November 29,  2016
In this Weekly Harvest:     
toppp    Managing Financial Risk in Organic Grain Farming
The time is drawing close for the third installment of our Risk Management in Organic Grain Farming workshop series. 

In this session, we take on the topic of financial risk management. Rich Ritter of Flanagan State Bank will present on the financial state of organic grain farming. He will explore the ways farmers can capitalize on the organic price premium to leverage financing opportunities.

Attendees will also hear from local Farm Service Agency officers about loan and disaster assistance programs, Todd Haab of Strategic Farm Marketing about insurance products for organic farmers, and representatives from Illinois state programs for farmers.

The day will conclude with a panel discussion on innovative financial risk management strategies. Panelists include Dave Bishop of PrairiErth Farm, Jack Erisman of Goldmine Farms, Harold Wilken of Janie's Farm Organics, and area lenders and farm managers.

What: Managing Financial Risk in Organic Grain Farming workshop
WhenDecember 8, 9am-3:30pm
Where: Palms Grill Cafe in Atlanta, IL

Agenda and registration available  here   
impact Community Impact
Our 2016 Central Illinois Farm Beginnings grads have certainly been busy this year.

From a thriving flower farm, to a delicious honey operation, to a position as post-harvest lead with one of Central Illinois' rock star farms, our new farmers are establishing a strong foothold on the local food scene.

"CIFB gave me the tools and realistic plan needed to launch a sustainable farm business with confidence. By inspiring and training farmers (like myself) for startup success, The Land Connection is a powerful force for good behind our local food system. Supporting The Land Connection is a sure way to increase access to healthy food for all members of the community." -Kacey Nelson, Two Million Blooms.

#GivingTuesday is today, and we need your support more than ever.  Find out how you can help us fund important programs like CIFB and the Champaign Farmers Market   here .

farmfnWhat We're Reading

Will Write for Food: The complete guide to writing cookbooks, blogs, memoir, recipes, and more
By: Dianne Jacob

Tell your story. One of the conversations I have most often with farmers is about marketing, which, when you get right down to it, is about telling your story, whether it be through blogging, newsletters, social media posts (mini blogs), or writing a book. And that story is really about food--whether it is writing recipes so people will know how to use the food in their CSA shares, or about the ups and downs of what's happening on the farm. And even if you are not a farmer (like me), there are a lot of us who are involved in improving our food system through communication.

In an effort to improve how I tell these stories, I recently read Will Write for Food, The complete guide to writing cookbooks, blogs, memoir, recipes, and more, a book that takes you through the steps of improving your writing, writing as a freelancer (maybe you've always wanted to write for the local paper?), blogging (including tips on how to set up a new blog), and how to get published--or self publish-- that cookbook you have always wanted to write.

Each chapter stands alone, so you can go straight to the topic that interests you, and there are even writing exercises at the end of each chapter to get you started. So if you are stuck in that place where you know you have a lot to say, but you just aren't sure how, this book offers a practical (and entertaining!) way to get started.

P.S. Don't forget that when you order from Amazon, you can use Amazon Smile to select The Land Connection and a portion of your purchase price will turn into a donation. You can donate while shopping, and it won't cost you anything extra!

WorkshopsWorkshops, Field Days, and Grant Opportunities

Managing Risk in Organic Grain Farming - Workshop Series
This series of workshops is designed to help you manage risk in organic grain production, marketing, and financing. The four-workshop series started in J uly and runs through February. Each workshop costs $25 to register, or $75 to register for all four. Learn more about the workshops and register here.

Farm Services Agency Workshop
February 11, 2017
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery
Officials from the Illinois state FSA office will be presenting a three-hour workshop, walking attendees through programs designed to assist farmers with access to operating credit, real estate financing, conservation support programs, and disaster relief. Attendees will learn about eligibility and preferential funding groups such as beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers. The workshop will conclude with a panel of farmers describing their experiences with the loan application process and how access to FSA funding has improved their businesses.  Attendees of this workshop will be the first to receive The Land Connection's new printed guide to FSA programs for specialty and non-commodity crop farmers.  Learn more and register here.


Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture FINI Grant Program supports projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing incentives at the point of purchase. Three funding levels are available for different project scales by farmers' markets, farmstands, or other food system stakeholders. Applications are due December 12. Learn more about the funding opportunity here.


Wednesday, November 30
Champaign County Farm Bureau
Champaign, IL
This free workshop is designed for local food producers and distributors, educators from the Illinois Extension, and higher education dining services staff from across Illinois. 
Those attending the conference will learn about how to overcome barriers to successfully increase the purchasing and distribution of local foods. Some topics include exploration of local sources of food and the different kinds of food available, the importance of food traceability in meeting food safety regulations, and how local producers can improve scalability. More information and registration available here.

