Friday, January 31, 2014

Farm Equipment – Tractor and Implement Sizing Webinar

Join the Missouri Beginning Farmers' Program's monthly webinar.  The February 3rd webinar will be on Farm Equipment - Tractor and Implementation Sizing with Charles Ellis, MU Extension Ag and Natural Resources Engineering Specialist.

As a beginning farmer many people feel the first thing they need to do is buy a tractor.  But determining which tractor, what horsepower, and what types of implements you will need can be overwhelming.  Charles will help walk us through how to understand the sizing and components of a tractor, identify needs and uses of a tractor and corresponding equipment needs and understanding pricing, affordability and what to consider when purchasing a tractor.

The webinar will begin at 7 pm and end by 8:30 pm.  To attend the webinar go to  sign in under the "guest" with you name.

Farming Smarter, Not Harder: Tune-up Your Business and Increase Your Net Profit

Attend a full day workshop on Farming Smarter, Not Harder on February 22nd at Pachamamas Alton Ballroom, 800 New Hampshire St, Lawrence, KS at the from 8:30 am to 5:15 pm.  Richard Wiswall, author of The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook will be the key workshop presenter.

Have an allergic reaction to business?
Want to work less and make more money?
Wonder where all the money comes and goes?
Find out your farm’s profit centers–which parts of your farm make the most money and which may actually lose money. Learn efficient farm planning and analysis, efficient farm office management, key financial statements, and financial tips for success. Set aside the day to finally work on these, and other important farm business concerns.

The workshop will address:
· Planning for Profit: a step by step guide to increase your net profit
· Making a Profit on YOUR farm: what is making money and what isn’t
· Your marketing strategies
· The Efficient Farm Office: humorous skits and demos outline best practices
· Key farm financial statements: what they are, why they are important, and how they relate to each other
· Quick business fixes

You will leave with:
1.    Several budgets for different farm enterprises
2.    Market analysis for your farm
3.    A road map of how to achieve your financial goals
4.    Rough drafts of key financial statements
5.    Tips to address common business mistakes

All of your farm’s information is for your benefit only and is solely for you to see. Please bring pen & paper, a calculator, a Johnny’s Seed catalog, and the following information from your farm if you have it: last year’s total farm sales (or top 5 selling items) broken down by product and/or account, last year’s expenses broken down into different types of expenses (seeds/fuel/labor/insurance/repairs/ etc.) and lastly, your checkbook balances for the last two years ending on December 31st.
The all day workshop will be part lecture, part group work sessions, and part individual work sessions. The target audience is any farmer (beginner to experienced, young or old) who feels the need to sharpen their pencil and focus a little more on the business side of farming.

            Registration cost is Early bird rate: $35 for first farm rep, $15 additional rep.  After Feb 11: $50 for first farm rep, $20 additional rep.  To register click here.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

MU Cover Crops Research and Extension Symposium Now Online

Some of you may be interested in the just released video recordings of presentations from the University of Missouri Cover Crop Research and Education Symposium, held on January 14th.  The individual presentation videos along with the pdfs of each presentation are here.  About 130 people from universities and agencies in Missouri participated in this event, which was focused on the cover crop research already being conducted and what additional research and extension is needed.  The symposium program is below.

·       Opening remarks - Shibu Jose, H.E. Garrett Endowed Professor and Director of the Center for Agroforestry at MU

·       Update on NRCS programs related to cover crops - Jodie Reisner, State Agronomist for NRCS-Missouri

·       Trends with cover crops across the Corn Belt - Rob Myers, Regional Director of Extension Programs for NCR-SARE

·       Herbicide considerations with cover crops - Kevin Bradley, State Extension Weed Specialist and an Associate Professor of Plant Sciences at MU

·       Forage value of cover crop species used for grazing - Rob Kallenbach, State Extension Forage Specialist and a Professor of Plant Sciences at MU

·       On-farm cover crop strip trials - Charlie Ellis and Rich Hoormann

·       Charlie Ellis is Regional Natural Resource Engineering Extension Specialist for University of Missouri Extension, based in Lincoln County, Rich Hoormann is a Regional Agronomy Extension Specialist for University of Missouri Extension, based in Montgomery County

·       Panel on soil impacts of cover crops - Moderator: Peter Scharf, State Soil Fertility Extension Specialist and a Professor of Plant Sciences at MU

·       Cover crop research in no-till corn-soybean system - Newell Kitchen, Soil Scientist with USDA-ARS, Columbia, MO

·       Role of cover crops in improving water quality and other environmental measures - Ranjith Udawatta, Associate Professor in Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences at MU.

