Thursday, January 31, 2013

Online Tool Provides Interactive Farm Budgeting Resource

The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri has developed an online tool to help farmers build projected budgets for their operations.  The Farm Cost and Return Tool, or Farm CART, is at

“The tool allows beginning farmers and ranchers, not only in Missouri but all over the country, to play a what-if game on the Web,” said FAPRI economist Peter Zimmel. “They can develop a farm with how many acres they want, how many animals they want, and they can see what it will look like financially over the next five years.”

Farm CART was funded by a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher project was started because the age of the average farmer is increasing and the number of farmers is decreasing. USDA is looking for ways to educate people who may want to start farming in the future, Zimmel said.

FAPRI developed Farm CART to help producers who are either thinking about farming or are looking to grow their operation, but Zimmel says the tool can benefit anyone who wants help making better-informed agricultural finance decisions.

“With the risk that is involved in agriculture, you really need to plan for the future,” Zimmel said. “What’s the future look like for your farming operation? Is it feasible to continue to farm the way you’re farming?”

Farm CART uses the baseline projections that FAPRI produces every year. The tool can provide budgets based on a selected location but can also be customized to a specific operation.

“One of the strengths of this tool is that producers can say they want to make a farm that looks like X, Y and Z, and see how that looks financially,” Zimmel said. “But then they can go back and add soybeans and see what the difference is financially. Is it a positive or a negative? Then they can go back and make a better-informed decision if they should grow their farm that way.”

Zimmel says a lot of effort went into making Farm CART easy to use. He says there is very little information that producers have to enter before they can play those what-if games. Information from the FAPRI baseline as well as the USDA is programmed in, so all that is needed is the number of acres or animals.

“All the information we start them with, all the costs for seed, fertilizer or chemicals, is there,” Zimmel said. “But if they want to they can customize that to their specific operation and change every number in there.”

The Farm CART is free to use and there is no sign-up or registration required. Zimmel says all you have to do is select the state and county and you are ready to go.

“There aren’t many tools with the ability to project out five years, especially in a Web-based tool with all the information from FAPRI and USDA,” Zimmel said. “One of the big benefits of Farm CART for a producer who is either getting ready to start farming or wants to make a change to their operation, they can look at it before actually going out there and spending the money to try and do it.”

Peter can be reached at

(by Jason Vance, MU Senior Information Specialist)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Grow Your Farm Course in Poplar Bluff

Have a creative farming idea? Need help determining how to turn your idea into a profitable business?

The Grow Your Farm course is designed for prospective agriculture enterprises, with or without experience and seasoned farmers who want to expand their business. University of Missouri Extension specialists and experienced, innovative farmers teach the sessions.  Grow Your Farm meets weekly for 10 weeks.

This course will help you:

 Network with other growers.

 Learn to evaluate the feasibility of particular farm opportunities.

 Understand the components of a business plan and create one of our own.

 Learn how to "walk the property" to assess the land and its facilities.

 Consider different types of agricultural marketing and draft a marketing plan.

 Become familiar with a variety of legal issues pertaining to farming enterprises.

 Identify and prioritize personal and family values as a foundation for the farm mission and goals.

 Understand financial aspects of a business plan and review tools to manage financial records.

The Grow Your Farm course will be held on Thursdays evenings from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm from February 21 through April 25 at the University of Missouri Extension Center, 222 N. Broadway, Poplar Bluff, MO 63901.

FEE: $100 per farm. Fee includes seminar materials, speakers, and a subscription to “Ag Opportunities” e-newsletter. The registration fee for this program is normally $200 but we are able to provide it at a reduced cost thanks to sponsorship.  Call 573-686-8064 to register or go to



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Acidified Foods Workshop 2013 - March 25-26

If you plan on selling any value added product for sale that is considered a low acid food, you are required to attend a Better Process Control School.  This school doesn't occur in Missouri very often so take advantage of it's location this year!

This workshop is a Better Process Control School (BPCS) event specifically for processors of acidified food products and meets the requirements of 21 CFR Part 114 for FDA regulated food manufacturers. Please contact Dr. Andrew Clarke at the University of Missouri Food Science Program (573-882-2610 or if you have any questions about the Acidified Food Workshop.

