Monday, June 29, 2015

Peach Production Workshop and Field Day


The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Invites You to Attend: Peach Production Workshop and Field on Thursday, July 16, 2015 from 2:00 pm to 7:30 pm at the University of Arkansas Fruit Research Station, 1749 State Hwy 818, Clarksville, AR 72830

Tentative Program Schedule
2:15-2:45 Registration
2:45-3:00- Welcome and Introduction- Dan Chapman
3:00-3:30- UA Peach Breeding Program Update- Dr. John Clark
3:30-4:00- New Tools and Directions in Peach Breeding- Dr. Ksenija Gasic- Clemson University
4:00-4:20- Peach Texture Diversity in the Arkansas Peach Breeding Program- Alejandra Salgado
4:20-4:40- Evaluating Bacterial Spot Resistance in Peaches Using Some Old and
New Techniques- Terrence Frett
4:40-5:10- Peach Cultivar Evaluation Trial- Preliminary Results- Taunya Ernst
5:10-5:30- Peach Insect Management- Dr. Donn T. Johnson
5:30-5:50- Peach Disease Management- Sherrie Smith
5:50-6:30- Dinner and Peach Tasting
6:30-7:30- Field Tour

We have invited a prominent peach breeder from Clemson University, Dr. Ksenija Gasic, to give us an update on new peach cultivars for the Southeast. Our own Dr. John Clark and his graduate students will give us an update on peach research in Arkansas. We will also discuss pest issues affecting the industry. In addition, we will have a display of the large number of peach cultivars and selections we have at our facility and a field tour that will emphasize our peach breeding program. Whether you are thinking about expanding your existing orchard, changing to newer cultivars, or planting a new orchard, this is a great opportunity.

There will be a $20.00 charge to attend this workshop to cover dinner and hand-out materials. Registration fee will be charged on the day of the workshop.
To register contact:  Katie Hanshaw at 479-754-2406 or khanshaw@uark.edu

Registration is required by Monday July 13.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Missouri Agritourism Conference


Missouri Farm Bureau and the AgriMissouri program with the Missouri Department of Agriculture are again partnering to sponsor the 3rd Annual Missouri Agritourism Conference - July 26-28, 2015 in Springfield.


The classroom/workshop topics include:
* Agritourism Venue Safety Concerns and Tips
* Evaluating On Farm Natural Resources to Diversify Income
* Growing Farm Field Trips and School Tours
* Do You Run Your Marketing Schedule or Does Your
* Schedule Run Your Marketing
* On Farm Food Service and Compliance Regulation Challenges
* Constructive Ways to Finance Agritourism Operations
* Insuring Agritourism - Protecting Your Heritage
* Rapid Fire Q & A Session and Discussion

The bus tour will consist of stops at:
* Farmers Park / Ozark Regional Farmers Market
* Equi-Librium Therapy Center (Tentative)
* Blackberry Creek Retreat Bed and Breakfast
* Gunter Farms Pumpkin Patch Corn Maize and Dairy
* Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festivals
* Other locations to be announced!

Register now! Early Bird Registration Discount!!! $125 per person by July 3 After July 3 - $150
(Registration is not considered complete until payment is received. Visa/ MasterCard accepted.)

For additional information, please contact Kelly Smith at 573-893-1416 or kesmith@mofb.com
Farm to Table Dinner @ Urban Roots Farm - the first 75 attendees to register for the conference will be assured tickets to the dinner. Register now at MOFB.ORG.

Hotel rooms will be available at a discounted rate of $89.00 until July 10.  For reservations please call University Plaza Hotel at 417-864-7333.

Friday, June 19, 2015

$16 Million Available for Rural Micro-Enterprise Development in 2015


Very small businesses are the lifeblood of rural America, yet small entrepreneurs often struggle to access credit and business training. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) operates a rural development program — the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) — aimed at addressing this gap.

RMAP provides loans and grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs) — non-profit organizations, community-based financial institutions, and local economic development councils — that in turn provide technical services and microloans to rural small business owners in their states and local communities.

