New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference
Dates: December 17–19
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. sessions, plus evening events
Location: Radisson Hotel, 700 Elm St., Manchester, NH
Cost: $105 for the first member of farm or business; $75 each additional member.
Includes more than 25 educational sessions over 3 days, covering major vegetable, berry and tree fruit crops as well as various special topics. A Farmer to Farmer meeting after each morning and afternoon session will bring speakers and farmers together for informal, in-depth discussion. There is also an extensive Trade Show with over 100 exhibitors. For more information: http://www.newenglandvfc.org.
Cornell Small Farms Marketing Class
Dates: Monday, January 6 – Monday, February 10, with webinars once weekly on Monday evenings
Time: 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. EST
Cost: $200; multiple people from the same farm may participate without paying extra
It is rare to find someone who got into farming because they’re passionate about selling. It’s the growing part that attracts most people, and many farmers start small enough that they can get away without a well-planned marketing strategy at first. But as the farm expands and competition grows, it’s harder to be successful without a strategy. New and experienced farmers alike will benefit from honing their marketing skills with the Cornell Small Farms Program’s online course BF 201: Effective Marketing for the Busy Farmer. Join popular Cornell Cooperative Extension educators Matt LeRoux and Laura Biasillo, and several savvy farmers to learn and apply practical, on-the-ground tips to focus your marketing and use your limited time wisely. The course runs Monday, January 6 – Monday, February 10, with webinars once weekly on Monday evenings from 6:30-8:00 p.m. EST. The cost is $200, and multiple people from the same farm may participate without paying extra.
2014 Maine Agricultural Trades Show
Dates: January 7 – 9, 2014
Times: Tuesday, January 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 8 from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., and Thursday, January 9 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Augusta Civic Center, Augusta, Maine
The 73nd annual Agricultural Trades Show will be held at the Augusta Civic Center on January 7-9, 2014. Admission is FREE! This show provides an atmosphere to walk through, observe, and educate the public about different areas of agriculture. Many commercial agriculture associations will hold their annual meetings and sponsor educational workshops over the course of the three days. A full schedule of events and program will be posted on the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry website at http://www.getrealmaine.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/calendar.detail/event_id/94/ in December 2013. Show hours are Tuesday, January 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 8 from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., and Thursday, January 9 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG)
The Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) was issued today in the Federal Register. Applicants must demonstrate that they meet all definition requirements at 7 CFR 4284.902 for one of the following applicant types: Independent producer, agricultural producer group, farmer or rancher cooperative, or majority-controlled producer-based business venture. If you are a Harvester, it is the Agency’s position that you may only apply as an Independent Producer applicant type because harvester operations do not meet Agency definition requirements for a Farm or Ranch. This program provides funds for planning or working capital. There are separate and distinct applications for each. Funds cannot be used for construction, machinery or equipment. These are available at the USDA Rural Development website at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_VAPG.html; all program regulations are also available on this website. There is a matching funds requirement of at least $1 for every $1 in grant funds provided by the Agency (matching funds plus grant funds must equal proposed total project costs). There are new maximum limits for grant requests. The maximum grant amount for a planning grant is $75,000, and the maximum grant amount for a working capital grant is $200,000. This is a change from the last round of funding. To be eligible for funding, you must submit your application by February 24, 2014. Paper applications must be postmarked and mailed, shipped or sent overnight by this date.
USDA Farm Storage Loans Available
USDA Maine State Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, Donovan E. Todd, III, reminds farmers and ranchers that Farm Storage Facility Loans (FSFL) are available through FSA.
The Farm Service Agency offers low-interest loans to grain producers to build new or upgrade existing storage facilities and permanent drying and handling equipment. Loan opportunities
- New conventional-type cribs or bins, oxygen-limiting and other upright silo-type structures, and flat-type storage structures designed for whole grain storage,
- Perforated floors, safety equipment, quality improvement equipment, electrical equipment and concrete components considered essential for a fully functional storage facility,
- Remodeling existing storage facilities to increase storage capacity.
Farm storage facility loans must be approved prior to site preparation, equipment purchase or construction, and must be secured by a promissory note and security agreement. The new maximum principal loan amount is $500,000. Participants are required to provide a down payment of 15 percent, with CCC providing a loan for the remaining 85 percent of the net cost of the eligible storage facility and permanent drying and handling equipment.
Additional security is required for poured-cement open-bunker silos, renewable biomass facilities, cold storage facilities, hay barns and for all loans exceeding $50,000. New loan terms of seven, 10 or 12 years are available depending on the amount of the loan. Interest rates for each term rate may be different and are based on the rate which CCC borrows from the Treasury
Contact your local county office for more information.