Processors of low acid canned foods should attend a BPCS event designed for thermal processing (retorting) of low acid products such as one offered at Oklahoma State University ( June 12-14, 2013 or at the University of Arkansas ( November 5-7, 2013.

Providing assistance and training for processors in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Processors from other states are welcome!


The registration fee is $400 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.  Space is limited and early registration is encouraged.  Registration is limited to 100 participants. Registration deadline: March 11, 2013.  To register, please send an e-mail with contact information (participant name, company name, address, telephone and e-mail) to:

We will confirm your registration and provide directions to the meeting location by e-mail reply. If you have any questions or do not have e-mail access for registration, please contact Ms. JoAnn Lewis, 573-882-4113.

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.

Cancellations, with refund, will be accepted until two weeks prior to the start of each course. Cancellations after March 18, 2013 will be charged $100 to cover preparation costs.

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.

The workshop is being held in Eckles Hall on the University of Missouri campus from 7:30-5 on the scheduled dates. Eckles Hall is essentially at the SE corner of College Avenue and Rollins Road. College Avenue runs North/South and connects the cross streets of Business Loop 70, Broadway Avenue, and Stadium Boulevard in Columbia. For a detailed look at the location of the Acidifed Food Workshop, you may visit the website and link to Eckles Hall. We have short term parking on the north side of the building which may be used to pick up your parking permit. The all-day parking will be in Lot AV-11 which is just south of Eckles Hall and the Agricultural Engineering Building (access is somewhat hard to describe, but we can help you at the check-in desk which opens at 7:30 am).


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 March 25 and 26, 2013. 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.

The Better Process Control School for thermally processed low acid foods and the Acidified Food Workshop for acidified foods are available for companies or agencies at their site. Please contact Dr. Andrew Clarke at 573-882-2610 or for more information and scheduling.


The University of Missouri will also host a workshop for “Implementation of HACCP for the Meat and Food Industry” on March 27-29, 2013. Separate registration is required for this workshop which is accredited by the International HACCP Alliance for certificate-based instruction that satisfy USDA and FDA training requirements. Contact either Andrew Clarke at or JoAnn Lewis at for more information about the HACCP Workshop.


Day 1

7:30-8:00 am—Registration
8:00-8:10—Welcome and Course Introduction Dr. Andrew Clarke, MU
8:10-8:45—FDA Regulations (Chapter 1) TBD, Consumer Safety Officer, FDA
8:45-10:15—Microbiology (Chapter 2) Dr. Steve Seideman, UA
10:30-11:45—Acidified Foods (Chapter 3) Dr. Andrew Clarke, MU
12:45-1:45—Principles of Thermal Processing (Chapter 4) Dr. William McGlynn, OSU
1:45-3:00—Food Plant Sanitation (Chapter 5) Dr. Andrew Clarke, MU
3:15- 4:30—Food Container Handling (Chapter 6) Dr. William McGlynn, OSU
4:30—Questions & Discussion
7:00—Laboratory Analysis Demonstration (optional*)


Day 2

7:30- 8:00 am—Exam Retakes
8:00- 9:30—Records for Product Protection (Chapter 7) Dr. Andrew Clarke, MU
9:30-10:30—Process Room Instrumentation, Dr. Steve Seideman, UA—Equipment and Operation (Chapter 8)
10:30 10:45—Break
10:45-12:00—Closure of Glass Containers (Chapter 16) Dr. Andrew Clarke, MU—12:00-1:00—Lunch
1:00-2:15—Closures for Semi-rigid and Flexible Dr. Steve Seideman, UA—Containers (Chapter 17)
2:15-4:00—Process Authority Services and Dr. William McGlynn, OSU—Filing Process Schedules with FDA
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, January 28, 2013

Safe Preparation of Salsa and Other Acidified Foods

I get lots of questions about making value added products and what it takes to be able to market them.  One of the first questions, is it a low acid food product?

Salsa, Pickles, BBQ Sauce and Other Acidified Foods
Pickles, salsa and barbeque sauce are just a few of the common examples of acidified foods that may be found at farmer’s markets.  However, Missouri regulations prohibit the sale of most home-canned food. Processors of these foods must take additional measures to assure they are being produced safely.  These foods must be produced in an approved facility.
Contact your local public health agency or the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Manufactured Food Program for details on becoming approved.

