Tuesday, April 29, 2014

NRCS Initiative will assist growers chip woody debris in fallowed orchards and vineyards

DAVIS, Calif., April 29, 2014 – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California will assist farmers to chip woody debris in fallowed orchards and vineyards impacted by California’s ongoing drought. The conservation benefits associated with this practice include controlling erosion and protecting air quality.   
 “NRCS is committed to helping farmers and ranchers manage the impacts of California’s drought,” said Carlos Suarez, NRCS California state conservationist. “This initiative builds upon the $25 million we have already invested this fiscal year to apply on-farm water conservation measures across the state.”
 The California Air Quality Chipping Initiative, through NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), will assist agricultural producers in chipping woody debris from removed orchards or vineyards that are no longer being irrigated due to the extreme drought conditions. These crops are located in areas where surface water deliveries are severely curtailed or suspended and no other sources of water are available for continued irrigation.
Chipping the woody debris in lieu of burning will avoid smoke emissions created from agricultural burning, reducing ozone precursors and particulate matter emissions, and reducing smoke impacts downwind. Applying the chipped debris to the fallowed orchard or vineyard land stabilizes the surface area to limit fugitive dust emissions due to wind erosion and helps improve soil health by increasing soil carbon, organic matter and water retention. The wood chips may also be hauled away to a nearby composting facility or to a biomass-fueled power plant where the chips are consumed as renewable fuel for producing electricity.
This past February, President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a combined $25 million to help agricultural operators use agricultural water more efficiently, stabilize fallowed cropland, and protect their agricultural livelihoods for the future. NRCS California is in the process of notifying those applicants if they have been approved for funds to implement the conservation practices they applied for.
Farmers in Fresno, Kings, Kern, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare counties have until June 20, 2014, to apply. For additional information, eligible farmers are encouraged to contact their local NRCS Service Center. Service center locations can be found at www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov. In order to be considered eligible for EQIP, the applicant must have a vested interest in agricultural production and meet other program eligibility requirements.
NRCS has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help America's private landowners and managers conserve their soil, water and other natural resources since 1935.

CONTACT: 
Jonathan Groveman (530) 792-5692
Alan Forkey (530) 792-5653

Monday, April 21, 2014

AGRARIAN TRUST HOSTS SYMPOSIUM ON LAND ACCESS IN THE 21ST CENTURY - BERKELEY, CA

On April 26 + 27, Agrarian Trust will convene a powerhouse lineup of thinkers, farmers, authors and activists for OURLAND: A Symposium on Land Access in the 21st Century

These speakers will discuss this pivotal moment in our agrarian destiny, and will speak broadly to the topic of land transfer, from the political economy of ownership to the appropriate tools of transfer and social finance, to the magnitude of farmland in question and the environmental impact of its future use.

Speakers include:

Wes Jackson, MacArthur Fellow, and Founder/President of the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, which is breeding perennial grains and seed crops for a polyculture that would mimic natural ecosystems in native prairies of the Midwest. Jackson is author of New Roots for Agriculture (U Nebraska, 1980), and an advisory team member of Agrarian Trust.

Joel Salatin is a farmer,author and advocate for sustainable farming systems. His latest book Fields of Farmers: Interning, Partnering, Mentoring, Germinating offers practical guidance to various stakeholders in the farmland transition and the training of new farmers.

Anuradha Mittal is Director of the Oakland institute, activist and longtime researcher on land grabbing around the world, and recently in the United States. The Oakland Institute recently released the report " Down On the Farm: Wall Street - America's New Farmer"Sjoerd Wartena is the founder of a national land commons or "Land Fund" in France called Terre De Liens in 2008 that now holds over 100 organic farms, leasing them to organic farmers with long-term, equity-building leases.

Elizabeth Henderson is the Founder of the Agricultural Justice Project. She is a pioneer of Community Supported Agriculture, which she practiced for 25 years on her farm in western New York, Peacework Farm. She is author of Sharing the Harvest: a Citizen's Guide to Community Supported Agriculture, and is an advisory team member of Agrarian Trust. Reggie Knox is the Executive Director of California FarmLink, a non-profit that helps famers gain access to land and capital. He has been working with California farmers for 26 years as an organizer, consultant, non-profit manager and inspector supporting small and medium scale farmers and promoting sustainable agriculture.

This event is co-sponsored by Roots of Change, The David Brower Center, Chelsea Green Publishing, Berkeley Food Institute and California FarmLink.

Event details, complete speaker bios, schedule and tickets can be found at:

www.agrariantrust.org/symposium

Thursday, April 10, 2014

FarmLink is looking for a Finance Director!

California FarmLink is seeking an experienced Finance Director to manage the finance, accounting, IT, HR and office management functions. Founded in 1999, California FarmLink is at an exciting inflection point. FarmLink has historically been a technical assistance provider and more recently launched a direct farm microloan program, became a CDFI (community development financial institution), and with a small staff, closed 25-30 loans totaling $600-800K per year for the past 2 years.

This is an existing position that reports to the Executive Director and manages one staff (Staff Accountant). This position is responsible for the oversight of the financial management of the organization.

What You Will Do

• Leadership: Lead a small team to manage the financial and office infrastructure of California FarmLink, supporting Executive Director on fundraising and the financial aspects of grant reporting, and playing a role on the management team in building, motivating and retaining a strong team across the organization.

• Fiscal Management & Oversight: Manage all financial aspects of the organization, including fund accounting, financial reporting, budgeting and cash management. Oversee investment strategy and implementation. Manage the external annual audit and Finance Committee, as well as report to the Board on the financial health of the organization.

• Human Resources: Oversee the Human Resource functions of FarmLink that includes payroll, onboarding of new hires, assist the recruiting efforts and manage the benefits administration that includes health care, dental & vision plans and the retirement program.

• Office Infrastructure: Manage office infrastructure to centralize key elements for stability, efficiency and organization, such as IT and insurance. Internal collaboration is critical with the Access to Land Program, Loan Program and Fundraising.

Qualifications & Profile

The ideal candidate will have the following qualifications and background:

• 8 - 10+ years experience in finance and/or accounting in a not-for-profit, community bank or other financial institution.

• 5+ years experience as a leader in a Finance Manager or Director, Program Director or equivalent role that includes supervision experience and building great teams. Experience working with boards of directors is a plus.

• Demonstrated self-starter that can work independently, take initiative, and make hard decisions.

• Great communicator and team player.

• Fluency with Microsoft Office, Quickbooks and Google Docs. Familiarity with loan management software is a plus.

Location, Travel, Compensation & Terms

This is a position based out of FarmLink’s headquarters in Santa Cruz, CA.

Salary range: $50,000-$75,000 depending on experience.

California FarmLink offers a generous benefit plan, including health insurance after 60 days, retirement, and vacation. California FarmLink maintains a drug-free workplace and is an equal opportunity employer.

How To Apply

Please email a thoughtful cover letter explaining your interest in the position and organization, resume, and three references to Kelly “at” cafarmlink.org. No phone calls please.

Who We Are

California FarmLink is a statewide nonprofit whose mission is to link independent farmers and ranchers with the land and financing they need for a sustainable future. For more info: www.cafarmlink.org