Monday, January 31, 2011

Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop

Join University of Missouri Extension for a hands-on fruit tree pruning workshop on Saturday, February 19th at Alldredge Orchards.

Fruit tree pruning is an important practice which impacts yield, disease, and quality.  The workshop will provide an opportunity to learn the science and art of proper pruning in an informal learning environment.  It will start inside for a quick overview then go to the orchard for a complete learning experience.

Saturday, February 19th, 2011
10 a.m. - Noon

Please register by February 16 to ensure your spot at the workshop. The cost of the pruning workshop is $10 per person.

For more information: contact Marlin Bates, Platte County Extension Horticulture Specialist, 816-270-2141 or Alldredge Orchards, 10455 Highway N, Platte City, MO 64079, 816-330-3448.

Friday, January 28, 2011

MO Organic Assn Conference Scholarships

I've been notified by the President of the MO Organic Association that they have funding for beginning farmers and college students to attend the Annul Missouri Organic Association Conference taking place February 10-12, 2011 in Springfield, MO.  Her email to me states:

"Still more money coming in for scholarships to the MOA Conference! If you wanted to come, but just didn't think you can afford it, please consider writing a short paragraph and email it to me at $75 off the total price of $175 net price for 3 days of the most amazing workshops, local organic food and the best networking...... all for only $100."

For more information on this great conference go to their website.  I am on the agenda to present on Saturday on the Local Foods Systems Panel and will be giving a short presentation about grants.  Plus I'll have the Missouri Beginning Farmer Program exhibit as well as the MO SARE exhibit in the exhibition hall so stop by and say hello.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What are some resources for evaluating an enterprise for my farm?

I found this question and answer in the Weekly Harvest Newsletter, January 26, 2011 and thought you all might like to read it as well.

What are some resources for evaluating an enterprise for my farm?
Answer: Thank you for your recent request for information from ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. I am pleased to provide you with information regarding evaluating an enterprise for your prospective farm operation.

A good publication to read is “Evaluating a Rural Enterprise.” This publication provides an overview and an extensive resource list to spring-board you into finding more information on this topic.

It would be wise to then assess your goals, land, and resources on your land initially, before deciding which crop to grow or animals to raise. Some considerations that may help direct your decision-making and save time and much needed energy when developing a farm business are as follows:

Identify your own personal values
* E.g. Do you want to have an organic farm?
*Do you want to spend more time with your family
* Do you want an enterprise that will equal your current salary,
* Is a different lifestyle your goal?

What are your personal goals and vision for your property
* While this is closely related to the above bullet, you can create your goals for your property based on your personal values.
* This is often left out of business planning templates, but can be an important component in your assessment.
* It is something that you can, and should, come back to when there is a question about what direction you want your business to go.

Assess your property
* Consider size, location, soils, resources on your property
* (e.g. do you have a wood lot? Juniper makes great firewood and could be sold in the winter)
* Soil is an often overlooked aspect of farming enterprises, but it is a very important one. Optimum soil will give you more production options, but certain crops or livestock give you more flexibility with soil quality.
* Water access and cost is a very important considerations. In Tennessee this may be more for insurance purposes when the region is going through a drought. Are you planning on using a pond for irrigation? If so, does it have an adequate recharge rate to get you through the driest parts of the growing season? Vegetable and fruit cropping are the more water intensive cropping systems.

Market assessment
* Marketing is an often overlooked aspect of developing a new enterprise.
* Location, your personality, and production interests are things to consider in this assessment.
* Questions to consider when developing a marketing plan:  Are you in a rural area? Do you enjoy interacting with people? E.g. If you are close to an urban area and enjoy working with people, a Farmer’s Markets might be a good and safe venue to sell your products.  Do you have another occupation? Then wholesale marketing, which takes less time and energy might be better suited for you.

Once you have an enterprise in mind, develop a business and production plan.  There are many workbooks that are very helpful in working through these myriad of considerations, which have been only briefly outlined above.

Three additional resources that you might find helpful are:

The Cornell University Beginning Farmer Program has a free tutorial that will take you through goal setting and enterprise decision making. It is interactive and packed with information.
The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture has developed a goal based workbook and resource list. The workbook, titled Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses is quite helpful in taking the reader through the steps outlined above.

The University of Kentucky has developed a tool for evaluating new enterprises for a farm or family business titled “A PRIMER for Selecting New Enterprises for Your Farm.” It is a resource that works more from enterprise budgets and is based on worksheets used to evaluate the "Profitability, Resource requirements, Information needs, Marketing decisions, Enthusiasm for, and the Risk associated with a new enterprise."

2011 Goat and Sheep Initiative Conferences


Feb 5, 2011 at Lincoln University, Carver Farm
April 2, 2011 St. Joseph Area
April 30, 2011 Kirksville, Truman University
May 14, Fredericktown Fair Grounds


8:15-9:00 am Registration: $ 10 for pre-registration (to cover materials and lunch); $15 at the door.

