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Dina    As a large farm that helps many small farms with NRCS grants and knowing many of the people that sit on the NRCS advisory board in NH  I can CLEARLY state to you that NRCS is there to help ANY farm that asks with the current programs they are offering.  This year I have completed 7 NRCS grants for small farms, farms 5 acres or less, for irrigation water management plans.  I have found them very helpful and useful if you know how to ask the questions.  Different programs are approved for each state every year in NRCS.  Programs that are offered out west are not often needed here in the east.  I will admit that it has been the experience of some of the growers that it does take TIME to complete an NRCS plan or contract, but they are here to help.  For instance there are organic cover crop grants to help small farmers increase their organic matter this year.  I know at their annual meeting over 70% of the contracts completed last year went to small farms (30 acres or less I believe).  I just don't think it is fair or justified to express such complaints about an organization that is here to help ALL FARMERS especially when they give you money to improve your farm.  There aren't many other organizations that do that.  NRCS is quick to adapt to current needs.  For instance with the bee scare and colony colapse disorder that started 4 years ago the NRCS adopted early polonator grants where they pay any farmer to turn over sections of their fields for a determined timeframe to wild flowers clover and such to help keep up the bee population.  If you are having trouble with a county NRCS office I would contact the state office for help.  But it has been my experience with NRCS contacts from NH MA ME VT RI and CT on irrigation projects that they help all farmers, if anything they have more of a focus on small farms than large, as most large farms are already equipped  with the programs they offer.   Anyway  thats my oppinion, I don't like to complain about organizations that are there to help you and give you money.  You have to play by their rules. 
 
Trevor Hardy
Brookdale Fruit Farm Inc
Hollis, NH 03049
www.brookdalefruitfarm.com


-----Original Message-----
From: Dina Farrell <[log in to unmask]>
To: VTVEGANDBERRY <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Fri, May 18, 2012 7:20 am
Subject: NRCS

Farmers,
 
This is in response to a thread a little while ago about NRCS.
I have come to realize that NRCS is not there to benefit small farms. Their purpose is to protect the environment. Natural Resources Conservation Services, OK, that makes sense. The impression I got from them was that farmers ruin the enviroment and once that is done, then they will help out. Especially if you put your land into a conservation easement and give up some rights to it. Sounds too much like Agenda 21 to me. Look that up!
Maybe it would make sense to divert all of that money to helping small farms so that they can improve the environment through good farm practices (which takes some money) and maybe even help them out with taxes and acquiring land to farm. Instead of all that state owned land wouldn't it be nice to see farms again. It seems to be all backwards.
Is there actually a source of funding that will help small farms? If anyone knows, please let me know.  Maybe I am looking for something for nothing, but I think farming NH is a good thing that helps the local economy and community. It is a shame that there are so many people who have a passion to farm and can't because it is so cost prohibitive.
 
Dina Farrell
 
The Olde Ways at Mustard Seed Farm
288 Haines Hill Rd
 Wolfeboro, NH  03894
(603) 569-4529
http://www.theoldewaysatmustardseedfarm.blogspot.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Olde-Ways-at-Mustard-Seed-Farm/254481621300759?ref=tn_tnmn ;
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Microfarmers-of-New-Hampshire/246609522084676 
http://www.microfarmersofnh.com  (this one we are still working on)