Vol. 89, No. 6, December / January


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In this issue:

MDAR homepage logo

Commissioner's Column - Gregory C. Watson

FOREFRONT

UPCOMING EVENTS / WORKSHOPS

USDA NEWS

IN EVERY ISSUE


Commissioner's Column

Commissioner Gregory C. Watson

Dear Friends:

The December/January Farm & Market Report is one of my favorites. It’s a chance to reflect on our achievements and to “plant the seeds” for next year’s goals.

On the 2012 reflection side of things, and in spite of continued budget constraints, we are still seeing robust interest in local agriculture. To name a few: Massachusetts boasts a record number of farmers’ markets across the state including the opening of more and more winter markets; Massachusetts was #1 in the nation for Food Day 2012 events this year; and the state’s Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program has continued to make gains in permanently preserving farmland for future generations.

We’ll have much more to share as we begin working on our 2012 MDAR Annual Report due out in the spring of 2013. This report gives a clear snapshot of the many activities, programs, and services of our agency. And speaking of snapshots, if you are a Massachusetts grower, please be sure to participate in the 2012 Ag Census mp3 format of Ag Census PSA
.

Given the growing awareness of the many virtues of locally grown food along with the maturation of the “Buy Local” movement throughout the state, there has been a surprising lack of serious discussions about the role that cities must play in meeting our future food needs.

Those discussions have been given a kick-start now that a handful of municipalities have taken formal steps to encourage the development of commercial farms within their boundaries (most notably Boston and Somerville). This is a very encouraging sign. The Department of Agricultural Resources would like to help make the point that every community in the Commonwealth – rural, suburban and urban, can play a number of active roles to ensure its residents have access to fresh, nutritious locally grown food.

Most of us live in cities. In fact, history was made in 2008 when, for the first time more than half of the world's population resided in towns and cities. But no matter where we live, we still need to eat. It has been estimated that millions of additional farmers will be required to feed the nation as our agricultural system transforms from its unsustainable, centralized, resource-intensive industrial mode to more locally responsive, small scale farming regimes.

It’s difficult to imagine how we can do that unless a significant percentage of the new farmers will be cultivating rejuvenated nutrient-dense urban soils, managing hydroponic rooftop systems and harvesting fish in repurposed buildings.

The transformation to sustainable farming will be undertaken in response to changes in climate but also as a way of meeting the challenge to create new jobs, clean up the environment and improve our collective health.

California's recent three-year drought (2007-2009) exposed the vulnerability of the nation's "breadbasket" to the vagaries of nature and provided a peek at the true havoc that climate change could reek on our food supply. According to a recently released study by the Pacific Institute, we narrowly dodged a major disruption to our food production capability this time but will probably not be as fortunate if climate change triggers longer dry spells.

In the weeks following Hurricane Sandy, the only source of fresh food available in some hard hit neighborhoods in New Jersey and New York were at local farmers’ markets.

Our nation must create many more small farms closer to the population centers and a lot more farmers (rural, suburban and urban) in order to meet our food needs in in an environment altered by climate change. Meeting that challenge will require new ways of thinking and operating that embrace the principles of sustainable agriculture, communities and economies.

I look forward to discussing these and other initiatives in the coming year. In the meantime, I wish you and your families a very Happy Holiday and Happy New Year!

Best,

Commissioner Greg's Signature
Gregory C. Watson, Commissioner
Twitter @MDARCommish
www.twitter.com/MDARCommish


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FOREFRONT


Energy News

USDA/NRCS EQIP Funding Announcement - Farm Energy Upgrades

NRCS has recently announced a new round of funding as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which helps to support on-farm energy conservation. The first application deadline is December 21, 2012. The second application deadline will be February 15, 2013.

