Monday, January 4, 2016

Weekly Events & Opportunities in Sustainable Farming & Foods!

Farm Beginnings Nebraska

Beginning January 9th in Weeping Water. Nebraska Extension will offer the Farm Beginnings Program for the eighth year, beginning Jan. 9 in Weeping Water. The program provides educational training and support to help people who want to evaluate and plan their farm enterprise. Participants engage in a mentorship experience, network with a variety of innovative farmers and attend practical, high-quality seminars, field days and conferences. The program is unique in that several successful farmers participate as presenters, explaining firsthand the nuts and bolts of their farming operations. While not a program for someone wanting to get into conventional farming, it has attracted several people interested in farming on a smaller scale, some who have migrated from urban to rural areas. The program provides an opportunity for people interested in learning about growing alternative crops, producing fruits and vegetables for direct sale, or growing livestock for direct marketing to hear about these types of farming from those who are making a living from them. If interested, participants can request a farm mentor. For details contact Gary at

The What, Why, and How of Choosing and Organizing a Business Entity for the Farm

January 5th. Online. In this Farm Commons tutorial, learn all about partnerships, LLCs, S corporations, C Corporations, and cooperatives. This tutorial will go over how to choose amongst these choices as well as what goes in to organizing and maintaining a business entity. Do you need bylaws or an operating agreement--and what should go in those documents? How much does it cost to form an LLC or a corporation? And what exactly is an S corporation, anyway? The tutorial will also address entity structures for the farm business and some tax aspects of business entities.

Diagnosing and Monitoring Ketosis in Dairy Herds

Tuesday, January 5 at 12:00 pm CST. Presented by: Dr. Gary, Oetzel, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ketosis is the most common metabolic disease in dairy cattle, and it's important to be able to identify individual cows with ketosis as well as monitor herd prevalence. Join us on January 5th to hear Dr. Oetzel discuss the testing process, including which tests can be used, the pros and cons of different tests, and testing strategies that you may be able to use.

Mitigating Risk & Improving Resilience of Orchards in a Changing Climate

January 6th. Online. This webinar from Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture will look at the specific implications of climate change to orchard crops, and ways to adapt and mitigate risk to fruit crops through new agricultural technologies to mitigate heat stress, and increasing and selecting for varietal diversity.

Raising chickens for meat production

More people desire to purchase meat locally. That has resulted in increased small-scale chicken meat production farms. This webinar will discuss breed choice, housing options, feeds and feeding as well as food safety concerns related to local chicken meat production.

Webinar: Roundtable for Insurance

January 7. Farm Commons hosts this open webinar where farmers can discuss with experts the concepts of insurance and risk management. Together, attendees will evaluate and share money-wise solutions and strategies.

Brown-bag on “Multi-use” Swiss Army Landscaping

January 7.  12:00 pm–1:00 pm. UNL's Keim Hall. Contact Karma Larsen, 402-472-7923, for more info.  Graham Herbst, Community Forestry Specialist, uses the term “Swiss Army Landscaping” to refer to multi-use plants and landscapes that better connect people to their outdoor spaces. “Rather than just designing our landscapes for ornamental qualities, we should consider how to make them more compelling and engaging us in new, unique ways.” Anyone wishing to listen in can take part online The presentations are also available afterwards at

OCIA Workshop Discussions 
January 9th. OCIA NE Chapter #1 sponsors a Three Topic Discussions on Organic Domestic & Foreign Marketing, Organic Proposed Check-off Program, and an OCIA Farmer Round table. At Columbus Community College, West Education Center, 4500 63rd Street, Columbus, January 9th at 1:30 p.m. . The event is free and open to the public.  No registration is needed, refreshments will be provided.   For more information about this event contact Kim @ 402-620-2701,  or visit us on Face Book:   Nebraska Organic Crop Improvement Association Chapter 1

Great Plains Growers Conference and Trade Show

January 7-9. St. Joseph, Missouri. Great Plains Growers Conference combines the Great Plains Vegetable Conference and Mid-America Fruit Conference. The three-day conference for beginning and seasoned growers features presentations by knowledgeable speakers from throughout the nation. The conference showcases educational information from five states: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota.


Growing Farmers Training Program

January to April 2016. If you want to start your own small farm, the Community Crops Growing Farmers Winter Workshops are just for you! This series of twelve workshops is designed to give you a solid foundation from which you can build your own successful small farm business. In addition, graduates who need land are eligible to farm at the Prairie Pines Incubator Farm. For more information:


I have 150 irrigated acres in Western Douglas County that I will be available for cash rent spring of 2016. Jeaniffr Snide, G&J Snide Farms LLC,

Survey seeks opinions of women livestock farmers

USDA Small Business Innovation Research grant to study the tool- and equipment-related needs of women livestock farmers. To assist Green Heron in designing better tools and equipment, women who raise or care for livestock of any kind are invited to complete a brief survey.   The survey will be open through September, and respondents who complete it will be entered into a drawing for a $100 Green Heron Tools gift certificate. Begun by two small-scale farmers with backgrounds in nursing and public health, Green Heron is the first company in the world to focus on scientifically designing agricultural tools and equipment that work well for women. For more information please visit Complete the survey at

Farm Family Placement Opportunity

'We are a family of four (with two kids), we are looking for any possibility that can lead us to live in the country (no more than one hour and a half driving from the farm to the city of Lincoln). We are specially looking for a farm/ house with a piece of land that is organic oriented .  Please do not hesitate to contact us for any queries (Cell phone; 402-4059195). Thanks. Troy Van Horn".

Looking for Mentorship in Shelton/Grand Island/Kearney Area.

My family and I are returning to Shelton, NE in order to re-establish her family's farm. It is 160 acres but hasn't been used in nearly 30 years. We are going to be establishing a Joel Salatin Polyface Farm type farm. Where we will raise a multi specie critical and threatened heritage breed livestock as determined by the Livestock Conservancy Organization. All livestock will be pastured raised. We are also going to establish seasonal vegetable gardens. Looking for mentorship opportunities in the Shelton/Grand Island/Kearney area that would be willing to help us learn the does and don'ts of pasture based all natural farming. Michael Peña,


Webinar: How New USDA Risk Management Tools Can Help Diversified/Specialty Crop Growers

Online. The 2014 Farm Bill directed USDA's Risk Management Agency to develop tools that support farm diversification. The new Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) program offers important new protections which provide a financial safety net to cover economic losses due to weather or low market prices. By tying coverage to revenue and diversification, the streamlined application and whole farm coverage is more attractive to farms of all sizes, both organic and non-organic, as well as specialty crop producers, including those who grow canning crops or direct-market. This program is also useful for all types of diversified cash grain and/or livestock producers. Questions we will address include: What crops and livestock enterprises does Whole Farm Revenue Protection insurance cover? What losses are covered? 
How much revenue does it cover? How much does it cost? What yield or income records are required? How do I decide if this is worthwhile for my operation? Register

The New NRCS Division of Soil Health: Approach and Benefits

January 12th. Online. In this webinar, participants will be provided an overview of the new USDA NRCS Division of Soil Health and how it will function to leverage partnerships, ensure science-based conservation planning, evaluate economic outcomes, and quantify soil health benefits. This webinar is presented by the USDA NRCS Division of Soil Health.

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