Safe Preparation for Retail Sale
When foods are packaged in sealed containers like jars or cans and they are not properly processed, one of the biggest risks is botulism. There are a number of ways to successfully deal with these hazards.
One option is to use high heat and pressure to kill any bacteria or their spores that may be present. This is the process used to can low-acid foods like corn, green beans or other vegetables. Because these heating procedures are complex, these foods must be processed in a commercial retort with sophisticated temperature measuring and monitoring controls.
Another common way to eliminate the threat of botulism from sealed foods is through the use of acids to lower the pH.  The pH scale is used to measure the acidity of food products. (pH is measured on a scale Acidified/low acid food manufacturers must:
• have their process reviewed by a process authority;
• complete a Better Process Control School;
• operate in a facility that meets requirements of all applicable regulations; and
• contact the DHSS Manufactured Foods Program for more detailed information on inspections.

Preserving Foods
The regulations regarding acidification were established to assure the safety of canned foods. The amount of acid in a food or the addition of an acid to a food can be used to control the growth of dangerous bacteria such as the one that produces the toxin that causes botulism. From the regulatory point of view, foods are categorized as:
• Acid foods (pH naturally below 4.6
• Acidified foods (final pH of 4.6 or below by adding acid or acidic ingredients to product)
• Low acid foods (pH above 4.6 for raw or initial product)
Acid foods are naturally acidic foods such as tomato juice or grapefruit. Individuals manufacturing acid food products will need to keep records of the pH of each batch that they produce. If the pH is below 4, they may use pH test strips for measuring the pH. If the pH of the product falls between 4.0 and 4.6, a quality pH meter is needed. If a pH meter is used, it must be calibrated at least weekly and records kept.
Acidified foods are foods such as salsas, pickles, relishes or hot sauces. Usually, acidic foods like vinegar, citric acid or commercially canned tomatoes are added to the product to create an acidic environment that limits bacterial activity. Acidified foods do not require canning in a pressure cooker or retort. A process that uses acids to penetrate chunky foods, like fresh tomatoes, peppers and onions that are not naturally acidic, will need to be reviewed by a process authority to determine if the food is being properly acidified.
Low-acid canned foods such as vegetables must be retorted under heat and pressure to destroy the bacteria present. These foods do not depend on the pH of the food to protect consumers from botulism.

Acidified Regulations
There are federal regulations enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the state health department that cover acidified foods. These regulations can be found in 21 CFR 108.25 and 114.
It is very important that any manufacturer of these types of foods understands these regulations. One of the keys to producing a safe food is having a consistent process that has been proven to work. Once the process is developed, the manufacturer has to produce the item the same way each time.  Variations in the process make it possible for mistakes that produce an unsafe food.
There are some foods that are exempt from these regulations. Foods that are specifically exempt from the acidified foods regulations include:
• Alcoholic beverages
• Carbonated beverages
• Fermented foods such as sauerkraut
• Foods with water activity (aw) of 0.85 or below
• Foods stored, distributed and retailed under refrigerated conditions
• Jams, jellies or preserves covered by 21 CFR 150

Facility Requirements
The Missouri Food Code allows some non-potentially hazardous foods to be prepared in a home kitchen to be sold directly to the end consumer, at venues like a farmer’s markets. The food code does not allow acidified foods to be made in a home kitchen. Requirements for a regulated kitchen include:
• smooth, easily cleanable, durable floors, walls and ceilings
• safe and adequate water supply
• sanitary waste water disposal
• sink(s) to wash, rinse and sanitize utensils
• separate sink dedicated for hand washing
This kitchen may be in a private home but must be separated from the home kitchen and living quarters.
Plans for building a regulated kitchen should be discussed with the health department before construction begins. This can avoid costly mistakes.

Process Authority and Better Process Control Schools
To be approved as a manufacturer of acidified or low-acid canned food, you must have your process reviewed by a process authority. You also must attend a Better Process Control School.
A process authority is defined as a person or organization that scientifically establishes thermal processes for low-acid canned foods or processing requirements for acidified foods. The process authority must have expert scientific knowledge of thermal and/ or acidification processing requirements and have adequate experience and facilities for making such determinations.
Better Process Control Schools certify supervisors of thermal processing systems, acidification, and container closure evaluation programs for low-acid and acidified canned foods.
Information on approved schools can be found by calling the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Bureau of Environmental Health Services at 573-751-6095.
Once these steps have been accomplished, the food processor is required to file their process with the FDA.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Wholesale Success: A Farmer's Guide to Selling, Postharvest Handling and Packing Produce Workshops

The last of the three workshops on Successful Wholesale Marketing: Postharvest Handling and Food Safety will be held February 7th in Springfield.   As part of the program bringing these workshops to producers in MO, I attended each of the two previous workshops and they were fabulous.  At each workshop I learned more and more about the wholesale marketing industry, food safety on the farm and just who the wholesale buyers are in the state.

