Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Farm Beginnings Nebraska Set to Begin January 4th!

The Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society (NSAS) will hosts its next Farm Beginnings Nebraska Program at the First National Bank in Syracuse January 4th. 

As part of a USDA Farmer and Rancher Grant, NSAS is facilitating the Farm Beginnings Nebraska Program. The Farm Beginnings Nebraska Program is an educational training and support program designed to help people who want to evaluate and plan their farm enterprise.

Farm Beginnings Nebraska participants engage in a mentor-ship experience and network with a variety of successful, innovative farmers; attend practical, high quality seminars, field days and conferences. The program is unique in that it is farmer led and coordinated. A majority of the presenters include farmers explaining firsthand the ins and outs of their farm and are followed up with tours. A major focus of the program is for those interested in utilizing sustainable and holistic management principles, including organic farming.

The Farm Beginnings Nebraska Program consists of a series of 10 sessions from January to April that cover a variety of topics including: holistic management, building networks, goal setting, whole farm planning, building your business plan, financing, marketing, business and farm management and financial management. While the class participants will learn firsthand from the farmers, they will also work on developing their own business plan as they progress through the course.

As part of the class tuition, participants will also have the opportunity to attend the Healthy Farms Conference at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney February 14th and 15th. The Healthy Farms Conference has been held annually for over 35 years and is the annual conference of NSAS. Sessions this year will include; hugelkulture, homeopathy for the farm, vegetable production, grass-fed beef, local foods policy council, cover crops, organic farming, bee keeping, young and beginning farm opportunities, farm transitioning, agri-tourism and more. Farm tours are also part of the Farm Beginnings Nebraska program. Both during the course and at the concluding we will visit around 10-15 farms highlighted by a twilight tour and potluck. Tuition for the is $500, but you may qualify for a partial scholarship. Your tuition includes; Farm Beginnings notebooks and handouts Joel Salatin's, Holy Cow and Hog Heaven book Meals at each session, and an NSAS membership.  For details and to sign-up http://nebsusag.org/farmbeginningsnebraska.html

Monday, December 16, 2013

Weekly Events & Opportunities in Sustainable Farming & Foods


Introduction to Enterprise Analysis

December 16th. 11:30am Central. Take a look at how to isolate your income and expense records to analyze the different enterprises you operate. Learn how to determine which enterprises are making or losing money. https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=2009421&password=M.6F6B15E4CB7C3A84CB5ABB5B38FE2C


Critical Economic Decisions when Raising Heifers

December 16th. 12pm Central. Jason Karszes will discuss some key items every dairy farmer should consider in heifer raising. He will cover the costs involved, factors that influence those costs, the economic impact of the replacement program on the dairy farm's performance, and several other factors to consider in a replacement program. https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/dairexnetwebinar/


Farm Rental Rates: Setting Them and Paying Them

December 16th. 12:30pm Central. Learn about the different ways to set rental rates for your own property or to evaluate the rates that are offered to you as a tenant. We can’t get into the details of each negotiation but we can at least learn about the basic methods that can be used when setting rates or paying them. https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=2009421&password=M.80D1A5C43B7CD5980466E241ED810F


Landlord/Tenant Lease Workshop

December 16,  Norfolk. December 17, Oshkosh. See http://bit.ly/1bJwrqn for more info.


Health Concerns for the Overweight Horse

December 17. 6pm Central. This webcast will discuss health concerns for both under and overweight horses, with an emphasis on the overweight horse. Most horse owners understand the potential issues with horses being too thin, but may not be aware of the issues associated with the other extreme. Following this session, horse owners will be able to assess if their horse is over or underweight, and have strategies to manage their overweight horses. http://www.myhorseuniversity.com/resources/webcasts/overweighthorse


Community Supported Agriculture Legal Issues Webinar

December 17. Farm Commons is hosting a series of eight webinars over the Winter of 2013-2014 that will help farmers resolve the most common legal concerns. This evening webinar will discuss the unique employment law, insurance, zoning, and volunteer worker legal issues encountered through CSA. Farmers will learn how address these concerns. http://farmcommons.org/webinars/

Connecting Sustainable Farmers to Emerging Health Care Markets – A Farmer-Focused Presentation