Free webinars on Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP)
The Center for Rural Affairs
Wednesday, November 30
Whole Farm Revenue Protection for commodity producers. This will be a great webinar for commodity producers who have one or two additional crops that they have trouble insuring.  
2 to 3 p.m. CST: for producers. Register here.
3 to 4 p.m. CST: for insurance agents. Register here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Whole Farm Revenue Protection for livestock producers. WFRP will insure up to $1 million in annual revenue from animals and animal products - learn how to apply.
11 a.m. to noon CST: for producers - Register here.
Noon to 1 p.m. CST: for insurance agents - Register here.

Putting Small Acres to Work
Saturday, December 3, 2016
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
NIU Rockford Meeting and Conference Center, Rockford , IL
This event is designed to help people with rural property explore opportunities to use that land as a springboard into agriculture.  Outreach professionals from University of Illinois Extension and a local farmer will lead  general sessions on permaculture and farm-scale energy production, as well as numerous breakout sessions on both plant and animal topics, including tomatoes and peppers, microgreens, shiitake mushrooms, raising livestock for fiber, meat goat production, and controlling weeds in pastures. The program fee is $40 per person, which includes all program materials and lunch. Registration deadline is Monday, November 28, to guarantee a space and a meal.   Learn more here.

Fund-a-Farmer Webinars
Please join Food Animal Concerns Trust for one or both of their free upcoming webinars. 
Understanding Farm Animal Welfare Certification 
Tuesday, December 13
10:00 AM CST
Are you considering Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, and Global Animal Partnership certification? This webinar will walk you through the process of becoming welfare-certified and discuss funding options available to farmers interested in certification - including FACT's Animal Welfare Certification Grants. Register here.

Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference
January 11-13, 2017
Crowne Plaza Hotel and Convention Center
Springfield, IL
The Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference (ISCAOC) will be held January 11-13, 2017, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield. The conference, which features nearly 100 speakers and 60 trade show exhibitors, will again host four concurrent preconference workshops, general sessions and breakout sessions aimed at helping Illinois specialty growers cultivate their operations.

To receive registration materials or to obtain exhibitor information, please contact Charlene Blary at 309-557-2107 or A detailed conference agenda, online registration, and cider contest information can be found here.

Routes to Farm Summit: Emerging Challenges for Direct-Market Farms
January 18-19, 2017
Starved Rock Lodge & State Park
A growing number of farmers in our region now report declining farmers market sales and increased difficulty attracting and retaining CSA members. Through a process of open dialogue among farmers and local food advocates who gather in January, we will (1) gain an understanding of current challenges for direct market farms, (2) identify critical issues and barriers to their continued success and (3) develop a farmer-led agenda for action that will guide follow-up activity.

Early registration for farmers begins November 13th. Please complete the registration form below. Meals and lodging will be available at no cost for farmers. General registration for food system advocates and other stakeholders will begin December 1st. Space will be limited.  Learn more here.

2017 Good Food Festival & Conference
March 16-18, 2017
UIC Forum, Chicago
The Good Food Festival & Conference Is The Midwest's Premier Showcase For Local And Sustainable Food.  Celebrate our region's growing local food community!  The 13th Annual Good Food Festival & Conference will connect farmers, food producers, investors, trade buyers, policy makers, activists, families and Good Food lovers over three dynamic days.  Learn more here.
BloogThank You

As The Land Connection's programs, farmer network, and staff continue to grow, I have to remind myself of how far we have come as an organization, and of how many people have been part of our growth. Thanksgiving week offered me that opportunity.

agnews Agriculture in the News:
Something you should know
WILL-TV is airing a special on Illinois barns this Thursday. Read more here.
Something you should do
The Organic Research Forum at the 2017  MOSES  Conference is holding  a poster session documenting research projects related to organic agriculture. Learn more here.

Something to be happy about
Across the country, farmers' markets help reduce food insecurity.  Read more here.

You can post your ad or search for more listings in the  classifieds section  o f our website. To have something listed in the Weekly Harvest, email us at or call 217-840-2128.

Employment Opportunities:
Illinois Stewardship Alliance seeks qualified applicants for the position of Executive Director. Illinois Stewardship Alliance is a statewide 501c3 nonprofit organization located in Springfield, IL dedicated to cultivating a local food and farm system that is economically viable, socially just and environmentally sustainable. Established in 1974, Illinois Stewardship Alliance has a history of advocating for conservation on Illinois' farmlands and supporting the development of local food systems. The organization has three key program areas including Conservation, Local Food and Policy Advocacy. Additionally, Illinois Stewardship Alliance serves as fiscal sponsor for Illinois Organic Growers Association, Band of Farmers CSA Coalition and Grow Springfield.

