Monday, January 9, 2017

Weekly Events & Opportunities in Sustainable Farming & Foods!

Organic Farming Roundtables

January 9. 6:00 pm–9:00 pm. Plant Sciences Hall Room: 280 – Goodding Learning Center. Contact, Chuck Francis, 402-472-1581cfrancis2@unl.eduThe public is invited to attend and participate in this 14-week series led by Chuck Francis, professor of agronomy and horticulture. The series runs every Monday, Jan. 9 to April 24. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss and learn about the growing organic food industry, its popularity in farmers’ markets and supermarkets, the cost of organic foods, the difference in quality from conventionally produced items, food safety and the future of organic foods in our diets. Francis feels growers, consumers and educators will benefit from a roundtable discussion format about the topics relevant to the food they eat, produce, sell and consume. The cost is $50 per person for educational materials. Go to to register for the series.

Using Adaptive Grazing to Improve Soil Health in Grazing Ecosystems

January 10. Online. This free, one-hour webinar from USDA NRCS Soil Health Division will teach strategies for improving soil function on range and pastures, including an emphasis on management of livestock like large migratory herds in natural systems for proper herd impact and increased nutrient and water cycling in grass ecosystems. Stan Boltz, Regional Soil Health Specialist with the USDA NRCS Soil Health Division in Huron, South Dakota, will present. The webinar will include discussion on how adaptive management can be and has been used to improve soil health on grazing lands, including a discussion of management options that may result in improved conditions.

Credit Repair Ahead of a FSA Loan Application

January 10. Online. USDA and the University of Arkansas School of Law Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative are hosting a series of webinars extending through January 31 that will cover Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs and loans that will assist Native American farmers and ranchers. This session is designed to walk potential FSA applicants through the fundamentals of monitoring their credit and developing strategic approaches to repairing their credit should adverse credit reports appear on their records. The session will also discuss the many ways potential FSA loan applicants can prevent future problems in their credit reports. Producers nationwide are invited to participate in the free webinar series.

Transitioning to Organic Agriculture

January 10 - May 2. Online. Iowa State Extension and Outreach will be offering an online course for those interested in transitioning their farms to meet organic production standards. The course will be held on Tuesday evenings, 6-9 pm. The course is conducted through Adobe Connect, so all that is needed is a computer with Internet access. Instructors are Kathleen Delate and Craig Chase, as well as organic producers and marketers. Undergraduates or graduate-level students who take the course can earn three credits. Farmers, Extension staff, and other ag professionals are welcome to enroll, too. Fees for the 16-week course are $50, or $10 per session. To register, email: or call the ISU Organic Ag program: 515-294-5116.

Where has all the farmland gone?

January 10.  6:00 pm–9:00 pm. Plant Sciences Hall Room: 280 – Goodding Learning Center. Contact, Chuck Francis, 402-472-1581cfrancis2@unl.eduHow to deal with the urbanization and conversion of productive farmland will be the topic of discussion in a 15-week series of courses taking place on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln East Campus. The series will be led by Chuck Francis, professor of agronomy and horticulture, and Amy Swoboda, farm and ranch staff attorney at Legal Aid of Nebraska. The course is open to the public and runs every Tuesday, from Jan. 10 to April 25. The cost for educational materials is $50 per person. Register at Additional Public Info:

Heuermann Lecture

January 10.  7:00 pm.  Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center Room: Auditorium. 2021 Transformation Drive. Lincoln. Contact,  Jessie Brophy, Sustainability and Survivability: The Balancing Act to Feed the World. Mark Poeschl is chief executive officer of the National FFA Organization and the National FFA Foundation, where he is responsible for the operations and long term success of the organizations. Together with the National FFA Board of Directors and the National FFA Board of Trustees, he assures FFA’s relevance and service to agriculture and agricultural education. Free parking is available at Nebraska Innovation Campus.

Webinar: Are You Using the Right Seed Treatments?

January 11, 1pm. Dale Krolikowski, Head of Operations and Research for Germains’ California location, will conduct a short presentation on industry-leading conventional and organic seed technologies scientifically formulated for 20 vegetable species. Mr. Krolikowski will present how and why seed treatments are tailored to perform in various cultivation practices, environmental conditions, diseases, insect pressures, and regions.

