Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Acidified Foods Workshop 2011

Any farmer who is thinking about adding value to products that are considered acid need to attend an Acidified Foods Workshop before they can sell any of their products.  Normally this workshop is held out of state but on Jan 13-14, the workshop will be held on campus at the University of Missouri, Columiba.  This two-day course for producers who are processing their own acidified food will meet the requirements of FDA and 21 CFR Part 114.

Manufacturers of Acidified Food Products are invited to send representatives to our new Acidified Foods Workshop on Columbia campus of the University of Missouri on January 13 and 14, 2011. This workshop was developed in conjunction with partners at the University of Arkansas and Oklahoma State University to satisfy regulatory requirements for processors of acidified foods. The workshop will help participants to understand basic food safety principles and comply with 21 CFR Part 114.

The two-day (7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) workshop is best for managers or process operators responsible for the safety of acidified foods. New or relatively inexperienced employees are welcome and a reduced registration fee will be available for multiple representatives from a single company. The registration fee will cover all educational materials, exams, and a food safety textbook plus refreshments and two lunches. In addition, the registration fee includes a laboratory analysis of the pH and water activity for one product per participant.

At the end of the program, there will be a "walk-through" of the paperwork needed to file an acidified food process with FDA conducted by a Process Authority. Every participant that successfully completes the workshop will receive a certificate that may be used to verify the training for FDA or Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services records.

Workshop Faculty
Andrew Clarke, Ph.D., University of Missouri-Columbia
William McGlynn, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University
Steve Seideman, Ph.D., University of Arkansas

The registration fee is $375 for the first person from a company and $300 for each additional person. All participants will be provided with workshop materials as well as lunches and refreshments during breaks.  Registration is limited to 100 participants. Registration deadline: Dec. 30, 2010.

To register, please send an e-mail with contact information (participant name, company name, address, telephone and e-mail) to JoAnn Lewis, or call 573-882-4113 if you have questions.

Lodging Information
Information regarding lodging will be sent to participants upon receipt of course registration. Lodging costs are not included in the registration fees.

Workshop Location
The workshop will be conducted in Eckles Hall on the University of Missouri campus, near the southeast corner of College Avenue and Rollins Road.

Parking will be provided in a surface lot south of the adjoining Agricultural Engineering Building which is accessed from East Campus Drive at the east end Eckles Hall.  Parking permits may be picked up at registration in Eckles Hall.


Day 1, Thursday January 13

7:30-8:00 Registration

8:00-8:10 Welcome and Course Introduction, Dr. Andrew Clarke, MU

8:10-8:45 FDA Regulations (Ch 1), FDA Representative (TBA)

8:45-10:15 Microbiology (Ch 2), Dr. Steve Seideman, UA

10:15-10:30 Break

10:30-11:45 Acidified Foods (Ch 3), Dr. Andrew Clarke, MU

11:45-12:45 Lunch

12:45-1:45 Principles of Thermal Processing (Ch 4), Dr. William McGlynn, OSU

1:45-3:00 Food Plant Sanitation (Ch 5), Dr. Andrew Clarke, MU

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-4:30 Food Container Handling (Ch 6), Dr. William McGlynn, OSU

4:30 Questions & Discussion

4:45 Adjourn

7:00 Laboratory Analysis Demonstration (optional*)

Day 2, Friday, Jan 14

7:30- 8:00 Exam Retakes

8:00- 9:30 Records for Product Protection (Ch 7), Dr. Andrew Clarke, MU

9:30-10:30 Process Room Instrumentation Equipment and Operation (Ch 8), Dr. Steve Seideman, UA

10:30 10:45 Break

10:45-12:00 Closure of Glass Containers (Ch 16), Dr. Andrew Clarke, MU

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-2:15 Closures for Semi-rigid and Flexible Containers (Ch 17), Dr. Steve Seideman, UA

2:15-4:00 Process Authority Services and Filing Process Schedules with FDA, Dr. William McGlynn, OSU

4:00 Questions, Evaluations

4:30 Workshop Concludes

* The optional Laboratory Analysis Demonstration is open to all participants and will involve the use of common techniques for determining pH and water activity of selected food products. Participants may bring a sample of their own product for the demonstration. A confidential analysis of pH and water activity of one product per participant is included in the workshop registration. Additional products can be tested for a fee (please contact Andrew Clarke at  for rates).

Monday, November 29, 2010

Value Added - Acidified Foods

What is an acidified food?

