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CFSA's Grower's Toolbox
Dear Nahid,

It's been a few months since you've last heard from us. Like you growers, over at CFSA, we've had a busy summer. We've been putting our energy into hosting tons of food safety, building wholesale capacity, and conservation workshops all over North and South Carolina. We've also been gearing up for the 2019 Sustainable Agriculture Conference, which is only six weeks away!

There is a lot of conference news we could share, but it's likely that you're already following the conference blog or emails, so we'll keep it short and sweet in case you've seen some of this on our other channels. Here are the highlights: 

Climate adaptation and mitigation is a central theme.

Pre-conference intensives and workshops specifically for advanced growers and livestock farmers. With over 130 speakers representing 100 different farms, organizations, and institutions in the Southeast you are bound to find a workshop that fits your needs!

The first-ever Southeast Organic Seed Summit is bringing together the region's leading seed experts, researchers, and breeders in an effort to broaden the network of organic seed stakeholders in the Carolinas.  

New opportunities to learn about industrial hemp from researchers, policymakers, and farmers in the Carolinas, including a bus tour with hands-on demonstrations.

CFSA's 40th Birthday Party! Help us celebrate with live music and birthday cake during the Saturday night reception.

Nominations for our Annual Awards are open until Oct. 15 to recognize leaders in sustainable agriculture in North and South Carolina. Anyone can nominate - will you help us?

Beyond that, this edition includes news on:
  • Cost-share programs in NC & SC are accepting applications to reimburse organic certification costs last year.
  • CFSA's 2019 Grower-Buyer Meetup in November
  • Extension on an exemption for NC farmers to process poultry for others
  • Updated CFSA organic enterprise budgets to help you budget 10 crops
  • Meet our newest hire: Dylan Alexander, Lomax Farm Coordinator
  • A new grant through SSARE
  • USDA resources for farmers affected by 2018-2019 disasters

Karen McSwain, CFSA's Associate Executive Director for Programs

Mark your calendars & save up to $150! 
Summer Special prices for CFSAC2019 registration ends Sept. 27th.

When we hear the words marketing plan, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or think we have to come up with some over the top idea to present to the world. Simply put, marketing is the action of promoting or selling of products or services, which is what we are all trying to do in this industry. Like it or not, we need to learn how to do it. Learning how to successfully market your farm and your produce can get you in the door no matter who you want to sell to. It’s a great way to make a lasting first impression, provide support to your partners, and grow your professional relationships. 

Continue reading Krista's tip here.
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Can Regenerative Agriculture Save Family Farms AND Solve Climate Change?

Dr. Allen Williams is a sixth-generation family farmer and expert on regenerative agriculture and grazing, soil health, adaptive foraging, pasture-based meat production, the grass-fed market, and alternative marketing systems, among other subjects. He personally pioneered many of the first grass-fed protocols and forage finishing techniques. For these reasons and more, we are thrilled to bring Dr. Williams as the keynote speaker of our 2019 Sustainable Agriculture Conference.

Though he currently lives in Mississippi, where he owns a grass-fed beef operation, Dr. Williams has deep roots in the Carolinas. His ancestors first started their family farm in South Carolina in the year 1842. He began his education at Clemson, where he earned his BS and MS in Animal Science. He later went on to earn his Ph.D. in Livestock Genetics from LSU. He is also a longtime partner and Chief Ranching Officer of Joyce Farms in Winston-Salem. A respected researcher, (self-described) “recovering” academic, and writer, Dr. Williams has published over 400 articles and the book Before You Have a Cow. We recently sat down for an in-depth conversation with Dr. Williams about all things regenerative and adaptive in the Carolinas and beyond.
CFSA: You are both a farmer and an expert on regenerative farming and ranching. What is one thing you wish more farmers knew about regenerative practices?

Continue reading our interview with Dr. Allen Williams.

The keynote dinner is open to non-conference-goers, too!

If you cannot make it to the whole conference but would like to attend the Local Food Feast dinner and keynote by Dr. Williams, get your ticket now!

Were You Certified in the Last Year? 
Apply for Cost-Share Programs in NC & SC

Organic Certification Cost Share Programs for both North and South Carolina are now accepting applications. These state-level programs, which are administered by both the Farm Services Agency (FSA) and state departments of agriculture, reimburse the cost of organic certification at 75% up to $750 for certification costs incurred between October 1, 2018, and September 30, 2019.

In North Carolina, the application deadline is Friday, November 29, 2019. You can apply for reimbursement through either the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) or at any FSA county office.

If you have any questions, please contact the NCDA&CS's Heather Barnes, Marketing Specialist, at or 919-707-3127. Information on the program can be found online here.

In South Carolina, the application deadline is Thursday, October 31, 2019. You can apply through either the South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) or at any FSA county office.

If you have questions please contact the SCDA's Betsy Dorton, Grants Administrator, at or 803-734-0467. Information on the program can be found online here.

If you are a certified organic producer or handler, please consider taking advantage of this great opportunity!


Growers, Want to Sell Your Products Wholesale?


Did you see that we have an exciting event coming up on Nov. 1 (at the conference in Durham) for growers looking to sell their products wholesale or buyers wanting to source more local farmers?

Our market access coordinator, Krista, is putting on a
 face-to-face networking session with local farmers, wholesale distributors, and local retailers to facilitate building meaningful relationships to help you grow your business.

We're seeking meat, dairy, vegetable and fruit producers (both GAP certified and non-GAP certified). Interested? Get more info here.

Exemption Allowing NC Farmers to Process Poultry for Other Farmers Extended


In case you haven't already seen it, there's good news for farmers who are interested in continuing to process birds for others. The NCDA released an exemption extension in August. The exemption allows farmers to process birds for others will remain in effect until a commercial poultry slaughter/processing establishment operating under USDA, FSIS inspection becomes available in their area (as compared to on an annual review basis).

For more info, see this notice from Dr. Beth Yongue, State Director, NCDA & CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division.

There are very few enterprise budgets for organic crops, particularly for fruit and vegetable crops. We feel these organic enterprise budgets are an important tool in helping organic producers make decisions about what crops to grow, how much to grow, and how to allocated their resources to meet their production goals.

CFSA has created organic enterprise budgets for 10 organic fruit and vegetables, with production specific to the Carolinas. These budgets were created in 2014 and most recently updated in 2019 for better performance and utility.

What are enterprise budgets and why are they so important to have?
Meet our Lomax Farm Coordinator!

This summer, we hired Dylan Alexander as our Lomax Farm coordinator! We're excited for you to meet him, as he's responsible for land management, maintaining equipment, and assisting with Lomax’s research, education, and the Farmers-in-Training program. 

As a graduate of our Farmer-in-Training program, Dylan has firsthand experience on the ins and outs of Lomax and has been a valuable addition. He's also a beginning farmer! 

Read all about Dylan's background and farm over on our website.

Southern SARE Producer Grant Calls for Proposals
The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) 2020 Producer Grants are competitive research grants, designed to remove some financial risk from trying a solution to an agricultural production issue.

Who: Farmers, ranchers, and farming/ranching organizations.

What: Producer Grants are used to conduct sustainable agriculture research projects that solve agricultural production challenges farmers face and to develop information on what works and what doesn’t so that other farmers and ranchers facing those same challenges can benefit from the results of the funded project.

Maximum funding:
  • $15,000 for individual farmers/ranchers
  • $20,000 for farmer/rancher organizations.
Deadline: Nov. 15, 2019

For more info or to apply, check out SSARE's website.


USDA Resources Available for Farmers Affected by the 2018- 2019 Disasters
The USDA put out a press release last week that is relevant for growers affected by the 2018-2019 disasters. Here's a snippet:

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 9, 2019 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that agricultural producers affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, including Hurricane Dorian, can apply for assistance through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). Signup for this U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program began Sept. 11, 2019.

More than $3 billion is available through the disaster relief package passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in early June. WHIP+ builds on the successes of its predecessor program the 2017 Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP) that was authorized by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. In addition, the relief package included new programs to cover losses for milk dumped or removed from the commercial market and losses of eligible farm stored commodities due to eligible disaster events in 2018 and 2019. Also, prevented planting supplemental disaster payments will provide support to producers who were prevented from planting eligible crops for the 2019 crop year.

 Read the full press release to find out more about:
  • Eligibility
  • Payment limitations
  • Future insurance coverage requirements
  • Additional loss coverage
  • Enhanced assistance through the Tree Assistance Program (TAP)
  • Prevented planting
  • Other USDA disaster recovery assistance 


Tuesday, Sept. 24 | Richfield, NC

Conservation Resources Workshop
Wednesday, Sept. 25 | Jacksonville, NC

Developing a Food Safety Plan & Building Wholesale Capacity Workshop
Wednesday, Sept. 25 | Conway, SC

Navigating the GAP Audit: Food Safety Best Practices for Produce Farms
Tuesday, Oct. 1 | Pembroke, NC

Fundamentals of Food Safety & Building Wholesale Capacity Workshop
Tuesday, Oct. 8 | Columbia, SC

Grower-Buyer Meetup
Friday, Nov. 1 | Durham, NC

2019 Sustainable Agriculture Conference
Friday, Nov. 1 - Sunday, Nov. 3 | Durham, NC

Annual CFSA Member Meeting
Sunday, Nov. 3 | Durham, NC

Fundamentals of Food Safety & Building Wholesale Capacity Workshop
Thursday, Nov. 14 | West Columbia, SC

Want more? Stay abreast with CFSA events by subscribing to our events-only monthly digest, The Training Ground.
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The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association is on a mission to bring local, organic food to your table from a farmer who shares your values – and we can’t do it without you. Together we are building a regional food system that is good for consumers, growers, and the land.
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