FARMS Program Details
1. $5,000 over 3 years for creating and updating Comprehensive Soil Health Management Plans.
2. Up to $10,000 per year, on a per acre basis, for new practices you implement. Details TBD, we need to get finalized paperwork from the NRCS, and discuss the details of this with them.
We’ll set up regional hubs, where each long-term practitioner will mentor 2-4 nearby transitioning producers. The producers in the hubs can visit with each other, provide support and help troubleshoot. Mentors will be compensated for these visits (see below).
We’ll coordinate events for the hubs, including field days and soil health roundtables.
Testing and Analysis
Comprehensive soil health testing will be done by CSU or KSU on the fields enrolled in FARMS. It covers wind erosion potential, soil moisture sensors, bulk density, water-stable aggregates, infiltration rates, soil organic carbon, pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, microbial activity, and fungal to bacterial ratio. Contact us if you want more details about this.
What is a FARMS mentor?
You are peer support for the Transitioning producers who are grappling with the challenges of implementing soil health in your region. You will be paid to visit mentee farms and to support them on phone/email/text/social media. You’ll look at the exciting practices they are implementing, learn the good and bad they are experiencing, and support them in their soil health goals. We will cover your mileage, per diem, and pay you salary to visit with your likeminded neighbors and talk about bold and innovating ways to build soil health.
You are likely the most experienced soil health practitioner in your hub. This means that you’ve probably seen lots of successes and lots of failures, and you’ve been able to work through any failures and keep going. This is incredibly valuable information for your mentees. As a mentor, we hope you share with them your successes and failures, and why you think those practices succeeded or failed.
You’ll get mentorship training each year, details TBD. You’ll also get support from our team of TA’s, Storm Casper, Ray Ward, Mark Watson, and Greg Scott, and we can connect you with resources at CSU or KSU. You can also help support each other, if you’d like us to coordinate conference calls or field days between mentors.
What is a mentor NOT?
- You aren’t responsible for proscribing practices or performing the duties of an agronomist
- You aren’t liable for anything, including if your mentees have unsuccessful experiments
- You aren’t expected to have all the answers, but we hope you’ve got some good questions!
- You aren’t there to tell anyone what to do, or to diagnose any issues on your mentee’s land.
- You aren’t responsible for the Comprehensive Soil Health Management Plans of your mentees – neither the content, nor meeting any deadlines. But please help them out if they get stuck and need someone to bounce ideas off of.
What compensation do mentors receive?
- Salary for supporting your mentees (we’ve budgeted 12 days per year, split between your 3 mentees)
- Mileage reimbursement
- Per-diem travel
What else is different for mentors?
We’ll be doing some extra testing on your land, to see how longer-term regenerative compares to conventional. This includes:
- Nutrient density testing – we’ll be testing your grain or pulse for the density of mineral nutrients. Health First will coordinate getting a grab sample of your grain as it’s being harvested, and we’ll test it at Rhizoterra Inc in Spokane, WA.
- Deeper dive into your economics – we’ll be collecting more data and going deeper into the economics of your soil health practices.
We understand that FARMS is asking you to share some sensitive data. Here’s how we’ll protect it.
You may share information about your own FARMS participation freely. You must not share others’ information without their consent.
We are bound by the following rules to protect your data:
- We will use the data for the FARMS project ONLY, for the tasks and projects we outlined in our grant paperwork.
- We will make sure that no one can access your data unless they need to know that information to achieve the goals specified in the grant.
- These rules last forever, and don’t end when the grant ends.
What data qualifies for this protection?
- Proprietary information, personal data, or data about an organization.
- This includes your state and county, your name or your business name, your address, phone number, or GPS coordinates, your field names, your production shares, your acreage and crop code information, and any photos, maps, or geospatial data that can be combined with other data to identify you.
What data is not protected?
- Your payment information, including amounts, names, and addresses.
- We can disclose information if we’ve aggregated it with other data without naming individuals or locations.
The CCTA will consult FPAC (Farm Production and Conservation) before releasing any information, to ensure we’re in compliance.
What laws are we following?
- Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S. C. Section 552a
- Section 1244 of Title II of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-171)
- Section 1619 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (PL 110-246), 7 U.S.C. 8791
If you are a participating producer, please click here to login to the project portal. We have emailed your username to you, and a link to set a password. Contact Lauren if you have any difficulties.