Drought Grips Western U.S.

April 8, 2021Blog

After a year riddled with pandemic-related challenges, farmers were hoping for an easy, uncomplicated growing season. Unfortunately, for many that dream seems unlikely, as much of the Western half of the country is experiencing severe to exceptional drought conditions. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the dry conditions can be attributed to “a weak summer … Read More

Small Business Loans Extended

April 1, 2021Blog

A day before the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was set to expire on March 31, President Joe Biden signed a two-month extension into law. The program, which provides forgivable loans to cover businesses’ payroll and other costs, is now open for applications through May 31, 2021. Though the term “paycheck” is used in the program name, businesses are not … Read More

Scaling Good Manufacturing Processes Education to Small-Scale Processors

March 31, 2021Food Safety

By Tricia Wancko, Food Safety Grant Coordinator Many small-scale farms and food businesses—whether they are chopping, canning, preserving, aggregating, or dehydrating value-added products—might not know where to begin when navigating the Preventive Controls Rule (PCR) of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). While many of these small processors may be exempt from parts of the rule, they still must comply with Current Good Manufacturing Processes (cGMPs). CGMPs are the foundation for … Read More

Why Farmers Are Worried About Bill Gates (And Other Non-Farming Land-Owners)

March 29, 2021Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Director You’ve likely heard the buzz that Bill Gates, in addition to being one of the wealthiest men in the world, is now also the largest private owner of farmland in the United States. Over the past several years, the billionaire has amassed a portfolio of 242,000 acres of cropland across … Read More

Good Practices Bring Great Results for Small Farms

March 18, 2021Blog, Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU FSMA Training Coordinator “Camaraderie with the whole team.”  “Much more fun!”  “Peace of mind.”  For most farmers, those phrases may conjure up memories of early fall picnics with staff, family, and friends after the season has slowed down. But for growers Kim Butz, Nathan Vannette, and Roberto Meza, those were the phrases that came to … Read More

What the American Rescue Plan Means for Food and Farmers

March 15, 2021Blog

By Hannah Packman, National Farmers Union Communications Director Last week, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package. At the organization’s convention in early March, National Farmers Union (NFU) members urged lawmakers to “enact much-needed short-term Covid-19 relief” and outlined their priorities for such an endeavor. Among other things, they recommended measures … Read More

Oklahoma Women’s Cooperative Gives Back

March 8, 2021Blog, Member Spotlight

By Melody Aufill, AFR/OFU Member, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Ag in the Classroom Coordinator As I sat down to write this article, Oklahoma was in the middle of a massive weather event! An ice storm raced across the prairie bringing wide-spread devastation to trees, power lines, and structures. In Oklahoma, we talk about the weather often … Read More

Meeting Urban Growers’ Unique Produce Safety Needs

March 4, 2021Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU FSMA Training Coordinator One of the many lessons I’ve learned, or I should say re-learned, over the past year is how important titles can be. I’ve gone from searching “15-minute yoga” on YouTube to the more specific “15-minute Zoom fatigue yoga.” It may be mostly the same content, but if “Zoom” … Read More

Cold Temps, Hot Food Safety Projects

February 24, 2021Blog, Food Safety

By Tricia Wancko, Food Safety Grant Coordinator Punxsutawney Phil has decreed six more weeks of what has shaped up to be a frigid winter, but there are plenty of food safety projects to catch up on while the fields are frozen and you’re keeping toasty inside your burrow. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety Outreach Program … Read More