Family Dairy Shows Resiliency in Uncertain Times

Clayton Wright is a fourth-generation dairy farmer. Photo courtesy of Wright’s Dairy Farm and Bakery

By: Leila Naylor, FSA, Rhode Island

Meet the multi-generational family owners of Wright’s Dairy Farm and Bakery, one of the oldest dairy operations in Northern Rhode Island. They focus on cow comfort, value-added products, and accommodating the needs of their customers.

Focusing on the Future

On their 200 acres of land, the Wright family grow corn and hay to feed their 115 Holstein cows. Over the past three years the Wrights have worked to transition to a no-till cropping system, which helps store carbon in the soil, improves soil structure and biodiversity, and minimizes tractor time. They’ve noticed an increase in worm activity, which is a sign of healthy soil. Continue reading

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Growing Interest in Gardening

Ashley DeBord took her hobby and love of plants and turned it into a greenhouse operation. Photo courtesy of the DeBord family.

By Dana Rogge, USDA

Ashley DeBord is the owner and operator of Glory Gardens and Greenhouse LLC in Eubank, Kentucky. Managing her business during the pandemic led to adjustments in how she operates and created a bevy of new customers.

From a Hobby to a Business

Ashley has a passion for horticulture. As a college graduation gift, she received a 10-foot by 12-foot hobby greenhouse from her parents. That hobby turned into a full-fledged business in 2012 when the lifelong vegetable and plant grower decided to scale up production. Continue reading

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Conservation, Crops, and a Corn Maze

Katie Peebles with Reggie Cunningham at Peebles Farm.

By Christopher Willis, USDA

Katie and Dallas Peebles are the owners and operators of Peebles Farm Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze in Augusta, Arkansas. The Peebles bought the farm in 1996 and have transitioned to agritourism over the last 16 years. It’s now the state’s largest certified organic pumpkin patch operation. In addition to pumpkins, they produce honey and grow watermelons, cantaloupe, peas, and soybeans. Continue reading

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Lead Your FSA: A Voice for Diverse Agriculture

Luke Gianforte of Cazenovia, New York, is currently the chairman of the Madison County FSA Committee.

By Lynnette Wright, Farm Service Agency

The nomination period for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) annual county committee elections began June 15 and continues through Aug. 1, 2020. Throughout the nomination period, we’ve been introducing county committee members from across the nation. In the final installment of the series, we’ll meet Luke Gianforte of Cazenovia, New York. Luke is currently the chairman of the Madison County FSA Committee.

Luke is the managing partner of Gianforte Farm LLC, an 800-acre certified organic grain farm that grows a variety of small grains and row crops for the food grade market throughout the northeast. They also process some of the farm’s grains to be sold as value-added products such as flour and rolled oats. Continue reading

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Lead Your FSA: An Opportunity to Serve

Janis Wittenmyer of Findlay, Ohio, produces corn, soybeans, and wheat along with her husband, Gary.

By Lauren Moore and Dana Rogge, USDA

The nomination period for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) annual county committee election began June 15 and continues through Aug. 1, 2020. Throughout the nomination period, we’ll be introducing county committee members across the nation. This week meet Janis Wittenmyer of Findlay, Ohio, where she and her husband, Gary, produce corn, soybeans, and wheat.

Janis and Gary built their operation from the ground up, starting four decades ago with a 40-acre land purchase with Gary’s brother.

“It’s truly a family operation,” Janis said. “Getting to work side-by-side and having the opportunity to build a business is just so satisfying.” Continue reading

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Lead Your FSA: A Better Perspective

Clinton Small of Montana, serves on the Big Horn County FSA Committee.

By Jennifer Cole, Farm Service Agency 

The nomination period for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) annual county committee election began June 15 and continues through Aug. 1, 2020. Throughout the nomination period, we’ll be introducing county committee members across the nation. This week meet Clinton Small of Lodge Grass, Montana and a member of the Crow Tribe. Clinton and his family operate a cow-calf operation in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains on the Crow Reservation along Rotten Grass Creek in southern Montana. Continue reading

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Lead Your FSA: Third Generation of Local Service

Justin Castleberry of Gainesville, Georgia, currently serves as the chairman of the Hall County FSA Committee.

By Lauren Moore, USDA

The nomination period for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) annual county committee election began June 15 and continues through Aug. 1, 2020. Throughout the nomination period, we’ll be introducing county committee members across the nation. This week meet Justin Castleberry of Gainesville, Georgia. Justin is currently the chairman of the Hall County FSA Committee.

Justin grew up farming and has been a full-time farmer since 1995. He operates a poultry, beef, row crop and produce operation, in addition to a trucking business that hauls feed and grain. His farm is home to over 100 cattle and consists of four broiler houses that house around 80,000 chickens. He grows wheat, soybeans, corn, hay, watermelons and pumpkins each year. Continue reading

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Nomination Period for FSA County Committee Elections Opens June 15

Katie Molodich of Connecticut served on the on the county committee to help bridge the gap between the agency and the farmers they serve.

The nomination period for USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees opens on June 15. Each county office is looking for producers to serve on the local county committee. County committee elections are held annually in every county when FSA accepts nominations for a certain Local Administrative Area (LAA). The LAA up for election rotates each year. If your LAA is up for election this year, please nominate yourself or another producer to serve on your local FSA county committee. Continue reading

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USDA Now Accepting Applications for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Producers can apply now through August 28, 2020, for direct assistance though the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

Online Tools and Call Center Available to Assist Producers

By: Richard Fordyce, Farm Service Agency Administrator

You can now apply for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which provides direct payments to farmers and ranchers to offset impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020.

We now have the application form and a payment calculator available on farmers.gov/cfap. And we have a call center (877-508-8364) set up to help you with your questions. Continue reading

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Roots Run Deep

Johnny is continuing what his ancestor started more than 200 years ago.

By Chris Groskreutz, NRCS, Michelle Stone and Buford Sanders, Georgia Forestry Commission 

Meet Johnny Bembry of Pulaski County, Georgia. The Bembry family has made a living on their farm for over 200 years, adapting and evolving how they manage the land as needed. Diverse ventures in row crops, cattle and timber has led to an array of benefits, including profitable lands, cleaner water downstream and top-notch wildlife habitat. Continue reading

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