Thursday, September 30, 2010

Growing and Marketing Elderberries

SARE Farmer/Rancher Grant Recipient FNC10-
Hartsburg, MO – Terry Durham

Objective: We are trying to improve the native selection of elderberries at Elderberry Life Farm in Hartsburg, MO, where we’ve been growing elderberries for three years. In fact, at 23 acres, we have the largest elderberry farm in the United States.

Results: We choose selections of elderberries that grow in the Midwest and put them into trials to see which grow best in our area. In the spring we start with 8,000 elderberry plants in a greenhouse where we keep the humidity up. It takes six to eight weeks for plants to root and send up shoots. Once started, we move them to a 50-acre field that is drip-irrigated.

We lay a plastic mulch layer, then transplant the elderberries mechanically. We can plant about 1,000 an hour, which is about an acre an hour. We plant them 4 feet apart on 12-foot centers.

We put six different native grasses between each row of elderberries, and use the grass clippings as mulch. Every fifth row we plant a different variety of elderberries for diversity, and every 10th row we plant a habitat row of pecans, wild plums, black raspberries, blackberries, or hazelnuts. In the end, we have a permaculture system that is made up of all regional native plants. We expect to get up to 12,000 pounds to the acre on the varieties wildwood and Bob Gordon (the University of Missouri’s new selections), after the fifth year of establishment.

Around Aug. 15 the first varieties of elderberries are ready to pick, which we do by hand. We then have continuous harvest through the season. We process the elderberries for jellies and juice. We retail the juice for $12 per 11-ounce bottle. Mostly we wholesale – we get $100 wholesale per case.  One health food store we work with will sell about $20,000 worth of our elderberry juice this year. Currently we’re trying to get more growers to grow elderberries, form a juice collective to process the juice as a group, market it together under one brand name, and sell it wholesale.

We cut the elderberries to the ground after harvest to keep them contained enough and organized so eventually we will be able to develop and use a mechanical harvester. For more information visit their website.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Growing and Marketing for a Winter CSA in Central Missouri

SARE Farmer/Rancher Grant Recipient FNC07-668
Ashland, MO – Jennifer Grabner

Objective: To develop a community supported agriculture business growing and marketing cool-season greens and vegetables from October through April in central Missouri, experimenting with unheated greenhouse and coldframe designs.

Results: Central Missouri has a variety of commercial growers providing fresh, organically grown local produce for wholesale and retail buyers during the typical growing season of April through October. However, there are few options for area consumers to buy such produce during the off-season of  November through March, so virtually all fresh greens and vegetables must be trucked in. 

At Wintergreen Farm, our small family operation on about five acres west of Ashland in Boone County, MO, we established a winter community supported agriculture (CSA) venture on about two acres. We tested four styles of unheated greenhouses and coldframes: 1) standard hoophouses, 2) hoophouses made from cattle panels, 3) low tunnels over raised garden beds, and 4) standard wooden coldframe boxes.

We grew more than 30 crops through the winter, including several varieties of greens, root crops, herbs, and more.  We had eight families for the 2008-09 season, and 16 families signed up for 2009-10. Each family paid $15 for a large box of produce, which was available weekly from October through December and every other week in January and February. We struggled this past season with a cold, cloudy, wet, fall and winter that slowed production.

Overall, though, many of the crops were surprisingly cold hardy, surviving even through two weeks in January when high temperatures didn’t get out of the single digits. Results from the first two seasons have encouraged us to continue with these efforts.

No difference in seedling germination, growth, productivity, or survival was noted among the different greenhouse and coldframe designs. The only differences were in building and maintenance costs and ease of operation.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

SARE Farmer/Rancher Grant Writing Workshops

Four workshops are available to help Missouri farmers and ranchers submit grant proposals to explore sustainable agriculture solutions to problems.

Grants through the USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program provide funding for producers who want to test an idea using a field trial, on-farm demonstration or other technique.

"Projects should show how farmers and ranchers plan to use their own innovative ideas to explore sustainable agriculture options and how they will share project results with other producers," said Debi Kelly, University of Missouri Extension SARE co-coordinator. "Sustainable agriculture is good for the environment, profitable and socially responsible."

The workshops, which will take place in Hillsboro, Tuscumbia, Kansas City and Mt. Vernon, will help participants define the purpose of the grant, discuss the component pieces, offer tips on filling out the grant application and allow time for brainstorming.

Projects should emphasize research or education demonstrations. Grants range from $6,000 for individual farmers to $18,000 for groups of three or more farmers. SARE expects to fund about 50 projects in the 12-state North Central Region.

Workshop dates and places are as follows:

-Oct. 5: Jefferson County MU Extension Center, Hillsboro. Call 636-797-5391.

-Oct. 6: Miller County MU Extension Center, Tuscumbia. Call 573-882-0085.

-Oct. 9: Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Urban Impact Center, Kansas City. Call 816-809-5074.

-Oct. 12: MU Southwest Research Center, Mt. Vernon. Call 417-597-4412.

Cost of the workshops is $25, which covers materials and lunch.

