses as non-vicious animals. The Connecticut Farm Bureau and the Connecticut Horse Council, as well as veterinarians and other individuals provided written and oral testimony in support of the bill (HB 5044) in the Environment Committee.

On March 26, 2014 The Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Appellate Court Ruling that established horses as inherently vicious animals.  As a result, The Connecticut Farm Bureau immediately moved the passing of HB 5044 which had been voted on favorably by the Environment Committee to its top legislative priority.  CFBA worked with attorney Dubitsky and the Governor’s office to make some additional change to the bill, and then worked hard to lobby both the House and Senate to make sure it passed.  Before the end of the Session both the House and Senate passed the bill unanimously and the Governor signed it on May 28.

“I devoted many days to this bill at the Capitol this spring.  We had to see it through to a positive outcome.  We represent and advocate for our members from all sectors of agriculture,” said Henry Talmage, CFBA’s Executive Director.  “It seemed imperative that we lend our voice to the matter to defend our members who earn their living with an equine-based business.  Advocating for agriculture:  that’s what Farm Bureau has done since 1919, and we do it every day. ”

Talmage will join other speakers at a special seminar on Equine Liability on June 5 at 7 pm at UConn's College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources.   Details.

 

 

 

 


Congressman Courtney asks USDA to Address Issues with Local Meat Production

5/1/2014

WASHINGTON—Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2) questioned USDA's Chief Economist Joseph Glauber at the House Agriculture Committee’s Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit subcommittee hearing this week. Congressman Courtney addressed the rising demand for local meat and dairy products seen in Connecticut and supported by USDA market studies, and asked Mr. Glauber about the hurdles that small farms and processors in Connecticut face. “Has the USDA’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program made headway or do we require additional innovations along the supply chain, expansion of the local meat sector, broadening the consumer base, or some combination thereof to address processing shortfalls?” Courtney asked.



Click here to watch the video of Congressman Courtney’s exchange with USDA's Chief Economist Joseph Glauber.

 

In recent years, demand for “Connecticut Grown” products has risen. From the proliferation of over a hundred farmers’ markets, to an increase in farm to school programs, and a growth in producer to consumer operations, positive growth signals are abundant.  The recent rise in demand also corresponds with a growth in production.  Preliminary numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2012 Census of Agriculture has found that the overall number of farms in Connecticut increased by 21% in the last five years, from 4,916, to 5,977, and that there has been a 40 percent increase of farmers in the 25-34 year age bracket.  This not only means more choices for Connecticut consumers, but it also means more of the money consumers spend remains in state.

Local food sales via direct-to-consumer marketing have more than doubled over the last decade. However, local sales of livestock products have not grown as rapidly as other food categories, despite apparent demand. As a strong supporter of “Connecticut Grown” products, Congressman Courtney has held an ongoing dialogue with local stakeholders and producers on how to further grow all aspects of the Connecticut agricultural economy.  From producer roundtable discussions at Connecticut Farm Bureau and UConn, on-farm visits to livestock operations such as New Boston Beef inNorth Grosvenordale, and visits to processing operations such as New England Meat Packing LLC in Stafford Springs, Congressman Courtney has worked to understand and address hurdles to growth.

During the 2014 Farm Bill debate Congressman Courtney successfully included an amendment which directs the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a report on the impact of local and regional food systems on job creation and economic development, the level of participation in the Farmers’ Market and Local Food Promotion Program, the ability of local food systems to leverage private capital, and conduct surveys on the effectiveness of current programs designed to expand or facilitate local food systems. 

 


Community Investment Act and Hundreds of Success Stories Celebrated at the State Capitol

5/1/2014

Ag producers featured at CIA press conferenceLinda Auger, Taylor Brook Winery

Advocates for agriculture and farmland preservation joined Senator Donald Williams at the State Capitol to celebrate the success of the Community Investment Act (CIA.)  Since its passage in 2005, the CIA has generated $122.5 million in support to fund 894 projects in 157 communities.  In addition to providing funding for projects that benefit agriculture and dairy businesses, funds are used to save farms and farmland, preserve historic places and open space, and create affordable housing.

 

Senator Williams was recognized by the gathering for being the chief proponent of establishing and protecting the CIA. “The CIA got folks talking.  The purpose is to support the future of Connecticut’s statewide heritage, and establish a fund that protects the state’s legacy,” said Senator Williams.  Inspired by a similar initiative in Massachusetts, legislature and policymakers  ”looked down the road in order to be proactive.  When we lose our character and heritage, we don’t get it back.  We have a tremendously rich history.  It’s our responsibility as legislators to preserve for today, and also for our children,” he added.

The Old Judiciary Room was circled with a display of “success stories” of more than 60 of the 894 projects funded by the CIA.  Taylor Brook Winery in Woodstock was one of the featured success stories, and Linda Auger, who owns the winery with her husband Richard, spoke to the gathering.  Taylor Brook has benefitted from three different grant awards to restore farmland, expand the vineyard with 5,000 more grapevines and to build a new warehouse.  Attracting 8,000 to 10,000 visitors a year, Taylor Brook has grown its of employees in service and production, and engages an increasing number of local businesses to assist in supporting their growing business.

Melissa Greenbacker also spoke briefly about the impact of the CIA funds in supporting their farm in Durham.  In the success story about the dairy support program, Ms Greenbacker said, “The Dairy Support program has been vital to us as we keep our 12-generation family farm economically viable. With this support we received during difficult economic times, we have maintained working farmland and wildlife habitat. We are proud to be able to provide fresh, locally produced milk in Connecticut!”

Other agriculture-related success stories featured included GourmAvian Farm in Bolton which has grown its revenue 60% in the past year selling processed Connecticut poultry to restaurants and markets in Connecticut and throughout New England.  The CIA funded a grant through the Department of Agriculture to assist with a cooling unit for their delivery vehicle.  Mountaintop Mushrooms in Waterbury received two grants for infrastucture to build its urban farming facility which grows exotic mushrooms. The 109-acre Szegda Farm in Columbia was a featured success story for farmland preservation, recently being permanently protected with the assistance of CIA funding.

Senator Williams challenged the gathering “to protect the intent of this program in a responsible way,” by fighting off earmarks and preserving the integrity of the Community Investment Act.

In addition to Senator Williams, Department of Agriculture Steven Reviczky spoke about the importance of the CIA to agriculture in Connecticut.  He described the CIA as a result of “a lot of work by a lot of people, and the leadership of a few,” and thanked Senator Williams for being a champion for CIA.



The Farmer’s Cow, a collaboration of six Connecticut dairy farms which have also benefitted from CIA funding, donated ice cream sandwiches for the enjoyment of the crowd.


GOV. MALLOY ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT TO HELP PROTECT CONNECTICUTS WORKING FARMS

4/9/2014

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Connecticut Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky, and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) State Conservationist Lisa Coverdale today announced an agreement that will allow Connecticut to utilize more than $8 million in federal funds to keep farmland in agricultural production. 
 
The agreement also will increase flexibility in use of federal funds through the state’s Farmland Preservation Program. More than 300 state farms have been protected under the program, including nearly 100 achieved with $20 million in assistance from the federal USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP).
 
“This funding will be used to ensure that our state’s farms – some of the best in the country – will continue producing Connecticut Grown products and keep our beautiful lands and natural resources preserved,” Governor Malloy said.  “Connecticut continues to lead New England in the growth rate of farms over the past couple of years, where the agriculture industry contributes $3.5 billion to our economy and provides nearly 28,000 jobs in our state.  I remain committed to the growth of this crucial industry and to the hard working families of Connecticut who work in it.”
 
“The permanent protection of working farms is a long-standing priority in Connecticut that has been extraordinarily successful in keeping prime and important farmland in production,” Commissioner Reviczky said.  “With our federal partners we have preserved more than 13,000 acres of farmland, and this agreement will ensure that we continue to keep more of our working lands in productive farming.”
 
The agreement will extend all NRCS farmland-protection funds obligated to Connecticut until March 31, 2015, giving the state greater flexibility in negotiating agreements with farm owners wishing to participate in the program.
 
“NRCS’s first objective is to ensure that USDA programs work with the state’s programs as efficiently as possible to achieve mutual farmland-protection goals,” Coverdale said.  “Connecticut holds an unprecedented record of preserving the best and most productive agricultural land since 1978.  NRCS is proud to be a part of that, and I am firmly committed to a positive and bold path forward.”
 
“I am pleased that the USDA and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture have made significant progress in resolving outstanding issues concerning the state’s obligations under the federal farmland preservation law,” Senator Richard Blumenthal said.  “Today’s announcement that eligibility for more than $8 million in farmland preservation funds has been extended for a year is truly good news for those of us seeking to leverage federal monies to preserve local farms.  I will continue to work with these agencies to ensure that a final agreement can be reached in a timely manner.”
 
“Federal, state and local stakeholders must work together to help preserve Connecticut’s family farms,” Congressman John Larson said.  “This agreement will help local farmers in their efforts to keep our land productive for years to come.  I applaud the work of Governor Malloy and Commissioner Reviczky to strengthen Connecticut agriculture and the jobs it supports.”
 
“This agreement provides welcome flexibility for farmers to take advantage of federal conservation resources to protect their family farms for the future,” Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty said.  “I thank Governor Malloy and Commissioner Reviczky for working with USDA and NRCS to make sure the Farmland Preservation Program is a success for current and future farmers.  This funding will be put to good use in conservation and farmland protection efforts to make sure that our children and grandchildren have access to fresh, local food, and that we can enjoy the beauty of our farmlands for generations to come.”
 
Commissioner Reviczky was recently named Chair of a National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Committee that is developing recommendations for implementing the 2014 federal Farm Bill, including rules regarding farmland preservation.
 
###

CTAEF to award up to $2,000 in scholarships to Connecticut student(s)

4/8/2014

The Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation will be awarding up to $2000 in scholarships to Connecticut student(s) in 2014.

Award decision will be based on essay content, extracurricular activities, interest in agriculture, grades, and support of promoting agricultural literacy. Application must be complete, accurate and postmarked by deadline, May 1, 2014.

Go to www.ctaef.org to download the application and official rules.

The Foundation would also like to thank everyone that donated to our silent auction, raffle and country challenge at the Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. The money donated will go to support programs such as our annual Scholarship.


Connecticut Farm Bureau Urges Rejection of GMO Amendment in OP-ED

4/7/2014

Connecticut Farm Bureau Executive Director wrote an OP-Ed piece for the CT NewsJunkie about the
proposed GMO Amendment.  To read, please click on the link below:

Farm Bureau Urges Rejection of GMO Amendment


Agriculture Commissioner Applauds Governor Malloys State of the State

2/6/2014

 

(HARTFORD, CONN.) Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky applauded Governor Dannel P. Malloy for opening his State of the State address today with a story about Connecticut agriculture, citing Steve Weinstein, owner of Connecticut Hydroponic Farm in East Hartford, as an exemplary model of the resilience demonstrated by small businesses and residents in the state.

"I want to begin today with a story that I think says a lot about who we are in Connecticut, and where we’re headed," Governor Malloy said, introducing his address by recounting a visit to Mr. Wein-stein’s farm in December.

Connecticut Hydroponic Farm lost four of its five greenhouses to a severe storm last winter. Despite the seemingly insurmountable setback, Mr. Weinstein immediately began rebuilding, determined to gain back market share taken by Canadian imports. With help from Governor Malloy’s PLANT (Production Loss Assistance Needed Today) grant program, Mr. Weinstein has not only recovered but is increasing his production of lettuce and specialty produce.

Commissioner Reviczky, who is in Washington, D.C., at a conference of the State Association of State Departments of Agriculture focusing on the Farm Bill and other federal programs affecting Connecticut farmers, tuned into Governor Malloy’s address during lunch.

"I congratulate Governor Malloy for recognizing agriculture at the beginning of his speech today," Commissioner Reviczky said. "Farming in Connecticut is a difficult business, requiring an extraordinary level of dedication, passion, work ethic, optimism, and, as Governor Malloy pointed out, resilience. I’ve yet to meet a farmer who entered the profession to get rich or famous. Yet the rewards of providing healthful, nutritious food and other farm products to the citizens of Connecticut and beyond, while at the same time working with and caring for the state’s precious land, brings a special kind of fulfillment that can’t be found elsewhere."

Last February’s blizzard left Mr. Weinstein with only one greenhouse in operation producing 2,800 heads of lettuce per growing cycle. Using a $79,264 PLANT grant to repair three greenhouses, Mr. Weinstein was producing 11,200 heads by December. This spring he will replace the fifth green-house, damaged beyond repair, further ramping up capacity.

"Farmers are a special kind of people," said Commissioner Reviczky. "They feed our state and our nation, and they have been the backbone our economy for centuries. Governor Malloy understands this, supports Connecticut agriculture, and recognizes the ongoing, vital contributions of our state’s hardworking, dedicated, and resilient farm families."


In Speech On Senate Floor, Blumenthal Encourages Progress On Bipartisan Farm Bill Compromise, Urges Conferees To Maintain Subsidies For Dairy Farmers

1/21/2014

(Washington, DC) – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) encouraged continued progress on a bipartisan Farm Bill compromise, and urged conferees to maintain subsidies for dairy farmers in Connecticut and across the country. During the speech, Blumenthal held up a glass of milk and echoed the “Got milk?” slogan of the famous dairy advertisement campaign and then discussed the success of several dairy farms and businesses in Connecticut and why subsidies included in the Farm Bill are important to their survival.

“I'm pleased that we are on the cusp of a compromise agreement on the Farm Bill that will serve the interests of farmers in Connecticut and around the country, most especially the dozens of dairy farmers with relatively small farms around Connecticut who have said to me again and again we need help, and we need certainty,” Blumenthal said. “That is the message that they've given me as I've visited their farms around the state of Connecticut time and again, and I hope help and certainty are on the way.”

 

Video of the speech is here. Text of the speech is below.

I'm pleased and proud to follow my colleague from Arkansas (Senator Pryor), and join him in his applauding the Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Mikulski, for her extraordinary and historic work on this measure which serves so well our values and goals and our traditions in the Senate of bipartisan service, and putting America first over partisanship. And I want to join my very distinguished colleague from Arkansas who has highlighted so well the values served by agriculture in America and served well by this appropriations bill and by the measure that Chairwoman Stabenow is seeking to forge, again, through bipartisan work involving both houses of this body.

 

Agriculture serves so many of our basic values in this nation, environmental and consumer values, patriotism and pride in a way of life, and in Connecticut we know deeply and urgently how threatened these values and traditions and way of life are and the environmental and consumer issues at stake. I'm pleased that we are near a compromise on the verge and the cusp of an agreement in the Farm Bill that will serve the interests of farmers in Connecticut and around the country, most especially the dozens of dairy farmers with relatively small farms around Connecticut who have said to me again and again and again we need help, and we need certainty. That is the message that they've given me as I've visited their farms around the state of Connecticut time and again, and now apparently help and certainty are on the way.

 

I'm pleased that the farm bill conferees have reached a compromise on the dairy provisions in the farm bill. We are going to be studying them very, very closely. They've only just been announced. Apparently the new deal announced by the farm bill conferees would keep the Margin Insurance Program but remove the Dairy Market Stabilization Program, and in place of that Dairy Market Stabilization Program, the deal revives a recently expired Milk Income Loss Coverage Plan known as the ‘Milk Plan,’ Milk Income Loss Coverage Plan as a transitional program while the new Marginal Insurance [Program] is set up by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Without going into all the details here, I think this agreement represents progress and I'm going to carefully scrutinize it and seek to improve it from the standpoint of Connecticut's dairy farmers. But there can be no doubt, none whatsoever, to anyone in this body, I think we all agree, as to the importance of the milk industry, beginning with the dairy farmers.

 

Indeed, reflecting the importance of milk to America is the fact that it is the only beverage other than water that is permitted on the floor of the United States Senate so far as I know. I think I'm correct. And so I'm pleased and proud to have today some milk on the floor, the first in my young experience as a United States Senator, and I'm not sure that it is a correct parliamentary inquiry, Mr. President, but got milk? I'm willing to share.

 

This issue is a very serious one because the lives and livelihoods of our farmers are at stake. The open space that may be sacrificed if dairy farms surrender and are forced to abandon this way of life by the increasingly high cost of feed, fuel, labor that are pressing them as they also encounter potential price diminishing, and reductions, and so they are squeezed. Dairy farmers are squeezed, and in Connecticut we have small family-owned farms like the Fairvue Farms in Woodstock, Hytone Farm in Coventry, Mapleleaf Farm in Hebron, Fort Hill Farms in Thompson, Cushman Farms in North Franklin, and Graywall Farms in Lebanon. I visited a number of them. I know firsthand how hard these farmers work simply to keep their farms going. These six farms make up The Farmer’s Cow, a group of Connecticut family-owned farms dedicated to producing some of the very best milk in America. Their milk is so good, in fact, they opened a milk bar. That's right a milk bar in Mansfield called The Farmer's Cow Calfe and Creamery, you can choose between five or six types and flavors of milk to help wash down their delicious and fresh sandwiches, salads, cheeses and ice cream. Visit Connecticut and visit The Farmer's Cow Calfe [and Creamery]. These are the farms we need to keep going. These are the men and women we need to support. We can and must support our dairy farmers in Connecticut and around the country.

 

In Connecticut, in fact, we have more than 150 dairy farms on 70,000 acres, 18 percent of our state's land which translate into $2 billion in economic activity for the state of Connecticut alone. These farmers need help, they need stability, and they need certainty. Unfortunately, some in the House of Representatives have delayed the farm bill for far too long, leading dairy producers to wonder whether the federal government is a friend or a foe to their businesses. And even though Connecticut's dairy industry is a significant contributor to the state's agricultural industry and general economy, the industry's strength and survival depend on support that the federal government can and must provide. According to the Connecticut Farm Bureau, that is a fact of life and they are supporting efforts by our delegation to provide that support.

 

In Connecticut, in 1975, there were 817 dairy farms. Today, there are 150. I think that experience probably is reflected by every state represented in this body, every one of my colleagues perhaps can attest to the diminishing number of dairy farmers and farmers in general. But Connecticut is doing its part, and doing its share so that the farms in our state are sustained, and the federal government ought to do its part as well. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Connecticut ranks 45 out of 50 states in receiving agriculture-related subsidies. Connecticut received $127 million between 1995 and 2010, compared to the $22 billion received by Iowa and the $24 billion that went to Texas. Nothing against those states, not criticizing those amounts, but the amount that we receive in Connecticut is a fraction, a small fraction of what is needed to sustain our dairy farmers and that's why I will be urging and advocating for dairy farmers in Connecticut under this deal, their interests are shared nationwide, we need to make sure that the agreement announced yesterday by the farm bill conferees – keeping the Margin Insurance Program but removing the Dairy Market Stabilization Program and reviving the Milk Program – truly serves milk producers in our nation. Not just the processors, but consumers and farmers.

 

We must do right by America's dairy farmers. An often underrepresented group in this body. And make sure that we do right by our farmers and consumers, by giving them the certainty and help they need to continue a way of life and a product that is vital to our health and our well-being as a nation.

GOVERNORS COUNCIL FOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT SEEKS

1/19/2014

The Governor’s Council for Agricultural Development (GCAD) invites farmers and other agricultural stakeholders to a town hall style meeting on Wednesday, January 29, 2014, in Old Judiciary Room of the State Capitol in Hartford. 

Based on its work in 2013, the council identified four priority topic areas in 2014, and formed a working group, co-chaired by council members, to address each one. 

The Food Safety Modernization working group, led by GCAD members George Hindinger, Jason Hoagland, and Michael Keilty, will study FDA’s rules proposed as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, as well as examine other new food safety requirements affecting Connecticut agriculture, gather input from producers on concerns about those requirements, and identify any gaps and/or extraordinary costs for producers associated with complying with those food safety requirements.

The Infrastructure and Wholesale Markets working group, led by GCAD members Herb Holden and Shelly Oechsler, will gather producer input on wants/needs for processing, aggregation, storage, and associated business models, and identify/study models for cooperatives, nonprofits, public/private aggregation, storage, distribution, marketing, etc.

The Producer Education and Innovation working group, led by GCAD members Jamie Jones and Kevin Sullivan, will gather producer input on needs for research, development, and education; identify gaps in the delivery of those services; and identify potential partnerships for providing those services.

The Marketing working group, led by GCAD members Allyn Brown, Jim Guida, and Peter Orr, will identify the various Connecticut Grown product sectors and marketing messages, and identify potential partnerships for dissemination of those messages.

To help the working groups accomplish these tasks, the council is inviting farmers and other agricultural stakeholders to a meeting on Wednesday, January 29, 2014, in Old Judiciary Room of the State Capitol in Hartford, to provide input on and learn more about these issues.  Lunchtime presentations will include updates from the council on a variety of initiatives related to its work over the past two years. 

The day’s schedule is as follows:

  • 8:00 a.m.  Check in, light refreshments
  • 8:30 a.m.  Welcome from Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky
  • 8:45 a.m.  Food Safety Modernization 
  • 10:30 a.m.  Infrastructure and Wholesale Markets
  • Noon  Lunch, council updates
  • 1:15 p.m.  Producer Education and Innovation
  • 3:00 p.m.  Marketing

This event is free and open to all, but space is limited and online registration by January 27, 2014, is required.  To reserve a seat, please go to www.planetReg.com/GCAD Agricultural Town Hall Meeting. 

(If you do not have Internet access, call 860-713-2501 for assistance.)

 

 


Stallman to AFBF Annual Meeting Delegates: Grassroots Strength, Strategy Drive Success

1/13/2014

SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 12, 2014—With an appreciation for agriculture’s heritage, farmers and ranchers are focused on the opportunities and challenges of the present, keeping their eyes on the road ahead, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman.

“If we keep our commitment to learn from the past, look toward the future and never let go of the wheel, I know that Farm Bureau will have a bright future,” Stallman told about 7,000 Farm Bureau members who gathered in San Antonio for AFBF’s 95th Annual Convention.

 

Stallman, a rice and cattle producer from Texas, also spoke about the example Farm Bureau members set during what was a bitterly divided Congress in 2013.

 

“This very gathering is about people from different regions and backgrounds coming together to develop policy that benefits all of American agriculture,” he noted.

 

While lawmakers  are close to the finish line on the farm bill and the Water Resources Development Act, farmers and ranchers can’t wait any longer for effective, long-term solutions to the agricultural labor crisis, which has forced growers to leave millions of dollars worth of crops unharvested and threatens the country’s food security.

 

“Farmers and ranchers have been waiting for Congress to take action and work for solutions, waiting for them to put the nation’s needs above politics,” Stallman said.

 

Despite this time of congressional gridlock, few organizations have seen their key priorities passed by even one house of Congress, much less two, Stallman noted.

 

“The progress we’ve made speaks to our grassroots strength, our strategic focus and our credibility as the nation’s Voice of Agriculture.”

 

On the regulatory front, securing farmers’ and ranchers’ privacy is a growing concern, as are attempts to challenge farmers’ ability to use modern technology to increase crop yields and food quality.

 

“Instead of focusing on how to feed more and more people with existing land and water, and instead of allowing us to use food staples to address nutritional deficiencies in less-developed countries, some are intent on standing in the way,” Stallman said of state legislation and ballot initiatives that would require labels for foods made with biotech ingredients or even ban the use of biotechnology outright.

 

With the Environmental Protection Agency late last year putting the wheels in motion to propose extending federal regulatory authority to nearly every body of water in the country—and ultimately regulating so-called “waters” that aren’t even wet most of the time—farmers and ranchers are bracing for a fight.

 

Farm Bureau has also been working through the courts to stop EPA’s attempts to broaden its regulatory reach.

 

Disappointed with a loss in its case against the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay pollution limit rules, AFBF, along with Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, has appealed the ruling.

 

“Once again, we are saddled-up for the long ride in our fight for rational regulations that allow farmers to continue feeding America,” Stallman said.

 

Stallman highlighted West Virginia poultry grower Lois Alt’s court battle against EPA’s unlawful water regulations as a testament to the powerful results that can be achieved when people work for the good of the whole.

 

“Whether it’s a regulatory, legal or legislative issue, just think how much Farm Bureau could achieve if everyone was like Lois Alt—taking a long-term view and taking a stand for America’s farmers and ranchers,” he said.

One challenge that Farm Bureau has turned into an opportunity is the aging demographic in agriculture.  Farm Bureau’s rural development initiatives—like the organization’s partnership with the Department of Agriculture on Start to Farm and its support for the recently launched Farmer Veteran Coalition—put beginning farmers and ranchers on the path to success.

 

Stallman encouraged Farm Bureau members to take part in the Farmer Veteran Coalition’s effort to help create opportunities on farms for those returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.


AFBF Foundation for Agriculture Presents Awards; Connecticut Achieves 10% Growth in Supporting Ag Education Foundation

1/12/2014

SAN ANTONIO, January 12, 2014 – State Farm Bureaus were recognized today for outstanding financial support of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, including the State of Connecticut.

The awards were presented during the Sunday general session and the Flapjack Fundraiser breakfast at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 95th Annual Convention.

State Farm Bureaus receiving the Scholar Award were: Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The Scholar Award was given to the six state Farm Bureaus with the highest total donations within their membership groups. The Scholar Award is a “traveling” award.

