I hope this email finds you and your families safe and well. The past eight months have been trying for many different yet interconnected reasons, and the future remains uncertain. I’d like to use this space to remind all of us, including myself, that we are not alone during this time. If you need help, please ask for it. If you are not sure of what you need—or if you feel down or overwhelmed, talk to someone. The U.S. National Alliance on Mental Health has a 24-hour helpline at 800-950-6264 and Crisis Services Canada (Services de crises du Canada) has regional resources here: https://www.crisisservicescanada.ca/en/looking-for-local-resources-support/. As COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in many states, please stay safe and take care of yourselves as we move into the fall and winter months. I know that our team cares deeply about you and the work that you do every single day. We will do all that we can to support you.
I am glad to let all of you know that we have made progress on getting back to safely handling on-farm audits. We are currently testing procedures and processes that will keep AGW-certified farmers, families and staff members safe during audit. Our work relies not only on all that you do, but also being able to successfully and safely complete new farm and new species audits. I am encouraged by our progress and look forward to announcing next steps soon.
Please read on for more updates and resources from the AGW program.
COVID-19 Planning Tools
All of us are continuing to manage daily life during a pandemic. Things remain ever-changing and uncertain. In case it’s helpful to review again now that some time has passed, we invite you to read “Farming in the Shadow of Coronavirus: Plan, Plan and then Plan Some More.” This blog post is written to help farmers and ranchers look objectively at their businesses so that you can make the best decision for the present while making preparations for an unknown future.
FACT Fund-a-Farmer Grants
Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) is now accepting grant applications for projects that focus on expanding animal welfare, building capacity, and/or improving pasture for their animals. Grants of up to $2,500 are available for projects such as building mobile housing, constructing fences, laying water lines on pasture, and more. U.S. based AGW-certified farmers and ranchers along with those working toward certification are encouraged to apply. For more information and to apply, Visit the FACT website to apply and lean more. Applications are due December 1, 2020.
In Case You Missed It….
The latest issue of Sustainable Farming Magazine is out! The world’s leading magazine for sustainable livestock production can be found for free electronically here.
News from the AGW Family
AGW and AGW-certified farms, ranches and food businesses continue to make headlines, win awards and give us the opportunity to share lots of good news. That means a lot right now, so we are very happy to share several recent stories from your peers. Copper Tail Farm in Waldoboro, ME received a grant from Maine Farmland Trust to help them scale and reach new wholesale markets. Read more from Waldo Village Soup. Master Blend Farms was featured on RFD TV in an interview covering everything from business management to intergenerational farming. Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent, NY was recently featured in Hudson Valley 360 because the farm entered into a 12 week contract with Food Bank of New York City, funded by Nourish NY, to provide food for NYC residents. The Concord Monitor listed Archway Farms in Keene, NH as a featured farmstand for shoppers looking for local products this fall. MarthaStewart.com encourages all of us to eat more cheese with a purpose and featured Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery in Champaign, IL. Finally, Big Picture Farm in Townshend, VT was featured on Good Morning America! The piece called “How 4 Deeply Rooted Farms Stayed Strong for their Communities Amid COVID-19” included a video interview with Lucas and Louisa Farrell, and you can catch the video here.