Training with Jean-Martin Fortier 

January 11th. Jean-Martin Fortier (JM) is a farmer, educator and author specializing in organic and biologically intensive cropping practices. His award-winning book,The Market Gardener, has inspired tens of thousands of readers worldwide to reimagine human-scale food systems. His message is one of empowerment in order to educate, encourage and inspire people into pursuing a farming career and lifestyle. He is the founder, with his wife Maude-Hélène Desroches, of Les Jardins de la Grelinette, an internationally recognized 10-acre micro-farm in Quebec, Canada. With only 1½ acres cultivated in permanent beds, the farm grosses more than 100 000$ per acre with operating margins of about 60 per cent, enough to financially sustain his family. The focus at la Grelinette has been to grow better, not bigger, in order to optimize the cropping system, making it more lucrative and viable in the process. In his new farming project, Ferme des Quatre-Temps, he has set out to further demonstrate how diversified small-scale farms, using regenerative and economically efficient agricultural practices, can produce a higher nutritional quality of food and more profitable farms. Contact, Jeremiah Picard, Nebraska Farmers Union - Local Foods Policy Director. Cell: 402.570.3746. Office: 402.476.8815

Grazing Guides Webinar: Incorporating Brassicas Into Your Grazing System

January 11. Online. This webinar series covers topics that specifically relate to grazing dairy herds. Topics include technologies available to grazing herds as well as strategies for feeding, grazing and care of your animals. This free, one-hour webinar is led by Mat Haan, Penn State Extension, and, Leanne Dillard, USDA-ARS. Forage brassicas (rapeseed, turnip, radish, kale, etc.) are high quality forages that can be grazed during the spring, used during the summer forage slump, or used to extend fall grazing season. Their high energy and protein content make them excellent forage species for mixtures with small grains, summer annuals, or perennial cool-season pasture. Grazing management is important when using brassicas to ensure maximum animal performance and productivity of the pasture.

Management Options for Striped Cucumber Beetle in Organic Cucurbits

Wednesday, January 11 at 1:00 pm CST. Register in advance at Join eOrganic for a webinar on management options for striped cucumber beetle on organic farms by Abby Seaman and Jeffrey Gardner of Cornell University.  Striped cucumber beetle (SCB) is one of the most challenging insects to control in organic cucurbit production. The presenters will discuss the basics of SCB biology, cultural practices that can minimize damage, the latest on the effectiveness of insecticides allowed for organic production, and a discussion of breeding work underway to help reduce beetle impact.

USDA FSA Loan Programs Webinar

Wednesday, January 11 at 11:00 am CST. Location: Online webinar. For more information and to register: a farmer, whether you are just starting out or have many years of experience, there are times when you need to borrow money to start, expand, sustain, or make changes to your business. This webinar will explore loan programs sponsored by the USDA Farm Service Agency

The Co-op Model and Key Factors of Success

January 12. Online. This one-hour webinar is part of the Business Strategy Series from Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Co-op Developer and organic farmer Dan Hobbs and RMFU's Co-op Center Director Bill Stevenson will provide a detailed look at the cooperative business model, key factors of successful co-ops, and three examples of real live producer co-ops at work: Mountain States Lamb Cooperative, Arkansas Valley Organic Growers, and Olathe Producers Co-op.

Great Plains Growers Conference and Trade Show

January 12-14. St. Joseph, Missouri. Great Plains Growers Conference is a combination of the Great Plains Vegetable Conference and Mid-America Fruit Conference. The conference showcases educational information from five states: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota, along with vegetable specialists and growers from those states. The conference features keynote Jean-Martin Fortier, a broad selection of all-day workshops, and 12 different conference tracks.

Avian genetics: Introduction to poultry breeding

Thursday, January 12 at 2:00 pm CST. Location: There has been a lot of interest in breeding small poultry flocks. This webinar will present an introduction to avian genetics and the basics of poultry breeding. Dr. Darrin Karcher at Purdue University will provide the overview of avian genetics while Dr. David Frame from Utah State University will discuss the basics of poultry breeding. 