Delaware Farm Bureau received the Award of Excellence. To qualify for this award, a state Farm Bureau and all of the county Farm Bureaus within the state must donate to the Foundation.

In addition, 25 state Farm Bureaus received Apex Awards: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and West Virginia.

The Apex Award was presented to state Farm Bureaus that have increased total investment in the Foundation by 10 percent or more over the previous year.


FDA Statement on Changes to Proposed FSMA Regulations

12/30/2013

Statement from FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, Michael Taylor, on Key Provisions of the Proposed FSMA Rules Affecting Farmers

December 19, 2013

FDA appreciates and takes very seriously the extensive input we have received from produce farmers and others in the agricultural sector on the proposed FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules on produce safety and preventive controls for human food, which we published in January 2013. We have made every effort to solicit input on the proposed rules, not only through the standard rulemaking process, but also by participating in more than 150 meetings and by travelling to numerous farms of varying types and sizes from Maine to California. To ensure broad input and facilitate constructive dialogue with the produce community, FDA has extended the comment periods on the proposed rules three times.

Based on our discussions with farmers, the research community and other input we have received, we have learned a great deal, and our thinking has evolved. Everyone shares the goal of ensuring produce safety, but, as we said at the beginning of the process, the new safety standards must be flexible enough to accommodate reasonably the great diversity of the produce sector, and they must be practical to implement.

To achieve this goal, we believe that significant changes will be needed in key provisions of the two proposed rules affecting small and large farmers. These provisions include water quality standards and testing, standards for using raw manure and compost, certain provisions affecting mixed-use facilities, and procedures for withdrawing the qualified exemption for certain farms. We have heard the concern that these provisions, as proposed, would not fully achieve our goal of implementing the law in a way that improves public health protections while minimizing undue burden on farmers and other food producers.

Because the changes to the key provisions would be significant, FDA plans to propose revised rule language and seek comment on it, allowing the public the opportunity to provide input on our new thinking. There may be other revisions to the proposed rules; the scope of the revised proposals, on which we will seek further comment, will be determined after we complete our initial review of written comments. We believe that this additional step to seek further input on revised sections of the proposed rules that need significant adjustment is critical to fulfilling our continuing commitment to getting these rules right.

Our plan is to publish revised proposed rule language by early summer 2014. We will accept additional comments only on those sections of the proposed rules that have been revised. FDA remains under a court order regarding the timelines for finalizing these rules. FDA recognizes that completing these rules is essential to protecting the public health and is committed to completing them as quickly as possible.

It is gratifying to FDA that in our meetings around the country, we have received broad support for moving forward in implementing FSMA in a timely manner in light of its important food safety and public confidence goals. Thanks to all of you who have worked with us. We will continue this collaborative approach as we move down the pathway to final rules and to full implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act in the years to come. 

 


GOVERNOR MALLOY AND SENATOR BLUMENTHAL ADDRESS MEMBERS OF CONNECTICUT FARM BUREAU AT 94th ANNUAL MEETING

11/15/2013




Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Senator Richard Blumenthal  addressed the 94th annual meeting of the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA.)  The association is held its annual meeting, luncheon and banquet for members this year at the Glastonbury Hills Country Club in South Glastonbury on Friday, November 15.

 

Governor Malloy told the gathering, “Agriculture is a major industry in our state, and we’ve tried to work with you all to move agriculture ahead. “  The Governor recapped programs including the Farmland Restoration program of which $766,000 has been distributed as a matching funds program with farmers, and the PLANT grant for relief from weather-related damage.  “I’m proud to see us distribute just under $5 million to date under that program.  I saw how farmers took it in the chin from those storms, and the federal programs just aren’t designed to help multi-crop entities like we have here in Connecticut.”

Senator Blumenthal recapped his perspective on the Farm Bill and Immigration Reform, two major federal issues Sen. Blumenthalaffecting agriculture.  “You don’t have to tell me you work hard—with farmers that’s never changed. Farming in Connecticut and the Northeast is threatened.  Farming is vital to our way of life and our environment,” he told the Farm Bureau delegates and guests.

“We are honored to have both Senator Blumenthal and the Governor come and speak to our members,” says Henry N. Talmage, Executive Director of CFBA.  “The Governor has been proactively involved with our agricultural industry in Connecticut from the beginning, and programs that he initiated personally have made a tremendous impact on our farms.  This involvement from the Governor, and his understanding of the needs of farming businesses, is much appreciated by our Connecticut Farm Bureau members.  Senator Blumenthal as well as his staff has been interested in getting up to speed on the issues facing our farmers from the federal level, visiting farms and keeping us apprised of changes.  It’s important agriculture to have representatives that are engaged in our issues.”

CFBA’s annual meeting was open to all Farm Bureau members, but elected delegates from Connecticut’s eight county Farm Bureaus met to review, discuss and vote on policy of the organization in a true grass-roots style of governance.

Rep. Lonnie Reed

The Connecticut Farm Bureau also presented legislative awards to Representative Lonnie Reed and State Senator Robert Duff, Co-Chairs of the Energy Committee for their support of farm energy issues and role in the passage of the Conference Energy Bill.


Commissioner Steven Reviczky of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Commissioner Melody Currey of the Department of Motor Vehicles, and Commissioner Daniel Esty of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection were also featured guests at the luncheon. 

 


Two-day Acidified Foods Processing School at CFBA: Scholarships Available to Farmers

10/7/2013

In conjunction with the Connecticut Farm Bureau and the University of Connecticut Extension Service, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection will be offering a two-day acidified foods processing school.  The Better Process Control School will be held on Tuesday, December 10th and Wednesday, 11th from 8:00AM to 5:00PM at the CFBA Offices, 775  Bloomfield Avenue, Windsor.  The goal of the class is to increase the food-safety processing skills of farmers interested in producing value-added crops through acidification.

 

The course will train farmers on the principles of acidification and container closure evaluation for acidified canned foods.  Topics will include principles of acidified foods, container handling, record keeping and proper equipment.  This course will satisfy the State of Connecticut requirements for producing acidified foods in a farm kitchen and the USDA and FDA requirements. 

 

The instructor will be Amanda Kinchla, MS, anExtension Specialist with the Food Science Department at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

 

The program typically costs $500/ per person but will be offered to qualified farmers for $50.  There are a limited number of 30 slots available. 

 

To be eligible for the scholarships candidates must presently process or intend to process canned foods using specialty crops (high acid and/or acidified products), and must be commited to participate in the entire course program.

 

For an application and more information, please contact Jenna Nicol at the Department of Consumer Protection using Jenna.Nicol@ct.gov with the email subject heading BPCS.  Ms. Nicol’s phone is 860.713.6163.


Workshop on Food Safety Modernization Act to Inform Farmers and Processors of Impact of FDAs Proposed Regulations and Encourage Input to FDA.

10/7/2013

University of Connecticut Extension and the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) are hosting an information session on November 6, 2013 on the proposed regulations of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the impact on Connecticut farmers and processors. The free workshop will be held at the Middlesex Extension Center, 1066 Saybrook Rd., Haddam, CT from 8:00 a.m. to noon.

The program will be led by Diane Wright Hirsch, MPH, RD, Extension Educator/Food Safety from the University of Connecticut.  Ms Hirsch will review the proposed Produce Safety rules and Preventive Controls rules, and cover what the proposed regulations require of farmers and processors, the timing for enforcement, and how to submit comments to the FDA before the November 15 deadline.   Other speakers will join Ms Hirsch on specialized topics.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held three listening sessions across New England in August for producers to offer input and reactions to Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety rules, affecting vegetable growers, and Preventive Controls rules, affecting facilities where food is processed.  This act, known as FSMA, is a new federal food safety law that will affect how food across the country is grown, handled and processed.  Enacted in January 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act “aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.”

According to the FDA website, “the proposed produce rule covers all fruits and vegetables except those rarely consumed raw, produced for personal consumption, or destined for commercial processing that will reduce microorganisms of public health concern. The proposed rule is based on science and risk-analysis, and therefore focuses on areas of risk, most noticeably: agricultural water; biological soil amendments; health and hygiene; domesticated and wild animals; and equipment, tools and buildings.”

The proposed regulations outline rigorous water testing guidelines, limitations on use of animal manure used for fertilization, record-keeping requirements, responsibilities for limiting wild and domestic animals’ access to crops during growing season and other requirements under the proposed act. The implementation schedule is set according to farms’ revenue.  New England farm businesses need to evaluate the challenges and opportunities these regulations pose for agriculture in this region which tends to be smaller-scale and more diverse in crop selection.

 All farmers, regardless of the size of operation, are encouraged to attend and to reserve a spot by calling  860-768-1100 or by email to cathyb@cfba.org


Litchfield County Farm Bureau President to Speak about Agriculture in Southbury

10/2/2013

On Thursday, October 24, The Watermark at East Hill will host a presentation on modern farming in Connecticut. The event will begin at 1:00 p.m. at the retirement community, located at 611 East Hill Road in Southbury.

 

The presentation will feature guest speaker Karen Kalenauskas, President of the Litchfield County Farm Bureau, who helps run her family’s farm in Watertown. She will discuss the changing face of agriculture within Connecticut and what it takes on a daily basis to keep local farms, large or small, up-and-running.

 

“This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about farming and how it affects the local economy,” said Michelle Bettigole, Executive Director of The Watermark at East Hill. “Farming is still a vital industry in the region, and we hope guests of the presentation will leave with an appreciation and understanding of the hard work and dedication it takes to operate a farm.”

 

The Litchfield County Farm Bureau is part of the statewide Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, a non-profit, 5,000-member organization dedicated to farming and the future of Connecticut farms. The association was formed in 1919 and has since served its members by advocating for agriculture and education on issues that keep farm families productive and in business.

 

Kalenauskas, along with her brother, currently manage Kalenauskas Farm in Watertown. The farm, which has been in her family for 99 years, currently produces beef, hay and sawdust, in addition to selling live animals including sheep, goats, llamas, rabbits and poultry. In addition to her role at the farm, Kalenauskas also worked for the Southbury Training School for nearly 35 years.

 

This event is free of charge and open to the public. For more information or to RSVP, please contact The Watermark at East Hill at 203-262-6868.

 


The Watermark at 3030 Park, Bridgeport Hosts CFBA for Presentation on Farming

9/9/2013

On Tuesday, September 10, The Watermark at 3030 Park will host a presentation on agriculture presented by The Connecticut Farm Bureau Association. The event will begin at 3:00 p.m. at the retirement community, located at 3030 Park Avenue on the Bridgeport-Fairfield town line.

 

The presentation will feature guest speaker Joan Nichols, Director of Member Relations and Community Outreach at the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association. She will discuss the changing face of agriculture within Connecticut and what it takes on a daily basis to keep local farms, large or small, up-and-running.

 

“This is an excellent opportunity for our residents and guests to learn more about the farming industry as it pertains to where they live,” said Edward Roman, Executive Director of The Watermark at 3030 Park. “We hope this fun and original program will help give people a greater appreciation of the farming industry within our state.”

 

The Connecticut Farm Bureau Association is a non-profit, 5,000-member organization dedicated to farming and the future of Connecticut farms. The association was formed in 1919 and has since served its members by advocating for agriculture and education on issues that keep farm families productive and in business.

 

Nichols has been a member of the CFBA for 20 years, and has been employed by them for the past five years currently serving as their Director of Member Relations and Community Outreach. She works extensively on land use issues as they relate to farms, specifically regarding planning and zoning regulations, conservation and development, and Right to Farm Laws.

 

This event is free of charge and open to the public, however, reservations are required.  For more information or to RSVP please contact Tracy Ann Samuel at The Watermark at 3030 Park at 203-373-6311.

 

About The Watermark at 3030 Park:

The Watermark at 3030 Park, located at 3030 Park Avenue on the Bridgeport/Fairfield line in Connecticut, is a distinctive community for seniors, offering exceptional independent living, assisted living, skilled rehabilitation and memory care.  The Watermark at 3030 Park is professionally managed by Watermark Retirement Communities, a company committed to creating extraordinary communities where people thrive.  For more information, please visit www.watermarkcommunities.com/3030park or www.facebook.com/TheWatermarkAt3030Park

 


Northeast Farm Organizations Host Webinar: What Farm Business Need to Know to Comply with OSHA Regulations

8/22/2013

New York dairy farms have been the focus of recent inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). To help inform farm businesses of OSHA requirements, Farm Credit East, in conjunction with Northeast Dairy Producers Association (NEDPA) and New York Farm Bureau, are hosting an informational webinar on Thursday, August 29 at 10:30 a.m.

 

This webinar will provide insights on OSHA regulations as they apply to farm businesses and help participants understand which businesses are covered by OSHA. In addition, this webinar will help prepare businesses for what to expect with an OSHA inspection and address key areas to cover when dealing with OSHA.

Leading the webinar is Dave Schwoerer, owner of Innovative Safety Systems, Inc. (ISSI). With over 20 years of experience in the safety and health industry, ISSI assists organizations with OSHA compliance, safety training, audits and injury prevention. Schwoerer is an authorized OSHA 500 & 501 trainer and has assisted numerous dairy farms with OSHA compliance and OSHA inspections. Dave will be joined by Attorney Charles B. Palmer of Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP who is legal counsel to the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association. He has 24 years of experience defending employers in OSHA matters, and has guided numerous dairy farms in Wisconsin thru OSHA inspections when the agency began dairy targeted inspections in that state.   

 

Join Farm Credit East, NEDPA and New York Farm Bureau on Thursday, August 29 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon to learn more about the recent OSHA inspections and the requirements for your farm business. This webinar is open to all Northeast agriculturally related businesses and free to participate. Visit FarmCreditEast.com/webinars for registration information.

 


Northeast Beginning Farmers Project Announces Lineup of Online Courses.

8/16/2013

The Beginning Farmers Project has opened registration on twelve online courses for aspiring, new and experienced farmers.

Courses are taught by experiencedCooperative Extension educators, farmers, and other specialists. Courses are six weeks long, cost $200, and include both real-time meetings (online webinars)and on-your-own time reading and activities. Course completion does not offer any academic credit, but those who successfully complete a course will receive a certificate and are also eligible for Farm Service Agency (FSA) borrower training credit,
which can improve your eligibility to receive a low-interest FSA loan.

Topics range from Square One and how to Create a Farm that Matches Your Values, Goals, Skills an Resources, to a two part course on Vegetable Farming, plus Organic Certification, how to set up Financial Records and Effective Marketing.

For a full listing of courses and desciptions, visit http://nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/

The website also lists dozens of other resource guides to assist farmers.

CONNECTICUT FARM BUREAU TO OFFER FREE STATEWIDE SEMINARS ABOUT PA 490

8/12/2013

 The protection of farmland, forest land and open space is vital to the future of Connecticut for both food security and natural resource preservation. However, these lands have fallen under the increased pressure of urban development and rising property taxes. Connecticut Public Act 490 (PA 490) was created to help reduce this pressure by allowing these types of lands to be taxed by municipalities at a rate that reflects their current use, rather than the highest possible value. Connecticut Farm Bureau is holding a series of free seminars statewide to help explain PA 490 and how the law is applied.

Connecticut Farm Bureau will conduct three free seminars on PA 490.  Attendees will get an overview of PA 490, understand how land is classified under the program, what its limitations and restrictions are, and how landowners can work with their local assessors to have their property classified under the program.  Locations are:

  • September      12, 2013 6:00 - 8:00 pm Lebanon Fire Safety Complex  23 Goshen Hill Road  Lebanon, CT
  • September      17, 2013 6:00 - 8:00 pm Memorial Hall       Main Street  Bethlehem, CT
  • September 24, 2013 6:00 - 8:00 pm Connecticut Farm Bureau Association 775 Bloomfield Avenue  Windsor, CT

 

“Since PA 490 was enacted, The Connecticut Farm Bureau has become the trusted resource for municipalities and landowners when it comes to understanding how the program works,” says Joan Nichols, Director of Member Relations and Community Outreach with the Connecticut Farm Bureau. “For more than a quarter century, we have published and distributed a guide to PA 490 and have worked with landowners, assessors, government officials, and others to help them understand how the law works and how it can be used to preserve open space and help towns receive a fair assessment value for properties.

 “Since PA 490 was passed in the 1960s there have been a number of court cases that have further clarified the way the law works,” says Nichols. “If used correctly, PA 490 facilitates a partnership between landowner and assessor and is a smart growth tool, preserving open space lands that not only add intangible aesthetic value to a town, but also contribute more tax money than they consume in town services. However to be effective, towns and landowners need to have a full understanding of the program. Our seminars will go a long way to help everyone better comprehend this important law.”

The seminars are open to all, and no reservation is needed. To download a copy of the PA 490 guide visit www.cfba.org/pa490guide.htm , and additional questions about the seminars should be directed to the Connecticut Farm Bureau at (860) 768-1100.


EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FOR STATES WEATHER-DAMAGED FARMS-Apply by July 15.

6/23/2013

(Hartford, CT) — Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced emergency assistance is available to the Connecticut farms that have suffered unrecoverable losses in production and property damage in 2013 due to severe weather events, including excessive precipitation this past month. A total of $5 million has been designated for these grants, with individual awards based on the number of qualifying applications received by the July 15, 2013, deadline. (CLICK HERE for application.)

 

“Over the last two years, our state’s farm sector endured a series of severe weather-related blows that have put many of their businesses in peril,” said Governor Malloy.  “Agriculture is an industry with tremendous growth potential, contributing $3.5 billion to Connecticut’s economy and accounting for about 28,000 jobs in our state.  Unfortunately, federal crop insurance programs that protect large farms in other parts of the country aren’t designed for small diversified farms like ours. This puts our farmers at an unfair disadvantage when extreme weather events occur, but I am committed to helping these hard-working families recover their losses and to seeing Connecticut’s small farms succeed and thrive.”

 

Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky praised Governor Malloy’s swift action, adding, “Farmers are resilient by nature and skilled at diversifying the risks associated with such a weather-dependent profession.  But some events, such as February’s blizzard and this month’s excessive rains, are beyond expectation and defy the best-laid plans and business models.  This timely assistance will help farmers who have suffered substantial loss salvage this season and keep their small businesses afloat, in turn, allowing them to continue providing the fresh Connecticut Grown products sought by our state’s residents and visitors.”

 

The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) will partner with the Department of Agriculture (DoAg) to offer the grants and the two state agencies will work with the non-profit Connecticut Farm Bureau Association to review applications and administer awards.

 

“The state has responded to businesses impacted by natural disasters in the past, and I believe this year’s weather circumstances dictate a similar response from the state,” said Catherine Smith, DECD Commissioner.  “The recent rainfall, on top of snow damage suffered this winter, has put many of Connecticut’s farmers in an untenable situation.  We’re concerned about their operations and are here to help them get back on their feet and back in their fields.”

 

Assistance may be used in a variety of ways to help small farms recover from weather-related losses:

  • To repair damaged property and equipment;
  • To replant lost crops;
  • To plant new/different crops in place of lost crops;
  • To purchase feed to supplement lost hay, corn, and other crops for livestock;
  • To apply fertilizer and other soil amendments;
  • To apply any necessary products to prevent disease and/or pest outbreaks;
  • To perform other activities needed to recover from the storms, as deemed appropriate by the Commissioner of Agriculture.

 

Applicants must demonstrate a loss, file a Schedule F form or similar tax return, submit photos of the damage, and provide information regarding business ownership and proof of good standing with respect to state and local taxes.

 

On-line applications for assistance can be found on the DECD and DoAg websites. Farmers can also call 860-713-2573 for more information.

 


Big E offers Grant for Elementary Teachers Focusing on Agri-Science Projects

6/5/2013

The Connecticut Trustees to the Eastern States Exposition, the Big E, award grants for special projects.  Their AgriScience award is a $500 grant given to an elementary school teacher to fund a special project involving agriculture in any form as part of his or her class curriculum during the school year.  It will be helpful but not necessary if any students in other classrooms or the entire school also benefit from this learning experience.

This $500 is payable in September to the school of the selected Grant Award winner.  Additionally, funds will be provided to bring one school bus of students and chaperones to the Big E where the teacher and students will receive their award during the seventeen day fair.  Funds will also be provided for the students, teachers and chaperones entry into the fair.  The trip will be scheduled on a day convenient to the teacher and the school.

The teacher, spouse, school principal, and representative from CT Ag in the Classroom will be invited to attend the Governor’s Reception in the Connecticut Building on CT Day at the Fair.  They will be introduced during the awards and scholarship presentation portion of the reception.  The CT Day Parade will follow the Reception.

Working with the CT Trustees, the organization CT Agriculture in the Classroom, will distribute the grant application forms, collect the submitted requests and screen applicants.  They will recommend applicants to the Grant Committee of the CT Trustees, who will ultimately make the final selection.

Any Connecticut elementary school teacher is eligible to apply for this grant.  Schools in all counties-rural, suburban, and urban are encouraged to apply. Any questions should be emailed to Eleanore Provencal at eleanore@ctaef.org.  Applications are due at Ag in the Classroom on June 28, 2013

Click here for an application form.


NRCS Extends Conservation Stewardship Program deadline to June 14

5/30/2013

 

TOLLAND, CT– The deadline for the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) has been extended to June 14, 2013. Although applications are accepted all year, Connecticut farmers and forestland owners interested in CSP should submit applications to their local NRCS office by the deadline, to ensure consideration for this year’s funding.

This year, the CSP program will provide about $175 million in funding for up to 12.6 million additional acres enrollment nationwide. CSP allows producers to go the extra mile in conserving natural resources while also maintaining or increasing the productivity of their operations. "CSP is different than our other financial assistance programs," said Connecticut NRCS State Conservationist Lisa Coverdale. "It offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. It’s about conservation activities on the entire operation focusing on multiple resource concerns."

 

Many of the CSP enhancements improve soil quality, which helps land become more resilient to extreme weather. Several other improvements are available for producers, including intensive rotational grazing, intercropping and wildlife-friendly fencing.

 

Because of the extreme weather in 2012, more interest and participation in the cover crop enhancements is expected this year, according to NRCS experts.

 

A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types – visit the CSP website

 

(http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/csp/).

 

For more information, contact your nearest USDA Field Office: Danielson - (860) 779-0557;

 


AFBF President Encouraged that Farm Bill Will Pass in 2013.

5/15/2013

Statement by Bob Stallman, President,American Farm Bureau Federation,
Regarding House Agriculture CommitteeApproval of Bipartisan Farm Bill:

“The House Agriculture Committee today approved its version of the 2013 Farm Bill. That bill joins the version approved on Tuesday by the Senate Agriculture Committee. This provides a great reason for optimism we will have a new long-term farm bill this year. That belief is further supported by the fact that the bills are more striking in their similarities than in their differences. Both bills provide a solid start for a farm bill that serves America’s farm and ranch families.  The emphasis on crop insurance as a risk management tool, combined with flexibility that the measures offer through other safety net choices, will go a long way in ensuring a stable agricultural economy over the next few years. 

 

“These bipartisan-supported bills offer a basic-but-broad risk management platform supported by all types of farmers and ranchers in all regions.  Among the balanced risk management strategy are options based both on crop prices and revenue levels. Both committees also proved thoughtful in their efforts to reform our nation's farm law, from significant changes in how commodity programs are structured to streamlining in other aspects, such as conservation programs. The savings from those efforts will help pay for new risk management programs and make contributions to reduce our nation's deficit.

 

“Many aspects of both bills reflect the essence of Farm Bureau’s farm bill proposal. We continue to analyze both bills and will weigh their ability to provide effective risk management tools to meet the needs of America's farmers, ranchers and growers. This and other issues will be hashed out when the full House and Senate take up their bills and then again when the chambers come together to negotiate a single bill. We remain optimistic that the congressional leadership will carry on in the bipartisan spirit exemplified by the House and Senate Agriculture committees, and that they will remain true to their commitment to pass a farm bill.”

 


House Ag Committee Approves Farm Bill with Significant Savings & Reforms

5/15/2013

Today, Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma and Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota issued the following statements after the House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013, by a large, bipartisan vote of 36-10. Committee Members also adopted, by voice vote, an en bloc amendment.


"I am proud of the Committee's effort to advance a farm bill with significant savings and reforms. We achieve nearly $40 billion in savings by eliminating outdated government programs and reforming others. No other committee in Congress is voluntarily cutting money, in a bipartisan way, from its jurisdiction to reduce the size and scope of the federal government. I appreciate the efforts of my colleagues and the bipartisan nature in which this legislation was written and approved. I look forward to debating the bill on the House floor this summer," said Chairman Frank Lucas.


"I’m pleased the Committee was able to work together, find some common ground, and advance a five-year farm bill today. Needless to say this process has gone on far too long and it is past time to get this bill done. With today’s action, I’m optimistic the farm bill will continue through regular order and be brought to the House floor in June. If we can stay on track, I think we should be able to conference with the Senate in July and have a new five-year farm bill in place before the August recess,"
said Ranking Member Collin Peterson


For more information on the FARRM Act, including en bloc amendment details click here.

