Monthly Archives: February 2012

USDA Specialty Crop Competitive Grant Program

For all the details:

Submission deadline  for the 2012 round of grant funding: April 2, 2012

On December 21, 2004, the  Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 (7 U.S.C. 1621 note) authorized the  Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide grants to State departments of  agriculture solely to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.  The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of  2008 (Farm Bill) amended the Specialty Crops Competiveness Act of 2004 and  authorized the USDA to provide grants to States for each of the fiscal years 2008  through 2012 to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.

Each State that submits an  application that is reviewed and approved by the Agricultural Marketing Service  (AMS) is to receive at least an amount that is equal to the higher of $100,000,  or 1/3 of 1 percent of the total amount of funding made available for that  fiscal year. In addition, AMS will allocate the remainder of the grant funds  based on the value of specialty crop production in each state in relation to  the national value of specialty crop production using the latest available cash  receipt data.

In an effort to reach specialty crop  initiatives throughout the state, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and  Consumer Services (VDACS) established a competitive grant process for these  funds.  Based on previous funding cycles,  VDACS expects to administer funds  totaling approximately $500,000 for the development of Specialty Crop projects  that will support and enhance the competitiveness of Specialty Crops in Virginia.  VDACS will accept grant proposals with a value  of up to $30,000.  Once all  proposals are submitted to VDACS, each will be carefully reviewed and evaluated  based on the criteria listed in this application.  All VDACS-approved projects will then be  developed into one grant submission to the USDA.  Upon approval from USDA, VDACS will notify  applicants (sub-grantees) of their status.   No final awards to any sub-grantee will be made until a final grant  award is made to VDACS (grantor) by USDA.   Final approval is expected by October of 2012, but is subject to change.

Eligible Specialty Crops

Specialty crops are defined in law as  “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery  crops, including floriculture.” Specialty crops are plants that are intensively  cultivated. There are many plants that are specialty crops when cultivated, but  are also collected from wild populations. Wild plants are not considered  specialty crops even though they may be used for the same purpose as cultivated  plants.

Eligible Applicants

  • Applications will be accepted from agricultural associations, industry / producer groups, community based organizations, and academia that seek to improve the competitiveness of specialty crops in Virginia.
  • Applications for grant funds should describe how the project potentially impacts and produces measurable outcomes for the specialty crop industry and/or the public rather than a single organization, institution, or individual.

Submission deadline  for the 2012 round of grant funding: April 2, 2012

For more information, please contact Melissa Ball  Allensworth at

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Greenstone Fields has openings for 2012!

Greenstone Fields, a Loudoun County, Virginia market farm, has openings for the 2012 season.

We are a Certified Naturally Grown farm specializing in cut flowers, as well as berries, shiitake mushrooms and select vegetables (tomatoes, asparagus, garlic).  We grow on just under three acres and sell at farmers markets, to local restaurants and floral designers; and also through two very accomplished CSAs. Our farm is one of four market farms within a 400-acre farming community.   We are in our 6th year of production, and have established a reputation for producing high-quality product, e.g. flowers with long vase life and particularly tasty berries.

These positions are for the entire season, starting in April and running through October.  We understand some applicants may be finishing college so we can be flexible about a May start date.

Field Worker – You will be involved in most aspects of running an organic farm.  Early in the season, work consists of planting, transplanting, weeding/cultivating, irrigating and fertilizing.  By May we will be harvesting, ensuring proper post-harvest care, sorting, loading and selling at market. This is a full time position requiring a minimum of 40 hours per week.  You must work weekends and will have Mondays off and another half day at

This position requires that you have farming or extensive gardening experience.  Knowledge of cut flowers, organic farming practices, irrigation systems and experience selling at market are ideal.  You will get hands-on experience in every detail of market farming.  You will learn the day-to-day aspects of how to operate a farm and how to work as part of a team.   If you intend to start your own farm this experience will help you see the value of including cut flowers or berries. Salary for this position is $9 – $10 an hour depending on your relevant experience.  We are looking for workers with proven records of holding down a job that can be quite difficult at times with sometimes harsh weather, repetition and the need to pay attention to detail.

Bouquet maker – This position requires that you can work with flowers to create beautiful bouquets, fast.  The bouquets are made Sundays through Wednesdays for the CSA, Fridays for market and Saturdays AT market.  Hours will be about 25 hours a week.  Salary is $10 – $12 an hour.  You must have experience with making bouquets or be able to demonstrate an eye for colors, textures and gorgeous arrangements.   This position will start in May and run through October.

Contact Barbara Lamborne at

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Riverstone Organic Farm Looking for Summer Interns — Floyd, VA

Riverstone Farm
592 Paradise Lane
Floyd, VA 24091
Contact: Brett Nichols
Phone: [Cell] 540-577-8218
General Description: Riverstone Farm is located in a scenic mountain valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Floyd County along the banks of the Little River. Interns will be involved in all phases of producing, harvesting and marketing fresh produce and eggs under the mentorship of experienced full-time growers. Herbs, bedding plants, cut flowers, and some livestock are also included in our operation. We attend several area farmers’ markets, operate a CSA, and sell to local wholesalers, stores, and restaurants.
Riverstone is fortunate to be a part of an active, involved farming region with many like minded individuals and businesses and an emerging local food scene. We are just off the Blue Ridge Parkway and have ample opportunity for outdoor recreation, local arts, festivals and local music venues.

