‘Go Farm Connect’ Kicks Off This Week

Go Farm Connect is a new agriculture advocacy organization. They are partnering with the USDA to facilitate a group visit to the USDA Service Center in Madison on April 9.

The informal event is from 4-7 p.m. at the Driftless Conference Room, 5201 Fen Oak Drive.

Representatives from UW Extension, Dane County Land Conservation District, and USDA will provide an introduction to farm loans, grants, insurance, and disaster assistance. The presentation is specifically for those growing or thinking about growing vegetables or other specialty crops. Land ownership is not a requirement to participate in these programs.

This event is FREE and language interpretation services are available in Spanish, Hmong/HMoob, and other languages upon request. Pre-register via gofarmconnect.org. Attendees can enjoy refreshments and empanadas.

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service offer a variety of farm loans and programs. These include crop insurance, infrastructure cost-share funding, and planning tools that benefit farmers and landowners.

Many farmers don’t know they qualify for USDA services that can positively impact their farm business. For example, FSA offers low-interest loans to farmers which can be used for start-up costs, expansion, equipment, and buildings. NRCS has programs that help with conservation plans, cover crop plans, grazing plans, and cost-share assistance for infrastructure like high tunnels and livestock watering systems. 

The hosts for this event will be a team of partners from multiple organizations, including Yimmuaj Yang with Groundswell Conservancy, Nou Thao with Marbleseed, Chaing Rai with Fair Share CSA Coalition, and Nicholas Leete and KO Thao with Rooted. They are all Connectors with Go Farm Connect, trained to help new and emerging farmers access helpful federal programs. They will follow up with attendees after the event to answer questions and help accessing helpful programs.