Monthly Archives: May 2012

Comment Period for the Microloan Program is open through July 23, 2012

Comment Period for the Microloan Program is open through July 23, 2012

 USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) expands and improves access to credit through the new microloan program.  This program allows credit to be accessible to help small and family farms progress through their start-up years with needed resources, while building capacity, increasing equity, and providing the opportunity to graduate to commercial credit.  Under the proposal, producers who need a loan for less than $35,000 may apply through a simplified, streamlined process by cutting paperwork in half.   The improvements aim to offer a more efficient processing time for smaller loans, adding flexibility to some of the eligibility requirements and reduce the application requirements.  More details will be available once the program is finalized.

Currently this program is under public comment if you are interested in learning more about the program the proposed rule may be viewed at:

You may also go to the federal eRulemaking Portal:

(follow the online instructions for submitting comments)

You can also contact the local FSA office to obtain a copy of the regulations.

Linda Cronin

Public Relations & Outreach Specialist

1606 Santa Rosa Road, Suite 138

Richmond, VA  23229

Phone:  804-287-1537

FAX 804-287-1723

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Farm For Sale in the Shenandoah Valley

Farm in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia: FSBO: $775,000,  could consider rent

Lovely farm located just 4 miles from I-­‐81 at the New Market exit. 15 miles north of Harrisonburg. Farm is in Rockingham county Virginia, safely secluded on a dead-­‐end gravel road. Zoned A-­‐1 agriculture: totally surrounded by (working) farmland and with lovely mountain views. Approx. 58+ acres (I do have an official survey) which is approx. 48 acres open pastures and 10 acres woods (mostly a mixture of pines).  Seasonal pond and stream. Multiple tax maps: can be legally divided. Two additional certified 100% reserve conventional perc sites. Nice add’l homesites.

Almost all of the exterior border is fenced… Cross fencing: much of it is new woven wire and 5 strand high tensile hot-­‐coated electric is some old oak board (with a large board fenced riding ring. Automatic waterers and hydrants in all fields. Fenced for rotational grazing. I recently spent quite a bit for a Conservation Service program which explains all the new fencing, new fence charger, and a brand new  (second) well  and underground electricity meter  up on the hill.

Would be a super place for sustainable/organic type operation. The farm was used for horses and steers when I was growing up. In recent years has had cattle grazing . Hay crops have been excellent. Soil has been tested and shows to be in good shape. Probably certifiable organic. Long south facing hillside, possible for vineyard site?

Solid brick house 2000 sq. feet, built in 1913 using pre-­‐Civil War brick. Plaster interior walls with 12 inch thick solid brick walls. Three bedrooms, two full baths, large country kitchen, separate dining, parlor and living rooms. All rooms approx. 15 by 15. All the woodwork inside is original oak wainscoting, newly refinished  hardwood floors, and beautiful staircase and trim (Craftsman era style). Screened front porch. My family (mother and father) bought this farm in 1973, so we have owned it ever since. My elderly mother lived there until she died in 2009. We have kept good records. My parents put in quality everything since the house had no plumbing/ electricity, etc. when we bought it.

Good well and septic system. Washer/dryer in basement. Heat is hot oil furnace. Hotwater baseboard heat in copper pipes throughout (my parents wanted to put in the good stuff) which means even heat but better to replace the thirsty furnace. No air conditioning (two nice porches, front and back). Windows are the old fashioned very large with large panes, some originals still a little wavey. We put in storm windows on everything. Freshly repainted standing seam metal roof in good condition.

Very large bank barn with attached large straw shed. Barn has running water and electricity.  Several other outbuildings. Brick washhouse and windmill.

Annual property tax: just $1300! (RE: the whole thing is in agricultural landuse)

Lydia D. cell 307-­‐760-­‐7359 Or email:

SAMPLE photos: More Pictures are available electronically if requested.