9:00-9:10 am Welcome

9:10-9:45 am Factors in Getting Started – Dr. Jodie Pennington and Dr. Helen Swartz, Lincoln University Cooperative Extension

9:45-10:40 am Animal Health, What’s New – Dr. Charlotte Clifford – Rathert Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Service, Jefferson City and Dr. Scott Poock, University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, Columbia

10:40-10:50 am Break, view exhibits

10:50- 11:30 – Market Grading: what producers need to know for uniformity – Mark Kennedy, Missouri Dept. of Ag. USDA Grader (Fredericktown); Corbin Wall, USDA (St. Joseph)

11:30-12:00 – Marketing with Economic Savvy: Darvin Green, Lincoln University (Fredericktown); Opportunities You Need to Know About: Stan Cook, Missouri Dept. of Agriculture

12:00-1:00pm Lunch

1:00- 1:30 pm BioSecurity: Rules and Regulation Updates—Rachel Heimericks, MO Dept of Ag Jefferson City, MO.

1:30 – 2:00 pm Producer Reports (specific to each region)

2:00-2:30 pm Producer Reports (specific to each region)

2:30-3:30 pm Production Demonstrations (8 minute rotations) 1) hoof trimming 2) deworming, injections, 3) weight estimates, body condition scoring, and 4) bio-security on the farm.

3:30pm : Evaluations and Adjourn.

This conference series is designed to bring the information to the producers. Each region will benefit from the same information on herd health, production, business finance, and marketing. Local producers have been asked to share their success stories.

Registration Fee
$10 Pre-Registration; $15 at the door

(Fees cover the cost of lunch provided and take home materials)

Questions, please call Vonna Kesel 573-681-5312 or Dr. Charlotte Clifford-Rathert 573-681-5169
February 5 (early conference registration deadline: January 30)
April 2 (early conference registration deadline: March 29)
April 30 (early conference registration deadline: April 25)
May 14 (early conference registration deadline: May 10)

Please send check made out to Lincoln University or a money order with the specified date of the workshop you wish to attend to: Vonna Kesel, Lincoln University Cooperative Extension, PO Box 29, 110 Allen Hall, Jefferson City, MO 65101

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Agritourism - Small Fruit and Vegetable Conference

The Agritourism - Small Fruit and Vegetable Conference is scheduled for Feb 21-22-23 at the Ramada Oasis Conference Center in Springfield, Missouri.

The conference has brought together University of Missouri Extension specialists, professional growers, University researchers and successful agritourism businesspeople for a superb program of information designed to help you make your operation great.

On Monday, you have a choice of two programs – the local foods and farms bus tour and the blueberry school.

The Bus Tour leaves for a drive east of Springfield to six locations that will hold something of interest for everyone.

At the hotel, is the the Blueberry School, intended for all skill levels of growers, with a self-drive tour to Blue Haven Picking Patch in Bois D’Arc. The annual Blueberry Council Meeting is scheduled for Monday evening.

Tuesday will begin with a General Session then concurrent session on fruits, vegetables and agritourism subjects. In the evening the confernece will feature a local foods mixer in the Exhibit area to give participants an opportunity to talk and exchange ideas and best practices.

The Trade Show will open Tuesday to provide an opportunity to discuss issues and find solutions for your growing and marketing challenges with business professionals.

Wednesday the conference begins again with a General session and break into concurrent session until the end at noon.

Check out the conference webpage for more information. You can register by printing the registration form ht and sending a check, or call Pam Mayer 417-547-7533 or Leslie Akers 417-547-7516 or 417-547-7500 to register with a credit card.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Poultry Regulations

Are you in the process of considering a poultry enterprise for you farm?  Have you researched breeds, production methods and markets?  More importantly, have you thought about the regulations involved?

There are 4 basic levels of government that may have some influence in what you do as a producer: federal, state, county and possibly, city.

Selling Processed Birds
If you are selling at a farmers' market, a restaurant or other institutions, there may be a different set of rules and/or restrictions at each, that you will have to follow in order to sell to them.

Beginning at the federal level is the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) tasked with protecting the health and welfare of consumers with regards to meat and meat products.  FSIS is part of USDA.  All regulations follow the guidelines of these four acts of Congress: the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Ac, the Egg Inspection Act and the Humane Slaughter Act.  These are the starting point for understanding what you can legally do.

There is an exemption to these acts in which small producers can benefit.  The chart below comes from an Extension bulletin and simplifies the exemption language.

As a small producer, you are mainly concerned with the Producer/Grower exemptions of 1,000 and 20,000 bird limits.  Both exemptions are good for a calenar year.  Your are not allowed to sell meat through interstate commerce.  The buying and selling of birds produced by others is not allowed.

According to federal law, you are allowed to produce your own birds, process them and sell directly to consumers, hotel, restaurants, institutions, distributors, and retail stores.

Even though you are exempt, you will still need to follow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Service Manual, chapters 2-8, with some exemptions.

As a table egg producer, you are exempt from the federal egg requirements if your laying flock is under 3,000 birds.

At the state level, the MO Dept of Ag (MDA) is the first point of contact.  MDA has a cooperative agreement with USDA and has adopted all the federal regulation for processing and selling poultry.

The MO Meat and Poultry Inspection Program (MMPIP) sees to it that these regulations are carried out in the state.  They are there to help you produce, process and deliver healthy products to consumers.

In the case of meat, you will first contact the MDA MMPIP to register for the appropriate exemptions.

To get started, contact your regional field inspector or compliance peron.  They will review your proposal and  may even visit your farm to discuss your unique sitation.

