Thursday, December 18, 2014

Beginning Beekeeping Workshop

The Jefferson County Beekeepers Association (JCBA) is pleased to announce a one day beginning beekeeping class.  The class will be taught by members of the JCBA and will focus on keeping bees in Jefferson County.  The content of the class will be on the basics of bee keeping including equipment, purchasing bees, set up and care of your colonies the first year. 

Date: January 17, 2015

Time: 8 am to 4 pm

Location:  University of Missouri Extension, 301 Third St, Hillsboro, MO

Cost:  $45 for the first family member and $10 per person for any additional family member.

To register call 636-797-5391.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Scholarships Available to Attend Great Plains Growers Conference Jan. 8th to 10th, 2015

Missouri Vegetable Growers Association (MVGA) is again supporting scholarships to attend the Great Plains Growers Conference. MVGA will support 10. The conference is held annually in St. Joseph, Mo. In 2015, the conference will be held Thursday January 8th – Saturday January 10th.

The conference begins with 6 workshops offered all day on Thursday, followed by the concurrent sessions all day Friday (5 workshops) and Saturday (6 workshops). Thursday’s workshops cost $55 if registered by December 31st and Friday & Saturday is $45 also if registered by December 31st per day (per person); lunch is included. Conference information is available to view at  Past conference information is also posted there.

Scholarships are available for $175.00 per farm or family to cover the cost to attend two days at the conference and one night’s lodging. Only Missouri growers who have not previously attended this conference are eligible. Both MVGA members and non-members are eligible.

Scholarships will be awarded on a first come basis, as determined by the USPS postmark day. There is no need to Fed Ex or Express mail the form.

Recipients must attend the Friday afternoon MVGA meeting where they will be presented with a check and recognized in front of the attending members. The check will be made out to the family or the business name indicated.

Copy and paste into a word document the following information and mail to the address below:

I _______________________ attest that I have never attended the Great Plains Vegetable
(Sign name)
Growers Conference in the past. Furthermore, I confirm that I am a commercial grower and if I receive this scholarship, I will attend the conference, including attending the MVGA meeting on Friday afternoon (Jan. 9th at 4:30 PM). I understand that at this meeting I will receive a check for $175, and failure to attend this meeting will result the loss of this scholarship. The scholarship check should be made out to

_______________________________________ ___________
City                                                                         Zip Code

Please return the form to:
Morgan County MU Extension Center
Debbie Klindworth
100 E Newton St., 4th Floor
Versailles, MO 65084

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Grow Your Farm

Have you been thinking about making your hobby vegetable garden into a part-time business?  Are you considering raising goats?  Or perhaps you are a full time farmer and want to add a pumpkin enterprise to your corn and soybean operation.   If you ever thought about starting a farming operation, then the Grow Your Farm Program is for you.  The Grow Your Farm program will connect you with successful farm operators and business experts.  The program will be offered at the University of Missouri office, 301 3rd St, Hillsboro, starting at 6:30 pm on January 20th and running on eight consecutive Tuesdays.  The course also includes two Saturday farm tours in the area.

Grow Your Farm is a business planning course.  Most sessions will focus on business planning and the process of selecting enterprises that can be profitable, based on an individual’s resources and skills.  Most sessions will have farmer presenters that will share their experiences, challenges, and successes.  Some of the presenters’ operations include selling produce, eggs, meat, flowers, registered beef cattle, goats, peppers, pork, chicken, bedding plants, small fruits, organic production, and value added products.  An emphasis will be placed on marketing, with presentations by successful farm marketers. 

Class size will be limited to 15 operations with two members from each farming operation.   The registration fee is $250 and provides each operation with one set of course materials. Registration must be received by January 16th and is on a first come, first served basis.  The Grow Your Farm Course is for everyone, both those beginning or considering a farming enterprise as well as established farmers that are considering changing their operations.  It is applicable to small part time farms and to larger commercial farms.

