Vol. 90, No. 3, June / July

In this issue:

MDAR logo

Commissioner's Column - Gregory C. Watson





Commissioner's Column


Commissioner Gregory C. Watson

Dear Friends,

In this issue I’d like to take the opportunity to focus on The Massachusetts Food Policy Council (FPC) was created by an Act of the Legislature on November 7, 2010.  The 17-member Council is composed of four members from the legislature, six members from various state agencies within the Executive branch, and seven industry representatives.

The purpose of the FPC is to increase production, sales and consumption of Massachusetts-grown foods and to develop and promote programs that bring healthy Massachusetts-grown foods to Massachusetts residents by making recommendations that could be carried out by various existing programs focusing on everything from state and federal subsidies to farmland protection and marketing strategies.  Its creation was, in large part, a response to the public’s growing awareness of the positive impacts that the consumption of locally grown produce and products made from them can have on their health and well-being.  

At the same time, the United States Department of Agriculture along with state and local governments were discovering to their dismay, the prevalence of so-called food deserts. These are defined by USDA as “urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food.”  According to the Agricultural Marketing Service:
“Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options. The lack of access contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.”
Addressing this challenge of food deserts has been a part of the FPC’s thinking and planning process from the beginning.

I am chair of the FPC. It is a responsibility that I welcome and take very seriously.  Over the past year, my appreciation for the importance of the mission of the FPC has grown as the council members working together with the members of the legislatively mandated advisory committee have taken their work beyond the original goals of the enabling legislation.
What do I mean by that? While some of the initial discussions centered on specific strategies for attracting supermarkets into neighborhood food deserts, there was a feeling that we needed to adopt a more systemic problem-solving approach.  

As the enabling legislation pointed out, Massachusetts is blessed with a diverse menu of programs relevant to the mission of the Food Policy Council.  What seemed to be missing, in our view, was a framework that could help those involved envision how much more could be accomplished by virtue of some modest measures of voluntary cooperation and collaboration.
The Food Policy Council and Advisory Committee concluded that the most effective catalyst to bring about the kind of programmatic synergy that needs to happen, would be the creation of a strategic plan for the Massachusetts food system.  I understand that a “plan” may sound pretty passive to most folks.  But not for those of us old enough to remember how dire the state’s agricultural economy was back in the early 1970s.  At that point, we were in danger of seeing our agricultural heritage vanish forever. For decades, we had been losing thousands of acres of farmland and hundreds of farm businesses annually.  

Then, in 1974, the Commonwealth published “The Final Report of the Governor’s Commission on Food: In Search of a Food Policy”. Far from an academic exercise, that report helped influence the legislative adoption of the Farmland Assessment Act in 1973.  It was embraced by Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture Commissioner Fred Winthrop and became the basis for the Massachusetts Policy on Food and Agriculture issued by the Department in 1976.  Some of the recommendations put forth in that document included “Buy Massachusetts” campaign, the purchase of development rights, support for community gardens, distribution centers in low income neighborhoods, utilization of state-owned agricultural land and support for the revival of farmers’ markets.

Today in Massachusetts, more than 69,000 acres of prime agricultural land has been protected from development; more than 250 farmers’ markets have been established along with scores of community supported agriculture (CSA) operations; eight regional grassroots “Buy Local” initiatives have been organized; and a highly anticipated year-round public market is scheduled to open next year.

The 1973-76 planning effort was developed within the context of a declining farm economy.  It helped stabilize the state’s agricultural land base and build consumer demand for locally-grown products.  The FPC strategic plan should help propel the next phase of the Commonwealth’s agricultural renaissance leveraging programs and initiatives throughout the state help sustain and grow our robust, resilient and evolving food system.

I also wanted to highlight that our Annual Report for 2012 is now live online on our website. Learn about MDAR’s over 60 programs which cover a multitude of services.   Click here pdf format of 2012 MDAR Annual Report
file size 3MB to view the electronic report.

Commissioner Greg's Signature

Gregory C. Watson, Commissioner

Twitter @MassDeptAgr

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Application Period Still Open for Three Grant Programs

MDAR will be accepting applications from farmers who wish to participate in these Farm Viability programs in Fiscal Year 2014. Applications for all three programs must be received by June 18, 2013. Interested farm operators are encouraged to review these options on the web pages of the Department or call contacts listed below for each program for more information.

Farm Viability Enhancement Program - Provides business planning, technical assistance and grants of up to $75,000 to implement farm growth and sustainability strategies. Typical uses of funds from the Farm Viability Program include new buildings or repairing farm structures, modernizing field equipment, purchasing delivery vehicles and tractors. Applications and program information are available on the link above, or you can request a copy of the application by calling the Farm Viability Program at 617-626-1723.