·       Soil health impacts of cover crops - Bob Kremer, Soil Microbiologist with USDA-ARS in Columbia, MO

·       Luncheon Guest Speaker: Mike Plumer, Illinois - Benefits from cover crops roots on cash crop performance

·       Economics of cover crops - Alan Weber, Vice-President of MARC-IV Consulting

·       Cover crop research in organic crop production - Kerry Clark, Senior Research Specialist with the MU Bradford Research and Extension Center

·       Issues with establishing grain crops into cover crop residue - Tim Reinbott, Superintendent of the MU Bradford Research and Extension Center

·       Farmer panel on research and extension needs - Moderator: Brent Myers, State Corn and Small Grains Extension Specialist and an Assistant Professor of Plant Sciences at MU

·       Producers: Linus Rothermich, Steve Wooden, and Jules Willott

·       Wrap-up discussion on identifying ongoing research and extension priorities for cover crops in Missouri - Moderator: Rob Myers, NCR-SARE

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Missouri Blueberry School Conference set for Feb. 21-22 in Springfield

Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is poised to challenge Missouri blueberry growers in 2014.

This invasive fruit fly will be the subject of the keynote address at this year’s Missouri Blueberry School conference, Feb. 21-22 on the Missouri State University campus in Springfield.

“Blueberry production offers good potential for Missouri farmers,” said Patrick Byers, University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist in Greene County. “But spotted wing drosophila and diseases are challenges that we must address.”

Keynote speaker Hannah Burrack, entomologist at North Carolina State University, will outline SWD biology and history, and help producers develop a management strategy.

Spotted wing drosophila showed up in North America around 2008 and by last year had made its debut in the Show-Me State.

Unlike most fruit flies, SWD attacks healthy, undamaged fruit. The female has a serrated ovipositor that penetrates the unbroken skin of good fruit to lay eggs. This allows the larvae to develop inside the fruit and provides an opening for bacteria, mold and fungi.

Joining Burrack in the SWD discussion will be Jaime Pinero, state integrated pest management specialist for Lincoln University, who will provide a Missouri perspective on the issue.

Other topics will include soil health management, preserving blueberry fruit by flash freezing, the Food Safety Modernization Act and its implications for Missouri blueberry producers, disease identification and diagnostic techniques, and updates on the 2014 Small Fruit and Grape Spray Guide.

The second day of the conference, Feb. 22, will include visits to area blueberry farms for hands-on demonstrations of blueberry management.

Registration for the two-day 2014 Missouri Blueberry School is $50 per person ($35 for each additional person from the same family or farm) and includes educational materials and a spotted wing drosophila monitoring trap (one per farm or family).

For a registration packet, please contact Kelly McGowan at 417-881-8909 or, or register online.

For more information about the conference, go to or contact Patrick Byers at 417-881-8909.

Established in 2011, the Missouri Blueberry School is a collaboration of University of Missouri, Missouri State University and Lincoln University. Calling on the expertise of blueberry experts in Missouri and around the country, the Missouri Blueberry School presents accurate, timely and relevant information through conferences, on-farm workshops, individual consultations and support services.
(By Curt Wohleber, Writer, University of Missouri Extension)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

EarthDance Apprenticeship Program

For 5 years, students at EarthDance have spent each growing season learning the skills of organic agriculture production and small business planning at the historic Mueller Farm in Ferguson. The non-profit educates and provides resources for anyone seeking to start their own agrarian endeavor, and has seen over 100 “Freshman Farmies” participate in the apprenticeship program since its creation.

