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AGvocate Updates & Upcoming CT Farm Events
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March Events & News

Senator Murphy Farmer Roundtable Meeting

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy would like to invite you to join him in a discussion with local farmers. As we head into a new administration, the discussion will focus on actions that can be taken at the federal level to help Connecticut’s agriculture industry. Furthermore, before the annual budget and appropriations process begins for this year, as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murphy would like to hear about areas he could champion that best serve Connecticut farmers.
 
Earlier this month, Senator Murphy sat down with Sonny Perdue, President Trump’s pick to serve as his secretary of agriculture. It was a productive conversation and Mr. Perdue expressed an interest in focusing on helping farmers access USDA programming and easily get answers to their questions.

When: Friday March 3rd, 12:00pm-1:15pm
Where: Nathan Hale Homestead, 2299 South Street, Coventry, CT, 06238

Please RSVP to Emily Boushee at emily_boushee@murphy.senate.gov or (860)810-9021.

Clean Water Matching Grants


From CT DEEP
DEEP is now accepting proposals for the Clean Water Section 319 matching grants for FY2017. Click HERE for eligibility requirements. Proposals should be submitted by email to Charles Lee at Charles.Lee@ct.gov. Proposals must be received electronically by March 3, 2017.

Harvest New England
March 7-9 in Sturbridge, MA
New England's Ag Marketing Conference and Trade Show 


Program Information and Registration

March 11 to 12 CT NOFA 35th Annual Winter

Conference, Western CT University,  Danbury, CT
www.ctnofa.org/winterconference/workshops.html

March 15th - Agriculture Day at the Capitol, 10am to 1 pm
www.ctaginfocouncil.org

Beginning Farmer Loans

FSA assists beginning farmers to finance agricultural enterprises. Under these designated farm loan programs, FSA can provide financing to eligible applicants through either direct or guaranteed loans.
FSA defines a beginning farmer as a person who: 
  • Has operated a farm for not more than 10 years
  • Will materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm
  • Agrees to participate in a loan assessment, borrower training and financial management program sponsored by FSA
  • Does not own a farm in excess of 30 percent of the county’s average size farm. 
Additional program information, loan applications, and other materials are available at your local USDA Service Center.  You may also visit www.fsa.usda.gov
 

March 15th Deadline for NAP Coverage

The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) closing deadline for most annual fruits and vegetables is March 15. Eligible producers must apply for coverage and pay the applicable service fees by the application closing date. Acreage reports are also due annually. Coverage for specific crops may be checked online at www.fsa.usda.gov/nap
scenic farm
TOLLAND, CT – Thomas L. Morgart, State Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Connecticut, has announced a third sign-up for funding for the agency’s FY2017 conservation programs.
 
Agricultural producers wanting to conserve water or address water, air, or animal waste issues; reduce erosion; improve wildlife habitat; obtain a seasonal high tunnel; or just plain improve conservation on their farming operation should consider submitting their application to receive financial assistance. Interested? Begin by filling out eligibility forms. Once you qualify, ensure your application is submitted to your local NRCS office by March 17, 2017.
 
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program for those engaged in livestock, forestry, or agricultural production – including organics. The program offers financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices on eligible agricultural land, and provides payments for implementing conservation practices that have a positive environmental impact, while protecting long-term agricultural production and sustainability. Eligible crop production includes—but is not limited to—field-grown ornamentals, fruits, orchards, plant materials in greenhouses, row crops, vegetables, and vineyards.
 
The Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Program provides financial assistance to help manage risk and solve natural resource issues through conservation, as well as for seasonal high tunnels.
 
Although NRCS accepts applications for EQIP and AMA year round, to be considered for funding during this ranking period, applications must be received by March 17, 2017. Applications received after that will be accepted and considered, if funds are still available. 
 
To find out more about EQIP, or fill out eligibility forms, or obtain an application, contact your local USDA Service Center, or check out the Getting Started section of our website.
33rd Annual
Connecticut Land Conservation Conference
Saturday - March 18, 2017

8:30am - 5:00pm, followed by reception
Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
REGISTER HERE

March 18th to 19th - Hebron Maple Festival
www.hebronmaplefest.com/


CONNECTICUT FARMLINK needs farm listings and you can help!
 
As we approach the growing season, many farmers, especially new and beginning farmers, are urgency trying to find farms and farmland to lease or own.  The CT Department of Agriculture’s Connecticut Farmlink Program www.ctfarmlink.org offers a website based clearinghouse to match those seeking farmland with landowners who have land available for lease or sale.  Currently we have almost 300 farm seekers in our database, and only about 100 landowner listings.  Seekers needs vary from 1 acre to 200, and in all parts of Connecticut. Can you help us reach owners of farmland in your community who may wish to help get the next generation on the land, or help secure and  grow existing farm businesses? Properties with housing and farm infrastructure are particularly desirable.  Municipal and Land Trust lands available for agriculture are also welcome to list their parcels. Properties that need restoration (clearing of brush, stones, etc) may be eligible for the CT Dept of Agriculture’s Farmland Restoration Program.  For more information about the CT Farmlink Program please contact Kip Kolesinskas, Consulting Conservation Scientist, CT Dept of Agriculture, kip.kolesinskas@gmail.com  860-878-0393.

DEEP Announces New Green Plan

DEEP has announced updates to the 2016-2020 Comprehensive Open Space Acquisition Strategy (Green Plan). The updates include an action strategy with acquisition priorities and targeted acreages and recommendations to acquire certain lands for environmental and public recreation conservation centers. This plan guides the state's goal to conserve 21% of CT's open space by 2023. www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?A=4918&Q=590144

2017 FREE ONE-on-ONE Agricultural Advising Sessions
TOPICS

Protecting Financial Investments with Crop Insurance
Peter Frizzell; Crop Growers Insurance, Colleen Kisselburgh; Arthur Carroll Insurance
How valuable are your crops? Find out how to use crop insurance as a financial
risk management tool to protect your investment!
 