Learn about:
  • Post harvest handling
  • Food safety needs of wholesale buyers
  • Packing and grading
  • Maintaining the cold chain
Participating producers will receive a free copy of's Wholesale Success Manual. Normally a $55 value, this 250+ page manual is newly updated, revised, and in its third printing. The manual includes more than 100 crop profiles with crop-specific information on harvesting, cooling, storing, and packing according to industry standards.

  • 10 am - Noon Selling into Wholesale Markets
  • Noon - 1:30 pm - Lunch
  • 1:30 - 3:30 pm - On-Farm Safety
  • 3:30 - 4:30 - Meet the Buyers
Where: University Plaza Hotel, 333 S. John Q. Hammons Parkway, Springfield, MO 65806.

Registration: The cost is only $15/person which includes the manual and lunch.  You can register online at or call 660-427-5555. Presented by Missouri Organic Association and

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Goat/Sheep Webinar - Feb 4

The Missouri Beginning Farmers Program is continuing its webinars with 4 new topics and presenters.

On February 4th, Matt Volkmann of Volkmann Farms in New Franklin, MO will start of the 2013 season of webinars with a teaching on goats and sheep.  Matt will share with you why he added goats and then sheep to his farming operation.  He will discuss grazing, diseases and Matt is not shy about talking economics.  He'll explain how he is making more money with sheep than any other livestock enterprise on his farm.

The new webinars to be offered this year and their schedule are listed below. To join the webinars go to No registration is needed. The webinars will be held from 7-8:30 pm.

NEW - The University of Missouri has an Organic Grant and will be offering webinars and field days.

February 4So You Want to be a Goat/Sheep Farmer: Lessons Learned from the Field - Matt Volkmann, Volkmann Farm
March 4Sustainable Management for Livestock Production - Ann Wells, DVM
April 1Growing and Marketing Cut Flowers - Karen 'Mimo' Davis, Lincoln University
May 6Ten Simple Steps to Safer Produce - Chris Blanchard, Rock Spring Farm

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

17th Annual Greenhouse Growers' School - Feb 7th

The Missouri State Florists Association and University Extension announce the 17th Annual Greenhouse Growers’ School (Presented jointly with MLNA ‘Nuts and Bolts’ Event) on Thursday, February 7, 2013 to be held at 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   New ornamentals for 2013 - Kerry Meyer, Proven Winners
10:15   Break
10:30   Natives—Beyond beauty, plants that really work!  Bill Ruppert, National Nursery Products
11:30   Lunch (furnished) Various program updates will be presented during lunch.

Concurrent sessions in the afternoon—your choice of topics.
Room A (Greenhouse programming)
1:00     Greenhouse insect IPM, Dr. Steve Millet, Hummert International               
2:00     Capitalizing on the interest in grafted vegetables, James Quinn, MU Extension
3:00     Break                                                                       
3:15     Growing “my way” Harvey Zimmerman, Zimmerman Greenhouses                                                           
4:15     Downy mildew on impatiens, Dave Trinklein, MU Plant Sciences                                 

Room B (Nursery/Landscape programming)
1:00     New plants and services, Ben Cecil, Loma Vista Nursery
2:00     Rejuvenating soils after the summer of 2012, Mike Dobrovolsky, Soil Mender
3:00     Break – Visit with vendors
3:15     Plants that survived, thrived & died in 2012, Panel Discussion:  Vic Jost, Ben Cecil, Mike Rood, Kim Young
4:15     Pest control updates:  1.) Marengo herbicide; Andy Seckinger OHP; 2.) Emerald ash borer; to be announced

Registration is $25 per person (includes lunch and break items) payable at the door.  For additional information contact David Trinklein, State Floriculture Extension Specialist 573/882-9631.                                                      

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Putting Small Acreage to Work

Wondering what to do with your 5 or 10 acre?  This program will provide you with a number of economically viable alternatives to make those productive.  The workshop will be held February 16 from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm at John Wood Community College, 1301 S 48th St, Quincy, IL.  Cost is $30 per person or $40 per couple.  Lunch is included.