On Friday, June 19, USDA announced the availability of RMAP funding to support nearly $14.2 million in loans as well as $2.1 million in training and technical assistance grants for small business development in rural areas.

NSAC and its member groups helped create RMAP in the 2008 Farm Bill and then renew its authority in the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill provides RMAP with sufficient funding to support most of the $16.3 million available in FY 2016, though a small portion will come from carry over funds from previous years.

We are currently working to secure additional discretionary funding for this highly successful program through the annual appropriations process. On top of the very limited mandatory funding provided by the the Farm Bill, the President requested discretionary funding to support an additional $25 million in loans and grants in FY 2016. We are hopeful that final FY 2016 appropriations legislation will include this funding.

RMAP defines a “microentrepreneur” as a rural sole proprietorship or business with less than ten employees. Additionally, potential borrowers are required to show that they cannot obtain funding from other lending sources due to lack of credit or limited business development experience. The microbusinesses must be located in rural areas defined as any area other than a city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 and the urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to such a city or town according to the latest decennial census.

Types of Funding Available
There are three categories of funding that are available through RMAP:
  • Loan capital to MDOs to provide fixed interest rate microloans of less than $50,000 to rural entrepreneurs for the development of microenterprises in rural areas. Loans through MDOs cannot exceed a 20-year timeframe and need to bear an annual interest rate of at least one percent. Each MDO must establish a loan loss reserve fund and keep at least five percent of the outstanding loan balance in reserve.
  • Technical assistance grants to MDOs to provide marketing, management, and other technical assistance to microentrepreneurs who have already received or applied for an RMAP loan through an MDO. The maximum annual grant award can be no more than 25 percent of the organization’s outstanding microloan balance. This assistance could include but is not be limited to networking, online collaboration and marketing, grant-writing, entrepreneurship workshops or conferences.
  • Technical assistance-only grants to MDOs that seek to provide business-based training to eligible microentrepreneurs and microenterprises, but do not seek loan funding.
The federal share of the cost of a microentrepreneur’s project shall not exceed 75 percent, meaning that the MDO must provide or secure the remaining 25 percent from non-federal sources. For any RMAP grant, MDOs must match at least 15 percent of the total amount of the grant in the form of matching funds, indirect costs, or in-kind goods or services.

How to Apply
Applicants must deliver completed applications for loans, and combination loan and grant applications to their USDA Rural Development state office by 4:30 p.m. (local time) on the last day prior to the beginning of each federal fiscal quarter to be considered for funding in that quarter. Applications received after a federal fiscal quarter deadline will be reviewed and evaluated for funding in the next federal fiscal quarter.

Microlender technical assistance grants for existing MDOs with a microentrepenuer revolving loan fund will be made, non-competitively, based on the MDO’s microlending activity and availability of funds. To determine the MDO’s technical assistance grant awards for FY 2015, the Agency will use the MDO’s outstanding balance of microloans as of June 30, 2015.

MDOs can obtain applications and forms from their Rural Development state office or online at http://www.rd.usda.gov/programsservices/rural-microentrepreneurassistance-program. A list of the USDA Rural Development State Offices addresses and telephone numbers can be found online at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/StateOfficeAddresses.html.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Chinese Solar Greenhouse


I recently attended an update on high tunnel technology at Lincoln University in Jefferson City.

One of the speakers was a grower who was sharing his experiences building and using a Chinese Solar Greenhouse.

I first heard the term, “Chinese Solar Greenhouse,” from our former State Vegetable Specialist, Dr. Sanjun Gu, at the Great Plains Growers Conference several years ago. Dr. Gu is from China, and had a lot of photos of this interesting technology.

This technology allows producers in China to grow warm season vegetables during the winter months, with no additional heating. Can you imagine growing tomatoes in January without extra heat? They are doing it in China, at latitudes similar to ours. In other words, it is in a cold part of China, not the tropics.

How do they do this? The key is good insulation. The greenhouses run east and west. The north side, as well as the east and west end walls, are very thick, made of earth or some other material to provide insulation as well as storing heat. The south side is covered with plastic, but is covered at night by a straw mat, which provides further insulation to be able to retain the heat at night that was gained during the day.

