Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Farmers’ Guide to California’s 2015 Certified Farmers’ Market Laws and Regulations

Check it out: http://pcfma.com/blogs/?p=2296

Farm Manager Job Posting at Say Hay Farms!

Say Hay Farms produces certified organic pastured eggs and mixed vegetables on 50 acres in Esparto, CA.  In our sixth year of production, we are now seeking a professional farmer to manage our vegetable operation. 

Job Title: Farm Manager

Works directly with Owner.


DUTIES

1) Directs and supervises all farm employee activities, such as planting, irrigation, cultivation, tractor work, harvest, post harvest, shipping and storage.  Responsible for scheduling.

2) Manages all aspects of crop production and field operations, including irrigation scheduling, timely cultivation, harvest forecasting, pest control, post harvest handling, and quality control. 

3) Creates crop plan and field allocations in coordination with the Owner.

4) Records information about production, irrigation, labor activity, and food safety. 

5) Researches and implements procedural or equipment changes for greater efficiency, productivity, and quality. 

6) Inspects equipment to ensure proper functioning.  Monitors safety of farm employees in the field and packing shed. 

7) Monitors inventory and orders supplies. 


QUALIFICATIONS

1) Minimum 3 years experience on a diversified vegetable operation. 

2) Prior supervisory responsibility and demonstrated leadership abilities. 

3) Demonstrated knowledge of high quality year-round vegetable production.

4) Proficient at data collection and spreadsheet analysis.

5) Desire and ambition to be the key player at the center of a small professional and creative farming operation.

6) Ability to work early, long, and hard.  Weeks averaging 60 hours. This is a small farm so the Farm Manager performs most of the same duties s/he also supervises, including harvest. 


COMPENSATION

Starting annual salary $45,000.

Bonus incentive based on farm profitability. 

Two weeks paid vacation.

Starting Time Frame:  Flexible.  Full-time before March 2016, but planning meetings in early November will be necessary. 


BACKGROUND

Say Hay Farms started in 2010 with just two acres and 100 hens.  Having farmed 20 acres for the past few years, we are completing the transition to our new packing facility and infrastructure in Esparto, CA.  We farm two properties totaling about 45 acres of vegetable ground, 5 acres of almonds in need of rehabilitation, and a half-acre of oranges.  With the time needed to properly rotate and fertilize our grounds with chickens and cover crops, we usually don’t have more than 15-20 acres in vegetable production at a time.  

Our goal is to meet much of our fertilization needs through pastured hens and cover crops, supplemented with compost and imported manure fertilizer when necessary.  Our current laying flocks total 1600 laying hens, with plans for additional flocks. The Farm Manager’s focus will be on vegetable production, working with the Owner to allocate farm employees’ time to operate the daily routine of the egg operation. 

Having grown for a small 60-member CSA, restaurants, farmers’ markets, independent grocers, co-ops, and wholesale distributors, we are currently on a trajectory towards focusing on the latter.

Our farm business strategy is to have the equipment and systems necessary to operate efficiently with a small team, the data to make informed planning decisions, and the skill and attention to detail needed to execute those plans successfully. 

We are a young evolving farm and looking for the right person to help support our growth.


TIME FRAME

Interviewing now. 

Start Date flexible depending upon candidate’s current position.  Full-time no later than March 2016, but planning meetings in early November will be necessary. 


TO APPLY

Please email a brief cover letter, resume, and references to sayhayfarms@gmail.com with the subject title “Farm Manager.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Don't miss! National Young Farmers Coalition, California FarmLink, Equity Trust and Farmers Guild Presents


 Partnering with a Land Trust to Access Affordable Farmland 
Wednesday, October 7 
1-4 pm presentations and farm tour 
4-6 pm networking and potluck 
Wakamatsu Colony Farm, 941 Cold Springs Road, Placerville, CA 

This workshop will help farmers successfully engage in the process of partnering with a land trust to access affordable, secure farmland. The event will include presentations by NYFC, CA FarmLink, Equity Trust and farmers, as well as as a farm tour and potluck dinner. Bring your land access questions and a dish to share! 

