Monday, August 31, 2015

Midwestern Heritage Poultry Conference: A Day in Heritage Poultry Country

Acres USA magazine, Slow Foods – St. Louis, and the River Hills Poultry Alliance have worked together to offer the Midwestern Heritage Poultry Conference on September 12, 2015 in Silex MO.  Come attend and learn or exhibit/show and sell your poultry and small livestock.

Schedule of Events

7:00 am – The day opens with a farmers’ market and trade show featuring rare and heritage poultry and small stock, supplies and the opportunity to visit one-on-one with established breeders.

9:00 am – Welcome and Introductions with Acres USA staff, slow Foods – St. Louis, and North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.

10:00 am – Starting Right with Heritage Poultry, moderated by veteran poultry breeders

12:00 pm – Egg Show

12:30 pm – Breeder’s Round Table with Matt John, Shady Lane Hatcher, Kelly Klober, author, Allan Burgin, veteran breeder and Neal Gray, veteran breeder.  This session will include demonstrations on laying stock selection.

2:00 pm – A country auction will close out the events of the day.  All birds and animals must have appropriate health documentation and blood testing will be available on the rounds for Missouri birds.  All birds and animals must be healthy and correctly presented.


Admission is free for participants.  Donation jars will be available in the seminar sessions to help defray expenses.

Vendor admission is $10 for poultry row or farmers’ market slot.  Trade show exhibit spaces are $25 for outside space or $40 under a pavilion.

Grounds open at 5:30 am.  Parking is available around the City Park.  Vendors can arrive the night before with prior notice.  Food service is available on the grounds.

Preregistration can be completed by calling 636-697-3447 or 660-998-0445.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Integrating Local Food into Community Events Workshop

You’re invited to attend a workshop about Integrating Local Food into Community Events.  Learn how to bring local farmers, citizens and small business owners together with a food festival in your community.  The workshop will take place on Friday, August 28th, 2015 from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm at The Art House, 531 Court Street Fulton, MO.  Speakers include:

8:30 - 8:45: Coffee, Tea, and Pastries

8:45 - 9:15: Autumn on the Bricks, Brian Mahieu and Jerrie Bell with Autumn On the Bricks, Fulton

9:15 - 9:45: Morels and Microbrews, Garry Vaught with Morels and Microbrews Festival, Fulton

9:45 - 10:15 Introductions

10:15 - 10:30: Break

10:30 - 11:00: Specialty Crops Program, Steve Johnson

11:00 - 11:30: Taste of Osage County, Arlen and Kay Schwinke with Taste of Osage County, Linn

11:30 - 11:50: Local Food from the Ground Up, Laura Carter

11:55 - 12:15: Why Local?, Nancy Holloway

12:15 - 1:00: Lunch, catered by Garry Vaught - Beks

Registration is $10 and includes locally sourced breakfast and lunch catered by Beks Restaurant, Fulton.  To register please call Steve at 573-256-2602 or

Sponsored by: Missouri River Communities Network; Missouri River Bluffs Association; The Art House; Missouri Farmers Market Association; and the Missouri Department of Agriculture

Monday, August 24, 2015

Farm Storage Facility Loan Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Storage Facility Loan Program (FSFL) provides low-interest financing for producers to build or upgrade farm storage and handling facilities. FSA is authorized to implement the program through the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).

The maximum loan amount is $500,000 per loan request. Loan terms are 7, 10 or 12 years depending on the amount of the loan. Each applicant will be charged a nonrefundable $100 application fee.

Eligible Commodities
The following commodities are eligible:
·         Corn, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, oats, peanuts, wheat, barley, or minor oilseeds harvested as whole grain;
·         Corn, grain sorghum, wheat, oats or barley harvested as other-than-whole grain;
·         Other grains (triticale, speltz, and buckwheat);
·         Pulse crops (lentils, chickpeas and dry peas);
·         Hay;
·         Honey;
·         Renewable biomass;
·         Fruits (includes nuts) and vegetables - cold storage facilities;
·         Floriculture
·         Hops;
·         Maple sap;
·         Milk;
·         Cheese;
·         Butter;
·         Yogurt;
·         Eggs;
·         Meat/poultry (unprocessed);
·         Rye and;
·         Aquaculture (excluding systems that maintain live animals through uptake and discharge of water).

Environmental Evaluation Requirements
These loans must be approved by the local FSA state or county committee before any site preparation and/or construction can be started.

All loan requests are subject to an environmental evaluation. Accepting delivery of equipment, starting any site preparation, or construction before loan approval, may impede the successful completion of an environmental evaluation and may adversely affect loan eligibility.