Founded in 2008, EarthDance is the only Organic Farm School in the bi-state region. Graduates of the program have gone on to create and maintain school gardens, start green businesses, implement a farm-to-table summer camp, and manage local farmer’s markets. Former apprentice Mary Ostafi, even organized the first downtown community garden in St. Louis, which donates food to The St. Patrick's Center, and is now working to build St. Louis’ first rooftop farm.
“Being an EarthDance apprentice has changed my life because it has provided me with the education, skills, and confidence to go out and start my own farming venture. Without that experience I don’t think that I would be nearly as successful as I am today,” said Ostafi.
Through the apprenticeship, we seek to offer students a comprehensive introduction to the operation of a small farm. But we realized that a number of our students were more interested in homesteading and backyard garden-scale growing than production farming,” said Program Director Rachel Levi.

This year, in addition to commercial-scale farming, EarthDance is providing students the opportunity to learn and work in its newly-created permaculture-inspired Seven Generations Garden. This space focuses on native species, companion planting, sheet mulching, and space-saving methods like straw bale beds and herb spirals. The garden will serve as a living classroom for farm visitors as well, where individuals from multiple generations can learn the many techniques of eco-friendly gardening.

This additional offering will provide inspiration and practical tools for students who desire to grow food at home or in other small spaces. The Farm and Garden Apprenticeship runs from May through September and includes presentations by area experts as well as field trips to nearby farms. Through weekly enrichment classes, field work, and Farmers Market vending shifts, the apprenticeship offers opportunities for participants to engage in many elements of farm life.

“This isn’t just a training program,” says Apprenticeship Coordinator Laura Caldie. “It’s a community built on shared interests and understanding. The students bond with each other in the field, and will always be able to turn to their peers for assistance and advice in future gardening enterprises.”

Program tuition is $750, which can be paid in multiple installments or reduced through available scholarships. Apprentices receive a weekly CSA share of the vegetables they help to grow, valued at $600. Applications for the Farm & Garden Apprenticeship are due on March 1st, and can be found here.
EarthDance also encourages public attendance at the apprenticeship classes for those who cannot commit to the entire program. These will be held on Tuesdays beginning in May from 6:00-7:30 pm. Volunteer opportunities are available as well; to inquire, please email.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Fresh Produce Pest Management Workshop

A workshop will be held Wednesday, February 12, 2014 8:45 am to 3:00 pm in Thiebaud Auditorium, Lamar, MO on Fresh Produce Pest Management.


8:45 am – Registration

9:20 am – Welcome, Jill Scheidt, MU Agronomy Specialist

9:30 am – Soil Health & Cover Crops for Veggie Production Systems, Jacob Wilson, LU IPM Associate

10:00 am – Building a Disease Prevention Program, Dr. Zelalem Mersha, LU Plant Disease Specialist

10:30 am – Break

10:45 am – Miscellaneous Updates, Patrick Byers, MU Horticulture Specialist

11:15 am – Spotted Wing Drosophila / Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Updates, Dr. Jaime Pinero, LU IPM Specialist

12:00 pm – Lunch

12:35 pm – Weed Control, Patrick Byers, MU Horticulture Specialist

1:05 pm – Food Safety: Food Safety Team Rep & Grower/Panel Discussion

2:05 pm – Opportunities & Challenges in Off-Season High Tunnel Production, Patrick Byers, MU Horticulture Specialist

2:35 pm – Adjourn

Registration is $10/person (includes lunch & handouts).  Please RSVP by Monday, February 10, 2014.  Call the Barton County Extension Office to register 417-682-3579.  The first 50 registrants will receive a copy of the Midwest Veggie Production Guide free of charge. 


Friday, January 24, 2014

Grants Advising in the Midwest

Michael Fields Agricultural Institute is providing free Grants Advising services with priority to two target groups in the Midwest.
  • In Wisconsin: All producers and agriculture-related businesses, as well as those working with agricultural businesses.  Agriculture is broadly defined to also include forestry and fisheries.  Businesses can be new or existing. 
  • In the Midwest: Beginning farmers, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as well as young organizations working with these farmers.