According to FDA's 21 CFR 114 the definition of acidified foods means "low-acid foods to which acid(s) or acid food(s) are added; these foods include, but are not limited to, beans, cucumbers, cabbage, artichokes, cauliflower, puddings, peppers, tropical fruits, and fish, singly or in any combination. They have a water activity (aw) greater than 0.85 and have a finished equilibrium pH of 4.6 or below".

1. Acidified foods must have both low acid and high acid components.

2. Primarily acid foods do not have low acid components and contain only acid ingredients.

What is NOT an Acidified Food?

It is often useful to state what is not an acidified food when defining acidified foods. The regulation does this, in part, in §114.3(b).

Acid foods - Those foods such as most tomatoes and many fruits, which have a natural pH of 4.6 or less even if acid is added during processing.

Repacked Acidified or Fermented Foods - Previously acidified or fermented foods, which are usually received in bulk, and which are then repacked into retail size containers, generally with the addition of a fresh acid brine, are not acidified foods as long as the repacker does nothing, such as washing, to raise the pH above 4.6 prior to packing. If there is a washing step to remove the old brine, or any other similar processing step, determine the pH of the product prior to the addition of the fresh acid brine.

Fermented foods - Foods such as some kinds of cucumber pickles, most green olives and sauerkraut are not acidified foods because pH reduction is not accomplished by the addition of acids or acid foods.

Carbonated beverages - The products excluded from these regulations are those beverages which until 1989 were covered by a standard of identity (21 CFR 165) for Soda Water. They were excluded because of their low pH and the fact that CO2 is somewhat bacteriostatic.

Jams, Jellies, Preserves - The products excluded from these regulations are only those covered by the standard of identity (21 CFR 150). This is because the water activity is low (because of the minimum brix) and the pH is low since they are all made from acid fruits. Any non-standardized products labeled using these terms must conform to certain product attributes set forth in the standard such as, but not limited to, brix, consistency, acidity and fruit/sugar ratio in order to be exempt (refer to CPG 550.475).

Refrigerated foods - Products which rely, in part, on refrigeration for preservation and are stored, distributed and retailed under refrigeration are not covered by these regulations even if they are low-acid foods which are acidified.

In order to qualify for this exclusion, the product must be refrigerated after processing and the label must prominently bear the statement "Must Be Kept Refrigerated To Maintain Safety" (refer to FR Vol. 62, No. 36, February 24, 1997 Guidance on Labeling of Foods That Need Refrigeration by Consumers).

Water Activity 0.85 or less - Any food, which always has a water activity of 0.85, or less is excluded from coverage under these regulations.
(taken from http://www.fst.vt.edu/extension/valueadded/acifiedfoods.html)
For more information on acidified foods go the the Food and Drug Administration webpage.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Can Naturally Raised Beef Find Its Place in the Industry?

As consumer demand for naturally raised beef continues to increase, researchers at the University of Illinois have discovered that naturally raised beef can be produced effectively for this niche market as long as a substantial premium is offered to cover additional production and transportation costs.

Naturally raised beef is produced without hormones or antibiotics, whereas traditional systems take advantage of technologies the industry offers such as ionophores like Rumensin® to improve feed efficiency and implants to improve gain and efficiency.

"Producers are asking many questions about the value of natural programs and the premiums needed to remain profitable," said Dan Faulkner, U of I professor of animal sciences. "Our goal was to find out the costs involved in natural systems focused on producing environmentally friendly, locally raised beef."

Researchers studied the effects of finishing management (confinement versus pasture) and production system (traditional versus naturally raised) on performance, carcass and economic characteristics in a group of early weaned Angus x Simmental steer calves at the Dixon Springs Agricultural Center in Simpson, Ill. The calves were fed on fescue pastures or confinement feedlots.

The study revealed that naturally raised steers can be produced effectively in either confinement or with a pasture finishing system, but they require a substantial premium of $110 with today's feed prices to justify the costs and returns.

Faulkner said that pasture finishing is $35 more profitable than confinement feeding using current feed prices, making it an attractive option for producers interested in raising locker beef for local markets with either natural or traditional production systems.

"I think this information will benefit smaller operations that would like to pursue a naturally raised market in a pasture finishing system, but may not be able to use a traditional confinement system," Faulkner said.

In addition, naturally raised beef in either pasture or confinement settings resulted in beef with higher quality grades.

"There continues to be more interest in naturally raised beef because organic beef standards are so high," Faulkner added. "We need to increase consumer education efforts because naturally raised beef is actually what many consumers are looking for these days."