Eligible Facilities and Upgrades
The following types of facilities and upgrades are eligible and must have a useful life of at least 15 years:

·         New conventional cribs or bins;
·         New oxygen-limiting structures and remanufactured oxygen-limiting structures;
·         New flat-type storage structures;
·         New electrical equipment and handling equipment, excluding the installation of electrical service to the electrical meter;
·         New safety equipment, such as interior and exterior ladders and lighting;
·         New equipment to improve, maintain or monitor the quality of stored grain;
·         New concrete foundations, aprons, pits, and pads, including site preparation, off-farm labor and material, essential to the proper operation of the grain storage and handling equipment;
·         Renovation of existing farm storage facilities, under certain circumstances, if the renovation is for maintaining or replacing items;
·         New permanently affixed grain handling and grain drying equipment determined by CCC to be needed and essential to the proper operation of a grain storage system (with or without a loan for the storage facility);
·         New structures that are bunker-type, horizontal or open silo structures, with at least two concrete walls and a concrete floor;
·         New structures suitable for storing hay built according to acceptable design guidelines;
·         New structures suitable for storing renewable biomass;
·         New bulk tanks for storing milk;
·         New cold storage buildings, including prefabricated buildings that are suitable for storing fruits and vegetables. Also may include permanently affixed cooling, circulating and monitoring equipment and electrical equipment including labor and materials for installation of lights, motors and wiring integral to the proper operation of a cold storage facility.

Provisions for fruits and vegetables include the following:
-brush polishers
-bulk bin tippers
-case palletizers
-cement flooring
-circulation fans
-cold dip tanks
-drying tunnels
-electrical equipment
-food safety-related equipment
-fruit/vegetable conveyors fruit and/or vegetable hoppers
-ice machines
-quality graders
-refrigeration units or systems
-roller creepfeeders    
-roller spray units
-safety equipment meeting Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements
-sorting bins and/or tables
-weight graders

·         Scales, portable equipment, used bins and used equipment are not eligible for financing.
·         Facilities built for commercial purposes and not for the sole use of the borrower(s) are not eligible for financing.

Eligibility Requirements
An eligible borrower is any person who is a landowner, landlord, leaseholder, tenant or sharecropper. Contact an FSA office for more details.

Where to File the Application
Loan applications should be filed in the administrative FSA office that maintains the farm's records.

More Information

For more information about Farm Storage Facility Loans, visit, or contact your local FSA office. To find your local FSA office, visit
(photo courtesy of

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Crop Insurance Options for Fruit and Vegetable Producers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the expansion of crop insurance to provide additional options for fruit and nut producers. The Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) and the Actual Production History (APH) Yield Exclusion are now available to cover fresh fruit and nuts in select counties beginning with the 2016 crop year.

"USDA remains committed to making new crop insurance options outlined in the 2014 Farm Bill available to as many types of producers as possible. Providing these options for our producers of fresh fruit and nuts gives them the stronger safety net they need to continue farming, even after particularly bad years," said Secretary Vilsack. "USDA will continue to work toward implementing risk management provisions from the Farm Bill as quickly as possible so that producers can plan for the future and protect their businesses."

SCO will now be available in select counties for almonds, apples, blueberries, grapes, peaches, potatoes, prunes, safflower, tomatoes, and walnuts for the 2016 crop year. Grapefruit, lemons, mandarins/tangerines, oranges, and tangelos will be eligible for coverage beginning with the 2017 crop year. This is in addition to the alfalfa seed, canola, cultivated wild rice, dry peas, forage production, grass seed, mint, oats, onions, and rye that were recently made available for 2016 as well. Currently, SCO covers corn, cotton, cottonseed, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, spring barley, spring wheat, and winter wheat in selected counties.

SCO is an area-based policy endorsement that can be purchased to supplement an underlying crop insurance policy. It covers a portion of losses not covered by the same crop's underlying policy. USDA's Risk Management Agency, which administers the federal crop insurance program, has posted information on the expanded program, including where SCO is available by crop and county. Visit to learn more.

Producers of apples, blueberries, grapes, peaches, potatoes, prunes, safflower, tomatoes, and walnuts in select counties will have the option to elect the APH Yield Exclusion for the 2016 crop year. Producers of grapefruit, lemons, mandarins/tangerines, oranges, and tangelos will have the option to elect the APH Yield Exclusion for the 2017 crop year. Alfalfa seed, cultivated wild rice, dry peas, forage production, oats, onions, rye and winter wheat are also eligible in certain counties beginning with the 2016 crop year. These are in addition to barley, canola, corn, cotton, grain sorghum, peanuts, popcorn, rice, soybeans, sunflowers and spring wheat, which were offered beginning in the 2015 crop year.

