Farm & Ag Assistance
Farm Planning & assistance to agricultural producers are core services that Whidbey Island Conservation District staff provide. You needn't be a commercial operation to have a farm planner provide assistance to you - many of Whidbey Island's small rural acreage landowners are our primary clients. In WICD's farm planning and agricultural assistance process, our staff can provide you with a wide range of resources and expertise. We can provide phone consultation, resource handouts, site visits to your property, and even help you develop a farm plan. WICD's farm planners work closely with you to identify your land use goals and objectives as it pertains to agricultural productivity and natural resource use efficiency. This technical service is provided to you at no-cost and is non-regulatory and without obligation.
Why work with WICD's farm planning staff? There are many benefits to implementing conservation best management practices identified through the conservation planning process with one of our farm planners. Some benefits are more tangible than others - like less mud, healthier livestock, and increased crop productivity - but there are also the benefits that are more long-term, like less feed for your livestock that has to be purchased, fewer weeds to manage in your fields, and less time spent on chores. To learn more about an overview of the farm planning process, check out our one-page farm plan overview and give us a call at (888) 678-4922 to discuss how we can best help you.
Additional Resources for Whidbey's Rural Landowners & Farmers
Whidbey Island Conservation District staff also provide support for farm product marketing and community building. Learn more about the Whidbey Island Growers Association, Whidbey Island Grown brand rebuild, and additional partnerships WICD is strengthening in agriculture on the island by visiting the Agricultural Community page.
Whidbey Island Conservation District staff also is working to transition the next farming generation. If you are a beginning farmer looking for land to own or lease, or a farmland owner seeking a farmer to manage your land or a farmer nearing retirement looking for guidance on transition management of your business, be sure to check out the Farmers-to-Farmland page for assistance.
Click a Tab Below for More Resources:
TOP Farm planning RESOURCES
Top Farm Planning
WICD farm planners are available to assist you in implementing conservation planning on your farm or rural property. Take a look at some of our top farm-focused resources below, organized by topic. Not finding what you're looking for? Feel free to give our office a call and ask to speak with one of our farm planners at (888) 678-4922 for tailored resources and assistance.
Getting Started on Your Farm
Soil Testing & Soil Building
Pasture Management & Grazing Systems
Cover Cropping & Crop Rotation
Mud & Manure Management
Insect Management & Pollinators
Irrigation & Water Management
Weather Data & Planning
Renewable Energy Programs & Resources for Farms
WICD farm planners are available to help assist you in the planning and implementation of conservation measures for your horse farm. Check out our top resources for horse owners below, and if you aren't seeing what you're looking for, give our office a call and ask to speak with one of our farm planners at (888) 678-4922 for tailored resources and assistance.
Getting Started on Your Property
Mud & Manure Management
Livestock Health & Wellness
State & FEderal Agricultural Assistance Programs
State & Federal Ag
There are many organizations of both regional, state, and federal designation that supply agricultural services and assistance to farmland owners. Peruse the list below to learn more about each organization and its benefits to you as an agricultural producer and farmland owner.
United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resource Conservation Service is a federal agency with field offices located throughout Washington state to assist in voluntary conservation on rural lands. NRCS offers voluntary programs to eligible landowners and agricultural producers to provide financial and technical assistance to help manage natural resources in a sustainable manner. Through these programs, the agency approves contracts to provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns or opportunities to help save energy, improve soil, water, plant, air, animal and related resources on agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest land. Below are a sampling of the financial assistance programs available to rural landowners on Whidbey Island. Click on the link for each program to learn more, or subscribe to receive financial assistance updates directly to your email by visiting here.
Financial Assistance to Rural Landowners
Office Phone: (360) 428-7684
Office Address: 2021 E. College Way, Suite 214, Mt. Vernon, WA 98273
The Washington State Farm Service Agency serves the agricultural community through 25 county USDA service centers and one state office, located in Spokane. The Washington FSA State Committee and locally-elected county committees provide producer input to federal farm programs. FSA helps to ensure a stable food supply for the nation by supporting American farmers. This is accomplished through the implementation of farm programs authorized by Congress. The programs currently carried out in Washington State are categorized under: Conservation, Disaster Assistance, Price Support, Farm Loans, and Energy Programs. To learn more about the FSA's services, visit the Washington State Farm Service Agency website.