Both organic and naturally raised steers do not receive hormones or antibiotics. The major difference between naturally raised beef and organic beef is that organic beef comes from cattle that are raised on organic pastures that have not been treated with chemicals or chemical fertilizers. In addition, these cattle can only be fed organic certified feeds.

Faulkner also differentiated pasture-fed beef from grass-fed beef.

"Grass-fed cattle cannot be fed any concentrate — they can only receive roughage," Faulkner said. "And that roughage must meet strict guidelines set by the USDA. On the other hand, pasture-fed cattle have access to a finishing diet and pasture."

Pasture-fed cattle have carcass and meat characteristics that are the same as traditionally finished cattle, he added. The meat characteristics of grass-fed cattle are quite different than the average consumer is used to eating.

Faulkner said naturally raised beef, regardless of finishing management, is a niche market that has great potential if consumers will pay premium prices.

"As producers, we need to be responsive to consumer demand," he said. "Currently, naturally raised beef is a very small percentage of the market. But it is a market that is growing at several hundred percent a year, and has been identified as a niche that consumers are very interested in."

This research, "Confinement vs. Pasture and Traditional vs. Naturally Raised Finishing Influences Performance, Carcass, and Economic Characteristics of Early-Weaned Steers," was published in The Professional Animal Scientist. Researchers include Faulkner, Dan Shike and Frank Ireland, all of the U of I.
(Source: Dan Faulkner, 217-333-1781)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Farming Apprenticeship Program

EarthDance, an educational farm located in Ferguson, MO, is currently accepting applications for the 2011 season of their Organic Farming Apprenticeship program. The apprenticeship is an opportunity for St. Louis area residents to learn how to grow food organically on a real working farm, close to home.

EarthDance has created a cooperative learning and working environment well-suited for individuals who want to gain practical organic farming skills on a part-time basis. Apprentices, or "Freshman Farmies," commit to a total of 10 hours (minimum) per week to field walks, on-farm enrichment sessions and workshops, farm and market labor.

In addition, the apprenticeship program includes monthly field trips to local farms and a weekly share of the harvest through their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Application details are available on their website.

EarthDance will host an info session at Schlafly Bottleworks this Monday, November 29th at 7pm, where anyone with an interest in the program can find out more.

Info Session on the EarthDance Organic Farming Apprenticeship Program

Monday, November 29th, 7:00-8:30 PM
Schlafly Bottleworks, Crown Room
7260 Southwest Ave (at Manchester)
Maplewood, MO

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

eOrganic Webinar Series Schedule - eXtension

Some of you may be interested in this series of organic webinars.

In Winter 2011, eOrganic is featuring two series of webinars on climate change and cover crops, as well as more webinars on organic dairy farming and food systems. Please check back often, as we will be adding many new webinars! To register for a webinar, click on the links below. To watch past webinars, please see our Archived Webinars page. To receive updates on upcoming webinars, subscribe to our newsletter here. Attending a Webinar requires downloading software, please make sure that you have the ability to install software on the computer you are using to attend the Webinar.

Organic Farming and
Policy Webinars

Topic Presenter Date and Time

Impact of Grain Farming Methods on Climate Change by Michel Cavigelli, USDA, Beltsville MD 11/12/10, 2PM Eastern Time - archived

Greenhouse Gases and Agriculture: Where does Organic Farming fit? by David Granatstein, Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, Dave Huggins 11/15/10, 2PM Eastern Time  - archived

Transitioning Organic Dairy Cows off and on Pasture by Rick Kersbergen, University of Maine 11/23/10 - archived

Using cover crops to suppress weeds in Northeast US farming systems by William Curran, Matthew Ryan, Penn State 12/2/10, 2PM Eastern Time

Using Winter Killed Cover Crops to Facilitate Organic No-till Planting of Early Spring Vegetables by Mike Snow, Farm Manager, Accokeek Ecosystem Farm; Charlie White, Sustainable Agriculture Extension Associate, Penn State Cooperative Extension 12/7/10

Assessing Nitrogen Contribution and Rhizobia Diversity Associated with Winter Legume Cover Crops in Organic Systems by Julie Grossman, NC State 12/14/10

North Carolina's Statewide initiative for Building a Local Food Economy by Nancy Creamer, Teisha Wymore 1/12/11

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Meat Goat Workshop

December 8 at 7:00 pm
Worth County Fairgrounds Building
301 N Lyon, Grant City MO