APR Improvement Program - The purpose of the APR Improvement Program (AIP) is to help sustain active commercial farming on land protected by the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program. AIP provides technical assistance and business planning to improve farm productivity with the goal of enhancing the significance of APR farm operations and their contribution to the state’s agricultural industry. Grants of up to $75,000 are provided. The current Request for Response with application is available online or by calling the APR Improvement Program at 413-268-8269.

Grant Program For Beginning Farmers - Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture (MEGA) Program helps with business expansion on new and beginning farms. MEGA will provide technical assistance and business planning help, and then provide funds for farm improvement strategies. Funding provided from this Program will be made available on a one to one matching grant basis and the maximum award shall be $10,000. MEGA applications and program information are available at the link above, or you can request a copy of the application by calling 413-559-0949.

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Application Period for Energy & Environmental Grants Ended

The AgEnergy FY2014 Grant Program for applications ended as advertised May 3, 2013. This year MDAR received AgEnergy grant applications from 38 farms, with requests totaling over $810,000. Projects once again consisted of a combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy applications. As part of the application processing, all project applicants are receiving a letter notifying the receipt of their application. Applications are now under review, ultimately working toward developing a finalized recommended list of projects for award. 

MDAR thanks all the farms for their applications and interest in energy efficiency and clean energy applications for their agricultural operations!

USDA Renewable Energy for America Program(REAP) Application Extension Announced

As noted in MDAR’s May 13, 2013 E-Blast, USDA Rural Development (RD) announced an extension to their Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) from April 30, 2013 to May 31, 2013 for energy efficiency and renewable energy grants and loan guarantees. It was good to see some farms were able to take advantage of this new deadline. Please read the announcement in the Federal Register (click here). For questions, please contact Anne Correia - Energy Coordinator, Business & Cooperative Programs, Rural Development, United States Department of Agriculture, 15 Cranberry Highway, West Wareham, MA, 508-295-5151, Anne.Correia@ma.usda.gov.

MassCEC Commonwealth Small Pellet Boiler Pilot Grant Program

MassCEC and DOER have dedicated $475,000 to the Commonwealth Small Pellet Boiler Pilot Grant Program. This program provides financial assistance in the form of grants to Massachusetts residents and organizations who install high-efficiency, low-particulate matter (PM) wood-pellet boilers or furnaces in their homes or businesses.

To qualify for a grant, the installed boiler or furnace must be used in a year-round residence or small business where the building occupant pays into the MassCEC’s Renewable Energy Trust Fund. All customers of investor-owned utilities – National Grid, NSTAR, Western Massachusetts Electric Company, Unitil (Fitchburg Gas and Electric) – and participating municipal lighting plants (Ashburnham, Holden, Holyoke, Russell and Templeton) pay into this fund. Grants in this program will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. “Base” grants begin at $7,000 for the wood pellet boiler/central heating unit with bulk storage, and with various “adders” including automatic fuel conveyance, thermal storage, solar thermal hybrid, and moderate income or home value, the grant could reach the maximum grant value of $15,000.

This Small Pellet Boiler Program is part of the MassCEC’s new broader Renewable Thermal Program, which has already included incentives toward pellet stoves and outdoor wood hydronic heater replacements, and will soon include industrial/commercial wood boilers, community district heating, and residential and commercial air and ground source (geothermal) heat pumps. For more information on these programs please contact biomassthermal@masscec.com

Solar Renewable Energy Credits(SRECs) Updates

Solar Credit Clearinghouse Auction – Account is Open for Deposits and an Auction will be Held 
The Solar Credit Clearinghouse Auction account was opened for deposits of 2012 vintage SRECs on May 16th and will remain open through June 15th. DOER hereby announces that eligible deposits have been made into the account, and thereby an auction will be held for the 2012 compliance year.  The first round of the auction will be held on July 26th. General information about the Auction mechanism can be found here on DOER’s website. The Auction is being administered by World Energy, Inc. and auction participants should review Auction Documents and registration instructions for bidders at World Energy’s website

Assurance of Qualification Guideline – Revised Draft now Posted for Comments 
DOER has posted revisions to the Assurance of Qualification Guideline on its website. This revision reflects comments received from stakeholders on its first draft. DOER will accept additional comments on the revised Guideline through May 31st.   

For more information, please contact: Dwayne Breger, Ph.D.
Director, Renewable and Alternative Energy Development
Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
617-626-7327 Fax: 617-727-0030
dwayne.breger@state.ma.us, www.mass.gov/doer/

New Net Metering “System of Assurance” Initiated

As noted in the last F&MR, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has adopted a new process to admit renewable energy projects for net metering purposes. Now initiated, this “System of Assurance” will ensure an eligible net metering project a place in the net metering queue while the project is being implemented. This is different from the past where projects were admitted into net metering only after the project was constructed, commissioned and feeding electricity into the grid and if there was still room in the net metering cap.

For those farms that are in the process of installing an eligible, net metering renewable energy project, please contact your installing contractor regarding your need to be part of this new process.

