Friday, March 27, 2015

35-Acre Farmland Lease Opportunity with Peninsula Open Space Trust 

Pescadero Open Space Trust (POST) has just released a request for proposals (RFP) to lease the 35-acre backfield of their Butano Farms property in Pescadero, CA. POST is soliciting proposals from individuals interested in leasing the land for productive agricultural operations.

POST staff will lead a mandatory tour of the site for prospective operators at 10am on April 17, 2015. If needed, a second tour will be scheduled. Please RSVP for the tour by April 10 to 
Additional information, including sample lease language, previous land uses, and other information will be available at the tour. All interested parties must attend the tour. Please do not try and visit the property prior to the site tour. Access is across a private road and bridge with locked gate.

Proposals must be submitted by May 31, 2015 to the attention of:

Laura O’Leary
Peninsula Open Space Trust
222 High Street
Palo Alto, CA 94301
650-854-7696 x339

Proposals will be evaluated based on economic, social and ecological factors, including but not limited to: suitability of the proposed use for the site, contribution to the agricultural community, viability of the business plan, proposed investments, benefits to natural resources, qualifications of the applicant(s), and completeness of the proposal.

For the full RFP, please email While FarmLink is not the point of contact for this land listing, please do not hesitate to reach out should you have any further questions.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The International Rescue Committee is looking for interns and volunteers in their New Roots refugee farm program in Sacramento

We are in the beginning phase of starting a 4.5-acre farm and educational center in West Sacramento and are seeking interns to assist in the program’s development. In short, the purpose of the program is to enable refugee and community farmers and gardeners to revitalize urban spaces, access agricultural training and nutrition education, gain income through crop sales to local restaurants and markets, and rebuild local food systems.

We are looking for students or recent grads who can assist with the site development and ongoing farm maintenance, provide technical assistance and lead workshops/trainings, conduct research, perform community outreach, develop marketing channels, among other programmatic support tasks. We are also planning to hire part-time employees in the near future, but not at this time.

For interested applicants about this and other IRC programs, please contact Mark Silva, Volunteer & Intern Program Coordinator at or 916 482 0120 ext 312

Monday, March 23, 2015

Upcoming Workshops

QuickBooks Farm Business Workshop
Thursday, March 266:30-8:30 PM at UC Cooperative Extension in DeWitt Center
Speakers: Michael and Melody Bergloff, CPAs
$5 per person, at the door.
This workshop is all about answering your QuickBooks questions. We have several accountants coming who will answer your questions and help you get past your frustrations with Quick Books.  
Register online for any or all of these workshops at:

April 7th6:30 pm—8:30 pm
Hiring and Managing Employees
Speaker: Bryan Little, FELS (Farm Employers Labor Service)
Got work? Need workers? Here’s what you really need to know.
$5 per person, at the door.

April 29th, 6:30 pm—8:30 pm: 
Farm and Ranch Property/Liability/Casualty Insurance
Speaker:  Stephanie Slagel, State Farm Insurance
Got stuff on the farm? Got workers? Got people coming to the farm? Need Insurance. Here’s the scoop on what you need!
$5 per person, at the door.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


April 15th
3:30 - 6:30 PM
Sunday School Barn at Heritage Park
6600 Donlon Way, Dublin
(Building in center of park, near bathrooms)

Are you a new rancher looking to lease land in San Francisco's Bay Area or a landowner interested in grazing your property? Are you interested in learning more about what makes a good grazing lease?

California FarmLink, the Alameda County Conservation Partnership and UC Cooperative Extension invite you to join us for a Grazing Lease Clinic and Mixer!

This introductory workshop is geared towards ranchers in the first ten years of production who are looking to better understand components of a good grazing lease, differences between public and private leases and background on how to secure a grazing lease in the Bay Area's highly competitive environment. Specific topics will include the legal and financial risks of poorly developed leases, leasing best practices, alternative lease clauses, and lease development and negotiation. Join us afterwards for refreshments and networking.
Speakers and panelist include:
Sheila Barry, UCCE Bay Area Livestock Advisor
Clayton Koopmann, Rancher & Midpeninsula Open Space District
Frederick Smith, California FarmLink
Carissa Koopmann Rivers, Rancher & Audubon California
Additional Speakers TBA

Workshop is free - space is limited, so please RSVP.

Click here for the event flyer:
RSVP by Friday, April 10th
Pre-registration is requested - please email Susan Ellsworth at or call (925) 371-0154 ex. 103 to reserve your spot. Include your name, ranch or organization, email and phone.  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Upcoming free Webinars!

