resource guide

We know that there is a whole wide world of farming information out there. This is a small compilation of some of our favorite resources that can help beginning farmers across a wide range of topics. 

soil, water and plants

Johnny’s Selected Seeds Interactive Tools 

Access all sorts of crop calculators (for starting seed, planting and harvesting), plant guides and a Grower’s Library full of useful market gardening information.

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/t-online-tools-calculators.aspx

Forage Plant Pocket Guide

As referenced in our Rotational Grazing class, this guide is an educational tool for agriculturalists and other interested people to learn to identify the primary forage plants found in Jackson County, Oregon.

Stream and Wetland Enhancement Guide

Rogue Valley Council of Governments and Clean Water Services provide ways to create healthy and diverse streamside vegetation that will improve and protect water quality by controlling erosion, filtering stormwater runoff and shading the stream to reduce water temperatures.

Taking Care of Streams: A Landowner’s Guide to Riparian Areas in Jackson County, Oregon

A guide to help you maintain and improve the health of streams and riparian areas.

Oregon Soil and Water Conservation Districts

Oregon’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts provide technical assistance, educational outreach, and other conservation services to landowners, managers, and citizens. The Districts provide leadership in delivery of state water quality programs, watershed enhancement programs, and local conservation efforts.

Soil and Health Library

A listing of mostly older books (many available as pdf’s for free here) on MANY subjects including composting, cover cropping, and perennial crops.

Web Soil Survey

The Web Soil Survey provides agricultural producers, agencies, Technical Service Providers, and others electronic access to relevant soil and related information needed to make land-use and management decisions.

Oregon Water Resources Department

LOTS of information about water rights in Oregon

energy

Oregon Solar Electric Guide

This guide focuses on the use of solar electricity in homes and small businesses. It provides basic information about system components and what to expect when shopping for a solar electric system.

Small Wind Electric Systems: An Oregon Consumer’s Guide

The purpose of this guide is to provide you with the basic information about small wind electric systems to help you decide if wind energy will work for you.

rural living

Jackson County Rural Living Handbook:

A Resource for Country Living and Land Stewardship

The Rural Living Handbook is intended to introduce current and prospective rural landowners to various available resources. It contains a list of agencies and organizations that can assist you in clarifying regulations, policies, rights, and planning decisions as you transition to living in rural Jackson County. Check with your local Soil and Water Conservation District see if something similar is available in your area, if you are not settling in Jackson County.

Oregon Small Woodlands Association

The Oregon Small Woodlands Association (OSWA) is a member-based association that represents small woodland owners in Oregon. Regular Members own between 1 and 5000 acres of land with trees growing on their property. They provide members with resources, networking and collaboration opportunities, and representation.

Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District

Tips on Land and Water Management for Small Acreages in Oregon

conservation planning and restoration

Allan Savory - Ted Talk

How to Fight Desertification and Reverse Climate Change

Conservation Easements

A Conservation Easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a public agency or conservation organization that protects the natural values of the land. Conservation Easements protect water resources, wildlife habitats and prime farm and forestland as well as rural landscapes, parks and scenic areas.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

The Conservation Reserve Program is a land conservation program administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). In exchange for a yearly rental payment, farmers enrolled in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality. Contracts for land enrolled in CRP are 10-15 years in length. The long-term goal of the program is to re-establish valuable land cover to help improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce loss of wildlife habitat.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

EQIP provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation or improved or created wildlife habitat.

NRCS Conservation Planning

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) assists individuals and groups in identifying and solving conservation problems on private lands through a partnership with local conservation districts. The NRCS, with help from its partners, continues to help clients prepare conservation plans for the lands they make decisions on. The process is voluntary and participatory. Each client serves as the final decision maker throughout the process.

Conservation Webinars

A clearinghouse site for archived & upcoming webinars on conservation topics.

certifications

Animal Welfare Approved

AWA is a food label for meat and dairy products that come from farm animals raised to the highest animal welfare and environmental standards. The program was founded as a market-based solution to the growing consumer demand for meat, eggs and dairy products from animals treated with high welfare and managed with the environment in mind.

Bee Friendly Farming and Gardening

"Bee Friendly Farmer" is an inclusive term that is intended to recognize Bee Friendly anyone who supports bees directly or indirectly--farms, ranches, businesses, schools, local governments, nonprofits, gardeners and beekeepers. The "Bee Friendly Farming" initiative is an important means of raising consumer recognition and support for helping bees by recognizing those who provide bee habitat, and/or supporting bees by purchasing farm products and local honey bearing the "Bee Friendly Farmer" logo.

Salmon Safe

Salmon-Safe offers a series of peer-reviewed certification programs linking land management practices with the protection of agricultural and urban watersheds. Certification requires management practices that protects water quality and restore habitat. Salmon-Safe also is introducing innovative new programs focused on site design and development, as well as an accreditation program for pollution prevention in large-scale construction management.

USDA National Organic Program

Organic standards & ways to get certified.

USDA Organic Certification through Oregon Tilth

Oregon Tilth is a nonprofit research and education membership organization dedicated to biologically sound and socially equitable agriculture. Oregon Tilth offers educational events throughout the state of Oregon, and provides organic certification services to organic growers, processors, and handlers internationally.