Some of the eligible technologies include:

  • Maple Producers - Efficient evaporators, steam enhanced units and reverse osmosis

  • Greenhouses and Nurseries - Efficient heating systems, energy screens, and HAF

  • Dairies, Orchards and Vegetable Farms - Additional measures may be supported including electrical efficiency upgrades

Farms interested in applying are required to meet NRCS eligibility requirements.

To find out more about NRCS eligibility or to apply, please contact your local NRCS field office or get more information and updates on their website.

Reminder - Recent MA Legislature Energy Bill & Net Metering Revisions

The recent congressional session that ended July 31 resulted in noteworthy net metering revisions as part of Senate Bill 2395, “An Act relative to competitively priced electricity in the Commonwealth.” These are:

Section 23-30, 49. Net Metering

  • Increases the total net metering cap from 3% to 6% of peak load, and exempts certain projects from the cap altogether
  • Increases the private net metering cap from 1% to 3%. Increases the net metering cap for governmental entities and municipalities from 2% to 3%
  • Exempts net metering facilities that generate a small amount of electricity from the private net metering cap. Exempts certain net metering facilities whose capacity is under 10 kW or 25 kW, depending on the circuit it will interconnect with
  • Adds anaerobic digestion to the list of allowable net metering generation facilities
  • Directs the DPU to develop an enforceable standard interconnection timeline

Please see www.malegislature.gov/Bills/187/Senate/S02395 for the full text of the bill.

Here are links to the latest information on net metering capacity by utility from their respective webages. Due to the recent bill, the current cap obligation for each utility is now 3% of each utility’s maximum annual peak for the private sector projects; and 3% of the same peak for state, city and town government projects.

National Grid: www.nationalgridus.com/masselectric/home/energyeff/4_net-mtr.asp

Nantucket Electric: www.nationalgridus.com/nantucket/home/energyeff/4_net-mtr.asp

NSTAR: www.nstar.com/business/rates_tariffs/interconnections/other.asp

Unitil: www.unitil.com/energy-for-residents/electric-information/distributed-energy-resources/net-metering

WMECO: www.wmeco.com/residential/understandbill/ratesrules/NetMetering.aspx

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Update from the Boston Public Market Association

Boston Public Market logo

Plans for the new Boston Public Market, which will be housed downtown on the Rose Fitzgerald Greenway, continue to move forward. The opening date is scheduled for June 2014. The market will feature new business opportunities for farmers, fishermen, dairy specialists, poultry and meat purveyors, and specialty food producers throughout the Commonwealth and the region. If you are interested in selling at the market, please visit bostonpublicmarket.org and sign up to receive information on vending opportunities which will be finalized in the early part of 2013.

Increase Your Online Visibility with MassGrown & Fresher

MassGrown and Fresher logo

Don’t wait! Learn how you can increase your online business visibility for FREE on our award-winning MassGrown & Fresher website. Connecting consumers to Massachusetts producers and vice versa is an important part of our mission. As a producer, you are eligible to “reap” the many benefits of being part of our award-winning MassGrown & Fresher initiative.

What’s to reap?

  • MassGrown & Fresher is your gateway to farm products, specialty foods, and fun “ag-tivities"
  • One of the biggest advantages of joining MassGrown is the powerful prominence the website enjoys via Google searches
  • Easy to use: the site is simple to navigate with only a minimum number of clicks needed to find what you’re looking for
  • One-stop shopping – Massachusetts grown and produced products are all here at one convenient place
  • More and more popular every month! Many media sites now link to MassGrown & Fresher as a go-to resource; and, monthly site visits continue to go up
  • MassGrown & Fresher recently received a “Bright Ideas” award from the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • In November 2012, mentioned in Government Technology Magazine

If you would like to be included on our Agri Google Map, please click here (.pdf, .doc) for our Farm Marketing Survey. Already a part of MassGrown? Make sure your information is up-to-date on our map. Send updates/edits to Rick LeBlanc: Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us. If you host special events that you would like to be featured on our MassGrown calendar, send to Julia Grimaldi, Julia Grimaldi,@state.ma.us. For Twitter users, follow us on @MassGrown.