The workshop will feature presentations on: 
  • An overview of other organizations that can help you in your partnership with a land trust
  • Sources of financing to consider when working with a land trust
  • Matching your land access needs to the range of tools available when working with a land trust
  • Land trusts as landlords - what this means for you and how to engage in the process
  • Structuring a solid lease agreement with a land trust 

Who is this for: Farmers in California who are looking for land and are ready to manage their own farm business and/or own their own farm. 

The workshop is free,  but please bring a dish to share and RSVP here: landtrustworkshop.brownpapertickets.com

Presented by: 

This workshop is made possible with generous support from the Cedar Tree Foundation and the Lydia B. Stokes Foundation.

Local beer and wine will be provided!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

09/15/2015 01:03 PM EDT

USDA Offers Help to Fire-Affected Farmers and Ranchers


WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farmers and ranchers affected by the recent wildfires in Alaska, California, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Washington State that USDA has programs to assist with their recovery efforts.


The Farm Service Agency (FSA) can assist farmers and ranchers who lost livestock, grazing land, fences or eligible trees, bushes and vines as a result of a natural disaster. FSA administers a suite of safety-net programs to help producers recover from eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Livestock Forage Disaster Programthe Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, and the Tree Assistance Program.


In addition, the FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters and for carrying out emergency water conservation measures in periods of severe drought. Producers located in counties that received a primary or contiguous disaster designation are eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Compensation is also available to producers who purchased coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which protects non-insurable crops against natural disasters that result in lower yields, crop losses or prevented planting.


“Wildfires have caused devastating losses for many farmers and ranchers,” said FSA Administrator Val Dolcini. “Over the past several years, wildfires have increased in severity, intensity and cost as the fire season has grown longer, and drought and increased temperatures contribute to dangerous conditions. Natural disasters such as wildfires are unavoidable, but USDA has strong safety-net programs to help producers get back on their feet.”


The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can assist producers with damaged grazing land as well as farmers, ranchers and forestland owners who find themselves in emergency situations caused by natural disasters. The NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program provides financial assistance to producers who agree to defer grazing on damaged land for two years. In the event that presidentially declared natural disasters, such as wildfires, lead to imminent threats to life and property, NRCS can assist local government sponsors with the cost of implementing conservation practices to address natural resource concerns and hazards through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program.


“After natural disasters such as wildfires, it is critical that farmers, ranchers and forestland owners have financial and technical resources available to protect their natural resources and operations,” said NRCS Chief Jason Weller. “Conservation practices protect the land and aid recovery, but can build the natural resource base and may help mitigate loss in future events.”


Farmers and ranchers with coverage through the federal crop insurance program administered by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) should contact their crop insurance agent to discuss losses due to fire or other natural causes of loss. Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the RMA Agent Locator.


When wildfires destroy or severely damage residential property, Rural Development (RD) can assist with providing priority hardship application processing for single family housing. Under a disaster designation, RD can issue a priority letter for next available multi-family housing units. RD also provides low-interest loans to community facilities, water environmental programs, businesses and cooperatives and to rural utilities.


For the first time in its 110-year history, the Forest Service, part of USDA, is spending more than 50 percent of its budget to suppress the nation's wildfires.


Today, fire seasons are 78 days longer than in the 1970s. Since 2000, at least 10 states have had their largest fires on record. This year, there have been more than 46,000 fires. Increasing development near forest boundaries also drives up costs, as more than 46 million homes and more than 70,000 communities are at risk from wildfire in the United States.


Visit http://go.usa.gov/3eDeF to learn more about USDA disaster preparedness and response. For more information on USDA disaster assistance programs, please contact your local USDA Service Center. To find your local USDA Service Center go to http://offices.usda.gov.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).