Monday, March 27, 2017

Weekly Events & Opportunities in Sustainable Farming & Foods!

Getting started with blueberries

Monday, March 27 at 6:00 pm CDT. Blueberries, Mark Longstroth, Michigan State University Extension. This webinar will provide a review of the current blueberry industry in Michigan, site selection, cultivar selection, cost of production and pest management basics.  Mark works with growers of all sizes and will offer valuable insights for small and start-up blueberry growers. A fee of $10 is charged for this program. The series consists of 9 webinars on various topics. The fee for the 'full series' is $45 (1/2 of full price).

Cover Crops for Potato and Soybean Systems

Monday, March 27 at 6:00 pm CDT. Growers, consultants and agribusiness professionals are invited to participate in a series of seven online programs addressing field crop production and pest management in 2017. Participants will learn how to enhance their corn, soybean, small grain, forage and potato production systems in the coming season, and have an opportunity to ask questions. Location:

Organic Farming Roundtables

March 27.  6:00 pm–9:00 pm. UNL's East Campus in the Plant Sciences Hall Room: 280 – Goodding Learning Center. Contact, Chuck Francis, The 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.

Where has all the farmland gone?

March 28. 6:00 pm–9:00 pm. UNL's East Campus in the Plant Sciences Hall Room: 280 – Goodding Learning Center. Contact, Chuck Francis, How 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. 

How to manage solitary orchard bees for crop pollination

Tuesday, March 28 at 1:00 pm CDT. With the uncertainty of healthy honey bee hive availability and the high cost of hive rentals for crop pollination, an alternative or complementary bee, the blue orchard bee, is becoming more available and manageable for fruit and nut tree pollination.  This presentation will describe the life cycle of this North American solitary, cavity-nesting bee, and how it can be deployed for providing pollination services while also maintaining or increasing a managed pollinator population. To register for this free webinar click here,

Sustainability Metrics and Food Chain Transparency Webinar

March 28. Online. Join the CCOF Foundation for a free webinar on meeting consumer demand for sustainability and transparency in the food chain. Representatives from the Sustainable Food Trade Association (SFTA) and Whole Foods Market will lead a discussion on meeting consumer demand for transparency throughout the food supply chain.

How to Manage Solitary Orchard Bees for Crop Pollination

March 28. Online. This free, one-hour webinar is part of the eXtension Bee Health Webinar Series "Ensuring Crop Pollination in U.S. Specialty Crops." Registration is required.

Entomology Seminar

March 28. 4:00 pm–5:00 pm.  Nebraska East Union. Contact, Jeri Cunningham, 402-472-8678jcunningham1@unl.eduSamantha Daniel, a graduate student in the Department of Entomology, will present the seminar, “Investigating the Role of Spiders in IPM for Biological Control of Nebraska Crop Pests.”

Weather and Crop Risk Management Seminar

March 29. 1:00 pm. UNL's Hardin Hall, Auditorium. Contact, Cory Walters, Speakers will include: Al Dutcher, School of Natural Resources, Elwyn Taylor, Iowa State University, Tyler Williams, Nebraska Extension. Streaming is available at: Public Info:

Poultry on a Small Scale

March 30. Online. This webinar by NCAT's Kevin Ellis is part of the Small Producers Initiative webinar series. Kevin will be sharing information about starting and maintaining a small poultry flock.

Soil Management for High Tunnels

March 30. Online. University of Illinois Extension's Small Farms Winter Webinar Series features practical, lunch-hour presentations on small farm enterprises and strategies. Log in at noon for this free, one-hour webinar, which concludes the series. This session features Nathan Johanning, University of Illinois Extension Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator.

Using Biofungicides, Biostimulants and Biofertilizers to Boost Crop Productivity and help Manage Vegetable Diseases

March 30. Online. Join eOrganic for a free webinar on biofungicides, biostimulants, and biofertilizers. In this webinar, participants will describe the different types of products available in the marketplace today, provide an overview of recent studies evaluating their efficacy, and discuss strategies for identifying the most effective products and application practices. Presenters are Giuseppe Colla of Tuscia University in Viterbo Italy, MariaTeresa Cardarelli at the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Rome, Italy, and Dan Egel and Lori Hoagland of Purdue University. Advance registration is required.