While our services are open to all farmers and rural entrepreneurs, priority is given as follows?
What is Grants Advising?
MFAI’s Grants Advisor can help you apply to grant, loan, and cost-share programs of state or federal sources that could help you with specific projects to develop your agricultural, forestry or related business.  These can be programs of any federal or state agency, not just the USDA, as well as private sources.  We assist individual producers, associations of farmers, and agricultural, fishery and forestry-related businesses to both search for and apply to programs for which they are eligible. 

More Detail
Our Grants Advisor helps you decide if a grant would be appropriate to achieve your goals.  If so, she will help you identify a grant program that best fits your goals and help you outline a plan of work to meet the application deadline and all application requirements.  If not, she will suggest other resources you may choose to approach. Examples might be federal, state or local loan programs, loan guarantees, as well as resource information and resource persons. 

Anyone can ask to be on the Advisor’s email list to get funding program announcements ASAP. 

The Advisor will help you identify local partners (agency staff, nonprofit organizations, or local volunteers with experience in grants and project management) to strengthen your project, to help you complete the proposal, and, if funding is awarded, to manage the project.

Even for deadlines later this year, it is best to start working now with the Grants Advisor on a specific application.  Get your plan of work organized early so that deadlines don’t sneak up on you.  

For more information and to be on the e-list for funding program announcements, please contact MFAI’s Grants Advisor, Deirdre Birmingham, at or (608) 219-4279.  Also visit for more information.

*Grants Advising is funded in part by a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant and by Farm Aid.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

National Cover Crop Conference Broadcast Live to Sites in Missouri

Farmers and farm advisers can participate in a free national forum on cover crops and soil health.

On Feb. 18, almost 200 sites across the country, including eight locations in Missouri, will host a free, live broadcast from the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health in Omaha, Neb.

The forum will feature remarks from Jason Weller, chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); philanthropist Howard G. Buffett; and innovative farmers such as Gabe Brown and David Brandt.

“We feel this is a great opportunity for farmers and farm advisers to hear from some leading users of cover crops,” says Rob Myers, University of Missouri Extension regional director for USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. “It is also a chance to meet other farmers from their area who are interested in cover crops and learn what these farmers are doing.”

The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, SARE and NRCS are sponsoring the national forum and the concurrent meeting in Omaha. Following the video broadcast, participants can discuss soil health and cover crops with other farmers as well as industry and agency representatives.

The broadcasts will begin at 9 a.m. NRCS and MU Extension will host forums in Missouri at the locations listed below. RSVP to the site you plan to attend; site organizers suggest arriving 35-40 minutes before the broadcast.  The overall program will last about three hours at most locations.

NRCS locations and contacts

915 Oakland Ave., Suite 103
St. Joseph, MO 64506-4920
Pat Hufford, 816-364-3927

480 W. Jackson Trails
Jackson, MO 63755
Stan Mick, 573-243-1467

Parkade Center, Suite 232
601 Business Loop 70 West
Columbia, MO 65203
Joe Steuber, 573-876-9424

124 S. State Highway 39
Greenfield, MO 65661
Drexel Atkisson, 417-682-3579

Johnson County USDA Service Center
727 PCA Road, Suite B
Warrensburg MO 64093
James Watterson, 660-747-8200 x 3
Katrina O'Farrell, 816-884-3391
Jasper County Courthouse
302 S. Main St.
Carthage, MO 64836
Diana Sheridan, 417-466-7682, ext. 3
MU Extension locations and contacts

Audrain County 4-H Center
21509 Highway D
Mexico, MO 65265
Mary Sobba, 573-581-3231

Perry County Extension Center
321 N. Main, Suite 1
Perryville, MO 63775
Frank Wideman, 573-547-4504

Shelby County Extension Center
106 E. 3rd St.
Shelbyville, MO 63469
Max Glover, 573-633-2640

(By Joel Vance, Writer, University of Missouri Extension)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Free Farmer’s Tax Guides Available at Extension Center

Income tax time is around the corner and farmers need to start getting prepared according to Wesley Tucker, an agriculture business specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

A good resource that can help is the free Farmer’s Tax Guides which is available at your local University of Missouri Extension center.

