Vol. 91, No. 4 August / September

In this issue:

FOREFRONT

UPCOMING EVENTS / WORKSHOPSUSDA

IN EVERY ISSUE



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FOREFRONT


Participate in the MA Statewide Food Systems Planning Initiative

As you may know, the Massachusetts Food System Plan is an ongoing statewide initiative to support increased consumption of Massachusetts agricultural and food products while preserving water and land resources, to support a strong, robust food system where local and healthy foods are accessible to all residents, and job and business opportunities abound. The Metropolitan Area Planning Council is leading a team of planners to facilitate this statewide process.

Statewide forums and listening sessions are being planned across the state. Four are organized, with others soon to be announced. It’s an important opportunity to weigh in on what's happening in your local food system including on the farm, the food processing arena, and in your community. These forums will provide a platform to share what is being done well, challenges, and suggestions to improve our food system. Your input is important for to better understand the major strengths and obstacles in the region, and to support the development of a well-informed plan for the Massachusetts Food System going forward. For more details, check the MAPC and MDAR websites: www.mapc.org/massfoodplan and www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/boards-commissions/food-policy-council.

  • October 6, Southeast Regional Forum, 3 – 6 pm, Buttonwood Senior Center, New Bedford, hosted by the Southeastern MA Food Security Network
  • October 11, Greater Boston Area Forum, 1 - 3:30 pm, Reggie Lewis Center, Boston, organized by the Trust for Public Land, Hayley House, Boston Collaborative for Food & Fitness, Babson College Food Sol Program, The Real Food Challenge and MDAR
  • October 15, Central MA Food Systems Listening Session, 5-7 pm, Worcester Public Library, organized by the Worcester Food & Active Living Policy Council and the Central MA Regional Planning Commission
  • October 22, Northeast Regional Forum, 4 – 7 pm, Lawrence Senior Center, hosted by Groundwork Lawrence
  • October 24, Food Day Report Back, 9 am – 12 pm, Boston Statehouse, organized by MA Department of Agricultural Resources

The MA Farm Energy Program (MFEP)
MDAR and our new MFEP partner The Center for EcoTechnology, Inc., (CET) want you to know the MA Farm Energy Program is here to help you. Please visit our new website, get familiar with our new contact information and find out about our technical and financial assistance opportunities!

Please visit (and bookmark!) our new website: www.massfarmenergy.com. Have you been meaning to get an energy audit for your farm? Are there energy efficiency projects you would like to complete? To learn more about how you can improve your farm’s operations, reduce your energy use and save money, please complete the Request Form online or email us at info@massfarmenergy.com or call 413-727-3090. We look forward to hearing from you!

USDA Rural Development – Anticipates Another Round of Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP)
USDA’s Rural Development office anticipates announcing another round of funding opportunity this coming fall (October/November) under their REAP program. A recent REAP round this past July has been completed. This anticipated new fall round will utilize recently appropriated funds from the new Farm Bill. Additionally, changes to the REAP application form are expected as well. Stay tuned for further announcements. For further information please contact:
Anne Correia | Energy Coordinator |BCP Specialist
Business & Cooperative Programs
Rural Development | MA/CT/RI
United States Department of Agriculture
15 Cranberry Highway | West Wareham, MA 02576
Phone: (508) 295-5151 | Fax: 1-855-596-7672 * please make recipient aware of fax
www.rurdev.usda.gov/ma | “Committed to the future of rural communities”

New Renewable Thermal Alternative Energy Credits Legislation Signed Into Law

The MA Senate and House passed legislation as part of The Acts of 2014 under Chapter 251, AN ACT RELATIVE TO CREDIT FOR THERMAL ENERGY GENERATED WITH RENEWABLE FUELS, which was ultimately signed into law by Governor Patrick on August 6, 2014. The statute allows for additional sources of renewable thermal energy to be eligible for Alternative Energy Credits (AECs). These additional resources now include “any facility that generates useful thermal energy using sunlight, biomass, biogas, liquid biofuel or naturally occurring temperature differences in ground, air or water”, these in addition to those previously legislated under the Green Communities act of 2008.

