farmers

Farm Manager Summit: Limited Space Available

a line of drawn overalls with a QR code and arrow at the bottomFarm Manager Summit
Date: Tuesday, February 13th, 2024
Time: 9am-3pm

Location: The Chrysalis Center, 255 Homestead Ave, Hartford

Cost: $40 Add on an additional team member’s registration during checkout for a discounted rate of $25.00. Farmers with all levels of experience welcome!

Are you a farmer owner or manager ready to hire your first employees or do you already have a farm crew and feel that your employee management knowledge and skills need help…
then this Farm Manager Summit is for you!

Come to learn about Farm Financials regarding both payroll obligations and strategies for hiring employees based on your cash flow. You will also learn tools to improve your employee management like job descriptions, pre-season training, employee hand books and performance reviews as well as skills for building a strong farm team and retention! Farm owners and managers should consider bringing another crew leader or senior staff with them as both tracks will be packed with helpful information that you will not want to miss out on! Add on an additional team member’s registration during checkout for a discounted rate of $25.00.

The day includes:
Farm Financials and Labor Management tracks
Panel Discussion with CT Farmers managing staff
Keynote speaker Emily Landek from Riverland Farm

Please email to nancy.barrett@uconn.com with any questions.

2022 Census of Agriculture Underway in New England

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mailed the 2022 Census of Agriculture paper questionnaires to all known agriculture producers across the nation and Puerto Rico. Last month, producers in the states received their survey codes with an invitation to respond online. Any New England producer who did not respond online now has the option to complete the ag census at agcounts.usda.gov or by mail. Producers who have already responded to the 2022 Census of Agriculture online do not need to respond again. The deadline for response is Feb. 6, 2023.

“The census is a critical tool that gives farmers a voice to influence decisions that will shape the future of their community, industry, and operation,” said Angie Considine, acting state statistician of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, New England Field Office. “Your answers to the census impact farm programs and rural services that support your community. When you receive your form, don’t miss the opportunity to be counted. Every operation small and large makes a difference.”
 
The Census of Agriculture remains the nation’s only comprehensive and impartial agriculture data for every state, county, and U.S. territory. Farm operations of all sizes, urban and rural, which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products in 2022, are included in the ag census. The data inform decisions about policy, programs, rural development, research, and more. The Census of Agriculture is the producer’s voice in the future of American agriculture.
 
Responding to the Census of Agriculture is required by law under Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113. The same law requires NASS to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes, and only publish in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation. NASS will release the results of the ag census in 2024.
 
To learn more about the Census of Agriculture, visit www.nass.usda.gov/agcensus.

Grant Writing Workshop with CFBA Young Farmers

The Young Farmers Committee of the CT Farm Bureau is hosting a grant writing workshop!

The meeting will be Thursday, January 5, 2023, 5:30 pm, at the Tolland County Agricultural Center. During the workshop, the Young Farmers Committee will be collaborating with the CT Department of Agriculture, UConn Extension and local farmers who have gone through the grant writing process.
The workshop will be both virtual and in person (virtual only in the case of bad weather).
Contact Rachel Holden for the virtual meeting link or to reserve a spot in person:  rachelholden207@yahoo.com
calculator, pencil and text

 

 

Job Opportunity: Southern New England Farmers of Color Collaborative

person holding a plant
Southern New England Farmers of Color Collaborative is Hiring!
Deadline to Apply:  December 9th, 2022
The Southern New England Farmers of Color Collaborative (SNEFCC) is reaching out with exciting news that we are hiring three positions! Please help spread the word among your networks or consider applying. This is an exciting opportunity to join our team and work closely with farmers of color in the region. All team members will contribute to the completion of deliverables associated with grant-funded projects. SNEFCC commits to hiring each of these positions for up to 20 to 24 months. We anticipate filling all positions asap. Please see attached PDF for the full announcement.
Position openings:
  • Project Manager
  • Project Coordinator 1
  • Project Coordinator 2
Applicants are invited to submit a resume and cover letter expressing their interest in the position(s) below. Email your application package to: Karen Spiller atkspiller4@gmail.comby December 9th, 5:00 pm.  In the subject line of your email please use: APPLICATION TO SNEFCC – [FIRST & LAST NAME]
Background:  The Southern New England Farmers of Color Collaborative is a majority BIPOC-led and BIPOC-serving organization of beginning farmers of color and collaborators who want to increase the success of farmers of color in our New England states.  We aim to position farmers of color to be ready for new opportunities that will arise, and to provide them with the necessary skills and capabilities to build and sustain successful farm enterprises now and in the future.