The APH Yield Exclusion allows farmers, with qualifying crops in eligible counties, to exclude low yields in exceptionally bad years (such as a year in which a natural disaster or other extreme weather occurs) from their production history when calculating yields used to establish their crop insurance coverage. Crop years are eligible when the average per planted acreage yield for the county was at least 50 percent below the simple average for the previous 10 consecutive crop years. It will allow eligible producers to receive a higher approved yield on their insurance policies through the federal crop insurance program.

Producers also have access to new online tools designed to help them determine the options that work best for their operations. The Crop Insurance Decision Tool and the SCO/APH Yield Exclusion mapping tool, available online, provide farmers with information on APH Yield Exclusion and SCO eligible crops, crop years, and counties where they may elect the programs. This user-friendly resource can help producers quickly explore and understand available coverage options. Users will get general estimates to help them make purchasing decisions. Producers should consult their crop insurance agent for detailed information, sales closing dates and an actual premium quote.

A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the Risk Management Agency's agent locator. Growers can use the agency's cost estimator to get a premium amount estimate of their insurance needs online. Visit the Risk Management Agency at to learn more about SCO and APH Yield Exclusion.

APH Yield Exclusion and SCO are made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing, and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

2015 Managing Risks for Small Ruminants Conference

Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Small Ruminants Program & University of Illinois Extension are offering the Managing Risks for Small Ruminants on September 12, 2015 at Alan T. Busby Farm, 5124 Goller Road, Jefferson City, MO 65101

Agenda Topics
  • DOs and DON’Ts of a LowInput Operation
  • Toxicities: Differences for Goats & Sheep
  • Toxic plant ID hands on
  • When to call the Vet ‐‐ Q & A
  • Animal Disease Traceability USDA
  • Disaster Preparedness for Producers
  • Raising Market Worthy Animals Without Breaking the Bank
  • Safe Farm – Safe Animals (Biosecurity on your farm)
  • Parasite Management: 5Point Check, FAMACHA, BCS

Registration Fees: $10 w/includes lunch and light snacks.  RSVP to or (573) 6815312.

History: Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Small Ruminant Program and the University of Illinois Extension have made joined collaboration efforts to bring a pilot program to central Missouri that will address the concerns of small ruminant producers and risks faced by many beginning producers.  There are risks in everything we do, and livestock production is no exception. If raising goats and sheep; we encounter many obstacles that are considered risks depending on the type of production goals one might have.

Goal: This program if successful will be developed into a significant educational series that will culminate over three years of progressive training for small ruminant producers in an effort to increase the proficiency of knowledge and independence of goat and sheep production in the Midwest. Certificate of competition will be given.

Topics: Low-input management, toxic plants, when to call the vet, drug use, animal disease traceability, disaster preparedness, parasites, and how to efficiently raise a market goat or lamb are offered in this pilot program.

Conference Format: Lunch and light snacks will be provided during conference; along with
educational materials.

Lodging: 10 RM block available at each location, under “Lincoln University”.
  • Best Western Jefferson City - 1-573-635-4175, 1937 Christy Drive, Jefferson City, MO 65101 ------ $83.00 plus applicable taxes; cut-off Aug. 27, 2015
  • Quality Inn & Suites Jefferson City - 1-573-634-4040, 1716 Jefferson Street; Jefferson City, MO 65109 ------ $75.00 plus applicable taxes; cut-off Sept. 4, 2015

Friday, August 14, 2015

16th Central Missouri Vegetable & Greenhouse Tour

Save the Date- Wednesday Sept. 2nd!

The 16th Central Missouri Vegetable & Greenhouse Tour

“Rain or Shine”.

Consistent with previous years, we will meet at the Central Missouri Produce Auction and the set out.

This event is free and open to all.  Tentative schedule (you are welcome to arrive up until noon)

10:00 am - Gather & visit ‘on your own’ the auction

11 am to 11:45 am - Grab lunch if you want some

12:30 to 4 pm - Farm visits Farms visited will be a vegetable producer also with greenhouses, a honey producer and (concluding at) at Lincoln University’s Carver Farm in Jeff City.

To register or for more information: call 573-378-5358 or e-mail Just let us know you are coming and how many will be in your party

Free lunch is limited to the 1st 70.

