News

Farmers' Markets Need Vendors!
CHP Great Barrington, MA: Any vendors welcome
Time: Thursdays, 2-5
Contact: wic@chpberkshires.org

Copake/Hillsdale, NY
: Cheese, dairy, prepared foods, fish
Time: Saturdays, 9-1
Contact: copakehillsdalefarmersmarket@gmail.com

Downtown Pittsfield, MA
: Prepared foods
Time: Saturdays, 9-1
Contact: info@farmersmarketpittsfield.org

Hancock, MA: Any, particularly coffee
Time: Sundays, 10-4 & Wednesdays, 10-2
Contact: appletreehill@mindspring.com

Lee, MA: 
Produce, bread, eggs, meat, dairy, prepared foods
Time: Saturdays, 10-2
Contact: leefmarket@gmail.com

Lenox, MA: Maple
Time: Fridays, 1-5
Contact: jo.lenoxfarmersmarket@gmail.com

Millerton, NY: Lamb, wine, maple, honey
Time: Saturdays, 9-1
Contact: sheila@neccmillerton.org

Monterey, MA: Eggs, meat
Time: Tuesday evenings (TBD - potential new market)
Contact: hannah.bracken@gmail.com

New Lebanon, NY
: Bread, dairy & cheese, pork, chicken, prepared food, cider, beer & wine
Time: Sundays, 10-2
Contact: newlebanonfarmersmarket@gmail.com

Norfolk, CT: Charcuterie, cow & goat dairy, fish, wine
Time: Saturdays, 10-1
Contact: manager@norfolkfarmermarket.org

Stephentown, NY: Produce, flowers, bread, baked goods, pickles, honey, cheese, wine & beer, artisans & crafters
Time: Saturdays, 9-1
Contact: olicustomerservice@gmail.com

FSMA Webinar Available for Viewing
Agriculture Marketing Services recently held a webinar on  the finalized "Produce Safety Regulations" of  the FDA's Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA). If you've been looking to learn about requirements under the new regulations and resources available to you, you can view or download the webinar online.

 

Cold Storage Meeting Recap
Back in March, we hosted a meeting to Brainstorm Cold Storage in the Berkshires, which led to an informative discussion among farmers, buyers, service providers and other interested parties.

Here we're providing notes from the meeting for those who were interested but unable to make it: Brainstorming Cold Storage Notes.

While no clear conclusions regarding need came out of the gathering, we're glad to have re-started this conversation and will be following up on these conversations in the coming year. In the meantime, we have compiled some resources that may be of use if you are interested in financing a storage facility on your farm. As always, please reach out to BG and BAV if you have thoughts, questions, or need help with business planning.

FSA Microloans
Flexible term loans of up to $50,000 developed to serve the unique financing needs of new, niche and small to mid-sized family farms.

Farm Credit East
Farm Credit East offers an array of loans and specialized business & financial services to help Northeast agricultural ventures succeed.

USDA Rural Development Grants & Loans
USDA Rural Development offers an array of programs designed to serve the needs of businesses and cooperatives in rural communities. We can connect you with our local Rural Development office who will help you determine what programs best suit your project.

Current Grant Opportunities
VAPG may be used to develop new products and create additional uses for existing ones. Priority for these grants is given to veterans, members of socially disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, and operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches. Additional priority is given to applicants who seek funding for projects that will create or increase marketing opportunities for these types of operators. Applications are due June 24th.
Farmers' Guide to Applying for the Value-Added Producer Grant Program
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has released an updated version of this annual resource that walks farmers through the program's application requirements, including a step-by-step description of the application and ranking processes. 

The purpose of the MDAR's Ag-Energy Grant is to assist agricultural operations in an effort to improve energy efficiency and to facilitate adoption of alternative clean energy technologies in order that they can become more sustainable and the Commonwealth can maximize the environmental and economic benefits from these technologies.
 
Reimbursement grants of up to $30,000 will be awarded on a competitive basis. All projects must be completed by June 30, 2017. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, June 8, 2016.
   
The purpose of the Ag-Energy Special Projects Grant is to provide funding for agricultural energy projects that would typically require higher capital cost but potentially yield greater savings and/or positive agricultural impacts in an effort to improve the farm's energy efficiency and to facilitate adoption of less conventional, alternative clean energy technology applications.  By implementing these projects, the agricultural operation will demonstrate novel ideas that will help farms become more sustainable while contributing to the goals of: the MA Food Systems Plan; MA Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Implementation; and the MA Global Warming Solutions Act; and to advance technologies that can be replicated at other agricultural operations in Massachusetts.
 
AgEnergy Special Projects is a competitive, re-imbursement grant program that funds specifically specified project categories up to varying amounts according to the project category.  All projects must be completed by June 30, 2017.  The deadline for applications is Friday, June 10, 2016.

Other Resources of Interest
If you're interested in securing grant funds or finding out if you have energy efficiency opportunities on your farm, the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program can help by covering up to 75% of the cost of an energy audit. Call 413-727-3090, E-mail info@massfarmenergy.com, or visit www.massfarmenergy.com and submit a Request Form to be contacted.

Climate Smart Farming Resources from Cornell
Increase agricultural productivity, income sustainability, energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, and farm resiliency to extreme weather and climate variability. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Legal Services Food Hub
A free legal services clearinghouse for farmers & food entrepreneurs

Free Agricultural Mediation Services
Mediation and dispute resolution services for ag-related conflict in Berkshire County

Cornell's Wholesale Market Watch
Wholesale Market Watch is a new listserve that provides information and resources to facilitate connecting small and mid-sized farmers to larger markets such as food hubs, grocery stores, restaurants, online marketplaces and cooperatives.This listserve is part of a larger project called "Baskets to Pallets: Preparing Small and Mid-sized Farmers to Enter Food Hubs, Groceries, Restaurants and Cooperatives".

Online Budgeting Tools for Small-scale Livestock Producers
Purdue Extension has developed a pair of Web-based, interactive resources to help new producers and anyone thinking about starting a small-scale livestock operation to make critical budgeting decisions. The Purdue Comparative Decision Support matrix (PCDS) includes a spreadsheet tool that allows users to create an operating budget based on their own fixed and variable costs, cash flow and expected revenue. The PCDS2 profit/loss analysis function uses cost and price information to calculate potential earnings. 

A monthly resource 

Farmer Mentorship Program
Interested in some guidance around a particular part of your farm business?  Consider the Berkshire Grown Farmer Mentorship Program: we pair you with a farmer member who has experience and expertise that could provide valuable guidance to you and we pay them for up to 10 hours of their time.  Mentorships can address specific crops, techniques, tools & equipment, marketing, scaling up, or any other subject that would help you grow or strengthen your business.

If you are interested in being mentored, please complete the Mentee Application and email it to kate@berkshiregrown.org.


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