Cost $5/person
RSVP by Dec 1st
Registration begins at 6:30 pm

* Preparing for Kidding Season by Dr. Charlotte Clifford-Rathert, State Extension Small Ruminant Specialist, Lincoln University
* Meat Goat Management Wheel and Other Resources by Shawn Deering and Amie Schleicher, MU Regional Livestock Specialist
* Marketing Options - Is Direct Marketing for You? by Chretta Mastin Compliance Officer, Missouri Department of Agriculture
* Doe Nutrtion by Dr. Charlotte Clifford-Rathert, State Extension Small Ruminant Specialist, Lincoln University

Sponsored by the worth County University of Missouri Extension Council
To register contact:
Worth County Extension at 660-564-3363 or email Shawn Deering or Aime Schleicher

Friday, November 19, 2010

Show Me Beef University

Beef producers will see what happens to their product on the way to the supermarket meat case in a workshops, Jan. 11 – 13, 2011, at the meats lab at the University of Missouri.

“Producers can learn what adds value to their product,” said Carol Lorenzen, MU Extension meat specialist. “They will see the process from live animal to carcass to retail package.”

The “Show-Me Beef University” workshops are sponsored by MU Extension in cooperation with the Missouri Beef Industry Council. The classes will help producers think beyond the farm gate to learn what consumers want when buying beef. “Too often, beef producers never think about what affects quality. Few think of what happens to their calves, once they leave the farm,” said David Patterson, MU Extension beef reproduction specialist.

“The workshops will be very much hands on,” Lorenzen said. The instructors will be MU professors from animal science, veterinary medicine, and food science.

A big part of the lessons will be on food safety at every step of the process. Finally, participants will go into a commercial kitchen to see the final steps to the dinner plate. Participants will cut a whole rib, progressively, down to the final products. They will also see displays of different types of retail case-ready packages and convenience products. The participants will see processing of a market steer and a cull cow to learn the difference in meat quality and value. The workshop will also feature taste testing of beef to discover the differences between USDA quality grades and aging times of meat.

Enrollees will arrive at 5 p.m. on the first day to study meat products and participate in taste tests. Research updates will follow dinner. The second day runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with lectures and participation exercises. The final day, the participants will see the actual cut outs from the carcasses graded the day before. The program ends with lunch.

The classes will be limited to 30 participants on a first come basis. The $100 registration fee includes four meals and a parking pass in addition to instruction materials. Advance registration is with Kathy Craighead at  (573) 882-2752. Tuition can be paid upon arrival. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Courtyard by Marriott, 3301 LeMone Industrial Blvd, Columbia, MO 65201. Room rate is $89 per night with breakfast included. Reservation deadline is January 1, 2011. Ask for “Show Me Beef University” rate when calling 573-443-8000.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Food Safety – from Field to Market

Saturday, December 4
9:00 am to Noon (English only)
12:30 pm to 4 pm (English repeated with Hmong translation)

Springfield Conservation Nature Center
4601 S Nature Center Way, Springfield, MO
Topics to be covered:
• Importance of Food Safety
• State Regulations for Selling to the public
• Food Safety Concerns in the Field: Field preparation & planting, manure usage & crop cultural guidelines
• Irrigation Methods and Associated Issues
• Harvest and Postharvest Safety
• Food Safety - Field to Market
• GAP- Good Agriculture Practices

Russell Lilly, Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services
Patrick Byers, Regional Extension Horticulture Specialist, University of Missouri

Participants who complete the workshop will receive a certificate of completion and a laminated sign similar to the one at right for display at their market stand.

Hosted by Missouri State University Fruit Experiment Station Mtn. Grove

There is no charge for this workshop which is underwritten by a USDA Specialty Crops grant.  The workshop is cosponsored by University of Missouri Extension, the Missouri Department of Health and the Webb City Farmers' Market.

Please RSVP to Eileen Nichols at 417-673-5866 to register if possible. Walk-ins are welcome.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Twelve Words that Can Save Cattle Farmers Money

Feed typically accounts for 60 percent of the total yearly cost of cow ownership according to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

“It shouldn’t be a surprise that the greatest savings for cattlemen can be achieved by saving on feed expenses,” said Cole.

But what may come as a surprise is the fact that the best savings steps cattlemen can take can be boiled down to 12 words that explain how it’s done: weigh, test, body condition score (BCS), sort, cull, stockpile, strip-graze, observe, and shop.

Weigh your hay supply. Most farmers have a rough idea what their bales weigh but Cole recommends at least weighing some representative bales from each lot of hay. “Bales can lose significant dry matter in storage, especially if not protected. If your hay supply indicates the need to buy hay, buy it by weight, not by the bale unless several are weighed first,” said Cole.