The MA Department of Energy Resources (DOER) will soon begin the development of corresponding regulations for these new provisions and will involve stakeholder input. As per the statute, DOER will also work closely with the MA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with regard defining eligible woody biomass, biogas and biofuel systems. Stay informed on DOER’s website for more updated information on this important enacted legislation: http://www.mass.gov/eea/grants-and-tech-assistance/guidance-technical-assistance/agencies-and-divisions/doer/

MassCEC Announces Increased Incentives for Commonwealth Solar Hot Water Program

Effective September 1, 2014, the cap for private sector commercial solar thermal hot water projects under MassCEC’s Commonwealth Solar Hot Water Program will now be the lesser of $100,000 or 40% of project cost, an increase from the former respective lesser of $50,000 or 40% of project costs. This comes after MassCEC recently doubled their incentives for the solar system itself earlier this summer. With the new solar thermal alternative energy credits noted above and the current federal 30% investment tax credit due to expire December 31, 2016, now is a great time to consider implementing a solar thermal project on your farm. Please contact either Gerry Palano at MDAR at Gerald.Palano@state.ma.us, 617-626-1706, or our MA Farm Energy Program at info@massfarmenergy.com, 413-727-3090, if you are interested in developing a commercial solar thermal hot water project on your farm.  


Agricultural Business Planning Courses 2014-15

MDAR offers three course levels for participants who are 1) thinking about farming, 2) gearing up to start, with secure access to land, or 3) already operating Massachusetts agricultural enterprise. Our courses are not offered online because participants confirm greater benefit when they have a peer group to share ideas with over several consecutive weeks. Enrollment is limited to facilitate discussion. Attendance by the registrant (or an informed substitute) is required at all scheduled sessions. Fees are kept low through MDAR support, and a partner may attend at no additional cost.

Explorers - For those who are just thinking about getting into farming or are expanding a hobby to an income-generating scale: “Exploring the Small Farm Dream” offers guidance and feedback to help make informed decisions about whether or not to take the plunge - and how to proceed in the first stages of feasibility. Five sessions over 6 weeks on weekday evenings. Cost per enterprise - $100. Amherst - 2014 November 5, 12, 19, December 3, 10 - and Marlborough - 2015 - March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

Planners – For those a step beyond Explorer who have a strong sense of what they intend to do and where: “Planning for Start-up” is a gut check before making significant investments of time and money. It requires completion of Explorer, or equivalent programs and experience. Planners have already made the decision to farm on a revenue generating scale, and have secured the land and initial finances to do so. Six sessions over 8 weeks on Saturday mornings. Cost per enterprise - $150. Amherst Only - 2014 - November 1, 8, 15, 22, December 6, 13

Established Farmers – For those already operating a commercial agricultural enterprise and in need of a comprehensive business plan. “Tilling the Soil of Opportunity” offers a chance to assess, regroup, plan 5 years ahead and finance expansion, or clarify transfer/succession. The course draws on peer experience, Instructor knowledge and guest speakers. This course is USDA/FSA certified for “Borrower Training”. Graduates may qualify for individual post-course technical assistance. Ten sessions over 11 weeks on weekday evenings. Cost per enterprise - $200. Dates and location to be determined between November and March 2014-15.

We offer each course once per year, sometimes both in eastern and a western locations if local demand exists. Registration is rolling, so those who have completed an application (no payment until enrollment is complete) receive priority when locations and dates are finalized.

Email information/application requests to Rick.Chandler@state.ma.us


Massachusetts Food Day

Updates and News for you to use!

The national Food Day campaign continues to grow, as we come together to do the grassroots work on all things FOOD, strengthening our network and positively impacting our local food system. Today, hundreds of events and activities across Massachusetts are being planned by you, your neighbors, community organizations, farmers, universities, chefs, schools, youth groups…keep reading for helpful information to plan your event.

Where are Food Day events happening? 
Cities and towns such as Boston, Fitchburg, Worcester, Somerville, New Bedford, Lowell, Great Barrington, Brookline, Chelsea, Williamstown, Everett, Cambridge, Amherst, North Hampton…just to name a few, are having a great time building community and sharing information as they celebrate Food Day!
Important Notes:

  • Now is the time to start registering EACH of your activities on Food Day National Map. The map is highlighted on the home page of www.FoodDay.org giving high visibility to your events. Click here to get started.
  • Limited supplies of materials may be available (Deadline was September 15). Click here to order materials.
  • We also have our 2014 Film screen Guide, which highlights a collection of films and videos you can show at your Food Day event. Keep checking the resources in the coming weeks for more free materials on Food Justice!
  • If you are the lead organizer in your town or city, please forward all Mass Food Day emails to your team members!

Campaign Update:

  • Over 400 Schools have signed up to take the “Eat Real Challenge”!
  • Stay tuned for next week’s updates on several AMAZING organizations and their Food Day plans from around the state!