Highlights include:

  • FARRM saves nearly $40 billion in mandatory funds, including the immediate sequestration of $6 billion.
  • FARRM repeals or consolidates more than 100 programs.
  • FARRM eliminates direct payments, which farmers received regardless of market conditions.
  • FARRM streamlines and reforms commodity policy while also giving producers a choice in how best to manage risk.
  • FARRM includes the first reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) since the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, saving more than $20 billion.
  • FARRM consolidates 23 conservation programs into 13, improving program delivery to producers and saving more than $6 billion.
  • FARRM builds on previous investments to fruit and vegetable production, farmers markets, and local food systems.
  • FARRM includes several regulatory relief measures to help mitigate burdens farmers, ranchers, and rural communities face.

SOURCE:  House Agricultural Committee Press Release

First Regional Agriculture Council Established in Lower Connecticut River Valley.

5/3/2013

The governing board of the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments ( River COG) comprised of elected officials from 17 municipalities unanimously voted recently to move forward with forming the State’s First Regional Agriculture Council.

Middlesex County Farm Bureau President Walter Adametz brought this initiative and presentation before River COG with support of a group comprised of members from the East Haddam and Durham Agriculture Commissions, Connecticut Farm Bureau and others.

The objective of the Regional Council is to support farming in the 17 municipalities and promote agriculture-friendly land use and municipal policies. Goals of the Regional Council will be similar to a municipal commission, and will include: serving as an information and education conduit between farmers, municipal boards and commissions, elected officials, nonprofit agencies, and civic organizations; providing guidance and review of municipal land use regulations related to agriculture; providing guidance and information regarding agriculturally related tax programs and policies; assisting with conflict resolution of agriculturally related issues; and identifying economic opportunities for towns and farmers.

In 2011 Public Act 11-188 AN ACT AUTHORIZING LOCAL AND REGIONAL AGRICULTURAL COUNCILS AND CONCERNING CONSIDERATION OF AGRICULTURE IN LOCAL PLANS OF CONSERVATIOIN AND DEVELOPMENT AND ZONING REGULATIONS was enacted by the Connecticut General Assembly.  Proposed by the Connecticut Farm Bureau, this bill encourages formation of commissions or councils to bring agricultural concerns to the forefront of discussions on planning and zoning within municipalities.  While there are about twenty agriculture commissions in municipalities across the state, River COG is the first to establish the regional commission.

 

"Our region faces many issues related to agricultural development," says Mr. Adametz, "and it seemed like we could address and resolve some of the bigger concerns of agriculture if we tackle them together rather than try to align 17 different municipal commissions.  Granted, some communities may vary in their views, but there's a trend toward regionalizing resources of all kinds so this just made sense to try.  This council seems like the most efficient body to proactively focus on the opportunities for farming in the lower Connecticut river valley.  We thank River COG for their cooperation and permitting the opportunity to the agricultural community to initiate this group," he added.

The 17 communities represented by River COG include Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River,  Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Killingworth, Haddam, Lyme, Middlefield, Middletown, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

For more information, please contact Walter Adametz, President, Middlesex County Farm Bureau, 860 790-0297 or Janice  Ehle/Meyer, Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments,860 58 1-8554

 


AFBF Urges Congress Urges Support for Fruit and Vegetable Farmers

4/24/2013

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2013 – Providing new farm bill programs for fruit and vegetable farmers would help ensure a strong agricultural economy and benefit the health of the entire nation, American Farm Bureau Federation Vice President Barry Bushue told Congress today.  (Click here to view a video of his testimony.)

 

“The farm bill helps farmers and ranchers deal with the risks that threaten their ability to produce the food, fiber and fuel we all need,” Bushue testified to the House’s Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture.

 

Farm Bureau urged lawmakers to extend some programs normally available only to growers of crops such as corn, soybeans and wheat, to farmers who grow specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture/nursery crops and floriculture.

 

The value of specialty crop production in the U.S. is significant, accounting for approximately 17 percent of the $391 billion in agriculture cash receipts collected in 2012, Bushue noted.

 

Starting with the next farm bill, Farm Bureau has proposed the extension of a new program—Stacked Income Protection Plan or STAX for short—for growers of the so-called program crops including field corn for livestock, soybeans and wheat, as well as apples, potatoes, tomatoes, grapes and sweet corn.

 

“The program would be administered by USDA’s Risk Management Agency in a manner consistent with the current crop insurance delivery system,” said Bushue. “It is designed to complement existing crop insurance programs. It does not change any features of existing insurance policies,” he explained.

 

The five specialty crops Farm Bureau proposed for STAX coverage each rank in the top 13 in value of production for the country; represent at least 2 percent of the nation’s value of production; and are grown in at least 13 states. In addition, insurance is currently available for each of the crops. If STAX is used to cover these five specialty crops, fruit and vegetable farmers in 44 states would benefit. 

 

Farm Bureau also urged Congress to continue some programs for fruit and vegetable growers that were first included in the farm bill in 2008. Those programs include the Farmers’ Market Promotion Program, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program in elementary schools and initiatives that help bring fruits and vegetables produced within a state to local schools.

 

Other programs for specialty crop farmers Farm Bureau would like to see continued in the next farm bill include outreach and training on Good Agriculture Practices aimed at improving food safety, traceability and productivity; initiatives for pest and plant disease control; and improving direct-to-consumer retail opportunities.

 

“We encourage the House Agriculture Committee to continue to invest in our specialty crop producers,” concluded Bushue.

 


Gov. Malloy: Investments in Agriculture Strengthen our Economy; Long Overdue Repairs at Hartford Regional Market to Move Forward

4/18/2013

(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky, today announced $816,706 in competitive, matching grants to expand Connecticut’s $3.5 billion agricultural industry.  The investments are made through the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s Farm Transition Grant and Farm Viability Grant programs and will assist farms, agricultural nonprofits, and municipalities increase production, promote Connecticut Grown products, and create jobs.

 
“Connecticut’s agricultural sector has enormous untapped potential,” said Governor Malloy.  “The investments we are announcing today in small farms and our Regional Market are a clear sign that we can both preserve our agricultural heritage and help it expand and create jobs.”

 
Established in 2005, the grants protect and preserve Connecticut by supporting farm viability and preservation, agricultural infrastructure, municipal open space grants, historic preservation, and affordable housing programs. Funding is generated through a $40 fee collected for the recording of documents into municipal land records.  These documents include deeds, mortgages, mechanics’ liens, judgment liens, notices of lease, releases of mortgages and liens, name change certificates, notices of variances, and condominium declarations.

 
“These projects build upon the work and recommendations of the Governor’s Council for Agricultural Development,” said Commissioner Reviczky.  “With feedback gathered over the past year from hundreds of farmers and associated stakeholders, the council has begun shaping a long-range, strategic plan that will vitalize Connecticut agriculture—in turn increasing its existing economic contribution and creating jobs.  These matching grants will accelerate the achievement of those benefits for all state residents.”

 
Grantees have one year to complete their projects and must match the award.

 
The Governor also announced that, at their next meeting, the State Bond Commission will vote on $400,000 in funding to assist the 1940s era Hartford Regional Market make essential roof repairs.  The Regional Market is the largest perishable food distribution facility between Boston and New York, covering 32 acres and containing 230,386 square feet of warehouse space, an active railroad spur, and 144 farmers’ market stalls.  Authorized by state statute, it provides a central location for farmers and wholesalers to sell and distribute food and other agricultural products.  The $617,100 roof repair project should be complete by the end of July and will not displace any vendors.

For a complete list of recipients of the Farm Transition and the Farm Viability Grants, visit http://www.governor.ct.gov/malloy/cwp/view.asp?Q=523028&A=4010
 

State Rep. Bryan Hurlburt Appointed as Director of Farm Service Agency

4/17/2013

(Hartford, CT) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney (D-2) announced today the appointment of State Representative Bryan Hurlburt (D-53) as Farm Service Agency State Executive Director. Hurlburt was appointed by President Obama.  He was recommended by Senators Blumenthal and Murphy and Congressman Courtney after an interview process coordinated by Senator Blumenthal’s office with state agricultural leaders.

Hurlburt currently represents the towns of Ashford, Tolland and Willington. He is widely respected as a rising leader within the state’s agricultural community. Hurlburt is expected to resign his position as State Representative on April 19 and begin his new role on April 22.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency has offices in all 50 states that coordinate the dispensing of grants and loans to state agricultural businesses and the dissemination of information on the USDA’s agricultural policies. Connecticut’s office is located in Tolland.


Farm Bureau's Workshop on Processing Acidified Foods Helps Prepare Farmers for New Market Opportunities

4/15/2013

WINDSOR, April 10, 2013-The Governor's Council on Agricultural Development released its first year report this week on how to bolster efforts to get Connecticut-grown produce into more Connecticut households .  Included in that report is research that 83% of consumers believe that it's very or somewhat important that their purchase of a Connecticut-grown product supports a local family farm.

In support of farmers interested in extending their product availability to consumers with value-added products, Connecticut Farm Bureau is hosting a workshop on April 20 from 8 am. to 2:30 pm on Processing Acidified Foods in the Farm Kitchen.  The workshop will provide farmers with a basic overview of processing acidified foods  including proper harvesting and storage of produce, safe food handling, labeling, water and food testing, record-keeping.  There will be a live demonstration of proper canning techniques.  Speakers include Diane Wright Hirsch, MPH, RD. Cooperative Extension Educator/Food Safety University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System New Haven, and  producer Anita Kopchinski, co-owner of Hidden Brook Gardens, an organic grower in Ledyard.

Two years ago the legislature passed legislation passed the Farms, Food and Jobs Bill, introduced by Farm Bureau and popularly known as "the Pickle Bill."  It approved the on-farm production and sales of acidified foods such as pickles and salsas to allow farmers additional marketing opportunities without the cost of installing a certified licensed kitchen.   In the interest of consumer safety, however, the privilege to produce acidified foods requires understanding  and meeting the requirements of labeling, food and water quality standards, and appropriate handling.

"There is no single source for obtaining all the information a farmer needs to guide them in the processing of acidified foods," says Joan Nichols, Connecticut Farm Bureau's Director of Member Relations and Community  Outreach. " The Departments of Consumer Protection, Public Health and The Agriculture all have a piece of the oversight of this segment of food production.  For nearly a century

 Farm Bureau has been the resource farmers have turned to for information on moving their business ahead.  This workshop, led by professionals who understand all the ins and outs, will be very beneficial to farmers expanding their business through value-added products,"  she adds.

The workshop will be held at the Tolland Agricultural Center, Rte. 30, 24 Hyde Ave., Vernon.  Reservations are required, and can be made by visiting www.cfba.org or by calling 860-768-1100.  CFBA members can register for just $50, and $65 for non-members. 

This program is a cooperative effort of the Connecticut Farm Bureau, the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture and Risk Management Agency/USDA.


Governor's Council for Agricultural Development Issues First Report

4/9/2013

Connecticut Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky announced that the Governor's Council for Agricultural Development has presented its first annual report to Governor Dannel P. Malloy

The report, available at www.CTGrown.gov/GovernorsCouncil, summarizes the council's first year of work on its strategic plan for the state's $3.5 billion agricultural industry, Grow Connecticut Farms, and includes seven recommendations to further develop, diversify, and promote agriculture in the state.

To view the complete news release click here.

CFBA Introduces New Member Benefit: Farm Bureau Auto Buying Program

4/3/2013

In the market for a new or used car or truck? Connecticut Farm Bureau Association's newest member benefit makes car buying easier than ever.

Purchasing a vehicle can be challenging and stressful, and you want to make sure you get the best deal. Even when you know exactly what you want, not knowing what you should pay can take the fun out of getting a new car or truck. Farm Bureau members now have a free tool that not only helps you save time and money, but gives you the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision. The best part? Your $500 GM Discount* is seamlessly integrated into the process.

How does it work?

  1. Step One: Research ANY make or model, new or used, at www.fbverify.com/drive

You want more information? No problem. Even if you’ve got a good idea of what you want, there are still trim lines, options and colors to choose from. The Farm Bureau Vehicle Purchase Program has all that and more. You can easily select makes, models, and options, plus compare different vehicle choices, learn about available incentives, check crash safety ratings, read reviews, view picture galleries and even check your estimated trade-in value. Plus, with used cars you will be able to see guaranteed prices and sort by the features that matter to you most.

 

  1.  Step Two: Learn what others actually paid for their vehicle

Not sure if you’re getting a good deal? The Farm Bureau Vehicle Purchase Program gives you access to TrueCar price reports. Available with national, regional and local data, these reports show what others have paid for the car you want. You can see the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), the market average, the factory invoice, and more.

 

  1. Step Three: Get your Guaranteed Savings and print yourMember Savings Certificate

Once you’ve selected your vehicle, you’re ready to locate a Program Certified Dealer. Submit your information to the dealers you choose. Then, see your Guaranteed Savings and Estimated Member Pricing* before you even talk to a dealer. On used vehicles, you can even get up to $1,000 off certain vehicles with exclusive Farm Bureau discounts. Your Member Savings Certificate will list your dedicated contact so you know who to talk to for questions or to arrange a test drive. Finally, take your Member Savings Certificate and your GM Certificate (for eligible vehicles) with you to the Program Certified Dealer to ensure a haggle-free car-buying experience.

No cost. No obligation. No hassle. Car and truck buying has never been easier!

Visit www.fb.truecar.com or call1-888-718-9053to see how much you could save with this great member benefit.

*GM incentive available to qualified FB members in most, but not all states. Offer available through 4/1/14, and valid toward the lease or purchase of new 2011, 2012, and 2013 Chevrolet, Buick and GMC models, excluding Chevrolet Volt. This offer is not available with some other offers, including private offers (for example, Owner Loyalty). Offer is available with GM Business Choice. Not valid on prior purchases. To be eligible, customers must be an active member of a participating state Farm

Connecticut Farm Bureau Hosts Conference March 23: Creating the Farm Business Plan to Optimize Profit

3/8/2013

Planning for Profit:  Creating the Farm Business Plan is the focus of the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association's fourth annual conference.  This day-long conference will be held on March 23 at Maneeley's Banquet Facility, 65 Rye St., South Windsor from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.


Like all successful business owners, farmers use plans to guide and expand their businesses.  This program will review the key components of a well-developed business plan along with proven strategies for measuring the steps along the way.  Professional experts on business planning, pricing and measuring progress from within and outside of the agricultural industry will present in the morning session.  Robert Santy, CEO of Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC)  will start off the day with an overview of the agriculture's role in Connecticut's economy, and Jon Jaffee of Farm Credit East will outline the key steps to developing a farm business plan. 

Breakout sessions will focus on measuring progress, and using demographics to market products, labor considerations, establishing the appropriate business entity, and determining risk and insurance concerns.  Grants and special loans, plus farm business loans will also be addressed. 


"Regardless whether a farmer is just starting out, or is the fourth generation on his family's farm, smart planning for the farm business is necessary," says Joan Nichols, Connecticut Farm Bureau's Director of Member Relations and Community  Outreach. "For nearly a century Farm Bureau has been the resource farmers have turned to for information on moving their business ahead.  This conference will address many of the issues we get called about weekly.  It's a great investment of time to get a farm plan in place," she adds.


Reservations are required, and can be made by visiting www.cfba.org or by calling 860-768-1100.  CFBA members can register for just $50, and $65 for non-members.  Reservations after March 15 will cost $75 for members, and $90 for others.


This program is a cooperative effort of the Connecticut Farm Bureau, the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture and Risk Management Agency/USDA.


Connecticut Farm Bureau Women's Leadership Committee to Host Seminar: "Juggling Lessons for Life" featuring Stress Reduction Techniques for Heart Health with Eliz Greene

3/4/2013

How do you manage the demands of a busy life and stay healthy?  Eliz Greene, well- known author and a spokesperson for the National Heart Association will be the featured speaker at a workshop called "Women Have Balls:  Juggling Lessons for Life," held at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 from 10 to 2:30.

 

Ms Greene will conduct a humorous and information-packed program focusing on maintaining women's health while juggling responsibilities.  As a  woman who survived a heart-attack when she was seven months pregnant with twins, Ms Greene has developed  a point of view and effective strategies for women's health which she will share with participants to implement every day, including how to stay physically active.  This workshop is hosted by the Women's Leadership Committee of the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA).

 

"Farm women take on a lot of responsibilities, and that can be stressful, " says Debbi Tanner, Chairman of the CFBA's Women's Leadership Committee, "  When we saw Eliz's talk at a recent national conference we thought it would be valuable to our Farm Bureau members and all women to bring her to Connecticut to speak.  Business Women.  Caregivers.  Parents.  We can all use a lesson on how to put our health  first."

 

The workshop will also feature  Dr. Ellen Lewis, a licensed naturopathic physician with a practice in Fairfield County,  who will focus on how stress impacts your health, and simple things you can to do enhance your optimal wellness.  

 

The workshop is open to the public, and will be held at the Gengras Building Auditorium on the 1st floor  at St. Francis Hospital,1000 Asylum Ave.,  Hartford.  Pre-registration is required.  The cost of $25 includes a heart-healthy meal featuring Connecticut-grown local foods, and all those attending will receive a copy of Eliz Greene's book, Busy Woman's Guide to a Healthy Heart.  (More information on Eliz Greene, or to preview her presentation,  visit www.embraceyourheart.com.) To register for the April 2 workshop visit www.cfba.org, or call860-768-1100.


Tolland County Farm Bureau to Host Program on Estate Planning: " Land is Your Legacy"

2/20/2013

The Tolland County Farm Bureau will sponsor the program, “Land is your

Legacy” to assist land owners and farmers with issues to consider when

estate planning and passing land on to the next generation.  The program

will be held on March 7, 2013 from 7-9 PM at the Tolland County

AgricultureCenter, 24 Hyde Avenue, Route 30, Vernon, CT.

 

Joan Nichols, Director of Member Relations and Community Outreach of the Connecticut Farm Bureau will address issues concerning Public Act 490, taxes and other considerations important to estate planning. 

Steve Hamilton of the Advance Consulting Group of Nationwide will focus on “Land is Your Legacy”, a program developed especially for farmers and land owners.  He will be assisted by Mike Alfred, Regional Financial Director at Nationwide.

 

The public is invited to attend.  Refreshments will be served.  Reservations are requested at tollandcountyfarmbureau@gmail.com or by calling 860-742-5725.


Healthy and Nutritious Local Foods on a Budget is Focus of Farm Bureau's Food Checkout Week Radio Promotion

2/17/2013

(Windsor, CT, February 17, 2013)—Farmer members of the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) will reach out to consumers in their communities during Food Check-Out Week Feb. 17-23, 2013. Farm Bureau members across the country will offer tips on how consumers can stretch their grocery dollars with healthy, nutritious food. During this week, many farmers plan to make a special effort to reach out to consumers in-person or through social media, to answer questions about the food that they grow or the livestock and poultry they raise.

 

As part of Food Check-Out Week Connecticut Farm Bureau is sponsoring a Healthy and Nutritious Local Food quiz promotion with six local radio stations:  WIL I-Willimantic, WINY-Putnam, WZBG-Litchfield, WATR-Waterbury and WLIS/WMRD- Old Saybrook.   Listeners can call in with their guesses and receive a local product like ice cream, maple syrup or seed-starting sets,  and qualify to win a basket brimming with Connecticut-grown products drawn at Ag Day at the Capitol on March 20.  The quiz focuses on planning a nutritious menu, finding local foods, and the impact of Connecticut agriculture.

 

“Farm families are known for being frugal with their dollar, but certainly know how to eat well. Learning to use your grocery dollars wisely helps ensure that nutrition isn’t neglected,” according to Debbi Tanner, Chairman of the Women's Leadership Committee of the Connecticut Farm Bureau. 

 

“Fruits and vegetables – along with whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, beans, eggs and nuts – are an important part of a healthy diet. Buying fresh produce when it’s in season and costs less, while buying frozen fruits and vegetables when they’re not in season, is a smart way to stretch that dollar,” she adds.

 

The price of unprepared readily available fresh fruits and vegetables, such as whole carrots, Red Delicious apples, broccoli and tomatoes--all products grown here in Connecticut-- has remained stable compared to dessert and snack foods, according to Agriculture Department studies. This suggests that the price of a healthy diet has not changed relative to an unhealthy one, although a healthy diet might not include every fresh fruit or vegetable currently available.

 

America’s farmers share a common concern with consumers when it comes to putting nutritious meals on the table while sticking to a tight budget. 

 

“Knowing your food budget, planning balanced meals, making a list and sticking to it are just a few of the tips we offer consumers,” says Ms Tanner..

 

Now in its 15th year, Food Check-Out Week also highlights America’s safe, abundant and affordable food supply, made possible largely by America’s productive farmers and ranchers. According to the most recent (2011) information from the USDA’s Economic Research Service, American families and individuals spend, on average, less than 10 percent of their disposable personal income for food--far less than in most countries.


AFBF Delegates Call for Flexible, Insurance-based Farm Bill

1/16/2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn., January 15, 2013Voting delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federations 94th annual meeting expressed support for a bipartisan, reform-minded farm bill, crafted around a broad, flexible, crop-insurance-based program, including risk-management protection for peanuts, rice, forage and specialty crops.
 
"After ending a long year of policy uncertainty culminating with an extension of the old bill, we will push hard, in cooperation with our congressional and administration allies, for a five-year farm bill that provides our farmers certainty and extends much-needed risk management tools across more acres and more crops, said AFBF President Bob Stallman, a rice and cattle producer from Texas.
 
Delegates said AFBF would not only support a farm bill with a strong safety net and risk management programs to protect farmers from catastrophes, but they also would work for programs that provide emergency assistance for livestock and tree producers not covered by federal crop insurance programs.
 
Delegates reaffirmed policy supporting changes to the dairy safety net, consistent with the margin insurance programs included in versions of the farm bill approved by the House and Senate Ag Committees.
 
On another dairy issue, delegates approved a new policy that states only pasteurized milk and milk products should be sold for human consumption. Delegates approved the measure in light of the potential risks to public health and food safety posed by consumption of raw milk.
 
On national fiscal policy, delegates reaffirmed the importance of a sound budget process with a priority on spending restraints rather than tax increases.
 
Delegates also voted to support streamlining or replacement of the H-2A seasonal and temporary agricultural worker program in addition to allowing experienced, undocumented agricultural workers to adjust to legal status. "Only comprehensive immigration reform through legislation can solve the agricultural worker problem, Stallman said. Recognizing the important role played by agricultural biotechnology and rapid developments in the industry, delegates expressed continued support of a private-sector, industry accord to govern how biotech traits are managed when patents expire. They also reiterated support for the continued implementation of an industry solution that promotes investment and marketability of new technologies.
 
On regulatory policy, delegates said that "all federal agencies shall be held to the strictest interpretation of law when setting regulations and "no federal agency shall be allowed to legislate through their regulatory power. They also said that "no regulatory action should be taken against landowners based on satellite or aerial imagery.
 
 Delegates expressed concern about the advantage that Internet retail sellers have over local merchants when it comes to charging sales tax. They noted that in addition to lost revenues that affect rural communities budgets, the resources those communities have for economic development activities also are reduced.
 
Delegates voted to support greater flexibility within the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. Specifically, they voted to oppose mandatory limits on calories and serving sizes for lean meats, protein-rich foods and dairy products, believing that local school districts are best able to determine how to meet the nutritional needs of their students.
 
At the AFBF Annual Meeting, 362 voting delegates, representing every crop and livestock sector in the 50 states and Puerto Rico, deliberated on policies affecting farmers and ranchers productivity and profitability. The policies approved at the annual meeting will guide the nations largest general farm organization in its legislative and regulatory efforts throughout 2013.
 
Farm Bureau Elects Grassroots Leaders
The delegates newly elected three state Farm Bureau presidents to the AFBF board of directors: Richard Bonanno of Massachusetts (Northeast Region), Jimmy Parnell of Alabama (Southern Region) and Don Shawcroft of Colorado (Western Region). Fourteen other state Farm Bureau presidents were re-elected to represent their regions on the AFBF board of directors: Midwest Region Craig Hill of Iowa, Kevin Paap of Minnesota, Don Villwock of Indiana and Wayne Wood of Michigan. Southern Region Ronnie Anderson of Louisiana, Kenneth Dierschke of Texas, Zippy Duvall of Georgia, Mike Spradling of Oklahoma, Lacy Upchurch of Tennessee and Larry Wooten of North Carolina. Northeast Region Dean Norton of New York and Carl Shaffer of Pennsylvania. Western Region Perry Livingston of Wyoming and Paul Wenger of California. Zach Hunnicutt, a crop farmer from Nebraska, was elected the new chairman of the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee, which also makes him a member of the AFBF board of directors during his one-year term. Terry Gilbert of Kentucky was re-elected to serve a two-year term as chair of the AFB Womens Leadership Committee and on the AFBF board of directors. Vice-chair Sherry Saylor was re-elected to a two-year term on the committee. Sue Billiot of Arkansas, Marieta Hauser of Kansas, Vicki Malloy of Washington and Debbi Tanner of Connecticut were elected to two-year terms on the committee.
 
Farm Bureau members will gather for the 95th AFBF Annual Meeting, Jan. 12-15, 2014, in San Antonio, Texas.