“This free publication is helpful in explaining tax related issues.  Whether you file your own taxes or hire a professional tax preparer, you still need to understand the basic farm income tax principals,” said Tucker.

The Farmer’s Tax Guides discusses topics such as what’s new in 2013 and 2014, farm income, farm business expenses, basis of assets, depreciation & amortization, gains & losses, disposition of property, installment sales, self-employment tax.

To request one of these free publications call or stop by your local MUExtension Center.
(by David Burton, MU Southwest Region)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Update: Soil Health Workshop - The Keys to Soil Health

UPDATE (new dates)

You can unlock the secrets within the soil and improve crop yields by learning the key ingredients to managing soil at the Soil Health Workshop. This workshop will give basic knowledge of how soil works and how management practices affect the services that soil provides. Knowing the secrets to your soil will help you determine the practices that best fit your farm and your management goals.
Brought to you by the University of Missouri Bradford Research Center sponsored by NRCS.

Topics include:

  • Soil Biology demystified - learn how microbial life is needed for crop nutrient uptake
  • Dynamic properties of soil translated - managing for soil structure can help crops withstand drought
  • Cover Crops rationalized - a great tool for improving soil health but just one part of the whole picture
  • Management techniques analyzed - learn how to protect the greatest resource on your farm

Each workshop begins at 9:00 am and ends at 4 pm.

February 3Marshall MO at the Martin Community Center, 1985 South Odell Ave., Marshall, MO.  Deadline to register is January 20.  Call for availability after deadline.

February 11 Butler MO at the Bates County Fairgrounds, Southeast side of Nursery and Broadway St., Butler, MO.  Deadline to register is January 28.  Call for availability after deadline.

March 5Lamar, MO at the Thiebaud Auditorium, 105 East 11thSteet, Lamar, MO.  Deadline to register is February 19.  Call for availability after deadline.

March 19Albany, MO at the Hundley-Whaley Research Center, 1109 S. Birch Street, Albany, MO.  Deadline to register is March 5.  Call for availability after deadline.

March 25Sikeston, MO to be held at the Clinton Building Community Center, 501 Campanella Drive, Sikeston, MO.  Deadline is March 11.  Call for availability after deadline.

March 26 Kennett, MO at the Eagles Lodge, 1090 Jones Street, Kennett, MO.  Deadline to register is March 12.  Call for availability after deadline.

Registration:  $10 – lunch provided.  Make checks payable to “Soil Health Workshop” and mail to Jill Staples, Soil Health Workshop, University of Missouri Bradford Research Center, 4968 Rangeline Rd. Columbia, MO 65201.

For any questions contact Jill Staples at 573-239-2179.

Friday, January 17, 2014

FACT's Fund-a-Farmer Project - Call for Applications!

Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) is now accepting grant applications from livestock farmers for its Fund-a-Farmer Project!   The Fund-a-Farmer Project provides grants to qualifying humane farmers who need assistance in improving the welfare of their farm animals.

Grants of up to $2,500 will be awarded for projects that:
(1) help farms transition to pasture-based systems
(2) improve the marketing of their humane products
(3) more generally enrich the conditions in which farm animals are raised. 

Working, independent family farmers that raise pigs, broiler chickens, laying hens, dairy cows and/or beef cattle are eligible to apply for any of the three types of grants.  Projects involving goats and sheep are only eligible for marketing grants.