Media:

If you would like help with social media, please contact Laura at fooddayMA@gmail.com, she will assist you, no previous experience needed!

  • Tweet about your activities and build a buzz with your list! Follow and tweet at us @fooddayma
  • Blog: Sign up to blog about your organization’s activities and get the word out to a statewide network—check out previous posts at www.fooddayma.wordpress.com

Helpful links:


We look forward to working with you as we move toward our goals. Know that you are being joined by hundreds of organizers who are working on sharing information, teaching others and building community with a focus on local, healthy food and creating more access for every community in Massachusetts.

Visit the website, www.foodday.org, share the information with your co-workers/friends/farmers/neighbors/community organization…and come to a meeting for ideas, guidance and community building!


Update Your Farm Information on Massgrown

Reminder to farms to check your information on the Massgrown map to make sure your farm information is up to date. www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/map. Send your edits to Rick LeBlanc, Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us. If you would like to be added to the map, please fill out the two page marketing survey, click here (.pdf, .doc).

Also kind in mind our Agricultural and Culinary Events Calendar is one of our most popular MassGrown & Fresher features. Curious locavores and culinary travelers are eager to find a farm, culinary or community event. Submit your calendar listings here.

"Massgrown and Fresher" price cards and posters are now available. Click here to see our various Massgrown posters, price cards, and order form.

 

 


Events Seeking Vendors

Farmers’ Market Vendor Opportunities at Wachusett Mountain Fall Festivals

Please join us for two great opportunities to showcase and sell your products this October. Our 31st Annual AppleFest will be held on October 18-19 from 10 am-5 pm and 5th Annual BBQFest will be held on October 25-26 from 12-5 pm. Cost is $50 per weekend and includes a 10x10 space. Applications are available by visiting our Vendor Page. For more details, contact Audra at audra@wachusett.com or 978-464-2300 x3703.

Belmont Food Collaborative's Second Annual Fall & Winter Farm Share Fair

Belmont Food Collaborative's second annual Fall & Winter Farm Share Fair will be held on Thursday, October 16, at the Watertown Public Library in Watertown Square, from 5:30 - 7:30 pm.

The event showcases the variety of local food available throughout the winter, including storage vegetables, beans, cheese, grains, meat, and fish. We are still accepting applications for exhibitors who have late fall or winter farm share/farm box-type programs through this brief application. Contact becky.prior@gmail.com or by phone at 617-993-3068.

 


Public Meeting 9/23 to Discuss Discovery of EAB in Boston

Emerald Ash Borer

On Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 6:30 pm, there will be a public meeting to address the implications surrounding the recent discovery of the invasive wood-boring Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Suffolk County. Central to this meeting is the issue of establishing a quarantine that would restrict the movement of certain wood products under certain conditions. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session. For more information, see http://masstreewardens.org/eab-public-meeting-at-arnold-arboretum/

For background on the Boston EAB find, which occurred at the Arnold Arboretum last July, see http://arboretum.harvard.edu/emerald-ash-borer-detected-in-the-arboretum/.

 

 


Farmers: Track Your Food Donations

In 2013 young farmers across the country donated more than 32 million pounds of food to anti-hunger organizations.

Farm Bureau works with Feeding America to help make these donations happen, and to track how much is contributed. Some food pantries pick up unsold food from farmstands and farmers markets and others accept on-site donations. We know that many Massachusetts farms are already making donations, and we want to keep track of just how much. Please visit http://goo.gl/KkFZ4W to fill out a simple online form so we can add Massachusetts farms’ total to the national numbers. Contact Zoe Stapp, Massachusetts Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Leaders, at z.c.stapp@gmail.com if you have any questions.


UMass Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Lab is Moving

After 23 years, the UMass Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Lab is leaving West Experiment Station! While we love this old building with all its character and charm, we are looking forward to our newly renovated space in the basement of Paige laboratory on the UMass Amherst campus. This move is happening this week. Orders sent to the old address will automatically be forwarded to the new lab.

Our new address is:

UMass Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Lab
203 Paige Laboratory
161 Holdsworth Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9286


Please be aware that turnaround time may be delayed by this transition; however we will do our best to minimize the disruption. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

As always, if you need to contact the lab, we can be reached by phone at 413-545-2311, or by email at soiltest@umass.edu - Tracy Allen, UMass Soil & Plant Tissue Testing Lab.

