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Posts: 219
Location: Iowa City, Iowa Zone 5
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Great news Kelly!

I'll provide more resources in the email list that you can put to use right away!
 
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Grant...you mentioned that "building fence infrastructure is one of (our) primary projects for 2014." On page 157 of your book you wrote: "it's simply not worth planting a tree in zone 3 or 4 without . . . a proper deer fence." Are you planning to install 8 foot deer fencing or perhaps 3D fencing? In other words, what type of fencing are you going to install? I ask because we have a tremendous number of deer in the woods surrounding our fields.
 
Grant Schultz
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Richard Frame wrote:Grant...you mentioned that "building fence infrastructure is one of (our) primary projects for 2014." On page 157 of your book you wrote: "it's simply not worth planting a tree in zone 3 or 4 without . . . a proper deer fence." Are you planning to install 8 foot deer fencing or perhaps 3D fencing? In other words, what type of fencing are you going to install? I ask because we have a tremendous number of deer in the woods surrounding our fields.



First off...Ben Falk wrote the book...but we operate similar sites.

Yes, I am planning on putting up a full 8ft perimeter fence on part of the farm this year. Doing some living fence plantings just inboard, by the time the fence posts return to soil (and every fence decays), there will be new living posts in place.
 
Richard Frame
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Grant...thanks for the reply about deer fencing....I certainly knew that Ben wrote the book...just spaced out on that one. Good to know that you will be putting in 8 foot fencing...that is the only solution we could come up with to deal with our beautiful but hungry neighbors. Again, looking forward to seeing you in May!
 
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Just signed up for your email list, Grant. Will there be a way to access the archives of what you have already sent out?

 
Grant Schultz
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Send out a weekly FREE MONEY FOR FARMERS email, typically on Wednesdays
 
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I'm signing up... although I don't think this aplies to countries other than the US... or does it?
 
Grant Schultz
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Strategies are the same, though there would be mostly US/Canada examples.
 
gordo kury
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Grant Schultz wrote:Strategies are the same, though there would be mostly US/Canada examples.


then I'm looking fordward to it thanks again
 
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Location: montana
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I am happy to have found this thread! My boyfriend and I have been taking a "Multifunctional Agriculture" class. Last week there was a panel of people with local resources for small farmers starting new businesses. We found most of the resources not very useful or in line with our permaculture goals. The last speaker happened to be from the NRCS and as he was eplaining what he did it seemed to us that he was encouraging many permaculture principles. We were intrigued and spoke with him afterwards. He knew about permaculture and warned me that most representatived in NRCS may not know the word permaculture, but that it was a great resource for permaculturists. We were a little shocked to see a segment of USDA encouraging very permaculture principles. It gives us a little hope! This thread answered some questions that have been lingering since we met the NRCS man last week. It seemed too good to be true.
 
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Glad to hear we Canadians might be able to get a buck or two for diversifying the place up a bit.

In your experience, are the grants more or less likely to be available in places that have limited agricultural diversity?
Where I plan to settle it's all fishing, blueberries and apples. I'd like to make a living by showing people that we could really be expanding on that, and I certainly wouldn't look a gift cheque in the mouth.
 
Posts: 127
Location: Boyd, Texas
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Emily, you will probably get further with USDA if instead of the term Permaculture, you use the term Agroforestry. Research the five Agroforestry practices that are standardized and have documentation that you can point to to back them up. These are Ally Cropping, Windbreaks, Silvopasture, Riparian Buffers, and Forest Farming. Many of these can be combined in a broad acre Permaculture setup.

http://www.centerforagroforestry.org/practices/
 
Posts: 11
Location: Colorado. San Juan Mountains. Zone 4b and Virginia. Clinch Mountain. Zone 7a..
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Great thread! Grant, Is there a way to access the info from past emails? Thanks.
 
Grant Schultz
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Hi August,

I send out emails to the Free Money For Farmers list every week or two based upon current funding opportunities. Old emails don't do much good, as I keep all info fresh and useful.

