CFSA's Grower's Toolbox
Dear Farmer,

Thank you to everyone who attended, presented, sponsored, and exhibited at this year's Sustainable Agriculture Conference! The overwhelming turnout and support is a testament to the strength and dedication our sustainable farming community has here in the Carolinas. While this year's conference looked vastly different than years past, we were all still able to come together to learn, network, and share a few laughs.

Another way we can all support our farming community is by filling our Thanksgiving tables with food locally grown and raised. If you still haven't bought your turkey, you can still Find Your 2020 Pasture-Raised Thanksgiving Turkey from a Local Farm. I can't wait to enjoy my locally-raised turkey and am thankful to the farmers, ranchers, and their workers who have overcome immense obstacles this year to provide the food for which my family will celebrate and give thanks. Happy Thanksgiving! 


Karen McSwain, CFSA Associate Executive Director for Programs

PS - Don't miss our section below on small farms getting COVID relief. Small, organic farms in our community are getting checks through CFAP 2, and you may be able to, too!

Expert Tip: Food Safety & Traceability - One Step Back, One Step Forward

What is traceability, why is it important in our food systems, and how does it work?
Traceability on the farm involves a solid plan to ensure that if something goes wrong with your commodity, you have the ability to quickly trace that product back one step to the field or growing area where it was harvested and one step forward to the buyer who has purchased it.

Why is this so important?
Time is of the essence in the event of a food recall. We want to prevent foodborne illness; the quicker we get the product in question off the shelves and out of the hands of the consumer, the greater chance we have to prevent someone from getting sick—or worse. It seems that every time we see a food safety headline, it mentions yet another foodborne outbreak. The likely suspects are quite often leafy greens, fresh herbs, fruit, and most recently, onions, which touched every variety. The threat is real. The importance is significant and many farms are not prepared. Keep reading.

Small Farms Are Getting COVID Relief Checks
Should You Join Them?

Direct market and organic produce farms in the Carolinas are already receiving relief compensation from the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2). You owe it to yourself to find out if this program could work for your farm.

CFAP 2 provides payments to many farms based on actual 2019 farm revenue, and not commodity prices or production volume. For example, a farm that grew flowers, fruits, and vegetables for farmers markets and CSA in 2019 would be able to apply for a relief payment of as much as 10% of its 2019 sales of those crops. That makes for a nice end-of-2020 income bump!

CFSA wants every eligible small farm to benefit from this valuable program, and so we’ve created a CFAP 2 resource page to help you with your application. Take a look to see how much of a difference CFAP 2 can make for your farm.  

The deadline for applications is Dec. 11, 2020. Don’t miss this chance to benefit from the most small-farm-friendly disaster program USDA has ever offered.

Nov. 7 - Q&A with Direct-Market Farmers Who Received CFAP Payments

CFAP 2 Resource Page

(SC) Organic Certification Cost-Share - Apply Now!
South Carolina farmers and food processors who want to pursue organic certification may qualify for reimbursement through a grant administered by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.

The Organic Certification Cost Share Program will reimburse producers and handlers of agricultural products up to 50% of the operation’s total allowable certification costs, up to a maximum of $500 per certification scope: crops, livestock, wild crops, and handling (i.e., processing). The deadline to apply for reimbursement for the current fiscal year is December 18, 2020.

SCDA also has three other cost-share reimbursement programs available as projects of the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, including one that offsets the cost of installing an affordable Cool Bot cold storage unit; and two that support businesses through the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Audit process.

NEW: Certified organic producers in South Carolina will be able to receive an additional 25% reimbursement (up to $250) for the cost of organic certification if you have partnered with SCDA to administer the original 50% (up to $500). Please contact Eva Moore, 803-734-2196, for more information.

Nervous about transitioning to organic certification?

(NC) Enrolling in the Conservation Reserve
Enhancement Program

Are you a farmer interested in being paid to protect water quality? The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) works with farmers to convert low-yield cropland and marginal pastureland into riparian forests that protect water quality, create wildlife habitat, and provide an additional source of income.  

Participating farmers enroll eligible fields into conservation easements—written agreements between the landowner and the state of North Carolina. The landowner agrees to carry out conservation practices (such as tree planting) and to restrict future cropping and development on the land but retains private ownership. In return, the farmer receives 15 years of per-acre payments, a one-time bonus ($250 per acre for 30-year easements or $1000 per acre for permanent easements), and cost shares to reimburse the farmer for the cost of establishing conservation practices. Conservation easements last 30 years or permanently, depending on the landowner’s choice.  

CREP is accepting enrollments in the eastern ¾ of the state. To be eligible, the land must have been owned for one year, have been farmed for at least four years between 2012 and 2018, and be adjacent to a qualifying water body. See if your land is eligible and contact CREP staff using our interactive map.

Unsure how to address natural resource concerns on the farm?

Grants Available for Livestock & Poultry Farmers

It's Fund-a-Farmer Grant time! Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) is offering grants for livestock and poultry farmers who wish to expand animal welfare, build capacity, and/or improve pasture for their animals. Grants of up to $2,500 are available for projects such as building mobile housing, constructing fences, laying water lines on pasture, and much more. Farmers located in the U.S. who raise beef cattle, bison, broiler chickens, dairy cows, goats, laying hens, pigs, turkeys, and/or sheep may be eligible to apply. 

Application deadline: December 1, 2020.


Thursday, Dec. 10 | Virtual | Free

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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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