Demeter/Stellar Biodynamic Certification

Provides both biodynamic and organic certification through one process

financial assistance

Aggie Bond Program

The Aggie Bond Program provides affordable financing to new farms for financing capital purchases-- up to $250,000 for the purpose of depreciable agricultural property (including equipment, livestock, feed, fertilizer and seeds) for first time farmers; up to $62,600 on used equipment for first time farmers; and/or up to $509,600 for farmland purchases.

Community Lending Works

Offers lending programs are tailored to suit you and your needs. They empower your financial success by offering different types of loans, including small farm loans for food producers and farmers to support increase in product availability, infrastructure and equipment.

Individual Development Accounts through Mercy Corps NW

An Individual Development Account is a special savings account that helps families and individuals with limited financial resources save, build assets, and enter the financial mainstream. Mercy Corps Northwest provides a specific IDA for starting or growing a small business.

Oregon Business Energy Tax Credit

Tax credits for improving energy efficiency, generating renewable energy, irrigation efficiency improvements, agriculture crop frost protection and more.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Habitat Programs

The Wildlife Habitat Conservation and Management Program (habitat program), administered by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), is a cooperative effort involving state and local governments and other partners to help private landowners voluntarily conserve native wildlife habitat. Under the habitat program, land subject to an approved wildlife habitat conservation and management plan receives a wildlife habitat special assessment, where property taxes are assessed at the relatively low value that would apply if the land were being farmed or used for commercial forestry.

Oregon Energy Loans

The Energy Loan Program (also known as SELP) promotes energy conservation and renewable energy resource development. The program offers competitive fixed interest rate loans for projects that save energy; produce energy from renewable resources such as water, wind, geothermal, solar, biomass, waste materials or waste heat; use recycled materials to create products; use of alternative fuels.

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

Provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses in rural America to purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems; make energy efficiency improvements to non-residential buildings and facilities; use renewable technologies that reduce energy consumption; and participate in energy audits and renewable energy development assistance.

USDA Farmers’ Market Promotion Program

The goals of FMPP grants are to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets by developing, improving, expanding, and providing outreach, training, and technical assistance to, or assisting in the development, improvement, and expansion of, domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agritourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities.

USDA Value-Added Producer Grant

The primary objective of the VAPG program is to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based value-added products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the end goals of this program.

Western SARE- Farmer/Rancher Grants

These one- to three-year grants are conducted by agricultural producers with support and guidance from a technical advisor. Individual farmers or ranchers may apply for up to $15,000, and a group of three or more producers may apply for up to $25,000. Producers typically use their grants to conduct on-site experiments that can improve their operations and the environment and can be shared with other producers. Grant recipients may also focus on marketing and organic production.

pollinators

The Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides

Aims for big reductions in pesticide use by helping growers devise alternative strategies for pest management in food production. Provide special workshops, conferences and field days designed to help farmers access real, practical techniques and learn directly from one another about what works.

The Xerces Society

A nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. For over forty years, the Society has been at the forefront of invertebrate protection worldwide, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs.

land access

Agrarian Trust

Supports land access for the next generation of farmers. Supports the network of stakeholders and service providers through collection and documentation of innovative models for land access. Creating a comprehensive resource portal to pool the useful tools already developed.

American Farmland Trust

Helps farmers and ranchers protect their land, produce a healthier environment and build successful communities.

iFarm Oregon

A land and resource connection service and online database.

technical assistance and support

ATTRA

National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and is funded under a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business‐Cooperative Service. It provides information and other technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, Extension agents, educators, and others involved in sustainable agriculture in the United States.

eOrganic

Free research-based articles & webinars from US land-grant universities

Farm Commons

Farm Commons cultivates a community of support and resources for sustainability-minded farmers.

Farmer-To-Farmer Podcast

Chris Blanchard interviews farmers around the country.  Conversation topics vary widely, including everything from production & marketing to family/farm life & personal histories. All are useful and engaging!

Farm Hack

An open source community for resilient agriculture

The Leopold Center

Established by the Iowa Legislature as part of the Iowa Groundwater Protection Act of 1987. Its legislatively mandated goals are to identify and reduce negative environmental and socio‐economic impacts of agricultural practices, and contribute to the development of profitable farming systems that conserve natural resources.

National Agricultural Library

Specializes in identifying resources about sustainable food systems and practices in support of USDA's effort to ensure a sustainable future for agriculture and farmers worldwide.

Oregon Department of Agriculture – New/Small Farms Resource Page

Extensive list of resource websites to help new/small farms in Oregon

OSU Extension Small Farms Program

The OSU Extension Small Farms program concentrates on commercial small farm entrepreneurs as well as non-commercial small acreage landowners. It provides consultation, educational programs, materials and resources addressing conventional and organic/biological farming systems consistent with clientele goals.

Sustainable Research & Education Program (SARE)

Helps advance farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities through a nationwide research and education grants program.  Includes a huge “Learning Center” Library of free resources.

advocacy organizations

Center for Food & Justice

Holding a vision of a sustainable and socially just food system, CFJ engages in collaborative action strategies, community capacity-building, and research and education.