December 17th. 1:30pm. Hospitals and hospital systems represent a sizable potential market for sustainable farmers, and interest in increasing purchases of local, sustainably produced food among hospitals and hospital systems is growing. However, limited hospital resources and the complexity of food purchase contracts and agreements at many hospitals have prevented farmers from accessing this market in any significant way to date. To assess the current and potential health care food markets for North Central region sustainable farmers, IATP compiled and analyzed purchasing data from three participating health system collaborators for all food and beverage purchases, including those that meet sustainability criteria outlined in the Green Guide for Health Care. https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/249036730

Legal & Financial Clinic

December 17th, Valentine. December 18th, Norfolk. December 19th, Lexington. Call the Farm Hotline at 800-464-0258 to sign up.

Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success

December 17 or 18. Online. Farmers' Market Federation of New York is offering a series of free webinars for direct marketing farmers. Each webinar is offered twice. The topic for this session is "You Are What They Think You Are! Selling the Product," with Dave Bellso, President of DesignWorks Advertising. http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/work-shop-programs/webinars/registration.html


Do Cover Crops Help Your “Bottom-Line”?


Wednesday, December 18th. Nebraska City. See more meeting and contact info at bit.ly/1fJc4ze.


Solar Webinar

December 18. The Farm Energy Working Group at the University of Northern Iowa is presenting a free webinar on solar power in Iowa.http://www.uni.edu/ceee/energy/farm-energy-working-group/farm-energy-working-group

Sweet Onions--Cultural Practices and Brand Marketing

December 18th. 1pm Central.  Penn State and Cornell University have teamed up to present a series of webinars on critical production issues. This series provides timely updates in commercial and small fruit production for commercial growers, extension educators, and industry representatives in Pennsylvania, New York, and surrounding states. $10 per webinar or $35 for entire series; includes access to handouts and webinar recordings. In the first session, extension educators Christy Hoepting (Cornell) and Lee Stivers (Penn State) will cover variety selection, planting, soil and water management, harvesting and curing of sweet Spanish onions. We will also explore aspects of branding sweet onions as a marketing tool. http://extension.psu.edu/vegetable-fruit/winter-webinars 




Molecular Mechanisms of Disease - Works in Progress Seminar Series

December 19th. 4pm. Amita Daverey (Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Postdoctoral Associate w/Sri Kidambi lab) and Bao Hu (Chemistry Postdoctoral Associate w/Steve DiMagno lab) will present. Whittier Building in Lincoln on the UNL City Campus. Room: 136. Open to public. Contact: Melanie Simpson, 402-472-9309msimpson2@unl.edu


Upcoming

Great Plains Growers Conference & Trade Show

January 9-11. St. Joseph, Missouri. The Great Plains Growers Conference is made possible by six land grant universities and Extension services from the states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. This event includes a keynote address by conservation tillage pioneer Steve Groff. There will be pre-conference, all-day workshops on beekeeping, high tunnels, tree fruit, soils, and farm to school.http://www.greatplainsgrowers.org/


Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!! 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Eat Local for the Holidays! -- It's Easy!


Celery Root SaladThanksgiving is the easiest and best time of year to "eat local," for the simple reason that the Native Americans and the Pilgrims were "locavores" back when "fresh and local" were not marketing terms, but just the way it was. This means that most of what you find on a traditional Thanksgiving menu has its roots in local, seasonal foods.

A New "Tradition"

Yet too often we feel obliged to follow more recent traditions. We fill a Thanksgiving menu with an industrially raised turkey that's been injected with saline to make it seem juicy, or Jell-O salad with canned fruit cocktail, or green bean casserole with canned mushroom soup, or sweet potatoes from a can, baked with butter and brown sugar with marshmallows on top. That's what my Grandma made anyway.

True Thanksgiving Tradition

There's nothing wrong with family traditions, but it's easy and fun to give those old favorites new life with fresh, locally raised foods. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to choose from autumn's bountiful cornucopia of locally grown foods from salad greens to root vegetables.
And there's even more to be thankful for, because local foods, when grown without synthetic chemicals, enhance our personal health, the health of our farmers, their farms, and our communities. And the virtuous circle expands as local organic foods benefit the soil, air, and water upon which life depends.

Giving Thanks for Healthy Food

There is just no better way to express gratitude for good food, local farmers, and their active stewardship of the land than to buy one or more local items for the big meal on the day we join together and give thanks.
And it's easy--just tweak your favorite family recipes to create locally produced variations on Thanksgiving classics. Here are a few ideas:
  • Cole slaw can become a light Brussels sprouts salad
  • Mashed potatoes go glam as local potatoes roasted with leeks, parsnips, and rutabaga
  • Sweet potato gratin can be transformed into a sophisticated cardoon gratin
  • Classic raw celery and carrots become a classy celery root remoulade (recipe below)
  • Dinner rolls from a can become buttery sage biscuits
  • Pecan pie turns into local hickory nut or black walnut pound cake
And we all know pumpkin pie is better with local pumpkins, so get yourself a few from a local farmer.
You'll have the tastiest Thanksgiving ever, and you'll help keep local, sustainable farms thriving now, and for many Thanksgivings to come. Thank you!

Celery Root in Mustard Sauce (Remoulade)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound celery root (about 2 medium-sized roots)

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, mustard, cream, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  2. Quarter the celery root and peel it. Grate coarsely. Immediately add the celery root to the mustard sauce and toss to coat. Season to taste. Serve as a first course or side salad.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Weekly Events & Opportunities in Sustainable Farming & Foods



Importance of Pollinator Habitat and How It Fits in a Grassland Ecosystem

December. 9 – Pete Berthelsen, Director of Habitat Partnerships, Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever, “Importance of Pollinator Habitat and How It Fits in a Grassland Ecosystem” All of the seminars in the series (listed at http://grassland.unl.edu/upcoming-seminars) are at the East Union, 3:00-4:00. 


Farm Rental Rates: Setting Them and Paying Them

December 9th. 11:30am Central. Join Mark Cannella, Farm Business Management Specialist from the University of Vermont, to learn about the different  ways to set rental rates for your own property or to evaluate the rates that are offered to you as a tenant. He can't get into the details of each negotiation but you can learn about the basic methods that can be used when setting or paying rates. https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=2009421&password=M.DE76094666D2C142E5B997E24AAE5A


Farmers & Ranchers College - Positioning Your Business for Ag's Next Decade 

December 9th. Featuring Dr. David Kohl. 1 :00 pm. Location, Bruning Opera House. 
Contact:
 Brandy VanDeWalle, 402-759-3712


Landlord/Tenant Lease Workshops

December 9, 10, 11 & 12. Imperial, Hastings, Syracuse, David City, McCook, Auburn, Kearney, Sidney, York, Fairbury, North Platte, Gering, Oshkosh & Wilbur. See http://bit.ly/1bJwrqn for more info.


Wood and Biomass Pellets for Regional and Global Energy

December 10 at 12pm central. Presenter:  David DeVallance, University of West Virginia. Wood pellets have been a growing component of the bioenergy industry in the Northeast United States, and continue to expand as local and international markets develop. Join Dr. Devallance as he discusses the process of wood pellet production, pellet properties and their management, as well as current markets - opportunities and barriers. Attend the live webinars at https://meeting.psu.edu/bioenergy - sign in as a guest.

Farm Succession Series: LLC / Lease Workshop

December 10th. Syracuse. Call the Farm Hotline at 800-464-0258 to sign up.

Acres U.S.A. Conference & Trade Show: Ecological Farming for the Real World

December 10-14. Springfield, Illinois. This event begins December 10 with an Eco-Ag University offering two days of intensive workshops on topics including restoration agriculture, crop nutrition, mob grazing, and biological farming. The main conference December 12-14 features presentations by some of the world's leading authorities and practitioners of ecological agriculture, an eco-consultants' hall, and a trade show.http://www.acresusa.com/magazines/magazine.htm


Farminar: Building Relationships, Building Customers

December 10, 7:00pm – 8:30pm. O nline. Relationship-building can be a powerful marketing tool. Hear from two farms of different scales about how they focus on building relationships with customers to be successful.  Go to www.practicalfarmers.org/farminar,

Agricultural Working Lands and Wildlife: Ducks Unlimited's Winter Wheat Initiative in the Northern Great Plains

December 10. Online. This webinar is sponsored by the USDA NRCS National Wildlife Team located at the Central National Technology Support Center. Participants will learn about an opportunity to restore ecosystem function on agricultural working lands in the Northern Great Plains through the planting of fall cereals which provide safe nesting areas for birds and agronomic benefits to producers.  http://www.conservationwebinars.net/webinars/ducks-unlimited-winter-wheat-initiative-northern-great-plains

