Ag Resources > Other Stuff

Financing for Diversified Farms

Getting Banks to "Yes" with Small, Diversified Farms. Not much has changed in 20 years for smaller farms since bankers turned down the founders of the successful Organic Valley brand. Lenders are still dubious of "alternative agriculture," and smaller, diversified operations still struggle to translate their business models into conventional loan applications. A national team of community-based lenders and sustainable agriculture organizations aims to change that. They are developing a tool to help lenders and smaller, diversified farms communicate. Watch this webinar for a deep look at financing sustainable food. Susan Cocciarelli of Michigan State University's C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems sets the scene, including a very brief primer on terminology. Dorothy Suput, executive director of The Carrot Project, a farm support group and microloan fund in the Northeast, then shares her successes and challenges �on the ground� making these loans. Denise Dukette, vice president of New England Bank, introduces a possible solution to the �capital access problem� for farmers: a tool, or "risk assessment framework,� to assist traditional lenders. Finally this team will explain their plans to build a national cohort of partners working on the ground to develop this methodology and help more lenders get to "yes" with credit-worthy farms.

Financing for Diversified Farms

Culinary Tourism

Culinary Tourism, the emerging niche that combines agriculture, specialty food and tourism. Culinary tourism is one of the fastest growing segments of the tourism industry -- and it's not just for tourists. From well-heeled travelers to local school children, culinary experiences play an important role in helping us share and learn about unique customs. Experiencing culture through food is the crux of culinary tourism, and communities throughout the U.S. are rediscovering and celebrating their heritage with a focus on food and drink. Lisa Chase of University of Vermont Extension and Laura Brown of University of Wisconsin Extension will discuss what culinary tourism is and how farms, restaurants, and other small businesses around the country are benefiting for this growing niche. Participants will learn best practices for communities and business to capture tourism dollars and integrate culinary experiences into economic development programs.

View the archived webinar here

Managing Alternative Pollinators: A Handbook for Beekeepers, Growers and Conservationists

Managing Alternative Pollinators: A Handbook for Beekeepers, Growers and Conservationists is a first-of-its-kind, step-by-step, full-color guide for rearing and managing bumble bees, mason bees, leafcutter bees and other bee species that provide pollination alternatives to the rapidly declining honey bee. Written by Eric Mader of the Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation Program; Professor of Entomology Marla Spivak; and Elaine Evans, author of Befriending Bumble Bees, the book includes expert information on the business and biology of pollination, and how-to guidance on raising the alternative bee species. The book is ideal for: Beekeepers: Detailed information on each alternative pollinator's biology, disease, pest and chemical susceptibility, and step-by-step instructions on how to rear and manage. Growers: Guidance for understanding the business of pollination, matching pollinators to crops, and deciding how best to pollinate for successful agriculture and pollinator protection. Concerned Citizens: Easy-to-understand accounts of the honey bee's plight, the business of pollination, and what we all can do to protect pollinators and our food systems. Download SARE's Managing Alternative Pollinators for free at To order print copies ($23.50 plus $5.95 s/h) visit, call 301/374-9696 or write to SARE Outreach, PO Box 753, Waldorf, Maryland 20604-0753. (Please specify title requested when ordering by mail.) Allow 3-4 weeks for delivery. Call 301/374-9696 for more information on bulk, rush or international shipments.

For Complete Information

Ten Essential Reasons to Protect the Birds and the Bees

A national campaign to remember the "forgotten pollinators" is working out of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson. Contact them and ask for their booklet . The Forgotten Pollinators Campaign, 2021 N. Kinney Rd., Tucson, AZ 85743. e-mail: .

Wildlife Habitat Improvement Guide

In 1991, NEBRASKAland Magazine published this beautifully illustrated publication. It offers a selection of subjects for landowners in Nebraska who are interested in creating new habitat for wildlife, or managing existing wildlife habitat. Contact NEBRASKAland, PO Box 30370, Lincoln, NE 68503 for information about back issues. 

