In this issue: 

Commissioner's Letter

Forefront

Business

Upcoming Events

News From USDA

In Every Issue


Commissioner's Letter 

Image of Scott Soares

Dear Friends,

Our Massachusetts growers have by and large overcome their first “frosty” challenge of the 2010 growing season and an earlier than normal season is well underway! To that end, sales of shares for Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) and growing demand for fresh local products are indicators pointing to continued interest in locally grown agricultural products! Since last I wrote, twelve new farmers’ markets are set to make their debut this season in 8 counties across the Commonwealth. In the interest of expanding sales opportunities as well as access to locally grown products, we have also made gains through awarding 22 grants to help farmers’ markets process payments by low-income residents who participate in the Supplemental Assistance Program (SNAP) through the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. These grants were made possible by a nationally unique collaborative effort between MDAR, the Department of Transitional Assistance, Wholesome Wave Foundation, and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. A kick-off event will be held on June 22 at the Dewey Square Farmers’ Market at South Station to celebrate this initiative to improve greater access to fresh, wholesome, locally grown food.

Also off to a great start is our agricultural fair season. On May 29th, I and other MDAR staff participated in a kick-off fair event at the Massachusetts Sheep & Woolcraft Fair at Cummington Fair Grounds. Last year saw over 3 million families, residents, and visitors at our fairs. From points east to west, there are today over 40 fairs that highlight our rich agricultural heritage and which offer fun for everyone in the family. To help find these great family events we’ve published the 2010 Fairs Directory and needs to be posted at www.mass.gov/agr/fairs/fairs_directory in a new format that includes an easy to use pull out map.

But Agricultural Fairs aren’t the only agri-destination that Massachusetts agriculture has to offer! To help residents and visitors easily find farmers’ markets, fairs, farms, nurseries, pick-your-own operations and more, maximizing our use of internet technology, our new Massgrown & Fresher website at www.mass.gov/massgrown features an Agri-Google mapping feature. With just a click of a mouse, you can find all of your favorite agri-destinations across the state. Since our Beta launch of the Massgrown Map, we have been receiving positive feedback from visitors and industry alike. Please let us know what you think!

On the ag-energy, business development, and farm assistance front this is a busy season for our Division of Agricultural Technical Assistance (DATA). The DATA division oversees five energy grant programs that were increased this year to a total $2 million in funding. Throughout the month of July, staff will be reviewing upwards of 200 project proposals ranging from farm business plans and environmental best management practice installations to energy efficient pumps and photo voltaic systems. In fact, regarding installation of alternative energy systems, the agriculture industry has been a very active sector! Recently I visited a project MDAR helped fund in Egremont, MA at Indian Line Farm – a grid-tied 6.5 kW photovoltaic system. That same day I had the opportunity to view the progress toward installation of an Anaerobic Digester at Pine Island Farm in Sheffield. With regard to these and more than 80 projects that have sprung up around the Commonwealth, it has been great to see folks at the local, state and federal level join forces to help realize tangible gains through the installation of energy saving systems like these.

As further evidence of the new and interesting partnerships being forged, I recently attended an event at the Boston Medical Center which is the first medical center in New England to launch the Keep Local Farms program and will be contributing $.10 per every single-serve milk sold to Keep Local Farms. Keep Local Farms is partnering with retailers, universities, and health care facilities to support local dairy farmers and the products they produce while increasing the demand for local milk.

Speaking of milk, and particularly the procurement of raw milk, it has been a topic much in the MDAR news lately. In fact raw milk dairies have grown 170 percent from 10 in 2006 to 27 in 2010. As a result of the MDAR’s effort to promulgate 330 CMR 27.0 Standards and Sanitation Requirements for Grade A Raw Milk, the Department received a number of comments and concerns associated with the proposed changes to the regulations that are intended to align the Commonwealth's regulations with the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). Although proposed language in the regulations relative to distribution of raw milk off the farm was withdrawn by the Department, we did extend the duration and the opportunity for interested parties to provide comments during a May 10 hearing. The Department is currently reviewing the information it received during the comment period and the hearing relative to proposed amendments and is determining what if any further action will be taken.

From educational speaking engagements and surveys around invasive species to the development of a guide for Best Management Practices for Backyard Poultry Keepers, our four divisions – Agricultural Development, Animal Health, Crop & Pest Services, and Technical Assistance continue to work on many new initiatives to promote and regulate agriculture in ways that will ensure long-term sustainability and growth of our working landscapes. See more below!

Best,

Image of Soares Signature

Scott J. Soares, Commissioner
www.twitter.com/AgCommishSoares

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Forefront


Energy News

FY 2010 Ag-Energy Grant Program Announced

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) was pleased and excited to announce the FY2011 Ag-Energy Grant program in early May 2010. This is the 3rd year for the Ag-Energy Grant and this year’s program is similar to the last one, prioritizing the implementation of energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE) projects on farms. Though there is a listing of preferred technologies, any EE or RE can be submitted. This year’s total funding has been increased to $475,000. Maximum requested funding is $30,000 per project and applications are due June 30, 2010. Award announcements are anticipated in September and projects must be completed by June 30, 2011. For more information, please visit MDAR’s Ag-Energy website @ www.mass.gov/agr/programs/aegp.

