Upcoming Conferences & Workshops

February 13, 2020

From the PA-Veteran Farming Conference to the Farmers Market Managers Conference, there are a bunch of exciting and informative programs on the horizon that can benefit women farmers in Pennsylvania.

Notes from the 2019 PA-WAgN Symposium

February 13, 2020

Held for the first time ever in Philadelphia, PA the 2019 PA-WAgN symposium was a huge success. There were more than 200 women farmers, growers, and food advocates in attendance making the 2019 symposium our largest yet.  We had diverse representation from rural and urban audiences and across the food systems sector, also making this year’s symposium our most diverse to date.  With more than 30 presenters, 10 workshops, lightning talks and dynamic presentations, this year’s symposium was certainly one for the books!

Understanding the SNAP Time Limit

February 13, 2020

The Trump administration has changed a SNAP rule. Starting April 1, 2020, it will now affect adults without minor children, also called Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDS), in nearly all of Pennsylvania.

$192 Million in Food and Agriculture Funding Now Available

February 13, 2020

The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) is the largest federal agricultural research competitive grant program... The purpose of AFRI’s “Foundational” program is to invest in research, education, and extension projects that support more sustainable, productive, and economically viable agricultural systems. Specifically, the program’s focus is to drive innovation to improve farm efficiency, sustainability, rural communities, human nutrition, as well as mitigating food waste and advancing classical breeding. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) estimates $192.6 million will be available in FY 2020 for the foundational and applied science program.

NSAC's Guide to the Value Added Producer Grant Program

February 13, 2020

Washington, DC, January 15, 2020 – In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recent announcement of at least $37 million in available grant support via the Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has released a newly updated version of its Farmers’ Guide to Applying for the Value Added Producer Grant Program (The Guide). NSAC’s newly updated guide includes everything interested producers need to know about VAPG to determine if the program is a good fit for their operation, as well as details on changes made in the 2018 Farm Bill, and helpful tips to improve a producer’s chances of obtaining funding from this highly competitive program.

NESAWG Seeking Board Members & Retreat Facilitator

February 13, 2020

NESAWG is in an exciting transition from being a white-led organization to one that centers those most harmed by food systems injustices. We’re looking for new Board members who are ready for the messy and sacred work of reorientation and transition - and who are grounded in communities most harmed by food system injustice. Sound like you? Please apply! Applications are due February 15th.

Upcoming Deadline to Sign Up for Conservation Reserve Program

February 3, 2020

(From USDA): WASHINGTON, D.C., January 28, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds agricultural producers interested in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) 2020 general signup to enroll by February 28, 2020. This signup is available to farmers and private landowners who are either enrolling for the first time or re-enrolling for another 10- to 15-year term. “This is the first opportunity for general sign up since 2016, and we want producers and private landowners to know that we have just one month remaining,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. “It is critical that they make their final determinations and submit offers very soon to take advantage of this popular conservation program.” Farmers and ranchers who enroll in CRP receive yearly rental payments for voluntarily establishing long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”), which can control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands.

UN Declares 2020 Year of Plant Health

January 31, 2020

(From USDA): WASHINGTON, D.C., January 27, 2020 – Plants make the oxygen we breathe and give us 80 percent of the food we eat. But plants are under attack by invasive pests. These pests destroy up to 40 percent of the world’s food crops and cause $220 billion in trade losses each year according to the United Nations (U.N.). That leaves millions of people worldwide without enough food to eat and seriously damages agriculture—the primary source of income for rural communities. To bring worldwide attention to this challenge, the U.N. has declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health. They are calling on people, organizations, industries, scientists, and governments to work together to protect plants against the introduction and spread of invasive pests. The U.S. National Plant Protection Organization—the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Plant Protection and Quarantine—is leading the effort in the United States.

