Friday, September 4, 2015

Show-Me Sheep and Goat Project II

University of Missouri – Extension, Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Farm Outreach Program, and the University of Central Missouri Biology and Agriculture Department are working together to host the Show-Me Sheep and Goat Project II.

“With the ability to have more profit potential than most other enterprises, sheep and goat producers sometimes have problems marketing their animals or products,” says Susan Jaster of the Lincoln University Innovative Small Farmers Outreach Program. If you want to raise sheep or goats for meat, milk or fiber, you can learn how to raise and manage them successfully from this series of classes. This four week program will allow participants the ability, in a hands-on environment, to learn how to manage sheep and goat operation as a business with profitability and the future in mind. It will also give participants a chance to learn from other producers that attend the class.

“This series of classes is the next series from the beginning class designed to focus more on production management and preventative care, Show-Me Sheep and Goat Project I.” says Nathanial Cahill, Ag Business Specialist of MU Extension. The sheep and goat industry is in a rapidly growing phase in the United States and the potential for producers to generate revenue is potentially endless. With the correct management practices and general knowledge increase, sheep and goat producers have the potential to get into a rather growthy market.

The Show-Me Sheep and Goat Project II course includes 4 evening classes on September
15th, 22nd, 29th, and October 6th. The classes will be held from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Johnson County Extension Center in Warrensburg, MO (135 W. Market, Warrensburg, MO 64093) along with a farm tour and hands-on class participation at the University of Central Missouri Mitchell
Street Farm (details given at first class).

The program includes a wide variety of educational topics all sheep and goat producers.
Topics to be covered will include: financial statements, FAMACHA scoring, fecal egg count testing, forage alternatives and ID, risk management, and many other topics including those specified by participants.

Class size is limited, so registration is required by September 11th. The cost of the program is $55 per person or $75 per couple/entity with certification, refreshments and materials provided. If participants need special accommodations because of a disability, or if you need materials in an alternative format, please inform at time of registration.

For registration and additional information, contact Nathanial Cahill University of

Missouri Agricultural Business Specialist at 660-747-3193.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

USDA Announces Conservation Incentives for Working Grass, Range and Pasture Lands

Beginning Sept. 1, farmers and ranchers can apply for financial assistance to help conserve working grasslands, rangeland and pastureland while maintaining the areas as livestock grazing lands.
The initiative is part of the voluntary Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a federally funded program that for 30 years has assisted agricultural producers with the cost of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees to improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and reduce loss of wildlife habitat. In return, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. CRP has helped farmers and ranchers prevent more than 8 billion tons of soil from eroding, reduce nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to cropland by 95 and 85 percent respectively, and even sequester 43 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, equal to taking 8 million cars off the road.
The CRP-Grasslands initiative will provide participants who establish long-term, resource-conserving covers with annual rental payments up to 75 percent of the grazing value of the land. Cost-share assistance also is available for up to 50 percent of the covers and other practices, such as cross fencing to support rotational grazing or improving pasture cover to benefit pollinators or other wildlife. Participants may still conduct common grazing practices, produce hay, mow, or harvest for seed production, conduct fire rehabilitation, and construct firebreaks and fences.
With the publication of the CRP regulation today, the Farm Service Agency will accept applications on an ongoing basis beginning Sept. 1, 2015, with those applications scored against published ranking criteria, and approved based on the competiveness of the offer. The ranking period will occur at least once per year and be announced at least 30 days prior to its start.  The end of the first ranking period will be Nov. 20, 2015.
To learn more about participating in CRP-Grasslands or SAFE, visit or consult with the local Farm Service Agency county office.  To locate a nearby Farm Service Agency office, visit   To learn more about the 30th anniversary of CRP, visit or follow on Twitter using #CRPis30. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hands-on Homesteading Workshop

University of Missouri Extension and Sustainable Ozarks Partnerships is offering a Hands-on Homesteading Workshop on September 19 at the ARK Community Center, 25625 Highway 17 in Waynesville, MO.

10 am to Noon (pick one to attend)
  • Aerobic Composting/Vermicomposting, Dr. Hwei-Ying Johnson, Lincoln University
  • Managing Water Needs for the Homestead, Bob Broz, Water Quality State Specialist, University of Missouri

12:30 – 1:15 pm – LunchKeynote: What’s Up with the Weather? Pat Guinan, State Climatologist, University of Missouri

1:30-3:30 pm (pick one to attend)
  • Introduction to High Tunnels, Patricia Barrett, MU Extension and Lessons from the Field, Wendi Lombardi, Falcon Ridge Farm
  • Introduction to Beekeeping, Charlotte Wiggins, Beekeeper/Master Gardener

Registration is $20 which includes lunch catered by Vidie’s Catering.  Pre-registration is required by September 11th.

For more information call 573-774-6177 or click here.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Midwestern Heritage Poultry Conference: A Day in Heritage Poultry Country

Acres USA magazine, Slow Foods – St. Louis, and the River Hills Poultry Alliance have worked together to offer the Midwestern Heritage Poultry Conference on September 12, 2015 in Silex MO.  Come attend and learn or exhibit/show and sell your poultry and small livestock.