Test your hay for nutrient content and nitrate level. This helps determine which class of cattle the hay is best suited. The hay test will cost about $18 per sample for the basic protein, energy, moisture and nitrate evaluation. “The testing is critical if you purchase hay. Buy quality legume or grass legume hay. Alfalfa hay may be cheaper than some concentrates,” said Cole.

BCS your cow herd and pick out those cows in a BCS of four or lower. A four cow has most of her ribs visible and backbone showing. “Cows this thin should be fed high quality forage or supplemented with concentrates in order to put on 100 to 150 pounds by her next calving. Should you find fleshy, 7-BCS cows, they could be put on a diet unless they’ve just calved,” said Cole.

Sort the various BCS and lactation group cows into separate feeding groups. Since young, very old and thin cows have greater nutrient needs, put them in a pasture or lot together. “Do not allow fall calvers and spring calvers to run together. It is also a good idea to provide ample space around bale rings so timid cows can eat,” said Cole.

Cull cows that do not fit your plans for the next year. These could be open cows, bad uddered cows, those with attitude problems or those whose time has come to move on, based on weaning weight and breeding records. “Don’t put much feed in the cows you are going to cull unless you see a chance to enhance their salvage value after January 1,” said Cole.

Stockpile forage for winter grazing (especially during August and earl-September). The protein content will be 14 percent or better and the energy levels typically run in the 60 percent TDN, (total digestible nutrient) range on stockpiled pasture. “Each inch of top growth on stockpiled good fescue will have in the neighborhood of 300 pounds of dry matter per acre. It’s possible to have at least .75 to 1 ton of grazing forage available per acre or more,” said Cole.

Strip-grazing the stockpiled fescue will achieve the greatest use.

Observe the cattle closely to note condition changes. “This helps you decide if a feed change is needed. Even better than observing would be to use a scale to measure weight changes,” said Cole.

Shop around if hay or concentrate supplements must be purchased. There’s considerable variation in the way different stores or farmers price their feeds. “The greatest supplement need for cattle is energy. Many think protein is the biggest need, but if you test your forage and study the protein and energy needs on the charts, energy is most likely the problem area,” said Cole.

With so many cattle owners having off-farm jobs Cole says it is no wonder convenience feeds are popular but often over-priced.

“Feed dollars can be saved by minimizing as much as you can the use of self-fed supplements,” said Cole.

For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, (417) 466-3102 or Dona Goede in Cedar County, (417) 276-3313.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Free Aerial Photographs of Property Available Online

Whether you’re a landowner, a hunter, an outdoor enthusiast, there is a useful and free resource available via the Internet from the University of Missouri’s Center for Agricultural, Resource, and Environmental Systems.

According to Wesley Tucker, agriculture and rural development specialist, University of Missouri Extension, people who have Internet access can download aerial photographs of anywhere in Missouri.

“This resource comes in handy in a variety of ways. Maybe you’re scouting a piece of property for hunting or just want a picture of your own land from above,” said Tucker.
In addition to aerial photographs, the website also offers other data like topography, watersheds, geology, census information, crop and livestock numbers.

To access the maps, go to online then click on the Interactive Maps box and go through the three step process.

Step 1 is to “Specify the Area of Interest” by putting in the township, range and section of the property you are looking for or by simply selecting the county where the property is located.

“Once the map is created, begin zooming in on the exact property you want to see,” said Tucker.

Step 2 is to “Select the Data Layers” where the user can even limit aerial maps to roads and highways or cities and towns.

Then move to Step 3 to “Verify Your Selections.” If tab three lists everything you want to see, click on the Make Map button to the right.

“Depending on your connectivity speed it may take some time to create the map. But, once on the screen you can use the zoom in button to begin finding your exact piece of property using the cities, roads and highways as guides. Once you zoom in to more than a 1:5000 ratio, the picture will begin to blur,” said Tucker.

However, this level of magnification is still strong enough to identify specific trees in your yard or use the distance button to draw a line down your driveway and measure the distance in feet.

“Whatever your interests, this resource can be helpful in finding out information about a specific piece of property. With deer season coming soon, zooming out a little further to show the stands of timber or water sources in the surrounding area will be very helpful in indentifying deer movements and where to locate that perfect stand,” said Tucker.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Meat goat program at Missouri Livestock Symposium, Dec. 3-4, for both novice and experienced producers

Regardless of how many goats you have or how long you have had them, the 2010 Missouri Livestock Symposium, Dec. 3-4 in Kirksville, will offer helpful information.

Speaking on meat goats this year will be small-ruminant veterinarian Bob Fielder of McArthur, CA. Fielder will present practical information and a new way of determining which antibiotics provide the best results for common goat sicknesses.