Estate Planning & Farm Transfer
Stephen Sutton & Bill Dakin; Kahan, Kerensky & Capossela LLP
Linda Francois; Cooper, Whitney & Francois
If you have been procrastinating, here’s your chance for FREE legal advice with no strings
attached on a wide variety of legal issues including wills, trusts, estate tax planning and
farm transfer options!
 
NEW - Farm Business & Marketing (2 options - Choose your focus)
“Strategic Planning for a Prosperous Future”
Richard Hermonot; Farm Credit East, Erin Pirro; Farm Credit East
Develop a farm business plan, a succession plan or marketing plan to help your farm
business move towards a more rewarding future!
 
Or : “Unleashing the Management Power of Your Records”
Discuss how you can simplify your numbers and get the most out of financial records for
making strategic business decisions that will maximize your potential for success!
 
Navigating Local Land Use Regulations & Maximizing Farm Tax Benefits
Joan Nichols; Connecticut Farm Bureau Association
Get the scoop on the tax programs available to CT farmers; including PA 490, and discover
tips for navigating local zoning and wetlands regulations related to your farming
operation.
 
The Hows and Whys of Organic Farming
Bill Duesing; CT NOFA, Old Solar Farm, Michael Keilty; UConn Extension
Organic farming principles and practices improve your farm’s sustainability and resilience.
Bring your questions about organic methods and how to certify your farm.
 
NEW - Farm Marketing via Communication & Social Media
Keith Padin and Allyson Angelini; Full Heart Farm
Every farm has a story; explore engaging ways to share your story and utilize high-speed
modern communications and social media to help you stay relevant to your customers.
 
NEW - Introduction for Veterans in Agriculture
Peter Frizzell; Crop Growers Insurance
Get the ball rolling; an informational session for military veterans interested in
agriculture and a starting point for agricultural opportunities.
 
NEW - Agritourism (2 options - Choose your focus)
Agritourism Opportunities for You and Your Customers
Explore opportunities ranging from ideas for farm-related attractions to using your
numbers to select the best project first to pricing strategies (including pricing).
 
Or: Are You Covered? Managing Your Agritourism Risks
Matt Wraight: Lyons & Wraight Insurance
Have you or are you considering opening up your farm for agritourism? Learn about how
to managing the liability and risks associated with inviting the public onto your farm.
 
NRCS Grant Programs for Farmers
Vivian Felten, Jesse Raymond, and Amy Fischer; USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service
Learn more about the financial and technical assistance available to farmers for
conservation improvements to their land.
 
Highlights of FSA Programs, Loans & Eligibility
Teresa Peavey, Sarah Woodward, Martha Dorsey; USDA-Farm Service Agency
Gain a better understanding about Farm Service Agency loans and program eligibility
and how they can help your farm operation.
 
CT Farm Energy Program
Amanda Fargo-Johnson; CT Farm Energy Program
Going Green for Agriculture! Get insight into this clearinghouse of information on
energy programs as well as technical assistance for energy efficiency and renewable
energy projects for on-farm use.
 
 For more information go to http://ctfarmrisk.uconn.edu/one-on-one.php

Nutritional Side of Holistic Orcharding

Come learn the nutritional side of holistic orcharding through the lens of healthy plant metabolism with Michael Phillips. Join us for this introduction to a whole-system based approach for producing nutritionally-dense fruits and berries by this nationally recognized guru of holistic orchard management.  Please place your reservations by March 25 to allow sufficient time for payment processing.  Seating capacity is limited!
 
Michael's timing couldn’t be better.  His latest blockbuster, "Mycorrhizal Planet:  How Fungi and Plants work Together to Create Dynamic Soils", is due for release in March.  To preview or pre-order "Mycorrhizal Planet" directly from Michael and claim discount coupons on great biological products visit: www.herbsandapples.com/books/mycorrhizal-planet.php.  Signed copies along with his fabulous DVD, "Holistic Orcharding", will be available at the workshop.
 
NOFA-AOLCP Bonus! Organic land care professionals attending this event are eligible for 4 continuing education units. We’ll have a sign-up sheet at the workshop.
 
Workshop & Orchard Tour Outline
Saturday April 1, 2017 9:00am-12:00pm: Morning Workshop
at Forest & Park Association, 16 Meriden Rd, Rockfall, CT
12:00-1:00pm: Lunch
Either bring your own lunch or a potluck dish to share
1:00-5:00pm: Tour of Orchard plus Q&A
at High Hill Orchard, 170 Fleming Rd, Meriden, CT  
 
http://bionutrient.org/events/michael-phillips-nutritionally-dense-orcharding
Ace Begonias, Woodbridge, CT
About the AGvocate Program
The AGvocate Program promotes farm-friendly community policies and regulations in Connecticut, and is the liaison between agricultural producers and local communities. The Program is managed by the Connecticut Resource Conservation and Development Area, Inc. (RC&D) in cooperation with a Steering Committee comprised of members from The Last Green Valley (TLGV), participating communities, agricultural businesses, and many federal, state, and nonprofit agencies and organizations. 

Our mailing address is:
Connecticut Resource Conservation & Development Area, Inc.
1066 Saybrook Road, PO Box 70
Haddam, CT 06438
(860) 345-3977
www.CTRCD.org

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