For more about the New CT Farmer Alliance, visit our web site at http://www.newctfarmers.com

CT Department of Ag. Urges Farmers to Report Crop Damage or Loss from Tropical Storm Elsa to USDA Farm Service Agency

vegetables in a wheelbarrow in a greenhouse
Photo: USDA

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture is encouraging farmers and agricultural producers who may have experienced crop damage or loss due to Tropical Storm Elsa to declare a loss to their United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office. Crop losses can be modified after the initial reporting as necessary.

The damage assessment for a USDA disaster declaration is based on a 30% loss of any crop per county.  Only losses reported within that initial three-day window count towards the 30% threshold.

 

 

Reports should include:

  • Crops damaged
  • Total acre(s) planted per crop(s)
  • # of acres destroyed or % of crop destroyed per crop
  • Livestock damage
  • Physical damage to equipment, buildings, fencing, trees, or damage caused by erosion

It is critical that producers keep accurate records to document damage or loss and report those losses to their local USDA Service Center as soon as possible. For more information on disaster assistance, visit farmers.gov.

Pick-Your-Own Revisited

strawberries

Last year we held a virtual discussion on how to deal with Pick-your-own in the age of COVID. This year we will revisit this topic with several growers sharing what they did that worked, maybe didn’t work as well as expected or at all, will keep this year, or will drop because it may not be needed. With vaccines and an ever changing landscape it may be a moving target. It is safe to say we all liked the masks because it resulted in less eating in the field. Keeping the requirement?  Let’s chat and get prepared as an industry for the upcoming season. Join UConn Extension and growers including Jamie Jones, Jones Family Farms, Shelton CT; Russell Holmberg, Holmberg Orchards, Gales Ferry CT; Michaele Williams, Bishops Orchards, Guilford CT; Don Preli, Belltown Hill Orchards, South Glastonbury CT; Andre Tougas, Tougas Family Farm,  Northborough MA; and Trevor Hardy, Brookdale Orchards, Hollis NH.

Pick-Your-Own Revisited

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Beginning at 7 pm

Free, registration NOT required. Join us using the following link:

http://bit.ly/PickYourOwn-COVID

Connecting Connecticut: A New Podcast from UConn Extension

 

Land-grant universities have provided communities, organizations, farmers and individuals with practical knowledge rooted in research through the Cooperative Extension System since the passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914. Over the last 107 years a lot has changed with our Extension systems. The program has expanded beyond its agricultural production origin to encompass a wide variety of resources ranging from nutrition to environmental issues and technology.

UConn Extension is no exception to this evolution that the Cooperative Extension System has seen. However, one thing has not changed, in more than a century of working with Connecticut residents, producers, and communities; UConn Extension has always been about connection. Across the board, UConn Extension educators and programs strike at the very core of our 169 cities and towns to make each one of them a better place. Connecting Connecticut, our new podcast, showcases each of our programs through the eyes of those impacted by them.

Connecting Connecticut teaches individuals throughout our state about the programs in their communities. By talking to extension educators, volunteers, researchers, and community members each episode dives into the goals and impacts our programs have here in Connecticut. From learning about coastal resilience and the Connecticut Sea Grant program, looking into the impact 4-H has on the state’s youth and communities, to discussing the importance of volunteers across the Constitution State it is our goal to share the work of UConn Extension, and ultimately our impact on Connecticut.

Join us as we hop from Salisbury to Stonington, visit all eight counties, and talk to all of the wonderful people in between that truly make this state great. Our goal to reach every community, people from all walks of life, and strive for a better tomorrow and we have been fulfilling that mission since 1914. We are chronicling that journey and the people who make it
possible everyday. It is only fitting that in telling our story we do so by Connecting Connecticut.

Article by Zachary J. Duda

Farmland Mixer

Farmland Mixer
Tuesday February 18, 6:30- 8:30 
Over Zoom
If you are a farmer in the state that is looking for land to lease or buy, this is a great opportunity for you to talk to landowners and get other resources from service providers about how to prepare to lease or buy land. To make sure this event has the most impact possible, we are limiting the amount of attendees, so be sure to sign up!  Some attendees will be asked to give a 3 minute pitch for the day of the mixer. Keep in mind that pitch slots are limited, so some attendees will only be permitted to listen. Still, working on your own pitch will be a helpful exercise for talking with farmers and landowners you meet at the mixer!
 

Service providers will also be present on the day of the mixer to answer questions that come up in conversations between farmers and landowners, and to direct you towards resources for taking the next steps. 

If you have any questions about the event, feel free to reach out to Will O’Meara at will@landforgood.org 

farm land mixer ad

Build Your Network Grow Our Future Expands

Words over tomatoesOnce the grueling work of summer comes to an end for farmers throughout the state, there are often opportunities for them to network, build skills, and seek out resources for their farms during the colder months. For Beginning Farmers, one of these opportunities is just around the corner. On December 12th from 2-4pm, the New Connecticut Farmers Alliance (NCTFA) will be hosting it’s semi-annual Build Your Network Grow Our Future event.