Women's Leadership Committee Chair Elected to represent Northeast

1/14/2013

Debbi Tanner, Chairman of the Connecticut Farm Bureau's Women's Leadership Committee has been elected to represent the Northeast on the National Women's Leadership Committee.  Debbi and her husband Austin Tanner own Creamery Brook Bison Farm in Brooklyn, CT.
 
Through involvement in the Farm Bureau Womens Leadership Program and Farm Bureau as a whole, women are developing their strengths as agricultural professionals, according to Terry Gilbert, chair of the AFB Womens Leadership Committee. Gilbert, a cattle and corn farmer from Kentucky, highlighted program successes during the annual business meeting of the AFB Women, held at the American Farm Bureau Federations 94th Annual Meeting.
 
"The program had an outstanding year in 2012, said Gilbert. "Farm Bureau Women are developing and achieving personal and professional goals. They also are using training and knowledge to tell their stories to decision makers, lawmakers, teachers, students and consumers, she said. Gilbert challenged women in Farm Bureau to strive to improve their skills and find more opportunities to tell agricultures story.  In addition to Debbi Tanner, Sue Billiot of Arkansas, Marieta Hauser of Kansas, and Vicki Malloy of Washington state were nominated for election to two-year terms on the committee. Gilbert was nominated for re-election as chair of the committee and Sherry Saylor of Arizona was nominated for re-election as vice chair. The AFBF delegate body will vote on the nominations at the conclusion of the organizations annual meeting. 
 
Coming up in February, the committee and Farm Bureaus around the nation will hold consumer outreach events during Food Check-Out Week while also supporting Ronald McDonald Houses and other charities with food and monetary donations. In April the biennial National Womens Leadership Conference coordinated by the committee will be held in Las Vegas. Gilbert noted that the conference, with the theme "Engaged, Empowered, Strong is open to all Farm Bureau women and will provide numerous opportunities for professional development.
 
Further, the committee annually sponsors the Womens Communications Boot Camp, an intensive training seminar held each July that is open to all Farm Bureau women.

Smithsonian Partners with American Farm Bureau Federation to Announce Initiative to Document Farm Innovation

1/13/2013

This spring, the Smithsonians National Museum of American History is reaching out to farmers, ranchers and American agri-business to build a collection that reflects modern agricultural practices. Curators are seeking stories, photographs and ephemera to record and preserve the innovations and experiences of farming and ranching. In partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation, the museum is announcing this initiative to the farming community today during the AFBFs 94th annual meeting in Nashville.
 
The first donation will come from Tennessee Farm Bureau member Pat Campbell, of Cleburne Jersey Farm, a multigenerational dairy farm founded in the 1870s in Spring Hill, Tenn. Campbell will give a selection of photographs, a computer cow tag and reader unit to show the change in dairying from a hand-labor intensive process to a modern computer-run operation. The donation will also include his personal recollections about how changing technology has altered his work life and has led to greater efficiency and safety.
 
 "American agriculture has gone through a tremendous transformation in the last seven decades, becoming a high-tech industry, deeply affecting not just farmers themselves but every American and the American experience in general, said Peter Liebhold, museum curator and chair of the Division of Work and Industry.
 
 "Agriculture has played a vital role in the development of Americas business sector, from innovation and enterprise to the entrepreneurial spirit that has always been a major focus of Americas farm and ranch families, said Julie Anna Potts, executive vice president and treasurer for AFBF and chair of the exhibition Agriculture committee. "As the nations largest farm and ranch organization, it made sense for Farm Bureau to partner with the museum.
 
Coinciding with National Agriculture Day on March 19, the museum will unveil a new Web portal where the public can upload stories about technologies and innovation that have changed their work lives; stories about precision farming, traceability, environmental concerns, governmental practices, irrigation, biotechnology and hybrid seeds. For details, visit http://americanenterprise.si.edu/.
 
"The story of agriculture is important and complex, said John Gray, director of the museum. "In Jeffersons time, 96 percent of Americans were farmers; today, that number is less than 2 percent. Despite this drop, productivity has skyrocketed and agriculture has evolved into a technology-driven profession with the cab of a tractor akin to a traditional CEOs office.
 
This new collection will inform the upcoming exhibition with the working title "American Enterprise, an 8,000-square-foot multimedia experience that will immerse visitors in the dramatic arc of the nations story, focusing on the role of business and innovation in the United States from the mid-1700s to the present. "American Enterprise will tell the story of the nations business, centering on themes of opportunity, innovation, competition and common good with examples drawn from five areas: agriculture, consumer finance, information technology/communication, manufacturing and retail/service. It is scheduled to open in 2015 in the Mars Hall of American Business.
 
Chronological in organization, "American Enterprise will use objects, graphics and interactive experiences to examine how the United States moved from a small dependent nation to one of the worlds most vibrant and trend-setting economies.The exhibition will explore the development of American agriculture through objects such as Eli Whitneys cotton gin, a 1920s Fordson tractor, Barbara McClintocks microscope and Stanley Cohens recombinant DNA research notebook, which represent machines and innovation that increased productivity and science that gave insight to the genetic structure of plants. American agriculture has employed science and technology to dramatically increase production and choice while lowering prices, but these changes have also altered the experience of farmers and the public in unexpected ways.
 
The National Museum of American History is currently renovating its West exhibition wing, developing galleries on business, democracy and culture. For more information, visit http://americanhistory.si.edu/. The museum is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.

CT NOFA Announces Opening for Executive Director

12/20/2012

Connecticut Northeast Organic Farming Association (CT NOFA) has announced it's seeking candidates for an open position as Executive Director.
 
For more information and a complete job description please visit http://ctnofa.org/ED_Announcement.html

Connecticut Farm Bureau receives Pathfinder Award from Working Lands Alliance for PA490 Efforts

11/28/2012

The Working Lands Alliance has announced the recipients of the 2012 Farmland Preservation Pathfinder Awards. Established in 2003, the prestigious Pathfinder Awards recognize individuals and groups that have significantly advanced farmland preservation through leadership, advocacy, planning, and education. For the last nine years, winners of the award have been chosen because they are champions for farmland protection. Award winners have logged countless hours and great successes in the name of preserving Connecticut's most valuable and vulnerable resource- our farmland.
 
This year, Working Lands Alliance recognized two outstanding groups, the Ellington Conservation Commission (ECC) and Connecticut Farm Bureau Association as well as recognizing individuals Llyn Kaimowitz and Nick Moore for their volunteer efforts to keep Connecticut farmland in agriculture.
 
The Ellington Conservation Commission (ECC) has continuously championed the preservation of open space and working farmland since they began their work nearly a decade ago. In 2006 the ECC developed an Open Space plan defining preservation goals and implementation measures to preserv e the lands against increasing pressure for development. Recognizing that farmland defines Ellingtons character and provides local food, ECC initiated a farmland preservation movement that included a farmland ranking system and in 2007 resulted in an overwhelming outpouring of community support that saw 80% of voters in favor of a $2 million bond authorization to help permanently protect the towns remaining valuable farmland. Since 2008, the town has preserved over 407 acres on four farms with another farm under consideration and has signed cooperative agreements with the Department of Agriculture to be considered for the Community Farms Preservation Program.
 
The Connecticut Farm Bureau Association works directly with farmers to solve real world problems facing farmers in Connecticut. In 1963 the Connecticut General Assembly enacted Public Act 490 An Act Concerning the Taxation and Preservation of Farm, Forest and Open Space. Farm Bureau has taken the helm to educate the public about PA 490. They have conducted public training sessions in 8 counties, written an invaluable user guide for the program and disseminated 3,500 copies of that guide. Today, PA 490 is arguably the most effective program helping agriculture remain in business in Connecticut as it allows landowners enrolled in the program to pay taxes on land based on its current use rather than its highest and best use. In fact, without the program and the requisite education led by Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, many argue that Connecticut agriculture would have disappeared long before we could have permanently protected farms through the purchase of development rights.
 
Two individual awards were given to outstanding individuals for their volunteer efforts. In order to thrive, all non-profit organizations need committed volunteers that help to support their work. The efforts of Working Lands Alliance Steering Committee member, Llyn Kaimowitz, are a special blend of tirelessness and committed service paired with skilled competence: a magical combination for a non-profit with a small staff. Llyns volunteer efforts include writing and publishing Op-Eds on farmland preservation, and submitting testimony to support WLAs many efforts. She has served, informally, as WLAs fundraising advisor helping WLA to reach out to members and donors, write and edit fundraising letters, and seal and stamp countless mailings. Llyns volunteer efforts have served as the backbone for WLAs continued work in advocayc farmland protection.
 
Nick Moore of Sharon Connecticut has made the preservation of Connecticut farmland his personal cause for more than a decade. He served as one of the original supporters of Working Lands Alliance. And as one of the original members of Connecticut Farmland Trust (CFT) , Nick successfully steered the fledgling organization to a vital and growing institution that has protected more than 2,400 acres of working farmlands and with a robust pipeline of future projects. Leading by example, he put his family land under easement. Showing innovative understanding of the challenge of farming, he leases that land under unique terms: the rental fee to the farmer who raises silage there is tied to the price of milk. A tireless advocate, he promotes the immediate and long-term values of protecting Connecticut's farmland to others, including land-owners and potential donors.
 
The Working Lands Alliance is a broad-based coalition that, through "fierce cooperation," champions policy and education initiatives to protect Connecticut's productive farmland and advance agricultural viability.
 
Source: The Working Lands Alliance

NRDC to award up to $10,000 in cash prize for "Growing Green" Application deadline Dec. 7

11/24/2012

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) announces its fifth annual Growing Green Awards to recognize individuals who have demonstrated original leadership in the field of sustainable food. Through this national award, NRDC will recognize extraordinary contributions that advance ecologically-integrated farming practices, climate stewardship, water stewardship, farmland preservation, and social responsibility from farm to fork.

A 2013 Growing Green Award will be given to an outstanding individual in each of the following four categories: Food Producer, Business Leader, Food Justice Leader, and Young Food Leader. Cash prizes of $10,000, $2,500 and $2,500 will be awarded in the Food Producer, Food Justice Leader and Young Food Leader categories, respectively, and all winners will be widely celebrated through outreach to media and NRDCs networks. Winners will also be celebrated in the spring of 2013 at an event to benefit NRDC in San Francisco. Winners will be chosen by an independent panel of nationally renowned sustainable food thought-leaders.
 
 
Deadline for applications is December 7, 2012

CONNECTICUT FARM BUREAU ASSOCIATION REVIEWS POLICY; ADDRESSED BY CONGRESSMAN COURTNEY AT 93rd ANNUAL MEETING IN WATERBURY, CT

11/18/2012

Congressman Joseph Courtney of Connecticut's 2nd congressional district addressed members of Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) at its annual banquet held at the Courtyard Marriott in Waterbury. The banquet concluded the Connecticut Farm Bureau's 93rd annual meeting of the voting delegates elected by their eight county farm bureaus to set the organization's policy for the coming year. Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture addressed the group at lunch, focusing on progress by the Governor's Council for Agricultural Development. CFBA also celebrated Hartford County Farm Bureau's national County Activities of Excellence award, one of just 25 awarded by the American Farm Bureau Association. Hartford County Farm Bureau organized a program in July to train first responders about agricultural emergencies involving farm equipment, and more than 120 attended from all across Connecticut.
 
Just off the plane from Washington, Congressman Courtney reported on his sense of a new attitude in post-election Congress with just 12 session days left before the scheduled recess. "One thing I've learned is that too many people take our fragile food system for granted. We have lots of work to do, and we need to be sure the public policy is in place to assure a viable future for farmers." Although the focus is on the "fiscal cliff," Mr. Courtney acknowledged that the Farm Bill is also perched on a cliff. He encouraged farmers to keep up the external pressure for its passage. "Some Connecticut agricultural sectors are lost until this is resolved," he added.
 
Congressman Courtney also complimented the farm leaders for promoting agriculture to be a "positive and potent force," and for raising the profile that we have a viable sector. He also acknowledged agriculture's passion for workforce replenishment, and that it's time for comprehensive immigration reform. Congressman Courtney encouraged the farming community to stay engaged with that issue because "it will provide another opportunity to give helpful, smart information from inside the issue."
 
More than 100 delegates attended the annual meeting where they reviewed and voted on policies put forward by the eight county Farm Bureaus to benefit agriculture. The group re-elected Don Tuller of West Simsbury as Connecticut Farm Bureau President, Jamie Jones of Shelton as First Vice President and Melissa Greenbacker of Durham as Second Vice President. Directors elected to the CFBA State Board include Tim Tyler of Canterbury, Brian Grabber of Lebanon, Kevin Sullivan of Stafford Springs, and John Hall of Westbrook.
 
The group also passed a by-law change to add a student membership for youth and young adults ages 26 and under who are students in high school and college interested in agriculture to provide support as they transition out of 4-H and FFA activities into young farmers.
 
Commissioner Reviczky reported on the progress the Governor's Council for Agricultural Development has made in its first ten months, with Connecticut's strategic plan for agriculture due for release in early January. He acknowledged the wide participation from Connecticut's agricultural stakeholders, and the Governor urging for "More. Faster." relative to progressing business for farmers. "There have been so many people interested in contributing to the Governor's Council. We all hope this turns into a productive opportunity," said Commissioner Reviczky.
 
Local Advocacy was the theme of the meeting, and included a panel presentation by members of Long Island and New York State Farm Bureau on agricultural advocacy successes within municipalities, and Chris Bourque of Colchester spoke about New London County Farm Bureau's increasing local advocacy approach to agricultural issues.
 
As part of a county food challenge organized by the Connecticut Farm Bureau's Young Farmers Committee, more than 3700 pounds of food was collected for local food pantries leading up to the meeting, led by Tolland County Farm Bureau. Dozens of exhibitors and business sponsors attended the day-long meeting, The Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation held its annual silent auction. and recognized outgoing CTAEF President Jason Hoagland for his contributions and leadership of the foundation.

Important Message for Livestock Producers from the Dept. of Agriculture

10/28/2012

Livestock Producers are encouraged to review these guidelines from the Department of Agriculture for safety as flood waters begin to recede. 
 
 

URGENT Mandatory FDA Facility Registration October 1 to December 31, 2012

10/22/2012

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reminds all "food and feed" producers that the extended regulations of the 2002 Bio Terrorism Act will be mandatory starting on October 1, until the last day of December. No registration after this date will be accepted.

Everybody will receive a new facility number that has to be available to any purchaser--even if you've registered your facility before.   Every registered facility will need a food safety plan. 

What is prevention?  To do everything possible to prevent contaminated food or feed entering the supply chain and making people or animals sick.

Who is required to register as food facilities, which farms or Food/Feed handlers are required to register as food facilities with the Food and Drug Administration?

All domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for human or animal consumption in the U.S. are mandated to register with FDA.

http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FSMA/ucm314178.htm

What do I have to do if my facility is already registered?

All facilities that are required to register must renew their registrations during the period beginning on October 1 and ending on December 31 of each even-numbered year.

What is a food/feed facility?

A food facility includes any factory, warehouse (course grain/hay storage, drying or grain cleaning or mixing or conditioning facility) or establishment that manufactures, (mills, or feed grinding/mixing operation) or processes, packs, or holds (bin storage) food or feed. Manufacturing/processing activities include making food (feed or rations) chopping from one or more ingredients, or synthesizing, preparing, treating, modifying, or manipulating food or feed crops or ingredients.

On farm washing, trimming off outer leaves, and cooling produce are considered part of harvesting and would not require classification as a facility if done on the same day as harvesting. If you hold the harvest in a storage/cooler or warehouse you are a facility.

Which farms are required to register as food facilities with FDA?

if you grow it, store it, pack it, ship it

Farms must register as food facilities with the Food and Drug Administration if they:

Manufacture, process, pack, or hold food/feed beyond what is considered harvesting.

Direct market less than 50% of their product. (Tester Amendment)

In this instance, direct marketing means direct farmer-to-consumer sales and does not apply to stores, restaurants and schools.

Manufacturing/processing activities include making food/feed from one or more ingredients, or synthesizing, preparing, treating, shelling, drying, modifying, or manipulating food/ crops or ingredients. Examples of manufacturing/processing include: Grains/Seeds and other Foods/Feeds

  • Cutting, Silage, Hay Processing
  • Peeling,
  • Trimming,
  • Washing,
  • Waxing,
  • Eviscerating,
  • Rendering,
  • Cooking, Grain Roasting
  • Baking, Cotton Ginning
  • Freezing,
  • Cooling, Drying, conditioning
  • Pasteurizing, Proponic acid treating grain
  • Homogenizing,
  • Mixing, Commingling
  • Formulating, Hulling
  • Bottling, sizing, sorting
  • Milling, Mixer/grinder TMR / rolling/ flaking
  • Grinding, Nut Hulls,
  • Extracting juice, Shelling
  • Distilling, DDGs
  • Labeling, or
  • Packing.

Additional Food Categories for Foods for Human Consumption:

  • Acidified Food (see 21 CFR 114.3(b));
  • Cheese and Cheese Product Categories: Soft, Ripened Cheese; Semi-Soft Cheese; Hard Cheese; Other Cheeses and Cheese Products;
  • Dietary Supplement Categories: Proteins, Amino Acids, Fats and Lipid Substances; Animal By-Products and Extracts; Herbals and Botanicals;
  • Fisher/Seafood Product Categories: Fin Fish, Whole or Filet; Shellfish; Ready to Eat (RTE) Fishery Products; Processed and Other Fishery Products;
  • Fruit and Fruit Products: Fresh Cut Produce; Raw Agricultural Commodities; Other Fruit and Fruit Products;
  • Fruit or Vegetable Juice, Pulp or Concentrate Products;
  • Low Acid Canned Food (LACF) Products (see 21 CFR 113.3(n));
  • Nuts and Edible Seed Product Categories: Nut and Nut Products; Edible Seed and Edible Seed Products;
  • Shell Egg and Egg Product Categories: Chicken Egg and Egg Products; Other Egg and Egg Products;
  • Vegetable and Vegetable Product Categories: Fresh Cut Products; Raw Agricultural Commodities; Other Vegetable and Vegetable Products; and
  • Baby (Infant and Junior) Food Products Including Infant Formula.

Additional Food Categories for Foods for Animal Consumption:

  • Grain or Grain Products (i.e., barley, grain sorghums, maize, oat, rice, rye, wheat, other grains or grain products);
  • Oilseed or Oilseed Products (i.e., cottonseed, soybeans, other oilseeds or oilseed products);
  • Alfalfa Products or Lespedeza Products;
  • Amino Acids or Related Products;
  • Animal-Derived Products;
  • Brewer Products;
  • Chemical Preservatives;
  • Citrus Products;
  • Distillery Products;
  • Enzymes;
  • Fats or Oils;
  • Fermentation Products;
  • Marine Products;
  • Milk Products;
  • Minerals or Mineral Products;
  • Miscellaneous or Special Purpose Products;
  • Molasses or Molasses Products;
  • Non-protein Nitrogen Products;
  • Peanut Products;
  • Recycled Animal Waste Products;
  • Screenings;
  • Vitamins or Vitamin Products;
  • Yeast Products;
  • Mixed Feed (e.g., poultry, livestock, equine);
  • Pet Food;
  • Pet Treats or Pet Chews;
  • Pet Supplements (e.g., vitamins, minerals); and.
  • If none of the above food categories apply, print the applicable food category or categories (that does not or do not appear above).

Total list in the link below:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/FoodDefenseandEmergencyResponse/ucm315290.htm#introduction

Here is the link to the registration page:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/RegistrationofFoodFacilities/default.htm


Hartford County Farm Bureau one of 25 County Farm Bureaus Nationwide Recognized for Excellent Programs

10/21/2012

Hartford County Farm Bureau is one of 25 county Farm Bureaus nationwide recognized by the American Farm Bureau Federation for innovative program ideas in this years County Activities of Excellence Awards (CAE) program. The winners will be highlighted during AFBFs 94th Annual Meeting, Jan. 13-16, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn.

The CAE program acknowledges and shares successful county Farm Bureau programs and activities. The awards also are based on county Farm Bureau membership. The CAE focuses on Farm Bureaus priority issues in the following areas: Education and Ag Promotion; Member Services; Public Relations and Information; Leadership Development; and Policy Implementation.

"Winners will display their programs at the AFBF Annual Meeting trade show, allowing Farm Bureau members from across the country to learn about successful programs and activities that promote agriculture within farming communities, said AFBF President Bob Stallman.

Hartford County Farm Bureau is being recognized for its July event at Stanton Equipment to educate emergency responders about farm equipment accidents.

This years CAE award winners come from 17 states: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin. The winners are:

Farm Safety Day (Farm Equipment Extrication Education), Blount County, Ala.; Agribee, Butte County, Calif.; Rural Health and SafetyTraining Events, San Joaquin County, Calif.; Emergency Response for Farm Equipment Accidents, Hartford County, Conn.; County Staff Exchange, Cook County, Ill.; Grow a Garden Feed a Family, Grundy County, Ill.; Project P.A.I.L. (Promoting Agriculture in Literature), Livingston County, Ill.

Also, Authentic Tractor Simulator, Clinton County, Ind.; Touch-a-Truck, Wyandotte County, Kan.; FarmSCool, Mercer County, Ky.; Ag Facts, Baltimore County, Md.; Schoolhouse Chicks, Frederick County, Md.; Hudson Family Fundraiser, Queen Annes County, Md.; Circle of Life, Ingham County, Mich.; Beginning of Life Exhibit, Livingston County, Mich.; Metro Bus Campaign, Meeker County, Minn.; 5th Graders: Farmers for Today, Ag Leaders for Tomorrow, Simpson County, Miss.

Also, Vote Agriculture in 2012, Wright County, Mo.; Share the Road: Rural Road Safety Initiative, Cortland County, N.Y.; Making Farm Bureau Relevant to the Equine Community, Hamilton County, Ohio; Animal Agriculture Educational Kiosks, Wayne County, Ohio; Farming for Life, Susquehanna County, Pa.; AgriCultural Festival: Around the World on a Plate, Greenville County, S.C.; Social Media Mondays, Dane County, Wis.; County Farm Barnyard Adventure Ag Education, Walworth County, Wis.

For more information on the 25 winning county programs contact John Torres, AFBF director of leadership development, at (202) 406-3738 or johnt@fb.org.


Obama & Romney Outline Positions on Farm Issues

9/24/2012

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 24, 2012 President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney recently spelled out their positions on agriculture issues for the American Farm Bureau Federation. In a questionnaire, both candidates went into detail about their positions on energy, environmental regulations, farm labor and more.

Every four years, the American Farm Bureau Federation asks the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees to address the issues that concern farmers and ranchers most. This election, energy issues and farm policy are the driving forces in the candidate's responses.

"Our rural communities, farmers and ranchers can increase our energy independence and boost the transition to a clean energy economy, Obama responded. "Last year, rural America produced enough renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel to meet roughly 8 percent of our needs, helping us increase our energy independence to its highest level in 20 yearsand the new Renewable Fuel Standard helped boost biodiesel production to nearly 1 billion gallons in 2011, supporting 39,000 jobs.

Romney, too, supports the RFS and other agriculture-derived energies.

"I have a vision for an America that is an energy superpower, rapidly increasing our own production and partnering with our allies, Canada and Mexico, to achieve energy independence on this continent by 2020, said Romney. "The increased production of biofuels plays an important part in my plan to achieve energy independence. In order to support increased market penetration and competition among energy sources, I am in favor of maintaining the Renewable Fuel Standard.

On farm policy, Obama said he understands the need for a strong farm safety net. "That's why I increased the availability of crop insurance and emergency disaster assistance to help over 590,000 farmers and ranchers keep their farms in business after natural disasters and crop loss, he said. "My administration expanded farm credit to help more than 100,000 farmers struggling during the financial crisisand as farmers continue to go through hard times because of this drought, we are expanding access to low-interest loans, encouraging insurance companies to extend payment deadlines and opening new lands for livestock farmers to graze their herds.

Romney said he supports passage of a strong farm bill "that provides the appropriate risk management tools that will work for farmers and ranchers throughout the country. He also pointed out that his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), voted for drought reliefa bill which the Senate never took up.

When asked why farmers should vote for them, Obama said he is committed to strengthening rural America through growing products that the world wants to buy and restoring middle class values of hard work and play. He further said, "I am the only candidate that is committed to strengthening the farm safety net, strengthening rural economic growth and supporting rural investments in clean energy.

Romney said if he were elected, he would give farmers relief from hefty environmental regulations, as well as "a commonsense energy policy that develops our resources right here at home; a renewed focus on opening new markets; and a pro-growth tax policy that encourages investment and recognizes that death should not be a taxable event.

To view the full questionnaires and responses, click here.