General Session – Pricing Your Product - Karisha Devlin, University of Missouri Extension

Breakout Sessions

Native Plants/Herbs - Gennie Martinez, American Botanicals Inc

High Tunnels - Cory Crawford, local producer **
Sheep/Goats - Dean Oswald, Midwest Grass and Forage, former University of Illinois Extension Educator, Animal Systems **

Timber - Bob Church, local grower and former Illinois Department of Natural Resources Forester

Vegetables - Mike Roegge, University of Illinois **

Basics of Food Preservation - Shirley Camp, former Univeristy of Illinois Extension Educator, Food and Nutrition

** Will repeat.

For more information email.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Webinar Answers Pastured Poultry Questions

An upcoming webinar, Pastured Poultry Production and Profitability will cover the basics of pastured poultry production as well as common advantages and pitfalls of getting started in the business and keys to keeping operations profitable.

The February 7 webinar is being offered by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), Montana Mission Mountain Food and Cooperative Development Center, and Salish Kootenai College as part of the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) education and community outreach program.

NCAT Sustainable Poultry Specialist Terrell “Spence” Spencer will be the webinar presenter.

While this webinar will kick off this Montana-based project, it is open to anyone interested in pastured poultry production. The webinar will provide a financial analysis of this type of farming based on the records and experience of a medium-size pastured poultry farm. It will also announce a Montana-based pastured poultry production and marketing workshop series set to begin in March.

The free, hour long webinar will begin at 10 a.m. CST on February 7.

To register: Go to

About the presenter: Terrell “Spence” Spencer is a Sustainable Poultry Specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) in Fayetteville, AR. Spence owns and operates a pastured poultry farm, Across the Creek Farm, in West Fork, AR. The farm raises thousands of pastured poultry each year, producing several hundred birds per week during the growing season from March to December. Spence is heavily involved with NCAT’s work with veterans, especially across the South, and runs an intern program for veterans on his farm.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Microloan Program

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) developed the Microloan (ML) program to better serve the unique financial operating needs of beginning, niche and the smallest of family farm operations by modifying its Operating Loan (OL) application, eligibility and security requirements. The program will offer more flexible access to credit and will serve as an attractive loan alternative for smaller farming operations like specialty crop producers and operators of community supported agriculture (CSA). These smaller farms, including non-traditional farm operations, often face limited financing options.

Use of Microloans
Microloans can be used for all approved operating expenses as authorized by the FSA Operating Loan Program, including but not limited to:

Initial start-up expenses;
Annual expenses such as seed, fertilizer, utilities, land rents;
Marketing and distribution expenses;
Family living expenses;
Purchase of livestock, equipment, and other materials essential to farm operations;
Minor farm improvements such as wells and coolers;
Hoop houses to extend the growing season;
Essential tools;
Delivery vehicles.

Simplified Application Process
The application process for microloans will be simpler, requiring less paperwork to fill out, to coincide with the smaller loan amount that will be associated with microloans. Requirements for managerial experience and loan security have been modified to accommodate smaller farm operations, beginning farmers and those with no farm management experience.

FSA understands that there will be applicants for the ML program who want to farm but do not have traditional farm experience or have not been raised on a farm or within a rural community with agriculture-affiliated organizations. ML program applicants will need to have some farm experience; however, FSA will consider an applicant’s small business experience as well as any experience with a self-guided apprenticeship as a means to meet the farm management requirement. This will assist applicants who have limited farm skills by providing them with an opportunity to gain farm management experience while working with a mentor during the first production and marketing cycle.

Security Requirements
For annual operating purposes, microloans must be secured by a first lien on a farm property or agricultural products having a security value of at least 100 percent of the microloan amount, and up to 150 percent, when available. Microloans made for purposes other than annual operating expenses must be secured by a first lien on a farm property or agricultural products purchased with loan funds and having a security value of at least 100 percent of the microloan amount.