To legally sell eggs, a completed application to sell eggs accompanied by $5 is all that is required.  Eggs should be candles and held at 48 degrees F.  In the MO Revised Statutes there is an excemption for eggs sold directly from the farm, which requires no license.

To legally sell hatching eggs and baby poultry in MO, you must participate in the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) or an equivalent program.  The MDA administers this program at the state level.

The MO Dept pf Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) does not regulate poultry.

County and City
Each county and city may have regulations that will require you, the individual producer, to find out about.  They are county specific an dcan normally be found in the planning and zoning office of the county in which you live.  At this level, thehealth department may be involved.  For further instructions, check with your local county health department.

The city regulations will be found in your planning and zoning and health departments of the city in which you live.

MMPIP - 573-522-1242 or 573-751-3377
NPIP - 573-751-751-3377
MO Egg Law - 573-751-4316
(taken from Lincoln University Cooperative Extension's Innovative Small Farm Outreach Program)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Organic Under Glass and Plastic

Today is the last day of the blogs on the Organic Track from the Great Plains Growers Conference.

Organic Under Glass and Plastic presented by Chris Blanchard, Rock Spring Farm in Iowa who has a 200 member CSA

High tunnels can be used as an effective means of significantly extending the growing season. This gives growers the advantage of being able to market produce earlier in the spring and later into the fall. A well managed high tunnel can even enable growers to produce certain crops throughout the winter. Mr. Blanchard’s suggestion for an ideal high tunnel set up is a mobile unheated structure, covered in a double layer of plastic. A movable high tunnel allows the grower to utilize the benefits of enclosed growing space for significantly more crops than a stationary tunnel.

An intensive management system is vital. This begins with a well planned production schedule and production map. Fall planted cold-hardy crops must be planted according to a strict schedule, as a lost day in fall is like a lost week in the spring (shortening day lengths diminish growing time). Movable high tunnels should be allotted three patches of growing space so that a succession of crops can be easily mapped and planned. For example, cold-hardy spinach and salad greens can be planted in plot 1 during late winter. Once exterior conditions warm enough for the greens to thrive outdoors, then the high tunnel can be moved to plot 2 and tomatoes can be started in early- to mid-spring. During late-summer, lettuce and carrots can be planted outdoors in plot 3 and the high tunnel can be moved onto this plot in mid- to late-fall. Meanwhile, super cold-hardy leaks can be planted outdoors in plot 1 during late spring and the high tunnel can be moved to cover them in mid-winter. Stationary tunnels should also be intensively planned, but space constraints will limit the grower to fewer crops than with a movable tunnel.

There are challenges to consider when growing in high tunnels: water condensation, salt build-up in soil, soil drying, and pests. High tunnels must have proper ventilation in order to avoid condensation, which can cause bacterial and fungal issues. Soil salinity can also become a problem because most irrigation systems do not adequately drench the soil enough to flush out salts. Similarly, soil drying can happen, especially with drip irrigation. Both of these issues are less of a problem with movable high tunnels, as rain flushes the soil when the plot is uncovered. However, if the high tunnel is stationary, the soil would benefit from occasionally over-irrigating. Ideally, high tunnels serve as a physical barrier against pests. However, if a pest population is able to infiltrate the tunnel than they can become a big problem (the protected growing environment is ideal for both plants and pests). To solve for this, Mr. Blanchard suggests releasing numerous predator insects (ex. parasitic wasps) within in the high tunnel every spring.
(report by Rachel Deffenbaugh – Gateway Greening, Inc., St. Louis, MO)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Starting from Scratch: First Year Organic

This is the 4th in a series of 5 from the Organic Track at the 2011 Great Plains Growers Conference

Starting from Scratch: First Year Organic presented by Mike Bolliger

A beginning grower must first consider the farm layout and site selection. When considering growing locations, take note of the slope of the land, the evenness of the ground and soil quality. A seed starting location should have a flat surface and be easily accessible. Seed starts will need a heated high tunnel, which can be used for a handful of other crops when not inundated with seedlings. Additional high tunnels can significantly expand growing seasons, but it is important to always consider your market. For example, you may be able to harvest tomatoes in early may, but it would be hardly worth the cost of a high tunnel if you can only get $3.50/lb. at the market. However, if you can bring in $6 or $7/lb. at market, than you might consider putting in as many high tunnels as you can!

When considering the farm layout, standardization is key. Decide on a standard row size and spacing and stick with it throughout the entire farm. Not only will this make working the fields easier (both with machinery and by hand) but it will also make planning and mapping significantly easier.

Next, the grower will need to select crops and establish a growing plan. During this process especially, documentation is critical. A well documented plan will become records to reference in following years. Ease of return should dictate crop selection for the first year. For example, microgreens are a perfect first-year crop (if your market will support them). They require minimal inputs and can bring in a high price (up to $12/lb. in some markets). Additionally, they have a quick turnover thus new growers have access to a quick flow of income. For another rapid source of income, Mr. Bolliger suggests growing transplants for home gardeners (again, local markets will determine actual profitability). Mike also suggests contacting local seed companies and agricultural research organizations. Running trials for such organizations means a guaranteed income (regardless of crop quantity or quality) and it’s a means to establish valuable contacts.
(report by Rachel Deffenbaugh – Gateway Greening, Inc., St. Louis, MO)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

No-till and Cover Crops for Organic Vegetable Production

Today is the 3rd update of 5 from the Great Plains Growers Conference.  Today we will look at cover crops.