Deadline for submitting grant proposals is 4:30 p.m., Dec. 2 at the NCR-SARE office in Jefferson City.

For more information, email Debi Kelly or call 573-882-1905.

Be on the lookout for the next number of days to read about Missouri producers who received a SARE Farmer/Rancher grant in the past.  It's always amazing to me just how creative Missouri farmers really are!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Do It Yourself Cheesemaking Workshop

Friday October 15, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday October 16, 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

in Harrisonville MO.
Hands on instruction by certified cheesemaker, Janet Hurst. Her first book, “Homemade Cheese” is scheduled for release in 2011. Her work has been published extensively in the Dairy Goat Journal, Mary Jane’s Farm, Mother Earth News, and Countryside.

Participants will make four different types of cheese and take home cheese molds, cheesecloth, additional recipes and a cheese making thermometer. The cost is $150 per person, which includes all materials.

***Participants are asked to bring their own cooking saucepan large enough to hold 1/2 gallon of milk, a plastic box (shoebox size) with a lid and a slotted spoon.

Registration deadline is Friday October 8.  For more information or to register call 816-380-8460 or

Sponsored by Lincoln University and University of Missouri Extension Programs

Friday, September 24, 2010

Moveable High Tunnel 'Barn Raising' Event

The Salad Garden in Ashland, MO invites you to take part in a modern day type ‘barn raising’ event.

Why: Building high tunnels is active this summer/fall as a number of growers received support from the NRCS Organic Initiative. The high tunnel being constructed is an unique design, easily moved on tracks with just the push of a couple of people (4 Seasons Tools ).

What: High tunnel construction- this is your chance to learn and help at the same time with Dan Kuebler of the Salad Garden

When: Wednesday October 13th (Rain Date Monday Oct. 18th same time) Program introduction and discussion begins at 9:00a.m. and will take about ½ hour. Then the ‘hands on’ work begins! We anticipate concluding about 4PM. (Stay as long as you can; we’ll understand if you need to leave early) Dan says, ‘bring a cordless drill and socket set if you have one’. (Have it fully charged……..any other obvious hand tools are welcome). We’ll break for ¾ of an hour or so about noon for lunch.

Where: The Salad Garden, a farm using organic methods for 20 years in Ashland, MO. The address is 16471 Hawkins Rd.

[Directions - take US 63 to Ashland (between Jeff City and Columbia). Exit and take ‘Y’ east (away from Ashland). Go about 2 1/2 miles. Hawkins is on your right (about ½ mile past Rangeline, which is on the left). Follow Hawkins about 1 mile (it does become gravel). Parking will be clearly marked.]

Limited to the first 20 reservations! Due to parking availability and a quality participatory experience we are limiting this to 20. A tour of the tunnel will be offered as part of the National Small Farm Conference and Trade Show on Friday Nov. 5th in the afternoon, so casual viewing is available at a later date.

We need to know you are coming! Please RSVP by Oct. 8th or until it is full to James Quinn (MU Regional Horticulture Specialist in Cole County), 573-234-2824.

Missouri Vegetable Growers Association (MVGA) and the Jefferson Institute are both sponsors the complimentary lunch, so you can enjoy working up your appetite.

Also sponsored by MU & LU Extension
Cole and Boone County Extension Centers
Boone County NRCS
Missouri Department of Ag
Morgan County Seeds

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Missouri AgrAbility Project

The AgrAbility Project is a national program that works to assist agricultural and agribusiness workers who have physical and mental disabilities to adapt their homes and farms in order to allow them to continue to work in agriculture. The goal of AgrAbility is to provide assistance and resources to farmers with disabilities that allow them to continue farming. AgrAbility provides individualized services, both on and off the farm, to help create a comprehensive, individualized plan to allow the disabled farmer to continue farming. AgrAbility involves not only the farmer, but the family, community, agricultural professionals, medical professions and farm implement manufacturers.

Statewide in Missouri, the following services are available:
* Farm House Accessibility Surveys and Information
* Agricultural Worksite Accessibility Surveys
* Assistive Technology Resources
* Educational Materials
* Equipment Modification Information
* Independent Living Resources
* Technical Support

Disabilities that AgrAbility assists with are not limited to traumatic injuries. AgrAbility assists farmers with all types of disabilities and limitations including chronic health conditions or pain, such as arthritis, heart conditions, visual impairments, hearing impairments, respiratory diseases, and traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries. If you are interested in AgrAbility services (e.g., training, site visit, on-farm assessments, technical assistance, or information about working directly with the farmer, rancher, or farm worker), contact Karen Funkenbusch, Program Director, at 800-995-8503, or visit the website.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pawpaws: A Taste of the Tropics

Pawpaws are native to Missouri and thought perhaps this might be a potential alternative to add to your mix of enterprises on your farm.  The market isn't developed so be careful about how many you might plant on your farm.  There has been research on pawpaws at the MU Southwest Research Center and MU Center for Agroforestry. (debi kelly)