Farm Bureau Members Rally for a Farm Bill Now

9/12/2012

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12, 2012 With the expiration of the current farm bill quickly approaching, and in the midst of the worst drought in a generation, Farm Bureau members, along with farmers and ranchers from across the nation, rallied at the nations capitol today. American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman emceed the "Farm Bill Now! rally on Capitol Hill. The event drew hundreds of participants from across the country, including farmers, congressional members and leaders from agriculture, conservation, energy, consumer and nutrition organizations. The group urged Congress to pass a new, comprehensive, five-year farm bill before current farm programs expire at the end of September. "Perhaps never in the history of farm legislation have so many diverse farmer and rancher voices joined together for such a common call for action on a farm bill, said Stallman during the event. "We gather here under a banner adorned with three words. FARM. BILL. NOW. And we are here to raise our voices toward Capitol Hillfor a shared purpose. The farm bill isn't just a bill for farmers. The USDA says, 1 in every 12 American jobs is directly related back to the farm. The farm bill has a broad impact on all citizens and the U.S. economy, according to the farm Bill Now coalition. It provides healthy foods to millions of schoolchildren and nutritious options to families in need, as well as develops and expands trade with valuable foreign markets. By reducing spending significantly compared to prior farm bills, the proposals pending right now in Congress address the need to get the nations fiscal house in order. AFBF is encouraging Congress to reach agreement on the House Agriculture Committee and Senate-passed bills. Congressional members who spoke at the event included Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), chairwoman of the Agriculture Committee; Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.); Rep. Collin Peterson, (D-Minn.), ranking member of the Agriculture Committee; and Rep. Kristi Noem, (R-S.D.). The event was endorsed by 88 organizations representing a broad range of commodity and specialty crops, livestock, dairy, state and local governments, energy and biobased products, farm cooperatives and financial groups. -30-

CFBA amd CTAEF Launch Advocacy Survey


Stallman: AFBF Will Oppose Farm Bill Extension

7/30/2012

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 30, 2012The American Farm Bureau Federation said today that a House proposal to extend the current farm bill for one year fails to move the nation any closer to securing a comprehensive, long-term farm bill and the organization would stand in opposition. "A one-year extension offers our farm and ranch families nothing in the way of long-term policy certainty, said AFBF President Bob Stallman. "Farmers and ranchers always face decisions that carry very serious financial ramifications, such as planting a crop, buying land or building a herd, and we need clear and confident signals from our lawmakers.
 
Late last Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced that the House "may consider a farm bill extension this week. The legislation would provide for a one-year extension of current law governing farm programs, including commodity programs, crop insurance, conservation programs and federal nutrition programs, as well as reauthorize supplemental agricultural disaster assistance for the 2012 fiscal year, retroactively, and for the 2013 fiscal year.
 
Stallman pointed out that the Senate-passed farm bill and the bill approved by the House Agriculture Committee already include disaster provisions for livestock farmers, and those measures would likely be included in any conference committee held for the long-term legislation. Meanwhile, the extension bill "does nothing to help hog or poultry producers, little to provide assistance to the dairy industry and nothing to aid fruit and vegetable producers who may not have crop insurance available to them as a risk management tool, according to Stallman.
 
"Both the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee have produced reform-minded, bipartisan bills that address many of the core principles we believe are important, such as strengthening crop insurance as a reliable risk management tool, Stallman said. "We are encouraging members of the House and their leaders to recognize the example set by both the Senate and House Agriculture Committee chairs and ranking members to forge fiscally responsible bipartisan legislation. An extension falls well short of that target.

House Republicans Ponder Advancing the Farm Bill

7/17/2012

House Agriculture Committee staff met with their counterparts in the Republican leadership on Wednesday to talk about how to make progress on the farm bill before the August recess. Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) also had a conversation about the bill on the House floor. A one-year extension of current law combined with immediate disaster aid for livestock and specialty crop farmers affected by the drought is a hot topic of discussion, although Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), ranking member on the committee, has called such a plan "the worst idea and vowed to fight it. Lucas appears to be more in favor of an extension of current law. Farm Bureau supports the farm bill approved July 12 by the House Agriculture Committee, as it is a fiscally responsible, bipartisan measure that continues to provide a basic-but-broad foundation of risk management protection for Americas farmers and ranchers.

AFBF: Report Shows Real Harm of Estate Taxes

7/17/2012

The American Farm Bureau Federation on Wednesday said it concurs with a Joint Economic Committee report that details the financial harm posed by estate taxes on family businesses. The JEC, a bipartisan committee composed of members from the House and Senate, issued its report, "Costs and Consequences of the Federal Estate Tax, on Wednesday. According to the report, there are extensive costs associated with the estate tax in terms of the dissolution of family businesses, slower growth of capital stock and a loss of output and income over time. This can be particularly hard on farm families, who own 98 percent of the nations 2.2 million farms. AFBF supports permanent elimination of the estate tax. Until this can be accomplished, Farm Bureau supports extending the current $5 million exemption. Without congressional action, in 2013, the estate tax exemption will shrink to $1 million per person with no spousal transfer, and the top rate will increase to 55 percent, striking a blow to farmers and ranchers trying to transition from one generation to the next.
 

More Women Than Men Enroll in Land-grant Ag Programs

7/17/2012

A recently concluded national study of 70 land-grant universities found that undergraduate women enrolled in agriculture programs outnumber undergraduate men by more than 2,900 students. The Food and Agricultural Education Information System studied trends related to gender among undergraduate students enrolled in 14 agriculture academic areas at land-grant institutions between 2004 and 2011. The increase in undergraduate women studying agriculture is a fairly new trend. As recently as 2004, men outnumbered women by more than 1,400 students. By 2008, the number of undergraduate women and undergraduate men enrolled in agriculture academic areas was about equal. This growth in undergraduate women studying agriculture tracks closely with an overall increase in women farmers tracked by the Agriculture Department. The departments most recent Census of Agriculture revealed that the number of women farm operators increased by 19 percent (to 1,008,943) between 2002 and 2007.
 

Wanted: Century Farms Stories for Website

7/17/2012

The Agricultures Lasting Heritage website tells the stories of Americas farm and ranch families and how century farms (in operation by the same family for more than 100 years) have helped to shape our nations history.
 
Century farm families can nominate their farms for a feature on the website at http://alh@fb.org(click "Submit Your Own Profile). It takes just a few minutes to answer a few questions online and nominate your farm. You may also submit a nomination for your farm by sending an e-mail to http://alh@fb.org.
 
 
 
 

HARTFORD COUNTY FARM BUREAU HOSTS SEMINAR FOR EMERGENCY PERSONNEL ON FARM EQUIPMENT ACCIDENTS ON JULY 19

6/28/2012

Farm accidents claim many lives each year throughout our country and can be a tremendous challenge to emergency responders for many reasons. The accident may not be discovered and reported immediately, the farm may be remotely located and have poor access for emergency services, and it may include unfamiliar conditions and equipment. Hartford County Farm Bureau, with the generous assistance of Stanton Equipment in East Windsor will host an event targeting first responders and agriculture emergencies on July 19, 2012 starting at 7:00 P.M at Stanton Equipment, 105 South Main Street, East Windsor CT.
 
This evening seminar will enable fire, police and medical personnel the ability to become familiar with the potential hazards when responding to an emergency call involving agriculture equipment. Responders will be familiarized with different equipment they might encounter on a call to a farm such as hay balers, rotary cutters, live PTO drive shafts, tractors, loaders, planters, equipment blowers, and their respective dangers. Sometimes knowing simply how to shut off equipment can save lives. Fire, police and other emergency personnel are encouraged to attend, free of charge, and ask questions of farmers and equipment operators.
 
This event also marks the beginning of a year-long effort by Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) to facilitate Emergency Preparedness on local farms. Farm Bureau has received an Agriculture Viability Grant through the Connecticut Department of Agriculture to provide education and outreach to help Connecticut farms and farm businesses operate during times of natural disaster and infrastructure crisis. CFBA will be distributing a directory of emergency resources to farmers, recruiting a network of volunteers to report local assessments of farm needs in emergencies, and generating an inventory of resources available to share with responders and other farmers such as generators, chainsaws, loaders and refrigeration. Responders attending this event will be encouraged to communicate how the agriculture community can assist first responders within each community.
 
"We learned in this past year that natural and man-made disasters can come in any season," says Henry Talmage, Executive Director of Connecticut Farm Bureau Association. "Farm Bureau's interest is to protect our farm businesses--to be sure they get the resources they need to keep their animals safe and fed, gain access to the fuel they need to operate, protect their livelihood and ensure Connecticut's food supply is not interrupted. Farmers need to know who to call first--whether the road is blocked, a barn roof has collapsed on livestock or a generator is failing and can't power the milking parlor.
 
" We want to ensure the Department of Agriculture receives updates on localized or widespread farm and agriculture infrastructure emergencies as soon as possible so the state's Emergency Management Center can provide agriculture appropriate and timely assistance," explains Talmage.
 
Responders planning to attend the July 19 seminar are encouraged to reserve a spot, but it is not required. For additional questions call the Hartford County Farm Bureau Office at 860-844-8444

Agricultural Producers Encouraged to Complete Mobile Poultry Processing Survey

6/18/2012

The Connecticut Poultry Association is seeking input from poultry growers on the potential use of a mobile poultry processing unit for Connecticut.
 
If you are interested in growing and processing your own meat-type chickens or turkeys, please take a moment and fill out the survey at
 

New Farm Safety Resources Available Online

6/14/2012

A new farm-related educational resource has been added to a national Cooperative Extension Service website that offers everyone from beginning farmers to veteran growers answers to hundreds of farm-related safety and health questions.
 
The easy-to-navigate format features information from a consortium of 74 land-grant universities. The website provides tips on farm safety and health issues ranging from grain bin entrapments to safe handling of beef cattle. Articles on the site cover a range of topics including safety recommendations when baling and handling big round hay bales; confined-space hazards and gas monitoring of manure pit gases; youth ATV safety; and hearing loss.
 
 

Connecticut Strawberries Ripen Early and Are Ready to Pick According to Fruit Growers

6/1/2012

June 1, 2012--Strawberry season has come early to Connecticut this year and pick-your-own operations are ready for customers. Strawberries normally ripeningin early to mid-June, but this season's growing conditions have pushed the berries to ripen one to two weeks early.
 
According to Henry Talmage, Executive Director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association , reports on the strawberry season are positive, but it has arrived early." The hot weather earlier in the spring pushed the fruit trees and berry crops to bear earlier. Although early heat caused some concern, the consistent rainfall and cooler weather in April seemed to bring the strawberry crop along nicely. These warm sunny days will promote the ripe berries customers love to taste," says Talmage.
 
Jamie Jones of Jones Family Farms in Shelton, for example reports that the day after Memorial Day was the first day of their pick-your-own season. In the 40 years that Terry Jones has been growing berries, this is the first time the strawberries have been ready enough for the Jones family to open the fields to picking in May. "The berries look good and taste good," reports Jones. " The early warm weather has speeded up the ripening."
 
In northeastern Connecticut, Shari Hurst of Andover reports she is very optimistic about the season. Shari and Tom farm under an acre of strawberries and distribute their berries through their own Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), farm stand, and farmers' markets. "Although we needed to Irrigate our berries early due to the dryness, the frequency of a little rain now and then over the past few weeks has contributed to a good start to our crop. The season is only three weeks long at most, and it has already begun. Folks need to get their strawberries sooner than later."
 
As Jamie Jones urges, " Get them while they're sweet."
 
Strawberry growers and farmers' markets can be found at www.buyctgrown.com and at the Connecticut Department of Agriculture's website, www.ctgrown.gov and click on Publications for farm maps.

Farmers: Protect Your Skin on Dont Fry Day and Every Day

5/16/2012

To encourage sun safety awareness and remind everyone to protect their skin while outdoors, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has declared May 25the Friday before Memorial Dayas "Dont Fry Day.
 
Skin cancer is on the rise in the United States due to overexposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun. The American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from skin cancer. This year alone, ACS estimates there will be more than 76,250 new cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, and more than two million new cases of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers in the U.S.
 
"Farmers and ranchers are fortunate to be able to spend much of their working lives outdoors, said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. "The downside of prolonged exposure to the sun while on the farm or ranch is that it can lead to skin damage and cancer. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, outdoor workers experience twice the amount of nonmelanoma skin cancers (basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas) compared to those who work indoors. Fortunately, skin cancer is highly curable if found early and can be prevented.
 
Because no single step can fully protect you and your family from overexposure to UV radiation, the council recommends the following: do not burn or tan; seek shade often, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; wear sun-protective clothing; generously apply sunscreen; use extra caution near water, snow and sand; and get Vitamin D safely.
 
Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to UV radiation. Individuals with lighter-toned skin are more susceptible to UV damage, although people of all races and ethnicities can be at risk for skin cancer. Those who have a family history of skin cancer, numerous moles or freckles or a history of severe sunburns early in life are at a higher risk of skin cancer as well.
 
To minimize the harmful effects of excessive and unprotected sun exposure, protection from intense UV radiation should be a life-long practice for everyone. The best way to detect skin cancer early is to examine your skin regularly for changes in moles and skin growths; schedule a visit with your doctor if you notice any change.

Summary of Farm Bill posted by Senate Agriculture Committee.

5/9/2012

The (U.S.) Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday released a 17-page summary of the farm bill reported out of committee two weeks ago. Read the summary online here:
 
Farm Bureau continues to urge that the bill be brought to the Senate floor prior to the Memorial Day recess.
 
 
source:  American Farm Bureau Executive Newswatch

Agritourism Brochure Distribution Program applications due May 11

5/8/2012

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture's Agritourism Brochure Distribution Program enables farms with an agritourism component to have their brochures placed in a dedicated, freestanding rack in Connecticut's sic major welcome centers.
 
Thousands of tourists visit the centes each month and provide a great opportunity to increase on-farm traffic.  The monthly participation fee varies vased on selected months and locations.  Space is limited to 24 brochures per center per month.
 
The guidelines ane enrollment form are available at www.ctgrown.gov (Go to "Programs and Services" then "Agritourism Brochure Distribution Program."  Applications for the 2012-13 season will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, and must be received by May 11, 2012.  The first delivery will occur the weekend before Memorial Day and continue through the year.  Contact Jaime L. Smith at jaime.smith@ct.gov or 860-713-2559 with questions.

Farm Bureau members featured at New Milford Farmland Preservation Presentation

5/4/2012

New Milford CT, May 4th---Farming and farmers are an extremely valuable but often underappreciated resource. The New Milford Farmland Preservation Committee has been tasked with preserving both.  A six-person panel has been invited to describe some of them at "Tools - Techniques - Education Preservation: Resources and Ideas for Local Farmers and Landowners on May 15, 7-9:30 PM at the New Milford Railroad Station in New Milford, 11 Railroad Street.
 
A Q & A session will be held. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.
 
The event is the second of a series of talks organized for area farmers and sustainable farming advocates being organized by the New Milford Farmland Preservation Committee (NMFPC). Additional information about the event is available from NMFPs Steve Kleppin at (skleppin_1@charter.net or 203.417.8388). The Speakers include Karen Kalenauskas from the CT Farm Bureau Association, Litchfield County President  who will be speaking on hot topic farm issues we are facing on the state level; Katherine Winslow from the CT Department of Agriculture  who will speak about preservation programs and other programs available from the Department; Kip Kolesinskas from the American Farmland Trust and formerly from the NRCS, who will be speaking on preservation programs offered by the NRCS as well as programs and support offered by the American Farmland Trust; Keith Padin who is the marketing and social media director for the Jones Family Farms in Shelton  who will be discussing marketing and social media opportunities; Nancy Moore from Moorefield Herb Farm in Monroe who operates a very successfully herb, flower and heirloom tomato business on a six acre parcel; and Diane Karabin from Karabin Farms whose family offers a wide variety of agricultural products at their year-round family farm in Southington.

National Wool Handling School To Be Held In Massachusetts

5/3/2012

The Worcester County & Eastern Massachusetts Sheep Breeders Association is hosting the ASI Wool Handling School and The American Lamb Board for a two-day event on June 2-3 at the Norfolk County Agricultural School in Walpole, MA. Any interested parties are invited to attend.
 
On Saturday, June 2 the event will begin with registration, coffee and donuts from 8 AM to 9 AM. At 9 AM, Nick Forrest from The American Lamb Board will speak about what the ALB is doing for sheep producers. From 10-15 AM to 5 PM on Saturday, and continuing into Sunday, June 3rd, the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) consultant Ron Cole will be conducting a hands-on Wool Handling School. Topics to be covered include: Wool Science 101, wool value determining characteristics, wool handling classing and skirting, preventing wool contamination, setting up the shearing crew, wool warehouse issues, scouring and top-making, and wool quality improvement programs. Participants will receive hands-on practical experience in fleece preparation, classing, skirting, throwing, the parts of a fleece, and baling and labeling wool bags. There will also be discussions comparing wool, wool/hair fleeces, hand spinning fleeces, and the end uses of each. This is a rare opportunity to participate in a comprehensive wool school close to home in the Northeast!
 
The registration fee is only $20 (includes lunch), payable to Worcester County Sheep Breeders, and mailed to Nancy Miniter, PO Box 729, Sherborn, MA 01770 together with your name, address, telephone and email address. Nancy can be contacted at jnen@aol.com or 508-740-3839. A block of rooms has been reserved under the name "Worcester County Sheep Breeders at the Holiday Inn Express, 395 Old Post Road, Sharon, MA (781-784-1000) for $90 per night plus tax. The Norfolk County Agricultural School is located a few miles away on Route 1A in Walpole.

American Farmland Trust Offers Free Seminars on Planning for the Future of Your Land

4/30/2012

Windsor, Conn., May 1, 2012Do you own farm or forest land in Connecticut? Have you planned for its futurewhether or when to protect it, how to treat it in your estate planning, whether or how to rent it, how to manage it for farming or forestry?
 
Whether you are just beginning the planning process or developing questions while planning is already underway, Planning Your Lands Future: An Introductory Workshop for Landowners can help you understand your options and make informed choices. A variety of expert speakers will discuss and answer questions about estate planning and land transfer, land protection options and techniques, land rental and leasing, and production and financial management through crop insurance and other tools.
 
There are two opportunities to attend:
  Thursday, May 31, 6:00 to 8:30 pm: Lebanon Fire Safety Complex, Lebanon, CT
  Friday, June 1, 6:00 to 8:30 pm: Litchfield Extension Center, Torrington, CT
 
 Both workshop sessions are free and will include a light supper. For more information and to register, please  visit http://www.farmland.org/programs/states/ct/farmland-workshops.asp or call 203-988-3270. Space is limited, and the deadline to register is Friday, May 25.
 
The seminars are a cooperative effort of American Farmland Trust, University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System, Connecticut Department of Agriculture, USDA Risk Management Agency as part of the Targeted States Crop Insurance Education and Information Program, Northeast Center for Risk Management Education, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
 
The material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2010-49200-6201. Additional sponsors include University of Vermont Extension, Eastern Connecticut Resource Conservation and Development Council, Housatonic Valley Association, Working Lands Alliance, Connecticut Land Conservation Council, Land for Good, Connecticut Farm Bureau, Connecticut Farmland Trust, and Connecticut State Grange. 

Middlesex County Farm Bureau Honors Ag Day Baby

3/21/2012

Middlesex County Farm Bureau Women's Leadership committee celebrated Connecticut Ag Day by presenting Middlesex County agricultural products and certificates to the first baby born on March 21st at Middlesex Hospital, and her family. Alanah Eve, daughter of Jessica and Sean Angus of Meriden, has been honored as the 2012 Agriculture Day Baby. Alanah was born at 10:27 A.M., weighing 7lbs. 11 oz., and was 20 inches long.

The basket of agricultural items presented to Alanah and her parents by Sydney Mintz, chair of the Women's Leadership Committee, included eggs from Mothership Farm in Durham, apples, apple pie, applesauce and cider from Lyman Farm-Middlefield, homespun fiber from Goose Down Farm-East Haddam, maple syrup from Hawkshead Farm in Westbrook, Chardonnay wine from Chamard Vineyards in Clinton, Guida's dairy products, and gifts certificates for a Christmas tree from Peaceful Hill Tree Farm-East Hampton and bedding plants from J C Farm & Greenhouses in Durham. The family was also given a membership to Farm Bureau.

Farm Bureau's Young Farmers Tally Contributions to Hunger Program

2/23/2012

The farm and ranch families of Farm Bureau last year raised more than $556,273 and donated more than 10 million pounds of food to assist hungry Americans as part of Farm Bureaus "Harvest for All program through Feeding America. Combined, the monetary and food donations provided nearly 13 million meals.
 
Members of Farm Bureaus Young Farmers & Ranchers program, including Connecticut Farm Bureau's Young Farmers' Committee,  spearhead Harvest for All across the country, but all facets of Farm Bureau contribute to the effort. For the first time, 20 state Farm Bureaus heeded the call to action, including Connecticut.
 
 The joint effort between Farm Bureau and Feeding America is a national community action program through which farmers and ranchers can help ensure every American enjoys the bounty they produce. "The Harvest for All initiative is one of the most important community service efforts undertaken by Farm Bureau members, especially in these tough economic times, said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. "I am proud that so many statesa record 20participated this year. By joining together, we can help feed and nourish those who need help the most.
 
Aside from raising food and funds for the initiative, farmers and ranchers tallied 10,159 volunteer hours assisting hunger groups through Harvest for All in 2011. "This effort clearly shows farmers and ranchers from across the nation are stepping up to the plate to ensure that all Americans have food on their dinner tables, said Glen Cope, AFBF YF&R chair and an Aurora, Mo., beef producer. "I am extremely proud to be part of Farm Bureau, and especially the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, whose members always go that extra mile to help those in need.
 
The Illinois Farm Bureau took top honors for raising the most funds and volunteer hours in 2011, raising $401,000 and volunteering 4,000 hours. The New York Farm Bureau was number one in food donated at 6 million pounds. By winning the three categories, Illinois received a $3,000 grant and New York received a $1,500 grant to donate to the food bank of their choice. Second place winners were Indiana Farm Bureau for funds donated at $49,000; California Farm Bureau Federation for food donated at 1.4 million pounds; and Michigan Farm Bureau for volunteer time at 3,600 volunteer hours. Second place winners received a $1,000 grant from AFBF to donate to the food bank of their choice.
 
In addition, five state YF&R committees received $500 grants for "most innovative programs. The winners are Maryland for its "Freezing for a Reason activity; Virginia for its "Fresh Food for Virginias Cooperative Project; Michigan for its "Pick a Peck for People activity; North Carolina for its "Fill a Truck campaign; and Montana for its "Hoofin it for Hunger 5K Walk/Run.
 
Connecticut Farm Bureau's Young Farmers Committee conducts a challenge among the eight county Farm Bureaus leading up to the November annual meeting.  It will reward Windham County Farm Bureau  for donating the most food by cooking dinner at a county meeting in March.
 
The national awards were presented this month during AFBFs YF&R Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich. Since Harvest for All was launched nine years ago, Farm Bureau families have gathered more than 49 million pounds of food, logged nearly 60,000 volunteer hours and raised more than $1.8 million in donations. Combined, the food and money donations amount to more than 55 million meals.
 
 

Uconn Extension announces GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) Lite Workshops

2/13/2012

The UConn GAP School will provide three learning opportunities for small farmers, CSAs, school gardeners or other farmers who are not required to participate in a third party GAP audit.
 
Learn how to reduce microbial contamination of produce; be proactive and reduce the risk of food-borne illness and protect those who eat what you grow; and begin the process of putting together a "lite edition of a GAP food safety plan.
 
These workshops will be held:
1. March 13 New Haven County Extension Center, North Haven 9am 12noon
2. March 22 Litchfield County Extension Center, Torrington 9am 12noon
3. March 26 Tolland County Extension Center, Vernon 9am 12noon
 
There is no charge, but preregistration is required. Contact Diane Hirsch at 203-407-3163 or Diane.hirsch@uconn.edu for more information or to register.

Agriculture Commissioner Reviczky Announces New Farmland Restoration Program; Funded with $5 million to Return Farmland to Production

2/13/2012

Agricultural Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky has announced that the State Bond Commission approved $5,000,000 in funding for the Connecticut Department of AGriculture's new Farmland Restoration Program.
 
Authorized by Public Act 11-1, this voluntary program provides matching grants of up to $20,000 for restoration activities that increase the state's farmland resource base for agriculture, with an emphasis on prime and important farmland soils and on human and livestock food production.  It is expected that the program will be able to work with over 250 farms.
 
"Connecticut's agricultural sector is a critical component of the state's history and our economy, and we are committed to supporting efforts to preserve, protect and restore our farms," said Governor Malloy.  "Over the past year we have worked hard to strengthen our economy, adding more than 9,000 jobs in the state in the last 13 months.  Investing in our farms and dairies and expanding their potential is part of Connecticut's economic recover, and highlights our respect for our agricultural heritage."
 
The Department of Agriculture will give priority to projects targeting production of fruits and vegetables.  The agency will consider livestock, livestock feed, and support production second, with tertiary consideration given to other uses based on land use and acreage to be restored for agricultural production.
 
For complete press release on the Connecticut Department of Agriculture's Website, as well as a program overview, application form and checklist, CLICK HERE.
 

CONNECTICUT FARM BUREAU EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NAMED VICE-CHAIR OF GOVERNORS COUNCIL FOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT

1/17/2012

Windsor, Connecticut January 17, 2012 Henry Talmage, who serves as the Executive Director for the Connecticut Farm Bureau, has been chosen by Connecticut Agriculture Commissioner Steven Reviczky to co-chair the Governors Council for Agricultural Development. The Council, which was reactivated through legislation passed last spring and had its first meeting on January 5th, is charged with increasing the success of the states agricultural industry. Talmage will co-chair with Dr. Greg Weidemann, Dean and Director of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Connecticut.
 