USDA Rural Development Announces REAP for FY 2010

The USDA announced April 26, 2010, that the Rural Business—Cooperative Service is now accepting applications for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for fiscal year (FY) 2010 (October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010) for the purchase of renewable energy systems and the making of energy efficiency improvements for agriculture producers and rural small businesses in eligible rural areas. See the following link for the announcement in the Federal Register - http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-9580.pdf. As of April 26, 2010, applications will now be accepted. Deadline for applications is June 30, 2010.

MA farms have been the recipients of over $1 million in grants and loan guarantees from REAP in the past two years alone. Significant support for some of those awards came from the Grant Writing service and workshops offered to farms by the MA Farm Energy Program (MFEP). MFEP, now in its 3rd year of grant writing assistance, is this year in collaboration with MA Woodlands for the 2nd consecutive year providing this service, with a primary focus on grant requests from agricultural producers of $20,000 or less, a funding amount MFEP understands to be a priority with USDA. This year’s REAP is accepting applications on a two-week rolling basis until deadline, with funding appropriations highest at the beginning and lowest at the end. June 4, 2010 is the next rolling submission date with two more to follow.

Contact MDAR and the MFEP for more information on this subject at - www.berkshirepioneerrcd.org/mfep/index.php

Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP):

The MA Farm Energy Program (MFEP) just completed a statewide series of energy workshops in collaboration with MDAR, BPRC&D, USDA NRCS, USDA FSA, USDA RD and MA Woodlands in order to prepare MA farms for this year’s energy incentive programs. Programs overviewed included:

  • The Massachusetts Farm Energy Discount Program of MDAR
  • Electric and gas public utility energy conservation & efficiency programs
  • USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
  • USDA’s related NRCS and FSA programs
  • The Clean Energy Center, formerly known as Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust (MRET), Initiatives
  • MFEP Technical Assistance and Incentives
  • Energy related regulations such as net metering, SRECs, Federal Section 1603 tax credit to cash option, etc.

Through MFEP’s “AUDITS & INCENTIVES PROGRAM”, the MFEP will make referrals to existing audit and incentive programs, provide “targeted” energy audits and/or renewable energy assessments, and provide financial incentives for implementation of audit recommendations. Higher priority will be given to farmers with less access to other audits and incentives programs. MFEP audits, assessments, and consultations will be paid at 75% with the applicant responsible for the remaining 25%.

MFEP has already assisted farms in this year’s USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Farm preparation, particularly pertaining to an energy audit or assessment, is critical to be ready for the REAP program and the ability to apply. Please visit MFEP’s website at www.berkshirepioneerrcd.org/mfep/energy.php to see how the MA Farm Energy Program can help you prepare for either this or next year’s REAP.

New State Energy Blog

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) celebrated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day this year by launching a new blog, Energy Smarts, “dedicated to engaging with the public around energy efficiency, renewable power and other energy topics important to Massachusetts citizens and businesses.”

Energy Smarts bloggers include the staff of MDAR and several energy blogs have already been posted on agricultural energy related topics and events. Energy Smarts also provides an opportunity to talk back to the bloggers and share your own experiences and ideas about renewable energy, energy efficiency and other relevant topics.

"Supporting development of new clean energy companies and technologies, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, training workers for a new generation of energy jobs and taking steps to combat climate change are among the most important tasks of this generation," DOER Commissioner Phil Giudice said. "Energy Smarts will help us share ideas for making a difference every day."

Visit Energy Smarts at www.mass.gov/blog/energy. If you have an idea for an agricultural energy blog, please email Gerald.Palano@state.ma.us.

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Application Deadlines for MDAR Grants Totaling $2 Million 

Application deadlines are rapidly approaching for $2 million in grant funding available through the Division of Agricultural Technical Assistance. The funding is intended to help agricultural operations enhance their economic viability, prevent environmental resource impacts, improve energy efficiency, and implement renewable energy systems

Deadlines are below. Details are provided at the following website:
www.mass.gov/agr/divisions/ag_technical_assistance.htm

Also presentations from the recent series of workshops held to promote the grant programs are available at: www.mass.gov/agr/programs/workshops/index.html

GrantDeadlineContact
NEW FARMER
Matching Enterprise Grants Program (MEGA)
Tuesday,
June 15, 2010
Craig Richov at 617-626-1723
www.mass.gov/agr/programs/mega
Farm Viability Enhancement Program (FVEP)Thursday,
June 24, 2010
Craig Richov 617-626-1723
www.mass.gov/agr/programs/farmviability
APR Improvement Program (AIP)Wednesday,
June 30, 2010
Melissa Adams at 413-268-8269 www.mass.gov/agr/programs/aip
Agricultural Energy Grant Program (Ag-Energy)Wednesday,
June 30, 2010
Gerry Palano at 617-626-1706
www.mass.gov/agr/programs/energy
Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP)Wednesday,
June 30, 2010
Laura Maul at 617-626-1739
www.mass.gov/agr/programs/aeep