A grower north of Springfield heard Dr. Gu’s presentation, and was intrigued enough to build a Chinese Solar Greenhouse. He has followed most of the design principles, although he has not found an insulating material to cover the greenhouse at night. That has meant a few nights where the temperature inside approached freezing, which required additional heat.

The grower has tried several crops, including early and late tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers, which lasted until Christmas. He also has grown carrots, head lettuce, kale, chard, celery, parsley, and various salad greens which have been seeded and harvested all winter long.

In addition he has tried ginger, which does quite well.  Chinese Solar Greenhouses certainly have a lot of advantages, especially if a grower has a market for crops during the winter. There are a few disadvantages, including the extra cost of construction. It will be interesting to see what this grower’s conclusions will be after a few more years of using this structure.
(By: Tim Baker, Extension Professional and Horticulture Specialist)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Farmers' Market Food Safety Training


Iowa State University has created a free online food safety module for farmers’ market managers and vendors.

What is the training?
Four online modules have been designed to provide science-based information on safe food production and handling specific to farmers' markets, with a focus on specialty foods and good agricultural practices (GAP).

1.  Pre-Harvest (40 minutes)
GAP implementation prior to harvest that will mitigate food safety risks that can devastate a farm business.
2.  Post-Harvest (39 minutes)
GAP from harvest to sales of your product.
3.  Marketing and Best Practices at the Market (35 minutes)
Promotion and communication of your food safety efforts, including sampling methods, will increase profits and best practices at the market.
4.  Value Added Products (69 minutes)
Best food safety practices for value-added products will provide assurance regulations are met.

What to Expect . . .
*  No cost (FREE)
*  Take one or all four modules
*  Learn at your own pace (do not need to complete a module in one sitting)
*  Convenient online training, 24 hours/7 days a week, without leaving the farm.
*  On-farm food safety and marketing training by Iowa State University
*  Identification of resources to help ensure safe sale of foods
*  Internet connection is required

At the conclusion of all four courses, participants receive a Certificate of Completion suitable to display at their vendor's booth or market stall.

Who should complete?
The intended audience is for Farmers Market Managers and Farmers Market Vendors.

Why should vendors attend?
*  Vendors are important to the successful and safe operation of farmers' markets. Farmers and growers taking these courses will learn how to:
*  Demonstrate their commitment to customers
*  Show food safety is a priority
*  Provide safe farm-to-market food
*  Implement food safety practices
* Why should managers attend?

If you are thinking about establishing a farmers' market in your community, or if you are overwhelmed with the logistics of managing a market, you've come to the right place. This series of courses offers expert advice on:
*  Good business practices
*  Educating vendors on food safety practices from farm to market
*  Strategies and best practices to reduce health liability risks
*  Successful market promotion
*  Quality vendor recruitment
*  Reasonable precautions for food safety

This course is not a substitute for the full 8 hour GAP course that is recommended for farmers serving multiple venues and farmers market managers.

For technical assistance M-F, 8am – 5pm Central time, call 515-294-8658.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

USDA Packages Disaster Protection with Loans to Benefit Specialty Crop and Diversified Producers


Free basic coverage and discounted premiums available for new and underserved loan applicants


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Missouri Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, Mark Cadle, today announced that producers who apply for FSA farm loans also will be offered the opportunity to enroll in new disaster loss protections created by the 2014 Farm Bill. The new coverage, available from the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), is available to FSA loan applicants who grow non-insurable crops, so this is especially important to fruit and vegetable producers and other specialty crop growers.

“FSA is opening its doors wider so that more specialty farmers know of our array of services,” said Cadle. “And new, underserved and limited income specialty growers who apply for farm loans could qualify for basic loss coverage at no cost, or higher coverage for a discounted premium.”

The basic disaster coverage protects at 55 percent of the market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of production. Covered crops include “specialty” crops, for instance, vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, syrup, hay, forage, grazing and energy crops. FSA allows beginning, underserved or limited income producers to obtain NAP coverage up to 90 days after the normal application closing date when they also apply for FSA credit.

