CFSA's Grower's Toolbox
Dear Nahid,

Greetings from coastal South Carolina! We are happy to have the beach and the many local farms that provide fresh fruit and produce to what is known as the Grand Strand. This area extends over 60 miles and is home to several area communities that contribute to our veggie abundance through weekly farmers markets, roadside stands, and on-farm sales. 

As I write this, we're only a few weeks into autumn, and there is a noticeable change in the air. The nights are getting cooler, the days shorter, and the pumpkin patches and corn mazes are open for business. Fall planting is behind us here on the coast with the cool weather crops eagerly anticipated and soon to be plentiful. One crop in particular, peanuts, will keep our Carolina farmers busy through November. The signs dotting the drive into the beach have changed from touting the biggest and best watermelons to the freshest, most delicious, boiled peanuts on the Strand. They are truly a beloved snack in my Palmetto state. 

While there is sheer peanut elation from most, the 0.6% of the U.S. population that has a severe peanut allergy will be looking forward to the end of this legume season. In this month’s Expert Tip below, I take a look at food allergens on the farm and how we can have crop/production diversity, as well as food safety!


Kim Butz, CFSA South Carolina Local Produce Safety Coordinator

PS - CFSA is looking for a new team member! If you're experienced in fundraising and donor development, check out our jobs page for the development director position. 

Our 2021 Conference Kicks-Off in 20 Days!
Can you believe that the 2021 Sustainable Agriculture Conference, Nov. 5-15, is less than three weeks away?

Here's how the 2021 gathering is shaping up:
In addition to live workshops, there is plenty of on-demand content to watch at your convenience. There are also many ways to meet one another and have some fun:
  • Networking: Beyond three big networking sessions, attendees can also connect in private video rooms and morning coffee breaks.
  • Round Tables: We're hosting several themed discussions on topics like small ruminants, second career farming, and strategies on how to attract pollinators. These are facilitated conversations to connect attendees and experts that give everyone a chance to contribute.
  • Meetups: As a substitute for meeting folks in the hallways between sessions or in line waiting for coffee, we're offering several meetups—such as first-time conference-goers, seed swap, cocktails with CFSA's policy team—to help you all connect. Plus, farmers can make connections with wholesale buyers during our Grower-Buyer Meetup (fill out this short form and get your conference ticket!).
  • Q&As: 12 on-demand workshops have live Q&As so that attendees can speak with the speaker directly and ask questions about their presentations.
  • Games: Have a competitive spirit? We have more than $3,000 in prizes to hand out in various challenges—think $250 Visa gift cards, farm and garden tools, gift certificates, and so much more!
  • Virtual Trade Show: Connect with 30+ exhibitors to learn about the services and products that can take your farm, business, or garden to the next level.
  • Share & Connect: There's a private social media feed just for SAC! Post photos, comments, and like discussion threads.
Attendees get access to the workshop recordings for three months, so you can attend as many workshops as you want and re-listen to your favorites.

Register for SAC 2021 now and save! It's more affordable and accessible than ever before! Save your seat before prices jump on Nov. 4, 2021.

Register for SAC 2021 today!
NEW: The 2021 conference program is live!
Who is speaking when? Download it here.
(Expert Tip) Cross-Contact: Food, Farming, & Allergens

When we think of farming, we rarely associate our farming practices with potentially life-threatening allergens.

Many of the farms I visit are undergoing preparation for their Harmonized GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certification, and it is necessary to ask if allergens are present on the farm as part of the standard requirements. I often ask this question to my produce farmers while standing next to a chicken coop brimming with eggs or a picture-perfect peanut field. Commonly, I hear back, “no, no allergens on the farm.”

This is not surprising; many do not realize that six out of the top eight allergens can easily be found on a diversified Carolina farm. Continue reading.
USDA Grants Cover COVID-19 Adaptation Costs
There is an urgent deadline coming up for a USDA COVID-19 relief program that provides significant financial support.

Pandemic Response and Safety Grants provide grants to small farms, food processors, distributors, and farmers markets to cover COVID-19 response and safety costs incurred between Jan. 27, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021. Funding requests may range from $1,500 to $20,000, and approximately $650 million is available for grants for these grants. Deadline: Nov. 22, 2021.
Seed Saving as Part of Your Farm or Garden Plan
Why should growers consider saving their seeds? Read our article highlighting how seed saving can be manageable, enjoyable, save money, and even make money—ultimately diversifying farm income. 