Connecting Beginning Farmers to New Markets: Start-up Advice & Resources for Gaining Access to Farmers Markets

December 11th. 2pm Central. The Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program presents a webinar panel presentation, "Connecting Beginning Farmers to New Markets:  Start-up Advice & Resources for Gaining Access to Farmers Markets" http://connect.ag.vt.edu/access2farmersmarket/

Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program (AERLP) Webinar

December 11. Online. The Farm Energy Working Group at the University of Northern Iowa presents this free webinar that will explain Iowa's Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program (AERLP). The program is managed by the Iowa Energy Center to support solar, biomass, small hydro, and wind turbine projects.  http://www.uni.edu/ceee/energy/farm-energy-working-group/farm-energy-working-group


Economics of Organic Dairy Farming by eOrganic

Join eOrganic for a webinar on the economics of organic dairy farming with Dr. Bob Parsons on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 2 PM Eastern Time (1 PM Central, 12  PM Mountain, 11 AM Pacific Time).  The webinar is free and open to the public and advance registration is required. Attendees will be able to type in questions for the speaker. Register now at: http://www.extension.org/pages/70086 

Legal and Financial Clinic

December 12th. North Platte. Call the Farm Hotline at 800-464-0258 to sign up.

NGFN Webinar: Food Banks as Regional "Good Food" Partners

December 12. Food banks across the country have trucks and warehouse space, including cold storage, and have been solving the logistics problem for decades. Several food banks across the country are acutely aware of the benefits of fresh, local food to their consumers, and their community, and are leveraging their resources to support local/regional food systems in innovative ways. Join the National Good Food Network in their monthly webinar for presentations from FoodLinkNY and the Sacramento Food Bank. https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/260022530

Economics of Organic Dairy Farming Webinar

December 12. Join eOrganic for a webinar on the economics of organic dairy farming with Dr. Bob Parsons. University of Vermont agricultural economist Bob Parsons has been collecting financial data from many of Vermont's 210 certified organic dairy farms for almost 10 years as the longest running economic analysis of organic dairy operations in the U.S. In this webinar, Dr. Parsons will share his findings and provide a look at the economic benefits and challenges to running organic dairy farms. The webinar is free and open to the public and advance registration is required.  http://www.extension.org/pages/70086/

Panhandle Agricultural Summit

December 12 - 13. Gering. See bit.ly/1jBWiDF for more info. 


Capturing Valuable Nutrients from Manure: Part 2

December 13. 1:30. This month we will continue our 3 -part series of webcasts on nutrient capture from manure. The focus of part two will be on experiences with nutrient capture in Michigan, capture of phosphorus from liquid dairy manure in Washington State and Maryland, and nitrogen capture in Washington State and Wisconsin. https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/lpelc

Farmer Veteran Coalition Conference

December 14. Des Moines, Iowa. The conference features expert agriculture attorneys, accountants, agribusiness professionals, educators, USDA personnel and other veteran service providers as well as a keynote address from Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. Veteran farmers and professionals working with veteran farmers are encouraged to attend. Registration is free but seating is limited; learn more here, http://www.iowafarmerveteran.org/

Sunday with a Scientist: Gene Silencing in Plants

Sunday, December 15th. 1:30 pm-4:30 pm. Morrill Hall at UNL in Lincoln. Contact: Dana Ludvik, 402-472-3779dludvik2@unl.edu




Opportunity

CropWatch Survey

The annual CropWatch Survey is up and information will be collected through Sunday, Dec. 15. This should allow time to get the results to you to include in annual reports and plans for 2014. Please consider including an invitation to participate and this link (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3HXKRV2) in communications with your clients.  I’ll be sending a note to the CropWatch subscriber list and have posted a link to the survey on the front page of CropWatch.  (I can send the code if you’d like to include it on your site too.) This could be nicely paired with your recommendation to use the many resources in CropWatch, including those listed in the Crops and Related Topics areas, to plan for 2014.  Thanks for your assistance and cooperation!