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Public Hearings Under the Global Warming Solutions Act: Commonwealth of 
Massachusetts' Greenhouse Gas Emissions Target and Draft Climate 
Implementation Plan for 2020
 

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is holding public hearings to solicit comment and input on the state’s Draft Climate Implementation Plan to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. The plan is available at www.mass.gov/dep/air/climate/draftcip.doc. While Massachusetts agriculture does contribute to GHG emissions, the emissions are small relative to other sectors such as transportation, energy production and industrial processes. Indeed the potential for cost-effective reductions of GHG emissions from agriculture has not been evaluated for this Draft Plan. However, the plan states that “to the extent that an analysis of the potential for these sectors” (including agriculture, wastewater treatment and natural gas and oil supplies) “as well as the potential in the biogenic (primarily forestry) sector, is completed over the next several months, the potential reductions from these sectors may also be included in the implementation plan to be released by January 1, 2011.”

The Patrick Administration has been at the forefront of moving Massachusetts into the clean energy future with an integrated approach to reduce greenhouse gases, seize economic development opportunities, reduce our dependence on foreign fossil fuel and reduce energy costs for consumers. As part of this broad approach, in August 2008, Governor Patrick signed into law the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), making Massachusetts one of the first states in the nation to move forward with a comprehensive regulatory program to address climate change. The Act requires an 80 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by 2050, with a 2020 target to be set between 10 and 25 percent below 1990 levels. Massachusetts has already promulgated greenhouse gas reporting regulations under the Act; 2009 emissions will be the first year reported.

The Act requires that by January 1, 2011 the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA), in consultation with other state agencies and the public, adopt a greenhouse gas emissions target for 2020 that is between 10 and 25 percent below 1990 emissions levels and an implementation plan for achieving the reductions required to meet the target.

In February, the Commonwealth’s technical consultant completed an analysis that showed that state and federal policies now in place or anticipated have Massachusetts on track toward emissions reductions of 18 percent by 2020. On Earth Day, April 22, 2009, the Secretary announced that hearings would be held around the state to take public comment on a 2020 reduction target between 18 percent and 25 percent. The “Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Draft Climate Implementation Plan: A framework for meeting the 2020 and 2050 goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act” is available on the MassDEP website at http://www.mass.gov/dep/air/climate/draftcip.doc. The Secretary also requests testimony on measures to achieve the target that show potential for energy cost savings and job growth and has recently released a draft report on this topic entitled Cost Effective Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in Massachusetts: An Analysis of 2020 Potential.

The meetings will begin with two short informational presentations. The first presentation will be an overview of the Commonwealth’s work on a 2020 emissions target and the Draft Climate Implementation Plan. The second presentation will summarize the results of the technical analysis of GHG reduction potential for 2020. After a brief time for clarifying questions, the formal hearing will be opened for testimony.

A schedule of the hearings is posted on the MassDEP website at http://www.mass.gov/dep/air/climate/gwsa_hearings.htm and is listed below.

Please circulate this announcement to your associates and/or members who may have an interest in these hearings.

Hearing Schedule:

uesday, June 1Thursday, June 3Monday, June 7Tuesday, June 8
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Berkshire Athenaeum
One Wendell Avenue
Pittsfield, MA
5:30-7:30 p.m.
MassDEP Central Regional Office
627 Main Street
Worcester, MA
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Pollard Memorial Library
401 Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Lakeville Public Library
4 Precinct Street
Lakeville, MA
Wednesday, June 9Monday, June 14Tuesday, June 15Tuesday, June 22
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Springfield Public Library
220 State Street
Springfield, MA
1:30-3:30 p.m.
McCormack Building
21st Floor, Rooms 1 & 2
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Clark Building, 5th Floor Conference Area
Quisset Campus
Woods Hole, MA
6:00-8:00 pm
Tobin Community Center
1481 Tremont Street
Boston, MA
These hearings will be conducted under the provisions of M.G.L. chapter 30A. Public hearing notice.

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Edible Boston - Agriculture in Massachusetts - "Green and Growing" 

Edible Boston magazine, devoted to the celebration of the abundance of local food in the Greater Bostoncover of Edible Boston area, is in its fifth year running.

 Published quarterly, its focus is on local farmers, chefs, artisan cheeses, recipes, farmers’ markets, guest articles, and all things locally grown! The latest 2010 summer edition of Edible Boston features an article by Commissioner Scott J. Soares entitled Agriculture in Massachusetts: Green and Growing. In it Commissioner Soares highlights agricultural trends, economic indicators, and recent “ag” initiatives. To view this article go to: www.ediblecommunities.com/boston/summer-2010/agriculture-in-massachusetts.

The subscription rate for the hard copy version of edible Boston magazine is $32 annually. Other edible Communities publications (edible Vineyard, edible Cape Cod, edible Pioneer Valley, and edible South Shore) are also available. Go to www.ediblecommunities.com for more information.