Preferred method Of Contact: phone or e-mail

Internship Starts: May 1
Internship Ends: October 31
Number of Interns: 2
App Deadline: February 25
Minimum Length of Stay: full season
Meals: Meals are the responsibility of the intern, however shared lunches and dinners are encouraged.


Skills Desired: Honesty, a strong work ethic, and desire to learn the farming trade are prerequisite. This internship is intended for those interested in pursuing a career in agriculture/farming. One or more years farming experience desirable, but not required.

Educational Opportunities: Access to our sustainable agriculture library and publications. There are also occasions to attend area workshops or tours focusing on sustainable living and farming methods. Nearby farms may also offer field-walks, potluck gatherings, and personal visits. Interns are encouraged to network with interns at other local farms. Riverstone also promotes advanced mentoring in specific skills such as composting, nutrient management, irrigation, pest control, rotational grazing, fence construction, greenhouse management, tractor operation, CSA administration, retail marketing, as well as focus on production, handling, etc of particular crops.

Stipend: Each intern will receive $500/month plus diverse farmer training in all areas. Farm produce is included in compensation.

Housing: Housing consists of a modest personal sleeping cabin and access to a kitchen/break room and bathroom facility.

Internship Details: Interns will work side by side with farmers as well as independently in the fields and at market. Interns are expected to work 40 hours per week, and will have designated days off depending on the weather and season. We will require a commitment to work the whole season. Riverstone Farm is a drug free environment. Please send resume, and a narrative describing your interest as to why you are interested in organic
vegetable growing, along with three personal references to Brett Nichols at

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Website offers support for new farmers

“Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and USDA’s National Agricultural Library, in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation, has announced, a new online portal that helps to provide assistance for beginning farmers and ranchers.  The portal includes links to training, financing, technical assistance and other support services specifically for beginning farmers and ranchers as well as successful case studies about new and beginning farmers and ranchers.


A new website to offer support to new and beginning farmers.  Check out:

Many great resources aimed at assisting beginning farmers are offered on the site.   Once on the Start2Farm page, click the box for “Thinking about Farming”.  Go through a series of pages that provides basic information on the 4P’s for New Farmers: Purpose, Plan, Product, and People.  Absorb the information on these pages and begin to formulate  On the last page, Find More, click the New Farming Resources link.

New Farming Resources is broken down into several different categories.  Look to the left of the page, you will see the following:  Learn More, Find Financing, Locate Services, and Get Connected.  Each category lists many topics of interests to beginning farmers.

The following article from Southeast Farm Press can define and breakdown  It can be found at the following link:


Start2Farm was funded via the NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), program that funded the development of education, training, outreach and mentoring programs to enhance the sustainability of the next generation of America’s farmers and ranchers.

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Northern Piedmont Beginning Farmer Program

So, you wanna be a farmer?

The  Ed Farm, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and Fauquier County’s Department of Agriculture Development will conduct a seven month program for local residents who might want to start a farm operation. The program will provide participants with the information and advice necessary to make an informed  decision whether to: 1) Act on their idea, 2) Postpone their idea, 3) Leave farming to others. 
For details follow this link –Northern Piedmont Beginning Farmer Program.
Mark your calendar,  23 February 6:30 PM
Northern Piedmont Beginning Farmer Program Open House
24 Pelham St. Warrenton, VA 20186 (VCE-Fauquier)

It’s free, there’s food, and you can hear answers to all your questions about this great program.

For more information contact Jim Hilleary/540 341-7950 ext 227#/

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Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition Project Survey — Round 2

Dear Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Community:

This is a second invitation to all beginning farmers/ranchers and the farmer service providers across the state to participate a survey aimed at identifying the education and training needs of Virginia’s beginning farmer community. If you have not already taken this survey, we welcome your input at this time!

The survey was created with input from beginning farmers and ranchers and the service providers who are part of the Coalition project.   The goal of Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project is to improve opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers to establish and sustain viable agricultural operations in Virginia through the development and enhancement of innovative educational programs, services, and social networks. An important step to take in reaching this goal is to identify the education,
information, and resource support needs of
Virginia’s beginning farmers and ranchers.

Who should take this survey?

We are seeking input from beginning farmers and ranchers and the service providers who work with them across the state. This would include people who are: actively planning their farm entry (Explorer); in the first few years of farming (Start‐up Farmer ); expanding or stabilizing their farm but still within the first 10 years of operation (Establishing Farmer); a family farm member who makes decisions on the farm without yet having primary farm operator status (Transitioning Farmer); and agricultural professionals who provide education, information, or resource support to these beginning farmer groups (Service Provider).