While this is largely targeted to farmers, growers of all capacities may find this one valuable! After all, who doesn't want to do something enjoyable and save money?
EQIP Sign-up Deadlines for FY22 Funding

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of North Carolina and South Carolina announced signup deadlines for the 2022 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP provides financial assistance to farmers for implementing conservation practices that improve soil, water, and wildlife quality.
A Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) is a common way to assess conservation needs and ultimately access EQIP funding, and plans must be developed by a certified Technical Service Provider (TSP). CFSA has a certified TSP on staff to write the CAP-138–geared toward organic production and certification.

Once approved (typically spring of the following year), you can apply for technical services through CFSA to have your plan written. See our CAP-138 page for more information and contact your local NRCS office.  

Signup Deadlines: Oct. 15, 2021 (SC) & Oct. 29, 2021 (NC)
2021 National Heirs Property Conference
The Federation of Southern Cooperatives is hosting FORWARD 2021, the National Heirs Property Conference on Dec. 2-4, 2021. The conference offers two tracks: one for landowners and one for land retention professionals.

The registration is open, however, the link on their website is for 2020. For more information on sponsorships or registration assistance, please contact The Federation at 404-765-0991 or 
FACT: Opportunities for Livestock & Poultry Farmers
FACT (Food Animal Concerns Trust) announced its fall and winter services for livestock and poultry farmers. In addition to grants and training programs, FACT offers a free webinar series, scholarships opportunities, and a mentorship program. Here are important programs and dates to keep in mind:
NC: Hurricane Damage to High Tunnel/Greenhouse?

Deadline extended for farmers to apply for cost-share assistance to replace high tunnel plastic and repair greenhouses damaged from Hurricanes Florence, Michael, and Dorian.

Producers will need a current and completed NC Substitute W9 form ready to scan into the application. Growers are encouraged to gather additional evidence of damage to high tunnels and greenhouses from those specific storms. They should be prepared to scan documents into the application for consideration of payment.

For more information, including links to the poultry/livestock and plasticulture applications, see NCDA's website or call 1-919-707-3362.
Apply for Organic Cost-Share Programs
Certified organic growers in the Carolinas can be reimbursed for 50% of the cost of organic certification (up to $500) for each certification "scope" (i.e., crops, livestock, and handling) through state departments of agriculture (NCDA&CS and SCDA) or through the Farm Services Agency (FSA) for certification expenses incurred Oct. 2020 - Sept. 2021. 

South Carolina growers need to reach out to Betsy Dorton ( or visit the SCDA website. The FSA deadline is Nov. 1, 2021. The SCDA deadline is Dec. 10, 2021. 

North Carolina growers need to reach out to Heather Barnes ( or visit the NCDA website. The FSA deadline is Nov. 1, 2021. The NCDA&CS deadline is Nov. 19, 2021. 
Considering organic certification?
Upcoming Events
from CFSA's events calendar
Nov. 5-14 | Virtual
Nov. 15 | On-Farm Intensives (below)

Good Manufacturing Practices for Small-Scale Farms & Food Businesses Making Low-Risk Foods
Dec. 3 | Virtual
SAC 2021 On-Farm Intensives
Achieving Quality & Long Shelf Life Through Good Handling Practices
Nov. 15 | Durham, NC (Red's Quality Acre)

Organic No-Till for Small-Scale Farms
Nov. 15 | Chapel Hill, NC (Faithfull Farms)

Deep Dive Into Irrigation 
Nov. 15 | Concord, NC (Lomax Research & Education Farm)

Hands-On Caterpillar Tunnel Construction
Nov. 15 | Monroe, NC (Union County Agricultural Center)
Grazing Management & Pasture Health
Nov. 15 | Rougemont, NC (Caywood Farm)
Growing Your Farm’s Potential With Agritourism
Nov. 15 | Cedar Grove, NC (Windy Hill Farm and Botanist & Barrel)
Southeast Seed Growing
Nov. 15 | Leicester, NC (Franny's Farm)

A huge thank you to some of our 2021 conference sponsors!
Thinking about food safety certification for the farm?
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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 © 2021 Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, All rights reserved.

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