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Calling All Farmers Markets! Announcing the 2010
America's Favorite Farmers Markets Contest
 

This nationwide contest will give farmers' market customers an opportunity to vote for their favorite markets and show support for their local food communities. The goal is to promote the connection between fresh and local food and the local farms and farmland that supply it. The 2010 America’s Favorite Farmers' Market contest is open for new farmers markets to register! This year American Farmland Trust is offering a host of new prizes for market managers and customers, more tools to get larger crowds out to support farmers' markets, and will be making a bigger impact for local farms and food in America!

Voting starts June 1st so get ready, get out, and love your farmers' market. Farmers' Markets that are interested in participating can sign-up now. AFT Press release pdf format of farmers-mkt-contest.pdf

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Massachusetts Farm Honored by National Dairy Quality Awards 

Congratulations to Karen and Charles Herzig of Coombs Hill Farm, Colrain: Silver Winner.
Winners of the 2009 National Dairy Quality Awards (NDQA) program were announced during the NMC 49th Annual Meeting, January 31 - February 3, 2010, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Now in its 16th year, the goal of the NDQA program is to honor dairy producers from across the U.S. who successfully have placed top priority on producing milk of the highest quality. The NMC, along with Hoard's Dairyman, Fort Dodge Animal Health, GEA Farm Technologies, Ecolab Inc, IBA Inc., Select Sires, Cover-All, and QMI, sponsored the awards.

Dairy farms are nominated for the award by professionals in the dairy industry who work with producers, such as dairy plant field representatives, veterinarians, DHI supervisors, or extension personnel. Over 200 dairy farms were nominated in 2009.

Finalists from this year's program were judged by milk quality experts who looked at quality indicators such as somatic cell count, bacteria count and incidence of mastitis. The judges looked beyond just numbers however -- applications were also evaluated for milking routine, systems of monitoring udder health, protocols for detecting and treating clinical and subclinical cases, record keeping, strategies for overall herd health/welfare, and adherence to drug use regulations.

Platinum, Gold and Silver winners were designated from the group of finalists.

Top-rated Platinum winners, honored during the NMC Annual Meeting, [click here for photos and brief bios].

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Business


MDAR Releases New Agricultural Composting Guidelines 

Division of Agricultural Technical Assistance has updated the “Guide to Agricultural Composting”, a series of guidelines intended for Massachusetts farmers engaged in agricultural composting. It's available at the agricultural composting website: www.mass.gov/agr/programs/compost/index.htm

Farmers interested in composting regulated waste materials from off the farm, need to register with MDAR. Waste materials that are regulated include leaf and yard waste, newspaper, clean compostable shells, manure, wood waste, food waste (e.g. cafeteria food) and vegetative waste (e.g. supermarket produce). A registration ensures that the agricultural composting activity taking place at that farm is considered to be “conditionally exempt” from DEP solid waste facility site assignment requirements. Conditionally exempt operations are required to use good management practices, be carried out in a manner that prevents an unpermitted discharge of pollutants to air, water or other natural resources, and result in no public nuisance.

The guidelines are intended to help agricultural operations manage their composting activities to meet these requirements.

The role of MDAR is to determine if an operation applying for an agricultural composting registration is an agricultural unit and if the proposed site is appropriate for composting. The guidelines describe facets of composting that all operators should understand before applying to the Department for a registration. A registration application form can be directly downloaded at the following location: www.mass.gov/agr/programs/compost/docs/ApplicationForm2010.doc doc format of Compost Registration Application

To facilitate a better understanding of composting issues, MDAR is in the process of developing a workshop on agricultural composting for registered compost operations for the late fall. Details will follow. In the meantime, the guidelines should help farmers manage their composting process to ensure a useable, quality material that has value for land application.

Contacts:
Registrations and Site Assessments: Bill Blanchard William.Blanchard@state.ma.us
Guidelines: Saiping Tso: Saiping.Tso@state.ma.us
Website: www.mass.gov/agr/programs/compost/index.htm

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Keep Local Farms Update 

Keep Local Farms Continues to Partner with Businesses, Universities and Retailers

New England companies recognize the economic, cultural, and environmental benefits dairy farms bring to the region. As a result, many are partnering with Keep

 Local Farms to show their support for our hard working farmers. Below is a list of organizations that joined the Keep Local Farms initiative in April.

Boston Medical Center is contributing $0.10 to Keep Local Farms for every single-serve container of milk sold in the cafeteria. The announcement was made at Boston Medical Center during an Earth Day event for members of the community.

Champlain College and St. Michael's College have started giving $0.10 for every single-serve container of milk sold in campus stores to the Keep Local Farms fund. They join Harvard and University of Vermont as colleges and universities that are contributing to the program.

St. Albans Cooperative Store announced that it will make a $0.20 contribution to Keep Local Farms for every gallon of milk unit sold in the store. Vermont Governor James Douglas commended St. Albans Cooperative for joining the initiative.

Our Website is Winning Awards!
KeepLocalFarms.org has been chosen as a Webby Honoree for the Activism category in the 14th Annual Webby Awards. Hailed as the “Internet's highest honor” by the New York Times, the Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the internet. Check out our official Honoree listing and our award-winning website, KeepLocalFarms.org.

Find Us on Facebook and Twitter
We're making it easier to stay connected! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for information on the latest events and news related to dairy farming in New England and Keep Local Farms. We'd love to hear your comments, so become a fan or follow us today!

