In March, The National Organic Program (NOP) released 17 training modules on the NOP website in Spanish for 50 participants from Latin American countries who gathered in Costa Rica for the National Organic Program's Spanish language certifier training.
It's nice to see NOP finally release some Spanish guides. They estimate that later in 2014 they'll be releasing Spanish versions of the USDA organic regulations and the NOP Program Handbook. Currently you can check out the Certifier Training Modules in Spanish here (pdf).
USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of USDA has released the 2014 Request for Applications for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP).
Organizations can apply to BFRDP for grants to provide education, training, technical assistance and outreach for U.S. farmers, ranchers, and managers of non-industrial private forest land who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or less and those who aim to start. There's priority given to projects that are partnerships and collaborations led by or including non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, and school-based agricultural educational organizations with expertise in new agricultural producer training and outreach.
$19.2 million is available for 2014 awards and at 5% of this money must go to programs and services for limited-resource and socially-disadvantaged beginning farmers and ranchers and farmworkers. Another 5% is mandated to programming and services for military veteran farmers and ranchers.
If you're interested, you can attend one of the two webinars NIFA is hosting. One is on April 30 and the other on May 6 at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
About the program:
"The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, appropriated $75 million for FY 2009 to FY 2012 to develop and offer education, training, outreach and mentoring programs to enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers. The Agriculture Act of 2014 provided an additional $20 million per year for 2014 through 2018. The reasons for the renewed interest in beginning farmer and rancher programs are: the rising average age of U.S. farmers, the 8% projected decrease in the number of farmers and ranchers between 2008 and 2018, and the growing recognition that new programs are needed to address the needs of the next generation of beginning farmers and ranchers."
Applications are due June 12!
+ 2014 Request for Applications for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
As an organic producer or handler, there are plenty of ways to get educated, or improve upon your skill sets. You can attend a university program, try out an organic internship or stay on top of organic trends and skills via reading material. Check out the resources below!
As an organic company you're probably not truly thinking about eco-business aspects all the time, but it's a wise move to at least consider how green practices may affect your business image. Research shows that consumers interested in organics are also interested in eco-practices.
One way to show customers that you're on board with green business practices is to get listed in the National Green Pages, an eco-minded directory, showcasing green businesses. Of course, your business needs to be eco-friendly to get listed, but if you are listed, you can expand your consumer marketing reach.
+ Get listed in the National Green Pages