Start Farming Blog
Row cover, a spun fabric-like material can be used to protect from the frost, and keep bugs out. It also speeds up spring plant growth.
At a recent Breaking the Barriers: Access to Land, Equipment and Capital workshop sponsored by Penn State Extension and Pennsylvania Farm Link, Good Work Farm owners Sarah Edmonds and Anton Shannon described how The Seed Farm, an agricultural business incubator in Lehigh County, has helped them start their new farm business.
The above normal temperatures this spring has sped up the maturity of the hay fields. Unfortunately the dry weather has stressed them as well and limited their height. Although the crop appears short and not near harvest stage, some forage species are nearing heading, we are beginning to see heads emerge from orchard grass as of April 24th. Alfalfa is also approaching bud stage, which is an indicator of mowing to achieve the best quality forage.
In the tradition of SAITA in PA, and CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) programs throughout the US, Greener Partners is excited to announce the creation of the new Tri-State CRAFT chapter. Tri-State CRAFT offers a vibrant mentor network of established farmers dedicated to enhancing the educational opportunities for apprentices and new farmers in our region.
Beginning and experienced farmers alike are becoming more and more creative in the ways they finance their farms. Many farmers throughout New England are engaging their family, friends, and neighbors to support their local food source through community supported farms. Capital acquired through these agreements can be used for needed land and equipment purchases or everyday farm expenses which may not otherwise be possible.
Acquiring land is one of the top three barriers for beginning farmers. Leasing may be the best option for farmers looking to expand their operation and do not have the capital to purchase land.
Beneficial insects do a lot of pest management naturally, with little help from us. Many people are interested in having populations of beneficial insects inhabit their fields, high tunnels and greenhouses.
Fifteen participants from Southeast Pennsylvania and New Jersey attended the three-class workshop on grazing in Berks County. The program, which helps farmers transition their farm to a grazing operation, has been offered in Berks County since the early 1990s.
A good potting media holds water, has plenty of space for air and has enough nutrients for transplants to develop. If your transplants are not taking off they might not have enough nutrients.
Ever dream about taking that prized family recipe and selling the finished product for a profit? Like the idea of owning your own food business – creating your own schedule and working hard creating something you enjoy?
Just starting in the new “Extension Educator for Start Farming” role, I knew I had to go out and talk with some farmers I will serve in Southeastern PA. Why do they farm? What keeps them going, and what advice would they give to beginning or diversifying farmers? 14 farms later, I received a “glimpse” into the motivations, successes and daily challenges beginning farmers face when making their farm dream their farm life.
How many times have you heard that from friends and neighbors this spring? I think to myself, “Do I really want to explain what no-till is and how we don’t plow anymore?” I usually say something like, “we don’t do tillage. We plant our crops in the corn stalks or cover crop from the previous year.”
A recent article by Vernon Grubinger, Vermont Extension, made me think to remind folks to price compare their organic nutrients. Below are a couple of thoughts from Dr. Grubinger and some of price per pound comparisons from sources I know of locally. There are many more sources out there. The point is -- Price it Out!
I had the benefit of hearing Dr. Doug Beegle from Penn State speak recently about soil testing and interpretation at the Mid Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conference. If you did not take a soil test last fall and are gearing up to test this spring, you might be interested in the following tips.
At the core of any successful business is a solid marketing plan. This holds true for any agriculture business, from a traditional cash grain operation to a small-scale produce operation, and everything in between. While the specific strategies of farms may be significantly different - some direct marketing to consumers and others selling a commodity product - all producers need to understand how sound marketing decisions are made. Below is a basic four-step plan that is applicable to any farm business:
For the third year in a row the Penn State Extension Start Farming Team filled the Intro to Soils workshop to capacity. For three evenings in February, beginning farmers got their hands dirty and were eager to learn about soil management.
We’ve heard more than once that it’s impossible to start farming now—even if you can find a great property, you won’t be able to find a lender who wants to talk to you. That is just not true. Not if you have done your homework.
For small scale vegetable growers just getting started, these two hot bed systems are a step up from growing under lights or in your kitchen window without all the costs of heating an entire greenhouse. Hot beds provide enough bottom heat to transplants enhancing germination, stimulating root growth and keeping transplants above freezing on cold nights. I have been using both systems for three years and thought I would share some pluses and minuses as well as step-by-step instructions on how to build them.
TJ Costa and Chris Henwood Costa knew they wanted to expand their vegetable farm to include a CSA (community supported agriculture) and an educational program for youth, they knew they needed more land. The couple shared their personal story during a breakout session at the annual Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) conference held in State College February 1-4.
Did you know the USDA’s Farm Service Agency offers a land contract program? This program provides an incentive to land owners who plan to sell their farm to a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer. A land contract is a tool which can be used in transferring land to the next generation farmer as well.