Monday, May 1, 2017

Weekly Events & Opportunities in Sustainable Farming & Foods!

Farmers Market Sampling Certification--How to Obtain a Certificate

May 1. Online. These webinars, offered by Illinois Farmers Market Association, are free of cost and open to anyone. Choose between a daytime or evening presentation. Vendors, producers, and farmers market managers discover the steps you will need to acquire a statewide food sampling certificate, valid at any Illinois Farmers Market. Rebecca Osland, Policy Associate at the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, will guide you through the requirements needed to offer product samples safely and legally. The webinar will also preview anticipated rules that will bring greater consistency to markets statewide, and will make sure that the Food Safety Modernization Act is on your radar.

Mitigating Potential Impacts of Neonicotinoid Insecticides on Wetland Ecosystems

May 2. Online. This free, one-hour webinar is presented by USDA NRCS Science and Technology. In this webinar, participants will learn about the agricultural uses of neonics, movement through the landscape and into aquatic systems, and demonstrated impacts on beneficial insects, aquatic organisms, and birds. The webinar will also describe measures to mitigate these impacts.

Agricultural Decision Tools from the Cornell Climate Smart Farming Program and the Network for Environment and Weather Applications

May 4. Online. This free, one-hour webinar is sponsored by the USDA Northeast Climate Hub. This session will be two-fold, covering weather-based decision support tools for Integrated Pest Management and crop management on the Network for Environment and Weather Applications (NEWA) website ( and climate decision-making tools for agriculture on the Cornell Climate Smart Farming (CSF) Program website. Attendees will see the tools in action during demos, will have the opportunity to ask questions, discuss tool uses, and provide feedback to the presenters on the tools during the webinar.

Webinar: LumiGrow updates and Smart Greenhouse Lighting

May 4, 12pm – 1pm. Join us for a first look at the industry’s first dynamic grow light sensor, and to learn from our in-house Plant Research Group. Take our findings and apply them to your own grow for robust growth, better quality, and increased control over your production. Even if you can’t make the date, don’t fret!  We realize a grower’s work is never done, and that’s why we’ll be emailing the webinar to all those who signup.  Just fill out our form to receive the latest industry tech and research updates.

Getting Started Holistic Land Planning Course Online

May 4 - June 8, 2017, Thursdays. Online. In this weekly, online course from HMI, you will learn how to integrate key land-planning principles and practices to improve land or infrastructure investment and implementation strategies. This land planning will help you explore key infrastructure/land improvement projects and know how to prioritize investments. You'll address management considerations, develop land-plan options, and explore tool options and the return on investment. Learn how to integrate these land planning options with your financial or business planning to strategically expand your business.

The Adaptation Workbook - Building Your Climate Adaptation Plan

May 4. Online. A collaboration between the Climate Learning Network and the Climate Science Initiative, this one-hour webinar provides an overview of the Adaptation Workbook, an online, interactive, and practical workbook that helps land managers develop their own custom built climate change adaptation plans ( The presentation will include a background on the concepts behind the Adaptation Workbook process, a tour of the Adaptation Workbook website, and a few examples to illustrate how this tool is being used in the real world.

2017 All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Ticks

Friday, May 5 at 1:00 pm CDT. Location: In this webinar, Dr. Thomas Mather, Professor, University of Rhode Island,  (aka "the tick guy") will talk about about an important arachnid, ticks.  Ticks that you do and don't see as well as how to protect yourself, your family, and your pets will be discussed.

Tree Planting Workshop

Community Crops is excited to announce a tree planting and agroforestry workshop with the USDA National Agroforestry Center and the Lower Platte South NRD on Saturday, May 6th from 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM. The workshop will take place at the Community Crops Training Farm at Prairie Pines (112th and Adams).

Women in Farming Workshop

May 6. Walton, Kansas. The Kansas Rural Center (KRC) will sponsor an all-day, women-only workshop and farm tour. The workshop will include a morning presentation on local food initiatives around the state and information on financial tools and financing options. The afternoon session will include a presentation on soil health and soil testing, as well as a tour of Morning Harvest Farm.