Are you ready for a vacation to the tropics, but can’t afford to travel right now? With a trip to your local farmers market, you can savor tropical flavors without ever leaving the state. Even though pawpaws (Asimina triloba) are grown in Missouri, they have a large fruit and tropical-like flavors of banana, mango, and pineapple.  Unripe pawpaws are hard and have a green peel color. As they ripen, the peel turns yellowish and the fruit becomes very soft and aromatic. Fruit must be handled with care to prevent bruising. In fact, you have to enjoy fresh pawpaws quickly as they are highly perishable. If picked before fully ripe, pawpaws can be kept in refrigeration for about three weeks and will ripen at room temperature. However, pawpaws will maintain quality for only two days at room temperature when the fruit is ripe. To preserve pawpaws for later use, remove the peel and seeds, puree the flesh, and store it in the freezer. Many dessert recipes can be found at:

If you decide to grow your own pawpaws, choose a planting site with a slightly acidic (pH 5.5 to 7.0) soil that is well-drained as trees do not survive heavy soils that become easily waterlogged. Trees require shade for the first year, but grow best in full sun thereafter. Pawpaw grown from seed is difficult to germinate and seedling growth is slow. These trees usually do not bear fruit until five to eight years after seeding.  However, several superior cultivars are available as grafted trees from nurseries and can bear fruit in three years. Two different cultivars are needed to ensure crosspollination and fruit set. Some of the commonly available cultivars include ‘Sunflower’, ‘Shenandoah’, ‘Overleese’, ‘PA-Golden’, ‘Wells’, and ‘NC-1’. Plant trees eight feet apart and water them during dry periods throughout the growing season. The addition of fertilizer in a circle about six inches away from the base of the trunk will aid in tree establishment. Irrigate after fertilization if rainfall does not occur within 24 hours after application. Pests may include Japanese beetles, which feed on foliage and the pawpaw peduncle borer, which burrows into the flower and causes them to drop. Leaf and fruit spot (Phyllosticta) can also infect pawpaws, but with the removal of surface lesions on the peel, fruit can still be consumed. Young trees should be protected from deer, which cause bark damage by rubbing their antlers on tree trunks.   If you don’t have your own trees, but crave a taste of the tropics, purchase some pawpaws at your local farm market while they last!
(by Michele Warmund, MU Professor of Horticulture)
(Picture courtesy of the USDA

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Workshops Help Farmes Apply for Sustainable Agriculture Grants

Four workshops are available to help Missouri farmers and ranchers submit grant proposals to explore sustainable agriculture solutions to problems.

Grants through the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program provide funding for producers who want to test an idea using a field trial, on-farm demonstration or other technique.

“Projects should show how farmers and ranchers plan to use their own innovative ideas to explore sustainable agriculture options and how they will share project results with other producers,” said Debi Kelly, University of Missouri Extension SARE co-coordinator. “Sustainable agriculture is good for the environment, profitable and socially responsible.”

The workshops, which will take place in Hillsboro, Tuscumbia, Kansas City and Mt. Vernon, will help participants define the purpose of the grant, discuss the component pieces, offer tips on filling out the grant application and allow time for brainstorming.

Projects should emphasize research or education demonstrations. Grants range from $6,000 for individual farmers to $18,000 for groups of three or more farmers. SARE expects to fund about 50 projects in the 12-state North Central Region.

Workshop dates and places are as follows:

-Oct. 5: Jefferson County MU Extension Center, Hillsboro. Call 636-797-5391.

-Oct. 6: Miller County MU Extension Center, Tuscumbia. Call 573-882-0085.

-Oct. 9: Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Urban Impact Center, Kansas City. Call 816-809-5074.

-Oct. 12: MU Southwest Research Center, Mt. Vernon. Call 417-466-2148.

Cost of the workshops is $25, which covers materials and lunch.  More information about applying for SARE Farmer/Rancher Grants is available at online.  Deadline for submitting grant proposals is 4:30 p.m., Dec. 2 at the NCR-SARE office in Jefferson City.

For more information, contact Debi Kelly at or 573-882-1905.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Daily Deals

I received an email from a colleague telling me about this new online marketing websiste.  I don't know much about it but wanted to pass it along anyway.  (debi kelly)

We have gotten many, many requests like: “The frost is coming and I have 30 bushel of peppers I have to sell right now!” or “My husband apparently can’t tell the difference between spinach and arugula because he just harvested the wrong crop. Know anyone who will buy 1,500 lbs of spinach?”  Because of this, we are starting the “Daily Deals” email.

What is “Daily Deals”?
Daily Deals is a weekly, soon to be daily, email featuring any “deals” farmers would like to get bids on. This email will be sent to the grocery stores and restaurants who have requested it. There are separate Daily Deal emails depending on the buyer’s location.

How It Works
1. Contact us with your deal. Reach us by phone 608-554-4800 or email.
2. Receive offers from buyers through email or the phone.
3. You decide which offers to accept. Arrangements are made directly with buyers.

Deal Details
· Product can be offered up to 2 weeks. We expect products to be sold (or never to be sold) by the end of that time. Product does not have to be ready now (if you know the product will be ready in September, better to make the offer now instead of last minute).
· Deals can be viewed anytime online.
· Any deal can only be featured only once.
· There are separate Daily Deal emails for locations.
· It’s free. Daily Deals is just an email with information. The rest is up to you.

