Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Grow Your Farm Begins April 18

"Grow Your Farm" is an educational program offered by University of Missouri Extension that is designed to help landowners interested in farming for the first time and current farmers wanting to start new enterprises.

"Grow Your Farm" includes eight class sessions and two farm tours and will connect people investing in a farm career with successful farm operators and business experts according to Patrick Byers and Tim Schnakenberg, horticulture and agronomy specialists with MU Extension.

The course is being offered at the Hollister City Hall in Hollister. Classes meet monthly from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. starting April 18 and continuing through Oct. 24. Two classes will meet in April.

Sessions will focus on business planning and selecting enterprises that can be profitable, based on an individual's skills and resources. Planning the farm, keeping track of finances, marketing farm products and understanding legal issues are some of the topics addressed.

"This is a unique opportunity for growers and producers to connect with University of Missouri Extension specialists in horticulture, agriculture business, natural resources and community development. These specialists can offer their expertise in small farm production, marketing, and increasing outcomes for small farm profitability," said Byers.

Scholarships — through a grant with Missouri Enterprise, the City of Hollister and the USDA — to cover the training fee of $200 are available to the first ten registrants.

The training fee covers two people from a farm or household and includes the cost of a course notebook, additional textbook, and group sessions with guest speakers, farm tours, and refreshments. Each additional person per household/operation may attend for $50 per person.

For more information contact Patrick Byers at the Greene County Extension office by telephone at (417) 881-8909 or online at http://extension.missouri.edu/greene. Registration for the Grow Your Farm program will be through the Taney County Extension Office, at 417-546-4431.

Local Food Marketing Practices Survey

Local Food Marketing Practices Survey


Frequently Asked Questions:

  • 1. What is the Local Food Marketing Practices Survey?
    The 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey is the first-ever survey conducted by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service to produce benchmark data about local food. Information will include the number of agricultural operations in the United States that produce local foods, the value of local foods sales, and marketing practices and expenses. This census study will provide data on the production and marketing of locally and regionally produced agricultural food products, as directed under the 2014 Farm Bill.
  • 2. Why should I respond to the Local Food Marketing Practices Survey?
    Federal funding for the local foods sector substantially increased in recent Farm Bills, however official data and increased public understanding about the sector are still needed. No federal farm-level benchmark data exist on local foods sales, production practices, risk management, marketing channels and other factors that are key to informing and implementing policies and programs. Your responses will provide this important, detailed, objective information to meet the growing need for national, regional and state-level estimates on the local foods sector.
  • 3. Who will use the data published from the Local Food Marketing Practices Survey?
    The agriculture industry, all levels of government, and related businesses and organizations will use the information to increase understanding of the local foods sector. In turn, this knowledge will help evaluate, inform and implement many of the USDA programs that support the local foods sector.
    These USDA programs may include:
    • Agricultural Marketing Service: Farmers Market Promotion Program, Local Food Promotion Program, Specialty Crop Block Grants Program
    • Farm Service Agency: Microloan Program
    • Food and Nutrition Service: Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives Program, Farm to School Program
    • Rural Development: Value-Added Producer Grant Program
    Additional examples of how others can use the data include:
    • State and local agencies to better understand, support and promote local food markets
    • Farmers and others in the agriculture industry to plan business and marketing strategies
    • Researchers, extension and university members to assist with local foods research
  • 4. How will NASS conduct the survey?
  • NASS will mail survey forms in the beginning of April to approximately 44,300 producers nationwide. Responses are due by May 2, 2016. If a response is not received, a representative with USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service may follow up with you to gather this information.
  • 5. How was I selected for this survey?
    The 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey provides the first opportunity for NASS to contact many individuals and entities specifically involved in the local foods sector. NASS will contact a sample of approximately 44,300 people for this effort. If you were selected, NASS may have gathered your information from a number of sources. These sources include NASS’s current list of U.S. agricultural operators; public lists of producers involved in local and regional food activity; research via social media on local agriculture, etc.
  • 6. Can I respond online?
    Yes. Survey participants are encouraged to use the secure, convenient online response system at www.agcounts.usda.gov . This not only saves you time, but it saves the government money on return postage and data entry. You will need the ID number printed on the mailing label of your survey form.
  • 7. What types of questions will you ask?
    The Local Food Marketing Practices Survey will gather data related to the production and marketing of foods directly from farm producers to consumers or to retailers who then sell directly to consumers. Information will be gathered on local food marketing practices during 2015, including items such as:
    • Value of local food sales by marketing channel (i.e. farmers markets, CSAs, restaurants, roadside stands, food hubs, and more)
    • Crop and livestock sales by marketing channel
    • Federal farm program participation
  • 8. Must I respond to the survey?
    Participation in the survey is voluntary and your response is strongly encouraged. Factual data straight from producers are needed in order to increase public understanding about the local foods sector.
  • 9. Will my information be kept confidential?
    Absolutely. Respondents are guaranteed by law (Title 7, U.S. Code) that their individual information will be kept confidential. NASS uses the information only for statistical purposes and publishes data only in tabulated totals. The report cannot be used for purposes of taxation, investigation, or regulation. The privacy of individual records is also protected from Freedom of Information Act disclosure.
  • 10. What if I want more information or need help completing my form?
    Call the toll-free number listed on your survey form, 888.424.7828, or email nass@nass.usda.gov.
  • 11. When will results of the survey be released?
    NASS will publish survey results in December 2016.
  • 12. What if I want more information?
    For more information, call (800) 727-9540 or visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.