No-till and Cover Crops for Organic Vegetable Production presented by Kathleen Delate, Organic State Specialist, Iowa State University.

The process of cover cropping is used to organically maintain and improve soil quality. Cover crops do this by replenishing nitrogen (legumes), replenishing carbon (grasses), decreasing erosion, managing weeds, and decreasing soil compaction. Some cover crops can even be profitable as a seed crop (if this is of interest, Dr. Delate recommends reading Managing Cover Crop Profitability). The type of cash crops will determine the ideal type of cover crop. For example, a nitrogen rich legume should follow a tomato crop and grass cover crops (i.e. rye) should never be followed by another grain (i.e. corn or wheat).

There are two different options when seeding for cover crops: over-seeding and post-harvest seeding. Over-seeding is the process of sowing the cover crop seed while existing crops are still in the field and producing. This method offers the benefit of starting the cover crop early enough to ensure that it will be healthy and vigorous. Additionally, the harvest of the existing crop is not cut short. However, the cover crop will compete with the existing crop for water and nutrients, thus potentially decreasing the quality of both the cover crop and the existing crop. If this method is selected, a shade tolerant cover crop variety must be selected, as the existing crop will already be tall and established. Post-harvest seeding is the process of sowing the cover crop seed after the previous crop has been harvested and removed from the field. With this method, there is no water, nutrient, or light competition between the new seed and the previous crop. However, the cover crop seed must be planted early enough that it can germinate and begin growth prior to prohibitive winter conditions. Thus, a grower may have to remove the previous crop before they’ve finished harvesting for the season.

Many cover crops will be in the ground over winter. At the end of the winter the cover crop will need to be properly killed in order to decrease volunteer plants throughout the growing season. Prof. Delate does mention that incorporating (i.e. tilling) the cover crop will generate the most nitrogen in the soil. If this process is chosen, it is important to chop down the crop and let that plant residue dry in the field for a few days. This ensures that the seeds of potential volunteer plants are dead. The no-till option is a process called dead mulching. This process involves using mechanical choppers or rollers to fell the crop and then leave the plant residue on the surface to serve as mulch. At this point, the cash crop can be planted. This method has the benefits of weed suppression, moisture retention, and soil conservation.

Take note of the following things when using cover crops. First, effectiveness depends heavily upon a thick and even stand of cover crops. Thin or bald patches will develop weeds, which can continue to cause problems once the cash crop is planted. Second, for optimal nitrogen benefits, legume cover crops, such as hairy vetch, should be allowed to set pods prior to killing. Lastly, cover crops should be selected based on specific soil deficiencies and specific cash crop nutrient needs. For example, a carbon rich soil should not be planted with carbon rich grasses. Planting a mixed combination of legume and grass cover crops will offer both the nitrogen and carbon benefits of cover crops.
(reported by Rachel Deffenbaugh – Gateway Greening, Inc., St. Louis, MO)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Using Grafting in Organic Heirloom Tomato Production

This is day 2 of a series of 5 blogs from the Great Plains Growers Conference that took place at the beginning of January 2011.  This series of blogs is from the Organic Track.

Using Grafting in Organic Heirloom Tomato Production presented by Cary Rivard, Plant Pathologist, North Carolina State University

Prior to making the decision to graft heirloom tomatoes, one must consider their market. Grafted plants cost approximately $1-$2 more per plant to produce than producing traditional plants. Thus, growers should only consider grafting heirloom tomatoes if they can get a market premium price for heirloom tomatoes.

Many heirloom tomato varieties have a well deserved reputation for being “finicky” and less than vigorous. However, heirlooms produce some of the tastiest and most marketable tomatoes. When grafting, one can select a scion variety based on fruit production, and select a root stalk based on vigor and hardiness. The results of this selection process are the true benefits of grafting heirloom tomatoes: disease resistance, water & nutrient uptake, and increased yields. An heirloom tomato plant may theoretically produce the most beautiful and marketable tomatoes, but that doesn’t matter one bit if an entire crop is wiped out by fusarium wilt. Root stalks can be selected with resistance to the specific diseases and pests that commonly infect the scion variety. The same principle holds true for water and nutrient uptake. Hearty tomato plants are so vigorous in part because they can take in water and nutrients more efficiently than other plants. Root stalk should also be selected based on these uptake efficiencies. Lastly, test trials indicate that grafted plants can produce higher yields than traditional heirloom plants, even when the traditional heirloom plant was fumigated and the grafted plant was not.

Dr. Rivard presented an overview of the process of grafting. A short run through of those steps follow, but I recommend acquiring more detailed information from his research and resources pages at the North Carolina State University website.

