Monday, March 16, 2015

Weekly Events & Opportunities in Sustainable Farming & Foods

Getting started with season extension

Monday, March 16 at 6pm. This program is part of a 20-webinar Michigan State University Extension 2015 Beginning Farmer Webinar Series.  A descriptive flyer and on-line registration and payment for any or all of the webinars is available at  A registration fee of $10 per webinar, or $100 for all 20 webinars is required. Collin Thompson, MSU Extension program instructor/farm manager, MSU North Farm at the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center.

Women’s Week 2015: Women in Agriculture Reception and Discussion

4:30 pm–6:00 pm. UNL East Campus Union, Lincoln. Women in agriculture overcome obstacles in male dominated industries and achieve success every day. Featuring Tasha King, Sigma Alpha Regional Consultant; Asia Haack, Ag Loan Officer at Cornerstone Bank, Central City, NE; Hilary Maricle, Boone County Commissioner; and Karna Dam, Extension Educator, Unit Leader. Co-sponsored by Sigma Alpha and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Plant Propagation and Production Planning

March 16. Kansas City, Kansas. This event launches the 2015 Growing Growers workshop series, offering learning opportunities in sustainable farming in the Kansas City area. Growing Growers works to increase the production of local food by helping new and existing producers grow their businesses.

Insect, Weed and Disease Control in High Tunnels

March 17. Online. This is the fourth in a series of six weekly high-tunnel webinars from The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Center for Crop Diversification. During this webinar, specialists will teach how to manage pest pressures with cultural and biological controls, and cover available pesticide and fungicides approved for use in high tunnels in Kentucky.

Balancing Competing Commitments

Tuesday, March 17 at 11:00 am. Join Margaret Viebrock of Washington State University Extension as she shares ways to balance your busy farm life schedule. Learn how to conquer the clutter in your life and then get rid of your biggest time wasters. It may sound easy, but without a plan, it never happens.  Find out how to change your life, using seven easy steps.  Be prepared to make some changes that will affect your productivity, help you accomplish the most important things and bring a better balance to your life.

Webinar: Head-to-Head: Comparing Two Insurance Options for Specialty Crop Farmers

March 17.  7-8:30 p.m. Central. Hosted by Practical Farmers of Iowa, learn about two promising insurance options available in 2015: Non-Insured Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) and Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP). Listen in as Kevin McClure of FSA and Mark Shilts of RMA work through costs and benefits of a sample farm.

Great Plains lecture: Storage systems for drought management and food and water security

March 18. 3:30 pm–5:00 pm.  Center for Great Plains Studies, 1155 Q St. Lincoln. Contact, Katie Nieland, 402-472-3965,knieland2@unl.eduRoberto Lenton, director of the University of Nebraska Water for Food Institute, will speak about drought and water storage at this free public lecture. Free and open to the public.

Webinar: Sustainable Poultry Breeding and Production

March 18. 1:30 p.m. Central. Hosted by FACT, learn more about raising heritage birds for eggs and meat. Jim Adkins of the Sustainable Poultry Network will share his knowledge of and passion for sustainable poultry production.

Advancing the Agriculture Economy through Innovation

March 18-20. Fort Collins, Colorado. Colorado State University's summit on Advancing the Agriculture Economy through Innovation will pave the way for understanding what agriculture will look like in the next 10, 20, or even 50 years. Innovators in an Agriculture-Water-Food-Beverage-Bioenergy innovation ecosystem are gathering and growing along Colorado’s Front Range, creating next-generation technologies and business models to nourish, refresh, and energize the world. Featured speakers and panelists will delve into the most pressing issues driving and shaping innovation.

2015 Pond/Lake Management Workshop - Douglas/Sarpy County

March 18. 6:00 pm.  Douglas/Sarpy County Extension Office, 8015 West Center Road, Omaha. Workshop topics include: How lakes function in Southeast Nebraska: characteristics and challenges, Managing for fisheries, Project funding and regulations, Lake management planning, Resolving Common Maintenance Problems (Algae, leaks, undesirable fish, fish kills, clarity, erosion, nuisance animals), Develop an individualized maintenance plan for your pond. Register here:

Getting started with marketing

Wednesday, March 18 at 6:00 pm. “Where am I going to sell this stuff?” is a question that needs answering long before any product is in hand. Much time and money can be saved if producers do some research on where to sell. This will also help producers decide on what and how much to grow, price and many other aspects that will help lead to success.

Non-Antibiotic Control of Fire Blight: What Works As We Head Into a New Era

Tuesday, March 17 at 1:00pm. In 2015, apples and pears produced organically under the USDA National Organic Program standard must utilize non-antibiotic materials in spray programs for fire blight suppression. Effective non-anrtiobiotic control programs will be presented with particular emphasis on integrated sequencing of materials. Interactions among non-antibiotic materials and their potential to cause russeting on developing fruits will be addressed.

