Tis the season of change, the ending of one chapter and the beginning of another. We take this time to look back at the season, remember what worked in the fields and what didn’t work across the farm, and how we can fine tune things to make the years to come better. SEMAP is just like a farm this year, we are beginning another chapter. Our search for a new Executive Director started in August this year and we are happy to say we have found our new leader. It wasn’t easy for the current Board of Directors to find the right candidate from the 20 applications, but they did a great job. On November 3rd Karen Schwalbe was hired. Karen has spent the first week on the job bouncing from meeting to meeting, getting to know where SEMAP is heading as well as learning its history. She’s been busy as we get ready for the December 1st Annual Meeting, the Winter Farmer Chef Networking series and the Food and Ag Conference. Many exciting events are in the works. You will learn more about Karen, her background and her visions and plans to bring SEMAP to the next level in an upcoming newsletter. SEMAP is lucky to have her on board.
We are working hard to bring new programs for experienced farmers who have a few years of farming next year as we continue to help the beginner and seasoned farmers. We’ve heard the seasoned farmers are looking for more marketing help. Experienced farmers are looking for more practical skills. As we work to bring this to the farmers we are connecting with two very interesting pilots. One with INEX in New Bedford, they are bringing IoT tools to local Ag. This will not force you to change what you’re doing today but with the data it gathers will make time management, product uses and traceability easier to control. Read more →
LOUISVILLE, October 29, 2015—Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced a commitment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to prioritize $5.6 billion over the next two years within USDA programs and services that serve new and beginning farmers and ranchers. Deputy Secretary Harden also announced a new, tailored web tool designed to connect burgeoning farm entrepreneurs with programs and resources available to help them get started.
“Today’s announcement is symbolic of the evolution of USDA’s efforts to better serve the next generation of farmers and ranchers. What began seven years ago with the recognition that the rapid aging of the American farmer was an emerging challenge, has transformed into a robust, transparent, tech-based strategy to recruit the farmers of the future,” said Harden. “No matter where you’re from, no matter what you look like, no matter your background, we want USDA to be the first stop for anyone who is looking to be a part of the story and legacy of American agriculture.”
The new web tool is available at www.usda.gov/newfarmers. The site was designed based on feedback from new and beginning farmers and ranchers around the country, who cited unfamiliarity with programs and resources as a challenge to starting and expanding their operations. The site features advice and guidance on everything a new farm business owner needs to know, from writing a business plan, to obtaining a loan to grow their business, to filing taxes as a new small business owner. By answering a series of questions about their operation, farmers can use the site’s Discovery Tool to build a personalized set of recommendations of USDA programs and services that may meet their needs. Read more →
The university that had its beginning as “Mass Aggie” has become “the place to be” for students in the rapidly growing field of sustainable agriculture, permaculture and food system studies. In a recent ranking of the “best global agricultural universities,” UMass was placed 10th best in the world and 5th best in the U.S. Long recognized for its cutting edge research, UMass is also the home to the fastest growing undergraduate major in sustainable agriculture in the nation. For more information, see: http://sustfoodfarm.org/sffmajor/
The UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture offers:
BY TODD SANDSTRUM
Located right on 106 in Plympton, sits a small farm stand owned by Pete and Lynn Reading, who purchased the 30 acre property in 2006. Over 90% of the products within the farm stand are all grown on the farm, using both organic and traditional practices. The farm has been recognized by the Department of Agriculture and is certified by Commonwealth Quality and Baystate Organic. From spring through Fall, there is always something available as ‘Pick You Own,’ strawberries, blueberries and finally fall pumpkins.
Read more →