Thursday, May 30, 2013

Local Food/Garden Tour - June 7th

This year’s farm/local food tour will be held Friday, June 7 beginning at 1 pm. We will start at the farm of Brent and Lucinda Coursey, 32728 Highway E, LaPlata, MO. From Highway 63 go east on Highway E for 4 miles. Highway E is 3.3 miles south of the Kirksville Airport. They are on the north side of the road. Look for a red barn with a green metal roof. At the Coursey farm you will see a fruit orchard, strawberries, asparagus, variety of vegetables, greenhouse, square foot gardening, raised beds, wood chip gardening, 6 breeds of chickens, Dorper hair sheep, Scottish Highland cattle, natural and organic practices used, sustainable practices (wind and solar power, wood heat) used.

By 2:30 we will leave the Coursey farm, get back on Highway 63 and travel south to Singing Prairie Farm (John and Holly Arbuckle), 30552 Lantern Street, La Plata, MO. From Highway 63, turn left onto Lantern street. This is directly across from the Depot Inn. You will cross the northbound lanes of 63 onto Lantern. The farm is approximately 1 to 1.5 miles from the highway. While on Lantern, you will cross the railroad tracks and go another half a mile or so. Do not turn onto Mockingbird road which intersects with Lantern.  The Arbuckles have a white house with a green roof. At Singing Prairie Farm you will see vegetables, sugar beets and turnips grown for grazing free range pigs, organic heirloom watermelon, heirloom field corn, grass fed beef, heritage turkeys, chickens and natural and sustainable practices used. Find out more about their farm by clicking here.

The tour is free and open to all interested persons. Pre-registration is not required, just plan to be there at 1 pm. We will provide bottles of water. For more information or questions, please contact the Adair County Extension Center at 660-665-9866.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ag Loan Program Expands to Support More Missouri Farmers

Missouri farmers working with USDA and the Missouri departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources to strengthen their operations have new opportunities to receive loans and reimbursement for making on-farm improvements.  The Bridge Loan Program, a partnership between federal and state agencies, assists farmers by reducing the financial barriers to participating in some state and federal programs.

Recently, the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) voted to expand a 2012 loan program focused on produce to include a much wider range of programs, including cost-share programs available through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Soil and Water Conservation Program (SWCP) and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

“As Missouri farmers continue to persevere through tough growing seasons and the many other challenges of farm life, we want to ensure they have every tool necessary to succeed,” said Missouri’s Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. “The Bridge Loan Program is one of the many opportunities the Department of Agriculture makes available to our producers as we move Missouri agriculture forward. Through partnerships, we are able to reduce financial hurdles and other barriers for Missouri farmers building their businesses and bringing agricultural products to market.”

The Bridge Loan Program builds on 2012’s High Tunnel Loan Program, which allowed producers to combine the loan with their participation in the USDA-NRCS program, reducing producers’ out of pocket costs. Reimbursement funds issued after producers completed their projects were used to fulfill the short-term loan notes.  Approximately one-third of Missouri producers approved for USDA high tunnel reimbursements in 2012 also participated in the loan program.

To be eligible for assistance through the Bridge Loan Program, producers must be approved for cost-share reimbursements through USDA-NRCS, EQIP and/or SWCP and show proof of financial ability to cover any gaps between reimbursement amounts and project costs, should a gap arise.  Applicants must be materially participating in the farming operation and at risk for price or production costs and must commit reimbursement payments from NRCS or SWCP to fulfill the loan note.

Loans offered through the Bridge Loan Program will include monthly interest payments of 5.9 percent interest rate and a $25 closing costs.  Funds may be withdrawn only when practices are being implemented, and loan terms may be up to the duration of USDA-NRCS, EQIP and SWCP programs.

According to the last Census of Agriculture, Missouri’s average farm income after expenses was $13,600, with only 16 percent making more than $50,000. The large upfront investment typically required by cost-share programs can make it difficult for many farmers and farm families to participate. The Bridge Loan Program lowers some of the financial hurdles associated with participation, making it easier for Missouri’s farmers to access those resources.

Loan applications are available online, or by contacting the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority at  For cost-share assistance, producers may also contact their local USDA-NRCS or Soil and Water Conservation District office for application information and forms.  For more information on the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visit the Department online at

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

High Tunnel Farm Tours in Warren County - June 11th

Join the Warren County SWCD and NRCS as they sponsor this Tuesday June 11th tour to see how seasonal high tunnels extend the growing season for vegetables and other specialty crops. Most high tunnels are made of metal piping covered in plastic. Unlike greenhouses, they require no energy, using sunlight to modify the climate inside.

