21 June 2016

Apply now for SWEEP: Water Efficiency Grants for Farmers & Ranchers


The CDFA just opened an $18 million funding round for on-farm projects that provide water savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) provides grants for activities such as:
  • upgrades to more efficient pumps
  • conversion to drip
  • installation of solar panels to produce renewable energy
  • improved water storage and/or recycling
  • soil moisture monitoring and scheduling 
Grant amounts: Up to $200,000
Due: August 5, 2016
For more information: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/sweep/
Up to $200,000 per agricultural operation is available, and a 50% match is recommended but not required. Applications are due August 5, 2016. View the program’s webpage and application materials by clicking here.
Free Technical Assistance is being offered to SWEEP applicants. We encourage you to attend one of the 23 in-depth technical assistance workshops throughout California. View the list of workshops by clicking here.
CDFA is also offering four grant application workshops in Yolo, Imperial, San Luis Obispo, and Fresno Counties. View the list of info sessions by clicking here.

For a helpful overview of the application resources available on the SWEEP webpage, watch this short video.

17 June 2016

Save the Date: 9th Annual Organic Stone Fruit Jubilee on Saturday, 25 June!

Join organic Central Valley growers for the year’s most delicious event: This fun-filled evening includes fruit tasting and sales of over 60 varieties of peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, and pluots. Enjoy live entertainment, farm tours, a Kids Craft corner, jam making, a Japanese tea ceremony, flower arranging and stone fruit drinks, artisan treats and pies.

LocationMokichi Okada Association's Oasis Garden 
5790 N, Indianola Ave
Clovis, CA 93619.
Admission: Adult Admission $5 // Children under 12 Free 

Featuring: Dr. Mario Sifuentez from UC Merced will be our keynote speaker. Farmer participants include Abundant Harvest OrganicsBlossom Bluff OrchardsD.E. Boldt Family Farms, MOA, Naylor Organics, Peterson Farm, Valliwide Organic Farms, Fruit Fairy Delivers, Cardenas Farms, Juarez Farms, and Eldon Thiesen Farm. Delicious food vendors include La Reina de Michoacan, La Boulangerie Bakery, Dusty Buns Bistro, Casa de Tamales, and Mattie's Wood Fired Pizza. Other vendors include the Tempeh Factory fruit chutney and Tagua Fair Trade Products. Live music will be provided by Good Medicine. 

Sponsored by the Ecological Farming Association, Kristina's Natural Ranch Market, Slow Food Madera, MOA and California Dietetic Association.
To learn more visit www.fruitjubilee.org

See you there!!

Register Now for this FREE FarmLink Webinar: Growing Profitable Small Farms

Growing Profitable Small Farms:
Financial Risk Management and Crop Insurance
Would you like to learn about opportunities to protect your farm’s long-term financial growth and viability? Join us for this webinar where we will look at two key aspects of farm risk management, and what you can do to protect your farm and plan for the future.
Farm Finance Tools to Help You Manage Risk
Wednesday June 22, 12-1:30 pm
Join FarmLink for this farm financial management workshop that will get you started (or keep you going) on the right track. By the end of the webinar, you will understand:
  • the basics of credit scores and how to improve or establish credit history
  • different types of agricultural loans, and how a loan might work for you
  • cash flow management to manage financial risk
  • how to use farm balance sheets and income statements to manage debt
  • the benefits of diversification
  • business structures and their implications for debt and building equity

To RSVP for this free webinar, Click Here

Presented by California Farmlink and hosted by CCOF

Support for this project is provided through a cooperative agreement with the USDA Risk Management Agency.

13 June 2016

Apply Now: USDA's Value-Added Producer Grant Program

VAPG Guide Cover

Whether helping farmers turn organic grains into shelf-ready items or providing capital for the creation of farm-identity preserved regional supply chains, the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program has served as a valuable resource for farmers looking to grow their businesses through value-added products.
In April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of $44 million in funding through the competitive VAPG Program. Administered by USDA Rural Development, the VAPG program provides competitive grants to producers for working capital, feasibility studies, business plans, and marketing efforts to establish viable value-added businesses. Up to $75,000 is available for planning grants and up to $250,000 is available for implementation grants.

The deadline for proposals is now right around the corner!  Paper applications are due July 1, while electronic applications are due June 24 through grants.gov.
Individual and groups of producers, as well as farmer coops and producer-controlled businesses, are eligible to apply for these grants, which help to increase income and marketing opportunities for America’s farmers and ranchers, along with fishermen, loggers, and other harvesters of agricultural commodities.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s annual Farmers Guide to the VAPG Program walks farmers through the program’s application requirements, including a step-by-step description of the application and ranking processes.
In addition, USDA has created a “toolkit” for applicants, that includes an application checklist, templates, required grant forms, and instructions (found under the “Forms & Resources” tab).
Finally, please note that NSAC and the USDA partnered on a webinar for prospective applicants on May 8, a recording of that webinar can be found here. 
We encourage farmers and their organizations, coops, and businesses to consider the program and get great proposals in by the deadline!