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Farmers' Market Seeking Vendors 

Many farmers’ markets are seeking additional vendors for the upcoming season. Opportunities exist at new and existing markets for all types of market vendors. Contact the market managers for more detailed information about each market. For general information on selling at Massachusetts farmers’ markets, contact David Webber at 617-626-1754 or David.Webber@state.ma.us.

Click here for new and existing markets seeking vendors pdf format of farmers-markets-seeking-vendors.pdf
.

MDAR's Farmers' Market Resources for Farmers page: www.mass.gov/agr/markets/farmersmarkets/resources_growers.htm

MassDOT’s Farmer’s Market Program

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Farmers' Market Programs invites local farmers to take advantage of free space at our 18 Service Plazas

 along various Massachusetts highways to sell their home-grown produce and made-in-Massachusetts products.

Complimentary vending space is made available on a first-come, first-served basis at the following locations: (Please note that 7 new service area locations are available this year) I-90 (Mass Turnpike) located in Lee, Blandford, Ludlow, Charlton, Westborough, Framingham and Natick. Rte. 128/I-95 locations in Newton, Lexington and Beverly. Details here.

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MDAR's Animal Health Division Develops Guidelines for
Backyard Poultry Enthusiasts

Over the last few years, interest in raising small poultry flocks has been steadily increasing and no longer confined to rural settings. The Division of Animal Health often receives inquiries from suburban and urban poultry enthusiasts alike with questions ranging from what kind of chickens they should buy to proper feed. In response to this growing interest, MDAR has developed a Best Management Practices guide pdf format of Best Management Practices for Poultry
for poultry keepers that outlines the proper caring and handling of poultry.

Outreach efforts also include agricultural updates and news postings to the Great Outdoors e.g. a poultry related blog entitled 'Backyard Breakfast'. The most important tip to ensuring a successful and satisfying experience with raising poultry is to make sure to check with local city or town officials about complying with all local bylaws, ordinances, or permit requirements.

For more information about raising poultry, contact MDAR's poultry inspectors:

  • Edward Hageman (617) 626-1796
  • Megan Megrath (617) 626-1798
  • Alexander MacDonald (617) 872-9961

Upcoming Events


Livestock Farm Day - June 5

Hosted by New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
June 5th, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm North Grafton, MA

The New Entry Livestock Fields Schools are back! We're leading off our 2010 series with a free Farm Day at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton, MA.

Farm Day will have something for everyone, from experienced livestock producers to those trying to figure out if raising livestock is right for them, to folks with a few backyard animals. Hands-on educational workshops will be running throughout the day, including species-specific overviews for raising cattle, sheep, goats, swine, or poultry; how to grade and process eggs; a livestock quality judging demonstration; and a workshop on incorporating alternative energy practices on your farm. Feed and equipment vendors will be available throughout the day to field your questions, and you will have the opportunity to network with farmers of all levels of expertise. And did we mention it's free? Well, all except for the pig roast lunch - but we hear that's well worth the money and features a Tufts-raised, local and delicious pig! Please RSVP to sanderson@comteam.org so we can plan lunch numbers.

Farm Day will begin at 9:00 am (concurrent workshops begin at 9:30) and will end at approximately 3:30 pm. This is the first workshop in the 2010 Livestock Field School series. To view a schedule of all workshops, please visit http://nesfp.nutrition.tufts.edu/resources/livestockschool.html. 

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Serv Safe Training to be Held 

UMass Extension has space available for an upcoming Serv Safe Training to be held June 25 and July 2 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm at the Department of Inspectional Services, 25 Meade Street, Worcester. The cost is $195 per person and includes course training, textbook and test and will be taught by David Nyachuba, PhD, UMass Extension Food Safety Specialist.

Serv Safe is a comprehensive food safety and sanitation training program, developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation for food service personnel. Program participants learn the principles and practices of food safety to reduce the incidence of foodbourne illness and improve food quality.

For more information, Contact Cindy Hubbard at 413-545-6539 or Hubbard@umext.umass.edu.

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Dairy Farm Success Through Diversity: Field Day on Grazing, Transitioning to
Organic, Cheese-making, and Producing Raw Milk
 

Location: Robinson Farm, 42 Jackson Rd, Hardwick, MA
Time: Saturday, June 12, 2010, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Interested in organic dairy production in Massachusetts? Come to the NOFA/Mass Field Day on Grazing, Transitioning to Organic, Cheese-making, and Producing Raw Milk.

Presenters include Stephen Herbert (UMass), Tom Akin (NRCS), Winton Pitcoff (NOFA/Mass), and our hosts and operators of Robinson Farm, Ray and Pam Robinson.

The day includes a walking tour of the farm along with explanation of management techniques provided by the presenters. For full information on this event, including registration info, please see:www.nofamass.org

Registration for this workshop is $35. The NOFA membership discount is $5. Contact: Ben Grosscup, 413-658-5374, ben.grosscup@nofamass.org; put "June 12" in subject.

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The Great Ideas Summer Conference! 