Visit one, two or all five—owners and operators will be available from 1 to 5pm on the 11th at each of the locations to visit with you.  Learn about each operation or just see what they are doing.  Follow the field day signs the day of the tour!

At Knolls along with eating supper, which will be prepared using high tunnel grown vegetables, we will have a question and answer time with the high tunnel owners. Ryan Green, CED for Warren County FSA will speak on the Micro Loan Program, NRCS will talk about cost-share options available. Information will be available from the Missouri Department of Agriculture regarding their small loan program.

There will be a $5.00 per person charge for dinner.  Please RSVP to the Warrenton Office by Friday June 7th if you plan to attend. 636-456-3434 x 3.

Farms on the Tour

John Kopmann, 17324 Bouef Island Road, Marthasville, MO 63357
John has had his high tunnel for three years. In the summer it is full of tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and egg plant which they sell mostly at local Farmers Markets. The winter time the high tunnel is used to grow lettuce and spinach which they sell directly to local schools.  John also grows other produce outside of the high tunnel. He will have sweet corn, watermelon, and cantaloupe for sale later in the summer.

Debbie Niederer, 21310 South Hwy. 47, Warrenton, MO 63383
This high tunnel is one of the smallest kits sold. Landowner's space is limited but they wanted a way to produce enough vegetables to have for their own use. When they have extra they enjoy sharing with family and friends. This is their second year for production, since last summer was not a normal growing season they are not basing anything on last year so they are not sure what they can really produce in the smaller high tunnel. They currently have strawberries and peas blooming. They have been eating lettuce for almost a month and will have radishes soon.  Last year by this time they were eating their second planting of radishes. Debbie enjoys growing things so she is enjoying having the high tunnel.

Carl Saunders, 30330 Greenfield Lane, Warrenton, MO 63383
Carl utilizes three high tunnels to expand the growing season for a variety of vegetables. He started in 2007 with his first high tunnel and added two more in 2010. His niche market is salad greens which he delivers to commercial accounts in St. Louis as well as Farmer’s Markets. He now can make a living off of his four acres and high tunnels. Carl says when it’s freezing outside with snowflakes blowing by our high tunnel, salad greens and mizuna are nice and comfortable in the mid 50's. Salad greens planted earlier will be ready for our Lake St Louis Farmers & Artists Market which opened April 14 at the Meadows Shopping Center. Carl also has fresh eggs available year round. He utilizes the hens while cleaning out the high tunnels. They get the winter salad greens - it makes the hens very happy.

John Knoll, 24887 Township Line Road, Jonesburg, MO 63351
John and his son currently have two high tunnels producing vegetables. The second one was constructed last year. They also have a wide assortment of grasses and flowering plants for sale. They sell their produce off the farm and at Farmer’s Markets. Other parts of their operation include haying and raising cattle.

Reckamp Farms, 10866 State Hwy. 00, Wright City, MO 63390
Reckamp Farms is a family owned & operated business South of Wright City. The farm includes 185 acres 40 of which is produce & pumpkins. They have 2000 head farrow to finish Hog operation. All animals are raised drug & hormone free on Reckamp Farms. There are currently four high tunnels in which they extend the growing season for their vegetables. Some are started in the high tunnels or other greenhouse sources and then transplanted to the fields. In 2001 they opened their own “Farm Shop” in which they sell produce & pork produced on the farm. Some vegetables are still taken to the Farmer’s Market for selling. Reckamp Farms also produce their own honey & have a large selection of Amish jams & jellies on hand for sale.

Friday, May 24, 2013

High Tunnel Open House - June 6

Attend this Montgomery County NRCS, FSA and SWCD sponsored farm tour of high tunnels in Southern Montgomery County on June 6th starting at Noon.

Seasonal high tunnels are structures made of plastic or metal pipe covered with plastic sheeting. Easy to build, maintain, they provide an energy efficient way to extend the growing season. Unlike greenhouses, they require no energy, relying on natural sunlight to modify the climate inside to create favorable conditions for growing vegetables and other specialty crops

Stop #1
12:00—3:00 PM
Open House at High Tunnel at Brenda Van Booven’s, 69 Echo Lane, Rhineland, MO
Directions—From I-70 take Hwy 19 south, right on Hwy 94 for 4 mile then right on Echo Lane—proceed on Echo Lane 1 mile then turn left on private drive—Follow signs

Stop #2
3:00 PM
Guided Tour of High Tunnel by Pieter Los, 1002 Hwy 19, Hermann, MO - Free-Range Hens funded through SARE Grant
Directions—From Stop #1 take Hwy 94 east 4 miles the left on Hwy 19 North 3.5 miles. Farm is on the right.