For details, please refer to the official DPU Memorandum (click here), and if you have questions, please contact the Hearing Officer:
Laura C. Bickel, Hearing Officer, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Department of Public Utilities, 1 South Station, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02110, 617-305-3588, laura.bickel@state.ma.us

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Agricultural Business Planning Courses 2013 - 2014

MDAR offers three course levels serving participants who are 1) thinking about farming, 2) gearing up to start with secure access to land, or 3) already operating Massachusetts agricultural enterprises. 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 included 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 for 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 - $125. Offered February-March 2014 in Amherst and Marlborough.

Planners – For those a step beyond Explorer who have a strong sense of what they intend to do: “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 - $175. Offered January-March 2014, with a Fall 2013 session in Amherst on Saturday Mornings November 2, 9, 16, 23 December 7, 14.

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 - $225. Offered January-April 2014, with a Fall 2013 session in Amherst on Wednesday evenings October 9, 16,, 23, 30, November 13, 20, 26 (Tuesday to avoid Thanksgiving), December 4, 11, 18 .

E-mail information/application requests to Rick.Chandler@state.ma.us.

Hosting Ag-Related Events?

Need some help promoting your farm/community festival or culinary event? Mass Grown & Fresher hosts a year round calendar filled with a variety of ag-tivites - fun for the entire family! It is

 one of our most popular features; highlighting the diversity of food and farming waiting to be discovered across the Commonwealth. Next to the map, it is one of the most clicked on web pages under MassGrown. E-mail calendar submission form to Julia.Grimaldi@state.ma.us. These events also help us build upon our social media network on Twitter @Massgrown, bringing event information to hundreds of our followers.

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.

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Farmers’ Markets Looking for Vendors

Many farmers’ markets are seeking vendors for the upcoming season. For a complete statewide list which includes new proposed markets, click here. Be sure to check back periodically for updates. If you would like to add a market, contact David Webber, David.Webber@state.ma.us, 617-626-1754.

This year’s annual Massachusetts Department of Transportation Farmers’ Market Program will begin in May 2013 and runs through the Fall. We invite all Massachusetts’ farmers to sell their freshly grown fruits and vegetables as well as their made in Massachusetts food products, on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Farmers market program has been very popular for the last ten years on the Masspike and for the fourth year, MassDOT has decided to offer the Farmers Market at all eighteen (18) service plaza’s on State of Massachusetts’ Highways. Along with the original eleven (11) Masspike service plazas, MassDOT has added seven (7) new service plaza locations. The Farmers Market Program offers our Massachusetts’ farmers a unique opportunity to sell and market their wonderful locally grown products. Farmers can sell their goods as long as they do not compete with the service area stores and restaurants.

The service areas available for the Farmers’ Market are located in Lee (east/west), Blandford (east/west), Ludlow (east/west), Charlton (east/west), Westboro (west), Framingham (west) and Natick (east), Interstate 95 in Newton, Lexington, Route 128 in Beverly, Route 24 locations (north/south ) in Bridgewater, Route 3 in Plymouth and Route 6 in Barnstable.

If you are interested in participating in this year’s program or have any questions, please contact David Fenton at 413-572-3171 or via e-mail at Dave.Fenton@state.ma.us.

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Massachusetts Wasp Watchers Looking for Volunteers

The Massachusetts Wasp Watchers project is looking for volunteers to participate in an effort this summer to detect the invasive Emerald Ash Borer and related beetles. Wasp Watchers monitor ball-fields across the state each July using a native non-stinging wasp that is an expert beetle catcher. Sign up now at: http://massnrc.org/pests/blog/2012/06/wasp-watchers-wanted-2.html


Rabies Vaccination Clinics

MDAR, in a combined effort with the Massachusetts Animal Coalition is encouraging pet owners to take advantage of rabies vaccination clinics being held across the Commonwealth this spring. Massachusetts law requires all dogs, cats and ferrets living in Massachusetts be vaccinated against rabies. Low-cost rabies vaccination clinics are offered to protect pets and the public at large against this potentially deadly disease and provide pet owners an affordable solution to remain in compliance with the law.

Most of the clinics are open to any member of the public, regardless of residency. As a matter of convenience, pet owners may choose to attend any of the scheduled clinics to have their pet vaccinated for rabies. The costs for the vaccinations vary but all are affordable. Some clinics offer additional services such as other routine vaccinations, dog licensing and microchipping.

For a list of participating communities, visit www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/animal-health/rabies-control-program

This rabies awareness effort is co-sponsored by the Department of Agricultural Resources, the Massachusetts Animal Coalition and Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in cooperation with the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association, and the Cape Cod Veterinary Association. The MDAR Division of Animal Health started the program in 2000 to raise awareness of rabies and increase compliance with state vaccination law.

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June is Dairy Month!

