Finding the right federal programs to help your farm be financially as well as biodynamically sustainable can be difficult. Small farming comes with so many moving parts that finding time to sift through resources across federal agency websites or going to your FSA office to navigate the options is a luxury many cannot afford. But there is a new resource developed by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) partnering with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “Growing Opportunity: A Guide to USDA Sustainable Farming Programs” is condensed and targeted guide for small and medium sized producers looking to make the most of the existing policies.
The guide covers many different types of FSA loans, grant programs like Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE), the Organic Certification Cost Share Program, and Whole Farm Revenue Protection Programs to provide crop insurance options for small diversified operations. These program offerings are accompanied by information on Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) audits and the Conservation Stewardship Program.
Small and medium sized sustainable farmers often don’t realize the benefits of these programs and the incentives to uphold the conservation and biodynamic practices that they already value. By using the resources available from the USDA and FSA, small farming can be made more financially viable and personally sustainable. Making farming more profitable and improving farmer quality of life with peace of mind will help the small farmer movement to continue to grow and bolster the farmers already feeding their communities. You can pick up a copy of the guide in your county FSA office or download it here. If you have used any of these programs in the past and would like to provide feedback or support for them in the 2018 farm bill, see our previous post for direct action suggestions.