From NSAC's Blog: EQIP INTERIM FINAL RULE FALLS SHORT ON SUSTAINABILITY

January 29, 2020

Every five years (or so), a new farm bill is passed which makes important changes to federal farm and food programs. The 2018 Farm Bill, passed in late December 2018, was no exception. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was one of many programs to receive updates in the farm bill, and now those policy changes are being interpreted by USDA through the farm bill implementation and rulemaking processes. In December 2019, USDA announced its Interim Final Rule (IFR) for EQIP. The IFR guides USDA’s implementation of farm bill changes to EQIP, including the addition of soil health planning to the list of activities eligible for assistance, and the creation of a category of EQIP Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) for soil health. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few improvements, USDA’s IFR ignores or sells short several key aspects of the program.

Gathering Fire: A Facilitation Workshop for Rural Women

January 16, 2020

Applications are now open for the this workshop offered by No Regrets Initiative. This is event is in California but attendance is free for accepted participants!

Registration Open for the 2020 PA Veteran Farming Conference

January 8, 2020

In this first-ever PA veteran farming and agribusiness conference, the emphasis is on growing successful businesses. Veterans, Military, Guard, Reserve, and their Spouses are invited to the full-day workshop. About the day: Beginning farmers (10 or fewer years) and those with established farms or agribusinesses will have the opportunity to interact and get guidance on your particular needs from staff from USDA (NRCS, FSA, Rural Development). Attendees will also hone marketing, risk management, and business planning skills while learning from your fellow veterans and professionals from SBA, Start-up Allegheny, SBDC, and more. There will even be a panel on non-profit farms.

Upcoming Workshop Series: Developing Personal Risk Management Plans

January 7, 2020

The objective of these workshops is to teach farmers how to understand and implement farm business planning principles for successful risk management decision making. In this workshop each producer will prepare their own personal plan to deal with the risks they face. More information and register here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cp5fZnGk3GzALzS_1qkbdQ5P_bzH1uVl/view?usp=sharing

Pennsylvania Enacts Purple Paint Law to Authorize Alternate Method of Providing Trespassing Notice

December 20, 2019

News in rural landowner rights: On November 27, 2019, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed into law House Bill 1772, now known as Act 103 of 2019, which allows for the use of vertical purple lines painted on trees or posts to provide notice against trespassing under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code. The purple paint lines must be within 100 feet from each other, must be at least eight inches long and one inch wide, must be placed between three and five feet off the ground, and must be readily visible to persons approaching the property.

National Agritourism & Direct Sales Survey Launched

December 16, 2019

Whether you have a farmstand, u-pick, tastings, school field trips, events, tours, hunting, fishing, overnight stays, or open your farm to the public in any other ways, your experiences are important! This survey is confidential and should take about 10 minutes to complete. Results will be used to develop tools and resources for farmers. The survey will close January 31.

Application Now Open for Herbalism Apprenticeship

December 12, 2019

Do you want deepen your connection with plants and people? Take this next step in your herbal education to bring health and healing into your community. Michelle Soto and Cutting Root Farm are offering a free 400 hour herbal apprenticeship program for the 2020 season. This program will include a unique blend of experiences in the herb world including classroom experiences, herb farming, medicine making, marketing, and clinical skills experience. These positions will run from March- October 2020. Read more and apply here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe1d63wCAesBzJdHEOhcuCYIJNfcMqLqaxQqVcBQSC5dfLIwQ/viewform

2019 Organic Survey Arriving Soon!

December 10, 2019

This month, more than 22,000 organic producers are expected to receive in their mailboxes letters from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). NASS is conducting its 2019 survey of certified or transitioning to certified organic farmers, asking for production, marketing, and transitioning information pertaining to their organic operations. The Organic Survey, which is conducted every five years, is hugely important for organic producers and policymakers – so please make sure to respond if you receive a survey! The results of the Organic Survey are used by Congress, USDA and sustainable agriculture organizations to make important decisions about programs and policies affecting organic producers. All respondents will receive survey codes in the mail and will be asked to respond online with their unique code, via the NASS website. The deadline to fill out the survey is January 10, 2020. Filling out the survey online is a great way to not only save paper, but valuable time! The online option will be able to calculate totals and automatically skip questions not applicable to the operation filling out the survey. Results are expected to be available in October 2020.