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UPCOMING EVENTS / WORKSHOPS


Sustainability for Massachusetts Dairies

September 19 - Sidehill Farm, Hawley, MA - Sustainability for Massachusetts dairies: Grazing, raw milk, and organic certification

This on-farm workshop for dairy farmers and those considering dairying in Massachusetts will include a pasture walk, tour of the farm’s dairy and yogurt-processing plant, and conversations with a range of experts in the field. More info at www.nofamass.org/events/sustainability-massachusetts-dairies-grazing-raw-milk-and-organic-certification.

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Northeast Greenhouse Conference and Expo

November 5 and 6, 2014 - New Location: Mass Mutual Center, Springfield, MA

The biennial Northeast Greenhouse Conference & Expo is co-sponsored by New England Floriculture, Inc., a group of grower representatives from the Northeast, augmented by University and Cooperative Extension staff in each state who specialize in greenhouse crops and management. Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn, share and connect with industry professionals.

Conference Highlights

EDUCATIONAL SESSIONS — Attend stimulating educational workshops on a wide range of topics by industry experts; acquire knowledge and gain valuable insight.

TRADESHOW — Visit with innovative exhibitors during dedicated tradeshow time, to gather information on products and services that will benefit your business.

NETWORK — Share ideas and build relationships, and make important face-to-face connections with others in the floriculture industry.

Early Bird Registration deadline has been extended to Friday, September 19. Program and Registration information are now available online at: www.negreenhouse.org.

 

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Whole Farm Planning for Beginning Women Farmers Series

CISA (Community Involved In Sustaining Agriculture) is accepting applications for the 2014/15 Whole Farm Planning for beginning women farmers series.

Holistic Management International's Whole Farm Planning program is an opportunity for women who have been farming for under ten years to gain skills and build a network of other women farmers. The course touches on a variety of topics, including business planning basics, marketing, goal-setting and financial planning, time management, reading the landscape, land and infrastructure planning, leadership and communication skills.

This is a 10-workshop series beginning in November 2014 with seven one-day sessions held in winter and three on-farm field sessions in spring. Dates, times and locations for the workshops are to be decided. Participants must attend all 10 sessions and the class size is limited to 20 Massachusetts residents and this is the final year of the grant so don’t wait any longer to sign up. There is a sliding scale fee for this series of $50-$500, and scholarships are available. Find out more about the program and download an application on our website, or contact Devon for more information, 413-665-7100 x22.

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Arborist Training at UMass Extension's Green School

October 29 - December 11, 2014- Twice weekly from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm, Holiday Inn, 265 Lakeside Ave., Marlborough, MA. (This course will not be offered again until 2016.) Designed especially for arborists, tree wardens, and municipal DPW workers.

Trees are treasured features of our communities and neighborhoods, and frequent storm events over the past few years have highlighted the challenges of maintaining and protecting trees in the landscape. Working outdoors - whether on the street, in a park or in a client's backyard - exposes arborists to a variety of unique issues every day. This curriculum will help attendees learn to identify potential problems and to avoid being injured on the job. Topics of particular benefit to arborists include arboricultural safety standards, construction injury to trees, pruning, cabling and guying, insect and disease problems of trees, and tree risk identification and management.

Every two years, UMass Extension offers its popular Green School, a comprehensive 12-day certificate short course for Green Industry professionals taught by UMass Extension Specialists and University of Massachusetts faculty.

Three Specialty Tracks are offered for the Green Industry:
  • Landscape Management
  • Turf Management
  • Arboriculture - specifically geared toward professional arborists

See the full schedule at http://extension.umass.edu/landscape/greenschool. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED, AS SPACE IS LIMITED! Deadline for applications is October 24, 2014. For more information or to have a registration form mailed, contact UMass Extension at 413-545-0895 or eweeks@umext.umass.edu.
 

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Branchfood Hackathon

November 14 and 15, WeWork, Fort Point, Boston

The Branchfood Hackathon is an educational technology event uniting designers, developers, engineers, food system experts, and entrepreneurs to create innovative tools that improve our food ecosystem. The event is being held in partnership with General Assembly and WeWork in Fort Point on Friday evening, November 14th and all day Saturday, November 15th. The event will focus on problems in our current food system that can be helped by technology, specifically related to institutional food, restaurant tech, and urban farming. Content experts from Boston's leading institutions, restaurants and farms will present on challenges they face in their specific realms and work with teams to create solutions. We'll also have other food system experts present to help teams with their product development. On Saturday night teams will pitch to a panel of judges and the winner will be awarded a $5K prize from Breville. Other teams will receive prizes for the best use of the APIs. Attendance will be upwards of 150 people. For more information, contact Lauren Abda, Managing Director, The Food Loft, Founder - Branchfood.