Had a few addresses bounce recently (mostly because a letter was omitted from an email address when input by the submitter - Mailchimp has no way of checking accuracy on this)

So...get on the list and soak up the knowledge! http://freemoneyforfarmers.com

Cheers,
Grant
 
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Location: Tennesse, an hour west of Nashville, zone 7
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Hey, Grant. I'm likely moving to some acreage this year and could use the cash. However, i'm skeptical of free lunches. Other than them taking my tax dollars and giving some back to me, what's the catch? Are you open to inspections? Need to continue to file paperwork? Show up at a crossroads at midnight? Other catches?
 
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@matt
For Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCS) programs there has to be some resource concern before they will let you enter into a contract with them. This could be something like erosion problem or water contamination for agricultural practices. For woodland practices it is usually designed to benefit certain wildlife habitat. It’s not a program designed to help start farm business to be eligible you have to have had over $1,000 dollars in sales the year prior to signing up.

At least in Vermont they are tightening up what they will fund and most states are probably going the same way. An example would be animal fencing. If you don’t have animals already on the land then there is no resource concern to address so no money for fencing. If you have animals on the land and you aren’t already rotating, causing soil problems or allowing them unlimited access to water ways. Then you will probably get some assistance. But you don’t get any money until the practice is complete. So you have to put up cash to purchase whatever materials you are using to plant trees or put up fencing.

There is a bunch of paper work in the beginning which is to be expected since you are going to be getting a large sum of money. Then with each completed practice a NRCS employee will come out to inspect the work to make sure it meets their criteria. This isn’t a surprise inspection you have to tell them the work is done. If you sign up for a nutrient management plan or grazing plan then there will be some record keeping that will need to be done throughout the year then sent to the NRCS once a year.
 
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Location: Northern California Foothills (Zone 8b)
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Hey Grant,

Thanks for the info. I've signed up!

Do you know whether any of these grants/techniques apply can apply to land acquisition as well, so long as the land is being purchased for the purposes of permaculture/ag development? I'm in a spot where I've got the ambition, I've got dedicated people who want to work with me, I'm receiving the formal (and informal) training, I've got a great network of support in my local community, but I'm a broke kid without much in the way of assets or capital. I'm not averse to saving up over the next several years if that's what it takes, but it'd be great if there were opportunities for grants to help new farmers acquire land.

Thanks, and let me know!
 
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Grant Schultz wrote:Still available for free as of today: http://agriculturalinsights.com/navigating-nrcs-usda-funding-keyline-design-grant-schultz/



Is there any other way to get to hear that podcast? Very interested in this after hearing you on Permaculture Voices.
 
Grant Schultz
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matt hogan wrote:Hey, Grant. I'm likely moving to some acreage this year and could use the cash. However, i'm skeptical of free lunches. Other than them taking my tax dollars and giving some back to me, what's the catch? Are you open to inspections? Need to continue to file paperwork? Show up at a crossroads at midnight? Other catches?



Hi Matt, Josh had a solid response to this.

There are no free lunches (handouts), but there is healthy support for those willing to go the extra mile. There IS cost-share funding available for those who wish to improve their management practices on land that is/would degrade under conventional practices. NRCS only offers assistance unless there is a resource concern. I offer an open challenge to find any farm in the US without a single resource concern. You must pursue opportunity where it is fit and appropriate.

NRCS and everyone on this forum has the same goals: We want to eliminate soil erosion, improve water quality, and build abundant diversity of plants. It's all in how you approach your farming future.

I've approached NRCS with a list of my resource concerns and proposed methods of addressing them. Together, we've worked through a plan of action. That plan involves perennial seedings, prescribed livestock grazing, permanent fencing, portable fencing, and livestock water pipelines. ALWAYS have a management plant or CAP (Conservation Activity Plan)

Grant
 
pollinator
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I met with someone from NRDC a few weeks weeks ago and filled out an app for a hoophouse, and someone is coming out to the property to look into fencing off water access to the animals.

There were many roadblocks though.

They will pay to convert farmland to pasture and plant trees but they wont pay to thin trees to make them more productive or open space to plant more productive trees. You can't fence in wooded areas to do silvopasture - you can only do it if the area has no or few trees. Or to put it another way, they will give me money to plant trees but only if I cut them down first!

