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CFAC envisions a future where houses, farms, and ranches thrive;

people are well-fed and food secure;

family farms are sustainable, successful, and supported

within a community food system;

and farmers and ranchers can access the land they need.

 

Our Programs

CFAC works on a variety of issues across our foodOctober.main GrapesHarder system.  To learn more about our systemic approach to our food system, click here.

 

At any point in time, our work can focus on improving any number of elements of the food system.  With a small staff and committed volunteers, we generally take on two to three projects at a time to hone in on a shortlist of the most pressing food system needs.

 

Currently, our work focuses on conserving farmland, assisting beginning farmers and ranchers, and growing the food economy through the Montana Food Economy Initiative.

 

Use the links at right to learn more about our work!  You'll also find information on past projects on food access.

Farmer Support

Here at CFAC, we understand that the road to success as a farmer can be a long and arduous one.  Decemberthumb BlackberryThistlesMoellerStart-up costs are high, access to land can be a deal-breaker, and well, then, there are the hours!  Of course, farming has plenty of benefits too - you get to work outside with your hands in the dirt and the sun, you work for yourself, and, as one of our past board members, Erin Turner, has said, "You never complain about not being able to sleep well!"

We believe that if our food system is to be strong and resilient, we need to support beginning farmers and ranchers, to help them over the hump of the first few years to build sustainable, successful business models.  There are some key ways in which we can help, by providing:

  • Assistance Accessing Land
  • Education on Business and Production
  • Assistance Accessing Financing
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Assistance Accessing Markets

In late 2014, the USDA awarded CFAC over $250k to expand our educational opportunities and resources for beginning farmers. Through this project, our support for farmers will take on several new forms.  We will:

  • Develop new, Montana-specific workshops on financial, legal, business planning and land access topics.  These workshops will first be offered in Missoula and then in other parts of the state via partnership with MSU Extension.
  • Offer on-farm, production-focused field days for interns and new farmers to give access to local farms and highlight some of the elements of farming that can only be seen in the summer.
  • Research and build new local investing opportunities with a wide array of partners to offer new and enhanced financing opportunities for our region's farmers and food business owners.
  • Enhance the Land Link program!  Our Land Link program provides a forum for connecting people looking for farmland with those who are looking to have their land farmed.  The redeveloped site will be statewide and will incorporate internship and mentorship opportunities.

We're also exploring ideas for providing networking opportunities.  Some of the ideas we're tossing around include starting a National Young Farmers Coalition chapter, kickstarting a Grange-type social organization, or hosting speed dating sessions for Land Link members.

Interested in learning more about these projects and throwing your two cents in?  Join our Beginning Farmer & Rancher Committee!  Just want to stay posted?  Join our newsletter or like us on Facebook!  We post lots of resources and news for farmers on Facebook!

This work is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2015-70017-22851.

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Courses and Workshops

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The Community Food & Agriculture Coalition offers courses and workshops in classrooms and on farms, in all seasons, to support the development of beginning and established farmers and ranchers. 

Summer workshops are typically on-farm events geared towards seeing and learning things that are much harder to teach in the off-season.  Winter workshops are offered indoors in a variety of locations and are generally more focused towards business planning, marketing, financing, financial management, risk management, land access, legal issues, and more.

See the links at right for more information on upcoming and past courses.

Looking for Planning for On-Farm Success, our farm planning curriculum?  Find it here on the Farm Link Montana website!

Would you like to get involved by offering a workshop on your farm or speaking on a particular topic?  Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

This work is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2015-70017-22851.

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Planning for On-Farm Success

Business planning, On-Farm-Success-Poster-Dec-9-Finalfinancing, marketing, record-keeping and risk management are just a few of the tools farmers need to run successful, sustainable businesses. Between January and March 2014, we will be offering four workshops for farmers and ranchers in their first three years of operation.

The workshops will be offered in person at MSU Extension's Missoula office (2825 Santa Fe Ct) and will be offered live online for participants across the country. 

