Nuts About Policy? Join PCAN   |   CSP Program Sign-up Deadline Nears
F2S Census Released  |  Conference Location Announcement
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group  |   March 2016
Nuts About Policy? 
Join PCAN--Policy Collaborative Action Network!
Since its inception, Southern SAWG has worked to bring the voice of southern agriculture to the national level and while the organization may be better known for our educational and training programs, policy work has always been on our plate. For many years, many volunteers, staff and board members have put in time and effort to ensure the voices of farmers in the south were represented on a national level. Southern SAWG has renewed its commitment to its policy work by officially rolling out its new arm; the Policy Collaborative Action Network (PCAN). The Policy Collaborative Action Network will assist farmers with engaging their elected officials and regulatory agencies in their immediate areas, identify organizations and resources throughout the south and strive to build a more cohesive southern voice to national organizations. Join us on April 26, 2016 at 7pm ET/6pm CT, the Policy Collaborative Action Network, for our first quarterly call. To receive a link to this call or find out more information, please email
March 31: CSP Sign-up Deadline
Conservation Stewardship Program 
Sign-up Deadline is Approaching!
Farmers have only until March 31 to start the process of signing up (or renewing in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
The Conservation Stewardship Program helps agricultural producers maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and adopt additional conservation activities to address priority resources concerns. Participants earn CSP payments for conservation performance -- the higher the performance, the higher the payment. 

A couple of highlights for this year:
  • In addition to the 10 million acres to be enrolled this year, there are more than 12 million acres that will expire if not renewed. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has put together a chart with exactly how many acres are expiring in each state
  • Also important for this year's sign-up is the addition of a new payment minimum of $1,500 for all successful applications. This is a major win that we have continuously advocated for, benefiting and incentivizing smaller acreage producers.
To find out more about the CSP, visit this site.
Updated Farm to School Census Released 
Nearly $800 Million Invested in Local Economies

The USDA surveyed over 18,000 school districts regarding farm to school activities and approximately 70% of those surveyed responded. Just click on your state for a summaryincluding the dollars invested locally. There's even a contest to nominate your favorite farm to school district to win a "ONE IN A MELON" award! Visit this USDA website to see national overview statistics and the census data collecting process.

Farm to School Works!
We Have a Winner!

We had 124 people go online to give feedback on our 2016 conference and enter the contest for a free 2017 conference registration. Through a blind drawing, we selected our winner. And the recipient is...
Penryn Craig, Craig's Creek Farm, in Prospect, Kentucky

Penryn started farming when she inherited 70 acres with 14 registered Shorthorn cattle from her parents. She couldn't bear to sell the place so she moved onto the property. Penryn attended a master cattleman program but was bothered by some of the conventional practices. So, she started studying sustainable agriculture practices. Today Penryn has 26 head of completely grass-fed cattle, teaches permaculture, and has just built a classroom/certified kitchen on the farm. She also operates a small food forest and market garden. Visit Craig's Creek Farm on Facebook.
Results of the Online Evaluation
First of all, thanks to all 124 of the attendees who completed the online evaluation. We really appreciate your input. 93% rated their conference experience as "excellent" or "good", with by far the majority rating it as "excellent". And 89% said you would attend a future Southern SAWG conference. Plus, 96% said you plan to use information you learned at this conference to improve your work in the coming year.

We want you to know we are paying attention to your comments and will try our best to make these improvements. We continue to strive to make this conference the best one you attend every year. We hope all our conference attendees feel inspired like this person did

"Many people attend conferences for their jobs, but few describe them as 'inspiring'. This group of people, presenters and attendees alike, are filled with passion for their work and are doing such good things, I could only describe my general experience as inspiring."
Free Webinar April 5: Transitioning to Organic Production
Presented by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Explore the challenges producers face when transitioning part or all of their operation to organic certification and learn from farmers that have 
successfully made the transition. Register here. 
The Rumors are True!

We are going back to Kentucky for our 2017 Conference!

Lexington will, once again, be the host city for our Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms conference. We hope to see you there!
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group | Email | Website