Learn more about the position hereEmail cover letter and resume by Friday, December 2 to:  or mail to: Illinois Stewardship Alliance, 230 Broadway, Suite 200, Springfield, IL 62701

The Savanna Institute invites applications for a Program Manager. We seek applicants who share our passion for restorative and resilient agricultural practices. The Savanna Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Urbana, Illinois. The Program Manager will manage the diverse research and education programs of the Savanna Institute. This position reports to the Executive Director.  Read more here.
We are seeking interns/crew members to start immediately. This is a paid, full-time position with room and board available.   No experience is necessary, but experience in physical labor or mechanical work and animal care is helpful and a great attitude is a must. 

For more information and to apply, contact Julie Larson at

Do you want to farm?  Do you have land but not the skills to tend to it?  Have you wondered what it would be like to spend a summer growing food for a community surrounding a farm?  

Our apprenticeship is designed to give individuals with the desire to farm and grow food an opportunity to do that on a production scale to make a living.  We offer housing & monthly stipend in exchange for a full season commitment. 

We raise mixed produce for CSA, farmer's markets and wholesale customers.  We'll work side-by-side from seed to sale in hopes that you finish the season with a solid grasp of what it takes to run a small farm. Interns are expected to work quickly and efficiently in good and bad weather, to ask questions, and to learn from mistakes. Stipend starting at $800/month and food from the farm as well as shared housing for the right candidate.
Full-time and part-time positions available. Contact Dylan at

We are hiring for farm hands. This is part-time work starting in May or June running into December. You would be doing all kinds of manual labor: harvesting, weeding, washing, occasional transplanting and general cleanup. The benefits are hard to beat: lots of produce, exercise, and interesting people to talk to. No experience needed. For an application, visit our website and send to:

Land, Equipment, and Other:

1980 IH Hydro 84 with IH2250 6' loader row crop model with 4cyl German Diesel Engine. Great farm tractor we have used for the last 5 years transplanting vegetable crops and have upgraded our transplanter and no longer need a hydro tractor. Rebuilt starter and alternator put in last year, new front tires in the last 2 years. Has block heater, 3 point cat i or ii, rear hydraulic outlet, and power steering. Hydro is strong, kept inside. $8500/OBO. For more information email Hans at

Lockie Farm is a 22-acre sustainable farm near Ogden (15 miles east of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois). 2 acres are Woody Perennial Polyculture (planted May 2014). The rest is leased to Kevin Wolz, who is creating a demonstration site for restoration agriculture. I am looking for someone(s) who will rent the 2-bedroom, 2 bath partially furnished house (with garage) and look after the 2-acre food forest. There is a half-acre west of the house that can be used for growing (and selling) produce. T he house will be available in January 2017. If interested, please contact  Marcia Powell at or call  (727) 400-4275. Find more information on the farm here.

NEW HOLLAND 1034 BALE WAGON (Mechanical hay loader/stacker)
A pull type wagon that can mechanically pick small square hay bales up out of the field and stack them into pallets of 100 bales that can be moved with a forklift. Always shedded while I've owned them, since 1999. I've quit raising hay. Two available. Asking $5,000 each, obo. 100 pallets also available. Pictures available here. Contact Brian Severson at  815-584-1850 or email

Selling at least 8 pastured, non-GMO fed, antibiotic-free pigs for around $1 a pound. Also available are a few  Red wattles which are antibiotic free, grown outside and will sell for 85 cents per pound. If you are interested contact Ammon Troyer at (217) 543-2979.

LAND USE OPPORTUNITY - 2.5 acres on north side of Aurora, IL
Landowner is making land available for garden/farm use. Has been in grass since 1981. Located near Indian Trail and Mitchell Road. Call owner Bill Robinson at  (630) 927-0519.

We hope to see someone purchase our family farm for organic farming practices. 40 acres- 20 acres planted soybeans 2016 + 20 acres fenced pastures/timber w/creek, pond. Modular home, pole barn, municipal water supply plus 2 other wells,300 amp electric, new septic system.  Past operations on property:  horses,  aquaculture (pond & creek), poultry, hogs, sheep, dairy, beef, honey, nuts, fruit trees, berries, mushrooms, herbs (woodland and planted), gardens (floral and vegetable), lots of wildlife habitat and mature timber.  Learn more here.

Thank you to all the sponsors, donors, and supporters that make the daily operations and programs of The Land Connection possible. We couldn't do it without you!


 And thanks to all of our 2016 Market Sponsors!

 Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church