USDA's Rural Development Office is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. The office offers loans, grants, and loan guarantees to help create jobs and support economic development and essential services, and supports loans to businesses through banks, credit unions, and community-managed lending pools. Additionally, technical assistance is offered through the office to help agricultural producers and cooperatives get started and improve operations effectiveness.
To learn more, visit the USDA Washington State Rural Development office website.
The Office of Farmland Preservation (OFP), a program within the Washington State Conservation Commission, works to address the rapid loss of working farm and forest lands in our state. They do this through:
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has been serving the state's agriculture community and the public for more than 100 years. The mission is: Through service, regulation, and advocacy, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) supports the viability and vitality of agriculture while protecting consumers, public health, and the environment. The nature of WSDA's work falls into three categories:
Did you know that Puget Sound Energy (PSE) offers free energy upgrades for your farm and agricultural business? If you are looking to cut your energy bills, you should consider visiting PSE's website to learn about the services available at-no-cost to you at www.pse.com/sbdi.
Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA AMS) - The Agricultural Marketing Service is an agency within the United States Department of Agriculture and has programs in five commodity areas: cotton and tobacco, dairy, fruit and vegetation, livestock and seed, and poultry. These programs provide testing, standardization, grading and market news services for those commodities, and oversee marketing agreements and orders, administer research and promotion programs, and purchase commodities for federal food programs. Visit the AMS website.
ATTRA National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA is a program developed and managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). NCAT is a private nonprofit organization, founded in 1976, which manages a series of projects that promote self-reliance and sustainable lifestyles through wise use of appropriate technology. Its programs deal with sustainable and renewable energy, energy conservation, resource-efficient housing, sustainable community development, and sustainable agriculture. Check our ATTRA's National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website.
Better Ground -Better Ground is about taking small stewardship actions at home and in our communities to conserve land, water, forests, wildlife, and related natural resources. "Better Ground" is an effort to increase conservation outcomes in the Puget Sound region and to enroll more citizens in conservation efforts. It's a collective initiative of your regional Puget Sound Conservation Districts, a group of 12 trusted agencies who help you find solutions for your backyard, farm, forest, or property within your community - and all for free! Visit the Better Ground website.
Farmers.gov - Farmers.gov provides farmers, ranchers, private foresters, and agricultural producers with online self-service applications, educational materials, engagement opportunities, and business tools to increase efficiency and productivity while preserving and fostering long-held traditional relationships between local USDA offices and producers. Visit the Farmers.gov website.
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) -
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities. NSAC’s vision of agriculture is one where a safe, nutritious, ample, and affordable food supply is produced by a legion of family farmers who make a decent living pursuing their trade, while protecting the environment, and contributing to the strength and stability of their communities. There are some great resources for farmers on the NSAC Publications page.
Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) - Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education is a competitive research and outreach program that advances sustainable agriculture across the whole of American agriculture. SARE is administered through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and is run by four regional councils of producers, researchers, educators, and government representatives that set SARE policy and make grants. Successful SARE grantees are producers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, and educators engaged in projects that simultaneously address the three "P's" of sustainability:
Web Soil Survey (WSS) - Web Soil Survey provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. Operated by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), it provides access to the largest natural resource informatino system in the world. NRCS has soil maps and data available online for more than 95 percent of the nation's counties. The site is updated and maintained online as the single authoritative source of soil survey information. Visit the Web Soil Survey website.
WorkSource is a statewide partnership of state, local and nonprofit agencies that provides an array of employment and training services to job seekers and employers in Washington. Customers access services electronically through WorkSourceWA.com or through a network of more than 60 WorkSource centers, affiliates and connection sites. Here in Washington state, WorkSource helps thousands of farmworkers find jobs and connect with important community resources. To learn more, visit the WorkSourceWA Farmerworkers Resources page.