For more information about program contact Debi Kelly, Horticulture/Local Foods Specialist, at 636-797-5391. You can also find the program brochure with the registration form at the Jefferson County Extension Center

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How Much Hay Do You Waste?

It’s that time of year when Missouri beef producers start feeding hay. It is no secret that winter feeding costs have risen drastically over the last decade and it is estimated that forage waste during winter feeding costs Missouri beef producers in excess of $60 million annually. Dr. Justin Sexten, MU State Extension Beef Nutrition Specialist, and Wesley Moore, MU Animal Science Graduate Student, conducted an experiment to see how hay feeder design affected hay waste. They looked at three different feeder designs (open, sheeted, cone) that are pictured to the right. Their findings are below:

Percentage Hay Waste by Feeder Design
                                            Open    Sheeted     Cone
Fescue Hay                           19.2          13.6         8.9
Alfafla Haylage                      7.0            4.9         6.5
Corn Stover                          38.7          32.0       13.6
Ammoniated Corn Stover    37.9          20.6       13.6


Monday, December 8, 2014

Poultry Basics Tip Sheet

Chickens are a great addition to any farm or backyard. They can help increase your soil fertility, and even help with controlling pests, while also providing an income stream through the sale of meat and eggs. This tip sheet includes some helpful points on choosing chicken breeds, caring for your flock, and raising a flock in the city.

Key Questions before Getting Started
  • What are the regulations in your community? Many towns have ordinances against backyard flocks. Be sure to call your zoning office to find out what the rules are for your community. In addition, the website has a searchable database of city codes. Many communities allow chickens but may have restrictions, such as minimum yard sizes and no roosters.
  • Do you have a safe place for your chickens? It is important to have a fenced yard to prevent dogs and cats from coming into your yard and killing your chickens. It is also important to have a place for them to be safe during the night—a small coop with roosts is ideal.
  • Do you have the resources to care for your flock? Chicken feed is expensive. It is also important to have a person that is able to look in on your flock and feed and water them regularly.
Raising a Flock in the City
Raising flocks in the city is becoming increasingly popular. You get fresh eggs, you’re more self-sufficient, and you get a small taste of country living. Other reasons for keeping chickens in your backyard include pest control and fertilizer for your garden, a use for your otherwise wasted kitchen scraps, and educational components for kids and even adults to learn about where food comes from.

Chickens are a great addition to any farm or backyard. They can help increase your soil fertility, and even help with controlling pests, while also providing an income stream through the sale of meat and eggs. This tip sheet includes some helpful points on choosing chicken breeds, caring for your flock, and raising a flock in the city.