Western PA Conservancy is seeking applications for Farmland Access Initiative Program

December 9, 2019

To help address the challenge of land access, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is working to acquire several farm properties that are highly suitable for diverse, small-scale agricultural operations and are easily accessible to the Pittsburgh market. After properties are acquired, we will work closely with farmers and help them lease the land. We will solicit proposals from farmers who desire to lease the properties, will evaluate these proposals, and will select farmers to lease each property based on the suitability of their proposal for our program. Local partners will play a key role in assisting the Conservancy in selecting tenants for the farms acquired. Long-term leases will be developed to ensure that the farmers can rely on the availability of land while developing their farm operations.

New SNAP ruling will cause hundreds of thousands to lose access to nutrition assistance

December 6, 2019

Read more in the following press release from the National Farmers Union: WASHINGTON – Despite widespread opposition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that it would tighten work requirements for able-bodied Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants without dependents.

Announcing new Grant Program for Ag and Youth!

November 5, 2019

Applications are now being accepted for the #PAFarmBill Ag and Youth Grant Program!

Upcoming Programs and Events

October 21, 2019

PA-WAgN has a number of exciting programs planned in the upcoming months. From a series of farm tours and potlucks to a cut flower and dried flower wreath making workshop, a webinar on 'The Art of Negotiating' and PA-WAgN's annual Networking Symposium, there are a programs available to help you build your network, grow your skill set, learn from your peers, and become agents of change. Additionally, there are many other workshops and conferences happening across the state and regionally that may be of interest. We have highlighted a few that are on the top of our list to check out!

Photovoice project shares strengths and struggles of women in urban agriculture

October 21, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A unique thesis project in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences showcases the stories of women in urban agriculture through photographs captured by the participants themselves. Coordinated by graduate student Hannah Whitley in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, the Female Farmer Photovoice Project explores how socially constructed identities complicate barriers and opportunities for urban growers and connect to broader institutional inequities that perpetuate these problems.

2020 Western PA Local Food Guide - Call for Submissions

October 17, 2019

You're invited to submit articles, pictures, recipes or other "Buy Local" content for the 2nd annual Farm to Table Western PA Local Food Guide! Submissions are due November 8, 2019 and the guide will be published January 1, 2020 in time for the PA Farm Show! This directory of farms, farmers markets, u-pick farms, dairies, CSAs, etc. will also contain local food tips, hacks & know how from farms, food businesses and food resource organizations. Click below (Read More) to download the "Call for Content" form for the 2020 Western PA Local Food Guide.

NE SARE Farmer Grant Cycle is Now Open

October 17, 2019

The 2020 Northeast SARE Farmer Grant cycle is now open. Farmer Grants are for commercial producers who have an innovative idea they want to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, marketing initiative, or other technique. A technical advisor--often an extension agent, crop consultant, or other service professional--must also be involved. Projects should seek results other farmers can use, and all projects must have the potential to add to our knowledge about effective sustainable practices. The deadline for 2020 Farmer Grant applications is 5 p.m. ET on December 3, 2019. The online submission system will open on October 22. **Learn more about Farmer Grants at a webinar on October 23 from noon to 1 p.m.**

14 Women Changing Food Around the World

October 17, 2019

Women are the backbone of agriculture and food systems worldwide—according to The World Bank, women make up about half of the agricultural sector in developing countries, but they typically receive fewer resources including land, education, inputs, and financial and banking services than men. Despite these obstacles, women around the world are emerging as leaders in all corners of the food justice movement: from empowering smallholder farmers in the developing world and building food as medicine into the medical system, to re-imagining a more accessible and sustainable grocery store, their work is changing the way we eat all around the world. Here are their stories.