Applications must be submitted online or postmarked by May 1, 2014 for awards made in August 2014. View guidelines and apply online at Contact Lisa at 73-525-4952 with questions.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

18th Annual Greenhouse Growers' School

Fahrmeier Farms
Eighteenth Annual Greenhouse Growers’ School will be held on Thursday, February 6th at the University of Missouri’s Bradford Research Center.  The School is sponsored by the Missouri State Florists Association and University of Missouri jointly with the Missouri Landscape and Nursery Association’s ‘Nuts and Bolts’ Event.

 8:30 am - Registration/Coffee and donuts
 9:00 am - Grow Your Profits with the Power of HGTV, Maria Zampini, Upshoot LLC

10:15 am - Break

10:30 am - Use of Compost in Container Production, Roy Gross, St. Louis Compost
11:30 am - 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 pm - Growing my Way, B.J. Kruger, Bonnie Plants

2:00 pm - High Tunnel Design and Construction, James Quinn, MU Extension

3:00 pm - Break

3:15 pm - Biofuels as an Alternative Fuel, Don Day, MU Extension

4:15 pm - Role of Water Quality in Plant Nutrition, Dave Trinklein, MU Plant Sciences

Room B (Nursery/Landscape programming)
1:00 pm - An Introduction to Hydroponics, Aaron Fields

2:00 pm - Getting your Crews to the Job Safely, DOT HWY Patrol
3:00 pm - Break

3:15 pm - Including Wine in a Nursery Operation, Gilbert Hermes

4:15 pm - Outdoor Lighting, TBA

Registration is $30 per person (includes lunch and break items) payable at the door.

Directions:  Bradford Research and Extension Center is located at 4968 Rangeline Road, Columbia, MO (From U.S. 63 travel east on Rt. WW to Rangeline and turn right).

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

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Websites Offer Free Climate Data

Farmers have a new set of free tools to help them make crop decisions.

University of Missouri Extension agricultural economist Ray Massey and Pat Guinan, climatologist for MU Extension Commercial Agriculture, are collaborating with participants across the nation to make information easily available.

Massey and Guinan recently presented at MU’s Crop Management Conference in Columbia.

The websites are important because access to historical climate data helps farm operations that depend on favorable temperatures and precipitation patterns, Massey said.

In October, the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC) began offering online data free of charge, Guinan said. Previously, much of the climate center’s data archive was available only by subscription.

The MRCC is a cooperative program of the Illinois State Water Survey and the National Climatic Data Center. Information is available at MRCC’s Application Tools Environment, or “cli-MATE,” offers data with easy-to-read visuals for free. Customizable charts include growing season statistics, frost/freeze probabilities and information on degree days.

The Vegetation Impact Program (VIP) monitors and assesses real-time information from MRCC on the same website. MU collaborates with other universities and agencies across the United States on this site. Data from VIP helps producers with frost and freeze guidance, stress degree days and the Keetch-Byram Drought Index. Information on chilling hours is being developed.

MU Extension also offers Horizon Point. There are rainfall runoff estimators, weed scouting aids, insect scouting aids, fall nitrogen application charts and planting-depth soil temperature, among the many offerings. Users can subscribe to receive advisories by email.

Missouri’s Mesonet presents information from weather stations in 30 locations, 20 of which are real-time. A new station in Lawrence County is set to go live in 2014. The Mesonet site is

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) includes information from several hundred precipitation observers in Missouri counties. Users may also sign up to be a CoCoRaHS weather observer.

MU is one of 12 partners in the new five-year Useful to Usable (U2U) project to provide decision tools on climate, growing degree days, split nitrogen application and crop water use in the nation’s Corn Belt.

U2U has two online decision-support tools: AgClimate View provides a historical view of climate and yield across the Corn Belt. Growing Degree Day allows producers to enter planting date and hybrid to obtain estimates of when critical events such as silking, black layer and freeze might occur.

Yield data for corn and soybean can be plotted and compared over a five-year period on the U2U site. The interactive site also lets users compare nitrogen application using variable prices and percentages.

The Missouri Climate Center, through MU’s Department of Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences, offers numerous weather and climate-related articles and resources.

Climate Basic is a new free data system offering weather, soil and crop data at a field level. You can sign up for this service at and enter University of Missouri in the “agent” field.