Date: July 21, 2010
Place: Bigelow Nurseries, Charlton, MA

Sponsored by: The Massachusetts Flower Growers Association (MFGA) and Massachusetts Nursery Landscape Association (MNLA) and University of Massachusetts Extension

Join Massachusetts' largest green industry associations - MFGA and MNLA - for their seventh annual collaborative event, the 2010 Summer Meeting and Trade Show on Wednesday, July 21, 2010 for a full day of education, trade show and a mixed planters competition. Featured speakers are Dr. Kristin Getter, Michigan State University on "Marketing to the Post-Recession and Eco-Consumer", Tony DiGiovanni, Executive Director, Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association on "Pesticide Bans in Canada - Is the US Next?", Dr Ted Bilderbeck, North Carolina State University on "Pot in Pot Cultural Methods for Nursery Production", John Mangus, USDA on Risk Management...and a panel of grower/retailers from Cauley Garden Center, Lakeview Nurseries, Nunan Florist and Greenhouses and Russell’s Garden Center discussing challenges, changes and outlooks for the future. Plus….demonstrations on calibrating pesticide sprayers, pruning trees and shrubs, scouting for pests on trees and shrubs and talks on Asian Longhorn Beetle and Lyme Disease by University of Massachusetts experts.

Register on line or download a flier from the MNLA website: www.mnla.com.

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Summer Workshops on the Farm and Summer Graduate Course 

Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom has put together a schedule of 12 Educational Summer Workshops on the Farm. These workshops may be taken individually or you may choose to participate in our 3 Credit Summer Graduate Course for Teachers. Please check out the schedule and workshop descriptions below and also help us spread the word about these great educational opportunities. The list is below and a detailed description of each workshop is located at the end of this e-mail. Help us Spread the Word!! and we hope to see you this summer.

  • Wednesday, June 30 - Sheep, Wool and Fibers at Greenwood Hill Farm, Hubbardston
  • Tuesday, July 6 - Turf, Grains and Energy on the Farm at Four Star Farms, Northfield
  • Thursday, July 8 - Cranberries, Bogs and Wetlands at Mann Cranberry Farm, Buzzard’s Bay
  • Tuesday, July 13 - Canning and Preserving Locally Grown Foods at Warren Farm and Sugarhouse and Brookfield Orchard, North Brookfield
  • Thursday, July 15 - Farm Animal Literacy, Connecting to Agriculture through Books, Heritage Breeds and Navajo Sheep at Sky Dance Farm, Lanesborough
  • Tuesday, July 20 - Slow Foods, Organic Farming and Agriculture Education on the Farm at Allandale Farm, Jamaica Plain/Brookline
  • Thursday, July 22 - Vegetables, Pick Your Own and Literature Connections at Indian Head Farm, Berlin
  • Tuesday, July 27 - Honeybees and Pollination, Community Supported Agriculture and Demystifying Healthy Foods at Trolley Crossing Farm in Bellingham
  • Tuesday, August 3 - School Gardening, Nature Club and Forestry at the Heath Elementary School and Hall Tavern Farm, Charlemont
  • Thursday, August 5 - Saving Seeds and Heirloom Seeds at Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge
  • Tuesday, August 10 - Herbs for the Classroom and School Garden and Planting to Increase Wildlife Diversity, Nursery Operation at Tranquil Lake Nursery, Rehoboth
  • Tuesday, August 17 - Blueberries, Peaches and Apples, Pick-Your-Own and Value Added Agricultureat Parlee Farms, Tyngsboro

Join us for one of more of our summer workshops and try out some hands-on activities for the classroom while you explore local farms. Each workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., offers classroom-ready educational activities and focuses on a different area of agriculture with exploration of the work that takes place at that farm. The $30 fee for each workshop includes the educational program and tour, all educational materials and activities, and ten professional development points with a related classroom activity. Lunch is also included with ten of the twelve workshops. All Workshops run from 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. All workshops are listed on our website at www.aginclassroom.org.

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Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Summer Conference 

Please mark your calendar for the NOFA Summer Conference at UMass Amherst, August 13-15, 2010. Join constituents from all over New England, New York and New Jersey, as we celebrate sustainable local food. There are over 200 workshops to choose from, dozens of exhibitors, a Teen Conference, Children's Program, an Afternoon Fair with farm animals, live music, auction, and an ALL-LOCAL dinner. Stay on campus in the dorms or camp in a tent under the stars. Here is a list of complete workshop offerings. This year we are featuring keynote speakers Sally Fallon Morell, of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and Dr. Fernando Funes, of the Cuban Association of Agronomists and Foresters.

Check out our website for more details about the conference: NOFA Summer Conference Website

Download a Registration Form or Register Online
All registrations that are received before July 12, 2010 receive a $20 discount.

For more information about the NOFA Summer Conference, please contact:
NOFA/Mass, 411 Sheldon Road, Barre, MA 01005, 978-355-2853, info@nofasummerconference.org.

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Eckert AgriTour Ventures to Israel, January 4-13, 2011 

Exploring both the benefits and adversities of farming in the diverse lands of Galilee, the Jezreel Valley, and lands bordering the Dead Sea, the 2011 Eckert AgriTour will escort as many as 50 U.S. and Canadian farmers through the land of Israel, January 4 through the 13th, 2011.