Buildings Of The Future

March 18 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm. The Energy Department and its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will present a live webinar that will feature the Energy Department’s Pat Phelan and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Nora Wang. Guest speakers include Mary Ann Lazarus and Thomas Knittel of HOK and Chris Garvin of Terrapin Bright Green to discuss how natural systems and place-based building design can create sustainable and resilient future buildings across the United States and globally. The panelists will discuss how these strategies can inform the future of buildings and cities and share their perspectives on how an ecosystem approach can be integrated into the urban environment. Register for the webinar here.

Sustainable Small Farm Online Summit

March 18-21. Online. The free online Sustainable Small Farm Summit is an exciting gathering of 18 farmers and activists who are coming together to share valuable insights into the often-neglected business side of farming. The goal is to support new farmers and people transitioning into farming to become even more effective at creating financially viable plans.

Small Farm Webinar Series: Veggie Compass Record-Keeping Software

March 19. The University of Illinois Extension presents a weekly educational series for the small farm community, providing practical knowledge on emerging topics which advance local food production in Illinois. This series of online events is aimed at providing small farm producers with a look at how leading practices in production, management, and marketing enable operations to improve profitability and sustainability. Veggie Compass is a farm management tool designed to help fresh market vegetable growers analyze farm records. This webinar will familiarize you with Veggie Compass, so you can begin to use this tool to locate efficiencies, set prices based on actual costs of production, and increase farm profits.

Corn Stover Webinar

Thursday, March 19 at 6:00 pm. The term “stover” refers to all of the leaf, stalk and cob tissue commonly left after grain harvest. Grain gets all of the attention, but only accounts for 50 percent of each corn crop by weight. Corn stover has traditionally been returned to the soil as an important source of organic matter and plant nutrients. Yet, increasingly tight margins in the crop and cattle sectors have some producers looking to capture additional value from this abundant co-product.

Southern Foresters' Climate Observations: State Comparisons and Spatial Trends
Climate change beliefs and concerns are well documented for the American public, but fewer studies focus on the perceptions and adaptation needs of key groups involved in management of natural resources. A survey of professional foresters in the southern United States found that southern foresters observed an overall change in climate, longer dry periods or drought conditions, greater frequency and/or severity of invasive plant infestations, warmer winters, and hotter summers with the highest frequency. Other examples of climatic change (e.g., greater frequency and/or severity of fires) was observed frequently only in select states. A spatial analysis of foresters’ responses provided evidence that observations of climatic change are generally observed with higher frequency by foresters from Oklahoma, Florida, and Kentucky. 

NGFN Webinar: What is break-even and viability for different food hub models?

March 19. Online. This National Good Food Network webinar peers into the operations and financial books of several illustrative examples of different hypothetical hubs to tease apart the “magic numbers” where each model reaches profitability and true viability. The webinar is free.

Local Grains Videoconference

March 19. The videoconference, which begins at 10:30 a.m., will give insight into the local grains effort. It is a view of agriculture that supports value-added, organic, small-scale production and especially encourages the use of foods grown near the point of consumption. The videoconference also will give participants an opportunity to learn about the local grains efforts of a group of farmers, scientists, grain processors, and bakers from across the United States. For several months, this team of 65 people has been participating in a closed online group . Conversation during the conference will determine the future of the group and whether it remains as an email listserv or develops more networking opportunities within and among regions. Attending the videoconference is free of charge.

Targeted Grazing Online Workshops: Plant Ecology & Response to Grazing

March 19. Online. This workshop is part of a series of online presentations and discussions led by experts on the topic of targeted grazing and made possible by the Targeted Grazing Committee of the Society for Range Management.

Global Food Futures Through to 2050 and the Role of R&D

Department of Agricultural Economics Seminar Series. March 20. 3:00 pm. UNL's East Campus Union. Contact, Jane Witte,
Presented by Philip Pardey, University of Minnesota.

CSA Fair

March 21st. Open Harvest in Lincoln. Open Harvest Co-op Grocery and the Old Cheney Road Farmers' Market are excited to host the 2nd Annual CSA Fair in the Open Harvest Parking lot (1618 South Street, Lincoln) next Saturday, March 21st from 1 to 4 PM. The first twenty people that buy a CSA share at the event will receive a $5 market token + $5 co-op cash card. Special guests: The Lincoln Arts Council. 

Paradigm Days - Pollinators

Omaha. March 21st. A presentation about caring and maintaining a lawn or landscape that is natural, sustainable and accommodating to native birds, insects and wildlife.

Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light Conference – God, Creation, And Climate

March 21. 8:30am. University of Nebraska Omaha. Keynote Speaker: Dr. Richard Miller, Associate Professor of Theology at Creighton University and author of God, Creation and Climate Change: A Catholic Response to the Environmental Crisis, winner of the 2011 Catholic Press Association of U.S. and Canada book award in the faith and service category. This event brings together people of all backgrounds to talk about the spiritual, moral and ethical implications of climate change. Topics include: Generating Climate Conversations in Your Congregation; Clean Energy in Nebraska; Introduction to Climate Advocacy; Culture Change for the Faith Community; Fossil Fuels Divestment; Sustainable Facilities Management; UNL Climate Assessment Report. For ticket and registration information, please visit Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light’s website:

Paradigm Days - Giant Pumpkin Growing

Omaha. March 22nd. Join Darren Christensen, NE State Record Holder, as he talks about how to grow and care for GIANT pumpkins.