"This appointment to the Governor's Council and to serve Commissioner Reviczky in this role as vice-chairman is a tremendous honor," says Mr. Talmage. "Connecticut Farm Bureau has taken the lead on many of the initiatives that the council plans to address. I agree with Commissioner Reviczky that these are exciting times for agriculture. Farm Bureau is pleased to see farm businesses receive the attention it deserves. "
 
The Council will make recommendations to the Department of Agriculture on ways to increase the percentage of consumer dollars spent on Connecticut-grown fresh produce and farm products. This includes, but is not limited to, increasing the amount of money spent by state residents on locally-grown farm products to not less than five per cent of all food expenditures by 2020. Additionally, the Council will make recommendations concerning the development, diversification and promotion of agricultural products, programs and enterprises in the state and provide for an interchange of ideas from the various commodity groups and organizations represented.
 
"The fifteen-member council was appointed by the Governor and legislative leaders and includes six individuals actively engaged in agricultural production, members representing agricultural processing, marketing, sales, a trade association, the green industry and agricultural education, says Talmage. "By law, the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is named vice-chair and by being designated to represent the Connecticut Milk Promotion Board, I was selected as the other chair. Each of us will head up a sub-committee. Mine will focus on production, investment and infrastructure and Dean Weidemanns, will deal with issues related to demand, education and research.
 
During the Councils first meeting, Commissioner Reviczky reviewed examples of plans created by other states that have developed state-level plans for food and agriculture. They also reviewed "A Proposal for Growing Connecticut Farms, Food and Jobs" presented by Jiff Martin from UConn Cooperative Extension and Melissa Spear from Common Ground. The proposal was created by a working group in 2011 with which Mr. Talmage participated and contains recommended actions including improving state leadership, planning, and coordination with regard to the food system; strengthening the path from farm to institution; developing a key foods growth strategy; and strengthening food system training and education.
 
"The goals of the Governor's Council are closely aligned with many of the initiatives Connecticut Farm Bureau is undertaking," says Mr. Talmage. "For example, CFBA has just been awarded a USDA Specialty Crop Grant to help increase farmers' understanding of marketing and distributing fruits and vegetables to a variety of outlets in an effort to help increase in-state consumption of Connecticut-grown fruits and vegetables. These efforts will contribute to the improving opportunities for producers."
 
Additional members of the Governor's Council include Erica Andrews of Hurricane Farm, Scotland, Allyn L. Brown, III of Maple Lane Farms, LLC and Connecticut Currant, LLC, Preston, Winter Caplanson of Coventry Regional Farmers' Market, Coventry, James Guida of Guida's Milk, Kensington , George Hindinger of Hindinger Farm in Hamden, Jason Hoagland representing the Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation, Herb Holden, Jr. of Double H Acres in Broad Brook, Jamie Jones of Jones Family Farms of Shelton, Michael T. Keilty of Maple Spring Farms, Morris, Shelly Oechsler of Botticello Farms, Manchester and Kevin Sullivan, Jr. of Chestnut Hill Nursery, Stafford.
 
Participation in the work of the Governor's Council will extend beyond the immediate committee members. According to the Department of Agriculture's CT Farm-to-Chef Program News, Commissioner Reviczky expressed that individuals can provide input to the council, or be part of working groups under the council's two major subcommittees.

Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success Webinar Series Launched

1/5/2012

The Farmers Market Federation of NY and the NY Farm Viability Institute have partnered with USDA Northeast SARE to present a series of webinars on marketing, "Marketing for Profits: Tools for Success. The series will include coverage of 5 categories of marketing concepts spanning three years: Self-Assessment, Market Assessment, Customer Assessment, Communications Assessment and Business Assessment.
 
Each Assessment will be a series of 3 webinars. These webinars have been designed with the assistance of regional and national marketing experts to provide critical marketing insights for farmers and farm markets throughout the northeast.
 
As producers, farmers are well-equipped with the knowledge to produce quality farm products. They determine the best methods of farming, and the crop mix that will help them to achieve their production goals and revenue requirements. They understand and follow all statutory regulations impacting their operation, comply with labor law and file mounds of paperwork. But when it comes to marketing, many producers believe the Field of Dreams version of "Build it and they will come. Marketing is a concept that must be learned to achieve maximum profits from chosen marketing channels, whether it is farmers markets, CSAs, direct to restaurant sales, or another other venue.
 
 Marketing encompasses a broad array of efforts all aimed at identifying your market and customers, satisfying your customers and maintaining your customers long term. It includes all marketing channel selections and business decisions, what to grow or produce and how it will be produced; ie conventional, organic, bio-dynamic or some amalgam of these; how you choose to make products available, how product is presented to the public, how you present your business, advertising and promotions, signage, pricing strategy, and so on. Marketing is complex and is often the most misunderstood and least successful part of many farm businesses.
 
The Self-Assessment webinars will be held in January and February 2012. We invite all farm direct markets, Extension Educators and Farm Service providers to participate in the webinars. In addition, each webinar series will be available in a curriculum for Extension Educators and others to present in workshops with the farmers and marketers in their county/region.
 
The webinar schedule is as follows:
Who Dat? Assessing Your Own Identity Laura Biasillo, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Broome County Steve Hadcock, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Columbia County January 10, 10am 11:30am OR January 12, 7pm 8:30pm
 
 Whats Out There? Exploring Marketing Channels Matthew LaRoux, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Tompkins County February 7, 10am 11:30am OR February 9, 7pm 8:30pm
 
Where are We and Where do we Want to be? Steve Holzbauer, Fingerlakes Fresh and CNY Bounty February 21, 10am 11:30am OR February 23, 7pm 8:30pm To register for the webinars, email Diane Eggert at deggert@nyfarmersmarket.com.
 
For more information, detailed descriptions of the sessions or a full, 3 year curriculum, please contact Diane Eggert at deggert@nyfarmersmarket.com or David Grusenmeyer, dgrusenmeyer@nyfvi.org.

93rd AFBF Annual Meeting Kicks Off in Honolulu

1/4/2012

The American Farm Bureau Federations 93rd annual meeting, with the theme "Navigating the Waves of Change, kicks off in Honolulu at the Hawaii Convention Center on Friday. Anyone not able to attend the meeting may keep up with events by visiting or subscribing to the Farm Bureau Annual Meeting Blog at http://farmbureau.wordpress.com/. News from the meeting also will be available on AFBFs Facebook page and by following @FarmBureau and the hashtag #AFBF12 on the microblogging website Twitter.

NRCS Now Accepting Applications to Protect Farmland in Connecticut

12/12/2011


Connecticut State Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Jay Mar today announced the sign-up period for the agencys Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP).

"Applications are currently being accepted," said Mar. "However, the cutoff date for this years funding is February 24, 2012. This program helps ensure that valuable, productive land is protected. Since 1996, NRCS has provided $32 million to protect over 100 farmers in Connecticut," he said.

FRPP provides matching funds to help purchase development rights to keep farms in agricultural uses. Working through existing partner programs, USDA works with state, Tribal, or local governments and non-governmental organizations to purchase conservation easements from landowners. USDA provides up to 50% of the fair market easement value of the conservation easement.

To qualify, farmland must be part of a pending offer from a qualified state, Tribe, or local farmland protection program; be privately owned; contain at least 50% prime, statewide, or local important farmland soils; and include at least one-third cropland, grassland, and pasture land of the total acreage. All funds will be awarded to the highest ranking eligible parcels through a statewide, competitive process. Applications submitted after February 24, 2012, will be held for 2013 funding consideration.

For more information, visit us on the web at www.ct.nrcs.usda.gov/programs, or contact your nearest USDA Field Office: Danielson - (860) 779-0557; Hamden - (203) 287-8038; Norwich - (860) 887-3604; Torrington - (860) 626-8258; Windsor - (860) 688-7725.

USDA Announces Ranking Dates for Conservation Initiatives

12/8/2011

Connecticut State Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Jay Mar recently announced three closing dates for ranking On-Farm Energy, Organic, and Seasonal High Tunnel Conservation Initiatives applications. All offer technical and financial assistance through the agencys Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
"Producers tell us they want to apply for these initiatives, but many want more time to make sure they choose the one thats right for their operation," Mar said. "Moving to multiple ranking dates will make it easier for them to apply and begin implementing the practices they need to benefit natural resources."
NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis; however, there will be three ranking periods for the Organic, On-Farm Energy, and Seasonal High Tunnel Initiatives. Applications for the first must be received by February 3; second by March 30; and third by June 1, 2012. At the end of a period, NRCS ranks all proposals that have been submitted for funding consideration. NRCS will notify applicants of the results and begin developing contracts with those selected.
Initiative Overview
On-Farm Energy Initiative: NRCS and producers develop farm energy audits that assess energy consumption on an operation. NRCS then uses audit data to develop energy conservation recommendations.
Organic Initiative: NRCS helps certified organic growers and producers working to achieve organic certification install conservation practices for organic production.
Seasonal High Tunnel Pilot Initiative: NRCS helps producers plan and implement high tunnels that extend growing seasons in an environmentally safe manner.
For more information, visit the web us on the web at www.ct.nrcs.usda.gov/programs, or contact your nearest USDA Field Office:
Danielson - (860) 779-0557;
Hamden - (203) 287-8038;
Norwich - (860) 887-3604;
Torrington - (860) 626-8258;
Windsor - (860) 688-7725.

Farm Credit East and United Way Collaborate to Help Farmers Hurt by Storms

11/4/2011


Farm Credit East announced today that it has joined with CoBank, Yankee Farm Credit and United Way of the Greater Capital Region to provide financial assistance for farm families hurt by the Irene and Lee disasters. The Farm Credit organizations will be
providing donations of up to $500 to aid farm families during the holiday season.

Farm Credit East and CoBank have each committed $100,000 as seed funding for this effort. In addition, Farm Credit employees will also be making individual contributions to the fund. United Way has agreed to receive the funds and work with Farm Credit East in distributing the funds to farm families hurt by the disasters.
 
Farmers that are interested in receiving support from the Farm Credit East Cares initiative can submit an application online at FarmCreditEast.com or visit a local Farm Credit East office. In order to facilitate payments by mid-December all applications need to be received to Farm Credit East by November 26. The actual amount of the grants provided to the farm families will depend on the number of applications and the amount of total funds raised, with the cap being $500 per farm. To be eligible a farm must have had $10,000 in damage or crop losses. This initiative covers the states of New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

"Many hardworking farm families have suffered tremendously as a result of the Irene and Lee disasters. It will take years for many of these families to recover, said Bill Lipinski, CEO of Farm Credit East. "We are pleased to join with CoBank and United Way to provide this support to help families have a better holiday season.

"These grants are not intended to help cover business losses that is the role of insurance and support from FEMA, USDA and state government. We just want folks to know we care and hope that they can be positive during the holidays, said Lipinski. "These funds are available to all eligible farmers in declared disaster areas in the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire these funds are not restricted to Farm Credit customers.

"Supporting agriculture and rural communities is a core part of the mission of CoBank and the Farm Credit System, said Bob Egerton, Eastern Region President for CoBank. "Were
extremely pleased to be joining with Farm Credit East, Yankee Farm Credit and United Way to help farmers in the Northeast, who play such a vital role in the regions rural economy.

"At United Way, we know that the best way to help people in need in our communities is to
work together. Its what we call living united, said Brian T. Hassett, President and CEO, United Way of the Greater Capital Region. "Were grateful to Farm Credit East for selecting us as their partner, and grateful to our local communities for coming together to help their neighbors in need.

As a lender, Farm Credit East is working with customers impacted by the disasters. Efforts vary depending on each individual situation, but include loan payment deferments, loan restructuringand new loans.

"We are very appreciative of the efforts of United Way to work with us to facilitate this
 initiative, said CEO Lipinski. Anyone interested in supporting farm families can contribute to this fund by sending a check to United Way GCR 2011 Farm Assistance, United Way of the Greater Capital Region, PO Box 13865, Albany, NY 12212, or visit www.unitedwaygcr.org/donate.aspx (in the honor section type in Farm Assistance). All funds will be distributed to affected farms or non-profit organizations that are directly assisting farmersan application online at FarmCreditEast.com or visit a local Farm Credit East office                                  

Important News for Farmers from the CT Dept. of Agriculture

11/4/2011

Nov. 1st Filing Deadlines Extended

Governor Dannell Malloy signed an Executive Order extending the filing deadlines to Nov. 15th for PA 490 Farm Land, Forest Land and Open Space and Personal Property Declarations and M28 Exemption Forms for Livestock and Equipment with local assessors. Local assessors have been notified of these extensions.

The Governor signed a second Executive Order extending the filing deadline to Nov.15th for unemployment insurance tax filings.

Storm Related Reporting

Once again, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture will be collecting information about storm-related damage to farms as a result of the recent winter storm.  As with past events, the information received will be shared with the USDA Farm Service Agency. The information collected will be used to prepare damage reports for Governor Malloy, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, and may be used to seek federal assistance.  Any federal assistance is dependent upon the level of damage and crop loss by county.  Reporting forms are available on this CFBA website under County Links on your county's webpage, This information has also been posted on the Connecticut Department of Agriculture's website: www.ctgrown.gov.  
 
The Connecticut Farm Bureau Office in Windsor is temporarily closed until power can be restored however the Association continues to operate to serve its' members.  Executive Director Henry Talmage may be reached on his cell phone at 860 380-0767. 

 

 


American Farmland Trust and UConn release Guide to Leasing Farmland for Ag Use

10/11/2011

Facing the third highest farm real estate values in the country, farmers in Connecticut, especially those just beginning, are challenged to find productive and affordable farmland. For many farmers, leasing land is a more viable option, and farmland owned by non-farmerssuch as municipalities, land trusts and institutionsrepresents a potentially important source of land for new and expanding farm operations.
 
A new guide published by American Farmland Trust (AFT) and the University of Connecticut seeks to help towns, institutions and land trusts navigate the process of leasing land to farmers or managing it themselves for agricultural use. Farmland ConneCTions: A Guide for Towns, Institutions, and Land Trusts Using or Leasing Farmland outlines the legal and practical considerations involved in leasing farmland and provides information and case studies of successful community farms that have been established across the state. This free guide is available through the Connecticut office of American Farmland Trust or can be downloaded from the Farmland ConneCTions page of the website:  www.farmland.org.
 
 "We hope this guide will serve to connect those looking for farmland with those with farmland to lease, said Cris Coffin, New England Director for AFT. "Whether its
five acres or 100, farmland leased by communities, land trusts and institutions to farmers, or used for community farms, can help grow Connecticuts farms, food and economy. Towns and land trusts that have purchased and protected farmland sometimes lack the staff or expertise needed to develop a successful lease arrangement with a farmer, so they leave the land fallow instead. In other instances, farmland is rented out a farmer, but the conditions on its use are so narrowly restricted that it contributes little to a farms profitability.
 
"We are working to fill an important service gap in Connecticut for new and existing farmers seeking farmland. The conversation has started about how to close that gap, but we're far from building perfect capacity, added Jiff Martin, Associate Extension Educator for Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Connecticut.
 
For more information, contact  Leah Mayor, Project Director Working Lands Alliance,
New England Project Manager, American Farmland Trust, 775 Windsor, CT 06095.  AFTs Connecticut office can be reached at (860) 683-4230.


Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) Announces Upcoming Grants and Deadlines.

10/10/2011

Northeast SARE announces deadlines on three 2012 grant programs for farmers, farm service providers and organizations involved in sustainable agriculture community development.
 
Deadline October 19 for Sustainable Community Grants
 
Sustainable Community Grants make a direct connection between community revitalization and farming. Projects must address specific key issues such as farm finance, marketing, land use, water use, enterprise development, value-added product development, or other delineated topic areas.
To apply, you must be affiliated with Cooperative Extension, a municipality, a state department of agriculture, a college or university, a community organization, or other institutional entity.
 
Deadline November 1, 2011 for Partnership Grants

Partnership Grants are reserved for agricultural service providers--extension staff, nonprofits, consultants, state departments of agriculture, and others working in the agricultural community--who want to conduct on-farm demonstrations, research, marketing, and other projects with farmers as active cooperators.
 
Deadline December 1, 2011 for Farmer Grants

Farmer Grants are for commercial producers who have an innovative idea they want to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, or other technique. A technical advisor--often an extension agent, crop consultant, or other service professional--is required as a project participant.

Projects should seek results other farmers can use, and all projects must have the potential to add to our knowledge about effective sustainable practices.
 
For complete information on the grants, including applications, instructions, examples of past grants, visit www.nesare.org
 
For questions, contact 802-656-0471 or inquire by email to nesare@uvm.edu

Sign-Up for 2010 Crop Losses to Begin November 14, 2011;

10/3/2011

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Bruce Nelson today informed farmers that enrollment for 2010 crop losses under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program will begin Nov. 14, 2011. Sign-up for the 2012 Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program (DCP) and the Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE) will begin Jan. 23, 2012.
 
"Eligible producers who suffered losses during the 2010 crop year are encouraged to visit their local FSA office to learn more about the SURE program and how to apply, said Nelson. "Because the 2008 Farm Bill does not authorize advance direct payments for 2012, the 2012 DCP and ACRE sign-up will begin on Jan. 23, 2012. This will allow county office employees to expedite disaster assistance sign-up this fall.
 
Administrator Nelson also reminds producers that losses must occur on or before Sept. 30, 2011, to be eligible for the five disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill: SURE; the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP); the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP); the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP); and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP). Disasters occurring after this date are not eligible for program coverage.
 
As noted above, sign-up for 2010 crop losses under the SURE program will begin Nov. 14, 2011. Sign-up for 2011 crop losses will be accepted in the fall of 2012, when the 2011 farm revenue data required by statute becomes available. Sign-up is currently underway for 2011 losses for LFP, LIP, ELAP and TAP. Sign-up ends Jan. 30, 2012, for LFP, LIP, and ELAP. Producers have 90 days from the time a loss is apparent to file an application for TAP.
 
Numerous resources are available to help producers make informed decisions on program eligibility. FSA county office staff can answer many questions on program rules, application procedures and possible benefits. Calculators and decision tools can be found on some land grant university websites and can assist with potential payment calculations. FSA also has SURE and DCP/ACRE information available at www.fsa.usda.gov/sure and www.fsa.usda.gov/dcp, respectively. Information on the disaster programs can be found at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.
 
The Obama Administration under Agriculture Secretary Vilsacks leadership has worked tirelessly to strengthen rural America, maintain a strong farm safety net, and create opportunities for Americas farmers, ranchers and producers. U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing one of its best years in decades thanks to the productivity, resilience and resourcefulness of our producers. Today, net farm income is at record levels while total farm debt has declined nearly 2 percent. Overall, American agriculture supports 1 in 12 jobs in the United States and provides American consumers with 86 percent of the food we consume, while maintaining affordability and choice. The Obama Administration has also aggressively worked to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade for American producers, helping to push agricultural exports to a projected record $137.5 billion in 2011. Strong agricultural exports contribute to a positive U.S. trade balance, creating jobs, and boosting economic growth. 

Farm Bureau Urges: Consider Big Picture of Farm Safety Net

10/3/2011

In farm bill recommendations sent to Congress on Thursday, the American Farm Bureau Federation said that continuing most current farm programs is the best way to ensure a farm safety net that works for all commodities and regions of the country.
 
"Americas farmers provide a bountiful supply of food for our nation and much of the world, said AFBF Bob Stallman. "But they cant control the outcome of every planting and harvest. Each season can present a different peril, be it bad weather, low prices or high production costs. Farm programs have been critical to the survival of our nations traditionally family-owned farms. Meanwhile, consumers reap the benefits of a top-quality, stable and economical food supply.
 
The Farm Bureau recommendations include maintaining all current commodity programs, including direct payments, crop insurance, ACRE (Average Crop Revenue Election), target prices, and marketing loan programs. Farm Bureau is willing to consider modifications and adjustments to these programs to make them more effective in a reduced budget environment.
 
AFBF acknowledged that funding reductions will have to be made and recommended spreading them out by making 30 percent of the necessary cuts in each of three program areas: commodity programs, conservation and nutrition, with 10 percent of the cuts in crop insurance funding. Those four areas make up 99 percent of the funding authorized in the farm bill. AFBF noted, however, that its recommended cuts in nutrition program funding could be made through administrative rather than program benefit cuts. AFBF recommended apportioning the commodity program cuts in a way that provides 94 percent of the reductions from reduced outlays for direct payments, 5 percent from the ACRE program and 1 percent from the dairy program.

Robust Growth Reported for U.S. Farmers Markets in 2011

10/3/2011

More than 1,000 new farmers markets were added across the country this year as interest in local food continues to grow. Its a trend that pleases Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, according to the October issue of AFBF's Foodie News.
 
According to the Agriculture Departments 2011 National Farmers Market Directory, a total of 7,175 farmers markets now operate throughout the nation as growing numbers of farmers market their products directly to consumers. Last year, USDA reported 6,132 farmers markets in operation.
 
Recent media reports have suggested that a glut of farmers markets exists in some regions of the country. Merrigan doesnt buy it. "I dont think that there is a serious problem, Merrigan told Foodie News editor Cyndie Sirekis in an exclusive interview. "The marketplace will straighten this out. People will move and move their productmove their markets where the customers are. There will be temporary adjustments in supply and demand until things even out.
 
 

'A Day in Agriculture Slated for Thursday, Sept. 29

9/27/2011

Farmers and ranchers are invited to be a part of AgWebs "A Day in Agriculture set for Thursday, Sept. 29. The first-ever event, sponsored by Farm Journal Media, is designed to capture a snapshot of one day in agriculture by providing cross-country coverage and focusing on how one day of agriculture impacts billions of people.
 
Farm Bureau members can participate by sharing a blog post, sending a video showing what they are doing on the farm that day, submitting several photos with captions of their farm or ranch, sending live Tweet updates or posting on Facebook about how you are involved in agriculture.
 
You can also call AgWeb editors and provide an audio update. To learn more about "A Day in Agriculture, click here.

Farm Bureau Backs Private Ag Research Support Bill

9/27/2011

Farm Bureau supports legislation, the Charitable Agricultural Research Act (S. 1561 and H.R. 2959), that would create a new type of charitable, tax-exempt organization to allow private monies to fund agricultural research. In a letter to cosponsors of the legislation in both houses of Congress, AFBF President Bob Stallman said agricultural research is critical to meet the growing global demand for food.
 
U.S. agricultural output grew by about 1.5 percent per year over the past 50 years. Global agricultural demand will increase 70 to 100 percent by 2050 according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Stallman stated. "Increases in agricultural efficiency and productivity must continue in order to meet the expanding global demand for food, Stallman said. "Yet, growth in public agricultural research spending has slowed dramatically since the early 1980s and has declined by more than 20 percent since peaking in 1994. Public funding for agricultural research must continue, but your legislation provides a new way to raise funds for research efforts critical to the future our industry.
 
Under the legislation, each agricultural research organization would work in conjunction with agricultural and land-grant colleges and universities to conduct agricultural research, further building on existing public and private efforts.

Attention Small Fruits and Berries Growers: Suspected cases of Spotted Wing Drosophila in CT

9/20/2011

Lorraine Los, Fruit Crops IPM Coordinator of the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture at the University of Connecticut reports that there are two suspected cases of Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) in berry crops in Connecticut.
 
The Spotted Wing Drosophila is a small vinegar fly of East Asian origin that can cause damage to many fruit crops. Unlike most other vinegar flies that require damaged fruit to attack, the SWD causes damage when the female flies cut a slit and lay eggs in healthy fruit. 
 
The insect is a pest of most berry crops, grapes, cherries and some other tree fruits, with a preference for softer-fleshed fruit. The SWD was first discovered in the western US in 2008 and moved quickly through the Pacific Northwest and Canada. In the spring of 2010, SWD was discovered in Florida on strawberries and detected later in the summer in the Carolinas. This year, the pest was found in a number of other states, including New Jersey, on blueberries. Small fruit growers in Connecticut should monitor for these flies at this time.
 
Please contact Lorraine Loos at Lorraine.Los@uconn.edu if you have any fruit with suspected SWD.
Growers should see this factsheet from Washington State on how to make a trap using vinegar and yellow sticky traps. http://ipm.wsu.edu/small/pdf/SWD_Bulletin_Eastern_WA_v1_04.pdf
 
For more information, visit these websites:
 
 

Hot, Dry Weather Shrinks Nations Corn Crop

9/14/2011

Due to a hot, dry summer over much of the Corn Belt, farmers were expecting the Agriculture Department to show a big drop in its estimate for the nations corn crop in its September Crop Production report released and thats just what happened.

In its latest forecast, USDA pegged the U.S. corn crop at just shy of 12.5 billion bushels, down 3 percent from its August estimate. USDA is estimating yields to average 148.1 bushels per acre, down 4.9 bushels from its August projection. If realized, this would be the lowest average yield in the United States since 2005.