The entire process should be treated as surgery; sanitation is essential in every step of the process. Once appropriate scion and root stalk have been selected the grower will need to raise the plants until they are approximately 3-week old seedlings (1.5-2.0 mm stem diameter). The stem diameter of the scion and the root stalk must be the same. Unlike with most seedling propagation, a long stem is preferable for grafting. When the plants are ready, the space and materials must be sanitized and prepared for the process. Dr. Rivard suggests grafting at night (so the plants aren’t water or nutrient stressed). The cuts should be made at an angle between 45˚ to 60˚. Consistency of angle is more important than the actual degree of the angle, as the stems will need to connect like puzzle pieces. Once the cuts are made, attach a tube clip to the root stalk and insert the scion, making sure to line up the angles of the cut ends. The grafted plants should be placed in a healing chamber as soon as possible. The most important qualities of a healing chamber are that it has high humidity and very low light. Once the graft sites have healed, the plants can be hardened off and transplanted into the ground (shallow transplanting is important, to avoid volunteer roots and root suckers).
(reported by Rachel Deffenbaugh – Gateway Greening, Inc., St. Louis, MO)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Organic Management of Vegetable Diseases (and Pests)

The Great Plains Growers Conference held in St. Joseph MO on Jan 6-8, 2011 offered some great speakers on some fabulous topics.  For the next 5 days, you will read reviews from Rachel Deffenbaugh of Gateway Greening, Inc., St. Louis, MO who attended the Organic Track.  You will no doubt learn something from each day's post.

Organic Management of Vegetable Diseases (and Pests)
Adam Montri, Michigan State University Student Organic Farm, was the speaker for this breakout session.

When organically addressing disease and pest management, early and preventative action is key. There are four steps: identify concerns, manage environment, scout for early disease identification, and take action early. When taking action, there are four different types of approach: cultural, physical/mechanical, biological, and chemical. A cultural approach means to control a plant’s environment to make it less desirable for disease and pests (i.e. disease resistant cultivars, crop rotation, moisture management, etc.). Physical/mechanical intervention utilizes physical barriers, such as row covers, low tunnels and hoop houses. Biological approaches are based on attracting, releasing and/or applying biological agents and on managing organic soil matter. Finally, chemical approaches involve applying sprays and other chemicals to control diseases and pests. It should be noted that all certified organic operations should check with their certifier before utilizing any chemicals (although there are organically certified applications that can be used).

I will use the example of cucumber beetles, which are a vector for bacterial wilt. Some cultural approaches to controlling cucumber beetles and bacterial wilt are to select for bacterial wilt resistant plant cultivars, plow under plant residues, and to practice long distance crop rotation. Row covers and low tunnels can be used as physical barriers that keep cucumber beetles out. Additionally, growers can plant a “trap crop”; non-resistant cultivars are planted along the edge of the beds, beetles infest these plants, and the plants are tilled under when infestation levels are high (this is another physical approach). A biological treatment for cucumber beetles may include releasing parasitic nematodes that revel in infecting cucumber beetle larvae. And, lastly, Kaolin clay and/or neem contain compounds that can serve as chemical deterrents for cucumber beetles.

Because organic production depends heavily upon a healthy growing environment that mimics natural systems, there are few treatment approaches that are specific to individual diseases or pests. Rather, an organic approach aims to rectify systematic deficiencies. For example, a common biological approach to eliminating many pests is to plant flowers and herbs that attract predator species, such as lady beetles, that will prey on harmful pests, such as aphids. Those same flowers and herbs may also attract bees and birds, which serve the essential role of pollination.
(report by Rachel Deffenbaugh – Gateway Greening, Inc., St. Louis, MO)

Monday, January 17, 2011

15th Annual Greenhouse Growers' School

Friday, February 4, 2011
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/Coffee and donuts

9:00 Incorporating Color into the Landscape, Vaughn Fletcher, McHutchinson, Inc.

10:15 Break

10:30 Organic Gardening for Your Business, Lady Bug Natural Brands

11:30 Lunch (furnished)

Concurrent sessions in the afternoon—your choice of topics.

Room A (Greenhouse session) 1:00 pm - New Bedding Plants for 2011, Vaughn Fletcher, McHutchinson, Inc.
2:00 pm  - What’s new in greenhouse insect control?  James Quinn, MU Extension 

Room B (Nursery/landscape session)
1:00 pm - Storm Water Mitigation and Related Issues, Robert Reed, MU College of Engineering
2:00 pm - Rain gardens: design and placement, John Glenn, MU Landscape Architect

3:00 Break Break

Room A (Greenhouse session)

3:15 pm - A Perennial Update: Contemporary Perennials to Know and Grow, Bill Ruppert, National Nursery Products
4:15 pm - Salts Management in Greenhouse Production, Dave Trinklein, MU Plant Sciences

Room B (Nursery/landscape session)
3:15 pm - Permeable  Pavers: Design and Installation, Luke Mueller, Midwest Block and Brick
4:15 pm - Growing Your Business Naturally, Charlie Hopper, MO Grow Native Program

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

For additional information contact David Trinklein, State Floriculture Specialist at 573/882-9631

Friday, January 14, 2011

Organic Apple Production and Marketing (A Beginner's Guide)

Free Webinar

Thursday, January 27, 2011, Noon Central Standard Time

Commercial-scale organic apple production has entered the mainstream. Once thought of as practically impossible, profitable organic apple production is now a reality for established apple growers from coast to coast. And the techniques for successful organic apple production are backed up by research and recommendations from universities such as Cornell, Michigan State, and Washington State.