Who is sending the Daily Deals email?
Local Dirt is a project funded by the National Science Foundation, a federal agency created to “advance the national health, prosperity and welfare”.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Walnut Disease Closer to Missouri

I thought this might be of interest to those of you who might be thinking of adding walnut trees to your mix of enterprises on your beginning farm.  (debi kelly)

Missouri has more black walnut trees than any other state.

First it was the American chestnut, then it was American elm. Get ready to add eastern black walnut to the threatened and endangered species list, said a University of Missouri Extension state forestry specialist. A fungal infection called thousand cankers disease (TCD) has ravaged black walnut trees in a handful of western states over the last decade. In July, foresters discovered infected trees in Tennessee.

Unlike the western states, Missouri and Tennessee are native homes to the eastern black walnut tree, supporting extensive natural populations that could fuel an uncontrolled TCD outbreak in the eastern U.S., said Hank Stelzer, who discussed the disease at a recent field day at the MU Hundley-Whaley Research Center in Albany.

“Missouri has more black walnut trees than any other state within the species’ natural range,” he said.

According to Missouri Department of Agriculture estimates, the disease could cost the state more than $850 million over a 20-year period due to losses in the wood products industry and nut production as well as costs associated with the removal and replacement of urban trees.

Before the discovery of infected walnut trees in Knoxville, Tenn., Colorado was the easternmost state with reported cases of TCD. The big jump could be the result of people transporting firewood or hobbyists buying wood on eBay, Stelzer said.

Researchers and foresters from MU, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Agriculture are working with the USDA Forest Service and scientists from those western states where TCD originated to develop an effective monitoring program before next year’s growing season.

”Finding TCD this late in the growing season is a mixed blessing,” Stelzer said. “Since the obvious symptoms of wilting, yellowing or collapsed brown leaves still attached to the branches are best observed in June and July, we have some time to put together a good monitoring program and educate the natural resource professionals and the general public.” However, he added, “It gives the disease more time, too.”

r notes that TCD should not be confused with walnut anthracnose, a very common foliar disease on walnut this time of year. “Anthracnose-infected leaves are yellow and have black spots all over the leaflets,” he said. “The compound leaves also lose their leaflets from the bottom up.”

TCD is a bit different. “Entire leaves remain intact. They have a collapsed appearance and remain attached to the branch. Leaf color can range from yellow to entirely brown and they lack the visible black spots associated with anthracnose.”

TCD is caused by a fungus that attaches to walnut twig beetles. These tiny bark beetles inflict very little damage themselves, but the fungus creates small patches of dead tissue under the bark. As these cankers grow and merge, nutrients can no longer move through the tree. By the time the first symptoms appear, the damage has been done and the tree dies.

“All walnut plants and plant parts, as well as all hardwood firewood from TCD-infected states, are now prohibited from entering Missouri,” Stelzer said. “This includes nursery stock, bud wood, scion wood, green lumber and other material living, dead, cut or fallen, including stumps, roots, branches and composted and uncomposted chips. Exceptions are nuts, nutmeats, hulls and processed lumber. Processed lumber means 100 percent bark-free, kiln-dried with squared edges.”

If you suspect that your black walnut has TCD, contact either your county MU Extension center or your local Missouri Department of Conservation office, Stelzer said.

“TCD has not been detected in Missouri yet,” he said. “But we do need to be aware of this serious threat to our most valuable hardwood species.”

More information on the disease is available from the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Plant and Pest website.  (by Curt Wohleber, MU Senior Information Specialist)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sensitive Crop Registry

While modern pesticides have made agriculture easier in many ways, these chemicals sometimes drift into areas where they are not intended. Most farmers and pesticide applicators take great care in preventing this. But unfortunately, it still happens occasionally.

When I was in southeast Missouri, I saw a lot of pesticide drift. While the problem is much less in the counties of northwest Missouri that now I serve, I have seen it a time or two.

For the grower on the receiving end of this unintended drift, the results can sometimes be disastrous. Herbicides especially can injure sensitive crops. Even insecticides and fungicides can cause problems, if they drift onto an organically-grown crop.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has developed a web site where sensitive crops can be registered. This is especially useful for commercial pesticide applicators, who may not be aware of a nearby sensitive crop.

Crops that are eligible for addition to the database include fruits, vegetables, nursery stock, pastures, row crops, forage crops, and even bee hive locations.

To be listed on the registry, the crops must be for commercial use. They must also meet a minimum acreage requirement. If you are a beekeeper, you may list your hives, as long as they are for commercial purposes. Multiple hive locations can be entered.

The listing of your farm is done on the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Sensitive Crop Registry.

Once your crop is listed, pesticide applicators can search for sensitive crop listings by county. If they see a listing near the area where they will be applying a pesticide, they can click on the “Map View” which shows an aerial photograph of your farm, with the location of the sensitive crop that you listed. While this is very useful, it is dependent on how accurate you are when submitting your sensitive crop’s data.