Scholarship Opportunities for Better Process Control School (BPCS)

Value-Added Processing – Farmers Invited to Apply

UMass Extension and the MA Department of Agricultural Resources encourage Specialty Crop Farmers with an interest in Value-Added processing to apply for this scholarship opportunity to participate in Better Process Control School. The primary objective of this scholarship is to increase the food safety processing skills for farmers interested in producing value-added specialty crops (examples include: acidified foods, glass container closures, retorting, etc.).

Details are outlined below.

Application Deadline: Friday, December 28
Course Date: Tuesday, January 15 to Friday, January 18 from 7:30AM to 5PM
Location: UMass Amherst, Campus Center
Tuition Fee for Scholarship Participant: $150 
Please note: Tuition fee includes administrative costs, course materials, continental breakfast & lunch. Students are responsible for their own meals and lodging outside of the class.

Eligibility:

  • Candidates must presently process or intend to process canned foods using specialty crops (high acid, low acid and/or acidified products)
  • Candidates must be willing to participate in the entire course program
  • Must be willing to participate in 4 survey assessments

Course Details:
Producing healthy, convenient and safe value-added processed foods is a way to further extend specialty crops throughout the year and provide new product offerings to consumers. However, in order to produce safe, quality foods, there are a variety of core food safety principals that need to be identified and controlled when processing. Through the support of the MDAR Specialty Crop Block grant, UMass Food Science Extension invite 10 specialty crop farmers that are interested in producing value-added products to participate in a 3.5 day course, “Better Process Control School” to learn the key food safety processing fundamentals.

By law, all commercial processors, when first engaging in the manufacturing, processing, or packing of low acid or acidified foods in any state must register with the FDA on Form FDA 2541 (Food Canning Establishment Registration; 21 CFR 108.25, http://extension.psu.edu/food-safety). In order to be approved as a registered process, businesses need to operate with a certified supervisor on the premise when processing.

Better Process Control School offers instruction which fulfills the FDA and USDA Good Manufacturing Practice requirements to certify supervisors of acidification, thermal processing and container closure evaluation operations during the canning of low-acid or acidified foods. Throughout the course six basic topics will be covered and with an examination at the end of each session. Participants that complete the full exam and score a minimum of 70 will receive a passing score that will be acknowledged through a certificate.

Application: All interested applicants are required to contact Amanda Kinchla, Food Science Extension via email (amanda.kinchla@foodsci.umass.edu) or by fax: 413.545.1262 no later than, Friday, December 28. Participants must meet all of the requirements listed in the “Eligibility” section of this form and will be accepted on a “first come, first served basis”. Each applicant must include the following:

  • Name:
  • Business Name:
  • Specialty Crops Grown and/or Value-Added products manufactured:
  • Annual production volume estimate for 2012 (in pounds):
  • Have you completed or are you certified any of the following food safety programs (Yes/No):
    • Good Agricultural Practices (GAP):
    • Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP):
    • ServSafe:
    • Safe Quality Food (SQF):
    • Other:
  • Brief description of your interest in BPCS (less than 200 words):

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MA Farm Bureau Announces Two Awards at Annual Meeting in Pittsfield

Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) convened their 93rd annual Meeting last week in Pittsfield, MA. Along with meetings and workshops, two awards were presented.