Upcoming


Community Supported Agriculture Legal Issues Webinar

December 17. Farm Commons is hosting a series of eight webinars over the Winter of 2013-2014 that will help farmers resolve the most common legal concerns. This evening webinar will discuss the unique employment law, insurance, zoning, and volunteer worker legal issues encountered through CSA. Farmers will learn how address these concerns. http://farmcommons.org/webinars/

Connecting Sustainable Farmers to Emerging Health Care Markets – A Farmer-Focused Presentation

December 17th. 1:30pm. Hospitals and hospital systems represent a sizable potential market for sustainable farmers, and interest in increasing purchases of local, sustainably produced food among hospitals and hospital systems is growing. However, limited hospital resources and the complexity of food purchase contracts and agreements at many hospitals have prevented farmers from accessing this market in any significant way to date. To assess the current and potential health care food markets for North Central region sustainable farmers, IATP compiled and analyzed purchasing data from three participating health system collaborators for all food and beverage purchases, including those that meet sustainability criteria outlined in the Green Guide for Health Care. https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/249036730

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Great Pumpkins; Great Seeds


SPumpkin SoupIf you like the circus act where a crowd of clowns emerges from a tiny car, then you'll love spaghetti squash.When I see the stacks of orange orbs in front of grocery stores, I can't help but think that pumpkins have been hijacked for that trick without a treat, the Halloween jack-o-lantern. The hijackees have been bred not for their texture or flavor, but for their bright color and substantial stems.

Not Your Typical Grocery Store Pumpkin

To find a truly great and delicious pumpkin, look for the opposite of the typical jack-o-lantern pumpkin. The best ones are either the small "sugar" or "pie" pumpkins on the one hand, or the large "cheese pumpkins" on the other. Either way, you will get two treats of the season in one – soft pumpkin flesh and crunchy pumpkin seeds.
At farm stands and farmers markets, you’ll find pie pumpkins ranging from light cream to taupe to a dark bronze or dull orange. Their stems may be thin or even broken off. But remember, you're buying this pumpkin for the beauty within.

Pumpkins of All Shapes and Sizes

The cheese pumpkins (Winter Luxury, New England Pie, Long Island Cheese, and Cinderella) are flattened and squat, just like a big round of cheese. Some have vertical pleats running from the stem end to the blossom end.
New England Pie is the classic orange pie pumpkin. The flesh is stringless, giving it a nice consistency without putting it in a blender or food processor.
Winter Luxury is my favorite culinary pumpkin. It has a russeted, finely-netted soft orange-gray skin, and smooth, velvety, rich-tasting flesh.
Whichever pie pumpkin you choose, start by cutting it in half and placing it cut side down on an oiled baking sheet. Bake at 350 F until you can easily pierce it with a fork. Then cool to room temperature and scoop out the flesh to make a soup, stew, or your favorite pumpkin dessert. Any way you use it, it will make for a deeply satisfying meal on a chilly autumn evening -- another reason to revere the great pumpkin and give thanks.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients

4 Tbsp butter
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
6 cups roasted pumpkin flesh
5 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 cups of milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.
  2. Add pumpkin and 5 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan, and add brown sugar. Slowly add milk and cream, stirring to incorporate. Adjust seasonings to taste. Re-heat gently.
  4. Serve in individual bowls, and sprinkle with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients
Seeds scooped out of a pie pumpkin before roasting
Salt
Olive oil
Instructions
  1. Place the seeds in a colander and rinse to separate the seeds from the strings and flesh. Measure the pumpkin seeds and then in a saucepan, put 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt for every half cup of pumpkin seeds. Bring the salted water and pumpkin seeds to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Drain.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat the bottom of a roasting pan or heavy baking sheet with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Spread the seeds out in a single layer. Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. Keep an eye on the pumpkin seeds so they don't burn. When nicely browned, remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a rack.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Weekly Events & Opportunities in Sustainable Farming & Foods

Western Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Conference

December 7. Ogallala. The Western Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Conference will feature several dynamic presenters on topics including cover crops, growing vegetables in high tunnels, planned grazing, organic wheat breeding, and more. A tradeshow will also feature businesses and organizations from across Nebraska. Sponsors of the event include the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society and the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) NE Chapter No. 2. Details, email William at healthyfarms@gmail.com

Public opinion of GMOs, food safety & food security: What happens when people don't believe the facts?