2017 Healthy Farms Conference

Online Registration Open! Lodging Reservations deadline approaching. Details: The Healthy Farms Conference is right around the corner! Join us in Columbus at the Ramada Columbus Hotel And River's Edge Convention Center on January 27th and 28th for our annual conference! With two dynamic keynotes in John Ikerd and Greg Gunthorp, as well as numerous breakout sessions, we are Getting Back To Our Roots. We also have a full program for youth activities and we encourage the entire family to attend. Youth under 10 are free!

Osage Orange Posts

Over the years several NSAS members, especially organic producers , have bought osage orange posts from my son Chris Rohrbaugh.  He still offers posts but is also producing for Crete Lumber in Crete.  Crete Lumber has always been a great supporter of sustainable agriculture. Paul & Cyndie Rohrbaugh, Pawnee Pride Meats

​New Farm Storage Facility Loan

​T​he Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) Program administered by the FSA has expanded to include some new eligible commodities. The new commodities eligible for facility loans include floriculture, hops, rye, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, meat and poultry (unprocessed), eggs, and aquaculture (excluding systems that maintain live animals through uptake and discharge of water). Commodities already eligible for the loans include corn, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, oats, peanuts, wheat, barley, minor oilseeds harvested as whole grain, pulse crops (lentils, chickpeas and dry peas), hay, honey, renewable biomass, and fruits, nuts and vegetables for cold storage facilities.​ ​FSA has expanded the FSFL program to include portable equipment and storage and handling trucks.  These items can be new or used.  Along with these changes in equipment eligibility, the FSFL program now has a Microloan option for producers that have $50,000 or less in FSFL loans.  The FSFL Microloan reduces the down payment requirement from 15% to 5% and offers an abbreviated application by allowing the producer to self-certify their storage need. Loan applications should be filed in the administrative FSA office that maintains the farm’s records.​ ​For more information about Farm Storage​ Facility Loans, visit ​ ​, or contact your local FSA office. To find your local FSA office, visit


Writing and Monitoring Grazing Plans: Available tools, site specific planning and the economics of southern forage management

January 17. Online. This free, one-hour webinar is presented by USDA NRCS Science and Technology. NRCS planners whose role is to write, review, or approve grazing plans and monitoring plans must be fully informed on the technical content and quality for these grazingland conservation products. Participants in this webinar will learn what content should be identifiable within a grazing plan and monitoring plan and discuss other economic considerations of forage management.

Small Farms Winter Webinar Series: ABCs of Strawberry Plasticulture Production

January 19. Online. University of Illinois Extension will once again be hosting the Small Farms Winter Webinar Series featuring practical, lunch-hour presentations on small farm enterprises and strategies. Log in every Thursday at noon for the free, one-hour webinars. This is the first in the series, which runs through March 30.

Financial Management

January 20 and 21. Central Community College, Hastings Campus. East Highway 6, Hastings. Holistic management decision making concepts were developed by Alan Savory and have been practiced and proven worldwide. Proper application of HM principles will enhance the health of your land and increase productivity while reducing operating costs. Contact, Bob Shields—phone (308) 379-1361

Holistic Cropping Planning: Creating Resilient and Profitable Cropland

January 20 - February 24. Online. If you are excited about Regenerative Agriculture and raise crops, HMI's Holistic Cropping Planning Course will give you the tools to grow healthy crops, healthy soil, and healthy profits. In this course with instructor Preston Sullivan, you will learn how to effectively manage your cropland and cropping practices to increase soil fertility and resilience as well as increase production and profitability from your cropping practices. Learn how to complete crop production planning all in the context of regenerative and conservation agriculture. The course meets for one hour every Friday.

Planning for Climate Resiliency

Friday, January 20 at 1:30 pm CST. Location: Resiliency to weather risk is, on one hand, a topic that farmers and ranchers are already familiar with, but now climate change is adding new uncertainties that make it difficult to know the best practices for the future. Scenario planning is a method of risk assessment that allows Extension and agricultural system stakeholders to come together using the latest climate science to discover robust management options, highlight key uncertainties, prioritize Extension programming needs, and provide an open forum for discussion for this sometimes controversial topic. These risks can then be incorporated into a farm's decision making process using the newly developed Adaptation Planning Guide. This webinar will cover the basics of the scenario planning process, highlight the results of using scenario planning with the Northern Plains Beef industry, and discuss the use of the Adaptation Planning Guide. 

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