New Blog for Online Information Sharing:
Many PA-WAgN members expressed an interest in the Goatmilk Soapmaking for Fun & Profit workshop but were unable to attend due to our limited space or time/travel challenges. In an effort to bring the soapmaking process and marketing strategies to a broader audience, PA-WAgN has launched an online information sharing blog.
Visitors to the site can view a case study for Cherry Hill Farm, follow applicable links, and can ask and answer questions, and post comments, photos, videos, and links. We strongly encourage anyone interested in soapmaking to visit the site following the workshop for more detailed information.
The site also offers virtual field day/workshop experiences on a variety of topics covered in PA-WAgN’s events. Visit the blog for an overview of topics.
New information will be published regularly to enhance PA-WAgN’s educational outreach and to promote a continuation of networking. Please direct suggestions about the online information sharing tool to Linda Moist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about US Department of Agriculture Discrimination Claims Process:
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has made civil rights one of his top priorities at USDA. As part of this effort the USDA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have been working on a unified claims process for Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who were discriminated against. On Friday, February 25, USDA announced a process that allows the Department to provide significant relief to Hispanic and women farmers who were unjustifiably denied farm loan program benefits between 1981 and 2000 because of their ethnic background or gender.
This process will include extensive outreach and notice efforts to Hispanic and women farmer communities so that all eligible farmers will be given an opportunity to participate. Anyone needing more information about this process can call 1-888-508-4429 or visit the claims process web-site.
Update: Postponed due to rain, fields are waterlogged –
May 21 – Volunteer Opportunity (Williamsburg)
Please join PA-WAgN for a workday at Friends Farm in Blair County on Saturday May 21 at 10 a.m. We’ll be helping the family set out plants in the field for the CSA. We’ll plant and mulch most of the day, so bring gloves, a hat, and sunscreen. We’ll start at 10 am, but any amount of time you can spare, 5 minutes or an entire day, would be greatly appreciated. If you plan to be there over lunch, please bring a dish to share with the group. Meet us at the farm at 10 a.m. Directions can be found at the Friends Farm website. Please send an email to Linda Moist at PA-WAgN (email@example.com) if you are able to come. Thank you for helping a fellow farmer!
May 23 – Preserving Clover Creek (Williamsburg)
Learn how two dairy farms collaborated with Blair County Conservation District, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, PA Department of Agriculture, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to keep one of the the country’s finest trout streams running clean.
Tour the barns and pastures at Mill Hill Dairy, in the Biddle family since 1797 and currently owned by Jim and Carol Biddle. They produce crops and milk 370-head of Holsteins. The Biddles, who were awarded the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Farm Award in 2010, have a long history of implementing best management practices that help reduce soil erosion, streambank protection, and nutrient loss. Learn about the benefits of streambank fencing and the new composted bedding pack system installed by the Biddles in 2010.
Then tour Ojala Farm Dairy and Clover Creek Cheese Cellar, owned by David and Terry Rice, selling raw milk from the farm, grass-based beef, and eggs from pastured poultry. They make their raw milk into 10 varieties of cheese that are sold at the farm and at farmers’ markets throughout the state…This farm has always emphasized sustainable agriculture and is a 2005 recipient of the Pennsylvania Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Farm Award.
Educators from NRCS and the conservation district will explain the funds available for streambank fencing and other water-quality enhancing initiatives. More information & registration link. Printable flyer.