In addition to free basic coverage, beginning, underserved or limited income producers are eligible for a 50 percent discount on premiums for the higher levels of coverage that protect up to 65 percent of expected production at 100 percent of the average market price. Producers also may work with FSA to protect value-added production, such as organic or direct market crops, at their fair market value in those markets. Targeted underserved groups eligible for free or discounted coverage are American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Asians, Blacks or African Americans, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and women.

FSA offers a variety of loan products, including farm ownership loans, operating loans and microloans that have a streamlined application process.

Growers need not apply for an FSA loan, nor be a beginning, limited resource, or underserved farmer, to be eligible for Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program assistance. To learn more, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/nap or www.fsa.usda.gov/farmloans, or contact your local FSA office at https://offices.usda.gov.
The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program was made possible through 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 the taxpayer. 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 http://www.usda.gov/farmbill.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

First Adult Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) Captured by a Monitoring Trap on May 27th, 2015


The first adult Spotted Wing Drosophila (a male) has been captured by a monitoring trap in the Jefferson City area on May 27th, 2015. This trap was hung from a mulberry tree that has ripening fruit. So, it’s time to set up monitoring traps for early crops!

Below is a summary of our 2014 experiences in terms of monitoring tools and an overview of the SWD monitoring approach for 2015.

2014 evaluation of commercial and home-made lures for SWD. From late July to late October 2014 the Lincoln University IPM program conducted a field study aimed at comparing the attractiveness of a new synthetic lure (trade name: SWD Pherocon, by Trece Inc.) versus that of the standard yeast / sugar bait (home-made lure) to male and female SWD. The study took place in an unsprayed elderberry plot at the Lincoln University Carver farm (Jefferson City, MO). Traps were deployed in pairs (n= 4), about 10 ft. apart, on fruiting plants. Traps were inspected once a week and all insects captured were taken to the lab for identification. Every week, the one-week old traps were replaced with traps having new baits / lures.

Key findings: As shown in the graphs on the right, the active dry yeast + sugar bait consistently out-competed the new commercial lure.

The table below summarizes captures across the entire season. It reveals that the standard bait was on average 4.8 and 20.3 times more attractive than the new lure, to males and females, respectively.

Monitoring for SWD in 2015. Farmers are encouraged to deploy a monitoring trap starting 3-4 weeks before berry ripening and throughout the harvest season. Place one monitoring trap baited with active dry yeast (1/2 tablespoon), sugar (2 tablespoons) and water (6 ounces) per acre. The trap needs to be hang on a plant, stake, or trellis 3–5 feet above the ground on the most shaded / cooler side of the plant canopy. Because SWD reproduces so quickly under warm weather conditions, the first SWD trapping data are vital to activate pest management programs to prevent rapid population increases and potential infestations on a farm.

For 2015, the Lincoln University and the University of Missouri IPM programs will be monitoring the presence and abundance of SWD in selected locations throughout Missouri. Information will be posted weekly at the MU IPM Pest Monitoring Network website: http://ipm.missouri.edu/pestmonitoring. This year, the SWD monitoring system will be set so that an alert will be sent to farmers / subscribers as soon as the first SWD is detected in traps on a given region. But subsequent captures in the same region won’t result in new alerts.

Articles discussing the importance of SWD monitoring, how to make your own monitoring trap, management option including organic tools can be found at: http://www.LU-IPM.net. Note that the Spotted Wing Drosophila tab has a scroll down menu:


By Dr. Jaime Pi├▒ero (Lincoln University IPM program) and Dr. Bruce Barrett (University of Missouri)


Monday, June 1, 2015

Queen Rearing Class


The Boone Regional Beekeepers Association is hosting a Queen Rearing Class in Columbia, MO.  The class will be instructed by Cory Stevens of South East Missouri.  The same class will be presented on two different days, Saturday June 6 or Sunday June 7.   See the attached "Queen Rearing Class Flyer" for details.  Class size is limited to 30 each day, members  of both BRBA and North Central Missouri Beekeepers will be given 1st chance to enroll .  Cost is $65 for members.

Click on the following link that will take you to a Google Forms site where you can reserve a spot in the class - http://goo.gl/forms/G0RK9KOD96