I asked about using livestock to help with invasive species and the woman said that was expressly forbidden because of a proposal she did that went through! So they will give you money for herbicides to kill Japanese Barberry but you can't get money for fencing to let sheep eat it.

I have livestock but not much open land. Is there some other approach I should be taking?
 
Grant Schultz
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Cj Verde wrote:I met with someone from NRDC a few weeks weeks ago and filled out an app for a hoophouse, and someone is coming out to the property to look into fencing off water access to the animals.

There were many roadblocks though.

They will pay to convert farmland to pasture and plant trees but they wont pay to thin trees to make them more productive or open space to plant more productive trees. You can't fence in wooded areas to do silvopasture - you can only do it if the area has no or few trees. Or to put it another way, they will give me money to plant trees but only if I cut them down first!

I asked about using livestock to help with invasive species and the woman said that was expressly forbidden because of a proposal she did that went through! So they will give you money for herbicides to kill Japanese Barberry but you can't get money for fencing to let sheep eat it.

I have livestock but not much open land. Is there some other approach I should be taking?



Hi Cj,

Sounds like progress! Every state has different policies, let's walk through where you're at so I have a clear idea.

1) High Tunnel: application complete! That's great. The Organic Initiative has funding, so make sure your payment rate is the "initiative" rate, and the "HU Initiative" rate if you have filed less than 10 years of a Schedule F farm income on your annual federal tax return. <--this is important, could add thousands of dollars to your eligibility

2) NRCS is researching your resource concern of wanting to exclude livestock from open water access. This is a start to some great support. Ask them about cost-share assistance for a well and frost-free waterers (you want to start intensive grazing practices), and a grazing management plan if applicable to your situation. Also fencing, obviously.

3) Grazing Look up practice 528 here: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/PA_NRCSConsumption/download?cid=stelprdb1240760&ext=pdf and read through this before your rep comes out: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/PA_NRCSConsumption/download?cid=stelprdb1240482&ext=pdf

4) TREES. You stated that you want to cut down undesirable trees and plant productive ones. You also state that they'll give you money to plant trees, but only if you cut them down first. These goals are EXACTLY THE SAME. Where's the problem?

See Practices 106, 391, 612, 645, and 666 here: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/PA_NRCSConsumption/download?cid=stelprdb1240760&ext=pdf


(above links specific to VERMONT) other forum readers, sign up at http://freemoneyforfarmers.com for tips
 
Cj Sloane
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Thanks Grant, I'll look through those links.

I also sent an email to the state grazing specialist (got the name/email from one of your docs) to see if there are there any resources for doing silvopasturing here in Vermont and that the NRDC seems opposed to it.
 
Grant Schultz
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James Santangelo wrote:

Grant Schultz wrote:Still available for free as of today: http://agriculturalinsights.com/navigating-nrcs-usda-funding-keyline-design-grant-schultz/



Is there any other way to get to hear that podcast? Very interested in this after hearing you on Permaculture Voices.



I wish there was still a way to hear the Ag Insights podcast free, but Chris Stelzer does a LOT of work to get good info out to people. He works on a subscription model for archived content, just like Permies offers archived podcasts for sale. I bet if you subscribed you'd be happy.

I LOVE TALKING PERMACULTURE THOUGH!

Should I start a podcast? Should Paul have me on? Any other podcasts? Let me know!
 
Cj Sloane
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Grant Schultz wrote:
4) TREES. You stated that you want to cut down undesirable trees and plant productive ones. You also state that they'll give you money to plant trees, but only if you cut them down first. These goals are EXACTLY THE SAME. Where's the problem?

See Practices 106, 391, 612, 645, and 666 here:



Hmm. So how do I turn that info into money? Do I have to write a proposal? Or set up another appointment with them, armed with this knowledge?
 
Cj Sloane
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Grant Schultz wrote:

I LOVE TALKING PERMACULTURE THOUGH!

Should I start a podcast? Should Paul have me on? Any other podcasts? Let me know!



Jack Spirko would interview you (he interviewed me!).
http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/

Here's the link to be a guest but it looks like he's booked solid for a while.
 