June Dairy Month is a national tradition that originated in 1937. It is a time to celebrate and enjoy dairy products during the month of June when milk production typically is at its peak. In June and indeed all year long we want to raise our milk glasses and toast Massachusetts dairy farmers. Dairy farmers and their cows work hard every day to produce roughly 246 million pounds of local, wholesome milk which is used to make delicious products like cheese, yogurt, ice-cream, and butter. Dairy farming is essential to the vitality and diversity of Massachusetts agriculture. Dairy farms maintain approximately 113,600 acres of open space and land preservation and dairy farming circulates approximately $40 million to a local economy. Explore all things dairy!




Fruit Growers Annual Summer Meeting

Wednesday, July 10, 2013,
Location: 10:00 am to 2:30 pm, Honey Pot Hill Orchards, 138 Sudbury Road, Stow, MA

Massachusetts Fruit Growers’ Association, Inc. in cooperation with the University of Massachusetts Fruit Program

10:00 AM - Welcome to Honey Pot Hill Orchards -- Andrew Martin
10:15 AM - Orchard Tour
NOON - Lunch provided with the registration charge
1:30 PM - Welcome to the Annual Summer Meeting -- Andrew Martin, President
1:35 PM - Presentation of the Annual Dr. Ronald J. Prokopy Award in Recognition of Outstanding Support of Massachusetts Agriculture -- Ken Nicewicz
1:40 PM - Educational Program
2:30 PM - Adjourn

One hour of pesticide-license-recertification credit will be offered for the day. Cost of registration for the meeting is $30 per MFGA Member and $35 for non-members, which includes lunch. Please register by filling out registration form, along with the appropriate payment by July 5 to assure the availability of the lunch. You can alternatively register online with a credit card at: www.massfruitgrowers.org.

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MNLA / Flower Summer Field Day

Thursday, July 25, 2013
Location: Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA
Sponsored by:
The Massachusetts Nursery Landscape Association (MNLA), Massachusetts Flower Growers Association (MFGA) and University of Massachusetts Extension

Join Massachusetts' largest green industry associations - MFGA and MNLA - for their annual collaborative event, the 2013 Summer Field Day and Trade Show on Thursday, July 25th. Take advantage of the newest ideas and cutting edge information, tours of the Tower Hill Botanic Garden, trade show, networking and great food! Featuring Keynote speaker: Dr. Bethany Bradley, UMass Amherst for an eye opening look at climate change and implications for Massachusetts horticulture.

Plenty of exciting topics to choose from, both inside and out – rain or shine.

  • “Making Sense of Soil Tests for Landscapes, Nurseries and Greenhouses”
  • “Conserving Pollinators in our Horticulture Businesses”
  • “New Annual Plants and How to Use them in the Landscape”
  • “Sustainable Water Management Initiative”
  • “Hemlock Wooly Adelgid and Resistant Hemlocks”
  • “Fertilizers: BMPs and Pending Regulations”
  • “Risk Management Tools for Nurseries”
  • IPM Walk about: Insects, Diseases and Weeds
  • Tours of Tower Hill Botanic Garden (Edible landscapes, Carey Awards, Perennials and more)
  • Pesticide credits

Register early (by June 30) and save!
Register on- line or download a flier from the MNLA website: www.mnla.com/

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Christmas Tree Twilight Meeting and Annual Meeting

Wednesday - June 19: Twilight Meeting - 6:00 pm - Arrowhead Acres - Uxbridge, MA

Saturday - August 24: Annual Meeting - 8:00 am - 3:00 pm - Seekonk Tree Farm, Great Barrington, MA - will include Farm tour and discussion on IPM Practices by Dr. Elizabeth Lamb & Peter A. Sweet. Dr. Elizabeth Lamb is the coordinator for Ornamental IPM of the NYS Integrated Pest Management Program. Her IPM duties cover helping growers of Christmas trees, nursery crops, greenhouse ornamentals and greenhouse vegetables learn how to use a variety of pest management techniques to produce the best crops they can She has worked for NYS IPM for 7 years. She had degrees from Smith College, Cornell University, and the University of Minnesota and has worked in Arkansas and Florida before returning to New York. Seekonk Tree Farm will be used as the classroom to see how Peter applies weed control practices, fertilization, and mowing to grow his trees. Also, discussion on how knowing the soil type and water movement on the farm can help with site specific planting, along with discussing the challenges in controlling elongate hemlock scale. www.christmas-trees.org

Teachers - Educator Workshops and Graduate Courses on the Farm

MAC logo
Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom (MAC) is pleased to announce our Summer Schedule of 11 Educational Workshops on the Farm for Educators. These workshops offer agricultural-literacy training through fun, hands-on study and investigation of agriculture education resources. We invite teachers to join us for one or more of our summer workshops that are being held on farms across the state and try out some hands-on activities for the classroom while you explore local farms. Each workshop runs from 9 am to 3 pm, offers classroom-ready educational activities and focuses on a different area of agriculture. The $40 fee for each workshop includes all materials, 10 professional development points and most lunches.