Introduction to Mason Bees

March 22nd. Omaha. Learn about the Mason Bee life cycle, benefits of alternative pollinators and how to acquire and care for Mason Bees from Debra Swirmicky.


Foreign Exchange student

I work with a non-profit foundation that places high school exchange students with host families in the Omaha area. I'm looking for a host family for Ana Beatriz from Brazil and I thought some of her interests would line up with this group. She loves animals (wants to be a vet and currently volunteers with rescues), cooking, and horses). Host families provide 3 meals a day and transportation to/from school (walking, bus, carpool are all fine options). The students come with instance and spending money for any other needs. If you're not ready to host, but know someone who is, send them my contact information! We offer a $100 referral incentive payment if someone you send me ends up hosting one of our students. 
Please feel free to ask any questions! I can be reached at 402-499-9031 or at

NSAS Consignment Suggestions

I've been tossing around the idea of an annual farm consignment auction (or two or three) that has a portion of the proceeds donated to the NSAS. I was thinking a relatively small percentage would go to NSAS, to encourage anyone from the public to bring items. Thoughts?  I'm deferring to the collective knowledge of the group here. Any feedback as to why this would work or wouldn't? Tips or tricks to ensure success? Location suggestions? Any existing sales that we could piggyback on? We can put our stamp on it a number of different ways. For example, we could use products from NSAS members to cater the event. Or have a sale focused on smaller/older equipment. Or ...Shoot me an email directly, if you have ideas. Thank you, Jon.

IPM Fly Control Project Seeking Farmers

Looking for Livestock Farmers interested in developing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system for Fly Control on their farm/ranch. Meeting will be next Wednesday, March 11th on the UNL East Campus from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the Entomology Hall: . If you would like to attend or need more details please call Liz at 402-309-0944 or email .

Donahue Trailer needed

Does any one have a donahue trailer for rent for a half of a day close to Lincoln? Rich Vernon,

NASS Organic Producer Survey

USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service has an Organic Survey underway to gather detailed data on U.S. organic agriculture production. The survey is a complete inventory of all known organic producers that are certified, exempt from certification, and transitioning to certified organic production. Farmers and ranchers can fill out the survey online at until April 3, 2015.  

Mother Earth News Survey

Later this year, Mother Earth News will publish an article about the growing evidence of the vital importance of getting the right balance of fatty acids in our diet. Some researchers now believe that the shift away from beneficial fatty acids in modern diets is leading to health consequences that are as serious as the problems we face with climate change. As you probably know, grass-fed products are better sources of fatty acids than industrial products. We plan to help raise public awareness of this fact by conducting a large-scale survey to measure the fatty acid profiles of samples of grass-fed meat, eggs and dairy products from across the continent. We will publish the results of the survey in conjunction with our article. We are recruiting producers to join in this nutrient-testing project and hope that you will choose to participate. In order to be included, we need to hear back from you by March 15.


Financing a Farmland Purchase

March 23. 12 p.m. Hosted by Farm Commons, learn more about the legal basics with bank loans, land contracts (aka contracts for deed), and family financing. The legal language behind promissory notes, security agreements, land contracts, and mortgages isn’t just “boilerplate.” Farmers will learn the basics behind these documents.

Efficiently Manage your Farm’s Risks with Insurance

March 24.  Hosted by Farm Commons, learn how insurance is vital to build a resilient farm. What’s a farm liability policy and is it the same as a property/casualty policy? How does it work with a homeowner’s policy? Is workers’ compensation required and how does it work? Find the right policies for you with this webinar.

Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture

March 24. The first multi-state, participatory plant-breeding project to focus solely on organic carrots. Organic growers need carrot varieties that are adapted to organic conditions and have market qualities that organic consumers demand, such as superior nutrition and flavor. In the webinar, members of the CIOA research team will present results from the first three years of the project. In particular, participants will learn about advancements in breeding under organic conditions for nematode resistance and for beneficial relationships with soil microorganisms.

Pesticide Drift: Prevention and Response

March 24. Join Practical Farmers of Iowa hear Andy and Melissa Dunham share the processes they have gone through to find out who is accountable and how to receive compensation for damages from pesticide drift, as well as their strategies for preventing it from happening again.

Grazing Workshop

March 26th. Auburn. The Southeast Nebraska Grassland Ass’n would like to invite all NSAS folks to join us in our 19th annual grazing workshop.  This year we are featuring Doug Peterson, long time rancher and Missouri Soil Health Conservationist.  Doug has decreased inputs and increased profits with grazing practices that significantly improve soil health.  Obviously, Doug will be coming at this from a grazing standpoint but will address many other factors that improve soil health with minimum inputs.  The workshop will be held on March 26th and the 4-H building in Auburn.  Lunch will be served and there will be lots of opportunity for questions, answers, and networking.  If you are interested, e-mail me at and I will forward an electronic version of the brochure. 

DIY Taxes for Farmers

March 25th. All classes will be held Wednesdays from 5:30-7:30 pm at Community Action (210 "O" St. Lincoln, NE).  Register here,

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