“This has been, without a doubt, our most interesting agritour in terms of planning,” said Jane Eckert, CEO of Eckert AgriMarketing and sponsor of the Eckert Agritours. “Our friends at Dehoney Travel have more than 40 years of experience guiding tours through Israel, but this is perhaps the first time they have combined an exploration of the Holy Lands with an agritour of the kibbutzim, wineries, farms, and orchards of this ancient nation.” “Kibbutzim,” she explained, is the plural form of kibbutz, a collective community that is traditionally based on agritourism.

Farmers taking the tour will stay at the Prima Royale Hotel in Jerusalem, a boutique style hotel within walking distance of the Jaffa Gate (one of the major gates into the Old City). At other times, the group will stay at kibbutz guesthouses on the Sea of Gallilee, Nof Ginosar, and, in the Arava region (south of the Dead Sea), at Kibbutz Yahel. A blended itinerary will follow knowledgeable guides to many major historical and Biblical sites, including the Garden of Gethsemane, Old City, Mount of Olives, Caesarea, Nazareth, Capernaum, and Bethlehem.

Guests will also meet with the agricultural leadership of several of the kibbutzim, which, combined with our travels and discussion, will encourage a better understanding of the environmental challenges of this unique country. We’ll also learn about how the nation’s farmers are responding to these challenges with soilless cultivation and other advances in organic, fruit and dairy farming.

“Our guide is quite knowledegable, and will help us to interpret the challenges that modern day Israel experiences as Israelis and Palestinian Arabs live in a nation surrounded by Arab nations—with whom they live under a tentative Peace arrangement,” said Eckert. “Joining us will be my friend, Kathy Evitts, president of Dehoney Travel. Israel is like a second home to Kathy, who has visited Israel on a frequent basis for over 40 years.”

For complete information about the Eckert AgriTour to Israel, January 4-13, 2011, please visit the website at www.eckertagrimarketing.com, or call Dehoney Travel, (800) 325-6708. Space is limited. There is also an Early Bird discount for those who register by June 30 for the tour.

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Save the Date for the Harvest New England Conference 

he 3rd bi-annual Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference and Trade Show will be held in Sturbridge Massachusetts, March 1-3, 2011 at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center. Over 800 attended the last conference in 2009. A committee comprised of representatives from all six New England states is currently developing the workshops and conference agenda. Keep an eye on www.harvestnewengland.org for the latest conference information and updates. A full trade show is also planned. If you have a product or service that New England farmers’ would find useful, contact David Webber to receive exhibitor information, 617-626-1754 or david.webber@state.ma.us.

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News From USDA


NRCS Initiative Offers Assistance with
Forest Land Planning in Massachusetts

Applications for the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program will be accepted through June 15, 2010 for current funding

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has targeted $720,000 of federal Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) funds to assist Massachusetts forest land owners with forest land planning and management. The forestry initiative will assist private landowners in conservation planning and management of their private forests to ensure sustainability. Core conservation practices include pest management, early successional habitat development, tree and shrub establishment, upland wildlife habitat management, stream crossings, riparian forested buffer, fish passage, stream habitat improvement and management, forest trails and landings, conservation cover, access roads, wetland restoration, tree and shrub site preparation, and wetland wildlife habitat management.

Massachusetts is one of seven states offering this forestry initiative; the other New England states and New York are also participating. The application deadline in Massachusetts is June 15, 2010.  

Landowners should call or visit their local USDA Service Center to submit an application and complete the necessary paperwork to establish their eligibility. USDA Service Centers are listed online at offices.usda.gov, or in the telephone book under United States Government, Agriculture Department. More information is available on the Massachusetts NRCS website at www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov.   

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New England Small Farm Institute Receives USDA Grant for 
Second Mobil Poultry Processing Unit
 

USDA Rural Development State Director Jay Healy announced recently that the New England Small Farm Institute (NESFI), a Belchertown based non-profit whose mission is to promote small farm development by providing information and training for aspiring, beginning and transitioning New England farmers, will receive an $81,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant. The grant will be used to fabricate a mobile poultry processing unit (MPPU).

The MPPU is a poultry "slaughterhouse on wheels" that travels from farm to farm and which producers can lease to process their birds on their own farm for direct markets. Under the USDA Producer-Processor exemption, producers can legally process their birds provided they have received appropriate food safety and MPPU operations training and the process they use meets all USDA and Massachusetts Department of Public Health sanitary guidelines for poultry establishments.

This will be the second MPPU project carried out by NESFI. USDA Rural Development provided two grants, one in 2005 and another in 2007, to fund NESFI’s first MPPU. Funds for the first MPPU were also provided by the Massachusetts Society of Promoting Agriculture, the Massachusetts Agricultural Innovation Center, USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, and individual donors.

“The demand for locally raised meat and poultry is increasing,” said Congressman John Olver. “The lack of slaughterhouses in Western Massachusetts is a serious impediment to small farmers who hope to take advantage of this growing market. Investments such as this one in equipment and training will allow our local farmers to expand their operations and bring much-needed capital into our rural communities.”

