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Two Revolutionary Tools for Beginning Farmers

A tool to help design business models which creditors will fund, and another for creating a comprehensive food safety plan for farms.


Time and time again we hear that amongst the biggest hurdles for beginning farmers are designing a business model which creditors will fund, and creating a comprehensive food safety plan for their farm. Each of the online tools presented on this webinar addresses one of those hurdles.

Farm Credit Council and the National Good Food Network have teamed up to create a website designed to illustrate the myriad ways that farmers have been successful in the "The Field Guide to the New American Foodshed." Many different routes into many different markets are explained, and then illustrated with case studies of actual farms and other businesses using each model. Designed for farmers and those who might provide credit to farmers, this tool helps people to "speak the same language.", with support from the Wallace Center, has developed an on-farm food safety tool. By answering a series of questions about their operations, farmers can have this website generate all of the documentation and forms for a complete food safety plan. This is the first tool of its kind.

Learn about these amazing new tools, their background and get a sense for how they start to change the landscape for a regional food system.

The Tools




Download the slides for this presentation (PDF)

Presenter Bios

Gary Matteson works for the Farm Credit Council in Washington, DC, which is the trade organization of the Farm Credit System.  Farm Credit is a nationwide network of borrower-owned lending institutions, providing credit for the nation’s farmers and ranchers.

As the Vice President for Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach, Gary seeks to identify and meet the needs of the next generation of farmers and ranchers as a part of Farm Credit’s enduring mission of service to agriculture and rural America.  Farm Credit provided some $7.7 billion to young farmers, $12 billion for beginning farmers, and $14.2 billion in financing for small farmers in 2008.

Until recently Gary was a small farmer operating a wholesale greenhouse business in New Hampshire, including raising cattle for the local freezer beef market.  He holds bachelor’s degrees in agronomy and biology from the University of Connecticut.

Jim Slama is founder and president of, which encourages the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food and goods. expands the market for local farmers and food producers, by supporting trade buyers to purchase local food, training farmers, advancing the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement, and playing an integral role in public policy in the state and region. He created the FamilyFarmed EXPO Chicago and Good Food Festival and Conference Santa Monica, which are leading gatherings to advance the Good Food Movement with trade shows, policy summits, financing conferences, and food festivals. Jim also played a key role in developing the Illinois Local Food Farms and Jobs Act, which is helping to facilitate local food systems in the state. Jim works with many of the top trade buyers for local food including Whole Foods Market, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Goodness Greeness, Chartwells Thompson Hospitality (Chicago Public Schools), Compass Group, Lettuce Entertain You, SYSCO, and more. Jim is the editor of Wholesale Success: A Farmers Guide to Selling, Post Harvest Handling, and Packing Produce. The manual gives small to mid-size growers technical assistance to help them develop the skills to sell produce into wholesale markets and over 2000 farmers are using it in their operations. Jim has also helped launch three operating produce aggregation facilities in 2011, and each of these food hubs is working with farmers to sell product to wholesale buyers.  In addition, has created the On-Farm Food Safety Project, which worked with the FDA, USDA, food buyers, and advocates for small to mid-size growers to create an online tool giving farmers the ability to create a customized food safety plan. (

Will Daniels has been with Earthbound Farm since 1999. He has helped the company grow from a small, regional salad producer to the nation’s largest grower, packer and shipper of organic produce. As Earthbound Farm’s Senior Vice President of Operations and Organic Integrity, Daniels is responsible for operations (manufacturing, distribution, facilities), food safety, food quality and the company’s organic integrity program.

As the leader of Earthbound Farm’s industry-leading food safety program, Will is a sought-after speaker and has addressed key issues in food safety in the produce industry at meetings of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Restaurant Association, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the International Association for Food Protection. He has also been featured in a variety of national news stories on food safety with media such as The New York Times, and ABC News’s Good Morning America; and is the author of a chapter, “Effectively Managing through a Crisis,” in the book Microbial Safety of Fresh Produce, published by Wiley in 2009.

An active leader in the organic industry, Will serves on a variety of boards and technical committees. He currently serves on:
•    The board of directors of California Certified Organic Farmers, recently as President.
•    The board of directors for the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement.
•    The editorial advisory board for Organic Processing magazine.
•    Numerous technical committees with California’s and Arizona’s Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, the United Fresh Produce Association, the UC Davis Center for Produce Safety and the Organic Trade Association.

Prior to working with Earthbound Farm, Will had his own food service consulting company where he worked on projects in menu revision, nutrition and food safety. He graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a bachelor of science in nutrition. In his free time, Daniels likes to cook — he makes a mean barbecue sauce — and enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters.



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