Rates and Terms
Eligible applicants may obtain a microloan for up to $35,000. The repayment term may vary and will not exceed seven years. Annual operating loans are repaid within 12 months or when the agricultural commodities produced are sold. Interest rates are based on the regular OL rates that are in effect at the time of the microloan approval or microloan closing, whichever is less.

More Information and Eligibility Criteria
Additional information on the FSA microloan program may be obtained at local FSA offices.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mid-Missouri Grazing Conference

A Mid–Missouri Grazing Conference will take place on Thursday, February 28th at the Capital Plaza Hotel, 415 W. McCarty St, Jefferson City, MO.  The keynote speaker will be Teddy Gentry of the legendary country music band Alabama & Bent Tree Farms “My Experiences in the Beef Cattle Industry: Grazing Systems, Breeding Systems and Composite Breed Development.”  There will also be a Central Missouri Producer Panel on “How We Managed Our Grazing Systems During the 2012 Drought and What We’ll Change for 2013.  The Trade Show will begin at 8:00 a.m.


Registration – 8:00 am

Session 1—9:00 to 9:50 a.m.
Room 1—Pasture Renovation—Dr. Rob Kallenbach, MU Extension Forage Specialist
Room 2—Genetics for Feed Efficiency—Ken Abele, Green Springs Bull Test
Room 3—Native Grasses 101—Dr. Pat Keyser, Coordinator, Center of Native Grasslands Manage-ment, University of Tennessee
Room 4—Re-Stocking Economics—Wesley Tucker, MU Extension Ag Business Specialist

Session 2— 10:10 to 11:00 a.m.
Room 1—Management Intensive Grazing 101— Mark Kennedy, NRCS State Grassland Conserva-tionist
Room 2—Pasture Weed and Brush Control—Dr. Kevin Bradley, MU Extension Weed Specialist
Room 3—Alternative Forages—Gene Schmitz, MU Extension Livestock Specialist
Room 4—Cover Crops—Doug Peterson, State NRCS Soil Health Conservationist

Session 3—11:20 to 12:10 p.m.
Repeat Session 1 Presentations
Room 1— Pasture Renovation—Dr. Rob Kallenbach
Room 2— Genetics for Feed Efficiency—Ken Abele
Room 3—Native Grasses 101—Dr. Pat Keyser
Room 4—Re-Stocking Economics—Wesley Tucker
12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Lunch and Keynote Sessions
Teddy Gentry—Bent Tree Farms—”My Experiences in the Beef Cattle Industry: Grazing Systems, Breeding Systems, and Composite Breed Development”

Producer Panel—“How We Managed Our Grazing Systems During the 2012 Drought and What We’ll Change for 2013”

Harry Cope— Truxton, MO
Matt Boatright—Sedalia, MO
Doug Peterson - Gallatin, MO

Advanced registration is due by Feb. 22nd: $50.00 individual, $85 couple or $25 student.  Late/Door Registration: $85 individual, $120 couple or $35 student.  Registration includes: Meal, Refreshments & Proceedings.  Make checks payable to Cole County SWCD and mail to Cole County SWCD, 1911 Boggs Creek Rd, Jefferson City, MO 65101.  For more information call Ed Gillmore or Peggy Lemons at 573-893-5188 ext. 3

Monday, January 14, 2013

Emergency Farm Loans Available after USDA Disaster Designations

Thirty-one Missouri counties are among almost 600 counties across the U.S. that have been designated by the USDA as primary natural disaster areas due to drought and heat. Farm operators in these counties are eligible for low-interest emergency loans from USDA.

Whether to take advantage of those loans is an important decision for many farmers in those counties, especially livestock producers, according to Ron Plain, a University of Missouri Extension agricultural economist.

Hot, dry conditions last year sharply reduced crop, pasture and hay production, leading to very high feed costs, Plain said. “For a lot of producers, this designation gives them the opportunity to get some low-interest financing so they can carry their herds through the winter.”

Currently, the interest rate on these emergency loans is 2.15 percent. Producers need to remember that it is a loan and put it into an investment that will generate revenue, Plain said.

“Low-interest-rate loans can be very appealing, but farmers need to have a plan on what they will do with that money,” he said. “It needs to be something that will generate income so they can repay the loan. That loan needs to work for you to help cut costs or improve efficiency, otherwise borrowing that money is not going to make you better off.”