Sponsored by: Morgan Co. Extension, Lincoln University, Missouri Vegetable Growers Association, Central Missouri Produce Auction, MU Extension

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Energy Conservation and Solar Options Workshop

Investing in energy conservation is currently providing one of the best returns on a person’s money according to Bob Schultheis, a natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
Persons wanting to learn more about energy conservation and solar power options are invited to attend the “Energy Conservation and Solar Energy Workshops and Tour.” The workshops are at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 26 at Pineville Community Center, 602 Jesse James Road, in Pineville.
The cost of each workshop is $20 per person, or $30 for both workshops. Each household will receive one energy efficiency kit valued at almost $50, along with resource materials valued at over $25. These workshops are sponsored by University of Missouri Extension and are partially grant-funded to make them more affordable.
Pre-registration is required by Friday, Aug. 21. To register, contact the McDonald County Extension Center, 306 Harmon St., P.O. Box 336, Pineville, MO 64856 at 417-223-4775, by email at, or mail the pre-registration form available online
“By attending one or both of the workshops and implementing practices discussed, you can be guaranteed a tax-free, no-risk return on your investment. The percent of return will vary based on which practices a person adopts as a result of the workshops,” said Schultheis.
The two-hour morning workshop will teach attendees how to spend as little as $100 to cut home energy bills by 25 percent or more. Suggested changes will target air leaks, insulation, water heaters, lighting, and more.
The two-hour afternoon workshop also features a tour. This workshop will explain the benefits and costs of solar energy for the farm, home and small business, what components are necessary, and how to use rebates and incentives to help pay for these solar systems.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Saving and Storing Garden Seeds

With the vegetable and flower garden starting to show its wear from the summer, thoughts begin to turn towards saving seeds from your favorite plants for next year.    Saving seed certainly be done and isn't as hard as you might think.  However, before you get started there are a few important things to keep in mind when selecting plants from which to save seeds.

Avoid Hybrid Plants
Many, if not most, of the vegetable seeds and transplants you purchase at the garden store in spring are hybrid plants, developed through the crossing of two distinct parent lines. Hybrid plants are developed for their vigorous nature and improved disease resistance. They often have fruits that are more uniform in size, shape and color, have better storage quality and shipping ability.  For tomatoes, improved shipping ability usually means the tomato flesh is firmer than that found in most heirloom tomatoes. However, hybrid plants do not grow ‘true to type' from seed so aren't good candidates for seed saving.

Choose instead to save seed from open pollinated heirloom plants or naturally occurring plant species like red vein sorrel, Rumex sanguineus, which will grow ‘true to type' from seed each time.

The next consideration is how to collect the seeds? This varies depending on how seeds are produced by the plant- either as dry seeds or wet seeds within a fruit. Harvest seeds from your healthiest, most vigorous plants.

Dry Seeds
Many plants produce seeds in a dry seed head, such as lettuce or dill. To harvest lettuce, allow a few plants to mature and develop flower heads. Let the flower heads mature until seed stalks develop a fluffy dandelion appearance, just before the seeds are completely dried. Seeds will fall off the stalk and be lost if allowed to totally dry on the plant.

To harvest dill, cut the seed stalks when the seeds are fully sized and turning brown.

Bundled the stems together with rubber bands or string. The seed heads can be placed inside a paper bag as they dry to catch any seeds that fall. Hang the bundles to dry in a warm, well-ventilated location. Dry the harvested stalks until the seeds can be shaken or rubbed from the stems.

Wet Seeds
Pick fruit from desirable plants when ripe. Cut fruit and squeeze out the pulp into a container. Add a little water, shake the mixture well, and let the pulp ferment 2-4 days at room temperatures, stirring occasionally.  When seeds settle to the bottom of the container, pour off the pulp at the top of the container. If necessary add more water and let any remaining pulp ferment again. When you have mostly seeds remaining, pour them into a fine sieve. Rinse them well and spread them in a thin layer on a piece of netting or screen, allowing them to dry thoroughly.

Beans and Peas
Allow bean or pea pods to turn brown on the plant. Harvest the pods and dry them for 1-2 weeks. Shell them and they are ready for storage.

Seed Storage
The first rule of seed storage is that after they are harvested and dried, they need a cold, dry environment for storage, ideally around 35° F. Seeds keep for a long time at these temperatures. Dryness is important because if they get moisture, the seeds will swell and sprout, as well as have the risk of rotting.

