Farm life isn’t easy. Nature’s whims, costly repairs, injuries and other unpleasant surprises can upend even the most careful business plan, leaving your farm in physical and financial disarray and placing substantial pressure on your mental and emotional wellbeing. The resources below are there for you during the toughest times.
Updated Spring 2016.
WHEN DISASTERS STRIKE
The Farmers’ Legal Action Group (FLAG) offers a number of guides and updates about federal risk management and disaster programs that can help protect your farm business against natural disasters. A good place to start is their Farmers’ Guide to Disaster Assistance, written by FLAG attorneys to explain FEMA assistance, federal crop insurance, USDA’s Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program and Emergency Loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency.
The Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI-USA) has a fantastic set of resources to help you navigate Disaster Programs, including information covering disaster preparedness, disaster recovery and their Farm Advocacy program.
Farmers who grow specialty crops often face a unique set of hurdles in securing crop insurance and risk management tools. Check out University of California-Davis’s Risk Management Resources for Specialty Crop Producers.
The Farmers’ Legal Action Group is dedicated to helping farmers understand their rights and has a long list of legal resources for farmers and ranchers facing anything from financial or natural disasters to land succession to tough situations with contracts.
The Drake Agricultural Law Center offers publications and guides covering a range of legal issues affecting farmers. Most of the resources are academic, but they can offer important insights to you or your lawyer regarding legal needs for your farm.
RESOURCES FOR SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED FARMERS
The AgrAbility Project helps disabled farmers modify their farms and production methods according to their needs. This national program provides mentoring, resources and some disability related financial assistance.
The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund works to retain black-owned land in the South and uses cooperatives and advocacy for economic development in low-income communities throughout the region.
The Farmer Veteran Coalition works nationally to help returning veterans begin viable careers in agriculture and find a means to heal on America’s farms.
The Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN) is a place where women can share the information and encouragement needed to practice sustainable agriculture and healthy local food systems. WFAN’s Women Caring for the Land program is a peer-to-peer conservation education program for women farmland owners.
The National Immigrant Farming Initiative offers a wealth of resources for immigrant farmers of all backgrounds, including guides to growing traditional crops in a new environment, Spanish speaking guides, farmworker support groups and other great resources for your farm.
INDUSTRIAL AG, DEVELOPMENT PRESSURES AND CORPORATE ABUSE
When a big energy firm or factory farm moves into town, it’s easy to feel powerless or unsure about your options. The following resources are there to support you as you confront new developments that threaten your farm and community.
The Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) works on behalf of landowners, farmers and ranchers in Colorado, the Dakotas, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Wyoming. WORC offers a series of How To Guides for farmers and rural residents interested in organizing against factory farms, energy development and corporate abuse in their communities.
The Socially Responsible Agriculture Project (SRAP) offers a hotline and support materials for those organizing against factory farms.
Consolidated ownership and lack of competition make it difficult for most farmers to get fair prices for their goods and leave farmers vulnerable to corporate abuse. Make sure you understand your rights by reading FLAG’s guides to Marketing Contracts or Poultry & Livestock Production Contracts.
Several groups across the country organize farmers and ranchers to give them a voice when big firms move in. Check out Family Farm Defenders in Wisconsin and surrounding states, Friends of Family Farmers in Oregon, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement in Iowa, The Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association in Ohio, and Food & Water Watch nationally as good examples.
MENTAL HEALTH AND FAMILY SERVICES
Hard times can bring an inordinate amount of stress to you and your family. Farm Aid works with organizations around the country staffed with farm advocates, counselors and hotline operators that can help you in your time of greatest need. If you need someone to talk to, give us a call at 1-800-FARM-AID and we’ll do our best to direct you to someone who can help.
FARM ADVOCATE LINK
The Farm Advocate Link is a network of professional farm advocates who address the need for fair access to credit, risk management and disaster assistance programs for farmers. For additional information or to get involved with the Farm Advocate Link, contact Farm Aid at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not finding what you need? Request one-on-one assistance from our Farm Advocate, Joe Schroeder, by filling out our Online Request for Assistance form or by calling 1-800-FARM-AID (1-800-327-6243). Farm Aid staff are happy to listen and help you however we can.