But the path to profitable commercial organic apple production isn't easy. Organic apple growers face many hurdles, from pest control and certification to marketing. But if you're willing to tackle these hurdles, the profits may well be worth the effort.

To find out what's involved in profitable organic apple production, and whether this business is right for you, register for our free webinar titled "Organic Apple Production and Marketing (A Beginner's Guide)."

Presented by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), this organic apple webinar will be broadcast on Thursday, January 27th, at 12 Noon Central Standard Time.

Some of the topics to be covered in this hour-long webinar include the following:
• Overview and trends in organic apple production and marketing in the U.S.
• Organic apple production techniques for different regions of the country.
• Disease control with organic fungicides and disease-resistant varieties of apples.
• Insect and mite control with kaolin clay, pheromones, and new-generation pesticides
• "Farmscaping" to optimize biological control with beneficial insects
• Control of vertebrate pests in orchards such as deer and voles
• Non-chemical weed control in organic apple orchards
• Economics and marketing of organic apples—how can I make a profit?

The speakers for the webinar are Tammy Hinman, a horticulturalist, and Guy Ames, an experienced apple grower. Both speakers currently work for the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). Hinman and Ames provide technical advice to apple growers nationwide through the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA), with funding provided by USDA. Ames and Hinman are also coauthors of ATTRA's new publication on organic apple production, which will be available this winter.

This January 27th webinar on Organic Apple Production is free, but registration online is required.  To register for the webinar, visit this website.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Vegetable Grafting Workshops

Improve profits this season by investing your time to learn how vegetable grafting can:
* Increase profits for this coming growing season
* How it fits into your integrated pest management strategy
* History of vegetable grafting
* Techniques of vegetable grafting
* Hands on practice of grafting skills with tomato plants

Materials will be provided.  Register early for your seat to learn how to graft using live plants with Lincoln University’s own State Vegetable Specialist.

Deadline to register is February 11. There is limited seating.

If you need accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please mentions this when you register.

There will be three workshop locations on February 15 and 16th.

* Kansas City - February 16, 10 am-12 pm, Lincoln University Urban Impact Center, 1028 Paseo, Kansas City, MO 64106
* Platte City - February 16, 4-6 pm, Platte County MU Extension Center, 11724 NW Plaza Circle, Kansas City, MO 64153
* Warrensburg - February 15, 4-6 pm, Johnson County MU Extension Center, 135 W. Market Warrensburg, MO 64093

The cost of the workshop is $10 per person. Please make checks payable to LU Cooperative Extension Please include a phone number or email address where you can be contacted in the event the workshop must be canceled.

Deadline to register is Feb 11th

Please mail your $10 check along with you name, address, phone number, email address and the location you with to attend to:

Feb. 15 workshop mail to: Jeff Yearington, 26620 West Line Road, Cleveland MO 64734

Feb. 16 workshop mail to: Jim Pierce, 38216 W. 176th, Rayville MO 64084

Sponsored by Lincoln University Cooperative Extension and University of Missouri Extension 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Green Hills Farm Project Winter Seminar

The Green Hills Farm Project is a non-profit organization of grass-based farmers in North Central Missouri.  Their goal is to provide education to their group members through farm walks and seminars.  The organization is very family oriented and all children are welcome to all events.

The speaker for the February 26th Winter Seminar is Mark Bader, owner of Free Choice Enterprises.  Mark travels the whole world helping livestock owners with pasture performance issues. Mark went to college at the University of Wisconsin. He concentrated all his studies on chemistry, biology and math. Mark and his dad started their business in 1953. He has two daughters that hold PHD’s in biochemistry that work in their business. Marks specializes in working with livestock owners with their grazing performance issues. Mark focuses on the forages, with good grazing management, the rumen of the animal performs perfectly. His talks go over all the functions that are taking place inside the animal during his presentation. Any animal performance issue that you are dealing with, Mark can make recommendations on how to correct it. Visit Mark's website for more information or give him a call if you like at 608-778-4475.

February 26 – Registration 9a, Start 10a.  Cost is $20/family.
Bring potluck, there will be drinks and some meat. The seminar will be held at the Linneus Community center in Linneus, MO. For any additional information contact Tauna Powell.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy Hollow Farm Interships

Happy Hollow Farm is looking to hire internships on their farm.  Below is information that was sent in to be posted on the blog.

When hiring interns/apprentices farming experience is definitely not the first thing I look for; what I do want are a willingness to work very hard, learn what I have to teach and all the while enjoy what you're doing! Most people figure out very quickly that they aren't happy doing the physical work if farming is not truly their own shared long term goal. My goal with providing an internship opportunity is to teach as much as I know about all aspects of farming from greenhouse work, in the field planting & weeding, planning/scheduling/organizing, bugs & diseases, equipment repair & maintenance, construction skills (when applicable), and everything else in between. While simultaneously working, working, working (in all weather) and having fun and enjoying the work while we do it. Please look over the specifics below and let me know if you are still interested in pursuing the apprenticeship position on Happy Hollow Farm.