 

Topics

January 18: Envisioning Your Farm

Instructors:

  • Amita Patel, Montana Community Development Corporation (MCDC)
  • Seth Swanson, MSU Extension
  • Farmer Highlight: Bryce Christiaens, Native Ideals Seed Farm

Deliverables: Introduction to your business plan; Realistic goals and tangible next steps

  • Writing Vision and Mission Statements that Reflect Your Values
  • Setting Goals, Prioritizing, and Getting Things Done
  • Evaluating Your Resources and Planning to Improve Your Odds

February 8: Marketing Your Products

Instructors:

  • Amita Patel, MCDC
  • Dave Prather, Western Montana Growers' Coop (WMGC)
  • Franco Salazar, Clark Fork Farmers' Market
  • Farmer Panel: Mannix Family Beef, County Rail Farm, and Homestead Organics

Deliverables: Clear market goals; Market Research Plan; Marketing Plan for Business Plan

  • Identifying Your Market and Finding Your Niche
  • Selecting the Right Product for the Right Market - On-the-ground feedback on which local markets are tapped and which look like great new opportunities
  • Marketing Farmer Panel: Hear from farmers about how they've chosen the products they sell, their marketing plans, and their methods for distribution

March 1: Planning for Financial Success

Instructors:

  • Amita Patel, MCDC
  • Tammy Howard, National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)
  • Brianna Ewert, AgSquared
  • Sheila Rigby, Farm Service Agency
  • Julie Sacks, National Resources Conservation Service
  • Leslie Jensen, First Interstate Bank

Deliverables: Basic/complex financial documents depending on your level of interest; Plan for financing your farm; Financial Section of Business Plan, Optional: Get approved for FSA loans!

  • Profitability, Liquidity, Solvency: What does it mean for you?
  • Key financial statements you need on your farm - lo-tech to hi-tech and everything in between
  • What do the financiers need to know from you?  Hear from the Farm Service Agency, conventional bank lenders, and the National Resources Conservation Service

March 22: Managing Your Risks and Assets

Instructors:

  • Tim Busby, Montana Secretary of State's Office
  • Andre Marcure, Farmers' Union Insurance
  • Jan Tusick, Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center
  • Tammy Howard, NCAT
  • Farmer Panel: Missoula Grain & Vegetable Co, Golden Yoke Dairy, H-Brace Farm

Deliverables: Business start-up forms; Land access plan; Finalize your Business Plan

  • What you need to know to start a business in Montana
  • Insurance - from general liability to crop insurance - how do you protect yourself?
  • What's going on with the Food Safety Modernization Act and What rules do you need to follow?
  • Farmer Panel on Land Access: How others have found land and their lessons for you

 

Costs

Workshops are offered online and in-person and can be taken as a full series or individually.  All workshops come with a newly-developed workbook designed for beginning farmers in Montana and hands-on assistance from a business planning expert between workshops to help you refine your plan and prepare to take it to lenders or other financiers. In-person workshops also come with lunch and snacks!

Online workshops are offered live - meaning you watch from home at the same time we're offering the class in Missoula and you can ask questions and participate in the workshop just like you were there.

Full Workshop Series:

  • In-Person: $100
  • Online: $60

Individual Workshops:

  • In-Person: $30
  • Online: $15

Additional Farm Partners who are involved in the same farm operation may attend for a 25% discount. 

Campus credit is also available at the University of Montana.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

 

If you are planning on taking the classes online, please visit this link to test your computer's capacity to use the online program: http://msuextensionconnect.org/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm  If you have any issues, please contact Annie Heuscher at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

To register, click here!

 

This work is part of an exciting partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture.

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Additional partners include Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center, MSU Extension, National Center for Appropriate Technology, Alternative Energy Resources Organization, Farm Service Agency, Montana Community Development Corporation, Western Montana Growers' Cooperative, Montana Department of Agriculture, and the Montana Farmers Union.

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Upcoming Events

  • KettleHouse UNiteWed. 26 Apr, 2017 (5:00 pm - 8:00 pm)EventsCommunity Food & Agriculture Coalition (CFAC) will be at the Northside KettleHouse with information about their organization, food and raffle d...
  • Local Food for All: A Community PicnicSat. 13 May, 2017 (1:00 pm - 2:00 pm)EventsPlease join us at Farm Road (35060 Mud Lake Trail, Polson), a rural gathering place for food, art, community, family, and music on Saturday May 13t...
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