Category Archives: Agriculture

Department of Agriculture COVID-19 Response

USDA Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19

USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses, and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development will keep our customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America. Please bookmark this page and check back regularly as circumstances are changing daily and the width and depth of our responses to your questions and concerns will certainly increase.

Learn more here…

Farmers’ Guide to Innovative USDA Programs and Resources

Today’s farmers are changing the way we farm and eat in this country. Folks starting out in farming today are:

  • From both rural and urban areas, and everywhere in between
  • Conscious of their impact on the environment and interested in learning how to protect natural resources on their farms
  • Pursuing new markets and selling both fresh and value-added products directly to consumers, wholesalers, restaurants, schools, and food hubs
  • More likely to be female, a person of color, and/or have served in the U.S. military
  • More likely to consider diversi cation options, comprehensive conservation systems, and organic farming practices

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Contracting in Agriculture: Making the Right Decision

Today, a significant portion of livestock, poultry and other crops are being raised under production contracts, also known as grower agreements. Contracting has changed the shape of American agriculture. In the future, you may consider signing a contract to raise a crop under detailed specifications or to care for livestock or poultry owned by someone else.

USDA cannot tell you whether or not to sign a production contract. Each farmer and every farm business is different and there are many different types of contracts available. Making the important decision to enter a production contract should only be made after you consider how contracting may affect the future of your farm business.  Continue reading

Here’s a handbook for the business side of farming.

By Patrice Barkentine, Outreach and Education Coordinator
Office of Compliance and Outreach, Washington State Department of Agriculture
Current version published September, 2014

WSDA Handbook for Small FarmsWelcome to the “Handbook for Small and Direct Marketing Farms: Regulations and Strategies for Farm Businesses in Washington State.” This is the seventh edition of this guide, popularly known as “The Green Book.” For more than 30 years, WSDA has produced this invaluable resource for our state’s small and direct marketing farmers. Our goal is to help farmers understand the rules and regulations for direct marketing an endless range of crops, livestock, seed, nursery products, processed and prepared foods, body care products and beverages in Washington State. We also cover information on business licensing, financing, taxes, labor, and more.

We have two major goals with the Seventh Edition of the “Handbook for Small and Direct Marketing Farms.” One is to expand the content to cover new products grown by Washington’s innovative farmers and the second is to make the format more user-friendly and accessible. You will find every page of the book numbered from 1-174 as well as an index at the back of the resource to easily find key words in this expanded edition. New information is in direct response to the frequently asked questions we get from farmers around the state.  Continue reading