The specifics about the position are:

Start time: early to mid April thru mid to late October (The CSA season runs for 25 weeks. Start time depends greatly on the weather and how early I can get into the fields; however, I start seeding in the greenhouse with the goal of distributing the first shares the second week of May)

Hours: 8:00- 5:00 Mon., Tues., Thurs. & Fri. 7:30- 3:30 Wed. & Sat. (with a 1 hour lunch each day). These hours are a rough estimate as there are always days where we work longer or cut off early. This is not like any other job you've had. It is very weather dependent and if we have another year like this one I have to take advantage of every farmable dry moment there is. One lunch each week (probably on Thurs.) will be potluck style and shared with all people on the farm that day.

Stipend & Housing & Food: $150/month, housing provided (near the farm), Partial Share membership in the CSA.

Scheduled class time: As this is an apprenticeship there will be a one hour scheduled class time each week and a book about farming that will be used as a semi-texbook (the farm will provide the book).

For more information email Liz Graznak or call 660-849-2430.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Learn to Farm with Ozarks C.R.A.F.T.

Ozarks CRAFT is a cooperative effort of Ozarks farms organized to enhance educational opportunitities for farm apprentices.

Ozark CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) was founded in 2010 by a group of family farmers who are interested in training the next generation of organic, biodynamic, and/or sustainable farmers.  CRAFT operates under the umbrella of the Springfield Urban Agriculture Coalition, a non-profit based in Springfield MO, with a mission to "promote healthy lifestyles and environments through hands-on education about production and consumption of locally produced, natural, healthy foods."

Internship positions at CRAFT farms provide the opportunity to observe, actively experience, ask many questions and above all learn about successful small farming.  By no means are internships easy.  They require hard work and long hours in the field daily, but they also offer the invaluable benefit of being a part of the inner workings of the farm.  The focus of the intership program is to train future farmers in creating a successful, diversified commercial market farm.  Ideal candidates are self-motivated individuals looking for agricultural training with a community purpose, and in-the-field training on the details of small farm management.

CRAFT members gain access to hands-on training and learn skillls that will help them advance from farming novice to starting and running their own farm.  CRAFT offers on-fram training and busines planning, field day workshops hosted by member farms, and access to a wide variety of resources; all provided directly by experienced farmers.  Apprentices will be exposed to a wide diversity of farming practices and join a supportive network of farmers and farmers-in-training.

CRAFT welcomes trainees with all levels of experience, whether you've never farmed before, you have significant experience and need advanced training, or you're an established farmer seeking to transition to sustainable agriculture.  CRAFT interns include rural and urban residents, recent immigrants, and women.  Full-time residential and part-time non-residential internships are available for 2011 with some starting as early as February.

For more information, email or call Curtis Millsap, Ozarks CRAFT coordinator at 417-839-0847.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Growing Growers Accepting Apprenticeships

What will apprentices with Growing Growers learn and do?
- work on farms in eastern KS or western MO
- attend workshops and farm tours
- receive books and resource material
- are trained by their host farmers in both field labor and farm management skills.

If you or someone you know is considering sustainable farming, this is a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience and technical training.

No experience is necessary, but participants must be willing and able to work on-farm in good weather and bad, to attend 7 workshops/farm tours (one per month, March through September) and to learn "on the go".

Workshop topics cover the basics of market farming and include a tour of an area farm where participants can see concepts in action and ask plenty of questions. Workshop topics for 2011:

- Managing Soil Using Organic Practices
- Production Planning and Basic Plant Propagation
- Post Harvest Handling for Quality and Safety
- Equipment for Vegetable and Fruit Growers
- Pest, Disease and Weed Management
- Introduction to Farm Business Planning
- a TBA "elective" workshop (past topics have been Starting a CSA, Intro to Livestock and Sustainable Fruit Production).

Several area farms are working with Growing Growers to offer apprenticeships in 2011. There are opportunities on farms that focus on farmers markets, wholesale and CSAs. Rural and more urban host farms are available. Host farms are primarily diversified vegetable farms, many of them organic. Opportunities to work with livestock, bees, fruit and dairy also exist.

In 2011 opportunities also exist for apprentices to work with some host farmers on a crop budgeting project.

For more information, go to Growing Growers website or contact Laura Christensen, Program Manager, at or (816) 805-0362.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Body Condition Scoring Useful Tool for Livestock Owners

Body condition scoring is an important and useful tool for most livestock species. Body condition scoring is a way for a livestock owner to determine if the animal is getting an adequate amount of nutrition during various times of the year and stages of production.
Observation of livestock daily is key to being a good manager; if observation is made routine, then changes in body weight and condition will alert a manager that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Many times, this is due to diet. The body weight and condition are so important is that if livestock are not in the appropriate condition score at certain stages of production, then it is often difficult for them to make it to the next stage successfully. For example, if they are not at the appropriate score going into breeding season, then it may be difficult for an animal to breed successfully.

There are excellent body condition scoring resources (with pictures) on eXtension. They can be accessed at the links below:

Beef Cattle

There are other resources as well, so take a look and try to incorporate them into your management. Be sure to take time each day to observe your livestock, and determine the appropriate times of year to take body condition scores to help you gauge if they are being managed appropriately.
(By Sara Ellicott, UNL Extension Educator)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Show-Me Select Heifer Program

If you have been thinking about cattle as your enterprise on the farm, this might be the time to consider the Show-Me-Select Heifer Program.

The demand for high quality, reproductively-sound replacement heifers seems to be increasing. Many producers are choosing to purchase their replacement heifers instead of raise them. Heifers enrolled in the Show-Me-Select Program participate in a year round management program.