Recently, I decided to see how many producers in northwest Missouri had taken advantage of this new database. I found nine farms that had taken advantage of this new resource in our region. 

To keep the registry current, you will be notified annually to confirm registration and provide updates in January. For assistance, contact the MO Dept of Ag's Integrated Pest Management Program at (573) 751-5505.  (by Tim Baker, MU Horticulture Specialist)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Beef Cattle Grading Clinic & Pasture Walk

Beef Cattle Grading Clinic
Date: September 23, 2010
Time: 3:00 pm
Place: Salem Livestock Market, Salem, MO

This program will provide an opportunity for you to learn how feeder cattle are graded and what buyers are looking for. This program will be led by a Missouri Department of Agriculture Grader, and will help you better understand the USDA feeder cattle grading system, including muscle, frame, and condition scoring. We will have feeder cattle on hand to help you better understand and visualize the differences in the various grades of cattle.

Salem Livestock Market Directions: Located on Hwy 32 west, just west of the Hwy 72/32 Junction on the west side of Salem.

Pogue Farm Tour/Pasture Walk
Date: September 23, 2010
Time: 6:30 pm
Place: Denny & Mary Beth Pogue Farm
Denny & Mary Beth Pogue own and operate a commercial beef farm, and have used Management Intensive Grazing for about 15 years. Most recently, the Pogue’s have been involved with the University of Missouri SARE Grant project which involves utilizing the “Grazing Wedge”. The grazing wedge is a tool for managing forages for a beef op-eration, and visually represents the quality and quantity of forage dry matter available both now and during the next round of grazing. As part of the Pasture Walk/Farm Tour, the Pogue’s will provide information on how they have improved forage management using the grazing wedge, as well as a what changes they plan to make in the future.

Additionally, MU Extension State Beef Nutrition Specialist, Dr. Justin Sexten, will also be a guest speaker and will address how the Grazing Wedge fits into the beef production system, as well as other relevant forage and nutritional aspects of beef management.

Pogue Farm Directions: From Salem, take Hwy 19 North, to the Hwy 68 Junction. Take Hwy 68 approximately 13 miles north to Hwy F (NOT FF). Left on Hwy F for approximately 2 miles to farm entrance on right. Look for signs.

No meal will be provided, however, you will have time to grab a bite to eat in Salem or “brown bag” it at the Salebarn, prior to heading to the Pogue Farm. Refreshments will be provided at both locations.

For more information, contact Ted Cunningham, MU Extension Livestock Specialist, at the Dent County MU Extension office at 573-729-3196.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pest, Disease and Weed Management Workshop

Saturday, September 25th, 10 am to 3 pm
Andrew Drumm Institute, 3210 Lee's Summit Rd, Independence, MO
Farm tour: Drumm Farm

Cost for this workshop is $30.00, lunch is provided.

If you’ve never struggled with cucumber beetles, blight, foxtail grass or any other pest, disease or weed then this isn’t the workshop for you. For the rest of us, this workshop will cover basic identification and sustainable control strategies to help vegetable growers manage some of our biggest challenges.

The focus of this workshop will be on organic and sustainable practices.

10:00 – 11:00 Weed Management with Tim Walters, Agronomist/Farmer, Drumm Farm
Weeds can quickly turn a beautiful field into an unproductive mess. Managing weeds sustainably requires both long-term strategies and everyday vigilance. Tim Walters will help us identify and stay on top of weeds in the field.

11:15 – 12:15 Plant Disease ID and Management with Wendy Johnson, Kansas State University
Weeds and insects are often easier to see and understand than mysterious spots, rots and wilts. Wendy Johnson will demystify common plant diseases and help us understand how to control them.

12:15 - 1:00 Lunch (provided)

1:00 – 2:00 Insects in the Field with Mary Roduner, Kansas City Community Gardens
Thousands of insects interact in our fields. Mary Roduner will discuss the ones we love to hate, the ones we should learn to love, and how they interact. We’ll cover basic identification and organically approved control measures.

2:15 - 3:30 Farm tour, Drumm Farm
Drumm farm is a certified organic vegetable and flower farm growing on two different locations. We’ll tour their site and greenhouse at the Drumm Institute.

You may pay at the door, but please pre-register by calling or emailing Laura Christensen or (816) 805-0362.

Directions to Andrew Drumm Institute: From I-70 (east of I-435), take Lee’s Summit Road (Exit 14) and drive north. Drive 1.2 miles (go past the golf course) and turn left into the driveway of Andrew Drumm Institute/Drumm Farm. Follow the signs to park.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Northeast Missouri Food Fest Sept 18th

The 10th Annual NEMO Food Fest will be held in conjunction with the Kirksville Farmers‟ Market, Saturday, September 18th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on the square in Kirksville. Food Fest is an event to showcase locally grown food, to inform the public on what foods are available from local producers, and to share the advantages of buying and eating locally grown foods. Walk through the Farmers' Market and visit with local producers of meat, fruits and vegetables, baked goods and more. Learn what products are grown locally and how you can purchase them.