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New ‘Farm Finances’ Webinar Now Online

New ‘Farm Finances’ Webinar Now Online

NCAT and USDA RMA Offer Practical Advice for Beginning Farmers on Organizing and Understanding Their Numbers 

Beginning farmers and anyone else considering farming in the Northeast have a new tool or one of agriculture’s most daunting tasks–crunching the numbers.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), with funding from the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA), has just posted a new webinar that can smooth the road for anyone who is beginning a journey in agriculture and wants to get comfortable with handling finances. The webinar, “Farm Finances: Organizing and Understanding Your Numbers,” is available now at

As with any small business, starting a farm requires basic accounting and business-management skills. This webinar helps beginning farmers become familiar with necessary basic accounting techniques and gives them tips on organizing and understanding their numbers.

“With a few easy steps and forms, farmers can develop good record-keeping and accounting habits from the outset,” said Hannah Lewis, one of the featured NCAT ag experts in the webinar.

The topics in the webinar provide a solid overview. They include:

  • Clarifying your goals and attaining them.
  • Determining which resources are necessary for farming. Do you have them?
  • Organizing your data.
  • What can your numbers teach you?

Hannah conducts the webinar along with NCAT staff member Tammy Hinman.

Hannah has worked in sustainable agriculture and food systems for more than 15 years as a farm worker, retail produce manager, advocate, researcher, and educator. She currently serves as Midwest director and local-food system specialist at NCAT, and she works on projects related to farm-to-school initiatives, beginning farmers, and business planning. She has a Master of Science degree in agriculture and sociology from Iowa State University and serves on the board of the Women, Food, and Agriculture Network.

Tammy has worked in the sustainable-agriculture field for more than 20 years as a farmer, with Cooperative Extension Service, and for various nonprofit organizations. She is currently a horticulture specialist with NCAT and works on project related to beginning farmers, business planning, farmers markets, and market gardening. She also runs a small diversified vegetable and flower farm in Bozeman, Montana. She has a Bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Colorado State University and a Master of Arts degree in food system studies from Antioch University.

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Spring Newsletter

Click the photos below to view the 2 page Spring Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition Project Newsletter.  Stay posted to this blog for an updated newsletter each quarter.  You can also keep up with the quarterly newsletter by visiting:

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Farm Manager Position — Lynchburg Grows

Lynchburg Grows, Lynchburg Virginia  

Farm Manager Position


Lynchburg Grows is an urban farm that takes a hands-in-the-dirt approach to teaching others how sustainable food production promotes a healthy planet. Seeded in 2003, our non-profit’s mission is centered on giving people with special needs a space to share their talents and skills while acquiring new ones. We are situated on 6.8 acres in historic Lynchburg, Va., with two of those acres spread among nine greenhouses.

Position: Farm Manager

Lynchburg Grows is currently seeking a candidate to fill the Farm Manager position at our 7 acre urban farm and environmental education center. The successful candidate will primarily be responsible for managing and developing the 150 member CSA and community food center, including planting and harvesting sustainably grown vegetables in an half-acre glasshouse, caring for our farm animals, and purchasing produce from regional farmers. The candidate must also help manage volunteers and work with people with disabilities as well as school age children. The position primarily requires knowledge and experience with vegetable growing and crop management and CSA experience is a plus. Lynchburg Grows is a small but growing operation and the Farm Manager will work side by side with our other 2 full time staff as well as our 5 part time employees. The position is full time seasonal with the potential for year-around full time employment in the future and we expect to hire in the next month. Please visit our website ( to learn more about our mission and facility.

 If interested, send your resume and cover letter to or via mail to P.O. Box 12039, Lynchburg, Virginia 24506.

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2012 Loudoun Spring Farm Tour

2012 Spring Farm Tour

Saturday, May 19th and Sunday, May 20th from 10am-4pm.

 The Loudoun Spring Farm Tour attracts thousands of visitors from across the country to the beautiful Loudoun Valleys, with views of the Blue Ridge, Short Hill and Sugarloaf Mountains; all just minutes west of Washington Dulles International Airport. The Farm Tour weekend serves as an introduction to Loudouns growing season, and many of the farms on the Tour have products available throughout the spring and summer.