These workshops may be taken individually or teachers may choose to participate in our 3 Credit Summer Graduate Course for Teachers. The Three Credit Summer Graduate Course on the Farm is titled "Growing Agriculture in Your Classroom" It is offered in cooperation with Fitchburg State College. The Beginning Workshop will be held on: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 and the Ending Workshops will be held on Thursday, August 15, 2013. Each teachers must attend at least six additional workshops on the farm (selected from the list below) during the summer, keep a note book, take a brief quiz at each workshop, write three lesson units for their classroom and presented one lessons at the final session on August 15th. Each workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fee for the Three Graduate Credit Course is $500.

Summer Workshops 2013 Schedule:
  • Wednesday, July 3 - Herbs, Plant Propagation and Nursery Production Workshop at Tranquil Lake Nursery, Rehoboth
  • Tuesday, July 9  - Massachusetts Agricultural History: Through Tools and Practices Workshop at Storrowtown Village Museum in West Springfield
  • Thursday July 11 - Cutting Edge Technology on A New England Size Dairy Farm Workshop at Great Brook Farm in Carlisle
  • Tuesday, July 16  - Soil Exploration, Vegetable Farming & Horses Workshop at Verrill Farm in Concord
  • Tuesday, July 23 - Dairy Goats, Fiber and Cheese Workshop at Turkey Haven Farm, Pascoag, RI
  • Thursday, July 25 - Honeybees, Pollination and Pollination at Warm Colors Apiary in South Deerfield
  • Tuesday, July 30 - Sharing STEM Connections in the School Garden Workshop at The Williston Northampton School, Easthampton
  • Thursday August 1 - Cranberries, IPM, Water and Habitat Workshop at Slocum Gibbs Cranberry Farm in Carver
  • Tuesday, August 6 - Gardens, Food Systems and Food Preservation Workshop at Heifer International’s Learning Center at Heifer Farm, Rutland
  • Thursday, August 8  -Orchards, Cider Mills and Fibers Workshop at Dowse Orchards and Iron Horse Farm in Sherborn
  • Tuesday, August 13 - Pollination and Gardening at the School Workshop at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Worcester Public Schools in Worcester
Details on each one here.

Summer Graduate Course for Educators 2013

Requires participation in 8 Summer Workshops, a journal of the summer on the farm, writing three lesson plans, presentation of one lesson to peers, and a test.

MAC is please to announce their eighth annual summer graduate credit course in agricultural literacy training for educators. Using Massachusetts farms as your classroom, learn how agriculture can enhance your curriculum, enthrall your students and meet many curriculum standards, especially the new Next Generation Science Standards. This graduate course offers agricultural-literacy training through fun, hands-on study and investigation of agriculture education resources. It will assist new educators and those who want to expand their classroom offerings as they learn how to integrate agriculture into the classroom to create lessons and reinforce curriculum standards.

This Summer Institute, title "Growing Agriculture in the Classroom" will meet of Tuesday, July 2nd and Thursday, August 15th at the Brigham Hill Community Farm in North Grafton from 9 am to 3 pm. Each participant will also be asked to attend six additional workshops during the summer, selected from a total of eleven workshops and one Summer Conference on various agricultural topics offered at farms across the state. Participants must keep a journal of their summer agricultural journey, take a brief quiz at each workshop, write three lesson units for their classroom and presented one lessons at the final session on August 15th .

The fee for the eight-day course is $500 and includes all materials; farm workshops and tours; lunches, and three graduate credit credits or 67 professional development points from Fitchburg State College. Participants will receive a letter grade. Curriculum standards covered by the lessons will be handed out as workshop materials. Each participant will be paired with a MAC Board members to give long-term access to agricultural resources and follow-up support.

Using Massachusetts Farms as your classroom, learn how agriculture can enhance your curriculum, enthrall your students and meet many of the curriculum standards requirements. Workshops offer hands-on, open-ended experiences, activities and resources related to a variety of agricultural topics. Participants will:
  • Learn that agriculture is a vital and important part of Massachusetts’ economy, community resources and history and then create community partnerships with local farms.
  • Learn how to use agriculture in your classroom to create fun and relevant lessons that reinforce curriculum standards, especially the new Next Generation Science Standards.
  • Strengthen your science background with fun hands on activities and use agriculture as the medium to teach science processing skills.
  • Receive resources and hands-on activities related to agricultural topics and learn how to use them in the classroom and outdoor setting.
  • Receive training in using various teaching technologies and website links where you can find answers to questions.
The mission of MAC is to foster an awareness and learning in all areas related to the food and agriculture industries and the economic and social importance of agriculture to the state, nation and the world. In addition to the workshops on the farm for teachers, Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom offers a seasonal newsletter; mini-grants for teachers and educators; an interactive Web site; educational manuals and School Gardening resources.