Financing Beginning Farmers: An Evaluation of Farm Service Agency Credit Programs

This includes a complete evaluation of USDA Beginning Farmer Loan Programs. This publication is free; to order, contact the Center for Rural Affairs, PO Box 406, Walthill, NE 68067; (402) 856-5428.

Religious Congregations on the Land: Practical Links Between Community, Sustainable Land Use and Spiritual Chasm

A publication from the National Catholic Rural Life Conference. The report includes a case-by-case report of religious communities that have experienced profound changes in sustainability values and practices. Copies cost $15. Send orders to NCRLC, 4625 Beaver Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50310-2199; 515/270-2634.

The Chemical Era: 1945-?, Challenge for Human Survival

Written by NSAS member Elinor L. Brown. This book discusses different kinds of chemicals which most people ingest through their food & water. It includes information on health & nutrition. Copies cost $22.95 plus $2.50 shipping. Order from Midwest Publishing, PO Box 33, Ceresco, NE 68017.

Increasing Organic Agriculture at the Local Level: A Manual for Consumers, Grocers, Farmers and Policy Makers

Promoting a more sustainable, healthful food system, this 100 page book can be purchased by sending $18 to Publications Department, Community Environmental Council, 930 Miramonte Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93109.

Nebraska AgrAbility Project

Resources for people with disabilities are sometimes scarce in rural communities. The project provides assistance and on-site assessment for disabled Nebraskans working in agriculture. The AgrAbility Project offers information, support and education on modifying farm/ranch operations, adapting equipment, promoting farmstead accessibility, using assistive technologies, and living independently. For more information, contact the project at 1-800-683-6699, or write to 2916 West Highway 30, Kearney, NE 68847. The Nebraska AgrAbility Project is a joint effort of UNL Cooperative Extension, the Nebraska Easter Seal Society, the Nebraska Assistive Technology Project and the Nebraska Department of Health.

57 Ways to Protect Your Home Environment (and Yourself)

University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service has produced an exciting new book. This 310-page, colorfully illustrated resource describes practical ways to create a beautiful, diverse landscape, cut back or eliminate pesticide use in the home, yard and garden, and recycle and dispose of household waste, yard waste and hazardous chemicals. To order, send $8 plus $2 for handling to University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service, 69 Mumford Hall, 1301 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801, or call 217/333-2007. Credit cards are accepted. Make checks payable to the University of Illinois.

Monitoring Sustainable Agriculture with Conventional Financial Data

This Land Stewardship Project publication is by Dick Levins, Professor and Extension Agricultural Economist at the University of Minnesota. This is a guide farmers can use to evaluate how sustainable their farms are, simply by taking numbers off their income tax forms, inserting them on worksheets included in the book and doing some arithmetic. Descriptions of how to use the indicators are straightforward, and examples based on actual farm records illustrate application of the indicators. To order, send $7 per copy to the Land Stewardship Project, 2200 Fourth Street, White Bear Lake, MN 55110.

Sustainable Agriculture Directory of Expertise

The third edition contains 723 entries which describe nearly 1000 individuals and over 200 organizations with sustainable farming expertise to share. The individuals and organizations in this directory reveal their special skills and knowledge in crop, forage, and livestock production, soil and water management, marketing, organics, pest control, cropping systems, erosion control, irrigation methods and livestock management. To order, send $18.95 to Sustainable Agriculture Publications, Hills Building, Room 12, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405-0082. Please make checks payable to Sustainable Agriculture Publications.

National Organic Directory

This directory features over 1000 cross-listed references of commodities bought and sold, plus phone numbers, fax numbers and contact names of organic growers, wholesalers, farm suppliers and related businesses. It also includes a fully updated summary of state and federal organic laws. To order, contact Community Alliance with Family Farmers, PO Box 464, Davis, CA 95617, or call 800/852-3832. 

