Monday, March 23, 2015

Weekly Events & Opportunities in Sustainable Farming & Foods

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.

Getting started with small fruit production

Monday, March 23 at 6:00 pm. Small fruits, including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and other specialty fruits add diversity and customer appeal to your farm enterprise.  This session will explore the basics of establishment, management and successful marketing of small fruit.  Direct marketing, wholesale and U-pick business approaches will be included.

Proper Dry-Off Procedures to Prevent New Infections and Cure Existing Cases of Mastitis

Tuesday, March 24 at 12:00 pm. 
Intermittent milking vs. complete cessation of milking, Teat sanitation and infusion procedures, Use of nonlactating cow therapy and/or  teat seals.

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.

USDA Market News Organic Market Price Reports Webinar

At 2:00 pm, the USDA Organic Working Group (OWG) will host a webinar on organic market price reports, available from USDA Market News. The speakers will describe the available organic price and movement data, how USDA collects information, and how to use Market News reports. There will be time for questions and answers, following a short presentation. Pre-registration is not required. To participate, dial in toll-free by phone (U.S. & Canada) at 866-740-1260. Use access code 7202000. Also access the Web at the meeting URL On the left side of the screen, enter participant access code 7202000.

High Tunnel Webinar Series: Producer Views and Series Wrap-up

March 24. This webinar will conclude the six-part high tunnel webinar series offered by University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Center for Crop Diversification. In this session, high tunnel producers will share their successes and challenges along the way.

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.

Getting started with beef cow-calf production

Wednesday, March 25 at 6:00 pm. Beef prices are at record levels and offer profitable opportunities for farmers with access to affordable acres for forage production.  This session will cover basic management practices critical to profitable beef production, beef cow/calf cost of production values, and evaluating profitability by cost per unit of production.

Tomato Nutrition in High Tunnels

March 25. Online. Penn State and Cornell University have teamed up to present the Winter Wednesday Lunch Series of vegetable and small fruit production webinars to keep extension educators, producers, and industry representatives in Pennsylvania, New York, and surrounding states informed about critical production issues. Each webinar costs $10. This is the final webinar in this year's series.

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,

Small Farm Webinar Series: Variety Selection & Rootstocks for Establishing Apple Orchards

March 26. Online. This is the concluding session of University of Illinois Extension's weekly educational series for the small farm community, held from 1:00 - 2:30 pm on Thursdays. This free 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. This session will discuss characteristics of recommended apple cultivars and rootstocks for Illinois production.

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. 

Women in Farming Risk Management Education Workshop

March 28th. Bird City, Kansas. The second workshop in KRC’s “Women in Farming” series will focus on specialty crop topics including high tunnels, season extension, food safety, organic certification, pest management, cooperative marketing, and specialty crop insurance. The morning portion of this workshop will take place at the Bird City Senior Center, followed by a farm tour of Y-Knot Farm and Ranch, which includes 960 acres of certified organic wheat, forage, and pasture, and whose products include free-range eggs, grass-fed and grass-finished Belted Galloway beef, and produce from their gardens and high tunnel.

Eat Local & Organic Expo

March 29. Overland Park, Kansas. Join Kansas City Food Circle at their 17th annual exhibition of farmers. This is the first of two dates for the event. Meet and buy directly from some of the best local, organic, and free-range farmers in the area. There will also be workshops and CSA information.


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.

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.


Getting started with direct marketing

Monday, March 30 at 6. New farmers who plan to sell products directly to consumers should become as familiar as possible with the various approaches available.  On-farm sales, CSA, local farmers markets and other techniques will be presented, with pros and cons of each. This session will provide a valuable overview of direct marketing and help you determine which strategies will best fit your operation. This session will also briefly touch on the applicable regulations for which products need to be licensed to be sold direct to consumer.

Food Safety Modernization Act: Implications for Farmers

March 31. Online. Sophia Kruszewski, a policy expert at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, about what the Food Safety Modernization Act is and what its implementation will mean for farmers. Organic farmer and farm consultant Chris Blanchard will discuss details about who it will impact and how to comply with the new rules and regulations. These interactive webinars are led by farmers, are open to everyone and allow participants to ask questions of presenters in real-time.

Getting started with managing soil, irrigation and fertilization interactions

Wednesday, April 1 at 6. “It all starts with the soil” is a truism that can’t be ignored. This session will help you understand your soil type and how it influences irrigation and fertilization decisions. Having this understanding will help get the most out of nutrient and water applications while maximizing production and maintaining environmental quality.

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