To complete the online survey, please click the following link:

Completing the survey will take approximately 15 minutes. Your participation in this survey is entirely voluntary. You may choose not to participate or you may refuse to answer certain questions. You can choose to discontinue your participation at any time. All information collected as part of this survey will remain

If you have any questions regarding the survey or the  Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project, please contact Kim Niewolny at (540) 231‐5784 or

Thank you for your consideration and participation.


Kim Niewolny

Director, Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project


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Farm Manager Vacancy – Woodstock, VA

FARM MANAGER – Woodstock, specializing in fruits and vegetables on large scale and coach volunteers to feed hungry through food banks.  Send resume to FCceo@Shentel.Net.

Also see WWW.VolunteerFarm.Org.


Production Horticulturist who is knowledgeable and experienced in the cultivation, planting, growing, maintenance and harvesting of vegetables on non-profit farm entering fifth year.  Sixty-five acre farm located near Woodstock, VA produced 215 tons of vegetables in eight years, all of which was donated to area food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens feeding more than 150,000 people per month.  Farm utilized approximately 15,000 volunteers (mostly under 18 years of age) for planting and harvesting.  Support is provided in office management, recruitment, scheduling, and coordination of volunteers.

Personal Requirements:

  •  Positive thinker with plenty of energy and aggressiveness, devoted to helping the hungry.
  • Knowledge and experience in growing on large scale an extensive range of vegetables.
  • Able to analyze and solve problems
  • Excellent organizational and supervisory skills
  • Good communication and teaching skills
  • Enjoys instructing and mentoring young volunteers with confidence and patience
  • Farm equipment mechanical aptitude
  • Aptitude for working with computers for planning, budgeting, scheduling
  • Cautious, constantly concerned with safety and protection of visitors
  • Certified for application of farm chemicals and operating knowledge of modern drip irrigation system.

Manager shall perform the following tasks:

  •  Under supervision of the Chief Executive Officer, manage the capital, plans and strategic   (direction of the farm under policies of the Board of Directors.)
  • Manage the financial aspects of the business by controlling expenses.
  • Organize and manage the various functions of the farm with the aid of volunteers.
  • Decide or advise on the kind of crops to be grown, the area to be sown or planted.
  • Plan the type of farming activities to be undertaken, estimate operating costs and order supplies such as seed, fertilizer, and farm equipment.
  • Manage, with aid of volunteers, the irrigation system to provide appropriate moisture to growing plants utilizing plastic mulch and drip irrigation.
  • Assuring health and safety of all farm visitors, direct farm volunteer workers on crop growing and harvesting.
  • Perform farming functions to be instructive to volunteers.
  • Assure that all equipment (tractors, implements, sprayers, trucks, wagons) are operated away from all volunteers to protect them from accidents or health problems.
  • Plan activities to minimize environmental degradation, monitor environmental effects of  farming activities and repair existing damage.
  •  Maintain records to help in future planning and scheduling of plantings and chemical application.

 Position is Full-Time near Woodstock, VA starting in 2012, salary to be negotiated based on education and experience with substantial
bonus to be based on amount of production.  30 day paid vacation in winter at end of first year, but no other benefits. 

Send resume to:    Volunteer Farm, 277  Crider Ln., Woodstock, VA 22664.

Also see WWW.VolunteerFarm.Org.

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Free State Growers: Vegetable-Production Manager/Operator Needed – Near Marshall, VA

Free State Growers (FSG) near Marshall, VA is looking for an individual to help operate a small, vegetable-production operation.  FSG has one (+) level acre for traditional vegetable production, three (+) acres of sloped area, and ¼ acre of north facing deciduous forest with a stream (good area for ginseng).  Structures on-hand include a 12’x20’ high tunnel affixed to a 20’x48’ 3-bay shed with concrete floor, power, and water; and a 10’ x 20’ metal equipment shed.  Irrigation equipment on site includes a 16’ x 4’ tank; pumps; flat-tape, drip-tape, sand filter, and fittings.  Mechanized equipment includes a 38HP tractor w/ FEL, blade, several mowers, sprayer, row crop-cultivator, and two trailers: 20’ and 8’.  The 3-bay shed and high tunnel have been used for aquaponics; a fish tank, fittings, PVC, and aerated transport tank are on-hand. 

This is a good opportunity for someone who would like to influence operations at a small commercial vegetable operation but who does not have access to land or equipment.  Compensation is based on production and sales so the qualities required are trustworthiness, maturity, self-motivation and the ability to work independently.  A working knowledge of vegetable production is preferred but limited experience with a positive attitude will go a long way.  US residency status must be verifiable. 

 People interested should email a brief description of their experience and goals relating to food production and a name/telephone number of two references.  The email address is


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Wanted: 100 Gal. Stainless Steel Pan

WANTED: Large (~100 gal) molasses pan, all stainless.  For sorghum and
maple syrups.
Please comment to this post or call Richard at 276-762-5533, with any info.
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Virginia Beginning Farmer Marketplace

This category will contain the Virginia Beginning Farmer Marketplace.  All  posts will be related to “for sale” classifieds on equipment, farm animals, farm related sales, seeds, plants, etc…..


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