A Garden of Unearthly Delights: Bioengineering and the Future of Food

Written by Robin Mather, this book details the way bioengineering could change the way we grow, eat and think about food. Mather explains sustainable agriculture, compares genetically engineered tomatoes and farmers' market tomatoes, discusses the implications of dairy cows being treated with recombinant bovine growth hormone, and compares free range vs. supermarket chickens. This 195-page book is published by Dutton and is available at bookstores.

Our Stolen Future

A 300-page book that explores the scientific research on "hormone-disrupters"— chemicals, including some pesticides, that mimic natural hormones and "hinder adults in their efforts to reproduce and pose a particular hazard to their developing offspring," according to the book. They include DDT, dioxin, PCBs, and a wide variety of chemicals used in pesticides, plastics, detergents, and spermicides. The effect of these chemicals "may be wreaking many insidious forms of damage, like a decline in men's sperm counts, an epidemic of prostate and breast cancer, and fetal effects that emerge later as reduced intelligence, hyperactivity, and violent behavior," according to the New York Times (March 19, 1996). The books authors, Dr. Theo Colborn, Dr. John Peterson Meyers, and Dianne Dumanoski, have called for a worldwide ban on DDT and a phase-out of the "endocrine-disrupting" chemicals, according to the New York Times. - Alternative Agriculture News, April, 1996.

From A to Z in Sustainable Agriculture: A Curriculum Directory for Grades K-12

This includes over 100 resources and contacts for educating youth about sustainable agriculture, food and fiber systems, natural resources, and their connections to our communities. Available from Center for Sustainable Agriculture, U of Vermont, 590 Main St., Burlington, VT 05405-0059; telephone: 802-656-0827.

Free Environmental Health Information Available

ENVIROHEALTH is a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences clearinghouse that functions as an easily accessible, free source of information on environmental health effects. It can provide information on an assortment of environmental health topics, including the health effects of specific chemicals, hazardous waste sites, occupational exposure, and environmental justice issues. Telephone: 1-800-643-4794.

Save Money with Shelterbelts

During the winter, livestock feed requirements are reduced when good shelter is available. Shelter and Shade: Creating a healthy and profitable environment for your livestock with trees is the first book for farmers who want to beautify the landscape, provide a healthy environment for their livestock, and improve their bottom line. Shelter and Shade is available for $20 plus shipping and handling from the Stockman Grass Farmer, PO Box 9607, Jackson, MS  39286-9607; 1-800-748-9808.


A video from John Jeavons Shows how to prepare soil more easily. It follows the techniques developed by Jeavons over a quarter century of double-digging. To order, write to DIG IT!, 5798 Ridgewood Road, Willits, CA 95490. 

Synergy magazine

Synergy covers stories about people "putting alternatives into action." The focus is on organic agriculture, alternative energy techniques, and community innovations in Western Canada, the northern US and internationally. For a sample copy, contact  or write to Synergy Communications, Box 8803, Saskatoon, SK, S7K 6S6.

National Pesticide Telecommunications Network

Have you ever wanted a source of objective pesticide information? The National Pesticide Telecommunications Network (NPTN) is a toll-free information service providing objective, science-based information about a wide variety of pesticide-related subjects. NPTN can be reached 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. 1-800-858-7378;

Nebraska's Water, Nebraska's Wealth: Choices and Challenges

Provides readers with a basic understanding of surface and groundwater issues. It includes a step-by-step guide to help citizens educate their communities and influence policy makers. To order, contact the League of Women Voters of Nebraska at 402-475-1141.

eXtension/Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network Webinars

Webinars include; Mobile Processing Units: What's the State of the Art? Mobile Poultry Processing Units in CA, MT, and VT; USDA-FSIS Webinars on Mobile Units

Mobile Slaughter Units eXtension Webinars

Social Media for Farmers

How can farmers learn, utilize and take advantage of social media marketing strategies? How do you create a Facebook page, or any other social media page? How can farmers use Twitter to market their farms? Find out on these archived webinars from Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension Agritourism Resources!

Social Media Part I

Social Media Part II

Using Twitter