Center for Rural Affairs

Works to establish strong rural communities, social and economic justice, environmental stewardship, and genuine opportunity for all while engaging people in decisions that affect the quality of their lives and the future of their communities.

Civil Eats

Promotes critical thought about sustainable agriculture and food systems as part of building economically and socially just communities.

Community Alliance with Family Farmers

CAFF strives to build on shared values around food and agriculture, and work together in practical, on-the-ground programs. These partnerships create locally based economic vitality, improved human and environmental health, and long-term sustainability of family farms.

Food Democracy Now!

A grassroots movement initiated by farmers, writers, chefs, eaters and policy advocates who recognize the profound sense of urgency in creating a new food system that is capable of meeting the changing needs of American society as it relates to food, health, animal welfare and the environment.

Food First

This organization, also known as Institute for Food and Development Policy, focus is on creating global food sovereignty by supporting activists, social movements, alliances, and coalitions working for systemic change. 

Food & Water Watch

Protects our essential resources by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink and by helping people to take action to make a difference.

Friends of Family Farmers

Friends of Family Farmers is a grassroots organization promoting sensible policies, programs, and regulations that protect and expand the ability of Oregon’s family farmers to run a successful land-based enterprise while providing safe and nutritious food for all Oregonians. Through education, advocacy, and community organizing, Friends of Family Farmers supports socially and environmentally responsible family-scale agriculture and citizens working to shape healthy rural communities.

Greenhorns

Recruit, promote and support the new generation of young farmers. They do this by producing avant-garde programming, video, audio, web content, publications, events, and art projects that increase the odds for success and enhance the profile and social lives of America’s young farmers.

National Farmers Union

Helps the family farmer address profitability issues and monopolistic practices. NFU's mission is to protect and enhance the economic well‐being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers and their rural communities. They believe that consumers and producers can work together to promote a quality domestic supply of safe food.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

A national alliance of family farm, food, conservation, rural and urban organizations that together advocate for federal agriculture and food policy reform.

National Young Farmers Coalition

NYFC represents, mobilizes, and engages young farmers to ensure their success. They support practices and policies will sustain young, independent and prosperous farmers now and in the future.

Oregon Farmers’ Markets Association

Promoting, supporting and developing partnership between city residents and farmers for the benefit of Oregon farmers and Oregon communities.

Oregon Food Bank

Working to eliminate hunger and its root causes ... because no one should be hungry.

Organic Consumers Association (OCA)

Grassroots non‐profit public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children's health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics.

Organic Farming Research Foundation

Grant-making, policy, education and networking initiatives that support organic farmers’ immediate information needs while moving the public and policymakers toward greater investment in organic farming systems.

The Union of Concerned Scientists

Leading science‐based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. Sustainable agriculture practices can protect the environment and produce high‐quality, safe, and affordable food. Their goal is to promote such practices while eliminating harmful CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) and strengthening government oversight of genetically engineered food.

farm to school

Ecotrust

Lead Farm to School agency for the western region, supporting Farm to School programs in eight states.  Helping regional programs to source locally grown, processed, and manufactured products. Conducting research of on-going programs, systemically track the growing "farm to school" market, and advocate for policy changes that support better school food and increased food literacy.

eat.think.grow.

Supporting academic achievement and wellness in Portland Public Schools by empowering the community through innovative projects and partnerships.

The Edible Schoolyard

Established in 1995, a one-acre garden and kitchen classroom at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, California.

Farm to School Network

Creating a viable and sustainable structure to promote, institutionalize and catalyze farm to school programs as viable models for improving the economic viability of family-scale farmers and child nutrition.

Healthy Meals Resource System

Nutrition education resources for Farm-to-School and School Garden programs by the US Department of Agriculture.

Rethinking School Lunch - Center for Ecoliteracy

Addressing school food policy, curriculum integration, nutrition education,  the crisis in childhood obesity, and waste management.

connecting consumers and producers

Food Hub

FoodHub gathers professional food buyers, wholesale producers, distributors and industry suppliers in one dynamic community.

LocalHarvest

An informational resource for the Buy Local movement and the top place on the Internet where people find information on direct marketing family farms.

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

USDA's effort to create new economic opportunities by better connecting consumers with local producers. The start of a national conversation about the importance of understanding where your food comes from and how it gets to your plate.

Small Farm Central

Small Farm Central provides professional web services (websites and ecommerce) to direct-marketing farmers.  Also hosts Member Assembler, a CSA membership management tool and free marketing services and tips.

Slow Food USA

Reconnects Americans with the people, traditions, plants, animals, fertile soils and waters that produce our food. They inspire a transformation in food policy, production practices and market forces so that they ensure equity, sustainability and pleasure in the food we eat.

Thrive! Buy Local - Buy Rogue

Buy Local – Buy Rogue is a business alliance of 100+ locally-owned, independent businesses committed to building a more socially, environmentally and financially sustainable economy in the Rogue Valley. Vote with your dollars.

Willamette Farm and Food Coalition

Actively educating Lane County kids about where their food comes from and working to incorporate locally grown produce into the meals served in schools.