Sign up for Summer workshops can be on the farm individually, or request a brochure by contacting Debi Hogan at MAC, at 508-336-4426 or write to Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, PO Box 345, Seekonk, MA 02771, or visit our Web Site at www.aginclassroom.org.

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International Summer Fancy Food Show

Over 58  Massachusetts food companies will exhibit at the International Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City, June 30 – July 2, at the Jacob Javits Center.  The Massachusetts Pavilion, organized by MDAR, will feature products from 30 Bay State food businesses.  These small to medium sized businesses will meet new customers and develop sales from the mostly independent retail buyers in attendance. Eligible first time exhibitors have 50% of costs reimbursed by USDA FAS.  The trade show has a reputation as the premier marketplace for value-added foods, with 2,400 exhibitors and 24,000 attendees. A mission prior to the show will include buyers from 16 countries, and one-on-one meetings will be coordinated by MDAR and Food Export.  

Three Massachusetts companies are contenders for the “Oscar” of the food world - the prestigious “sofi” award .  The nominees are; Effie’s Homemade, LLC, Hyde Park, “Shelf Stable Foodservice Item;” Sauces n’ Love, Lynn, “Condiments;” and Tea Forte, Concord, “Food Gift.”  Winners will be announced at the event.  Since the Fancy Food Show has come back to the Jacob Javits Center in New York City after being in Washington DC for two years, the event is oversold! 

Farm stand operators and retail businesses looking to add Massachusetts value-added products to their inventory can attend the event www.specialtyfood.com/fancy-food-show/summer-fancy-food-show/register-now/  Information is also available about food trends of interest to both food and agricultural producers.

Indulge in some of the wonder foods the following local food companies have to offer; ranging from snacks, meals, and beverages.

Massachusetts Pavilion:
Beach Plum Baking Company, Scituate, www.beachplumbaking.com
Beyond The Shaker, LLC, Woburn, www.beyondtheshaker.com
Biena Foods, Boston, BienaFoods.com
BOLA, Great Barrington, www.bolagranola.com
Bonnie’s Jams, Cambridge, www.bonniesjams.com
Boyajian INC., Canton, www.boyajianinc.com
Budi Products LLC, Boston, www.budibar.com
C’est Gourmet, Framingham, www.cestgourmet.com
COASTAL GOODS, Barnstable, www.coastalgoods.com
Coop’s Microcreamery, Watertown, www.coopsmicrocreamery.com
Doves and Figs LLC, Arlington, www.dovesandfigs.com
Dresden Stollen Co, North Grafton, www.dresdenstollen.com
Effie’s Homemade, LLC, Hyde Park, www.effieshomemade.com
Good Tastes Kitchen LLC, Newburyport, www.good-tastes.com
Harbor Sweets Inc., Salem, www.harborsweets.com
Klara’s Gourmet Cookies, LLC, Lee, www.klarasgourmetcookies.com
Lark Fine Food, LLC, Essex, www.larkfinefoods.com
Mange, Somerville, www.freshfruitvinegars.com
McCrea’s Candies, Hyde Park, www.mccreascandies.com
Nantucket Butter Company LLC, Nantucket, www.nantucketbutterco.com
Powell & Mahoney, Salem, www.powellandmahoney.com
PRAIM Group, Salem, www.praimgroup.com
Quinn Popcorn, Woburn, www.quinnpopcorn.com
Root Cellar Preserves, Wellesley, www.rootcellarpreserves.com
Sauces ‘n Love, Inc., Lynn, www.saucesnlove.com
Spindrift Beverage Co. LLC, Charlestown, www.spindriftfresh.com/
Stirrings, LLC, Mansfield, www.stirrings.com
Sunshine International Foods Inc., Methuen, www.sunshinefood.com
Taza Chocolate, Somerville, www.tazachocolate.com
YMB Enterprises, Osterville, www.chefybainier.com

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Northeast Organic Farming Association Summer Conference

Join NOFA for a weekend of learning, networking, and fun with people who are transforming the food system in the Northeast. In addition to hundreds of practical skills and farming workshops, the conference features live entertainment, children's and teen conferences, a country fair, organic meals, 100 exhibitors and much more. The conference will take place August 9-11 on the University of Massachusetts, Amherst campus.

For more information, visit www.nofasummerconference.org

Exhibitor/Vendor, Advertiser, Sponsor Opportunities at NOFA Summer Conference

Participant in the Conference as a sponsor, exhibitor, advertiser, or all three and reach a market of 1,500 farmers, gardeners, landscapers, educators and consumers from across New England, New Jersey, New York and other parts of the United States. This inspiring weekend offers a wonderful experience of networking, educational opportunities and selling. More than 200 workshops will be offered providing valuable information about organic farming, landscaping, food preparation and preservation, bee keeping, animal husbandry and dozens of other topics. It’s a great place to market while engaging in vital networking.