Financing A Farmland Purchase: Legal basics for traditional and non-
traditional farmland purchases
Monday, March 23rd
10am - 12pm PST,

Finding money to purchase land and capital is a huge issue for many farmers.
Bank loans, land contracts (aka contracts for deed), and family financing
offer some solutions. The legal language behind promissory notes, security
agreements, land contracts, and mortgages isn’t just “boilerplate.” Farmers
will learn the basics behind these documents. Farmers are also exploring new
opportunities such as crowdsourcing funds from farm customers, friends, and
members. To avoid costly fines, farmers must pay attention to the state and
federal securities laws that affect these opportunities. This webinar will
give farmers knowledge of the legal basics when financing farmland.

Efficiently Manage Your Farm’s Risks With Insurance
Tuesday, March 24th
10am-12pm PST

Insurance is vital to build a resilient farm, but it’s enough to make anyone’s
head spin. What’s a farm liability policy and is it the same as a property/
casualty policy? How does it work with a homeowner’s policy? Is workers’
compensation required and how does it work? If that isn’t enough, we also have
to think about commercial policies for value-added products and farm events.
Crop insurance is also important -- we’ll learn about the latest and most
affordable options. Find the right policies for you with this webinar.
* Attendees of this webinar will receive early access to Farm Commons' updated
insurance chart!

A reminder that all of Farm Commons webinars are recorded and available on our
website if you cannot make the live event. You can stream recorded webinars at

Thursday, March 12, 2015

CSP Farmers Have Until March 31 to Renew Contracts

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications to re-enroll in the ConservationStewardship Program March 31, 2015.  This renewal option is specifically for farmers and ranchers who enrolled in CSP initially in 2011.  Those 2011 enrollees have CSP contracts that expire at the end of 2015.

CSP is a comprehensive working lands conservation program that provides technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers to actively manage and maintain existing conservation systems and to implement additional conservation activities on land in production.  Through CSP, participants take steps to improve soil, water, air, and habitat quality, and can also address water quantity and energy conservation issues.

CSP contracts last for five years, at which time they are eligible for renewal.  There are approximately 74 farmers and ranchers with CSP contracts in California that will expire this year, totaling over 85,000 acres that can be re-enrolled to preserve and expand upon critical environmental benefits. 

It Pays to Renew
It is optional to renew an expiring contract, and participants who do not re-enroll can always re-apply and compete for funding in future annual CSP signups.  However, there is significant benefit to renewing now: the process for renewing is non-competitive and much simpler than re-applying through the competitive process later, and participants will avoid any gaps in their CSP payments that would otherwise occur.

NRCS has already mailed letters to all CSP participants with contracts that are set to expire this year.  The producer must then sign up for the renewal offer by March 31, 2014.  Local NRCS offices will then follow up with the producer to discuss renewal criteria and new conservation options; the producer then can decide whether to sign up for another five year contract. 

Renewal Criteria
Participants will need to meet additional renewal criteria.  Under the terms of the 2014 Farm Bill, CSP contract holders can renew their contracts provided: they have met the terms of their initial contract; agree to adopt and continue to integrate conservation activities across the their entire operation; and agree to either meet the stewardship threshold of at least two additional priority resource concerns or exceed the stewardship threshold of at least two existing priority resource concerns by the end of the renewed contract period.

These terms are slightly different than the terms for renewals under the 2008 Farm Bill that were in effect at the time farmers and ranchers with contracts expiring this year signed-up, so it would be wise for producers interested in renewing to check in with their local NRCS office for precise information about how the 2014 Farm Bill renewal terms will work in practice. 

For more information on the program and the process for signing up, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has released two free resources.  NSAC’s newly revised Information Alert includes not only sign-up details, but also a complete listing of all of the 119 conservation enhancements available to those considering a contract renewal.

The Information Alert lists these conservation activities in order of their conservation and environmental point values.  The higher the point value, the greater the expected environmental benefit and thus the greater weight they have in terms of both ranking the application among other CSP applications, and calculating the ultimate CSP financial assistance payment the producer will receive. 

NSAC has also published an updated version of our Farmers’ Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program.  Download the comprehensive guide the NSAC website.

The renewal process should be fairly simple.  Producers with expiring contracts can contact their local NRCS office with any questions about the renewal process.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Are you interested in using renewable energy on your farm, or managing energy use to save money? The USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides grants for energy auditing and renewable energy projects to rural small businesses and agricultural producers. REAP is offering training webinars to help interested applicants make the best use of the program. Learn more here....