Stop #3
5:30 PM
McKittrick Farmers Mercantile, 500 Washington Street, McKittrick, MO
Directions—From Stop #2 take left on Hwy 19 south 2.5 mile turn left at McKittrick

Cost is $7.00 per person which includes a dinner in McKittrick and a speaker on cost share programs and financing.  Please RSVP to 573-564-3715 by June 3rd

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lincoln University Alternative Ag Field Day - May 30th

Attend the Lincoln University's Busby Farm Field Day on May 30th located just south of Jefferson City, MO.  Registration is $5/person which includes dinner.  Please RSVP to Vonna Kesel at 573-681-5312. For additional information contact Chris Boeckmann at 573-619-2914.

Site 1: Registration / Hydroponic Sprouting - Chris Boeckmann, Organic Production Manager
This demonstration of hydroponic sprouting of ryegrass and oats will explain the methods used for this process. Additionally, we will talk about the potential applications of hydroponic sprouting and their feasibility for Missouri goat, sheep and cattle producers.

Site 2: Silvopasture - Charlotte Clifford-Rathert, State Extension Specialist, Small Ruminants
The Small Ruminant Program received a Capacity Building Grant from USDA- NIFA in 2011. The focus of the grant is the eradication and control of invasive vegetation while creating a silvopasture in a Missouri Woodland.  This project will serve as a demonstration site for extension programs as well as outdoor classroom teaching and research.  Dr. Charlotte's team will be discussing the data collected after one year, the positive impact seen so far, and demonstrating different fencing options.

Site 3: Composting - Hwei-Yiing Johnson, State Extension Specialist, Plant Science
The  Lincoln University Composting Program  will  showcase various composting technologies, such  as  aerobic  composting, vermi-composting, and Effective Microbes (EM).   The vermi-composting system uses solar energy for winter heating.   Additionally, we will demonstrate the use of compost as an organic soil amendment in support of the green roof and green wall, rain garden, and native landscaping areas.

Site 4: Native Plants - Nadia Navarrete-Tindal, State Extension Specialist, Native Plants
Learn about native plants in woodlands and prairies.  Tour the woodlands restoration area and prairie development.  Learn about FINCA gardens and view the many native plants.

Site 5: Organic Blueberries - Patrick Byers, University of Missouri Extension Horticulture Specialist
Blueberries are a fruit crop with huge commercial potential, as well as an excellent fruit crop for home fruit production. Patrick Byers has worked with blueberry research and outreach education for the past 30 years. His presentation will address the basics of blueberry production in Missouri with emphasis on cultivar selection, site preparation, production practices, and marketing.

Site 6: Solar-Powered Irrigation and Livestock Watering System - Scott Williams, Missouri Solar Applications and Vic Rackers, LU Professional Engineer
The 2-acre reservoir provides water for the orchard and pastures using a solar- powered pump and extensive piping system.  The system is a vital component of the Busby Farms integrated farming operation.

Site 7: Integrated Pest Management including Trap Cropping and Cover Crops - Jaime Pinero, State Extension Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Specialist
Oganic research is being conducted by the Lincoln University (LU) IPM program with the goal of improving organic farming systems in the context of pest management. At this field day, Dr. Piñero and Jacob Wilson, Extension IPM Associate, will demonstrate that the trap cropping approach is a simple, effective, and affordable organic management option for squash bugs and cucumber beetles in cucurbit crops. Our research indicates that trap cropping can become a widely used management tool against these insects, which cause devastating losses to vegetable farmers on an annual basis. Piñero and Wilson will also discuss organic management options for the Japanese beetle, including findings from our own research aimed at developing a push-pull strategy that includes mass trapping as a major component.

Site 8: Mulit-Species Grazing - James Caldwell, Assistant Professor
Grazing with multiple species of animals may improve performance of one or both species. However, this has not been evaluated with hair sheep and cattle while grazing stockpiled toxic tall fescue.  During this field day, we will discuss performance data from Katahdin hair sheep and fall-calving cows grazing stockpiled toxic tall fescue and managed using either: 1) lead-follow grazing method (sheep in front of cows) or 2) fall-calving cows and sheep grazing together.  Also, we will talk about available forage and forage utilization from the two management methods mentioned above.    While discussing performance and forage data we will be conducting a pasture walk, at which time participants will be encourage to ask questions.

Site 9: Informational Booths and Displays
These educational and informational displays will offer ideas and resources to producers and growers.   State agencies, environmental groups and several Lincoln University programs will be there to answer questions and provide information to help producers and growers develop a successful operation.

Directions to Busby Research Farm - From Jefferson City take Highway 54 West towards Lake of the Ozarks.  Proceed approximately 5 miles and turn left onto Goller Road.  The farm entrance is located .1 mile from Highway 54.  Turn right and proceed down the lane to the main building.