Emerald Ash Borer Seminar

May 6. 9:00 am–11:00 am.  Lancaster Extension Education Center. Contact, Sarah Browning, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County, 402-441-7180, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County and the Nebraska Forest Service are presenting seminars about Emerald Ash Borer for property owners. Registration is required by calling 402-441-7180 three days prior to seminar. Cost is $15 per person or couple for one set of educational materials.


CSP Deadline May 5th

The CSP rewards farmers and ranchers for being good stewards of the land. Farmers and ranchers work with their local Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) office to enroll.  
Contracts under CSP are for five years, and in many cases can be renewed for an additional five years, allowing conservation benefits to continue. 
If your CSP contract will expire Dec. 31, 2017, contact your local NRCS office today about renewing your contract. The deadline to apply for renewal is May 5, 2017. 

Survey Assistance

My name is Steph I am putting together a survey for ranchers across the nation. It will explore some of ranchers' grassland management practices and some of the ideas that go behind them. Having said that, before I send it out, I need to make sure that my concepts make sense and are truly measuring what I set out to measure. I would guess that it takes 10-15 minutes to fill out (and reads better from a computer than a phone). I very much appreciate your help and if you want more detail into what I am doing, please give me a call (402-926-6732)! Steph Kennedy

Internship Opportunity

If you know of someone looking for an internship opportunity involving both produce and livestock. please have them call me or text me on my cell phone 308-754-8370.  This internship would involve experiences on a few local farms approximately 50% of hours would be paid and 50% considered educational. 
Andrew Hollister, 
Hollister Farms

Hoop House for Sale

We have a 30x72 gothic arch hoop house with W truss supports. Apparatus for drop down side curtains included. It's located in southeast corner of Nebraska.

Local Food Survey

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Food Policy Council (Lincoln-Lancaster FPC) is a diverse group of farmers, gardeners, businesses, organizations, and individuals with one thing in common: we care about improving the local food system. 
The Research Committee of the Lincoln-Lancaster FPC is partnering with Lakehouse Farm’s Value Added Producer grant from the USDA to better understand the local food production and consumption patterns of our area. We hope to use this data to better understand how many farmers are serving local markets in our area and then present those findings to city, county, and state officials to educate them on the potential of local food markets for Nebraska. This survey is being conducted by graduate student, Megan McGuffey, from the University of Nebraska at Omaha who is working with the Lincoln-Lancaster FPC. We are asking you to help us to complete this survey so that we can better understand the complex, local food system that gets food to our plates. Please fill it out by April 7th, 2017.

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

Getting started with producing and selling eggs

Monday, May 8 at 6:00 pm CDT
Producing and selling eggs, Dr. Darrin Karcher, Assistant professor of animal sciences, Purdue University
Eggs are a popular direct sales and farmers market item. Dr. Karcher will help you get started, or fine-tune your egg enterprise with solid, basic information on breed selection, facilities, sanitation, best practices and more.

Pest Management from an Ecological Framework

May 9
This free, one-hour webinar is presented by NRCS Soil Health Division. The webinar will focus on ecological management of agricultural pests (insects and slugs), and it will emphasize the importance of pairing soil health practices with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to ensure that gains in soil health are not degraded by unnecessary pesticide use. Incorporating IPM alongside other soil health practices maximizes the potential for farm fields to better withstand pest invasion while diminishing the potential for pesticides to degrade benefits provided by soil health practices.

Compliance Spotlight: The New Animal Welfare Regulations and Their Impact on Organic Livestock Producers

This one-hour Oregon Tilth webinar will discuss in great detail the changes to the Animal Welfare Regulations and how they will impact organic livestock operations—both in terms of daily physical practices as well as structural changes that may be necessary for some operations. Presenters will also be providing participants with various resources to assist them in making these adjustments so that their operations remain in compliance with national organic regulations.

Managing Trees During Drought Condition

Tuesday, May 9 at 9:00 am CDT
This presentation will outline the impacts of drought on trees and the multiple strategies needed to protect them. During periods of drought, the knee-jerk response in many communities is to remove all lawn areas in the name of water conservation. If trees in those landscapes had been dependent on lawn irrigation to survive, they will suffer. I will focus on proper irrigation of trees, with and without surrounding turf areas, and how to manage irrigation of trees throughout their life cycle for good health. I will also discuss tree selection for long-term urban forest resiliency.

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