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New Federal Funding Guide for Sustainable Ag Practitioners

PHOTO: Wisconsin's farmland is among its most valuable resources, and a new federal guide for sustainable ag practitioners has just been released with resources to help anyone engaged in land use. Photo courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin.
PHOTO: Wisconsin's farmland is among its most valuable resources, and a new federal guide for sustainable ag practitioners has just been released with resources to help anyone engaged in land use. Photo courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin.
December 1, 2014

EAST TROY, Wis. – There are plenty of federal programs designed to help farmers, ranchers and other land users, but they have to know how to find the programs.

The new federal funding guide for sustainable agriculture should help with that.

“Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities” is known in the trade simply as The Guide, an 86-page publication on how to get financial assistance with just about every aspect of land use.

Andrew Bernhardt, a food systems specialist with the University of Wisconsin Extension, calls it the single most valuable resource at workshops he does around the state.

"They organize all the programs by category type,” he points out. “So, whether you're looking for a loan or a grant or just access to different types of technical assistance – there's cost-savings programs that have that, or conservation programs – you can sort through that pretty simply."

The new edition of the guide reflects all the updates in the 2014 Farm Bill.

The guide is available online, on the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website or by calling 1-800-346-9140.

The guide is made available through a partnership that involves the National Center For Appropriate Technology, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and other foundations.

Bernhardt calls the guide a very comprehensive but succinct resource to link people to the most pertinent information without bogging them down with a lot of unnecessary details or tons of paper. He says it is useful to a wide variety of Wisconsinites.

"Anybody that is engaged in land use and wants to make decisions on how to use that land, whether that's forestry or putting some land into conservation, can benefit from that – people that are involved in almost any aspect of the food system, trying to get food to a plate," he explains.

According to Bernhardt, each program description in the guide includes eligibility requirements, details about how to apply and which agencies and people to contact for more information.


Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI