Thursday, January 28, 2010

Only two days remaining for Value-Added grants

DEADLINE is tomorrow, January 29 @ 5pm

The Guidelines and Application format are at:

The Missouri Value-Added Grant Program provides grants for projects that add value to Missouri agricultural products and aid the economy of a rural community. Grant applications will be considered for value-added agricultural business concepts that:
• Lead to and result in development, processing and marketing of new or expanded uses or technologies for agricultural products; and
• Foster agricultural economic development in Missouri’s rural communities.
Applications will be considered for expenses related to the creation, development and operation of a value-added agricultural business including:
• Feasibility studies,
• Marketing studies,
• Legal assistance,
• Marketing plans,
• Business plans,
• Prospectus development for cooperatives, and
• Operational consulting

Posted by Ken Schneeberger

Organic farmers can get conservation financial assistance in 2010

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will be repeating a conservation assistance program first offered for organic farmers in 2009. This assistance comes under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a program that has provided roughly $20 million a year in recent years for financial assistance to Missouri farmers. EQIP payments support a wide variety of conservation-related practices on either a cost share basis or a per acre payment, depending on the particular practice. Dozens of different practices are eligible for crops, livestock, and agroforestry. Farmers or land owners can apply through their local NRCS office for EQIP funds. Generally an application the includes a combination of conservation practices is more likely to be funded than requesting support for a single practice, such as planting cover crops.

The organic portion of the EQIP program is intended to particularly support farmers who are already certified organic or who are transitioning to organic. A specific amount of funds is likely to be set aside in each state just for organic practices. Also, a higher level of cost share is provided, expected to be 75% for any conservation practice; the slight exception will be historically- underserved program participants, who can receive a 90% cost share.

This is a great program for anyone involved in organic agriculture or transitioning to organic to take a look at. For example, farmers can receive a substantial payment per acre for planting cover crop seed, or might be able to receive partial support for pasture improvements or manure management. More details are expected to be on the Missouri NRCS website by about mid-February.

A total of $50 million in organic EQIP funds will be available nationally, and Missouri will have a set portion of those funds. The time window to apply for these funds will probably be short - late February and early March. The deadline may be as early as March 12 to apply or soon thereafter (a definite deadline will be announced later in February). Interested producers should plan to contact their local NRCS about this program in the next few weeks to learn about what is involved in an application. Filing an application does not guarantee funds, but a high percentage of applicants who file for payments are likely to receive them, provided the application is done appropriately.

Submitted by Rob Myers

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

The Missouri Department of Agriculture is seeking grant applications from organizations or groups of individuals interested in solely enhancing the competitiveness of the state's specialty crop industry. Grant applications are due on March 31, 2010. Applications will be considered on a competitive basis and ranked by a peer review panel. Selected applications will be included in the Missouri specialty crop state plan and reviewed and approved by the USDA.

Applications for grant funds should show how the project potentially impacts and produces measurable outcomes for the specialty crop industry and/or the public rather than a single organization, institution, or individual. Grant funds will not be awarded for projects that solely benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual. Single organizations, institutions, and individuals are encouraged to participate as project partners. Grant funds may not be used for administrative overhead.

Applicants must be a legal entity and have the legal capacity to contract. Applicants also are strongly encouraged to provide a cash match for their projects.

Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and nursery crops, including floriculture. Some examples of enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops are research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, food safety and security, plant health, education, "buy local" programs, addressing environmental concerns and developing cooperatives. For more information about the specialty crop block grant program, including a current list of eligible crops, visit USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service.

For additional program information, please contact:

Tony Anderson (573) 751-2969 or
Bart Hawcroft (573)-526-6666 or
Sarah Gehring (573)522-9213 or

MDA Grant Application Information

FY 2010 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Application Manual and sample grant.

Application due March 31, 2010

Specialty Crop Block Grant Recipients for Fiscal Year 2009
Specialty Crop Block Grant Recipients for Fiscal Year 2010

Additional Resources

As a guide for unallowable and allowable costs, the MDA provides the following link to the USDA, AMS Specialty Crop Unallowable and Allowable Costs for State Governments. The MDA disallows specialty crop funds used for administrative overhead.
Specialty Crop Block Grant Allowable Costs
Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Logic Model

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Green Hills Farm Project Winter Seminar

The Green Hills Farm Project’s (GHFP) annual winter seminar is just this Saturday, Jan 30th. The GHFP is a lose knit group of like minded producers in north central Missouri who all focus on grass-based farming practices. They hold one winter seminar and about 6-8 farm walks throughout the season once the weather warms up. The farm walks take place at members' farm, are very informal and family oriented. What is great about the GHFP group is that all their activities are open to all and they share their information freely.

The theme of this year’s seminar is marketing of grass fed and “natural” farm products. Attendees need not be members of the Green Hills Farm Project — everybody is welcome. Cost will be real cheap, like $20 per family. It’s a family atmosphere. Bring a covered dish, and enjoy the day. Drinks are provided.

Kim Barker is a rancher in Northwest Oklahoma ( ); he has been associated with the Oklahoma Food Cooperative .

Blaine Hitzfield is with Seven Sons Meat Company in Roanoke, IN. Blaine’s family raises and markets grass-fed meat and eggs.

Date: January 30th
Location: Linneus Community Center, 103 W. Park Street, Linneus MO
Time: 9-10am – registration and coffee, 10 am – 3 pm - program
For more information call Doug at 660-425-4894.

Energize Missouri Agriculture Cost-Share Program

The Energize Missouri Agriculture Cost-Share Program is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Energy Center. It is offering up to $3 million in cost-share grants to agricultural operations statewide for agricultural energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy equipment. Funding is provided by the Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The grants will fund up to 75 percent of the cost of an energy saving project with a cap of $5,000. Some of the eligible projects include solar powered water systems such as pumps, panels, pipe, tanks or solar powered fencers; Global Positioning System (GPS) Guidance System for tractors, combines and sprayers and Irrigation improvements. To apply or receive more information, go to or contact your local Soil and Water District office. Information is also being delivered to many local farm supply stores. Applications can be sent to the Energy Center until April 20, 2010. All forms will be reviewed by a Technical Review Committee, and farm operators will be notified after April 20, 2010 if their projects are selected for funding. Contracts will be offered at that time.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tools for Marketing and Pricing Your Ag Products

The DeSoto Farmers’ Market in collaboration with the University of Missouri Extension office in Hillsboro, Missouri & the Missouri Foundation for Health are sponsoring four Grower Workshops. We have two left to present. All workshops are free.

All workshops are held at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church located at 1004 Rock Road in DeSoto. Time is 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Light refreshments are served.

Workshop #3 February 2, 2010
Tools for Marketing and Pricing Your Ag Products
Presented by Greg Tucker, SBTDC Director, University of Missouri Extension
For additional information contact Dean Willson at 636-797-5391

Workshop #4 March 2, 2010
Soil Testing and Plant Disease-Bring your Soil!
Presented by Dean Wilson, Agriculture & Rural Development Specialist, University of Missouri Extension
For additional information contact Dean Wilson at 636-797-5391


The DeSoto Farmers’ Market and the Jefferson County Health Department is sponsoring a Market Master Safe Serve Certification Class
February 4, 2010
Time: 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Location: St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church, 1004 Rock Road, DeSoto, Mo.
Please contact Debby at 636-586-4570 to register for this free class.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Workshop Exams Ways to Make High Tunnel Use Profitable

Feb. 8 Workshop Near Lamar …

High tunnels are low-cost, passive, solar greenhouses that typically do not use fossil fuels for heating or venting. But best of all, a high tunnel can be used to extend the crop production season for many fruit and vegetable crops.

A program designed to exam the profitable use of high tunnels will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, Feb. 8 at the farm of Melvin and Emma Hershberger at 585 NW 45th Lane, near Lamar. The program is sponsored by University of Missouri Extension and the Webb City Farmers’ Market.

“Tomatoes are often the crop of choice in high tunnels,” said Jay Chism, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “Early tomatoes will usually command a higher price in the spring. Many times, one crop of tomatoes can pay for a high tunnel.”

During the program, the Hershberger’s will describe their operation and provide information about high tunnel construction and operation. Tomato production will also be discussed.

Sanjun Gu, a State Vegetable Specialist from Lincoln University, will give a presentation covering the basics of high tunnel production.

University of Missouri Extension Horticulture Specialist, Patrick Byers, will be on hand to demonstrate how to use a backpack sprayer for vegetable production.

“It is critical that producers understand how to correctly apply pesticide, in vegetable production,” said Chism. “One calibration error could have a negative impact to a large portion of the fresh produce industry.”

Representatives from the Natural Resource Conservation Service will provide information about a federally funded program targeted at high tunnel certified organic producers.

To get to the Hershberger farm take Hwy. V west of 71, turn left (south) on 45th lane and go about 1.2 miles, the farm is on right (west).

For more information call the Barton County Extension office at (417) 682-3579.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Introduction to Poultry Workshop

Have you been thinking about having chickens on your land or a few guinea fowl or maybe even a duck or two and aren't really sure about it? Well the timing is just right, the Innovative Small Farm Outreach Program from Lincoln University is offering a one day workshop on the "Introduction to Poultry."

Topics to be included during the workshop include:
How do I know what is best for my poultry?
What in the heck is a chicken tractor?
How much feed should I give my birds?
Can I Sell meat and eggs?
Where will I find more information and resources about poultry?
Can poultry live in the city?
What is Heifer International?

The workshop will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2010 from 8:30 am – 2:00 pm at the Lafayette County Extension Center, 14 E. 19th St., Higginsville, MO. Registration is $10 per person or $15 per couple. Fee includes lunch. Space is limited. To register or for more information contact: Susan Jaster @ 816-589-4725 or

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Now is a good time to plan

Mid-winter and the wrapping up of year-end books is a good time for farm families to take time for business planning. We generally characterize farm management as having three big questions:
1. Where are we?
2. Where do we want to be?
3. How can we best get there?

Question 1. Where are we?, is aimed at determining the current position of the farm, from a business competitiveness standpoint. What is the financial position of the business? Is it profitable? What about solvency, liquidity and financial efficiency? Are the financial, business and personal goals that have been set out being met? Financial analysis using balance sheets and income statements is necessary here. SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats can help visualize where the business now stands.

Answering question 2 is all about goal setting. Farm families are encouraged to write down business/financial and personal/family goals and revisit them annually to see how well they are being met. The process of setting goals and prioritizing them is not trivial, and helps to illustrate the trade-offs that exist between many of the aspirations that people have. Examining how a farm can move towards and reach its’ goals is the last question to be answered. This process can be aided by long-term and transitional farm planning, which fortunately is now made simpler with various computer software programs available to farmers and offered through many Extension offices.

Planning is not always easy or fun to do. But it is an important task for the farm manager and others involved in the operation to undertake. Remember – if you don’t know where you are headed, how will you know when you get there?

Posted by Kevin Moore

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Great Plains Vegetable Conference 2010 – What a Success!!

Last Friday and Saturday I had the opportunity to attend the Great Plains Vegetable Conference in St. Joseph, MO. And man was there a crowd there! Despite the piled up snow, the colder than you know what temperatures, farmers turned out in droves to find out the latest information on growing, harvesting, handling, and marketing vegetables and fruits. Over 300 people attended the conference on Saturday alone – which was highlighted by keynote speaker, Kamyar Enshayan of the University of Northern Iowa. Kamyar reported on his wonderful success with helping local institutions – including restaurants, schools, hospitals and nursing homes – buy from local farmers with the “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” Campaign, a joint project of the Northern Iowa Food and Farm Partnership and his university. One restaurant, Rudy’s Tacos, buys almost 90% of its food from local farmers and businesses, keeping all that money right in the local area. In the last year, $2.5 million was spent on local foods by institutions in an 8 county area. That’s great news and great inspiration!

In another presentation, Lisa Bralts from the Market at the Square in Urbana, IL, explained how to effectively use social media (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr!) to promote farmers’ markets. Ironically she was snowed in and couldn’t get to the airport so we used webinar technology (Adobe Connect) to connect Lisa from Urbana with the audience in St. Joe. My wow moment? Lisa explained how she used Twitter to inform customers about specials at the market and keep them updated. Okay – it’s Urbana! Then an audience member from Clay Center KS told how his local market (and we are talking a pretty rural place) has used Twitter to remind folks to come to market. It can happen anywhere! It’s here to stay! I heard Eileen Nichols from the Webb City Farmers’ Market talk about easy ways to do farmer inspections for markets, and University of Missouri Extension’s Tim Baker talk about vegetable diseases. (Stay on top of that first-time farmers!)

Several other presentations caught my eye, but I didn’t get to attend them. One was titled “The GAPS Certification and Audit Process” by USDA-AMS Good Agriculture Practices guru David Markwardt. Another was “Farm to College Dining Panel” that discussed how farmers could connect with local colleges and universities to sell produce. For a complete listing of sessions at the conference, click here. You can view 2009’s conference sessions and copies of presentations here. Posted by Mary Hendrickson

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

14th Annual Greenhouse Growers' School

Fourteenth Annual Greenhouse Growers’ School
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Bradford Research and Extension Center
4968 Rangeline Road, Columbia, MO
(From U.S. 63 travel east on Rt. WW to Rangeline and turn right)


8:30 - Registration/Welcome

9:00 - Social networking and marketing, Judy Allmon, Bluestem Services

10:00 - Break

10:30 - New bedding plants for 2010, Derek Schrof, Ball Seed Company

11:30 - Lunch (furnished)

Concurrent sessions in the afternoon—your choice of topics.

1:00 - Room A - Geraniums and vegetative annual production, Joe Rawley, Syngenta Hort Services

1:00 - Room B - Biofuels, Gary Hindgardener, Missouri Mulch

2:00 - Room A - Greenhouse growing “my way", Al Cordle, Bonnie's Plant Farm

2:00 - Room B - New pesticides and their use, Andy Seckinger, OHP

3:00 - Break

3:15 - Room A - Alternative energy sources for greenhouses, Roger Reed, S & R Sales

3:15 - Room B - Plants of Merit update, Chris Nejelski, MoBot

4:00 - Room A - pH management in greenhouse nutrition, Dave Trinklein, MU

4:00 - Room B - Coping with the down economy, Panel discussion

Registration is $15 per person (includes lunch) payable at the door.

For additional information contact:
David Trinklein
State Floriculture Specialist

Monday, January 11, 2010

Missouri Value Added Grant Program

The Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA), part of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, objective is to provide grants for the creation, development and operation of rural agricultural businesses that add value to Missouri agricultural products and aid the economies of rural communities.

A agricultural product is defined as "an agricultural, horticultural, viticultural or vegetable product, growing of grapes that will be processed into wine, bees, honey, fish or other aquacultural product, planting seed, livestock, a livestock product, poultry or a poultry product, either in is natural or processed state, that has been produced, processed or otherwise had value added to it in this state."

MASBSA will consider grant applications for value-added agricultural business concepts that:
* lead to and result in development, processing and marketing of new or expanded uses of, agricultural products; and
* foster agricultural economic development in Missouri's rural communities.

This grant is NOT intended for production expenses, operational expenses or for capital expenditures. It will pay for technical, economic or market feasibility or a marketing study. The grant deadline is Jan 29, 2010.

For additional information on this grant call 573-751-2129 or

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Approved Soil Testing Labs for Missouri

The Missouri Soil Testing Association (MSTA) Approval Program is designed to assure that results provided by participating public and private labs serving the citizens of Missouri agree with allowable statistical limits. This is accomplished by evaluating the soil testing laboratories in their performance through inter-laboratory sample exchanges and a statistical evaluation of the analytical data. Based on this premise, soil test results from MSTA approved labs will be accepted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Services (NRCS) in federally assisted cost share programs and nutrient management plans in the state of Missouri.

List of Missouri State Approved Soil Testing Labs – Jan 4, 2010

• Custom Lab, 204 C St, Golden City, MO 64748, 417-537-8337

• Delta Soil Testing Lab, University of Missouri, PO Box 160, Portageville, MO 63873, 573-379-5431

• MU Soil and Plant Testing Lab, University of Missouri, 23 Mumford Hall, Columbia, MO 65211, 573-882-3250

• Perry Agricultural Lab, PO Box 418, State Hwy 54 East, Bowling Green, MO 63334, 573-324-2931

• Mowers Soil Testing Plus Inc, 117 East Main St, Toulon, IL 61483-0518, 309-286-2761

• A&L Great Lakes, Laboratory, Inc, 3505 Conestoga Dr, Fort Wayne, IN 46808, 260-483-4759

• A&L Heartland Laboratory, Inc, 111 Linn St, PO Box 455, Atlantic, IA 50022, 901-213-2400

• AgSource Belmond Labs, 1245 Hwy 69 N, Belmond, IA 50421, 641-444-3384

• Servi-Tech Laboratories, 1816 East Wyatt Earp Blvd, Dodge City, KS 67801, 620-227-7123

• Midwest Laboratories, Inc, 13611 B St, Omaha, NE 68144-3693, 402-334-7770

• Ward Laboratories, 4007 Cherry Ave, PO Box 788, Kearney, NE 68848, 308-234-2418

• Brookside Lab Inc., 308 S Main St, New Knoxville, OH 45871, 419-753-2448

• Spectrum Analytical, 1087 Jamison Rd, PO Box 639, Washington Court House, OH 43160, 740-335-1562

• Ag Source Cooperative Services, 106 N Cecil St, PO Box 788, Bonduel, WI 54107, 715-758-2178

• Waters Agricultural Laboratories, Inc, 257 Newton Hwy, PO Box 382, Camilla, GA 31730, 229-336-7216

• A&L Analytical Laboratories, Inc, 2790 Whitten Rd, Memphis, TN 38133, 901-213-2400

• A&L Canada Laboratories, Inc, 2136 Jetstream Rd, London, ON N5V 3P5, Canada, 519-457-2575

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Direct Marketing Your Farm Products Workshops

Have you considered direct marketing of the produce, meat, or other products you grow on your farm? Or are you direct-marketing al-ready? If so, this meeting series is for you!

Four sessions will be held:
 January 21: The basics before you start; how to determine the market for your product and where to market
 January 28: Customer service, public relations, and advertising
 February 4: How to set a price and make a profit; social networking
 February 11: Regulations you need to know; panel of experienced direct marketers

Each session will begin at 7:00 p.m. and will be held at the No-daway County Extension Center, located in the Nodaway County Ad-ministration Building in Maryville, MO. Pre-registration is requested by Friday, January 15th. Cost to attend is $50 per person for all four ses-sions or $15 per individual session. Couples and families may attend all four sessions for $75.

For more information or to register, contact Amie Schleicher, at (660)-744-6231.

University of Missouri Plant Diagnostic Clinic

The Plant Diagnostic Clinic was established in 1965 and handles samples submitted for plant disease, insect, and weed identifications, as well as management recommendations. The clinic supports county extension specialists and receives samples directly from other agencies, businesses and private citizens throughout the state. Most clinic operations are handled by clinic staff, however other MU Division of Plant Science faculty assist when needed. Samples are diagnosed by visual observation or microscopic examination.

More information on the University of Missouri Plant Diagnostic Clinic, fees and services are available at: http://soilplantlab. You can also contact the lab at or 573-882-3019.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chestnut Workshops Cover Entire Growing Season

The University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry is offering a series of workshops on chestnut production in 2010. The four daylong workshops will span the chestnut growing season, from site selection and planting to harvesting and sales.

Each workshop will cost only $10 thanks to support from the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program.

“Growing chestnuts is an excellent way to diversify your farm income,” said Mike Gold, associate director of UMCA. “A well-managed one-acre orchard of 50 grafted Chinese chestnut trees can gross between $5,000 and $7,000 wholesale and about $10,000 retail within 10-12 years.”

The workshops, which will take place at the MU Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin, are aimed at current and prospective growers, extension agents and students. Fees will be waived for FFA instructors and students.

Gold recommends participants sign up for all four sessions, which will take attendees through the entire growing season.

Course dates and topics (all sessions are on a Tuesday):

-March 23: Site selection, planting, graft planning and pruning.

-May 4: Grafting.

-Aug. 17: Orchard maintenance, weed control, insect scouting, pest management and disease control.

-Sept. 14: Harvest, marketing and sales.

Instructors include Gold; Ken Hunt, research scientist; Mark Coggeshall, tree improvement specialist; and Michele Warmund, professor of plant sciences. Outside experts and veteran growers will also contribute.

Fees include course materials and lunch. Space is limited. To sign up, contact Julie Rhoads at 573-882-3234 or

For workshop details, contact Gold at 573-884-1448 or

For more information about UMCA and Chinese chestnuts, see