Free advertising for your business or organization awaits you! Sign up and pay for your vending space and we'll list your name as an Early Bird Vendor in our many email promotions that we're sending to 6,000 subscribers many times between now and the conference. It's free advertising! All you have to do is pay for the space and you're in!

This historic farming event attracts 1,400 to 1,600 people who will be shopping for your products and services during a weekend of educational workshops, great keynotes and fabulous organic and local food prepared by the UMass award-winning catering team. We'll also be listing vendors on our web site.

The sponsor, advertiser and vendor form are available here.

Consider becoming a sponsor. Your logo will appear with a link to your website here and will remain on the site through the end of the calendar year, enhancing the search engine pull of your website. Sponsorships offer a broad basket of marketing benefits at either the Silver ($500) level or the Gold ($1,000) level. Gold Sponsorships include vending space and registration for one person into all events.

Don't forget to place your ad in the Summer Conference Program Book. Attendees hold onto the book all year long as they search for organic friendly products and services. Added this year is a new introduced low cost $45 classified ad. Space is limited in the Program Book, so reserve and pay for the ad early. Contact: Bob Minnocci, 662 Mass Ave #6, Boston MA 02118, 617-236-4893, bob@nofamass.org.

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NOFA/Mass Animal Husbandry Workshop Series

These workshops take place at farms throughout Massachusetts that are raising various livestock, including beef and dairy cattle, chickens, and pigs, using pasture-based methods.

Presenters will explain their own management practices for these animals and offer tips based on their experience. These workshops emphasize practical management for improving the ecological sustainability, quality, and financial viability of animal husbandry on your farm or homestead.

For workshop descriptions and registration info, visit: www.nofamass.org/events/type/animal-husbandry

Saturday, June 22 - Raising Grazers with Grain-fed Animals - 2:00 - 5:00pm, Simple Gifts Farm, North Amherst, MA
Saturday, July 27 - Certified Organic Poultry, Pigs, Steer, and Worms - 10 - 3:00pm - Many Hands Organic Farm, Barre
Saturday, August 24 - 100% Grass-Fed Seasonal Raw Milk Dairy - 2:00pm - 5:00pm - Blue Hill Farm, Great Barrington


USDA Announces Next Cut-off Date for Wetlands Reserve Program

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications from landowners interested in the Wetlands Reserve Program, which helps landowners restore and protect wetland ecosystems on private and tribal lands. A new round of federal funding authorizes $255 million to enroll up to 100,000 additional acres into WRP nationwide. Landowners may select a permanent or 30-year easement or a restoration cost-share agreement, retaining ownership of the land once the agreement is in place.

Landowners interested in this voluntary program should contact their local NRCS office as soon as possible. Applications are accepted throughout the year but to be considered for current available funding, please apply by June 14th.

To apply, visit your local USDA Service Center; locations are listed on-line at http://offices.usda.gov or in the phone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture. General program information is available on the NRCS Massachusetts website at www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov.

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Next Conservation Stewardship Program Extended to June 14

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has extended the cut-off date for farmers to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The voluntary program allows producers to go the extra mile in conserving natural resources while also maintaining or increasing the productivity of their operations.

“CSP is different than our other financial assistance programs,” said Christine Clarke, NRCS State Conservationist for Massachusetts. “It offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. It’s about conservation activities on the entire operation, focusing on multiple resource concerns.”

Although applications are accepted all year, Massachusetts farmers and forestland owners interested in CSP should apply by June 14 to their local NRCS office to ensure they are considered for current funding. 

Many of the CSP enhancements improve soil quality, which helps land become more resilient to extreme weather. Several other improvements are available for producers, including intensive rotational grazing, intercropping and wildlife friendly fencing.

Because of the extreme weather in 2012, more interest and participation in the cover crop enhancements is expected this year, according to NRCS experts.

Nationwide, NRCS will provide about $175 million in funding for up to 12.6 million additional acres enrollment this year.

A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types.

For the checklist and additional information, visit the CSP website or visit your local USDA NRCS office. To apply, visit your local USDA Service Center; locations are listed on-line at http://offices.usda.gov or in the phone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture. General program information is available on the NRCS Massachusetts website at www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov.

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Crop Loss Reminder

Tropical Storm Andrea has passed through Massachusetts dropping up to 4 inches of rain in some areas. Growers may be experiencing flooded fields, erosion, and soils too wet to plant. Farmers concerned with potential crop losses are reminded to timely contact their crop insurance agent, for insured crops, or the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for non-insured crops or excessive soil erosion problems.