John Middleton, College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri, will talk about the common diseases and ailments that afflict goats and how to prevent such problems.

Also speaking will be Bruce Shanks, an assistant professor at Lincoln University. Shanks and his family operate several farms in central Missouri where they raise and market various goat products. Shanks will talk about the top ten ways goat producers can cut costs while adding value.

Lastly, goat producers will have the opportunity to hear from fellow goat producers Richard and Brian Pemberton, who will offer several producer-friendly tips for meat goat production. Their talk is simply titled “A Producer’s Experience.”

There will also be programs on forages, beef, horses, sheep, stock dogs and various other interesting topics. There will be a free evening meal on Friday, Dec. 3, and a free governor’s-style luncheon on Saturday, Dec. 4. Becky Blackaby will close the program Saturday evening with a concert at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the concert can be purchased by calling 660-665-9866.

The Missouri Livestock Symposium is free and no pre-registration is required. The symposium will be held at Kirksville Middle School, 1515 S. Cottage Grove. The symposium runs 4-9 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. A list of trade show vendors and other information can be found on the symposium website or by calling 660-665-9866 or 660-341-6625.

For more information or speaker photos, please contact Bruce Lane at 660-665-9866 or .

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Resources: Where to Find Conservation Program Information

Below is a list of NRCS programs and resources for each program. This is not an exhaustive list of NRCS programs available for agriculture producers. For a full list, visit the NRCS Programs web page.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
* The NRCS EQIP web page provides application information as well as information regarding previous years sign-up and contracts.

*Center for Rural Affairs Farm Bill Helpline can answer questions you have about the program. Call the Helpline at (402) 687-2100 and ask for the Farm Bill Helpline or email Traci Bruckner

* EQIP Info Page - from A Citizen's Guide to the Farm Bill, a publication from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

* EQIP Info Page - from Building Sustainable Farms, Ranchers and Communities, a publication from ATTRA

* MOSES Organic Info Line – 1-888-551-GROW (4769)

Environmental Quality Incentives Program Organic Initiative (EQIP OI)
* The NRCS EQIP OI web page provides application and program information.

* The ATTRA EQIP OI web page provides EQIP OI program information.

* Center for Rural Affairs Farm Bill Helpline can answer questions you have about the program. Call the Helpline at (402) 687-2100 and ask for the Farm Bill Helpline or email Traci Bruckner

* OFRF’s EQIP OI Resource Page

* MOSES Organic Info Line – 1-888-551-GROW (4769)

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
* The NRCS CSP web page provides application and program information.

* The ATTRA CSP web page provides CSP program information.

* Center for Rural Affairs Farm Bill Helpline can answer questions you have about the program. Call the Helpline at (402) 687-2100 and ask for the Farm Bill Helpline or email Traci Bruckner

* A Farmers Guide to the CSP - a publication from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

* OFRF's CSP Resource Page and OFRF's Frequently Asked Questions about CSP

* MOSES Organic Info Line – 1-888-551-GROW (4769)

Cooperative Conservation Partnerships Initiative (CCPI)
* The NRCS CCPI web page provides program information.

* CCPI Info Page - from A Citizen's Guide to the Farm Bill, a publication from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Conservation Reserve Program Transition Option
* The CRP web page from the USDA Farm Service Agency

* Center for Rural Affairs Farm Bill Helpline can answer questions you have about the program. Call the Helpline at (402) 687-2100 and ask for the Farm Bill Helpline or email Traci Bruckner

Special Initiatives

High Tunnel Initiative (offered under EQIP)
* NRCS has a 3 year, 38 state pilot project for farmers to establish high tunnels in order to extend their seasons and increase the availability of locally grown food. For more info (including the list of states involved in the pilot), read the USDA press release from December 2009.

Mississippi Healthy River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI)
* The MRBI assists producers in targeted watersheds within the Mississippi River Basin to voluntarily implement conservation practices that avoid, control, and trap nutrient runoff while maintaining agricultural productivity. For more information, visit the MRBI information page.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sustainable Viticulture Workbook

Designed to increase vineyard sustainability and the adoption of environmentally-friendly vineyard management practices, The “Ozark Mountain Vineyard Sustainability Assessment Workbook: A Self-Assessment of Management Practices, “ developed by the Institute of Continental Climate Viticulture and Enology at MU is now available on-line and in print format. Vineyard managers can use this resource to develop and implement self-assessment of vineyard practices to improve practices for managing vineyard canopies and crop load, pests and weeds.