Upcoming Walk a Mile Potlucks

October 4, 2019

PA-WAgN's "Walk a Mile" potluck series, with hosts throughout the state and meetings throughout the year, is a chance to meet others of like mind in your area, share perspective, stories and food, and grow your knowledge and resource base as well as your personal network. This is real networking, folks: not phone-to-phone, but face-to-face. Showing others how you live, and learning how others live. Teaching and learning and growing stronger and more resilient, together. Our next two gatherings will be in northern Allegheny County (Natrona Heights) and Butler County (Chicora) respectively. The Allegheny program will focus on fall garlic planting and the Butler County program will focus on . Please bring a dish to share, and feel free to bring your children, family and friends. We look forward to seeing you there!

WOMEN ON THE LAND: CHAINSAW 101

October 4, 2019

Intimidated by the chainsaw? Wondering how to be safe when using a chainsaw? Ever felt that knowing how to use a chainsaw would be a useful skill? Do you want to acquire another empowering land-based skill? If you answered “yes“ to any of these questions, and you identify as a woman, or a cis, trans, non-binary or queer identifying woman, than this workshop with Elizabeth Gabriel of Wellspring Forest Farm, Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming and Rebekah Carpenter of Finger Lakes Renewables Solar Energy is for you! It is a half day workshop, from 10am-2:30pm, at Wellspring Forest Farm. Workshop Cost: $60-$130 ($35 solidarity price for BIPOC, Immigrants, Refugees).

Governor Wolf Announces First Round of PA Farm Bill Grants, $500,000 to Build Urban Ag Infrastructure

October 3, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced the approval of $500,000 in Urban Agriculture Grants to fund 28 projects that will help build urban ag infrastructure while providing opportunities for entrepreneurship and community-building throughout the state. “Urban agriculture is about more than just growing food; it’s about growing our communities and our economy, it’s about increasing quality of life,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “In addition to urban gardens providing places to work and learn, they aggregate fresh, local products to combat food insecurity and improve access to healthy, nutritious food.”

Registration Open For PA-WAgN's 13th Annual Networking Symposium - Growing Rural Urban Perspectives

September 30, 2019

Registration is open for PA-WAgN's Annual Symposium featuring keynote speakers Leah Penniman co-director of Soul Fire Farm and author of Farming While Black, and Audra Mulkern of the Female Farmer Project. The symposium will take place on Wednesday, December 18th, 2019 at the Temple University Howard Gittis Student Center and feature programs on seed keeping, herbal medicine, recipes and growing traditions, land liberation and urban agriculture, equity and actionable research, and more! Registration starts at $25, discounts are available for students, and scholarships are available (email Patty Neiner for more info - prn103@psu.edu). Be sure to check out or new 'Symposium' tab on the website for more program details, directions, speaker bios and more. REGISTER TODAY!

Survey aims to help citizens protect themselves from vector-borne illnesses

September 30, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Extension has established a new vector-borne disease team that focuses on diseases transmitted by ticks and mosquitos. To ensure that its efforts address community needs, the team is launching a survey, the results of which will allow extension educators to deliver responsive programming to educate the public on vector-borne diseases, how to prevent them, and how people can protect themselves. Pennsylvania ranks among the top three states with the highest rates of tick-borne disease. In 2017, for instance, Pennsylvania had the highest incidence of Lyme disease cases in the U.S., with 9,250 confirmed cases and an additional 2,650 probable cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control. These statistics inspired Penn State Extension to develop a team dedicated to helping reduce the risk of vector-borne diseases to citizens of the commonwealth.

USDA Opens 2019 Enrollment for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs

September 30, 2019

(Washington, D.C., September 3, 2019) – Agricultural producers can now enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, two popular safety net programs, for the 2019 crop year. Interested producers must sign up for either program by March 15, 2020. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized and made updates to these two USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs. ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guarantee level. PLC program provides income support payments on historical base acres when the price for a covered commodity falls below its effective reference price.

Pennsylvania Women's Agricultural Network

Address

302 Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802