Animal welfare considerations for backyard poultry flocks

Thursday, March 30 at 2:00 pm CDT. As more people become interested in backyard flocks, it is important to consider the welfare of the birds in your flock. This webinar will discuss some of the concerns related to backyard poultry flocks.

Great Plains Symposium: Flat Places, Deep Identities

March 30-31.  8:30 am–5:30 pm. Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center Room: Auditorium. Contact, Katie Nieland, “Mapping” as a metaphorical concept has also proved valuable to humanists and others attempting to understand our region. The 2017 Great Plains Symposium invites exploration of how place and mapping influence Great Plains identity, culture, economy, agricultural practices, natural resources, environmental issues, business strategy, art and creative expression, literature, social movements, politics, and more.

Food Tank Summit: Investing in Discovery

April 1-2​. Boston, Massachusetts, and live-streamed​. On April 1, experts and top leaders across all sectors of the food world will come together for interactive panels and discussion moderated by top journalists. The entire first day will be live streamed on On the morning of April 2, Food + Future coLAB will host a walking tour of their facility. After a networking breakfast, Food + Future will share with attendees its vision of using radical collaboration and transparency to innovate within the food system.​


Robinette is Hiring

2017 Greenhouse, Micro Greens and Wash Station Lead; This is full-time position working primarily in the Greenhouse and heading up our Micro Greens operation but also with the opportunity to work in the field with the crew. Potential for year-round employment.

2017 Field Crew Members; We are offering 2 full-time seasonal Field Crew Member positions on the farm in 2017. Work as part of our crew to harvest, wash, plant and weed all while gaining experience working on a vegetable farm.

To learn more about these positions and to apply go to and click the menu tab "Employment" or click on the Job Title in the above text to take you to the same page.

Employment Opportunity

The Big Garden in Omaha is currently hiring for our New Roots Internship! The New Roots internship is a paid, hands-on learning experience for anyone interested in urban agriculture. Please contact Cait Caughey -- Education Director at for an application.

Health Insurance in Agriculture Survey

How does health insurance affect farmers and ranchers? Help influence rural health policy in upcoming survey. Farmers and ranchers: How does health insurance affect you? Help influence rural health policy by participating in an upcoming USDA funded survey. Your responses will help researchers understand how health-insurance policy affects farmers’ and ranchers’ decisions to invest, expand, and grow their enterprises. Selected participants received a letter about the survey in February. If you would like to participate follow this link:

Resource Available

Rural Food Business Toolkit - this resource was designed by the Center for Rural Affairs alongside a USDA Rural Development project in northeast Nebraska which provided in person instruction and support. The toolkit provides resources to growers, processors and food business owners to help them succeed. It can be found and downloaded here:

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


Considerations for Transitioning Perennial Production to Organic

April 4. Online. Join this free, one-hour webinar presented by USDA NRCS Science and Technology and Oregon Tilth to learn about the specifics of transitioning perennial production systems to organic. Organic fruit production is increasing and more producers are considering the transition to organic. This webinar with David Granatstein will explore the challenges and opportunities specific to transitioning perennial systems to organic certification.

Taking Stock of Organic Research Investments 2002 -2014

April 6
Organic Farming Research Foundation invites you to join them for a webinar discussion of the findings from their report, Taking Stock: Analyzing and Reporting Organic Research Investments, 2002 - 2014. The webinar will describe the types, locations, and impacts of USDA research, as well as research gaps and topics that require greater attention. The webinar will conclude with a set of recommendations for strengthening organic research in the United States to best support the needs of organic farmers. OFRF encourages all researchers, students, policy makers, and farmers interested in understanding research trends and opportunities to attend.

Pruning and Trellising Tomatoes

Thursday, April 6 at 1:00 pm CDT
This webinar will provide information on tomato pruning and trellising techniques and how they can improve pest management when properly applied.

​Small Scale Farming Workshop

April 8th. ​A group of Nebraska Extension Educators in the southeast corner of the state are planning a Small Scale Farming Workshop on Saturday, April 8th at the Kimmel Education & Research Center in Nebraska. See flyer below for more details or go online to:  Contact, Gary Lesoing (402-274-4755) if you have any questions.

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