Great Field Day and Another Coming Soon!

What a great field day last week at The Golden Yoke in St. Ignatius!  Laura and Connie gave us a fantastic tour and thorough explanations about their decision-making processes around fencing and pasture.  And we tasted their delicious ice cream – vanilla, mint chocolate chip, and coffee, oh my!

 ​ With 21 attendees from as far as Geraldine and as nearby as just a mile or two, we had a great and diverse group, including staff and interns from Lifeline Produce, County Rail Farm, Mill Crick Farm, Foothill Farm, and more.
Every attendee said their knowledge of fencing and pasture management improved!  As one noted in their evaluation, “it was great to have an opportunity to ask questions and hear the nitty gritty details about pasturing and grazing.”  That’s what we like to hear!
Up Next!
Field Day at Lifeline Produce in Victor!
Wednesday, June 17 from 5pm-7pm, followed by a potluck dinner

Started in 1978 by Steve Elliott and Luci Brieger, Lifeline Produce encompasses about 40 acres of pasture, hay, mixed vegetables, flowers, and herbs.
They’ll be focusing on the ways in which they incorporate livestock into their rotations and how they’ve specialized their tools and equipment for their specific farm operation.
For more info on Lifeline Produce, see their Homegrown profile here.

Fix the Rule! Comment by May 26!

Back in 2007, then-candidate Obama rolled out his rural policy platform, which included a very specific promise to farmers. Obama said he would close the loopholes that mega-farms use to get unlimited farm subsidies, because he understood how they use them to bid small and mid-sized farmers off the land. IMG_20140917_082802The main stumbling block is the definition of “actively engaged in farming” because it currently allows mega-farms to get subsidies based on people who aren’t actually farmers!

Now, the USDA has released a new rule proposal to redefine eligibility terms for farm program payments and they’re looking for your feedback, which is a good thing because the proposed rule fails to implement anything remotely resembling the real farm subsidy reform that bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate approved in 2013.

That’s right!  Congress actually agreed to give the USDA the way to make real reforms on this rule, but the USDA has failed to do what they were asked to do. You can sign a petition started by the Center for Rural Affairs to quickly and easily submit a comment.  Encourage the USDA to strengthen these rules and create real farm policy reform!

Click here to sign the petition!

Paid Summer Internship at CFAC!

Want to help beginning farmers get started?  Learn about how to develop programming, plan educational opportunities, and host events?  CFAC is looking for an intern for this summer to assist with a range of projects, including:

  • Planning, promoting, and hosting farmer-led, on-farm, field days geared towards farm interns and new farmers in May, June, August, and September
  • Enhancing business planning curriculum for beginning farmers across Montana; Building teaching modules for use by Extension and other professionals
  • Working with a range of partners to develop tools to connect farm and food businesses with investors in Western Montana
  • Planning, outreach, and development of a statewide FarmLink website to serve as a one-stop clearinghouse for beginning farmers, land access, and internship/mentorship opportunities

As an intern, you will have the opportunity to focus in on one of these projects or assist with multiple projects.  We can offer a $1,000 stipend to applicants able to offer 6-10 hours/week between June and September.

To apply, email with your resume and a note on the project(s) in which you’re interested and any additional relevant information not covered in your resume.  We will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis starting May 1.

Your Feedback Needed for a New Montana Resource

As part of the USDA BFRDP grant we received in 2014, we are developing a new statewide resource for beginning farmers and ranchers across Montana: FarmLink!

Farm Tour 08FarmLink will be a one-stop clearinghouse for beginning farmers and ranchers, offering:

  • Information on available resources
  • New resources on business planning, financing, legal issues, land access, and more
  • A map-based tool (including online application functionality) to connect beginning farmers with internship, mentorship, and land lease/purchase opportunities

Before we launch the site, we would love your feedback to make the site work as well as possible for you and your needs!

If you’re a farmer or landowner and think you might use this resource to:

  • List internship opportunities
  • Offer mentorship or support to beginning farmers
  • Offer land for lease or sale to beginning/expanding farmers

Click here to fill out our farmer/landowner survey!

If you’re a beginning farmer (from pre-startup to first few years farming):

  • Looking for internships
  • Interested in mentorship
  • Seeking land to buy/lease for farming

Click here to fill out our beginning farmer survey!

And please!  Share this post with people from around the state who might be interested in helping us build a great new resource for Montana!

Thank you!

Montana has Key Federal Legislators!

Did you know that this year, Montana has TWO legislators on the federal appropriations committee?  This means that as the ideas from the Farm Bill are put to the test, we have two Montanans who could help bring them to fruition – or not!

Right now is a key time for appropriations.  Can you make a call today to Sen. Tester and Sen. Daines?

10488226_1446162889000853_1359729666571796987_nHere are some key issues on the table:

  • Congress is at risk of cutting thousands of farmers and ranchers out of programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program and Environmental Quality Incentives Program, programs that support farmers for making smart conservation practices work on their farms! The 2014 Farm Bill already cut $6 billion from the Conservation Title and even though demand for these programs is regularly 2 to 3 times higher than availability, Congress is considering making additional cuts.  Ask our Senators: As you write your 2016 funding request letter, hold the line on mandatory farm bill funding for conservation programs with NO CUTS.
  • You may have heard that the FDA is soon going to be rolling out major new food safety regulations for farmers.  Providing training and support to ensure farmers understand the new rules is absolutely critical to ensuring a safe food supply for us all.  Ask our Senators: As you write your 2016 funding request letter, include $5 million for the Food Safety Outreach Program.
  • For over 25 years, the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program has invested in farmer-led research and projects that help spread innovation and sustainability. Despite its successes, SARE is at risk of not receiving adequate funding this year!  Ask our Senators: As you write your 2016 funding request letter, ask for $30 million for SARE.

For more info on these and other key appropriations issues, visit  Many thanks to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition for their leadership on these policy issues!


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