Local producers will be displaying and discussing their products as well as providing free samples. There will also be cooking demonstrations by local producers including Primme's Pork, Lost Branch Blueberry Farm, Hollenbeck Honey Farm, and Cole Farms. The first cooking demonstration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the second demonstration will start at 10:30 a.m. Door prizes will be drawn throughout the morning with the grand prize drawings at 11:45 a.m.

This year, in celebration of our 10th year, we will be hosting a youth talent show, highlighting local youth 18 years and younger from Northeast Missouri. For more information or an entry form for the talent show, please visit our website.

Come join us Saturday September 18th and bring a friend! This event is held in cooperation with the Kirksville Farmers' Market and is sponsored by University of Missouri Extension. For more information please contact Darla Campbell at 660-457-3469 or Jennifer Schutter at 660-665-9866.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What does "organic" mean?

What does “organic” mean? The University of Minnesota’s Jim Riddle and Bud Markhart have created a new publication, “What is Organic Food and Why Should I Care?” which explains in simplified terms USDA National Organic Program requirements and presents footnoted summaries of scientific studies about organic food and farming.

Topics discussed are:
* Crop Farms
* Livestock Operations
* Processing Operations
* Personal Health
* Nutrition
* Water Quality
* Genetic Engineering
* Soil Quality
* Biodiversity
* Climate Change
* Feeding the World

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Katahdin Hair Sheep International Expo in Jefferson City, MO

2010 Katahdin Hair Sheep International Expo, September 16-18
Carver Farm, Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Missouri
Hosted by Lincoln University & Katahdin Hair Sheep International

We welcome you! It is beautiful in central Missouri this year. Abundant rainfall has kept pastures and lawns green and growing. Normally, fescue grass is dormant by June but has been green into July. Many counties would be under cautions for fire hazards. This year forages are thriving, and according to some that is either an advantage or a disadvantage, but come see for yourself. Plans for the 2010 Expo have come along nicely. Sale animal housing will be just outside of the main multi-purpose building in the same area that it was in 2006 when Carver Farm hosted the KHSI Expo the first time. Large tents will be set up and will give plenty of room to view sale Katahdins from a variety of farms, and will be large enough so you can browse the sale pens and rekindle old friendships. The Lincoln University “Aggies” agricultural club members will help make the Expo run smoothly and will assist all KHSI Sale consignors and buyers with loading and unloading.

Friday 9/17: Educational Sessions for Adults and Youth.

Included in your registration is admission to all Friday’s presentations. We have a wonderful array of  speakers that will both challenge and inform you, taking you from the field to the meat cutting room. Add to what you know about nutrition, including pastures, forages and feed.  Brush up on the latest info on sheep health concerns, or learn more about lambing kits and overcoming lambing difficulties. An extended session on cutting and cooking meats should offer all participants useful information for decisions related to processing and marketing of lamb meat products. A variety of excellent learning opportunities will be available for both new and experienced sheep producers of all breeds. This is a great program to attend with family members and farm helpers who live and/or work on the same farm: additional family and farm members can attend the Friday program and meals at a reduced registration cost.

Friday Program Speaker Information
On Friday morning starting off the conference is a talk on "Meats--cutting and cooking" given by Dr. Bruce Shanks, Assistant Professor at Lincoln University and Mr. Mike Weiss, owner of Russellville Locker and Feed. Mike is an award winner at local and statewide meat competitions. You will be shown how to cut up and cook your good Katahdin meat into many delicious meals. Dr. Shanks will be cooking the main meat for the KHSI dinner on Friday night.

Next on the forum is Dr. Charlotte Clifford-Rathert , DVM, and State Extension Small Ruminant Specialist, with a talk on "Recognizing and Reducing Health Problems in your Flock." All of us need help keeping our animals healthy and to save us money.

In the afternoon two excellent speakers will talk bout using forages. Dr. Rob Kallenbach, Extension and Researcher from the University of Missouri, will give a talk about types of forages that can help you be successful in the sheep business. You will definitely learn  new information. Mr. Mark Stewart, University of Missouri Area Livestock Specialist will deliver a talk on nutrition, pasture, forages and feeds. It is important to understand the nutrition provided by your forage.

Dr. Helen Swartz, Lincoln University State Small Ruminant Specialist, will present her talk on "Lambing  Difficulty, normal and abnormal lamb presentation”. Dr. Swartz shows how to make the difficulty of lambing problems understandable. If you have ever wondered how a baby lamb looks while inside the ewe and how it is positioned for birth then this is one you won't want to miss.

Friday 9/17: Evening. KHSI Membership Meeting, Dinner and Keynote Speaker for the 25th Anniversary of Katahdin Hair Sheep International The evening gets better with the annual KHSI Membership meeting at 5:45 pm, followed by a feast of mouth watering Katahdin cuisine! Dr. Bruce Shanks will be preparing Katahdin kebabs. At 6:15 Dr. Charles Parker will speak to the past and to the future to celebrate KHSI’s Silver Anniversary. His talk is called “From Silver to Gold: Continuing the Katahdin Dream.”

