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CFSA's Grower's Toolbox
Dear Farmer,

I hope you and your family and friends are continuing to stay safe and healthy.

A huge thank you to everyone who completed our COVID-19 Farmer Survey. We got a ton of information that will be hugely helpful to our Policy Team and Farm Services Team to better inform our work in supporting you. While we are still analyzing the results, one theme that stands out from the early data is that 35% of the farms who responded have seen their sales drop by more than $1,000 a week since COVID-19 started compared to the same period in 2019. If you're interested in more survey data, keep an eye on our blog, where we will share survey themes next week.

With so much going on these days, we have started doing Facebook Friday video broadcasts in order to keep everyone up to date on what CFSA is up to and to communicate time-sensitive information with our friends. Join us every Friday at 10 am on Facebook, or watch the recording whenever you get the chance (we're sharing them on Instagram too).

Speaking of things CFSA has been up to, don't forget to check out the Lomax Research and Education Farm. We've been busy growing food for local food banks and conducting exciting research on scale-appropriate no-till equipment and doing variety trials. 

In addition to all the information below, I want to make sure you don't miss:
As you continue to navigate through the landscape in which we find ourselves, please know that CFSA is here to support you and you have our sincere gratitude.  

Cheers,



Karen McSwain, CFSA Associate Executive Director for Programs


PS - If you value the work that CFSA provides, including this free newsletter, now is a great time to give to CFSA

Until May 31, one of our amazing donors is matching all gifts to the CFSA fund, dollar-for-dollar, up to $10,000!
Your gift will go twice as far to ensure we can continue advocating for local farms and food systems.

 
Are you a CSA first-timer?

You're not alone! Now more than ever, CSAs are playing a strong role in local food supply chains across the nation.

Many of you are asking for guidance on CSA how-tos. One of our favorite resources is by Growing Small Farms (a program of NC Cooperative Extension) Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Resource Guide for Farmers.

PPP Loans Still Available Through Self-Help + CFAP Direct Aid First Steps 
There is updated information about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and direct aid to farmers impacted by COVID-19 under the USDA’s soon-to-be-announced Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP):
  • PPP loans may still be available through Self-Help Credit Union for those of you who have been unable to secure one so far and would like to apply. Self-Help is especially interested in working with small and mid-sized farms and others who are part of the local, sustainable food system. There is no guarantee that the funds will be available to everyone, but if you are interested in finding out more, email David Beck at david.beck@self-help.org
     
  • Farmers interested in CFAP direct aid program should set up a phone call now with a Farm Services Administration (FSA) agent (find yours here) who will be able to assist you in the process once sign-ups start. The USDA website has a list of the required documentation and forms to fill out, and if you are considering applying, you should begin gathering information for your application right away. The agency is requiring a significant amount of data, especially from those who don’t already have a relationship with FSA.
The USDA has yet to release the final rules for the CFAP direct aid program; we will keep you updated as we learn more about eligibility and program details! 
NRCS Announces CSP Sign-Up
Deadline for FY20 Funding

 
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced its sign-up deadline for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for this year – May 29, 2020
 

Why should you consider enrolling in CSP? It’s a cost-share program that provides financial support to growers who are doing a good job stewarding their land. If you’re familiar with the NRCS’s EQIP, which is designed to fix problems like soil erosion and water quality issues, then think of CSP as a program that instead rewards good stewardship of natural resources and focuses on improving current practices. Primary areas of concern are soil quality & erosion, water quality & conservation, plant & animal health & biodiversity, wildlife habitat, air quality, and energy conservation. If you’re interested in receiving financial support for stewardship of these resources, consider enrolling in the program. 
 
If you’d like to learn more about the NRCS’s CSP, please see our CSP website or contact your local NRCS office.

 
NEED HELP DIALING-IN A CROP ROTATION?


Sharpen Your On-Farm Pest Monitoring Skills
 

Maximizing your marketable harvest is more important now than ever before! With an increased demand for local fruit and produce, minimizing crop loss due to on-farm pest damage can be a great way to fulfill these demands.

Peep this short video on scouting procedures to improve your pest monitoring skills.  
USDA Food Box Program

Awards are out and USDA's Corona Food Assistance Program (CFAP) is underway!

This new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program is using $19 billion dollars of funding from the CARES Act to provide relief for our farmers and to purchase food products for distribution. The program aims to assist farmers and consumers. The funding from CFAP will ensure that we continue to maintain integrity throughout our food supply chain and give people access to fresh food. 

How will this program work? The USDA will partner with regional and local distributors to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat. The distributors and wholesalers will then roll out the pre-approved boxes of fresh food to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.

What can this program mean to you, our farmers? Awardees of CFAP will need to source fresh produce to fill the boxes. Some of this sourcing has been pre-determined, but the preliminary numbers are already showing a very significant need. It is estimated that possibly thousands of boxes a week will go out throughout these distribution channels. This USDA program requires that all the produce sourced needs to come from a GAP-certified source. If you are a farm that is in need of certification and feel like you could contribute to this effort if needed, now is the time to reach out. CFSA’s food safety team is always hard at work helping farms to get GAP certified. At the end of May, we'll start a new webinar series where we walk farmers through the ins and outs of becoming GAP certified in five 90-minute sessions.

Ready now? No problem! Contact our local produce safety coordinators to get started!
  • North Carolina: Chloe Johnson, chloe@carolinafarmstewards.org
  • South Carolina: Kim Butz, kim@carolinafarmstewards.org
     
ISSUES WITH PLANT GROWTH IN YOUR HIGH TUNNELS?


UPCOMING EVENTS

Thursday, May 28 | Webinar

Cost-Effective High Tunnel Options
Thursday, May 28 | Webinar

GAP 101: Getting Started
Wednesday, June 3 | Webinar

Navigating the GAP Audit: Food Safety Best Practice for Produce Farms
Wednesday, October 14 | Pembroke, NC

2020 Sustainable Agriculture Conference - Save the Date!
Friday, November 6 - Sunday, November 8
 
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.
 
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Copyright © 2020 Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, All rights reserved.


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