Going virtual this year, the zoom event will be an opportunity for farmers who have been in agriculture for 10 or less years to come together to share challenges and strategies, be in community, and connect with service providers that can support their work. Though this typically takes place in person, Will O’Meara of the New Connecticut Farmers Alliance, is still looking forward to participation in the event.

“It’s been a tough year for growers overall – from pivoting our markets to cater to the new needs of Covid, to abrupt changes in land tenure and access, to late and early frosts, and drought to top it off, this season has given us plenty of new challenges. I’m looking forward to connecting on a personal level with other farmers, hearing about how different farms tackled these hurdles, and learning from the community.”

Adding a new component to their gathering this year, NCTFA will be introducing a new peer-learning and peer-leadership opportunity called Farmer Circles that will launch in early 2021. “We seek to strengthen peer support systems among farmers. These professional learning communities can form around content areas, geography, demographic, or anything else – with the belief that a fortified culture of farmer-to-farmer mentorship will strengthen our agrarian resilience,” says Dina Brewster, farmer at The Hickories and Executive Director of Northeastern Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (CTNOFA) and one of the team members helping launch the effort.

Modeled to help facilitate community this will be an opportunity to share obstacles and strategies in small, semi-structured, supportive environments during a nine to 12 month period.  Each Circle will choose an issue to focus on that is proposed by the farmers themselves; such as getting clear on farm financials, identifying vegetable disease and pest management during the season, farming during a natural disaster or public health emergency, starting an urban farm, finding and maintaining a strong farm crew, and mental health/wellness for farm families.

A largely autonomous effort, Farmer Circles will have five to eight members with a designated leader and will choose their preferred meeting style. Each leader will continue to connect with NCTFA and CTNOFA throughout the year to obtain resources (like hiring an expert/practitioner to present) and any leadership training they might require. Ideally, these Farmer Circles will help build durable social networks that will support farmers well beyond the one year commitment.

The Farmer Circle concept blossomed through a partnership between NCTFA, CTNOFA, and UConn Extension. Jiff Martin, UConn Extension Educator in Sustainable Food Systems, noted “Our collaboration in launching the Farmer Circles recognizes that our three organizations have overlapping yet slightly different capacity to reach and support farmer communities of Connecticut.”  Funding for the three year project comes from USDA through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, a grant led by Jiff Martin and her team at UConn Extension.

To find out more about Farmer Circles, visit the NCTFA website at https://newctfarmers.com/. To register for the upcoming Build Your Network Grow Our Future event visit bit.ly/BYNGOF. For more information on the beginning farmer grant and other resources available visit https://newfarms.uconn.edu/.

UConn Extension has Stress Management Resources for Ag Producers

UConn Extension has Stress Management Resources for Agricultural Producers

Article by MacKenzie White

 

graphic that says it is okay to ask for help and provides contact information for UConn Extension agricultural stress management resourcesWe understand many of our Connecticut farms and families have been dealing with stress long before this pandemic took place. May is National Mental Health Month, although it may seem like there is nothing to celebrate, reaching out to someone could really help them, and that’s worth celebrating.

Through a collaborative of UConn Extension faculty and staff along with some of our critical partners (Farm Credit East, ACA, Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Connecticut Farm Bureau, CT NOFA, Eggleston Equine, and Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services) we created a resource page to help agricultural producers mitigate some of the stressors they are facing. The page is located at:  http://ctfarmrisk.uconn.edu/agstress.php

We know caring for your crops and animals is hard enough but caring for your own health and wellness in this high-stress profession should be a priority as well for your farm business. Your mental health success is part of your agribusiness success.

It is hard to get the help you need when you don’t necessarily know where to begin. If you are experiencing symptoms of depressing or have suicidal thoughts, ask or reach out for help.

  • Reach out to a loved one
  • Talk to your friends or a medical provider
  • Are you at risk? Need help now? In Crisis call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 211 in CT, or Text “CT” to 741741.
  • In an emergency call or text 911

Making time for self-care can help you manage everyday stress and achieve more energy, have better focus and even reach new levels of productivity. Some self-care steps to take include the following:

  • Eat well
  • Get enough rest
  • Taking deep breaths
  • Exercise
  • Writing in a journal

We have also created a Private Facebook Group for Farmers and Agricultural Service Providers to communicate with one another through this challenging time for all of us. Join the group today at https://www.facebook.com/groups/361718224745725/

We at UConn Extension are working though unable to make farm visits at this time. We do offer assistance via email, phone and virtual meetings. Please let us know if we can help you. Please remember, if you see something, say something!