 Click here for the website:

 Click here for a map of farms: 

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Seven Springs Organic Farm looking for an intern — 2012

We still have one opening for this year give a call to apply!
Ron Juftes and Polly Hieser
426 Jerry Lane – Check,
VA 24072

Ron @540-651-3228 or
Polly @

Click here for our 2012 apprentice application.


Our work apprenticeship program will begin its eleventh season in 2011.  It involves hands on experience on our 125 acre sustainably managed farm located  in Floyd County, Va. The farm is home to a 100 family Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) garden and, a retail organic farming & gardening supply products business. The farm is a beautiful property, nestled in a very private setting, with rolling hills, lush pastures, orchards, 55 acres of forest and a 1-acre pond.

Description of work
The program is designed to teach an individual a realistic view of what is involved in running an organic farm. We choose two apprentices each year, so with this small number of people there is a lot of personal attention given to each individual. Depending on the interests of the apprentice, the training could include many of the following items. Below is a list of general farm tasks that may be performed over several months;

*  All aspects of organic vegetable production
*  Organization & management of CSA
*  Safe use of hand and power tools
*  Equipment maintenance and repairs, basic welding and torch usage
*  Building maintenance and repairs
*  Some building construction, carpentry
*  Firewood and tree pruning, felling trees, use of a chain saw and log splitter
*  Homesteading skills such as, food preserving
*  Landscape beautification; flower, shrub, and tree planting, stone wall construction
*  Use of biodynamic preparations
*  Haying
*  Fertilizer products business; learning the uses of these products in the everyday farming practice
*  Plumbing and electrical, irrigation system maintenance, repairs, and improvements

Work Requirements and Compensation
The average workweek required is 5 1/2 days per week, Monday through early Saturday  afternoon. We average an eight-hour day, though weather and other needs may vary the schedule occasionally.  There is a stipend of $100.00 per week. We also provide food produced on the farm and nearby farms, and basic kitchen, bath and laundry supplies.


Polly Hieser and Ron Juftes have a wealth of knowledge from our many years of working. We have been farming this land since 1990. We have education and experience in the field of horticulture, arboriculture and business management. The CSA garden has been in operation since 1991 and is well established. This is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable insight and first hand experience in many aspects of organic farming.

What’s Local
Floyd County is a beautiful rural area with a diverse community. It is bordered by the Blue Ridge Parkway, a protected scenic route through the mountains, offering good hiking and camping. There are many interests that can be found in the town of Floyd, which is just 20 minutes from the farm. The Winter Sun Theater offers concerts and classes in dance & movement. The Jacksonville Center offers classes in fine arts and crafts. There are many artistic and holistic health practitioners through out the area. There is a rich culture of local folk, bluegrass and old time music. There are restaurants, coffee shops, health food stores and art galleries. Floyd is also home to many intentional communities. The city of Roanoke and the college town of Blacksburg are each located about 45 minutes away by car.

Your Responsibilities
Our apprenticeship program is designed to offer instruction in a wide variety of skills, in exchange for enthusiastic, hardworking help with the many chores that make a farm. We are interested in someone who has some basic experience in gardening or related field, hat
includes the use of basic gardening tools; someone who is physically fit, likes to work hard, wants to learn sustainable farming / homesteading, is a non smoker with no pets, and is interested in community life.

If you are interested in applying for our apprentice program please fill out the following application and send it back to us, or call for further details. Please be prepared to arrange for a visit to the farm, if possible.


We have developed a private camp like setting for the two apprentices. Each will have a private sleeping shelter, and there is a shared outdoor kitchen with eating area, and an outhouse. Elsewhere on the farm is a hot shower and washing machine.


If you are interested in applying for our apprentice program please fill out the following application and send it back to us, or call for further details. Please be prepared to arrange for a visit to the farm.
Ron Juftes 540-651-3228 or
Polly Hieser 540-651-3226

Seven Springs
426 Jerry Ln. NE. Check, Va.

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