"Due to excessive heat during pollination for most of the nations corn crop, everyone was expecting USDA to reduce its average corn yield in the September crop report from its August estimate, explained Todd Davis, crops economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation. "The average yield of 148.1 bushels per acre is pretty much what analysts were expecting. The theme of this marketing-year hasnt changed. We still have a very tight corn crop this year.
While USDA is forecasting a drop in supply, it is also projecting a drop in demand for exports, ethanol use and feed use. Still, Davis cautions that supplies are very tight and demand remains strong.

"If we have any more weather difficulties, this crop might get even smaller. We still need every bushel we can harvest this year, Davis said. "USDAs October crop will also be important because thats when adjustments to harvested acreage will be made. We could see a drop in harvested acres, which would make an already tight supply situation even tighter.
Davis said higher prices are having the expected impact of lowering demand. In its September report, USDA reduced corn exports by 100 million bushels from August, cut feed and residual demand by 200 million bushels and slashed ethanol demand by 100 million bushels.

"The drop in ethanol demand is not surprising. Demand for gasoline is down now that the busy summer driving season is coming to an end, Davis said. "Because of high corn prices and lower demand for ethanol, profit margins for ethanol producers will be very tight.
 
Source:  American Farm Bureau Federation

Senate Prepares to Mark Up Agriculture Spending Bill

9/6/2011

The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to mark up the agriculture spending bill for fiscal 2012 on Wednesday this week. Congress has until Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, to pass 12 appropriations bills.
 
Farm Bureau submitted a statement for the record to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture regarding Agriculture Department spending for fiscal 2012. Farm Bureau expressed strong opposition to using the fiscal 2012 ag appropriation bill to make changes to the farm safety net.
 
 Farm Bureau also identified three priorities for emphasis and funding for discretionary USDA programs in the bill. This includes programs that expand export markets for agriculture, promote broadband expansion and further develop renewable energy.
 
Farm Bureau also identified five other areas of importance for USDA programs in the bill. This includes programs that promote conservation; strengthen rural communities; enhance and improve food safety and protection; and promote animal health; in addition to research priorities. Although the Senate could take up the ag appropriations bill independently, it is much more likely that the measure will be combined with other appropriations bills and come to the floor as part of an omnibus measure. The House has already passed a fiscal 2012 agriculture appropriations bill.
 
Source:  American Farm Bureau Federation

An Important Message for Commercial Produce Growers and Livestock Owners from the Department of Agriculture

9/3/2011


The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DoAg) along with the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension system and agricultural industry groups are working to inform and provide a public message for commercial growers and gardeners concerning crops that have come in contact with flood waters, including the use of water from wells that may have become submerged by flooding.
Flood waters are likely to contain contaminants. These may come from upstream septic systems, lawns and roadways, industrial sites or overflow from municipal sewage systems. Contaminants may include: untreated sewage, oil and gas or other chemical contaminants. biological pathogens that could be in flood waters include bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

The edible portion of fresh fruits and vegetables that have come in contact with flood waters either in the field or subsequent to harvest may be a public health hazard if consumed and are considered adulterated by state law and the federal Food and Drug Administration and must be destroyed. Destruction of these crops should be documented by statements documenting the quantity, type of crop, value of crop, method of destruction, photographed before and after. Crops left unpicked should be plowed in and documented as above.

Water from wells that became submerged cannot be used in contact with fruits and vegetables until it has been evaluated for safety.

Fresh fruits and vegetables that have begun to spoil due to the lack of refrigeration should also be destroyed.

Disposition of crops in proximity to flooding, where the edible portion of the crop has not come in contact with flood waters, should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Factors to consider include:
stage of growth
proximity of edible portion to the flood waters
harvesting practices and potential for cross contamination between flooded and non-flooded areas
potential for fungal growth
buffer of un-harvested crop between flooded and non-flooded areas

More detailed information for commercial growers and home gardeners is available in the "Hot Topics" section at the University of Connecticut, College of Agriculture web site http://www.cag.uconn.edu or by calling (203) 407-3163
All Connecticut farmers are reminded to notify DoAg and the United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency of any Tropical Storm Irene related loss. The Department has forms available at http://www.ct.gov/doag/ or by calling (860) 713-2503.

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, Food Emergency Manual can be downloaded at http://www.ct.gov/dcp/lib/dcp/pdf/publications/emergencyfoodsafety__2_.pdf

Livestock owners should contact their veterinarian for guidance concerning feeding crops and commodities that have come in contact with flood waters. Livestock owners need to consider the potential contamination of livestock feeds by flood waters. More information can be obtained from the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension system at (860) 626-6240 or by contacting the State Veterinarian at (860) 713-2505.
Consumers concerned about foods in their homes exposed to flood waters or that have been without refrigeration can obtain information on the Connecticut Department of Public Healths website http://www.ct.gov/dph/ or by calling (860) 509-7297.

Important Message from Connecticut Ag Commissioner Reviczky about Storm Preparation

8/26/2011

Dear Connecticut Agricultural Producer:
The latest report from the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (http://www.ct.gov/demhs), issued at 8:15 a.m. today (Friday), indicates that Hurricane Irene is expected to arrive in the Bridgeport, Connecticut, area around 11:00 a.m. Sunday morning as a strong Category I hurricane.
 
It is imperative you take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of yourself, family, farm, and livestock.
 
The first effects from Irene are expected to begin Saturday afternoon with light rain, which is expected to become heavy at times by midnight. Heavy rain is expected to continue from midnight on Saturday through the passage of the center of Irene late Sunday morning (especially in Western Connecticut). Tropical storm force winds are expected to enter the state before daybreak on Sunday and hurricane force winds are expected by mid morning on Sunday. Information has been posted on the Connecticut Department of Agriculture's website, www.ctgrown.gov, to help you prepare your farm for the storm.
 
Additional information from Governor Malloy, available at www.ct.gov/Irene, can help you prepare your home and family. The Connecticut Department of Agriculture will be collecting information about storm-related damage to farms in the state. If you incur damage to your livestock, crops, equipment, or buildings, please fill out and return the attached form to us as soon as possible.
 
Please return the forms via one of the following methods:
  Fax: 860-713-2516
USPS: CT Department of Agriculture Marketing Department, 165 Capitol Avenue, Room 129, Hartford, CT 06106.
 
This information will be used to prepare damage reports for Governor Malloy and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection if needed. It also may be used to seek federal assistance if the extent of the damage warrants. Therefore it is very important that we receive information that is as accurate and complete as possible as soon as possible.
 
 Thank you for your assistance. Please stay safe and feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
 
Sincerely,
Steven K. Reviczky, Commissioner

Connecticut Farm Bureau awarded one of five "My American Farm" kiosks for agriculture education

8/22/2011

The free online educational games at "myamericanfarm.org are about to make an appearance at locations all across Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Texas and New Mexico.
 
Since launching the agricultural literacy resource in January 2011, the website has grown in popularity amongst educators, families, and, of course, students in the elementary school target audience. As such, the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is actively seeking to extend the reach of this resource through this new My American Farm kiosk initiative.
 
Through funding from Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is building five ready-to-use, mobile exhibits pre-loaded with the My American Farm games. The idea is to leverage My American Farm as an agricultural literacy exhibit at a variety of venues all across the country such as fairs, rodeos, conferences, and even places like the local zoo.
 
"My American Farm is more than the games and resources, its a fun and engaging way to share positive messages about agriculture with the public, says Dan Durheim, Director of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Texas and New Mexico Farm Bureau Associations were selected to receive a My American Farm Kiosk for use at venues throughout their state.
 
Recipients of the five mobile kiosks were determined through a competitive grant application process. In total, 45 applications were received. Key evaluation criteria included estimated audience reach, frequency of use, need, and other relevant factors.
 
According to Durheim, "My American Farm and the new kiosk program would not be possible without sponsorship from Pioneer, which pledged $535,000 over three years to support the project. "Pioneer is proud to be the title sponsor of this innovative agriculture literacy effort, said Steve Brody, director of government, community and industry relations for Pioneer. Look for the kiosks to hit the road in mid-September. The free games, activities and educator resources will continue to be available to everyone at www.myamericanfarm.org.
 
Source:  American Farm Bureau Federation

President Obama Announces Major Initiative to Spur Biofuels Industry and Enhance America's Energy Security

8/17/2011


President Obama today announced that the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Navy will invest up to $510 million during the next three years in partnership with the private sector to produce advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels to power military and commercial transportation. The initiative responds to a directive from President Obama issued in March as part of his Blueprint for A Secure Energy Future, the Administration's framework for reducing dependence on foreign oil. The biofuels initiative is being steered by the White House Biofuels Interagency Work Group and Rural Council, both of which are enabling greater cross-agency collaboration to strengthen rural America.

"Biofuels are an important part of reducing America's dependence on foreign oil and creating jobs here at home," said President Obama. "But supporting biofuels cannot be the role of government alone. That's why we're partnering with the private sector to speed development of next-generation biofuels that will help us continue to take steps towards energy independence and strengthen communities across our country."

Increased use of advanced biofuels is a key component of the Administration's energy security agenda, but there is currently a lack of this manufacturing capability for next-generation drop-in biofuels in the United States. To accelerate the production of bio-based jet and diesel fuel for military and commercial purposes, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus have developed a plan to jointly construct or retrofit several drop-in biofuel plants and refineries. This effort will help address energy security and national security challenges, and will provide economic opportunities in rural America.

"America's long-term national security depends upon a commercially viable domestic biofuels market that will benefit taxpayers while simultaneously giving Sailors and Marines tactical and strategic advantages," said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. "Today's announcement not only leverages our home grown fuel sources to support our national security, but it also helps advance the biofuels market, which ultimately brings down the cost of biofuels for everyone."

"By building a national biofuels industry, we are creating construction jobs, refinery jobs and economic opportunity in rural communities throughout the country," said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. "As importantly, every gallon of biofuel consumed near where it is produced cuts transportation costs and, for the military, improves energy security."

"These pioneer plants will demonstrate advanced technologies to produce infrastructure-compatible, drop-in renewable fuels from America's abundant biomass resources," said Energy Secretary Chu. "It will support development of a new, rural-focused industry that will replace imported crude oil with secure, renewable fuels made here in the U.S."

The joint plan calls for the three Departments to invest a total of up to $510 million, which will require substantial cost share from private industry of at least a one to one match. The partnership aims to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil and create jobs while positioning American companies and farmers to be global leaders in advanced biofuels production. The United States spends more than $300 billion on imported crude oil per year. Producing a domestic source of energy provides a more secure alternative to imported oil and improves our energy and national security.

In June, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council to build on the Administration's robust economic strategy for rural America and make sure that continued federal investments create maximum benefit for rural Americans. Administration officials have been working to coordinate programs across the government and encourage public-private partnerships to improve economic conditions and create jobs in rural communities.

President Obama's Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, providing affordable health care, promoting innovation and expanding the production of renewable energy. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining, and thriving economically.
 
Source:  U.S. Department of Agriculture

AFBF Pleased by DOT Guidance on Ag Transportation

8/10/2011

The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased the U.S. Department of Transportations Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration listened to farmer and rancher concerns regarding changes to agricultural transportation regulations and commercial drivers license provisions. As a result of comments received from AFBF and others, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today that the FMCSA has no intention to propose new regulations governing the transport of agricultural products, and that the agency has released guidance to states so they clearly understand common-sense exemptions "to allow farmers, their employees, and their families to accomplish their day-to-day work and transport their products to market.
 
"This public announcement and the guidance sent to states today by the FMCSA is great news for Americas farm and ranch families, said AFBF President Bob Stallman. "The key word is common-sense, and it was refreshing to see that our federal authorities heard the concerns we expressed. It lifts a big cloud of uncertainty in farm country and the action is greatly appreciated.
 
Stallman said he was pleased by Secretary LaHoods clarity in stating the department "had no intention of instituting onerous regulations on the hardworking farmers who feed our country and fuel our economy.
 
 "Operating and moving the machinery necessary to tend and harvest crops and care for livestock is a vital part of farming and ranching, Stallman said. "Long established protocols are in place at the state and local levels to ensure that safety is paramount, and that farmers are able to do their jobs and transport their goods to market.

Columnist Dave Barry to Keynote AFBF Annual Meeting

7/29/2011


Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist Dave Barry will deliver the keynote address at the American Farm Bureau Federations 93rd annual meeting, Jan. 9, 2012, in Honolulu.
More than 10,000 Farm Bureau members from across the nation are expected to gather in Hawaii Jan. 8-10 to hear from distinguished leaders and participate in a grassroots policy setting process that will guide the American Farm Bureau Federation through 2012.
Barry, a 25-year journalism veteran, is best known for his syndicated work that appeared in more than 500 newspapers in the U.S. and abroad. In 1988 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.

"We are excited to have Dave Barry as our keynote speaker, said AFBF President Bob Stallman. "We will be working through some very important policy issues during our time in Hawaii, so it will be nice to take a break from our business at hand and share a lighter moment with Dave Barry.
 
 Barry is the author of 30 books, two of which were used as the basis for the CBS TV sitcom Daves World, which aired 1993-1997. In his spare time, Barry plays lead guitar in a literary rock band called the Rock Bottom Remainders, whose other members include authors Stephen King, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson and Mitch Albom.

Farm Bureau members can register for the 93rd AFBF annual meeting through their state Farm Bureaus.

Farm Credit East Reports Northeast Farm Productions Costs Rising Significantly in 2011

7/28/2011

Farm Credit East, the largest lender to Northeast agriculture, reports that Northeast farm production over the past 12 months has increased on average by 10.3%, with some farm operations seeing significantly higher costs.
 
 Farm Credit Easts Knowledge Exchange analysis indicates that particular areas of increase in cost year-over-year are purchased feed (up 34%), fertilizer (up 34%) and fuels (up 36%).
 
Grain prices of all types are up significantly over last year due to tightness of supply and growth in the biofuels market. Global oil prices are rising due to continued political tensions in North Africa and the Middle East and the growing demand for energy in the developing world. With the close link between fertilizer prices and energy costs, agricultural producers are experiencing rising energy costs in more ways than one.
 
Most other production costs have increased at, or slightly above, the rate of inflation. Farm Credit East noted that one of the continuing issues is ensuring an adequate labor force. Immigration enforcement efforts continue to create challenges and farm businesses find it increasingly difficult to use guest worker programs. For some businesses this is creating major challenges and additional costs. It is also discouraging some farms from expanding their operations.
 
CEO of Farm Credit East, Bill Lipinski, noted that while farmers are dealing with higher input costs, Northeast agriculture has the ability to grow, creating jobs and economic activity throughout the region. "I am very optimistic about Northeast agriculture, says Lipinski. "I encourage consumers to support Northeast farmers by buying local farm products and visiting farm markets, greenhouse operations and wineries throughout the region. It is also important that Congress establishes a workable guest worker program for agriculture that will ensure farm products continue to be grown in this country.

Connecticut Ag Experiment Station to host annual Plant Science Day August 3 in Hamden.

7/11/2011

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) will hold its annual Plant Science Day 2011 on August 3, 2011. This annual event is held at Lockwood Farm, CAES' 75-acre research farm in Hamden, CT. It features a day of plant science open to the public from 9:30 to 4 p.m.
 
This event is free and open to all. Among the highlights of the day are the Century Farm Award and the Samuel W. Johnson Memorial Lecture. The Farm Award is presented to a farm that has been in family operation for more than 100 years. This years recipient will be announced on the day of the event.
 
The Memorial Lecture, named for Professor Johnson, director of the Station from 1877 to 1900, was established as a forum to discuss issues of concern to Connecticut residents and the Station. This years lecture, "Impact of the Nursery Industry on Connecticuts Economy, will be presented by Mr. Gregory M. Schaan, President & Chief Executive Officer of Imperial Nurseries, Inc. headquartered in Granby, Connecticut.
 
 Additional short presentations by CAES scientists include "The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: Another Harmful Invasive Insect from Asia, "Healthy PlantsHealthy Business: Support of the Green Industry by Inspection, "The Experiment Stations New Crops Program, and "To Bite or Not to Bite: Mosquitoes and Transmission of West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis Viruses in Connecticut. Technical demonstrations include "Beekeeping Basics and "Introduction to Bed Bugs, Self-Protection and Management.
 
Plant Science Day offers many opportunities for attendees to discuss plant science topics on an informal basis with CAES scientists at their research plots. Barn Displays will highlight the Stations current research programs. There will be opportunities to visit over 80 field plots and exhibits, as well as participate in walking and riding tours and activities for children, such as the "Passport for Kids. Experts will be available to answer questions on plant identification and disease diagnosis, soil testing, and weed and insect identification.
 
Lockwood Farm, operated by The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, is located at 890 Evergreen Avenue Hamden, CT. For more information, call ( toll free statewide) (877) 855-2237, or visit  www.ct.gov/caes

ON THE FARM WITH AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER REVICZKY

7/7/2011

State Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky will kick off a new series of lunchtime listening sessions entitled "On the Farm with Commissioner Reviczky Monday, July 11, 2011, at Laurelbrook Farm, 390 Norfolk Road (Route 44), East Canaan. These free events are open to agricultural producers and members of the public who are interested in farming, food, and agriculture.
 
According to Commissioner Reviczky, the meetings are designed to showcase some of the states diverse farms while providing him an opportunity to hear directly from people about what is on their minds. "Im so looking forward to getting out to different parts of the state to meet with people, hear their interests and concerns, and answer any questions they have, Commissioner Reviczky said. "These sessions also will allow residents to learn more about the working landscapes in their communities and the food and products these farms grow and raise.
 
Laurelbrook Farm, site of the July 11 event, comprises 275 acres dedicated to dairy cattle and the crops grown to feed them. Started by the Jacquier family in 1948, this third-generation farm is home to approximately 1,100 animals, 875 of which are milked three times each day. The Jacquiers use an environmentally friendly manure separator to compost the animal waste in an extremely efficient manner that minimizes methane formation and reduces greenhouse gases and nutrient run off. The process creates nutrient-rich compost that can be used on the farm and by local gardeners.
 
"Laurelbrook Farm exemplifies the marriage of traditional farming and the latest science, something that has become increasingly commonand necessaryin todays agriculture, Commissioner Reviczky explained. "Integration of new technology into tried-and-true practices enhances efficiency and sustainability, and helps farms be good neighbors and environmental stewards. It truly is an exciting, fascinating time to be involved in agriculture. I encourage residents to come learn more about the industry, which contributes 3.5 billion dollars to Connecticuts economy each year.
 
The July 11 event will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and will begin with a short tour of the farm, hosted by Robert Jacquier. At noon, Commissioner Reviczky will provide a brief update on the Department of Agriculture, followed by Q+A with the audience. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch to enjoy during the session (no food will be available for purchase). The event is free and open to all.
 
 For more information about "On the Farm with Commissioner Reviczky, please call the Connecticut Department of Agriculture at 860-713-2503.

2011 Connecticut Farm Energy Fair at ECSU focuses on farm energy use and opportunities; Pre-register by July 14

6/29/2011

The Connecticut Farm Energy Program in partnership with the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University hosts the Connecticut Farm Energy Fair at ECSU, Willimantic, on July 21 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
 
The event, free to agricultural producers, is designed to allow agricultural producers to access practical solutions to help cut energy costs and reduce carbon emissions.  With costs at an all-time high, energy is now a major concern for farmers.  The fair will address farm energy use:  ways to save it, equipment to reduce its use, and ways to generate it.
 
Keynote speaker Professor Richard Parnas of the University of Connecticut will present, "How we can produce and use biofuels in Connecticut."  Other guest speakers will address agricultural applications for energy efficiency and renewable energy in relation to application type, technology and funding opportunities.  Exhibitors will also be present to offering products and advice to optimize energy practices at farm businesses.
 
The event will be held in the Betty Tipton room of the Student Center at ECSU, 83 Windham Street, Willimantic.  Pre-registration by July 14 is required, and a light dinner will be provided.  Download a registration form, email CTFarmEnergy@aol.com or call 860-345-3977.
 
The event is sponsored by Connecticut Farm Bureau, Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, Connecticut Clean Energy  Fund, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Eastern Connecticut Resource Conservation & Development Area, Inc.

2011 LEGISLATIVE SESSION REAPS MANY BENEFITS FOR STATE FARMERS AND SUPPORTERS OF AGRICULTURE

6/22/2011

Connecticut has moved forward in the support of local farming and agriculture as a result of laws passed during the recently ended legislative session. Among those who benefit are state residents looking to purchase locally grown items, students studying agriculture, open space advocates, state foresters, and dairy farmers.
 
"This year's session resulted in many positive developments for our farmers, despite the dire fiscal challenges facing our state, says Henry Talmage, Executive Director for the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association. "The Connecticut Farm Bureau Association worked closely with legislative leaders to help craft laws that help foster a positive business climate for agriculture, preserve our open spaces and give our state residents greater access to locally grown food products.
 
Some of the highlights of the legislative session include:
  The maintenance of vital funding for the state's nineteen regional Agriscience & Technology programs (formally Vo-Ag) which will ensure the education of tomorrow's farmers.
 
  The funding of the state's Community Investment Act which helps preserve farmland and secures the permanent funding for Connecticut's dairy farmers that helps them maintain viability in case of low wholesale milk prices.
 
  A change in the law to allow food vendors at farmers' markets to use one universal health department license for all towns, instead of requiring individual licenses for individual towns.
This will allow more variety at farmers' markets and give farmers access to additional revenue streams.
 
  Creation of an Agricultural Council for the state's Executive Branch, giving Connecticut's Governor a way to receive direct input from those in the agricultural community on how to grow our state's $3.5 billion agricultural sector.
 
  The creation of a state-run timber harvesting account that will pay for hiring of additional state foresters to oversee responsible timber harvesting on state forest lands.
 
  Permitting almost 14,000 acres of private Connecticut forest land under the 10 mil program to be taxed at the PA 490 rate instead of a substantially higher rate. This change will have a significant positive impact on the protection of forest land.
 
  The passage of language that allows state dairy farms to create and fund a Connecticut Milk Promotion Board to educate state residents about the importance of dairy products and their impact on our state's economy.
 
  New language that encourages towns to form Agricultural Commissions in order to highlight issues facing local farms and requiring municipalities to consider agriculture when amending their plans of conservation and development
 
  The defeat of proposals that would have severely restricted farming near state wetlands and prevented many farmers from having access to adequate supplies of water.
 
"Agriculture is often not thought of as a driver in our state's economy but, in truth, it is, says Talmage. "Our state's farms, farmers and support industries contribute over $3.5 billion to our state's economy and are responsible for over 20,000 jobs. In addition, farmers are stewards of the land, helping Connecticut to maintain its rural character and quality of life far into the future, while providing consumers access to safe, local foods. The Connecticut Farm Bureau wants to congratulate our state's legislators for their vision and support--taking steps to help continue to strengthen our agricultural sector. Governor Malloy has made it clear that agriculture is one area where we can grow our economy and our legislature helped aid that mission with its actions in the 2011 legislative session.

Litchfield County Farm Bureau Awards Agricultural Scholarships

6/20/2011

Litchfield County Farm Bureau is pleased to announce this years scholarship recipients. Alexandria Hibbard and Jacob Magini both of Nonnewaug High School have been selected to receive this years Agricultural Education Scholarships.
 
Annually, the Litchfield County Farm Bureau solicits applications from high school seniors in northwest Connecticut, and awards scholarships based on academic achievement, financial need and interest in agriculture.
 
 Alexandria Hibbard is planning to attend Johnson State College. Alexandria will begin her college education by entering a Bachelors Degree program and major in Evironmental Science.
 
Jacob Magini is planning to attend the WyoTech Technical School in Blairsville Pennsylvania where he will major in Diesel Technology with Light Duty Diesel. Congratulations to these outstanding young students you both for their successful application for the 2011 Farm Bureau Scholarship award!
 
For more information about the Litchfield CountyFarm Bureau and its scholarship program, please contact Dana Assard, County Administrator, at (203)266-9019.

Tolland County Farm Bureau Hosts Backyard Livestock Seminar on June 11 in Vernon

6/1/2011

In response to an increased interest in raising livestock on small properties, Tolland County Farm Bureau will host a free program called Backyard Livestock 101.  It will include workshops on important topics by professionals, as well as animal demonstrations by students from the Rockville High School Agriculture Education Program and Tolland County 4-H members.
 
The seminar will be held on Saturday June 11 at the Tolland County Agriculture Center, Route 30, 24 Hyde Avenue, Vernon, CT from 9 AM to 12 Noon. The topic for the 9 AM workshop will be on "What you need to know about zoning regulations to raise animals in your backyard, with Connecticut Farm Bureau Government Relations Specialist Joan Nichols.  At 10 AM the subject will be "Raising poultry for successful egg production and at 11 AM, "What you need to know about nutrition to raise healthy animals.
 
To register for one or all three workshops, call the Tolland County Farm Bureau at 860-742-5725. The event will also feature ongoing demonstrations of successful projects by 4-H and FFA members with goat, sheep, rabbit, poultry, and beef animals. Visit with them about their fiber, egg, and milk projects as well as sheering sheep and other demonstrations.

Northeastern Loggers' Association awards Joan Nichols Outstanding Leadership in Industry Award.