Plain says buying feed to maintain cattle herds would be a good decision, as cattle prices are likely to be at record highs again in 2013. For crop producers, putting in an irrigation system can be a very valuable long-term investment.

“One of the things to keep in mind is that debt is a risk,” Plain said. “The more debt you have the greater risk your farm is in. So farmers who can keep their debt load low and can get by without borrowing, even in difficult times like this, are in stronger financial position for the future.”

To learn more about low-rate emergency loans, contact your local Farm Service Agency office or visit

For drought-related information from MU Extension, click here.
(by Jason Vance, MU Senior Information Specialist)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Online Extension Poultry Webinars Begin Jan. 15

In the 1980s and 1990s small-scale poultry and egg production made a comeback in the United States when more Americans decided they wanted a direct connection to their food. In recent years, raising chickens in the back yard became popular and in the case of Springfield residents, legal.

The Small and Backyard Flock resource on has information on getting started as well as poultry anatomy, behavior, biology and management. The site includes more than 250 frequently asked questions and more than 350 terms in a glossary.

This same national resource is using local Extension professionals to provide educational seminars this winter on poultry.

Three Webinars for the Public
·         January 15 from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Winter care of small and backyard flocks
·         February 14 from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, So you want to raise turkeys
·         March 28 from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Producing poultry meat on pastures

The class on Jan. 15 will focus on keeping poultry productive during cold winter weather. Most poultry can handle cold weather very well as long as they are sheltered from wind and kept dry. To keep hens laying, however, requires light supplementation.

To connect to the webinar go to just before 7 p.m. (Eastern) on Jan. 15, 2013.

The poultry resource area on eXtension is led by Jacquie Jacob, Poultry Extension Associate at the University of Kentucky; Anne Fanatico, Assistant Professor at Appalachian State University in North Carolina; Jesse Lyons, Poultry Extension Associate at the University of Missouri; and Brigid McCrea, Assistant Professor at Delaware State University. University researchers and educators from 18 states contributed and reviewed information for

Friday, January 11, 2013

Midwest Winter Vegetable Production Conference

Winter production! The demand for locally grown vegetables and fruit knows no season, and the opportunity for innovative farmers to expand production into the winter months is huge. The Midwest Winter Vegetable Project is a comprehensive educational series designed for everyone who is interested in 4-season production—experienced growers, those just starting in winter production, or those who recognize an opportunity! Plus market managers and educators who work with winter producers.
The Midwest Winter Vegetable Production Conference will be held February 4-5, 2013 at the Continental Banquet Center, 2728 North Rangeline, Joplin, MO 64801. 

$50 per person for the conference and farm tour
$30 per person for just the conference
$15 per person for each farm tour (2 tours total)

Conference - Monday, February 4

8:00 - 9:00      Registration/Trade show opens

9:00-10:30     The Ins & Outs of Winter Production structures, light, temperature & how 12-month farming works — Adam Montri

10:30-10:45   Break

10:45-12:15   Lettuce in January?  Yes & so much moreusing succession plantings to produce over a dozen different products in our tunnels — Michael Kilpatrick

12:15-1:00     Lunch

1:00-2:00        Winter production for beginners: a grower’s experience — Pov Huns

2:00-3:00        Breakout sessions with the experts

3:00-3:15       Break

3:15-4:30        Farming in the Winter & Making Money Doing It Overall & individual crop profitability — Adam Montri

4:30-5:30        Movable & fixed high tunnels: a grower’s experience — Dan Kuebler

Tuesday, February 5

7:30-9:00       Breakfast with the trade show vendors

9:00-10:30     Filling the Table How we use season extension & root cellars to keep 30+ items on the table year round — Michael Kilpatrick

10:30-10:45   Break

10:45-12:15   Winter vegetable growers panel

12:15-1:00     Lunch

1:00-2:00       How We Average $5,000 a Week in the Winter marketing the winter farm through farmers markets, CSA & other outlets - Michael Kilpatrick

2:00-5:00      Tour of Green’s Greenhouse and Gardens


Adam Montri, Hoophouse Specialist, Michigan State University

Adam Montri works at Michigan State University as a hoophouse specialist in the Department of Horticulture & with the Center for Regional Food Systems.  He provides technical assistance related to year-round vegetable production including hoophouse structure options, construction training, crop selection, scheduling, marketing, & economics.  He & his wife, Dru, & daughters, Alison & Lydia, own & operate Ten Hens Farm in Bath, MI where they farm 12 months of the year & market their products through restaurants & a year-round farmers market.