Local food is one of the fastest growing segments of agriculture. The USDA expects consumer demand for locally grown food in the United States to rise from $4 billion in 2002 to $7 billion by 2012 and the last decade has shown 100 percent growth in direct-to-consumer food marketing sales.

“As both a farmer and USDA employee, I know that one of the keys to agricultural economic viability is a great, nutritious product that can be sold profitably and directly to a local customer,” said State Director Healy. “This mobile poultry processing unit will contribute greatly to a local and regional food system which will generate wealth that stays in our rural communities. This project embodies many of the goals of our ‘Know Your Farmer Know Your Food’ initiative and will help scores of smaller poultry producers who need a safe, efficient way to grow their business.”

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USDA Urges Massachusetts Farmers to Sign up Now for Conservation Stewardship
Program - Deadline June 11
 

Massachusetts farmers are invited to apply for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, CSP offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and who agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland and non-industrial forestland. The deadline to be considered for the current ranking and funding period is June 11, 2010. Read more at http://www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov/news/news_CSP_sign-up_2010.html.

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Learn How to Raise and Graze Livestock at Mass Grass Events 

Local farmers and anyone interested in learning about grazing livestock are invited to attend a series of educational events this summer and fall. Learn how to develop grazing systems and improve animal growth and production through better pasture management directly from experienced Massachusetts livestock farmers and agricultural educators. Mass Grass is a state-wide grazing group of Massachusetts livestock farmers and agricultural organizations including the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, the Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter, UMass Extension, UMass Center for Agriculture, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Read more at www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov

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In Every Issue

Classified Ads 

  • Free Domestic Geese - seven beautiful Embden geese in need of a farm. Four goslings, three adults. Currently outgrowing their home at Woburn Animal Hospital (www.WoburnAnimalHospital.com) and need relocation before the city takes them! Not aggressive. Accustomed to children, adults, and other animals. Call Stephanie 781-933-0170 or email WoburnAnimalHospital@gmail.com.
  • Free Compost for anyone, particularly farmers who grow food: Brick Ends Farm, S. Hamilton, 978-468-2733, cell 978-979-0979.
  • Wool Available- Local grown sheep wool available in Agawam. Call Cindy for details: 413-786-7717
  • Wanted piglets or two bred sows, prefer purebred Yorkshire in SE Mass. but will consider others. 508-645-3304
  • Organic Rye Straw and High-Quality Hay for sale in small square bales. Call Jeff Young at 413-458-3424. Williamstown, MA.
  • Muscovy ducks for sale. These ducks are super at bug, slug, moth and mosquito control in the yard. They are good for table. One year old certified organic ducks now laying. $10.00 each. Bring a cage. Call 508-763-5901.
  • Grain Silo wanted for horse feed (30 horses), if you have one reasonably priced for sale or want it off your property please call 617-721-2846
  • Agricultural Excavation – Grading Services - We 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
  • Hay, 600lbs. and $30each, Lunenburg, Paul Harris, 978-534-0484.
  • For farmers markets and farm stand displays, new wooden bushel Apple Boxes/Tomato Flats/StrawBerry Trays/Custom Wooden Boxes. Local made onsite in Greenfield NH. Made out of white pine that is sawn on site. All joints are stapled and glued so very sturdy and light. Starting around $7-$8 a box.Quantity discounts. 603-554-6921 or www.greenfieldapplebox.yolasite.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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Calendar 

  • June 9: Christmas Tree Twilight Mtg - David Butt, 380 Middle Road, Haverhill, 978.372.9474, turkeyhillfarm@comcast.net . www.christmas-trees.org/calendar
  • June 12: Dairy Farm Success Through Diversity: Field Day on Grazing, Transitioning to Organic, Cheese-making, and Producing Raw Milk. Robinson Farm, Hardwick, 10-2pm. Info., including registration
  • June 12: Turf Field Day,  UMass Joseph Troll Research Center, South Deerfield. Mary Owen, 508.892.0382.
  • July 15: Fruit Growers Summer Meeting - Cold Spring Orchard Research Farm, Belchertown. Wes Autio, 413.545.2963.
  • August 11: Vegetable Growers Field Day - UMass Crops Research and Education Center South Deerfield. Ruth Hazzard, 413.545.3696.
  • August 13-15: NOFA Summer Conference - www.nofasummerconference.org, info@nofasummerconference.org
  • August 17: UMass Cranberry Station Centennial Celebration - East Wareham. Carolyn Demoranville, 508.295.2212 x25
  • November 3-5: New England Greenhouse Conference - The DCU Center, Worcester. www.negreenhouse.org

*** If you have events you would like listed to our Ag industry calendar webpage, www.mass.gov/agr/events/coming_up, or
Consumer events at: www.mass.gov/agr/events, email Rick LeBlanc at richard.leblanc@state.ma.us.

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About the Farm & Market Report 

Published bi-monthly by:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, Governor
Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, Ian Bowles, Secretary
Department of Agricultural Resources, Scott J. Soares, 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 August / September. Please send news, calendar and/or classified information by July 30th 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.