The project measures progress in adopting grape best management practices (BMP) while identifying constraints to implementation in Arkansas and Missouri. Its content covers site selection, soils, site preparation, soil and vine nutrition management, cultivars and rootstocks, canopy management, crop load management, fertilizer storage, irrigation, weed management, pest management, disease management, pesticides and safety, pesticide application and pesticide equipment.

The Workbook is available through Extension Publications or on-line.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Getting Started in Berry Production

Strawberries, Blueberries, Brambles and Elderberries

Friday, November 12, 2010
First Christian Church
300 E. Walnut, Rich Hill, MO
9:00-12:00 Getting Started with Berries: Strawberries, Brambles, Blueberries and Elderberries
Presented by Patrick Byers, University of Missouri Extension Horticulture Specialist

12:00-1:30 Lunch on your own

1:30-3:00 Tour of Joe Wilson’s elderberry planting near Compton Junction

Registration cost is $20, payable at the door.

Call in your reservation to 417-448-2560 by November 10th. Let us know at that time if you need travel assistance to the Joe Wilson elderberry planting, or if you need any special accommodations.

Please register to 
Vernon County Extension Center
100 W. Cherry—Courthouse-Suite 2
Nevada, MO 64772

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Agritourism a Growing Trend for Rural Landowners; Offers a New Type of Farm Income

Southwest Missouri farms are in a unique position to add value through agritourism according to Tim Schnakenberg, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“Small farms typical of the Ozarks can recreate an experience of a simpler time. That brings back memories for tourists who long for a simpler way of life or just create memorable farm activities for the non-farm public," said Schnakenberg.

AgriMissouri, a program within the Missouri Department of Agriculture, partnered with the University of Missouri’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism program in 2010 to conduct a survey of agritourism operators to determine the impact agritourism has on farms and communities.

The study showed that over 1.2 million people visit agritourism destinations each year. Sixty-four percent of respondents indicated adding an agritourism destination to their farm increased their farm revenues significantly and 66 percent plan to continue increasing their agritourism offerings on their farm.


Schnakenberg says in order to be successful with agritourism there are three things you need: something for visitors to see, something unique for them to do, and, something for them to buy.

"The things to see and do are often free-of-charge and attract visitors to the site. Once there, research has found that tourists mainly buy food, beverages and souvenirs," said Schnakenberg.

A few examples of agritourism enterprises include direct marketing of farm products through farm or roadside stands, corn mazes, apple picking, hay rides, horseback riding, bed and breakfast operations, farm and ranch recreations, farm tours for school children, u-pick produce, fee hunting and on-farm sales.

Agritourism can diversify revenue sources, establish an alternative marketing outlet, generate price premiums for farm products, create an opportunity to capitalize on the aesthetic value of agricultural land and allow farm owners to share their passion for agriculture with others.

Schnakenberg says it is a good idea to develop a business plan for a new agritourism venture to guide decisions on goals, profit and focus of the business.

“Part of the business plan will be determining what to charge and what your expenses will be. An expense many small operations overlook is insurance cost. When you invite visitors to your farm, you will need higher levels of liability insurance,” said Schnakenberg.

Owners also need to invest time in market research and resource assessment.


“Most rural citizens have made a trip to the city to visit a zoo, museum or to buy special meals,” said Schnakenberg. “Rural residents should think about how they can get city residents out to the farm to get some of that cash back.”

While some methods are obvious, other experiences may require a little dreaming and some trial and error. Some experiences like fee hunting, bed and breakfast, rural lodging, and dude ranches have been around for a while. Others such as corn maize, farm museums and work experiences on the farm are new.

“While some of these ventures may not provide a large return, many of them offer the opportunity to supplement the traditional farm income,” said Schnakenberg.

Agritourism experiences like corn mazes are showing up all over the state now.

"In the last 10 years, I'd say the number of agritourism experiences in southwest Missouri have grown exponentially. We've seen a tremendous number of them," said Schnakenberg. "It's a lucrative deal for farmers to be involved, and also there's just a lot of interest in it.”

The trend of agritourism may still be in its infancy but Schnakenberg believes it represents a promising venture for family farms.

"Agritourism, I think, is something that's not going away," said Schnakenberg.

For more information contact the nearest MU Extension center or go online to http://extension.missouri.edu or www.extension.org.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ag Opportunities

The Missouri Alternatives Center has been publishing a FREE newsletter since 1990.  Ag Opportunities, the name of the newsletter, began as a hard copy bimonthly newsletter that was mailed out to its subscribers.  In July 2006, its 15th year, Ag Opportunites became a monthly newsletter.  With budget cuts a few years ago, the hard copy printing and mailing came to an end and the Ag Opportunities became an online e-newsletter. 