The Shaw Family of Shaw Farm Dairy, Dracut, were winners of the John Ogonowski Award for Distinguished Service to the Agricultural Community. The Shaw family has been farming for well over a hundred years. Shaw Farm Dairy was founded in Dracut, MA in 1908 by Mark L. Shaw, and has been passed down through four generations to its current owner, Warren Shaw, Jr. Much as the farming tradition has been passed down through the generations, so has the tradition of service to the agricultural community at large. In 1944, the farm was awarded the Agricultural Pennant for wartime production of milk from the Massachusetts Society for the Promotion of Agriculture. Shaw Farm Dairy has held a membership in the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) since 1955. Warren Shaw, Sr. was instrumental in the development of the Farmer’s Live Animal Market Exchange (FLAME), and the creation of the Farm Family Insurance Company. Following in his father’s footsteps, Warren, Jr. has been a county leader in Farm Bureau, serving as Director and President of the Middlesex County Farm Bureau, as well as on the State Board of Directors. Just as John Ogonowski was passionate about preserving farmland, Warren Shaw, Jr. has spent years working on the State’s Agricultural Land Preservation Committee. He received a presidential appointment as the Chairman of the former Agricultural Soil Conservation Service, and he continues to be an active part of the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board. He also served the local community though his work on the planning board and as a selectman. More here.

Heather Hunt of Orange, MA was awarded the Gregory Finn Scholarship. The annual award is given to a Farm Bureau member or immediate family member who is majoring in communications, journalism, music or an agriculturally-related field. Heather was born and raised on Hunt Farm, the family farm which raises Holstein cows. As a youngster, she was very active in 4-H, exhibiting dairy cattle and participating in dairy bowl competitions. She is currently attending Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she is majoring in Animal Science, with a minor in Business Management. Heather hopes to one day manage a large dairy operation. “By becoming a progressive innovator, I hope to manage the farm for maximum output of product without compromising health and safety.” More here.

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Massachusetts Partnership Challenges School Districts to Improve Participation in Breakfast

$75,000 in funding from Fuel Up to Play 60 available to help schools focus on breakfast innovation and friendly competition

New England Dairy & Food Council is proud to announce the launch of the Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge. This challenge, developed in partnership with Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, the Child Nutrition Outreach Program at Project Bread and School Nutrition Association of Massachusetts, aims to increase school breakfast participation by 35% in districts across the state by the end of 2014.

“Consuming a healthy school breakfast helps students establish positive eating habits that contribute to a lifetime of overall better health,” said Jennie Bass, MS, MPH, director of the Child Nutrition Outreach Program at Project Bread. “Research shows that serving students fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean meats improves academic performance, decreases visits to the nurse, and positively impacts classroom behavior.”

On September 20th, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued a letter to encourage school administrators to find innovative ways to increase participation in school breakfast. According to the Food Research and Action Center’s School Breakfast scorecard, Massachusetts ranked a dismal 38th in breakfast participation in the United States. The Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge provides an opportunity to improve that statistic and encourages schools to follow the Secretary’s call to champion school breakfast.

“School breakfast is a win-win opportunity,” said Jane McLucas, president of School Nutrition Association of Massachusetts. “Students win by having the nutrition they need to succeed in school, and the nutrition programs benefit from the increased revenue stream which can be an important part of maintaining a financially sound program.”

The Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge (MSBC) is a multi-faceted project that includes resources, funding opportunities and awards, all in the name of ensuring students start the day with a healthy meal. The challenge website, www.MASchoolBreakfast.org, is the go-to place for Massachusetts schools to get involved with the challenge and access resources on creative approaches to serving school breakfast, such as in-the-classroom breakfast or grab ‘n’ go kiosks.

Through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, $75,000 in funding provided by New England Dairy & Food Council and the dairy farmers of Massachusetts is available to help schools rise to this challenge. Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program that offers individual schools up to $4,000 to help them increase awareness of and access to nutrient-rich foods and physical activity opportunities for students.

"Massachusetts dairy farmers are happy to support school breakfast programs, and a little healthy competition doesn’t hurt either!” said Sam Shields, dairy farmer of Lolan Farms in Middleboro, MA and Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board. “The future of the dairy industry as well as the health of today’s children are critical and deserve our support."

“The Department of Agricultural Resources is thrilled to support the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s role in increasing school breakfast participation. Breakfast not only fuels the minds and bodies of our youth, but it is also a great way to encourage children to consume local dairy products like milk and yogurt every day,” said Greg Watson, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. “Our dairy farmers depend on it too!”