The action-packed day is concluded by joining us at the Capital Inn Best Western Hotel for some of that great Katahdin Fellowship at 7:30. Lincoln University will be hosting us.

Saturday 9/18: Expo Sale Animal Display, Demonstration on Conformation, National Katahdin Expo Sale, and Hair Coat Inspection Training. 

Sleep quick because the day starts off fast and furious with the Expo Sale Animal Display starting at 8:30 on Saturday morning. This is your chance to view and handle the sale animals. They are displayed by age class.

At 10am, Dr. Helen Swartz and Dr. Leroy Boyd, Professor Emeritus Mississippi State University, will give a demonstration on conformation for the ewe and ram. They will use very easy to understand methods to explain why a ram and ewe should have certain characteristics. They will offer their insights about understanding form to function of an animal that can help with selecting and breeding sheep that remain
productive and profitable for many years.

At noon the much anticipated National Katahdin Expo sale will start. Fine quality Katahdin breeding stock from many parts of the United States will be sold. You have a unique opportunity to buy sheep from some of the best flocks in North America. Many of these flocks have been in existence for years. You have the chance to buy into programs that you see advertised in the Katahdin Hairald Magazine.
At approximately 2 pm, Katahdin Hair Coat Inspector Training will begin at Birch Cove Farm (about 30 minutes drive from the Expo site) which is operated by KHSI member David Coplen. The coat training and prerview of Katahdin breed info will be given by Jim Morgan, KHSI Operations.

For more information or to register email  or call 479-444-8441.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Grow Your Farm Begins Sept 14 in Parks Hill

Have a creative farming idea? Need practical guidance to help turn your farm into a profitable business?

If you answered yes to these questions, then the Grow Your Farm course is right for you. Grow Your Farm will help you translate your farming ideas into a successful business venture.

The Grow Your Farm course will start Tuesday, Sept 14 in Parks Hill at the Mineral Area College. The schedule includes:

Sept 14 - Identifying Values and Goals with Debi Kelly, MU Extension Associate and Eric Lober, farmer who grows vegetables and direct markets beef.

Sept 21 - Planning Your Farm with Lynn Heins, MU Extension Ag Business and Baetje Fars who raise dairy goats and make goat cheese and goat milk.

Sept 25 - Planning Your Farm and Farm Tours with Dean Wilson, MU Ag and Rural Development will guide you on the farm tour of Ben and Julie Davis who graze beef intensively and direct market their beef.

Sept 28 - Assessing Opportunities with Katie Kammler, MU Horticulture and Norman and Karin Ladd, farmers who grow produce, eggs, goats milk, dairy cows, flowers and rabbits.

Oct 5 - Keeping Track of Finances with Lynn Heins, MU Extension Ag Business along with Mike Hinkebien, Farm Loan Manager with Farm Service Agency and Matt Hardecke, FCS Financial.

Oct 9 - Farm tour to be determined

Oct 12 - Marketing Your Farm Products with Paul Shnare, Southeast Missouri State University and Paul Krautmann, farmer who grows organic produce, pasture raised beef and pork and markets to chefs.

Oct 19 - Understanding Legal Issues with the St. Francois County Health Department and Doug Halbert who owns a vineyard and winery.

Oct 26 - Presenting Your Farm Plan

To find out more information or to register, email Dean Wilson or call 573-756-4539.

Course specifics
Grow Your Farm is designed for prospective farmers, beginners with some experience and seasoned farmers who want to make a "new beginning" with alternative farming methods. MU Extension specialists and experienced, innovative farmers teach the sessions.

Grow Your Farm meets 11 times over a 12-week time frame. Classes include eight seminars with three farm tours.

Course objectives
Information on production techniques is relatively easy to find and use, but what many landowners need is help to develop the farm as a profitable business. With this in mind, Grow Your Farm is designed to assist you, the producer, in creating and planning your farm as a business.

This course will help you:
* Identify and prioritize personal and family values and use them as the foundation for the farm mission statement and goals.
* Learn how to "walk the farm" to assess the land and its facilities.
* Learn to evaluate the feasibility of particular farm opportunities.
* Understand the components of a business plan and create one of your own.
* Understand financial aspects of a business plan and review popular tools to manage financial records.
* Consider different types of agricultural marketing and draft a marketing plan.
* Become familiar with a variety of legal issues that pertain to farming enterprises.
* Network with other farmers.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Northeast Missouri Fruit Farm Tours - Sept 15

The University of Missouri Extension and the Missouri Vegetable Growers Association jointly are sponsoring a Northeast Missouri Fruit Tour on September 15, 2010.

There is no cost to attend the tour, but you must pre-register by calling the Adair County Extension Center at 660-665-9866. A boxed lunch will be available for $2.50. The Missouri Vegetable Growers Association is picking up the other half of the cost of the lunch. When you register you must indicate if you would like a lunch. Please let us know if you want a meat sandwich or a vegetarian sandwich.