December 4th. 1pm Central. Three of the most contentious issues in agriculture come head-to-head in the PIE Center’s newest public opinion survey and upcoming webinar. Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, have led to genetically modified food, new crop traits and greater control over a food’s genetic structure. Food safety practices avoid foodborne illnesses and potentially severe health hazards, while food security refers to the availability and accessibility of food among a growing population.  PIE Center researcher Joy Rumble will share Floridians’ opinions about these issues, followed by Associate Professor Kevin Folta, who will discuss the public’s surprising reactions to the science behind GMOs. 

Annual Grazing Workshop

Saturday, December 7.  
 
Virginia, NE. Featuring Chip Hines. 
Sponsored by the Southeast Nebraska Grassland Association.  See bit.ly/SEneGraze for more info.

Silvopastures: A Cause of Range Wars or Peace in the Valley

Fall 2013 Grassland Seminar Series. Monday, December 2nd. 3:00 pm.  Richard Straight, Technology Transfer Lead, USDA National Agroforestry Center, will present “Silvopastures: A Cause of Range Wars or Peace in the Valley.” Free and open to the public. 

Organic Agriculture Conference

December 2-3. Sioux Falls, South Dakota. South Dakota State University presents a public event for those currently producing organically, those who may be curious about getting started or transitioning to organic, as well as members of the organic industry. Sections of presentations on crops, livestock, and vegetable production are scheduled. Additional topics will include climate change and farm energy.http://www.sdstate.edu/ps/extension/ipm/organicagcon.cfm

SNR Outreach Seminar - Michael Forsberg

Tuesday, December 3rd. 7:00 pm. Michael Forsberg will present a public seminar. The event is free and open to the public with free parking in the lots surrounding the building.  

On-Farm Vegetable Crop Storage

December 2. This Missouri Beginning Farmers Program webinar features Scott Sanford of Michigan State University. Log in under guest with your own name at univmissouri.adobeconnect.com/debikelly from 7-8:30 pm. http://agebb.missouri.edu/mac/agopp/calendar.htm

Overview of Farm Legal Issues Webinar

December 2. Farm Commons delivers fast-paced webinars that help farmers move forward on the legal issues that affect their farm operation. In this webinar, learn about the most common legal issues encountered by direct-to-consumer and organic farm operations. This session is geared to for the beginning farmer and the experienced farmer interested in identifying potential issues. Attendees will learn how to spot common legal issues and know the initial steps to resolve them. http://farmcommons.org/webinars/

Sustainable Production Using Year-Round High Tunnels Webinar

December 3. In this webinar, participants will learn how producers are maximizing high tunnel production on diversified specialty crop operations. This free webinar is sponsored by the USDA NRCS East and West National Technology Support Centers. The presenter is Michael Kilpatrick of Kilpatrick Family Farm. http://www.conservationwebinars.net/webinars/sustainable-production-using-year-round-high-tunnels

Revenue Projections and Profit Potential of Grass-Based Livestock

December 3. Practical Farmers of Iowa will host a free farminar, "Revenue Projections and Profit Potential of Grass-Based Livestock," from 7-8:30 p.m. CST. This interactive webinar will feature an experienced farmer sharing his insights on raising pasture-based livestock with beginning graziers. Listen in as the speakers explore questions from husbandry practices to improving profitability to anticipating income potential of a grass-based livestock enterprise.http://www.practicalfarmers.org/assets/files/news/article_13nov14.pdf

Trap Cropping in Organic Strawberries to Manage Lygus Bugs

December 3. Join eOrganic for a webinar on using alfalfa for trap cropping in organic strawberries, by Diego Nieta of the University of California Santa Cruz. The webinar takes place at 2PM Eastern Time. It's free and open to the public, and advance registration is required.  http://www.extension.org/pages/69153/

Online Ordering Systems Webinar

December 3. Utilizing online ordering systems can streamline service for both you and your customers, strengthening that relationship in the process. In this webinar presented by Countryside Conservancy, Heather Walters of Basket of Life Farm will discuss her positive experience with Small Farm Central and give an overview of other systems as well to help you determine which one is right for your business. https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2489514580813011458

Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success

December 3 or 4. Farmers' Market Federation of New York is offering a series of free webinars for direct marketing farmers. Each webinar is offered twice. The topic for this session is "You Are What You Look Like! Preparing the Product," presented by Marty Butts, Small Potatoes Marketing. http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/work-shop-programs/webinars/registration.html