Fuel Up to Play 60 funding can be used to support costs associated with starting or improving school breakfast programs, such as equipment purchases.This special funding application deadline is December 20, 2012.

Visit www.MASchoolBreakfast.org to learn more about the challenge.

2013 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendars Make Great Holiday Gifts

Image of Calender Cover 2013

In its thirteenth year, the 2013 Agriculture Calendar was unveiled and released on Massachusetts Day (Sept. 20) at the Big E. The photo contest has become a popular annual opportunity to highlight farms and local agricultural products across the Commonwealth. This year’s calendar was produced in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), MA Ag in the Classroom (MAC), and MA Farm to School Project.

Each month features a photo of a farm business or crop grown across the Commonwealth, along with teaching tips, statistics, and fun facts on Massachusetts agriculture. Besides having the photographs in the calendar, MDAR also features the winning photos on its homepage. Each month’s photo adds a colorful touch highlighting the rich diversity of our Commonwealth’s agricultural community.

Your purchase of this unique local calendar will show your enthusiasm for Massachusetts agriculture, and will also support the many educational efforts of Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom (the designated recipient of the proceeds). This attractive calendar will make a nice gift for any friend or family member who has an interest in agriculture. Calendars can be purchased for $10 each ($5 wholesale cost at 10 minimum). Send check payable to Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom to PO Box 345, Seekonk, MA 02771. Farms and businesses are encouraged to purchase at wholesale cost on consignment for resale at your retail farms. Contact Debi at debi.hogan@earthlink.net. Thanks to associations who also sponsored pages: MA Maple Producers, MA State Grange, MA Farm Bureau, MA Flower Growers, MA Nursery & Landscape Association, MA Dairy Promotion Board, MA Farm Bureau, MA Fairs Association, MA Fruit Growers Assoc., MA Christmas Tree Association, and the MA Farm Wineries and Growers Association.

Keep visiting farms and clicking your cameras away for next year’s Photo Contest held in the spring!

UPCOMING EVENTS


Ag Business Planning for Established Farmers

For those already operating an agricultural enterprise with at least two years of production and sales records, and who need to develop a comprehensive business plan. “Tilling the Soil of Opportunity” (praised by the 350+ farms who have taken it) offers a chance to assess, regroup, assemble key documentation for decision making, plan and finance expansion, or approach ownership transfer/succession.

This course draws on extensive peer experience, Instructor knowledge and guest speakers. This course is FSA certified for “Borrower Training”. Graduates may qualify for targeted individual technical assistance at course conclusion. 10 sessions over 11 weeks on Tuesday evenings in Amherst. Cost per enterprise - $225 2013: (must attend all sessions): 1/8, 1/15, 1/22, 1/29, 2/5, 2/12, 2/19, 2/26, 3/5, 3/12.

Questions, contact Rick Chandler, rick.chandler@state.ma.us, 413-548-1905.

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Farm to School Workshop

Monday, December 10, 2012, 6-8pm
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project offices:155 Merrimack St., 3rd Floor, Lowell MA 

Are you a farmer who grows food? Would you like to sell it to local schools? Join the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and the Mass. Farm to School Project for a workshop on selling your farm products to schools, colleges, hospitals, and other institutional customers. We'll cover the basics of distribution, product demand, the current state of Farm to School in Massachusetts, opportunities for relationship building with local school districts or colleges, pre-season growing agreements, and more. This workshop is for farmers, and will provide an understanding of the rapidly growing institutional market for locally grown food.

Please RSVP to emily@massfarmtoschool.org. Food and drinks will be served.