Carpooling is strongly encouraged. We will meet at 9:30 am at Lost Branch Blueberry Farm for our first stop on the tour.
9:30-Lost Branch Blueberry Farm and Lost Branch Lodge
10:45-Leave Lost Branch Blueberry Farm & Lodge for winery
11:00-Jacob’s Vineyard and Winery
11:45-Leave for Truman State Farm
12:00-Tour of vineyard, compost pile; grape project presentation; lunch (boxed lunch from Hy-Vee for those who registered)
1:45-Leave for West Orchard
2:30-Arrive at West Orchard
3:30-Leave on own from Orchard

For more information contact Jennifer Schutter at the Adair County Extension Center at 660-665-9866.

Description of Farms
Lost Branch Blueberry Farm & Lost Branch Lodge
A tour of local fruit farms will take place on Wednesday, September 15 starting at 9:30 am. The first stop on the tour will be Lost Branch Blueberry Farm & Lost Branch Lodge. Robert and Kerri Price own and operate a U-pick blueberry operation 6 miles east of Kirksville on Lost Branch Way. During the fall of 2004, they worked very hard in making their soil as ideal as possible for blueberries, planting their first blueberry bushes in the spring of 2005. They now have approximately 1400 blueberry plants in production with 600 more plants maturing for future berries…and plans to keep planting more. From Kirksville, take highway 63 to highway 6 east, approximately six miles to Lost Branch Way, turn left and travel down Lost Branch Way approximately half a mile. You will see their sign on the left. For more information see their website.

Jabob's Vineyard and Winery
The second stop will be Jacob’s Vineyard and Winery just south of Kirksville on Eagle Lane. Jacob's Vineyard & Winery is a unique winery with purpose. What began as a business to help their son with Down's Syndrome, is now a place to taste and enjoy the fruits of the Pruett's love and labor. Sheila Pruett will discuss how they started the operation and will give a tour of the six acre vineyard and winery. Take highway 63 south from Kirksville and turn left on Eagle Lane. This is approximately one mile south of the Days Inn. Go approximately 1.5 miles down Eagle Lane. The vineyard and winery are on the left.

Truman State University Farm
The third stop on the tour is the Truman State University Farm. We (Jennifer Schutter, horticulture specialist & Darla Campbell, ag-business specialist) received grant funds from the University of Missouri Plant Protection Program to partner with Truman State on a grape vineyard project. At this stop, learn how we worked together to make the vineyard more productive and how they are working with the Truman Food Service to get the grapes into the dorm cafeterias. Both wine and table grapes are being grown in the vineyard. Eventually we would like to convert the whole vineyard to table grapes. Juice may be available for sampling. If there is time, we will take a look at the composting project being done on the farm. From the winery, take highway 63 north, turn left on business 63. Take business 63 (also called S. Franklin) to LaHarpe Street. Turn left onto LaHarpe and follow it to the farm, approximately one mile.

West Orchard
The last stop on the tour will be to the West Orchard just north of Macon. West Orchards is a family run business that began in the spring of 1995. The orchard sits on about 10 acres. The first year they planted 300 trees and followed up the next year with 700 and a few years later another 300. So the initial planting of 300 and a hobby orchard grew to a full blown business in a matter of a few years. With 17 varieties of apples your palette will surely find one you like. They also have several varieties of peaches, apricots, pears and plums. See their website at West Orchard is a u-pick operation and you will be able to pick apples that day if some are available for harvest. Directions: From Kirksville take highway 63 south and turn west on AX ( Axtell road ) and go 3/4 mile then turn south on Jewell Ave., go approximately 3/4 mile. West Orchard will be on the west side of the road.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Youth &Youth Educator Grant Call for Proposals

The 2010 North Central Region - Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) Youth &Youth Educator Grant Call for Proposals is now available.

These grants are a part of the Farmer Rancher Grant Program. Their purpose is to provide opportunities for youth in the North Central Region to learn more about Sustainable Agriculture. Sustainable agriculture is good for the environment, profitable, and socially responsible. A total of approximately $34,000 is available for this program.

There are two options:

1. YOUTH GRANTS. These grants are for on-farm research, demonstration, or education projects by youth ages 8-18. Research and demonstration projects are for hands-on efforts to explore Sustainable Agriculture issues and practices. Education projects can involve teaching others about Sustainable Agriculture or attending a Sustainable Agriculture conference, workshop, or camp. $400 maximum.

2. YOUTH EDUCATOR GRANTS. These are grants for educators to provide programming on sustainable agriculture for youth. $2,000 maximum.

Interested applicants can find the call for proposals online as well as useful information for completing a proposal.

Proposals are due by 4:30 pm, Friday, January 14, 2011 at the NCR-SARE office in Jefferson City, MO.

Potential applicants with questions can contact Joan Benjamin, Associate Regional Coordinator and Farmer Rancher Grant Program Coordinator at 573-681-5545 or 800-529-1342. A hard copy or an emailed copy of the call for proposals is also available by contacting Joan Benjamin. We make slight revisions to our calls for proposals each year, which means it is crucial to use the most recent call for proposals.

Each state in SARE's North Central Region has one or more State Sustainable Agriculture Coordinators who can provide information and assistance to potential grant applicants. The Missouri State Sustainable Agriculture Co-Coordinators are KB Paul and Debi Kelly.