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November 12, 2014

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In this issue

Register Now for NEFU’s Convention

Nine NEFU Members Featured on TV’s Farm Fresh Challenge

Food Safety Regs May Be Closer to the Mark

Misunderstandings of the Producer Protection Plan

NFU at the International Summit of Cooperatives

McDonald’s Answers Food Questions and Whole Foods Announces a New Rating System

NEFU and Land for Good Bring Members New Benefit

Farm to School and Cooperative Efforts Bring Together Family Farmers and Local Communities

Vermont & NEASDA to Host Listening Session on FSMA

Uconn Survey Seeks Producer’s Views on Regulations

Beginning Farmer USDA Committee Meets; NEFU Member Represents

Member Profile: Beginning Dairy Farmer Chelsea Kruse

Specialty Crop Block Grants Bring $2.2 Million to New England Agriculture

In Every Issue

Washington Corner

Tools for Growth

Upcoming Events

 


 

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Register Now for NEFU’s Convention

Registration for New England Farmers Union’s fifth Annual Convention, Navigating Change in New England Agriculture, is open now, and slots are filling fast. Please join us on December 11-13 at the Holiday Inn By the Bay in Portland, Maine, to hear from leaders in agriculture on topics relevant to you and your farm business.

You’ll hear updates on federal farm policy initiatives, risk management tools, the Organic Checkoff, issues and opportunities in sustainable and organic farming, agriculture infrastructure and food safety. You will also be able to participate in discussion on New England Farmers Union policy, the blueprint to our advocacy work in Washington, D.C., for the coming year. To register, click here.

We look forward to seeing you in beautiful Portland this December!


Nine NEFU Members Featured on TV’s Farm Fresh Challenge

Nine members of New England Farmers Union (NEFU) were featured on the New England Farm Fresh Chef’s Challenge, a television show that will aired recently in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Click here to view it.

Camera crews and a producer visited NEFU members Trombly Gardens in Milford, NH; Diemand Farms in Wendell, MA; and Eastleigh Farm in Framingham, MA. While at the farms, they gathered ingredients and interviewed the farmers. They then took the fresh ingredients from these farms, plus additional staples from Farmer’s Cow in Lebanon, CT; Four Star Farms in Northfield, MA; and Real Pickles in Greenfield, MA, to three NEFU restaurant members. Chef’s at restaurants The Farm Table in Bernardston, MA; Joinery in Newmarket, NH; and Vinalnd in Portland, ME, transformed a turkey, eggs, corn meal, ginger carrots, clili peppers, garlic, pumpkin and queso fresco into creative and delicious dishes that highlighted the excellence of the locally grown food. 

Contestant Vinland in Portland is a five-minute walk from the Holiday Inn By the Bay, which is where NEFU will be holding its fifth Annual Convention, Navigating Change in New England Agriculture, on December 11-13. Registration is now open for this event.

To register and learn more, click here

We look forward to seeing you in beautiful Portland this December!


Food Safety Regs May Be Closer to the Mark

Roger Noonan speaks on FSMA

The second time may be a charm for farmers across the region. FDA in late September rereleased supplemental rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and while New England Farmers Union is still analyzing them, the proposed rules seem to be more closely aligned with NEFU priorities, reflecting advocacy by our members and allies.

On a webinar hosted by the Conservation Law Foundation last month, American Farmland Trust and Northeast Agriculture Working Group, NEFU President Roger Noonan described the changes in the rules as a potential win for small and mid-size producers. “FDA has addressed our most significant concerns,” he said. Click here to read more.

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Misunderstandings of the Producer Protection Plan

GUEST EDITORIAL by Arden Tewksbury, Manager, Progressive Agriculture Organization

Finally, thousands of dairy farmers in the United States are realizing many of the shortcomings of the new margin insurance program called the Producer Protection Plan that is being strongly supported by different so-called experts all across the United States. Click here to read more.

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NFU at the International Summit of Co-operatives

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson last month discussed the role of family farming and co-operatives in food security and food sovereignty as part of a panel discussion at the International Summit of Co-operatives in Quebec City, Canada. New England Farmers Union is a regional chapter of National Farmers Union.

“Family farms and ranches worldwide are the cultural, social, economic and security cornerstones of every nation,” said Johnson. “Forty percent of the world’s households directly depend on family farming, and every person who eats also depends on family farmers.” Click here to read more.

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McDonald’s Answers Food Questions and Whole Foods Announces a New Rating System

GUEST BLOG POST by Daryll E. Ray and Harwood D. Schaffer

In our previous column, we discussed changing consumer expectations and the announcement by Walmart that they were implementing a four-legged program to enhance the sustainability of the food that they sell as well as efforts by McDonald’s to address the issue of antibiotic use in food animals. That column had not even had time to hit the mailbox when the next flurry of announcements was made. Click here to read more.

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NEFU and Land for Good Bring Members New Benefit

New England Farmers Union (NEFU) and Land for Good (LFG) have partnered on an agreement that brings a benefit to both organizations—and to the farmers they serve. Members of NEFU can now get a 25 percent discount on the hourly rate for individual farm succession and transfer planning consulting services through LFG.

Read more about how Land For Good assists farm families with farm transfer planning.