NOFA Winter Conference

NOFA logo

The Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter invites you to attend its 26th Annual Winter Conference

Saturday, January 12, 2013
Worcester State University, 486 Chandler St., Worcester, MA

Featuring Keynote Speaker Karen Washington: “Hands across the Fields: Bridging the Rural/ Urban Connections”

Including an all-day seminar with Karen Washington on School Gardens 101, Feeducation: Bringing Agriculture Back in the Classroom

65+ Workshops & Intensives - Dozens of Exhibitors and Vendors - Children’s Program - NOFA/Mass Annual Meeting

Registration at www.nofamass.org/conferences/winter/index.php

For more information about the 2013 Winter Conference, please contact: Cathleen O’Keefe, Winter Conference Coordinator, wc@nofamass.org. For information on workshops, please contact: Wendy Mainardi, wendy@nofamass.org. For information on sponsorships or exhibiting, please contact: Bob Minnocci, bob@nofamass.org. For registration info, please contact Christine Rainville: wcregistration@nofamass.org or call 413-362-2143.

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Farmer Brewer Winter Weekend

January 19 - 20, 2013
Hampshire College, 893 West Street, Amherst

For two days, the workshop will cover grains, hops, malt, and brewing. Speakers will touch upon the technical aspects as well as the practical considerations. In our workshops we will be learning about varitals and soil conditions as well as equipment and costs of production for farming, malting and brewing. Speakers will include a brewing science professor, hop specialist, hop grower, organic grain farmer, farmer brewers, and craft maltsters.

Details at www.valleymalt.com/.

Winter Flower Growers Meeting

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Volante Farms, 292 Forest St., Needham, MA

All day educational program and tours of Volante Farm including their recently redesigned and constructed farm stand and 16,000 sq. foot gutter connected greenhouse with rainwater collection, heated floor and shade curtains.

Sponsored by Massachusetts Flower Growers' Association and University of Massachusetts Extension Greenhouse Crops and Floriculture Program

See: http://extension.umass.edu/floriculture/ or contact Tina Smith, tsmith@umext.umass.edu , 413-545-5306 or Bob Luczai, BLuczai@ballhort.com, 781-275-4811

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NE Grows!

February 6-8, 2013
Boston Convention and Exhibitor Center, Boston, MA

The Northeast's leading horticulture trade show and green industry seminars await you at New England Grows, one of the largest and most popular horticultural and green industry events in North America.

New England Grows connects 13,000+ green industry professionals with the brightest horticultural ideas, hottest selling plants, latest green industry technology, and best outdoor equipment at its 1,100+ booth horticulture trade show.

Add to that dozens of ground-breaking green industry seminars led by world-renowned experts, and you'll understand why New England Grows is the ultimate green industry event for you and your business.

Details and registration at www.newenglandgrows.org/.

Urban Farming Conference - “Cultivating Lands, Nourishing Communities, Building Businesses”

Saturday, February 9, 2013, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Roxbury Community College Reggie Lewis Center, Boston, MA

The MDAR is partnering with City Growers and the Urban Farming Institute to bring you the Urban Farming Conference, “Cultivating Lands, Nourishing Communities, Building Businesses”.

The annual Massachusetts Urban Farming Conference (UFC) is designed to advance the opportunities and address the barriers involved in cultivating a thriving urban farming sector. The UFC is a forum to share information regarding what is currently happening in Boston and other local urban communities and to map out a vision for urban farming in Massachusetts.

The UFC brings together participants representing all aspects of urban farming including, but not limited to, farmers (including roof top, chicken, bees, etc.), commercial buyers, policy makers, and investors. The UFC conference is being convened to foster best urban farming practices, sustainable networks and business relationships. This will be achieved with following interactive panels and roundtable discussions:

  • Open Field Farming and Season Extension Techniques
  • Organic Farming and Its Importance
  • Lessons from Successful CSA Strategies
  • Composting: Policy, Practice and Viable Business Enterprise
  • Roof Top Techniques
  • Food System Investors Meeting
  • Urban Farming Thought Leaders: A Panel Discussion
  • Land: Strategy, Community Control, Zoning and Policy
  • Viable Enterprises Other Than Fruits and Vegetables
  • Investing in Workforce Training
  • Marketing Options

Registration $25.Register here. Limited scholarships are available. For inquiries and sponsorship details, Please contact: Crystal Johnson at Crystal@isesplanning.com, 617-416-4915.