Regional extension livestock specialists and local veterinarians work together on prebreeding exams, vaccinations, parasite control, confirming pregnancy, and ensuring producers are utilizing bulls that meet specific criteria. Heifers in the program can be bred utilizing natural service sires or artificial insemination.

Most of the heifers enrolled in the Show-Me-Select program are non-registered and most never leave the home farm. They are kept as replacements by the producer or marketed directly off the farm. However, several go through Show-Me-Select replacement heifer sales located throughout the state. This year’s sale averages were $1665 at Palmyra, $1393 at Green City, $1460 at Fruitland, $1434 at Kingsville and $1273 at Joplin.
How do I participate in the Show-Me-Select heifer program?
For spring-born heifers you need to enroll by February 1, 2011. You must also become a member of Show-Me-Select, Inc. by paying a $5.00 membership fee. This can be accomplished by contacting the regional coordinator for your area.  Purchased heifers must be owned for sixty days prior to breeding. There are specific vaccination requirements for weaning, pre-breeding, and pregnancy check time. Pre-breeding exams should be conducted six weeks prior to breeding. The initial pregnancy check should be performed within ninety days of the start of the breeding season. Service sires must meet EPD requirements for birth weight or calving ease.
To learn more information about the Show-Me Select Heifer Program visit the website which contains program inforamation,  requirements, economic analysis, regional sales and contact information.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Missouri Organic Association's Annual Conference

Feb 10-12, 2011 at the Ramada Oasis Conference Center, Springfield, MO. To register go to the Missouri Organic Association website.

Attend all 3 days, including Lunch and Dinner meals from local sustainable and organic MO Farmers for only $175!

For 3 outstanding days, Missouri Organic Association will bring together educators, businesses, farmers and supporters to celebrate the heritage and future of organic and sustainable agriculture.

Speakers: Listen to Renowned Keynote Speakers!

National and international lecturer Jerry Brunetti speaks on the relationship of Food as Medicine and Farm as Farmacy. Gary Zimmer focuses on how healthy soil produces healthy plants for healthy livestock and healthy humans. Join Jon Wood Pittman, Organic Homestead Gardening; Jim Gerrish, American GrazingLands; Dr. Ann Wells, DVM; Tina Wilcox, Ozark Folk Center; Ken Roseboro, Non-GMO Report; and Randell Agrella from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, presenting on such topics as soil fertility, living sustainably, and the importance of organic and non-GMOs. Take a full day tour of Millsap Farm, an organic diverse operation farm.

Workshop: Participate in Your choice of 36 Hands-On Workshops!

Fruit tree grafting, home apothecary, managing organic poultry, distillation of wild crop essences, hoop house production; Edemame beans production, managing pollinator habitats, organic pest management, Cheese making, organic certification, and participate in a cooking demonstration with Victory Trade School Executive Chef Chadwick Isom. Plus a whole lot more.

Special Events:

Thursday Night: Join us Thursday evening for a reception and screening of Living Downstream. Based on the acclaimed book by ecologist and cancer survivor, Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., Living Downstream chronicles Sandra as she travels across North America, working to break the silence about cancer and its environmental links. Hosted by Melinda Hemmelgarn, "The Food Sleuth", the film will be followed by a panel discussion on the health issues raised in this powerful documentary.

Friday Night: Join in for a night of fun. Honor long-time organic farmer Coburn Schrock. Listen to Cherokee Indian storyteller Jon Pittman. Then bring out your wallets for the annual MOA Benefit Auction. This year the donated auction items have really been rolling in. The rapid-fire auctioning skills of Roger Kropf certainly make this an evening of enjoyment, and the proceeds help to offset the cost of the conference.

A full agenda can be found on the MOA website.

For vendor information, visit<> or email Gary Littrell at or by phone at 573-473-6022.

Monday, January 3, 2011

MO Farm to School Workshops

Missouri Farm to School helps connect schools and universities with locally grown food and local farmers. By using more locally grown food in institutions, we can increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables and create new market opportunities for farmers. Learn more about MO Farm to School at our upcoming free workshop. Lunch is provided.

Friday, January 21
Truman State University, Kirksville, MO (Snow date: January 28)
8:30 am to 4:00 pm (Registration opens at 8:00 am)

Wednesday, February 16
St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO
8:30 am to 4:00 pm (Registration opens at 8:00 am)

Wednesday, March 30
Springfield-Greene Co. Botanical Center, Nathaniel Greene-Close Memorial Parks, 2400 South Scenic, Springfield, MO
8:30 am to 4:00 pm (Registration opens at 8:00 am)

All workshops will follow a similar format and feature presentations in the morning by farmers, distributors, food service directors, and others who are making farm to school happen. The afternoon will include breakout sessions geared toward either farmers or school food service to provide more in depth information about starting and sustaining farm to school programs.

Please click on one of the links below for more registration information. Workshops are free and lunch is included. Registration is required.

Kirksville Workshop
St. Louis Workshop
Springfield Workshop

Can’t make it to a face to face workshop? Please keep posted for information about a televised workshop that will go out to sites around the state that are part of the Missouri TeleCenter Network.

For more information, email Bill McKelvey.