Chicken Breeds
There are several breeds of chicken that are recommended for egg laying and some for both egg laying and meat production.  Here are brief descriptions of the breeds we are currently raising on our farm (source: McMurray Hatchery):
  • Rhode Island Red: This dual-purpose breed is known for being a very hardy bird. This breed is both cold- and heat-tolerant.  At maturity, the pullets will weigh around six and a half pounds and lay large, brown eggs.
  • Pearl-White Leghorn: This breed is suggested for the highest quality, uniform production of eggs in places with a small amount of space. The pullets weigh around four pounds at maturity and should start laying at four and a half to five months of age.  Eggs produced by these chickens will be large and white.
  • Red Star: These chickens will weigh six pounds at maturity and will lay large, brown eggs. This breed is a sex-link chicken.  This means at the time of hatching, these chickens can be sexed by their color.
  • Black Star: This is a sex-link chicken just like the Red Star. These chickens will also reach around six pounds at maturity and lay large, brown eggs.
Basic Chick Care
  • Purchase chick starter feed, heat lamp, feeders, and waterer.
  • Construct a brooder with available materials. A brooder is some type of heated enclosure for raising baby chicks. The goal is to have a brooder that will keep the chicks warm, safe from predators, and protected from drafts. You can learn more about a few types of brooders and the materials needed for them at
  • When constructing a brooder for chicks, it is ideal for the corners to be rounded. When it gets cold, chicks tend to huddle together and smothering of chicks can occur.
  • If using the brooder type that calls for a heat lamp, keep the temperature under the heat lamp at 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit for the first week. After this, drop the temperature five degrees each week.
  • Depending on the breed and the time of year, the chicks should be ready to move out of the brooder within four to five weeks.
Basic Chicken Care
  • Chickens will need a coop to roost in at night and a nesting box to lay their eggs in.
  • Chicken food can be purchased at a feed store. Chickens are excellent at foraging, but they still need to be fed prepared food on a regular schedule.
  • Chickens require grit to aid in the digestion of food. This can be achieved naturally by consuming small rocks or course sand, or you can supplement grit, such as oyster shell, to the chickens’ diet. Take into account where the flock will be living when deciding how grit will be provided.
  • Fresh water is essential and must be provided at all times.
Mobile or Permanent Pen?
It is up to you to decide whether you want a mobile or permanent pen for your chickens. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, such as the following:
  • Having a permanent pen will save you a little time as you will not have to move it every so often.
  • Chickens are beneficial to soil. However, if kept in the same place long enough they can destroy the vegetation.
  • Mobile pens allow the chickens to have fresh ground to scratch on every time you move the pen.
  • If you choose a mobile pen, you will need to create a system for how, where, and when you’re going to move it. This will take a bit of extra time.
Raising a chicken flock in urban areas is a great way to provide fresh eggs for your family and fertility for your soil. It is important to know your local ordinances before your buy chickens and to be sure you have the time and resources to care for and manage your flock.

For more information on poultry, click here.
(story and photo by NCAT)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Midwest Tree Fruit Spray Guide and Midwest Small Fruit and Grape Spray Guide Survey of Usage and Value

Fruit growers in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wisconsin are asked to participate in an online survey to determine the usage and value of the Midwest Tree Fruit Spray Guide and the Midwest Small Fruit and Grape Spray Guide.  Please use this link to access and complete the survey:
This survey is completely voluntary and anonymous and should take about 15 minutes.  You may skip questions you are not comfortable answering.  Your responses will not be linked to you by name; all data will be combined and used in summary form only.  Results of the survey will be used to quantify the value of the spray guides and determine the best way to deliver this information in the future.  If you have questions, please contact Nicole Ward Gauthier, a plant pathologist who contributes content to these publications every year, at the University of Kentucky ... 859-323-1961.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Creating Economic Development through Local Food Systems Workshop

There is still time to register for the Creating Economic Development through Local Food Systems Workshop.  Below is the agenda.  

For any questions contact Debi Kelly at 636-797-5391. Registration is $20.  RSVP by Dec 9th to guarantee a local foods lunch.

Creating Economic Development 
through Local Food Systems
Friday, December 12, 2014
Kress Farm and Garden Preserve, Hillsboro, MO


9:00 am – Welcome
Debi Kelly, University of Missouri Extension, Jefferson County

9:10 am – Growing Local Food Systems: Benefits, Challenges and Opportunities in Emerging Local Food Networks
Dr. Mary Hendrickson, University of Missouri

10:15 am – Community Food Processing Facilities
Debi Kelly, University of Missouri Extension, Jefferson County

10:45 am – Break

11:00 am – Building a Curriculum in Sustainable Food Systems and Entrepreneurship
Dr. Millie Mattfeldt-Beman and Chef Steve Jenkins, Saint Louis University Dept of Nutrition and Dietetics

12:00 pm – Local Food Lunch

12:45 pm –Meat Food Hub: What Does it Take to Create One?
Todd Geisert, Geisert Farm

1:15 pm – Funding Opportunities for Local Food Systems
Dr. Van Ayers, University of Missouri Extension, Cape Girardeau County

2:00 pm – Kansas City Food Hub Feasibility Study
                        Katie Nixon, Small Farm Specialist, Lincoln University

2:45 pm – Round Table Discussions
Tish Johnson, University of Missouri Extension, Boone County
3:30 pm – Report Out from Round Table Discussions

4:00 pm – Adjourn