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New England Agricultural Marketing Conference & Trade Show Set for February 2013

Image of Harvest New England

February 27 - 28, 2013
Sturbridge Host Hotel, Sturbridge, MA

The Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference & Trade Show is once again coming to Sturbridge, MA in February 2013. This is the 4th biennial New England conference and it draws hundreds of farmers and farm industry members to idea-laden workshops and to hear motivational speakers. Mark your calendars now and join your fellow regional agriculturists for a jam-packed program!

The theme of the 2013 conference is Making “Cents” in Today’s Marketplace. Attendees will find 26 workshops on topics such as marketing, agri-tourism, social media, financing and more. There will be a panel discussion with the agricultural chiefs from each of the New England states. Don’t forget the trade show with a large variety of agricultural vendors and the New England Farmers’ Market Managers Workshop.

Keynote addresses will feature Roberta MacDonald, Senior VP for Marketing at Cabot Cooperative Creamery. MacDonald has over 30 years of experience in consumer products and trade marketing including 20 at Cabot. Also providing a keynote address is Bob Burke, Co-Founder of the Natural Products Consulting Group. Burke helps to bring all categories of natural, organic and specialty products to market. Prior to this, he served 11 years as the VP of Sales and Corporate Development at Stonyfield Farm Yogurt.

Early Bird registration is now open. Click here for more information. Program details and lodging options are also available at this site. Register early for the best deals!

Harvest New England (HNE) is a cooperative marketing program created by New England’s state departments of agriculture in 1992. It has sponsored this regional conference since 2007. For more information, contact David Webber, David.Webber@state.ma.us, 617-626-1754.

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MA Association of Agricultural Commissions Annual Meeting & Conference

Saturday, March 2, 2013
Sturbridge Host Hotel, 366 Main St., Sturbridge, MA

Registration 9:30 AM
Sessions start at 10:00 AM
lunch and annual meeting 12:00 noon
Sessions 1:15 - 4:30 PM
Social 4:30 PM

RSVP by February 15, 2013, Cost $30.00 conference & lunch, Cost $20.00 lunch & annual meeting only
Make checks payable to MAAC, and mail to: Laura Sapienza-Grabski, 2 Brookview Road, Boxford, MA 01921

Do you have an Ag Commision in your town? Click here to see list of towns with Ag Commissions and Right to Farm bylaws. If you are interested in starting an Ag commission in your town, contact Pete Westover at 413-665-4077, westover03@comcast.net, or Cheryl Lekstrom, 508-835-6936/2452, clekstrom@mac.com.

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New Entry Online Farm Business Course

New Entry Sustainable Farming Project offers Online Farm Business Planning Course as one of the versions of its flagship Farm Business Planning Course this fall and winter. Learn to develop and plan for your farm business in either a classroom setting or a web-based learning environment! Will cover all aspects of planning for the long-term financial success of your farm business, including how to:
 

  • Select farm enterprises, create enterprise budgets and develop a farm business plan
  • Identify the markets in your area and promote your farm products
  • Find and evaluate the materials, equipment, and additional information and resources you will need as a farmer
  • Develop a crop production or livestock husbandry plan

Dates: Fall session full, but next session starts in Jan.; winter session: January 6 – March 16
Flexible schedule and location with 1 mandatory in-person orientation session to be held in downtown Boston, MA. Course fee: $500, or sliding scale based on tuition scholarship application ($100 - $500). For more information and to apply to the online course, please visit nesfp.nutrition.tufts.edu, Questions? email Maura Beaufait at maura.beaufait@tufts.edu or call 978-654-6745.

