It’s the time of the year when organic farmers are tucking in beds into cover crop as they’re harvested and planting seedlings for winter and early spring sales. With innovation and planning, Illinois farmers are able to extend their season and even grow year-round inside hoop structures. Whether you call them “high tunnels”, “hoophouses”, “greenhouses” or some other variation, they all allow for season extension. Season extension doesn’t only include vegetables growers either. Have you considered moving your animals inside for the winter, increasing soil fertility and decreasing weeds and bugs?
Whether you’re new to farming or want to expand your operation, here are some resources to help you continue your education.
MOSES Organic Farming Topic: Season Extension
*Resources include Fact Sheets, E-books, Books, Research publications, Funding Opportunities, and more.
SARE Learning Center Topic Room: High Tunnels and Other Season Extension Techniques
*Resources include Reports, Books, Information materials, and more.
Illinois NRCS Initiatives: Seasonal High Tunnel
*Resources include description of Initiative. Please visit your county office for more information about EQIP programs through NRCS.
The Organic Labeling at Farmer’s Markets fact sheet brought to you by the US Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program can help farmers market vendors and community supported agriculture (CSA) operations properly market organic fruits, vegetables, or livestock products to consumers who are looking for fresh, locally sourced foods. It helps market participants understand the organic requirements, and know when organic certification is required. Finally, the fact sheet points to the Organic Literacy Initiative for additional information on organic regulations and certification.
You can find the 2 page Adobe file at this web address: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5107731
Also included in the fact sheet is information about the USDA’s Organic Literacy Initiative. You can access their website at the web address www.ams.usda.gov/organicinfo AND find more details below:
The Farmers’ Legal Action Group (FLAG) has just recently released their highly-anticipated guide to written organic agriculture contracts, Farmers’ Guide to Organic Contracts, and it’s now available, for free, right at your fingertips (scroll down, its under “Publications and Articles”).
According to FLAG, “One major goal of the Farmers’ Guide to Organic Contracts is to encourage an organic marketing system in which organic producers and organic buyers can thrive together.” (from their press release) The publication will give organic farmers independent, credible information on how to manage, negotiate and evaluate written contracts. The guide includes:
- An overview of contract laws important to farmers
- A Quick Organic Contract Checklist and practical toolkit farmers can use to review and negotiate contract offers
- Highlighted sections illustrating how federal organic regulations interact with organic contracts
- Examples and discussion of over 100 types of organic contract provisions
- Detailed information about solving the types of contract disputes that commonly arise in the organic market
The Guide was, first and for most, designed to be a handy reference tool for contracts serving farms under the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP), but can be used to answer farmers’ questions on all sorts of written contracts. However, special sections are included for problems specific to organic farmers.
You can also download it here, if you’re not into the whole visit the website thing.