Michael Kilpatrick, Middle Granville, NY

Michael Kilpatrick has been farming since he was 16 years old, when he & his brother decided to grow vegetables for the local farmers market to make pocket money for the summer. Since then, the business has grown to include over 100 acres of rented & leased land; sales at three weekly summer & two weekly winter farmers'  markets; summer & winter CSAs with 275 & 150 shares, respectively; year-round production in multiple high tunnels; a summer crew of seven & winter crew of three full time employees.

Pov Huns operates Huns Garden in Kansas City, Kansas.  Featured at the farm are a variety of vegetables, small fruits, & flowers.  Pov is a frequent guest speaker for the Great Plains Vegetable Conference, & has conducted SARE-sponsored on-farm research.

Dan Kuebler has been growing organic produce since 1989 on his 30 acre farm, The Salad Garden, in southern Boone County Missouri, & selling at local farmers markets & restaurants in Columbia, MO.  Presently the farm has two unheated tall tunnels & one moveable tall tunnel which was erected in October, 2010.

Conference Tour Site:  Tim Green & his wife Vi, owners of Green’s Greenhouse & Gardens near Galena, Kansas, began growing for & selling at the Webb City Farmers Market in 2002, where they now sell year-round.  The farm specializes in vegetables, especially tomatoes, & black berries & raspberries.  Tim currently has two heated high tunnels & a heated greenhouse & two large cold frames.  Tim plans to erect a third high tunnel this winter to grow raspberries. 

Plus a panel of winter producers from markets in Columbia, Springfield & Kansas City.

Also coming up:
March 11 - Spring Production Tour, Springfield, Missouri area farms

October 21 - Fall Production Tour, Southwest Missouri region farms

Food Safety: Field to Market Workshops
* February 27 - Springfield, MO.  For more info & to register, contact Lane at 417 766-8711
* March 15 - Mountain Grove, MO.  For more info & to register, contact Pam at 417-547-7533
*· Fall 2013 Date TBA, Webb City, MO.  For more info & to register, contact Eileen at 417 483-8139

Questions?  Call Eileen at 417 483-8139.

The Winter Vegetable Production Project is sponsored by The Webb City Farmers Market, University of Missouri Extension, Lincoln University Extension, & Missouri State University

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Winter Livestock Care

Rain, sleet, snow, ice, freezing temperatures – winter can be a real struggle for four legged animals. Most livestock are well adapted to cold weather, but sick, elderly, or young animals and those under unusual stress are more susceptible.

Most livestock can handle wind chills about 20°F without much stress. But, to stay healthy, they need a dry place to escape cold rains, wet snow, and wind.

While natural protection and windbreaks may be adequate, three sided sheds opening away from prevailing winds are best. Allow enough room for livestock to lie down safely without being trampled or smothered. The larger the animal the more room they will need. Good, clean, dry bedding insulates livestock from the cold ground, which draws away body heat.

Food & Water
Feeding good quality hay or alfalfa to ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas) and horses is effective for body heat production during cold weather. Body heat is generated when these animals are digesting these feedstuffs. During cold weather, animals will need to eat more to maintain their body condition.

One of the most important considerations for winter feeding is adequate water. Water is essential for digestion, which produces heat in fiber breakdown. Do not assume that livestock can meet their water needs by eating snow – to get enough water, eating snow would take most of their feeding time. Ingesting large quantities of snow also reduces the core body temperature.

Water above 40°F is ideal to ensure good consumption. Automatic water units are best; if that is not possible, be sure to provide water several times a day. In freezing temperatures, you will need to break ice or provide fresh water periodically if you don’t have a tank heater.

All too often, where there are animals in the winter, there is mud. Feeding in muddy locations increases the amount of feed wastage. Mud makes foot and hoof diseases more likely. Livestock walking on frozen muddy ground are more susceptible to foot and leg injuries. With good management and planning, the negative environmental and animal health aspects of mud can be minimized.

The best winter practice is to make sure that your livestock is in good condition before cold weather hits. Addressing the nutritional, environmental and health needs of livestock in the winter will help to ensure optimal animal welfare and performance.
(By Steve Tonn, UNL Livestock Educator)