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USDA News


USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Updates on Loan Programs

The FSA notice below provides information and guidance on FSA Farm Loans. There may be opportunities for program applicants to access these financial resources to assist with installing conservation practices.

www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=fmlp&topic=landing.

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Agricultural Census

Conducted every five years by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, the Census aims to capture a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches and those who operate them. Census forms will be mailed out in late December, and responses are due by February 4th, 2013. Producers also have the option to complete their forms online.

Your response is important. Results of the Census are used to serve farmers and their communities today, and help benefit the future generations of farmers tomorrow. Legislators at various levels of government use the data when shaping farm policy, and agri-businesses factor it into their planning efforts.

For more information about the Census, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call 1-800-4AG-STAT (1-888-424-7828).

What to Expect From Your Crop Insurance Agent

Why is a Crop Insurance Agent Important? 
Your crop insurance agent is the link between you and the biggest single part of the federal safety net for agriculture. Crop insurance is available only from private insurance agents. All agents are licensed by the state, must receive federally mandated training, and pass a competency exam.

What Should I Look For? 
Given that the price for all crop insurance policies are set by USDA’s Risk Management Agency, how do you decide on an agent? What matters is the quality of service and how well the agent meets your needs. To see how most farmers would describe a good and effective crop insurance agent, please click on the following link:
http://farm-risk-plans.rma.usda.gov/pdf/what_to_expect.pdf 

UMass Extension works in partnership with the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) to educate Massachusetts producers about Federal Crop Insurance and Risk Management Programs. For more information, please visit www.rma.usda.gov or contact UMass Risk Management Specialists Paul Russell at pmrrussell@umext.umass.edu or Tom Smiarowski at tsmiarowski@umext.umass.edu.


IN EVERY ISSUE

Classified Ads

  • Position Open - The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) Agriculture Program Director, MA. There is a great opportunity available in Massachusetts. TTOR (the oldest regional land trust in the world) seeks an Agriculture Program Director.
  • Seeking Two New Lands Farm Marketing Specialists - Specialists will be conducting hands-on assistance to new refugee farmers wishing to sell their fresh vegetables on our farm sites and additional garden sites. Refugee farmers represent diverse backgrounds and skills. The Specialists will be working directly with New Lands Farm staff to offer one-on-one marketing assistance and increase refugee farmer product sales. Click here for a full job desciription. We are hiring for two positions, one based in Worcester and one in West Springfield, MA. Full time with benefits. Applications reviewed on a rolling basis. Open until filled. Send cover letter and resume to hrma@lssne.org.
  • For Sale – International Harvester Three Bottom Spring Reset Land Plow - $2,500.00 – 978-897-9977 or merriltrucks@comcast.net.
  • 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.
  • Seeking property to lease or purchase for dairy farm. Two young dairy farmers in Berkshire County have lost their lease and must relocate their 80 head herd and milking operation by spring 2013. Prefer to stay in Massachusetts and will consider all regions. Need minimum of 100 acres pasture land, barn. Any leads appreciated. Contact: Chris Butterfield, 413-320-7505, chris56575@aol.com.
  • For Sale - Minature Jersey cow/heiffers for sale. Contact Daniel at 978-453-8749.
  • Certified Organic Young Roosters Available. Dominiques, Buckeyes and Americauna roosters hatched on farm, pastured on grass since day 1, all hatched under broody hens. These guys will go into the freezer if they don't find other homes on different farms. Call 508-763-5901, leave message for The Clover Path Garden in Acushnet, MA.
  • Growers Wanted for One Day Farmers Market in Rockport - Tentatively scheduled for Saturday, December 22nd. There is no space rental fee. Plenty of parking. Contact Jay Smith at info@smithace.com

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, Richard K. Sullivan, 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 February / March. Please send news, calendar and/or classified information by January 30 to Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us, or fax to 617-626-1850. To unsubscribe or change your address, send an e-mail message to Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us or call 617-626-1759.