The newsletter began to the shortage of information on alternative agricultural ideas such as ostriches, organic farming, agroforestry, direct marketing and goats to agritourism.  Today, the internet is loaded with websites containing lots of information on these topics today.  However, Ag Opportunities offers information specific to Missourians who are looking for new, creative, innovative ideas to add to or to begin farming.

If you've never read the Ag Opportunities, you'll be for a treat.  Sections of the e-newsletter include lead stories on topics of interest, "On the Calendar" (a listing of upcoming events), "In Print-On Line" (where to find some good information) and a new section called "Grants and Financing."  All previous newsletters have been archived.

The November 2010, Volume 21, Number 11 of Ag Opportunities includes the following:

* Research in Southwest Missouri May Change Ragweed from a Seasonal Curse to a Money Maker for Farmers

* Planting Cultivar Walnuts Can Create Additional Source of Farm Income

* Fall Best Time to Establish Trees from Walnuts

* Disease and Insect Control Begins This Fall




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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Program Helps Existing and Budding Farmers Grow and Diversify

Justin Knoll strolled underneath the sunscreen netting that sheltered the potted flowers, grasses and other plants that are staples of Seven Cedars Farm.

While other 20-somethings have left the farm, Justin recently returned to manage the family farm in Jonesburg. His parents, John and Melissa Knoll, decided to diversify with the help of the University of Missouri Extension Grow Your Farm program.

“We want to give Justin an opportunity as a young farmer to succeed,” John Knoll said. “We had ideas coming in, but the program reinforced our plans, gave us direction and actually excited my son and made him eager.”

At the Warrenton MU Extension center last summer, the Knolls attended Grow Your Farm classes with six other families, including those with established farms, some with “town jobs,” and those without land who are just now deciding to get into farming.

“It’s about helping them think more holistically about their land, what’s available to them and how they might use those resources to better allow them to do the thing they love most,” said Shelley Bush Rowe, MU Extension community development specialist in Warrenton. “It could be as simple as looking at a different way to package their product, at a different group of consumers or clients to buy their product, or diversifying their income opportunities.”

The program helps individuals interested in farming to refine business strategies, develop marketing and diversify traditional farms with alternative endeavors. Participants meet 11 times over a 16- to 18-week period. The classes cover topics from business plans and financing and include presentations from a variety of successful farm operations.

“We cover setting a mission statement, but we don’t try to be ominous about it,” Bush Rowe said. “We talk a lot about things bankers want to see and assistance programs that are available, so that the mystery and fear of going to the bank for financing are gone.”

With help from the class, the Knolls now have a plan to bolster their hay sales and expand their greenhouse operation from 650 square feet to 4,000 square feet by next year. They also outlined ideas to expand their grass-fed Simmental cattle sales and incorporate Justin’s budding photography business in the next five years.

“We learned from the class, but also learned from each other,” said Melissa Knoll. “We met so many new people, from people wanting to be farmers to ones who had 500 acres.”

The program inspired her family to apply and receive a grant to construct a high tunnel. “We would have never even pursued that if not for the Grow Your Farm program,” she said.

Justin Knoll is optimistic about the farm’s future and how he can incorporate his interests into the big picture.

“Scenery is important to the type of photography I’d like to be doing,” he said. “Developing the photography business as part of our farm’s plans is another thing to add value and income.”

Learn more about the Grow Your Farm program and classes offered near you.

Check out the Streaming video.
(by Roger Meissen, University of Missouri Cooperative Media Group)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Small Farm Trade Show and Conference

One of the best farm shows (and the least expensive one) I've ever been to has got to be the National Small Farm and Trade Show that happens each first full weekend in November.  This year the dates are this week Nov 4-6 at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Columbia, MO.

What makes this farm show one of the best is the number of creative and innovative farmers that speak and exhibit.  Each year the topics change according to the trends in agriculture for small farms and alternative farming. 

The show will have one hour seminars, three hour short courses, half hour farmers forums, numerous demonstrations and tons of exhibitors.

The cost is $8 for one day; $12 for two days, and $15 for all three days.  This price will get you into the seminars, demonstrations and exhibits.  If you would like to attend any of the 9 three hour short course there is an additional charge of $35.

There will be plenty to see and lots of networking and gobs to learn.  For more information about the show you can call 800-633-2535.

I will be at the Missouri Alternatives Center exhibit so come on by and say hello.