Farm to School + Extension: Webinar #3

December 4. Online. 
In this Farm to School webinar from USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Debra Eschmeyer, FoodCorps Co-Founder, and Rachel Spencer, Arkansas FoodCorps Fellow, will describe FoodCorps' model of teaching kids about what healthy food is and where it comes from, building and tending school gardens, and bringing high-quality local food into public school cafeterias. Additionally, Susan DeBlieck, Extension Educator in Community Food Systems with University of Minnesota Extension, will describe how University of Minnesota Extension has strategically supported farm to school throughout Minnesota by collaborating with partners to provide training and develop materials. There is no registration required. 
 http://www.fns.usda.gov/farmtoschool/webinars

Minnesota Grazing Lands Conservation Association Videoconference

December 5.  The Minnesota Department of Agriculture along with the Minnesota Grazing Lands Conservation Association present their third annual videoconference focusing on grazing and soil quality from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The videoconference will be presented at nine locations around the state. Featured speaker Dr. Kristine Nichols from the Agricultural Research Service, Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, will give a presentation entitled "Keep it Growing, Keep it Green: Soil Health and Water Protection are the Answers." 

IOIA Webinar: Maple Syrup Inspection

December 5. Online. IOIA Maple Syrup Inspection Webinar is an advanced 300-level course. This webinar will be presented in one, three-hour session. This webinar will prepare inspectors and certifiers to understand the requirements of the standards for organic maple syrup (and birch syrup) production. It will provide tools for use by inspectors in the woods and sugar camps, as well as in more industrial maple syrup processing situations. http://www.ioia.net/schedule_web.html#maple

Landlord/Tenant Lease Workshop

December 2nd, O'neill. December 3rd, Neleigh. December 3rd, Wolbach. December 4th, Bloomfield. December 5th, Laurel. December 5th, Lexington. December 5th, Ponca. See http://bit.ly/1bJwrqn for more information and to register. 

Fall 2013 Biotechnology / Life Sciences Seminar Series

Dr. Julian Shroeder, University of California, San Diego.  Wednesday, December 4th. 4:00 pm-5:00 pm. “Drought-Induced Abscisic Acid Signaling and Atmospheric CO2 Sensing in Plants,” will be presented by Dr. Julian Shroeder, University of California, San Diego. A reception will be held at 3:30 p.m. The event is open to the public.  

You Are What You Look Like! Preparing The Product 

December 3, 10:00am – 11:30am, https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/148770066.  December 4, 6:30pm – 8:00pm,https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/414289506 .  Marty Butts, Small Potatoes Marketing.  The Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success webinar series will give farmers the information and tools they need to excel at direct marketing their farm products. It will also provide curriculum, presentations and handouts to Cooperative Extension Educators and other farm service educators to help their farmers master key marketing concepts that will bring greater success and more profits to their farms than ever before. 

Affordable Care Act - Question & Answer Session

Roberta Riportella and Barbara O"Neill will be answering questions about the Affordable Care Act and the Farmers & ACA curriculum. December 2nd. 2pm Central. https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/communities

Trap Cropping in Organic Strawberries to Manage Lygus Bugs

December 3rd. 1pm Central. Join eOrganic for a webinar on using alfalfa for trap cropping in organic strawberries, by Diego Nieto of the University of California 
Santa Cruz. ). It's free and open to the public, and advance registration is required. Attendees will be able to type in questions for the presenter. Register now at: http://www.extension.org/pages/69153 

How Are You Doing? A Financial Check-Up

December 4th. 10am Central. Just in time to develop some 2014 New Year's resolutions, this webinar will discuss twenty ways that people can assess their financial progress and identify areas of their financial life that need improvement. Topics covered include financial quizzes, financial goal-setting, income and expense statements, net worth, debt ratios, marginal tax brackets, retirement planning, investment performance metrics, investment risk tolerance, insurance needs, estate planning, and more. The webinar will include time for interactive chatting and links to online resources. https://connectcol.dco.dod.mil/milfamlearningnetwork. To connect to this webinar, which is hosted by DoD, you must install security certificates if you are not on a military installation. Instructions for can be found:http://create.extension.org/sites/default/files/DCODoDCertificateInstallation.pdf 