Guinan says there are many freely available climate resources on the Web, ranging from global to local. Some of these include:
MU also has several other agronomy weather sites that are in beta testing.
(by Linda Geist, MU Writer)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014 Cover Crop Survey

+ If you currently use cover crops, this is your chance to report what works and doesn't work.

+ If you don't use cover crops, this is your chance to tell us why not and help us understand where more scientific evidence is needed to encourage their adoption.

We are seeking farmer input on cover crops as a conservation option on U.S. farms. This survey will take 10 minutes or less and is for both farmers who use cover crops and farmers who do not use cover crops.

Just a few minutes of your time will help improve cover crop programs and efforts to increase access to information and assistance.

For the purposes of this survey, a COVER CROP refers to any crop intentionally planted between traditional spring/summer cash crop production periods.

To access the survey, click here: Cover Crops Survey.

Your answers will remain completely anonymous.

For 10 minutes or less, you could receive a $100 gift card!
After completing the survey, you will have the opportunity to register for two $100 gift card drawings. Gift card registration takes place at a separate website to ensure that your responses to this survey remain completely anonymous.

Please respond by Jan. 31, 2014, to be eligible for the gift card drawing.

This survey is sponsored by the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and carried out by the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC).

If you have questions, please contact:
Chad Watts, Conservation Technology Information Center
3495 Kent Avenue, Suite J100, West Lafayette, IN 47906
Phone: (574) 242-0147    Email:

Monday, January 13, 2014

Food Safety – From Field to Market Workshop

The Ozark Farmers Agricultural Co-op is hosting a Food Safety – From Field to Market Workshop from 1 to 4 pm on Wednesday January 22nd at the Howell County Extension Center, 217 S. Aid Ave, West Plains, MO. The Extension Center is two blocks south of the main square in West Plains.

Topics to be covered:
  • What is Food Safety
  • Importance of Food Safety 
  • State Regulations for Selling to the public
  • Food Safety Concerns in the Field:  Field preparation & planting, manure usage & crop cultural guidelines
  • Irrigation Methods and Associated Issues
  • Harvest and Post Harvest Safety
  • Food Safety- Field to Market
  • GAP - Good Agriculture Practices on the farm
Presenters: Russell Lilly, Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services and Patrick Byers, Horticulturist, University of Missouri Extension, Greene County      

Participants who complete the workshop will receive a certificate of completion.

Cost is $5.00. Please e-mail or call 417-255-0950 to register. 

Seating is limited so early registration is recommended.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Missouri Mobile Kitchen and Freezer

Funded by the USDA, the Missouri Mobile Kitchen and Freezer is an innovative kitchen on wheels. The Mobile Kitchen and Freezer is located at Bradford Research Center in Columbia, MO and for a fee, growers can use the facility on-site to process their value-added items and turn excess summer produce into frozen fruits and vegetables.

Inside, the kitchen is equipped with a commercial blast freezer that can freeze 15 trays of raw or blanched fruits and vegetables in 30 minutes.  Growers can use the freezer to freeze everything from corn, green beans, and peppers to raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries.  Because the freezer subjects the produce to temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, the water inside the food freezes in a short period of time without forming large crystals, thus preventing damage to the cells, preventing freezer burn and preserving flavor and texture.  Growers with unsold fruits or vegetables can turn their extra produce into a frozen product that can be stored and sold to customers during the leaner fall and winter months.

The Missouri Mobile Kitchen and Freezer is also outfitted with a three-section stainless steel sink, a 4-burner cooktop range, stainless steel countertops, a small chest freezer, a vacuum sealer, a ceiling air conditioner, a gas generator (for use when not connected to a 220 electric), and assorted kitchen supplies to assist with produce processing. 

Large farms that would like to utilize the Mobile Kitchen for more than a week can rent and transport the trailer to their farm.  All that is needed is a 220 electric hook-up, a water hydrant, and a ¾-1 ton truck with a gooseneck attachment to pull the trailer.