Cj Sloane
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Grant Schultz wrote:
4) TREES. You stated that you want to cut down undesirable trees and plant productive ones. You also state that they'll give you money to plant trees, but only if you cut them down first. These goals are EXACTLY THE SAME. Where's the problem?



Actually, this seems this right one: 490 Tree & Shrub Site Preparation - HU-Mechanical - Heavy
 
Grant Schultz
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If I were you, I'd apply for a Forestry CAP (conservation activity plan) with NRCS. The Technical Service Provider (TSP) who would write the CAP can collaborate with you to meet your tree selection goals.
 
matt hogan
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Thanks for the info, guys.

The potential downsides are outweighing the benefits for me on this. The powers-that-be already have more control over my life than i want. I think that going this route opens me up to having them sink their nefarious claws further into me. Also, i hold the opinion that the government should be using tax money for grants like this so taking it from them would be hypocritical of me.
 
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I have to 2nd Matt, there is no free lunch, and there is always fine print. read "contract".
Permies are freedom loving folks, and I'd guess that any contract with the gubmnt will
limit ones freedom.
 
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Did you have to pay taxes on the money you received?
 
Cj Sloane
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Lance Kleckner wrote:Did you have to pay taxes on the money you received?



I was wondering about that too. I'd imagine it get's offset because you have to spend it though. If you got $2000 to plant trees and then you spent $2000 on trees it's net zero.
 
Grant Schultz
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Lance Kleckner wrote:Did you have to pay taxes on the money you received?



It depends...

EQIP income is taxable, but because it is more or less reimbursing an expense (purchasing stuff or hiring a contractor), it is 99% of the time a write-off.

income=expenses so therefore no tax.
 
Cj Sloane
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Just got done with the NRCS people. I'm not super optimistic about getting funds for fencing because they seem to want to focus on larger farms and the requirements are so stringent that it may cost more to implement than I will receive.

The good news is that the grazing specialist did use the word permaculture! As in "planting permaculture type plants that are multipurpose is a good idea." That said, he wasn't overly enthusiastic about me planting browse blocks in my pasture.
 
Grant Schultz
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EQIP provides a lot of solid support for landowners practicing true soil and water conservation, but that is just ONE source of support for regenerative agriculture.

SARE is another great outfit that provides grant funding for farmers, students, and researchers. http://www.sare.org/

Received a letter this week that my neighbors and I were awarded $13,892 to develop and create plans for a handy root washer.

"Farmer-built No-Welding Root Washer for Small Farmers" will design, prototype, refine, and produce a how-to video for other farmers to build their own low-cost root washers.

Have a grant idea? Think SARE may be a good fit? Check them out: http://www.sare.org/Grants

There are opportunities EVERYWHERE, get on the list!
 
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Having just begun our farm (on land we've lived on for nearly 30 years but not farmed) we are looking at all the possible revenue streams we can imagine.

I am happy to say that I will be meeting my NRCS rep about EQIP and other stuff in a couple of weeks. Many states, including Michigan, are easing "cottage food industry" requirements and income limits. We've got queries in about some potential products, in order to see if they quality for the exemption from production licensing. We're in a fairly good location for that because our area is both affluent and local food savvy. The Argus Farm Stop business model is one that we hope others can adopt: They only take 20 percent off the top, and sell in a permanent location all year 'round.

In Michigan, we also have the MSU Product Center, which has funds for consulting (free) with small business/farms about planning, marketing, production, packaging, distribution, and you name it. I've just signed us up as a client and received the name of our consultant within one week. Other states probably have similar resources, although the support we can get from our fellow taxpayers through this seems just amazing.

Our secret weapon is disc golf (Frisbee golf), because we already have a popular 9-hole course which we will expand to 24 holes, woven throughout the farm, and require a fee or a donation to play.

Not having our outbuildings ready yet, for working on projects indoors in comfort in mid-winter, is driving me crazy, but I am learning a lot. And as boring as it is, making phone calls to officials can be very productive. Sap tapping time soon, though. We've got more Black Walnut than Sugar Maple, and walnut doesn't qualify for the very specific Michigan Honey & Maple Syrup licensing exemptions, so we'll have to eat it all ourselves.
 
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