Training, resources, and practical advice to help you grow.
September 2020 Organic Link
New Leader for MOSES
Lori Stern joins the MOSES team Sept. 8 as the new Executive Director. Lori takes the reins from Lauren Langworthy who recently resigned from MOSES to join the staff of Wisconsin Farmers Union.
Lori is a passionate advocate for organic and sustainable food systems. Her background includes work on public policy related to community and environmental health, social justice, and food access. For the past 6 years, she has owned Cow & Quince, a locally sourced, community-supported restaurant in New Glarus, Wisconsin.
Lori and her wife, LeAnn, live on a small farm near Monticello, where they grow vegetables and raise chickens and goats.
The 2021 MOSES Conference will be a virtual event, tentatively scheduled for the last week of February. Our team is busy planning workshops and other creative opportunities for you to engage with the organic farming community. Don't miss the chance to show off your farm during the speed presentations:
Farmer Speed Presentations
One aspect of the conference we all appreciate is the chance to share ideas over lunch or between workshops. A lot of good comes from building on each other's tips and successes.
To encourage that same kind of sharing in a virtual conference format, we'd like to include speed presentations from our farmer community. Through a 4-minute video, you can show others an insightful tip you've developed to make a farm chore easier, a cool tool you're using or hack you've created, or simply give us a virtual tour of your farm. So start shooting! Farmer speed presentations must be submitted by Oct. 31. See details here.
Regenerative Agriculture & BIPOC Farmers
MOSES Organic Specialist Chuck Anderas talks with Naima Penniman of Soul Fire Farm about the roots of regenerative agriculture in our latest podcast episode. They dive into ideas that could help make farming more accessible to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers.
Farmer-Led Mental Health Group
We've been working with farmers in our community to launch a new farmer-led group called "Growing Wellness." The group, focused on farmer mental health, will meet through Zoom on the fourth Tuesday of each month to share a short skills workshop followed by group discussion. The first meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 5 p.m. Sign up here. Each skills workshop will be posted on the MOSES YouTube channel, while the discussions will not be recorded to allow participants to share more openly. Growing Wellness also includes a listserv focused on farmer mental health. To subscribe, email GrowingWellnessemail@example.com.
Anti-Racism Farmer Group
Many farmers in our network have expressed interest in working with MOSES on racial justice in food and farming. To help shape how this work could look, we've created a short survey. If you'd like to be part of the farmer-led groups focused on anti-racism, please complete this survey. If you have questions about this work, please email MOSES Organic Specialist Chuck Anderas.
In Her Boots: Resilience Boot Camp
We've wrapped up our 8-week "Resilience Boot Camp." All of the newsletters, webinars, and related podcast episodes are posted on our website. Thanks to all the women who contributed to these resources, plus thanks to Gempler's for sponsoring the series. Shop Gempler's End of Season Stock Up Sale to save on tools, clothing, and supplies to make hard work easier.
MOSES Organic Field Days—Online
One great result of doing our field days online is that they're available long after the event for you to check out. Click on the links below or go to our YouTube channel to browse the full season of field days.
Thanks to all the farmers, researchers, and other experts who shared their time and expertise for these events. Also, thanks to Gempler's for sponsoring our field days.
National Organic Standards Board Fall Meeting
The comment period is open for the fall meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which takes place online Oct. 28-30. The deadline to submit written comments and sign up for oral comments is Oct. 1. The NOSB will vote on the continued allowance of over 50 substances currently allowed on the National List as inputs in organic production and handling. For the complete list, see the meeting agenda, proposals, and discussion documents on the NOSB website.
Certification Cost Share
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has revised the reimbursement amount available for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) through fiscal year 2023. Certified producers and handlers are now eligible to receive reimbursement for up to 50 percent of the certified organic operation’s eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $500 per scope. Eligible expenses include application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement and arrangement requirements, travel expenses for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments, and postage. Applications for eligible certification expenses paid between Oct. 1, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2020, are due Oct. 31, 2020.
USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
The USDA has extended the deadline to Sept. 11, 2020, to apply for its Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The program provides direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. The USDA has expanded the list of eligible commodities, including many specialty crops. Through the CFAP Call Center (877-508-8364) you can have a USDA staff member provide one-on-one support with the CFAP application process from start to finish.
Organic Farming Business Management
The University of Minnesota in partnership with state-level farm business management (FBM) programs is looking for organic farmers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota to participate in FBM training and the Organic Benchmarking Project. Organic producers of dairy, alfalfa, corn grain, corn silage, hay/haylage, soybeans, or wheat can receive reduced tuition for FBM now through 2022. Each participating farm will receive individualized benchmark reports, financial analysis, and cash flow reports while working with their FBM instructor to enhance management and financial capacity on their organic farm. See more details and contact information here.
Farmer Letter on Climate Change
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and farmers and ranchers from across the country delivered a letter August 27 to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, urging Congress to support and invest in farming and rural communities to address the climate crisis. The letter highlights both the impacts of the climate crisis on agriculture and the opportunities for farmers to lead on climate solutions. It was signed by 2,130 farmers and ranchers, and a number of farming organizations, including MOSES.
USDA MarketLink for SNAP/EBT
Farmers and farmers market managers can get free assistance to become a USDA Authorized SNAP Retailer through MarketLink, a program of the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs. MarketLink provides free SNAP/EBT equipment as well as technical assistance with the application process.
USDA has extended the deadline to Nov. 20, 2020, for the Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP), a new pilot program that enables farmers in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota to receive payments for planting perennial cover for conservation use for three to five years. For more information, see the fact sheet or contact your local Farm Service Agency.
Midwest Mechanical Weed Control Field Day Series
The Land Connection, Practical Farmers of Iowa, and mechanical weeding specialist Sam Hitchcock Tilton host a series of virtual field days to showcase tools and techniques for mechanical weed control in row crops and specialty crops. All events take place 12:30 - 1:15 p.m. CDT on Facebook Live. Register here.
September 11: Drone Wars, an exploration of camera-guided cultivation in row crops
September 18: The Awakening, a demonstration of tool set-up and in-shop adjustments
September 25: The First Encounter, precision cultivation in direct-seeded vegetables
Our organic farm signs to identify your organic fields are now sold through Gempler's. The 18x23-inch signs are made of weather-resistant corrugated plastic and come with pre-drilled holes in the middle top and bottom for mounting. Each order has two signs that are attached with a scored fold at the top so they can be used as a two-sided sign mounted on a T-post or cut apart to use as two separate signs. Cost is $15 plus shipping.
Before you head into the fall harvest, refresh your knowledge of farm safety by browsing the free resources available at Cultivate Safety, a website of the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety and National Farm Medicine Center. The searchable resources cover safety for children through adults.
Farm Aid Festival
Farm Aid 2020 will be a free at-home festival experience taking place online Saturday, Sept. 26 from 7-10 p.m. CDT at farmaid.org. Donations made during the event will further Farm Aid's mission to build a more vibrant, family-farm-centered agriculture system.