19 May 2016

Join California FarmLink and CCOF for a Webinar on Managing Financial Risks on the Farm.

Farm Finance Tools to Help You Manage Risk

California FarmLink and CCOF’s farm financial management webinar will get you started (or keep you going) on the right financial track. By the end of the webinar, you will understand: 
  • The basics of credit scores and how to improve or establish credit history
  • Different types of agricultural loans, and how a loan might work for you
  • Cash flow management to manage financial risk
  • How to use farm balance sheets and income statements to manage debt
  • The benefits of diversification
  • Business structures and their implications for debt and building equity

About Our Speaker

Brett Melone
Director of Lending, California Farmlink
Brett Melone has served as director of lending at California FarmLink since July 2014. Melone previously served as a loan officer since July 2013, after serving as a member of the California FarmLink Board of Directors and Loan Committee.

Melone has more than 15 years of experience supporting the business success of farmers and leading nonprofit organizations that serve farmers. He has extensive non-profit management experience and served as the executive director of Friends of MarViva Foundation and as the executive director of the Agriculture & Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) in Salinas, California. He is also an adjunct instructor of sustainable agriculture at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Melone has a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations, business, and Spanish from the University of San Diego, and a Master of Arts degree in international environmental policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Event Details

June 22, 2016
12-1:30 p.m. PDT


This webinar is free!


More Information

For more information please contact Frederick Smith at frederick@cafarmlink.org.

This event is a co-production of California FarmLink & CCOF with support from the USDA's Risk Management Agency.

16 May 2016

Upcoming Events up at the UC Santa Cruz Farm

Chadwick Garden

Strawberry Justice Festival
Thursday, May 19, 4 - 6:30 pm at the CASFS Hay Barn: 
The Strawberry Justice Festival is right around the corner! Enjoy free food, live music, engaging activities, and most importantly a great space to engage around issues surrounding strawberry production's human and environmental issues. If you're interested in tabling or volunteering at this year's event please fill out this sign-up form.

Tuesday, 7 June 12pm-6pm: 
Opening day for the 2016 Market Cart and CSA program! The Market Cart takes place at the base of the UCSC campus (corner of Bay & High streets). CSA pick ups will take place at the new Hay Barn (off of Ranch View Road near the base of the UCSC campus) and at the Westside Farm & Feed (Tuesdays only, 2:30-5:30). The Market Cart and CSA pick ups also take place on Fridays. Please note: Weather conditions may affect the opening day of Market Cart and CSA schedule. Please check back closer to the date for confirmation.
Monday, June 13, 1 pm - 4 pm, UCSC Farm: 
Join farmers and flower growers Zoe Hitchner of Healdsburg’s Front Porch Farm, and Sky DeMuro and Chrisof Bernau of the UCSC Farm & Garden for a field day on organically grown cut flowers. Field day topics include planting plans, varietal selection, harvest yield data, and crop culture for various cut flower crops, including lisianthus, feverfew, craspedia, zinnia, statice, strawflower, and more. The presenters will also discuss various marketing options for small- and medium-scale cut flower producers.
This free event is funded through a California Department of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Grant and is geared towards beginning farmers. All production growers are welcome, whether you are already farming or thinking about adding flowers to your operation. 
RSVP to Melissa Betrone, mbetrone@ucsc.edu, (831) 502-8079 for additional details and parking information (please include contact phone and email).
Saturday, June 25, 10 am - 3 pm, Cowell Ranch Hay Barn, UCSC:  Join Flower Grower Zoe Hitchner of Front Porch Farm in Healdsburg and Sky DeMuro of UCSC’s Alan Chadwick Garden for a day-long training on establishing a floristry enterprise for your existing farming business, no matter the scale. 
Zoe and Sky will lead participants in demonstrations and hands-on activities as we make unique, seasonal arrangements that are farm-fresh and elegant. In addition to floral design techniques including hand-tied bouquets, corsages, and boutonniers, this workshop will also cover the business side of event flowers, equipping participants with tools to run a profitable and professional floristry enterprise. 
Although this workshop is geared toward professional flower growers and florists, or those thinking about adding flowers to their farming business, others interested in learning to arrange event flowers are welcome to enroll. Enrollment is limited to ensure a quality learning experience; please pre-register.

07 April 2016

CCOF's Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund Application Now Open!

Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund applications now open for teachers and students of organic agriculture. This year CCOF and partners will give over $140,000 in grants to elementary and high school students as well as to adults for Higher/Vocational Education. 

The Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund supports the next generation of organic producers through small grants that support organic education from kindergarten through the end of college. The CCOF Foundation gives Future Organic Farmer Grants in three categories: kindergarten through eighth gradehigh school, and vocational and higher education.

Applications accepted until May 15, 2016.