Establishing regulations for keeping urban poultry flocks

December 4th. 2pm Central. There is a growing interest in keeping chickens in urban areas in North America. Whether or not a family can keep poultry in their backyard depends on state, county, and city ordinances. Community regulations may also come into play. The current regulations vary from city to city. Many cities don't have regulations and are contemplating their development. Dr. Tony Pescatore of the University of Kentucky will discuss some of the issues that should be considered when developing regulations for urban poultry.https://connect.extension.iastatate.edu/poultry

WEBINAR: Communication about Finances and Estate Planning

December 5th. 8pm Central. When getting a financial house in order, we can’t forget that communicating about the plans is an important part of the process. This presentation is about involving spouses and others effectively so that we set ourselves up for long term success. Conversations with those planning their finances indicate that people’s plans are not about money – it’s about creating lasting bonds within families. The estate planning process is a powerful way to do that. Join Online Meeting: https://meet.uwyo.edu/cehmke/034JPPM0





Upcoming


Farmer Veteran Coalition Conference

December 14. Des Moines, Iowa. The conference features expert agriculture attorneys, accountants, agribusiness professionals, educators, USDA personnel and other veteran service providers as well as a keynote address from Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. Veteran farmers and professionals working with veteran farmers are encouraged to attend. Registration is free but seating is limited; learn more here, http://www.iowafarmerveteran.org/

Acres U.S.A. Conference & Trade Show: Ecological Farming for the Real World

December 10-14. Springfield, Illinois. This event begins December 10 with an Eco-Ag University offering two days of intensive workshops on topics including restoration agriculture, crop nutrition, mob grazing, and biological farming. The main conference December 12-14 features presentations by some of the world's leading authorities and practitioners of ecological agriculture, an eco-consultants' hall, and a trade show.http://www.acresusa.com/magazines/magazine.htm

Monday, November 25, 2013

An Ancient Delicacy

Leeks: Not Just for Stews

SPumpkin SoupLeeks are thought of (when they are thought of at all) as a base for winter soups and stews. But they deserve far more attention than a bit player in a winter’s tale. Although the leek is a member of the onion family, the flavor is more subtle and refined than the standard onion.

An Ancient Delicacy

Leeks have been around, and enjoyed, for a very long time. They were part of the diet of the workers who built the Egyptian pyramids, and the ancient Romans were particularly fond of them. In fact, the first century Roman Cookery of Apicius includes seventeen recipes for leeks. Among them are mouthwatering recipes such as leeks stewed with shell beans in white wine, leek sauce with pepper for braised meats, fish fillets with leeks and coriander, and leeks with truffles.

Leeks Around the World

The Roman tradition continues all over Europe and the Middle East, where nearly every shopper’s market basket contains a pound or more of leeks – slender ones in spring and summer, and nice big fat ones in fall and winter. Even the biggest, scariest leeks become tender and mild after a brief cooking, so don’t let big leeks – or the dirt often found in them - put you off.
They are excellent in sauces, vegetable dishes, soups, casseroles, and stir-fries. And they are naturally low in calories and an excellent source of Vitamin C, iron, and fiber.

Simple, Hearty and Delicious

Although leeks nearly disappeared from the tables of upper classes throughout northern Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, they kept going strong in hearty peasant fare. One of the lesser-known, but more delicious of the comforting peasant dishes is Leek Champ. (“Champ” is one of the best-loved ways of cooking potatoes in Ireland. Simply boil them, mash them with some boiled milk, and stir in a green vegetable such as scallions, chives, nettles, peas, or leeks. Then serve the creamy, green-flecked mixture with a big knob of yellow butter melting in the center. It’s a sure way to get any picky eater to eat vegetables!)
Leek Champ

Ingredients

1 pound potatoes
1 pound leeks
2 Tb butter
1 cup milk (more or less, depending on dryness of potatoes)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Scrub the potatoes and boil in salted water until cooked through.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, wash and slice the leeks into thin rounds. If the leeks are gritty, slice them longitudinally and rinse well before slicing.
  3. Melt the butter in a heavy pot. Toss in the leeks and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and cook on low heat until soft and tender.
  4. As soon as the potatoes are cooked, drain, peel, and mash.
Bring the milk to the boiling point in a small pan. Beat the buttered leeks and their juices into the potatoes along with enough boiled milk to make a soft texture. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately with a lump of butter melting in the center.