Schedule of Events

7:00 am – The day opens with a farmers’ market and trade show featuring rare and heritage poultry and small stock, supplies and the opportunity to visit one-on-one with established breeders.

9:00 am – Welcome and Introductions with Acres USA staff, slow Foods – St. Louis, and North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.

10:00 am – Starting Right with Heritage Poultry, moderated by veteran poultry breeders

12:00 pm – Egg Show

12:30 pm – Breeder’s Round Table with Matt John, Shady Lane Hatcher, Kelly Klober, author, Allan Burgin, veteran breeder and Neal Gray, veteran breeder.  This session will include demonstrations on laying stock selection.

2:00 pm – A country auction will close out the events of the day.  All birds and animals must have appropriate health documentation and blood testing will be available on the rounds for Missouri birds.  All birds and animals must be healthy and correctly presented.


Admission is free for participants.  Donation jars will be available in the seminar sessions to help defray expenses.

Vendor admission is $10 for poultry row or farmers’ market slot.  Trade show exhibit spaces are $25 for outside space or $40 under a pavilion.

Grounds open at 5:30 am.  Parking is available around the City Park.  Vendors can arrive the night before with prior notice.  Food service is available on the grounds.

Preregistration can be completed by calling 636-697-3447 or 660-998-0445.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Integrating Local Food into Community Events Workshop

You’re invited to attend a workshop about Integrating Local Food into Community Events.  Learn how to bring local farmers, citizens and small business owners together with a food festival in your community.  The workshop will take place on Friday, August 28th, 2015 from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm at The Art House, 531 Court Street Fulton, MO.  Speakers include:

8:30 - 8:45: Coffee, Tea, and Pastries

8:45 - 9:15: Autumn on the Bricks, Brian Mahieu and Jerrie Bell with Autumn On the Bricks, Fulton

9:15 - 9:45: Morels and Microbrews, Garry Vaught with Morels and Microbrews Festival, Fulton

9:45 - 10:15 Introductions

10:15 - 10:30: Break

10:30 - 11:00: Specialty Crops Program, Steve Johnson

11:00 - 11:30: Taste of Osage County, Arlen and Kay Schwinke with Taste of Osage County, Linn

11:30 - 11:50: Local Food from the Ground Up, Laura Carter

11:55 - 12:15: Why Local?, Nancy Holloway

12:15 - 1:00: Lunch, catered by Garry Vaught - Beks

Registration is $10 and includes locally sourced breakfast and lunch catered by Beks Restaurant, Fulton.  To register please call Steve at 573-256-2602 or

Sponsored by: Missouri River Communities Network; Missouri River Bluffs Association; The Art House; Missouri Farmers Market Association; and the Missouri Department of Agriculture

Monday, August 24, 2015

Farm Storage Facility Loan Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Storage Facility Loan Program (FSFL) provides low-interest financing for producers to build or upgrade farm storage and handling facilities. FSA is authorized to implement the program through the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).

The maximum loan amount is $500,000 per loan request. Loan terms are 7, 10 or 12 years depending on the amount of the loan. Each applicant will be charged a nonrefundable $100 application fee.

Eligible Commodities
The following commodities are eligible:
·         Corn, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, oats, peanuts, wheat, barley, or minor oilseeds harvested as whole grain;
·         Corn, grain sorghum, wheat, oats or barley harvested as other-than-whole grain;
·         Other grains (triticale, speltz, and buckwheat);
·         Pulse crops (lentils, chickpeas and dry peas);
·         Hay;
·         Honey;
·         Renewable biomass;
·         Fruits (includes nuts) and vegetables - cold storage facilities;
·         Floriculture
·         Hops;
·         Maple sap;
·         Milk;
·         Cheese;
·         Butter;
·         Yogurt;
·         Eggs;
·         Meat/poultry (unprocessed);
·         Rye and;
·         Aquaculture (excluding systems that maintain live animals through uptake and discharge of water).

Environmental Evaluation Requirements
These loans must be approved by the local FSA state or county committee before any site preparation and/or construction can be started.

All loan requests are subject to an environmental evaluation. Accepting delivery of equipment, starting any site preparation, or construction before loan approval, may impede the successful completion of an environmental evaluation and may adversely affect loan eligibility.

Eligible Facilities and Upgrades
The following types of facilities and upgrades are eligible and must have a useful life of at least 15 years:

·         New conventional cribs or bins;
·         New oxygen-limiting structures and remanufactured oxygen-limiting structures;
·         New flat-type storage structures;
·         New electrical equipment and handling equipment, excluding the installation of electrical service to the electrical meter;
·         New safety equipment, such as interior and exterior ladders and lighting;
·         New equipment to improve, maintain or monitor the quality of stored grain;
·         New concrete foundations, aprons, pits, and pads, including site preparation, off-farm labor and material, essential to the proper operation of the grain storage and handling equipment;
·         Renovation of existing farm storage facilities, under certain circumstances, if the renovation is for maintaining or replacing items;
·         New permanently affixed grain handling and grain drying equipment determined by CCC to be needed and essential to the proper operation of a grain storage system (with or without a loan for the storage facility);
·         New structures that are bunker-type, horizontal or open silo structures, with at least two concrete walls and a concrete floor;
·         New structures suitable for storing hay built according to acceptable design guidelines;
·         New structures suitable for storing renewable biomass;
·         New bulk tanks for storing milk;
·         New cold storage buildings, including prefabricated buildings that are suitable for storing fruits and vegetables. Also may include permanently affixed cooling, circulating and monitoring equipment and electrical equipment including labor and materials for installation of lights, motors and wiring integral to the proper operation of a cold storage facility.