Most crop insurance policies require notification of potential crop losses within 72 hour of the event. Growers are reminded not to destroy damaged crops until inspected by a crop loss adjustor. It is extremely important that your crop insurance company have an opportunity to view and assess your damaged crops as part of the crop loss adjustment process. Destruction of a damaged crop prior to an inspection may disqualify a farmer from receiving a crop loss indemnity payment.

Growers of spring seeded crops are reminded the final date to report crop acreage is near. Most spring seeded crops have a final reporting date of July 15, 2013.

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.

Farm Service Agency County Committee - Nomination Period Begins June 17

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced recently that the nomination period for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees begins on Monday, June 17.

"I encourage all eligible farmers and ranchers to participate in this year's county committee elections by nominating candidates by the August 1 deadline," said Vilsack. "County committees are a vital link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and provide an opportunity to farmers and ranchers for their opinions and ideas to be heard. We have been seeing an increase in the number of nominations of women and minority candidates and I hope that trend continues.”

To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate.

Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others, and organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form, FSA-669A. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available online at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. Nomination forms for the 2013 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 1, 2013. Elections will take place this fall.

While FSA county committees do not approve or deny farm ownership or operating loans, they make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues. Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide, there are about 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to 11 members that are elected by eligible producers.

FSA will mail ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 4. The voted ballots are due back to the local county office either via mail or in person by Dec. 2. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office on January 1, 2014.


Classified Ads

  • Autumn Hills Orchard is seeking to hire a farmer with tree fruit experience. Current MA pesticide certification is also preferred but not required. Hours may be part or full time, depending on scope of responsibilities. Duties to include: working with a crop advisor re: spray and cultivation tactics, spraying crops, creating a schedule of tasks and actions to oversee peach, apple, pear and grape harvest, supervising additional field workers during harvest, coordination with marketing/sales staff on harvest schedules, quantities, etc., coordination with retail staff during pick your own (September and October). Autumn Hills is located on an 84 acre parcel in Groton, MA. Employ IPM methods to grow and deliver high quality fruit to retail via Pick-Your-Own, CSA and wholesale customers in Eastern MA. Interested individuals can respond by e-mail to: info@autumnhillsorchard.com or call Ann Harris at 617-921-7262
  • Next Generation Farm Ownership Opportunity - Dairy/Cheese/Composting Farm Business
    Owner of a diversified dairy/cheese/composting farm business in central MA is willing to provide a “young entrepreneur” with the opportunity to be the next generation owner. Well established markets are in place for both the cheese and the compost. The owner is willing to consider owner financing toward the ultimate purchase. Qualifications: The successful candidate will need to demonstrate their ability to transition from worker, to manager to owner from all aspects of business operations. The candidate can be an individual or could be a couple. Questions or to apply: Please contact Jon Jaffe at OtterRiverHR@FarmCreditEast.com. More at: www.farmcrediteast.com/Knowledge-Exchange/Member-News/20120530-Farm-Ownership.aspx
  • Looking for Manager: The Western MA Food Processing Center seeks a Manager for their shared use kitchen. This position offers a unique opportunity to work with growers and food entrepreneurs! For more information click here, contact John Waite, Executive Director, 413-774-7204, ext. 102, johnw@fccdc.org
  • Helping Tell Your Story: I help farmers, commodity groups, and agricultural businesses get the attention they deserve and the customers they need, through websites, social media, earned media, newsletters, grant proposals, and more. agricommunications@gmail.com 413-634-5728
  • Used Hoops - Schedule 40 galvanized pipe hoops, $18 each, $15 for 50+.  Each hoop is custom-bent from a 21 ft. length to a half circle measuring 14 ft. wide and 7 ft. high, weighing about 25 lbs. Cover with whatever is appropriate for your needs – poly, shade cloth, tarp or another material. These provide an economical solution for many needs: protect growing crops from weather extremes; provide a sheltered space for animals; cover equipment, vehicles and other items that need to be kept out of the weather; store bagged materials, soil, mulch, compost, and other bulk products; as temporary workspace to protect your staff from wind and precipitation. Hundreds still available, Hopkinton, MA. Call Wayne Mezitt 508-962-1857
  • Farmall Super A with full cultivators and belly mower.  Nice paint, runs well. $3900/bo  413-549-8873
  • 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
  • Lime - Bulk 30 ton loads only - @ $25 per ton, free use of spreader for uniform application - contact Jim at 508-612-0945
  • Seeking to rent a greenhouse for commercial hydroponic operation, or to partner with a greenhouse operation for additional hydroponics. Contact 781-642-0842

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
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Department of Agricultural Resources

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
  • Gregory C. Watson, Commissioner
  • Dorrie Pizzella, Chief of Staff
Division Directors

Next issue to be published for August / September. Please send news, calendar and/or classified information by August 1 to Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us. Sign up to receive the Farm & Market Report via e-mail (send blank e-mail). To unsubscribe or change your address, send an e-mail message to Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us or call 617-626-1759.