It's critical to keep seeds dry at all times – while using a seed packet indoors or outdoors, as well as when storing seeds. That's why seed packets should be opened in a dry place; take out just as many as you need. Then reseal the packets, put them back into a dry, airtight container and continue to store them in a cold, but frost-free place.

Where is the ideal storage spot? A shelf in the garage, basement, or laundry room is not a good storage spot; it gets too damp or hot at times during the year. An air-tight container in the refrigerator is a good location.

For more information on storing seeds, refer to Vegetable Garden Seed Storage and Germination Requirements, NebGuide G2090.

(By Sarah Browning, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Scaling Up Production

Scaling up for regional markets often refers to an increase in the amount of land in production, herd size, enterprises, or markets. Scaling up can also refer to improving current production systems in order to increase sales. In either case, there are many risks and challenges associated in scaling up, especially as a farmer prepares to gain access in to the wholesale market. This tutorial provides lessons and information for farmers who have success in smaller and more direct marketing channels and who are interested in expanding their operations to meet a growing demand for local food.

There are 9 lessons in this series on scaling up production.
Lesson 1:  Are You Ready?
Lesson 2: Planning for Profit
Lesson 3: Marketing
Lesson 4: Land Access
Lesson 5: Labor
Lesson 6: Equipment and Infrastructure
Lesson 7: Wholesale Readiness
Lesson 8: Wholesale and Direct Marketing
Lesson 9: Case Studies

Check out these lessons here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Farm to School Value-added Ag Grants

The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced today the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) is now accepting applications for grants to help Missouri businesses access and process locally grown agricultural products for local schools. This program provides assistance in placing locally grown agricultural products in Missouri school meals and snacks while strengthening local farming economies.

“Producers in Missouri grow some of the highest quality and most diverse food around,” Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce said. “We’re happy to provide businesses the opportunity to place locally grown agricultural products in Missouri school meals and snacks, while at the same time strengthening local farming economies. This is one more outlet for Missouri farmers to do business.”

Eligible applicants must be a small business purchasing or processing locally grown agricultural products from a small farmer and whose primary market is schools in Missouri. The small business could be the actual producer of agricultural products. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis, and applications will be scored based on their economic development potential, credibility and merit, and source and level of matching funds.

The maximum individual grant is $200,000. Applicants are required to provide a 10 percent cash match toward the resource being funded. Eligible resources may include, but are not limited to, items such as: coolers, freezers, washing, bagging, sorting and/or packing equipment, and professional services for the development of Good Agricultural Practices/Good Handling Practices (GAP/GHP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Analysis (HACCP) plan development. The program does not provide funds for agricultural production practices or equipment, paying off debt, applicant salaries or wages, or that of employees, motor vehicles, or operating expenses.

Applications must be received by MASBDA no later than 5:00 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. For more information on the program and complete guidelines, visit or contact MASBDA at or (573) 751-2129.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

SARE Farmer/Rancher Grant Now Available

The 2016 North Central Region - Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) Farmer Rancher Grant Call for Proposals is now available online at

Farmers and ranchers in the North Central region are invited to submit grant proposals to explore sustainable agriculture solutions to problems on the farm or ranch.  Proposals should show how farmers and ranchers plan to use their own innovative ideas to explore sustainable agriculture options and how they will share project results. Sustainable agriculture is good for the environment, profitable, and socially responsible. Projects should emphasize research or education/demonstration. 

There are three types of competitive grants: individual grants ($7,500 maximum), team of two grants for two farmers/ranchers from separate operations who are working together ($15,000 maximum), and group grants for three or more farmers/ranchers from separate operations who are working together ($22,500 maximum). NCR-SARE expects to fund about 40 projects in the twelve-state North Central Region with this call. A total of approximately $400,000 is available for this program.

NCR-SARE will be accepting online submissions for the Farmer Rancher Grant Program. More information about the online submission system can be found in the call for proposals. 
Interested applicants can find the call for proposals online as well as useful information for completing a proposal at You can find more information about sustainable agriculture at or take a free National Continuing Education Program online course about the basic concepts at

Proposals are due on December 3, 2015 at 4 pm CST.

Potential applicants with questions can contact Joan Benjamin, Associate Regional Coordinator and Farmer Rancher Grant Program Coordinator, at or 573-681-5545 or 800-529-1342. Applicants should also contact Joan Benjamin if they need a hard copy or an email version of the call for proposals. We make revisions to our calls for proposals each year, which means it is crucial to use the most recent call for proposals.

Each state in SARE's North Central Region has one or more State Sustainable Agriculture Coordinators who can provide information and assistance to potential grant applicants. Interested applicants can find their State Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator online at