“NEFU is pleased to work with Land for Good and recognizes that both organizations work hard to keep family agriculture viable for generations to come,” said NEFU President Roger Noonan. “We see this new benefit as a way to serve NEFU members by positively impacting their bottom line.”. Click here to read more.

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Farm to School and Cooperative Efforts Bring Together Family Farmers and Local Communities

By Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union President

In celebration of the United Nations’ 2014 International Year of Family Farming, this month National Farmers Union (NFU) is highlighting the substantial impact family farmers have on world hunger and food security issues.

“Family farming is the backbone of agriculture, not only in the United States, but worldwide,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “The role family farmers play in addressing hunger, health and food security issues in both the U.S. and around the world, though not always adequately recognized, is significant.” Click here to read more.

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Vermont & NEASDA to Host Listening Session on FSMA

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, in conjunction with the Northeast Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NEASDA), will host an open Listening Session on November 17, 2014, to offer farmers and food processors an opportunity to provide comment on new supplemental rules proposed by the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). New England Farmers Union was one of several organizations urging rules that would support small and mid-scale diversified agriculture common in the region. Click here to read more.

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UConn Survey Seeks Producer’s Views on Regulations

New England Farmers Union has been asked to share an important survey with Northeast agricultural producers. The University of Connecticut (UConn) Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy is interested in finding out your views on state and municipal regulations that affect farming activities and profitability. This survey should take approximately 15 minutes of your time, and your participation is very important.

Your responses will be anonymous, and your name or contact information is not requested. The results of this survey will be developed into a report, which will be shared with Northeast agricultural leaders, and policy makers at the state and local levels. Your participation in this important survey is appreciated.

To participate, click this link to be taken to the survey site administered by UConn.

If you have any questions about this study, you may contact Dr. Benjamin Campbell at ben.campbell@uconn.edu or Dr. Adam Rabinowitz at adam.rabinowitz@uconn.edu.

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Beginning Farmer USDA Committee Meets; NEFU Member Represents

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Advisory Committee met recently in Austin, Texas, to discuss their recommendations.

Farmers Union members on the committee are, pictured from left, Maria Miller, National Farmers Union; Chris Holman, Wisconsin Farmers Union; and Ray Connor, New England Farmers Union. Participating remotely was Anna Jones-Crabtree, Montana Farmers Union.

Way to go, Farmers Union reps!

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Member Profile: Beginning Dairy Farmer Chelsea Kruse

It was serendipity that pulled Chelsea Kruse into dairy farming. When she was a sixth-grader, a teacher aide at her elementary school invited Kruse to visit her dairy farm and to learn about the 4-H club she worked with. “I went one weekend and…never stopped going back.”

Today, Kruse has come a long way from a barn visitor. The New England Farmers Union (NEFU) member works at a dairy farm in New Hampshire. She also has a vision for New England agriculture and is eager to work on policy that will help dairy farmers across the region. And, she’s a member of the class of 2015 of National Farmers Union’s Beginning Farmer Institute, a year-long program that teaches beginning farmers the skills they need to manage a farm business. Read the full profile here.

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Specialty Crop Block Grants Bring $2.2 Million to New England Agriculture

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service on Oct. 2 announced awards amounting to more than $66 million in Specialty Crop Block Grants (SCBG) administered through state departments of agriculture. As a region, New England received $2,264,798 for 60 projects in six states. Several NEFU affiliate and organizational members are among the awardees, including Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association, several chapters of the Northeast Organic Farming Association and Farm Fresh Rhode Island. Congratulations! Click here to read more.

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Washington Corner

Read a roundup of November news from the capitol.

From National Farmers Union.

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Resources and Tools for Growth

Check out our resources page, full of programs and services to help producers in our region. Here are upcoming educational programs that might interest you.

Cornell Small Farms Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension online Fall and Winter courses to help farmers develop their businesses. These 5- to 7-week online courses cost $200 total for up to four members of the same farm to participate. Details on courses here.

Healthy Food in Your Community: A Toolkit for Policy Change Learn how to navigate the food policy system and join in efforts to make healthy, affordable food part of your community’s landscape.

If you have resources you’d like to see listed, please send us an email.

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Upcoming Events

Please check the calendar on the New England Farmers Union website. We will post information about events that we will attend, and events that are of interest to our members. Please send along information if you have an event you would like us to post.

NRCS is offering a series of Healthy Soil Webinars throughout the year.

Animal Manure Compost Tour November 14, Storrs, CT

Vermont & NEASDA Host Listening Session for FSMA Rules November 17, South Royalton, VT

Pollinator Conservation Short Course November 18, Riverhead, NY

Teaching Financial Literacy to Farmers – A NIFTI Webinar November 18, webinar

How Women are Changing Board Rooms and Rural Landscapes November 18, webinar

Free Legal Help for Farmers and Food Entrepreneurs November 19, Greenfield, MA

Product Development Considerations – Beyond the Concept November 20, Greenfield, MA

Save the Date: NEFU Fifth Annual Convention. December 11-13, Portland ME.

NOFA/Mass Winter Conference: Using Livestock to Build a Healthy, Profitable Farm. January 10, Worcester, MA

Massachusetts Farm to Cafeteria Conference. Januaray 13, Worcester, MA

The 74th Maine Annual Agricultural Trades Show. January 13-15, Augusta, ME

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