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Greenhouse Vegetable Production – In Containers

December 10, 2014 - Publick House, Sturbridge, MA.

Topics Include:

  • Growing Greenhouse Tomatoes and Greenhouse Cucumbers in Containers
  • Perfecting Biocontrol in Greenhouse Vegetables
  • Growing Bench-top Greens
  • Grower to Grower Panel

Sponsored by UMass Extension. Details and registration here. (register by mail or on-line)

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More events and workshops listed here: www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/events/


USDA NEWS


Enrollment for New Dairy Farm Risk Management Program in Massachusetts Begins September 2

USDA recently launched a new web tool to help producers manage unforeseen economic challenges — USDA Massachusetts Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, Jon Niedzielski, recently announced that starting Sept. 2, 2014, farmers can enroll in the new dairy Margin Protection Program. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also launched a new Web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the Margin Protection Program that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, Smartphone, tablet or any other platform, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More here.

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IN EVERY ISSUE

Briefs / Classified / Job Opportunities

  • Greenhouse property for sale - 27 acres of land 319 River Dr. Hadley, MA. 3 all aluminum greenhouses approximately 35 X 500± (52,500 sq ft) Automatic shade cloth system.6 - 28' hoop houses covered with Dynaglass (approximately 37,000 sq ft), 2 wood chip boilers with automatic fuel feed system (4 years old), 2 oil boilers, above ground double wall 10,000 gal tank (6 years old), HPS supplemental lighting system throughout (2 years old), complete fully automatic environmental control computer system, 3 Steel buildings (26,800 sq ft) with loading docks, refrigeration, emergency generator, dump truck, tractors, back hoe, flat filling, office furniture, safe, tools, fork lift, .pallet racks, tools, & much more. See Google Earth and enter "319 River Drive, Hadley, MA" - $2,000,000 Contact Ted Johnson, 413-222-7969, soxfanz@comcast.net
  • Acres for Lease in Halifax: Property approx. 10 acres with access to water for irrigation. Property has been plowed and tilled and was planted with sweet corn this year. It also has been recently limed 25 tons this year. Keep bees and have several active hives which is a big help for growing vegetables. Over the last ten years, the crop rotation has been sweet corn, pumpkins, and squash. No personal preference with regard to what crops are grown. Contact Paul Weckbacher, PWeckbac@wm.com.
  • For Sale - Entire poultry operation (less land) for sale. Baystate Organic Certified since 2006 flock of Dominique & Americauna chickens, roosters and Muscovy ducks. Two poultry houses, all feeders, watering bowls, kiddie pools, small housing for broody hens with young chicks. All fencing, feeders, waters and more. Will not break into parts. Contact Cynda at 508-763-5901. Leave a message for the Clover Path Garden.
  • Agricultural Excavation – Grading Services - Provide earth moving, drainage, land/pasture reclamation, greenhouse preparation, and rock raking services. Includes but not limited to orchards/equine facilities/cranberry bogs/nurseries. Chris Merrill Excavating - merrilltrucks@comcast.net, 978-897-9977.

How to Place a Classified Ad

Classified ads are accepted free-of charge on a first-come basis. Be sure to include a phone number. No display ads will be accepted. Only one ad per business/individual per issue, unless space permits. Ads may run in consecutive issues, space permitting. Ads must be of interest to Massachusetts farmers. The Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) reserves the right to refuse any listing it deems inappropriate for publication. E-mail, fax or mail ads to: Farm & Market Report, MDAR, 251 Causeway Street, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02114, fax: 617-626-1850, Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us.

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About the Farm & Market Report

Published bi-monthly by:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Deval L. Patrick, Governor
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Maeve Vallely Bartlett, Secretary
Department of Agricultural Resources, Gregory C. Watson, Commissioner

Boston Office:
251 Causeway St., Suite 500,
Boston, MA 02114
617-626-1700, Fax: 617-626-1850
Amherst Satellite Office:
101 University Drive, Suite C4
Amherst, MA 01002
413-548-1900, Fax: 413-548-1901
Division Directors

Next issue to be published for October / November. Please send news, calendar and/or classified information by October 20 to Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us. To unsubscribe or change your address, send an e-mail message to Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us or call 617-626-1759.