Provisions for fruits and vegetables include the following:
-brush polishers
-bulk bin tippers
-case palletizers
-cement flooring
-circulation fans
-cold dip tanks
-drying tunnels
-electrical equipment
-food safety-related equipment
-fruit/vegetable conveyors fruit and/or vegetable hoppers
-ice machines
-quality graders
-refrigeration units or systems
-roller creepfeeders    
-roller spray units
-safety equipment meeting Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements
-sorting bins and/or tables
-weight graders

·         Scales, portable equipment, used bins and used equipment are not eligible for financing.
·         Facilities built for commercial purposes and not for the sole use of the borrower(s) are not eligible for financing.

Eligibility Requirements
An eligible borrower is any person who is a landowner, landlord, leaseholder, tenant or sharecropper. Contact an FSA office for more details.

Where to File the Application
Loan applications should be filed in the administrative FSA office that maintains the farm's records.

More Information

For more information about Farm Storage Facility Loans, visit, or contact your local FSA office. To find your local FSA office, visit
(photo courtesy of

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Crop Insurance Options for Fruit and Vegetable Producers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the expansion of crop insurance to provide additional options for fruit and nut producers. The Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) and the Actual Production History (APH) Yield Exclusion are now available to cover fresh fruit and nuts in select counties beginning with the 2016 crop year.

"USDA remains committed to making new crop insurance options outlined in the 2014 Farm Bill available to as many types of producers as possible. Providing these options for our producers of fresh fruit and nuts gives them the stronger safety net they need to continue farming, even after particularly bad years," said Secretary Vilsack. "USDA will continue to work toward implementing risk management provisions from the Farm Bill as quickly as possible so that producers can plan for the future and protect their businesses."

SCO will now be available in select counties for almonds, apples, blueberries, grapes, peaches, potatoes, prunes, safflower, tomatoes, and walnuts for the 2016 crop year. Grapefruit, lemons, mandarins/tangerines, oranges, and tangelos will be eligible for coverage beginning with the 2017 crop year. This is in addition to the alfalfa seed, canola, cultivated wild rice, dry peas, forage production, grass seed, mint, oats, onions, and rye that were recently made available for 2016 as well. Currently, SCO covers corn, cotton, cottonseed, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, spring barley, spring wheat, and winter wheat in selected counties.

SCO is an area-based policy endorsement that can be purchased to supplement an underlying crop insurance policy. It covers a portion of losses not covered by the same crop's underlying policy. USDA's Risk Management Agency, which administers the federal crop insurance program, has posted information on the expanded program, including where SCO is available by crop and county. Visit to learn more.

Producers of apples, blueberries, grapes, peaches, potatoes, prunes, safflower, tomatoes, and walnuts in select counties will have the option to elect the APH Yield Exclusion for the 2016 crop year. Producers of grapefruit, lemons, mandarins/tangerines, oranges, and tangelos will have the option to elect the APH Yield Exclusion for the 2017 crop year. Alfalfa seed, cultivated wild rice, dry peas, forage production, oats, onions, rye and winter wheat are also eligible in certain counties beginning with the 2016 crop year. These are in addition to barley, canola, corn, cotton, grain sorghum, peanuts, popcorn, rice, soybeans, sunflowers and spring wheat, which were offered beginning in the 2015 crop year.

The APH Yield Exclusion allows farmers, with qualifying crops in eligible counties, to exclude low yields in exceptionally bad years (such as a year in which a natural disaster or other extreme weather occurs) from their production history when calculating yields used to establish their crop insurance coverage. Crop years are eligible when the average per planted acreage yield for the county was at least 50 percent below the simple average for the previous 10 consecutive crop years. It will allow eligible producers to receive a higher approved yield on their insurance policies through the federal crop insurance program.

Producers also have access to new online tools designed to help them determine the options that work best for their operations. The Crop Insurance Decision Tool and the SCO/APH Yield Exclusion mapping tool, available online, provide farmers with information on APH Yield Exclusion and SCO eligible crops, crop years, and counties where they may elect the programs. This user-friendly resource can help producers quickly explore and understand available coverage options. Users will get general estimates to help them make purchasing decisions. Producers should consult their crop insurance agent for detailed information, sales closing dates and an actual premium quote.

A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the Risk Management Agency's agent locator. Growers can use the agency's cost estimator to get a premium amount estimate of their insurance needs online. Visit the Risk Management Agency at to learn more about SCO and APH Yield Exclusion.

APH Yield Exclusion and SCO are made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing, and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit