CFSA's Grower's Toolbox
Dear Farmer,

Given the drastic changes in current market conditions, you have probably had to change this year’s production management plan a number of times (and probably very quickly).

While it is understandable that you might have put soil health management plans on the back burner, it is never too late to consider how your management in the field or high tunnel can affect soil health on your farm, which has far-reaching impacts on both soil conservation and crop health. In this Growers Toolbox, we’ll address five management priorities for growers in the Southeast that encourage soil health, with better crop health and productivity an important long-term goal, that hopefully, you can work into your farm this or next season.


Karen McSwain, CFSA Associate Executive Director for Programs

Charlotte-Area Farmers: Need A Pickup Site for Your Customers?

Our farm in Concord, NC, is offering a new service to help address challenges brought on by COVID-19. Lomax Research & Education Farm is now a pickup location for area farms offering CSAs and/or online sales that don't already have one.

If you farm in the counties of Cabarrus, Union, Stanly, Mecklenburg, Rowan, or Iredell, and want to use Lomax as a customer pickup site, email us.

We'd love to help and already have the infrastructure to aid farmers in giving their customers a safe pickup experience.

Survey Results: How COVID-19 Is Affecting Local Farms

The COVID-19 emergency has caused massive economic dislocations for food and agricultural producers in the United States, and small and medium-sized farms selling in local food markets are no exception.

As many of you know, CFSA conducted a survey of local farms in the Carolinas to quantify those impacts. The survey was conducted through the CFSA website between April 10 and May 5, 2020, as the spring growing season was getting fully underway and stay-at-home orders were in place for nonessential workers in both North and South Carolina. The results show that small and mid-scale farms selling in local food markets are suffering greatly.  

Continue Reading >>

Soil Health for Crop Producers in the Southeast: 5 Management Priorities

The idea that farmers should manage their land and crops for soil health is not a new one but has been gaining popularity and permeated into mainstream farming over the last decade. There are advocates all across the board: from small-scale, organic vegetable farmers, large-scale conventional grain producers, livestock farmers, to permaculturists, and so on.

While the messaging on how to prioritize soil health is more or less consistent, the details often depend on the farming system, climate, and soil type. Farming organically in the Southeast has its own set of soil management of challenges—owing to the highly weathered clays of the Piedmont, and the droughty, low fertility soils of the Coast Plain—which shifts the way we prioritize management strategies for soil health.

Here are five management priorities for improving soil health, tailored to our Southeastern soils. Continue Reading >>


FSA Nominations Are Open

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) began accepting nominations for county committee members last week. Agricultural producers who participate or cooperate in an FSA program may be nominated for candidacy for the county committee. Individuals may nominate themselves or others as a candidate.

Through participation in local FSA county committees, farmers and ranchers have an opportunity to voice their opinions and share their ideas on federal farm programs. If you are a farmer with an FSA number, CFSA encourages you to run for your local committee to be a voice for sustainable farmers in your community!
“I encourage America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest stewards to nominate candidates to lead, serve and represent their community on their county committee,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. “There’s an increasing need for diverse representation, including underserved producers, which includes beginning, women and minority farmers and ranchers.”  

For more information on FSA county committees and the election process, visit the FAQ section on our website or email us with any questions. The website also includes information on how food councils and local organizations can support farmers in running for county committees. 
Deadline: Aug. 1, 2020
What Do You Want Research On?

Given recent events, the deadline to fill out the National Organic Producer surveys was extended!

The surveys by Organic Farming Research Foundation and Organic Seed Alliance will identify the challenges and research priorities of certified organic producers (and producers transitioning land to certified organic production). Have a say in how increased funding for organic research secured in the 2018 Farm Bill addresses the unique needs of organic production.

Are you a certified organic farmer or rancher? Fill out this one.
Are you transitioning your land to organic production? Fill out this one.



Mondays, Jun. 29 - Jul. 20 | 5-Part Webinar Series

Cost-Effective High Tunnel Options
Wednesday, Jul. 1 | Webinar

Production Techniques for Small Farms
Tuesdays, Jul. 7 - 28 | 4-Part Webinar Series

Organic Transition & Production
Thursday, Jul. 30 | Webinar
Tuesday, Aug. 4 | Webinar

Navigating the GAP Audit: Food Safety Best Practices for Produce Farms
Wednesday, Oct. 14 | Pembroke, NC

2020 Sustainable Agriculture Conference
Friday, Nov. 6 - Sunday, Nov. 8 | Save the Date!
While it may be hard to think about the fall just yet, SAC 2020 is taking shape! It may look a little different this year, but CFSA will continue to deliver premier content that meets the most pressing needs of farmers and food systems stakeholders while fostering networking and social engagement. 

We're taking your health seriously as we make plans and are excited to reveal a unique conference experience soon (we promise: it won't be a three-day webinar). 

Please continue to save the date! 

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.
Copyright © 2020 Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, All rights reserved.

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