If you're interested in walking through the Mobile Kitchen and Freezer, it will be on display at the Ag Expo in Poplar Bluff on January 24-25 and at the Missouri Organic Association's Annual Conference in Springfield on February 6-8.

The Missouri Mobile Kitchen and Freezer will be available to rent starting in Summer 2014.  For more information, please contact Leslie Touzeau at 573-884-7945.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Eleventh Annual Mid-Missouri Grazing Conference

The 11th Annual Mid-Missouri Grazing Conference will be held Thursday, January 30th in Jefferson City, MO at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.  The hotel is just east of Highway 54/63.  It is right on Highway 50/63 on the NE corner of Highway 50 and Missouri Blvd.

This year’s program features twelve breakout sessions with timely information for grazers and forage producers.  The trade show will feature vendors whose products have revolutionized grazing management.  The afternoon Keynote Session features a country music legend plus a producer panel of three Missouri livestock operators.

Keynote speakers
Teddy Gentry of the legendary country music band Alabama and owner of Bent Tree Farms
“My Experiences in the Beef Cattle Industry: Grazing Systems, Breeding Systems and Composite Breed Development”

Bent Tree Farms, located near Fort Payne, AL is home to the South Poll composite breed of cattle developed from Red Angus, Hereford, Senepol and Barzona genetics.  These cattle are bred for the high heat and humidity of the Southeastern United States.  Fertility, longevity, and carcass quality are characteristics that are being emphasized in these cattle.   Teddy Gentry will share his insights into breeding cattle to fit the environmental conditions of the Southeastern U.S. along with how grazing management has benefitted his beef cattle operation.
Click for more information on Bent Tree Farms.
Click for more information on
South Poll Cattle.

Central Missouri Producer Panel
Topic:  Selection and Management of Beef Replacement Females in a Forage-Based System

Producers: Dr. Dave Davis, Dennis McDonald, and Greg Marlay will share how they select and manage replacement females for their respective ranches.

8 – 9 a.m. Registration begins and trade show opens

      Early registration fee: $50 per individual, $85 per couple or $25 per student
      Registration at the door: $85 per individual, $120 per couple or $35 per student

9 – 9:50 a.m. — Breakout session 1

       1a) Mark Kennedy – Grazing Basics, Fence and Water Systems

       1b) Dr. Pamela Fry – Neonatal Care

       1c) Dr. Pat Keyser – Establishing Native Grasses

       1d) Rich Hoormann – Grazing Cover Crops

9:50 – 10:10 a.m. Break and vendors

10:10 – 11 a.m. — Breakout session 2

        2a) Dr. Verne Pierce – Estate Planning

        2b) Chris Boeckmann – Grass Fed Beef

        2c) Dr. Charlotte Clifford-Rathert – Brush Control with Small Ruminants

        2d) Melinda Barch and Drew Parmley – Cost-Share Opportunities

11 – 11:20 a.m. – Break and vendors

11:20 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. – Breakout session 3

        3a) Mark Kennedy – Grazing Basics Question and Answer

        3b) Kent Shannon – Agriculture / Livestock Apps

        3c) Dr. Pat Keyser – Managing Native Grasses

        3d) Rich Hoormann – Grazing Cover Crops

12:10 – 12:30 p.m. – Break and vendors

12:30 p.m. – Lunch

1 – 2 p.m. – Keynote speaker 

     Teddy Gentry – “My Experiences in the Beef Cattle Industry: Grazing Systems, Breeding Systems, and Composite Breed Development”

2 – 3 p.m. – Keynote speaker

    Producer Panel – “Selection and Management of Beef Replacement Females in Forage-Based Systems”

3:15 p.m.  Wrap-up and conference ends

For additional information contact:

Gene Schmitz, MU Extension Livestock Specialist, Benton County Extension Center, 660-438-5012,

Seth Barrioz, MDC Private Land Conservationist, Linn, Missouri, 573-897-3797
Ed Gillmore,  NRCS Soil Conservationist, Cole County Soil and Water Conservation District, (573) 893-5188