5/31/2011

Bangor, Maine The Northeastern Loggers Association (NELA) recently honored Joan Nichols of Lebanon, CT as the recipient of its 2010 Outstanding Leadership in Industry Award.
 
NELA President Jeff Durst presented the award at the Annual Loggers Banquet in Bangor, ME in a ceremony attended by over 200 members of the Northeasts forest products industry. President Durst remarked "Jeffs Catering is a bit of a drive from the woods of Connecticut so Im not certain that news has reached this far north about Joan Nichols reputation and long-time efforts on behalf of our industry. Needless to say, Joan is very well known and appreciated in the Nutmeg State.
 
Durst continued "Joan Nichols is an asset to the entire forestry scene in Connecticut. Her most recent initiative was the resurrection of our industry group re-organized into the CT Professional Timber Producers Association. Under Joans leadership the organization has grown to over 150 members a very significant number in a small state. TIMPRO has actively participated in forestry education holding programs for schools, municipalities, industry and the general public covering a diverse range of topics relative to the industry. Under Joans leadership TIMPRO has become the organization representing our industry in Connecticut.
 
"Joan has been active in forest management and forest industry circles throughout her career which began in the early 80s. She knows the industry, she understands private forestland ownership, and she has a firm handle on the history that has brought us to where we are today. Fortunately for the entire forestry community, Joan is the type of person who is always willing to share her knowledge and experience, and contribute sweat equity whenever and wherever it might be needed. Any state would be proud and lucky to have someone like Joan working on their behalf and were pleased to present the Outstanding Leadership in Industry award to Joan Nichols
 
Durst concluded. The Northeastern Loggers Association, headquartered in Old Forge, NY, is a trade group representing nearly 2,000 members of the Northeasts logging, sawmilling, and paper industry. The Loggers Banquet is held each year immediately prior to the Northeastern Forest Products Equipment Exposition.
 
Joan Nichols is Government Relations Specialist for Connecticut Farm Bureau Association.
 

AFBF: 3 Percent Withholding Tax Needs Repeal

5/27/2011

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 27, 2011A new 3 percent withholding tax on government payments for goods and services has the potential to erode funds for conservation purposes, have negative impacts on rural health care availability and create serious cash-flow challenges for farmers and ranchers, according to a statement by the American Farm Bureau Federation.
 
In a statement submitted this week to the House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce regarding 3 Percent Withholding Tax, AFBF said it would oppose the new withholding tax, slated to begin in 2013. The organization is supporting legislation (H.R. 674) introduced by Reps. Wally Herger (R-Calif.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), to repeal the withholding requirement.
 
"This has the potential to create cash-flow problems for farmers and ranchers because inputs like seeds and fertilizer are often purchased months before a commodity is sold and income is received, AFBF stated. "Reducing farm revenue by 3 percent of government safety net payments will make it harder for farmers to purchase the supplies they need to plant and grow a crop, to pay farm workers and to maintain farm buildings and equipment.
 
The withholding tax also has the potential to reduce the effectiveness of Agriculture Department programs that are designed to protect and improve the environment. For example, if a farmer or rancher were to receive an $11,000 payment for protecting streams or rivers under the Conservation Reserve Program, $330 would be withheld and be unavailable for the conservation effort. In addition to CRP, the withholding requirement would also influence the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
 
AFBF also is concerned that the withholding tax will impact the availability and affordability of health care in rural America. "Only about 10 percent of physicians practice in rural America and there are far fewer specialists, despite the fact that nearly one-fourth of the population lives in rural areas, AFBF said. "Because of the aging of rural Americans, Medicare serves 23 percent of the rural population, compared to 20 percent of the population in urban areas, according to the National Rural Health Association. Consequently, withholding 3 percent of Medicare payments will make it harder to maintain rural health facilities and more difficult to attract doctors to rural areas.

AFBF Estimates 3.6 Million Ag Acres Hit by Floods

5/23/2011

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 23, 2011 After learning firsthand from state Farm Bureaus about recent flooding devastation in the southern United States the American Farm Bureau Federation now estimates that nearly 3.6 million acres of farmland has been impacted by the natural disaster. On a Farm Bureau nationwide call late last week, states also reported an estimated 40 percent of this year's rice crop has been affected.
Arkansas topped the list with a million acres affected, including 300,000 acres of rice and 120,000 acres of wheat. Illinois was estimated to have 500,000 acres of farmland under water, with Mississippi and Missouri coming in at 600,000 and 570,000 acres, respectively. Tennessee reported 650,000 acres and Louisiana was pegged at 280,000 acres.
 
"There is no doubt about it, the effect of the flooding on farmers and ranchers is being felt deeply across the south, said AFBF Chief Economist Bob Young. "One is reminded of the 93 or 95 floods in terms of scale of affected area. But, said Young, its critical that the government acts quickly to rebuild the levees and allow producers to make plans for the future.

"In many of these areas, agriculture is the major economic driver for the region, said Young. "While some may be able to get a crop in the ground this year, we need to also think about the long-term economic health of these farms and communities.
Without the levees in place to protect homes and farms however, it may be hard to make those investments, added Young.

Dairy and Livestock Producers Farmer-to-Farmer Discussion Group Meeting and Grazing Workshop

5/4/2011

Organic and conventional dairy and livestock farmers are invited to the next Farmer-to-Farmer Discussion Group meeting on Monday, May 16 from 11:00 am- 2:00 pm in Guilford, Vermont hosted by the David and Mary Ellen Franklin family. These discussion groups bring farmers together to share experiences and information to help them improve their farms. 
 
mbedded in the regular farmer discussion group session will be a focus on Holistic Planned Grazing - a form of Management intensive Grazing (MiG) that strives to optimize soil health & fertility, forage production, and livestock nutrition with high stocking densities and natural residue incorporation. Attending farmers will work with professional advisors, who are in a multi-year training program, to develop a grazing plan with the Franklins.
 
Franklin Farm is a certified organic dairy, milking herd of 40+ head multi-breed cows, with breeding (including NZ genetics) to optimize grazing and forage utilization. Management intensive Grazing has been a key practice for the Franklins for over 15 years. Come share your ideas and experiences. The group will also identify upcoming topics and on-farm meetings. Lunch will be pot-luck.
 
Directions to Franklin Farm:
Take Rte 5 heading South from Brattleboro to Guilford, turn W onto Guilford Center Road, turn S onto Weatherhead Hollow Rd, go past lake/pond on left with State fishing access and farm is just past intersection with Keets Brook Rd.

FRANKLIN FARM
4708 Weatherhead Hollow Rd.
Guilford, V T 05301
Biosecurity: NOFA VT will provide disposable pull on booties for everyone to wear.

New USDA Rule Encourages the Purchase of Local Agricultural Products for Critical Nutrition Assistance Programs

4/26/2011

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2011 Today, Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon announced that USDA's child nutrition programs are implementing new rules designed to encourage use of local farm products in school meals. The final rule, published in the Federal Register, will let schools and other providers give preference to unprocessed locally grown and locally raised agricultural products as they purchase food for the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Special Milk, Child and Adult Care, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable, and Summer Food Service programs. The rule is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 signed into law by President Obama and one of the key provisions to bolster farm to school programs across the country.
"This rule is an important milestone that will help ensure that our children have access to fresh produce and other agricultural products," said Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon. "It will also give a much-needed boost to local farmers and agricultural producers."

The rule supports USDA's 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative which emphasizes the need for a fundamental and critical reconnection between producers and consumers. The effort builds on the 2008 Farm Bill, which provides for increases and flexibility for USDA programs in an effort to revitalize rural economies by supporting local and regional food systems. 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' is helping to break down barriers that keep local food systems from thriving, create new opportunities for farmers, ranchers, consumers and rural communities, and expand access to healthy food throughout the country. USDA expects consumer demand for locally grown food in the U.S. to rise from an estimated $4 billion in 2002 to as much as $7 billion by 2012.
The Farm to School component of this effort is designed to help connect schools with regional or local farms in order to serve healthy meals using locally-sourced products in their cafeterias. USDA currently is sending teams out to select school districts to work on farm to school issues. Some of these programs also incorporate nutrition-based studies, as well as food-learning opportunities such as farm visits, gardening, cooking, and composting activities.
Improving child nutrition is also a focal point of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act that recently passed Congress and was signed by President Obama on December 13, 2010. This legislation authorizes USDA'S child nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program and the Summer Food Service Program. It will allow USDA, for the first time in over 30 years, the chance to make real reforms to the school lunch and breakfast programs by improving the critical nutrition and hunger safety net for millions of children. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is the legislative centerpiece of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Initiative. To learn more, visit http://www.letsmove.gov/.

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs including the Summer Food Service Program; the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; the National School Lunch Program; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; and the Emergency Food Assistance Program. Together these programs make up the federal nutrition safety net. USDA administers these programs in partnership with state and local agencies and works with faith and community-based organizations to ensure that nutrition assistance is available to those in need. Additional information about the programs can be found at http://www.fns.usda.gov/ and the USDA's Farm to School initiative at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/f2s/. 


Data Released For One of Connecticuts Most Effective Job-Generating Initiatives

4/21/2011

Senators Williams, Meyer, and Maynard say Community Investment Act saves farms, preserves historical sites and open space, creates affordable housing, and GROWS jobs

Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-Brooklyn) joined Senator Andrew Maynard (D-Stonington), Senator Ed Meyer (D-Guilford), and other lawmakers and advocates from across Connecticut at a news conference to detail the success of the Community Investment Act (CIA), six years after its passage by the General Assembly. Organizers also announced the launch of a two-week display of CIA success stories at the State Capitols underground concourse.
"The Community Investment Act has helped sustain the character and strengthen the economy of nearly every town and city in Connecticut, said Senator Williams. "Its imperative that during difficult economic times we remain committed to this initiative and the opportunities it provides.
The Community Investment Act, drafted by Senator Williams and enacted in 2005, established a fund to support farmland preservation, open space preservation, affordable housing, and historic preservation. Hundreds of projects in nearly every town in the state have benefited from the Community Investment Act. Achievements include:
  •  2,000 jobs created in affordable housing and historic preservation sectors
  •  157 dairy farm businesses saved with CIA support payments
  •  $47,212,553 CIA funds invested through granting programs
  • Almost 200 percent in matching fundstotaling $82.3 millionfrom private, federal, and local sources have been raised to match the states CIA dollars
  • 562 projects finished in 145 towns.

Helen Higgins, Executive Director, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, said, "Since 2006, over $10.6 million of Community Investment Act proceeds have funded historic restoration projects, community preservation planning projects and surveys and documentation of Connecticuts invaluable historic resources. These funds have been matched by private and other public investment and have created over one thousand project related jobs. This extraordinary investment, after only 6 years, speaks to the immense value of the Community Investment Act as the catalyst for revitalization of our historic buildings, landscapes and downtowns.

The CIA instituted a new $30 document-recording fee to pay for the program. The towns collect the fee for each document they record in their land records and keep $3 for local capital improvement projects. Prior to the Community Investment Act, the state was allocating less than $2 million annually to farmland preservation.
 
The act also:
  • Established a matching grant program for towns and cities to help farmers improve the viability of their farms;
  • Created the "Connecticut Farm Link Program, a database for farmers who are selling their farm operations or farmland and potential buyers;
  •  Encouraged the sale of Connecticut grown products.

Chris Randall Executive Director, New Haven Land Trust, said, "The Community Investment Act is helping our community gardens grow safer neighborhoods and more vegetables. Most of the gardens that we manage are in economically challenged areas and this funding has had and will continue to have a tremendous impact to us here in New Haven. We're fortunate that programs like this exist"
"The CIA is funding programs and services the support the viability of a $3.5 billion agriculture industry, said Becky Clark, Clark Farms, Granby, CT. "From increasing the pace of farmland protection to providing a vital safety net for our states dairy farmers to providing grants for farm businesses to diversify and meet growing consumer demand, the CIA is critical to growing Connecticut agriculture. The Community Investment Act became law as the result of tremendous bipartisan support at the State Capitol for the collaborative work of an unprecedented coalition of farmers, environmentalists, historic preservationists, and housing advocates.

"Housing is the foundation on which families and communities thrive and is one of our clearest drivers of economic health and recovery, said Betsy Crum, Executive Director, Connecticut Housing Coalition. "The Community Investment Act has spurred housing investment in every corner of Connecticut, making it possible for our cities and towns to build affordable homes in their own backyards.
(Source:  Senator Don Williams' office)

Press Conference 4/19 Celebrates the Success Stories of Community Investment Act

4/14/2011

State Senate President Pro Tempore and the father of the Community Investment Act (CIA), Sen. Don Williams, will be hosting a press conference which will mark the impact of more than 600 successful CIA projects. The conference will be help in Room 1C of the Legislative Office Building on Tuesday April 19 at 11 a.m.  The public is encouraged to attend.
 
The press conference kicks off an exhibit which provides examples of how the Community Investment Act has protected farmland and expanded farm business opportunities across Connecticut.  It will be on display April 18-29 at the Connecticut State Capitol. The display will be located on the walls of the underground concourse which connects the Legislative Office Building (LOB) to the State Capitol. (More information)
 
From development of a program that has expanded underserved Bridgeport residents access to fresh local produce to the permanent protection of a working orchard in Granby, the exhibit highlights the important work that has been accomplished throughout the state over the last five years using funding from the CIA. The innovative 2005 law uses funds collected through municipal recording fees for farm business improvements, farmland protection, dairy support open space and historic preservation, and affordable housing.
 
Other agricultural success stories highlighted in the exhibit include:
Sharon: Protection of 144 acres of farmland on the Wike Brothers Farm enabled the farm, which raises free range chickens and naturally grown pigs and cattle, to make needed farm improvements, such as replacing barn roofs.
 
East Hartford: Futners Farm constructed a new greenhouse for tomato production to expand this third generation vegetable farm and greenhouse business, which capitalizes on its urban location to meet consumer demand for locally grown food.
 
Six northeastern towns: The Farmers Cow received grants to create a promotional plan to enhance brand recognition of its milk and to design and implement a marketing, ordering, billing, and distribution system to more effectively sell its milk.
 
Preston: Maple Lane Farm transitioned from a mushroom growing facility to hydroponic greenhouse on a farm that produces Christmas trees, orchard fruit, and berries.
 
New Haven: Common Ground established the Harvest Pavilion to help ensure the continued viability of the urban farm by increasing the capacity to grow, process, store, and market produce.
 
East Canaan: Freunds Farm used dairy support payments to pay debt, balance sheets and expand a cow pot operation.
 
Old Lyme: Judges Farm constructed a photovoltaic solar system for generation of electricity to power irrigation and production systems for wholesale perennial plant production. Sandy Hook: Rowledge Pond Hatchery installed new deep infiltration wells for a trout hatchery, supporting sales at farmers markets, fish and game clubs, and conservation organizations.
 
The CIA success story display is free of charge and is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The concourse can be accessed from the first floor of the LOB, located at 300 Capitol Ave. in Hartford
 
In addition to the Connecticut Farm Bureau,  CIA coalition members involved in the display include American Farmland Trust, 1000 Friends of Connecticut,  Connecticut Farmland Trust, Connecticut Forest & Park Association, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Connecticut Housing Coalition, Connecticut Land Conservation Coalition, Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, ConnecticutTrust for Historic Preservation, Partnership for Strong Communities, The Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, and Working Lands Alliance.

Form 1099 Repeal Great News for Farm Families

4/5/2011

Action by the Senate today passing a bill repealing the onerous Form 1099 requirement is great news for Americas farm and ranch families, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. "This was a costly, burdensome and unnecessary tax compliance requirement that was counterproductive to job creation and economic growth, Stallman said.
 
"Farmers, ranchers and small businesses are overloaded with paperwork, and we are pleased that our leaders in Washington took steps to provide relief. Farm Bureau commends the Senate for passing H.R. 4, and we urge President Obama to sign it.
 
The health care law contains a provision set to begin in 2012 requiring that businesses submit a Form 1099 to the Internal Revenue Service for every vendor from which they purchase $600 or more worth of goods or services. H.R. 4, passed by both the House and the Senate, would repeal this new requirement.

Retail Staple Food Prices Rise in First Quarter

4/5/2011

Retail food prices at the supermarket increased during the first quarter of 2011, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $49.07, up $2.10 or about 4 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2010.
 
Of the 16 items surveyed, 13 increased, two decreased and one remained the same in average price compared to the prior quarter. The total average price for the 16 items was up $3.53 (about 8 percent) compared to one year ago. Shredded cheddar cheese, vegetable oil, ground chuck and flour increased the most in dollar value compared to the fourth quarter of 2010. Together, these four items accounted for the majority of the quarter-to-quarter increase; shredded cheese increased 47 cents to $4.63 per pound; vegetable oil increased 29 cents to $2.88 for a 32-ounce bottle; ground chuck increased 27 cents to $3.10 per pound; and flour increased 52 cents to $2.51 for a 5-pound bag.
 
Other items that increased in price since the fourth quarter were boneless chicken breasts, up 22 cents to $3.32 per pound; orange juice, up 17 cents to $3.14 for a half-gallon; toasted oat cereal, up 17 cents to $3.05 for a 9-ounce box; Russet potatoes, up 14 cents to $2.64 for a 5-pound bag; bread, up 13 cents to $1.88 for a 20-ounce loaf; whole milk, up 11 cents to $3.46 per gallon; sliced deli ham, up 7 cents to $4.91 per pound; eggs, up 2 cents to $1.62 per dozen; and sirloin tip roast, up 1 cent to $3.96 per pound.
 
"Home cooks shopping for staples to make their favorite shepherds pie or chicken pot pie recipe will definitely leave the grocery store with lighter wallets this quarter, said John Anderson, AFBF economist. "As anticipated, the increased consumer demand for meats and dairy products that began in 2009 and continued through 2010 remains evident as we look forward to the middle of 2011.
 
Most items showing an increase in retail price from quarter-to-quarter also showed year-to-year increases. Compared to one year ago, ground chuck was up 18 percent, potatoes were up 17 percent, chicken breasts were up 13 percent and flour was up 11 percent.
 
"Retail price increases for some foods are likely to continue throughout the year, as it takes time for farmers to increase the size of their herds to accommodate increased demand, Anderson explained. Although bacon dropped 46 cents per pound (to $3.86) compared to the last quarter of 2010, it was 20 percent higher than a year ago. Bagged salad dropped 3 cents to $2.66 for a 1-pound bag compared to the prior quarter and Red Delicious apples remained the same in retail price from quarter-to-quarter, $1.45 per pound.
 
The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks with the federal governments Consumer Price Index (www.bls.gov/cpi) report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that Americas farm and ranch families receive has dropped.
 
"In the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16 percent, according to the Agriculture Departments revised Food Dollar Series, Anderson said. USDAs Food Dollar Series may be found online at http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/FoodDollar/app/. Using the "food at home and away from home percentage across-the-board, the farmers share of this quarters $49.07 marketbasket would be $7.85.
 
AFBF, the nations largest general farm organization, has been conducting the informal quarterly marketbasket survey of retail food price trends since 1989. The mix of foods in the marketbasket was updated during the first quarter of 2008. According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 71 shoppers in 29 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in February.

Survey says 87 Percent of Young Farmers, Ranchers Express More Optimism

4/1/2011


WASHINGTON, D.C. The latest survey of participants in the American Farm Bureau Federations Young Farmers & Ranchers program shows that Americas young farmers and ranchers are an optimistic lot. Results of the 19th annual YF&R survey reveal that 87 percent of those surveyed are more optimistic about farming and ranching than they were five years ago.
This is the highest optimism level ever in AFBFs annual YF&R survey, which was initiated in 1993. Last year, 80 percent of those surveyed said they were more optimistic about farming than they were five years ago. The previous high was in 2008, when 82 percent said they were more optimistic.
"Farming and ranching is a tough but rewarding way of life. One trait all farmers and ranchers share is optimism and hope for the future, and thats what this survey shows, said Ben LaCross, YF&R chairman and a Cedar, Mich., cherry, plum and apple producer. "Whether you produce tree fruit or beef cattle, you have to be an optimist to succeed in farming and ranching these days.
The 2011 survey also shows nearly 90 percent of the nations young farmers and ranchers say they are better off than they were five years ago. Last year, 82 percent reported being better off than they were five years ago.

Nearly 94 percent considered themselves lifetime farmers, while 96 percent would like to see their children follow in their footsteps. The informal survey reveals that 87 percent believe their children will be able to follow in their footsteps.

Despite the high level of optimism, the young farm and ranch leaders express concerns. The number one concern is economic challenges, with 22 percent ranking profitability as their top concern. Government regulations were also a top concern of many of those surveyed, with 17 percent ranking that as their top concern. Nearly 10 percent ranked tax burdens as their No. 1 concern.
When asked what top three steps the federal government should take to help young farmers and ranchers, cutting government spending was the top response, with 17 percent listing that as the most important step. Thirteen percent of those surveyed said the government should provide financial help to beginning farmers, while 12 percent said reforming environmental regulations was the top step.

"Almost all young farmers and ranchers want to stay on the farm for the rest of their lives, and just about all of us would like our children and grandchildren to follow in our footsteps, LaCross explained. "However, we are still concerned that massive government debt and burdensome government regulations will make it tougher for future generations to stay on the farm. The top priority for government policymakers is to cut spending, reduce the debt and lessen the grip of ever-burdensome regulations. This will be good for agriculture and good for America.

The survey shows that Americas young farmers and ranchers are committed environmental stewards, with 72 percent saying that balancing environmental and economic concerns is important in their operations. The survey shows 58 percent use conservation tillage on their farms.
In addition, computers and the Internet are vital tools for the nations young farmers and ranchers, with 92 percent surveyed reporting using a computer in their farming operation. Nearly all of those surveyed, 98 percent, have access to the Internet. High-speed Internet is used by 74 percent of those surveyed, with 24 percent relying on a satellite connection and 2 percent turning to dialup.
The popular social media site, Facebook, is used by 76 percent of those surveyed who use the Internet. The most popular use of the Internet in the survey is to gather news and agricultural information, with 81 percent turning to it for that use.
Finally, the survey points out that 74 percent of YF&R members consider communicating with consumers a formal part of their jobs.

"More and more young farmers and ranchers know that we must reach out to our customers, and we are using social media and other 21st century tools to tell our story and teach consumers, LaCross said. "This is a trend that has staying power.

AFBF President Bob Stallman said the annual YF&R survey points out that the future of U.S. agriculture is in good hands.
"I know our young farmers and ranchers have the know-how and tenacity to ensure that the best days are ahead for our country and agriculture. Stallman said. "They give us all hope for the future.

The informal survey of young farmers and ranchers, ages 18-35, was conducted at AFBFs 2011 YF&R Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla., in February. The purpose of Farm Bureaus YF&R program is to help younger Farm Bureau members learn more about agriculture, network with other farmers and become future leaders in agriculture and Farm Bureau.

Shellfish Marketing Assistance Fairness Act bill sponsored by Courtney

3/26/2011

Representative Joe Courtney, Congressman from the Second District, appeared in Noank to announce he is sponsoring a bill known as the "Shellfish Marketing Assistance Fairness Act, which would add shellfish to the list of farmed crops eligible for direct, professional marketing assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The original bill provides grants of up to $75,000 to farmers for the purpose of marketing specialty crops.

Courtney said shellfish should never have been excluded from the list in the first place. He said the bill he announced at the Noank Aquaculture Cooperative on Thursday would fix that mistake.
State Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Reviczky joined Courtney at Thursdays event, along with representatives from the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association and the Connecticut Seafood Council and local shellfish farmers from Connecticut, Rhode Island and Long Island.

Courtney said having broad support, particularly from traditional agriculture organizations, would be especially important to the bills future.
Since roughly 150 congressional districts include shellfish farming, Courtney said he thinks the bills chances of passing are "pretty good.
 
(source:  excerpted from Mystic River Press article)

CONNECTICUT FARM BUREAU NAMES HENRY TALMAGE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

3/17/2011

 
 
The Connecticut Farm Bureau, the voice for Connecticut Farmers, has named current Connecticut Farmland Trust Executive Director Henry Talmage as its new Executive Director. Talmage replaces Steven Reviczky who was appointed Connecticuts new Commissioner of Agriculture in January.
 
"We are very pleased to have someone of Henrys caliber join the Connecticut Farm Bureau, says Farm Bureau President Don Tuller. "Henry is a known quantity in our state for his work with the Connecticut Farmland Trust. Prior to coming to Connecticut, he served as President of the Long Island Farm Bureau and managed the day-to-day operations of his familys wholesale greenhouse and nursery. He has spoken out in the state legislature many times regarding land-use and agricultural policy and has the right skills we need to ensure the Connecticut Farm Bureau remains relevant and has a positive impact for all farmers in the state.
 
"I am excited for this new opportunity and look forward to working with the staff of the Connecticut Farm Bureau to help support farmers and influence legislation to support the development of agriculture in Connecticut, says Talmage. "As Executive Director of the Connecticut Farmland Trust, I have direct experience in leading a statewide agricultural organization and have helped grow the Trust into the statewide leader in private farmland preservation. With the Malloy administrations renewed emphasis on growing our states agriculture sector and an increased interest in locally grown products, it is important for the Connecticut Farm Bureau to be a lead