In this issue: 

Commissioner's Column

Forefront

Business

Upcoming Events

News From USDA

In Every Issue


Commissioner's Column 

Image of Scott Soares

Dear Friends,

It’s been a very eventful two months since our last installment of the Farm & Market Report. During that time, the early season has afforded great opportunities to see and taste what Massachusetts agriculture has to offer and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to meet some of you at farms, agricultural fairs, farmers’ markets, twilight meetings, and more during this busy summer season.

I’m also pleased to report that if the Bay State’s agricultural snapshot were a chalk board with a plus and minus column, we have continued to see a significant number of marks on the plus side. To name just a few:

  • A recent USDA report just ranked Massachusetts 6th nationally for number of farmers’ markets (now 224 and counting; up from 200 during the 2009 and 160 during the 2008 production seasons)! These markets have continued to provide important direct sales opportunities for farmers, and demonstrate continued strong interest and loyalty to locally grown food here in the Commonwealth. And there’s more good news for farmers’ markets. Among the numerous bills that were recently signed into law by Governor Patrick, an important economic development bill included provisions for Massachusetts farm wineries to sell at farmers’ markets. We are also now working through the logistics and funding opportunities for a year-round Boston public market along the Rose Kennedy Greenway known as “Parcel 7”! See more information below in this report and stay tuned for exciting developments on this important project that will give our world class capital city a world class public market! And last but not least, we’ll be kicking off Massachusetts Farmers’ Market week (8/23 to 8/28) during the Annual and highly competitive Tomato competition at Boston City Hall Plaza on Monday August 23rd!
  • Agri-tourism has also continued to be an important value-adding opportunity for Massachusetts Farms! In fact the impressive 800% growth in value documented by the USDA National Agricultural Census between 2002 and 2007 ($665,000 to $5.3 million!) seems to have continued based upon the increasing popularity of agri-tourism destinations. This niche market encompasses a variety of activities, including farm tours, farm vacations, farm bed & breakfast accommodations, hiking, nature study, cross country skiing, picnics, hayrides, workshops, fee hunting and fishing, to name just a few. I’ve been visiting a few of these agri-tourism farms lately and have been very impressed by the diversity of activities offered and the important role that agri-tourism provides to our Commonwealth’s farm businesses. Five years ago there were 295 listed on MDAR’s agri-tourism map. Today there are 390 with still plenty of opportunities for more farms to take advantage of interest in locally grown.
  • Further emphasizing how we can facilitate new business opportunities for Massachusetts farms, MDAR’s Beta MassGrown & Fresher website is already getting 10,000 page views per month without our having launched a full-fledge promotion effort. This month is the site’s official debut and I encourage you all to get the word out about this great (and free) tool to connect farmers to consumers who will be “one click away” from finding a broad range of agricultural products and destinations. If you’re a farm and want to be listed, contact Rick LeBlanc at richard.leblanc@state.ma.us, 617.626.1759.
  • We’re also seeing robust growth trends for new entry farmers entering the “field” as highlighted in a recent Boston Globe article. The proof is in the pudding with attendance up at record levels for MDAR’s business training classes for new entry farmers. To further increase the opportunities for agricultural development and profitability in Massachusetts, another provision of the economic development bill mentioned earlier modified zoning protection for agricultural parcels 2 acres or more that generates annual revenues from the sale of products of $1,000 or more per acre. I encourage readers to read more below in this report about this important development and the expanded opportunities it affords Massachusetts farming interests.

Unfortunately there are a few things which go into the minus column on the agriculture chalkboard since last I wrote and reminds us of the often delicate balance that we all co-exist with the environment:

  • Although heroic efforts of public, local state and federal entities have been exerted to eradicate the devastating Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) infestation that was discovered in and around the City of Worcester in 2008, a second infestation was recently detected in Greater Boston. Thus far it looks like it may well be an isolated case but nonetheless brings to attention how important outreach and coordinated efforts amongst local, state, and federal partners are in safeguarding our indigenous species and habitats that are threatened by invasive pests and plants. August is ALB Awareness Month and residents, whom I believe are the most important partners in this effort, are encouraged to find out how they can be on the alert for this invasive pest.
  • At the beginning of August the Administration declared a public health emergency due to the high threat of EEEv (Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus) in Southeastern Massachusetts. This set in motion plans for aerial spraying in designated towns in Bristol and Plymouth Counties. In addition to securing planes and aerial spraying product, notifications were sent to schools and daycare centers, and exempted areas were mapped to include certified organic farms, water reservoirs, endangered species areas, and aquaculture facilities.

While technology has certainly helped in making these kinds of operations easier to carry out, it is still the commitment amongst hard working field professionals and the strong partnerships between sister agencies that are key to the success of an operation of this magnitude. Early data indicate positive outcome of spraying and I would like to thank staff at MDAR as well as the other agencies involved for the many, many long hours put in toward this effort.

Before signing off, I’d like to congratulate UMass, Stephen Herbert and staff for a great Field Day at the UMass South Deerfield Farm. I’d also like to remind folks to visit some of the many great summer and fall agricultural events coming up including of course Massachusetts Day at the Big E on September 23rd! In the meantime, there’s lots more exciting to read about below and I wish you all a Happy Harvest season!

Best,

Image of Soares Signature

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

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Forefront


Smile - MDAR Just Took Your Picture! 

You don’t have to go far these days to find signs that the Bay State’s agricultural community is going strong. Look what we caught on camera!

Image of John Silverstein

Just across the street from MDAR’s Boston office, we snapped a shot of John Sommerstein, an attorney who works on Washington St., picking up his basket of fresh produce and eggs! He is a member of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) association in Rehoboth. For those who don’t know what a CSA is, it is an arrangement between the farmer and CSA members where members buy a “share” before the growing season begins and in return receive a regular allotment of fresh farm products – typically weekly – during the growing season. Products and delivery or pick up options vary widely among the more than 100 CSAs in MA; many CSA’s have waiting lists due to their popularity. CSA’s work great for the farmer by providing upfront revenue that is “plowed” into the growing season’s production costs. The arrangement develops a great relationship between farmers and customers and provides a convenient way for consumers to access the freshest crops of the season and develop eating practices that follow the rhythm of the seasons. To find a CSA, click here.

Image of Edith Murnane

Edith Murnane, Boston’s first Food Policy Director, was spotted at a Community Servings event celebrating their receipt of an MDAR grant for expansion of EBT at their farmers’ market in Jamaica Plain. As Boston’s new Food Policy Director, Edith is tasked to help increase access to fresh produce and expand opportunities for urban farming. MDAR congratulates Edith and commends Mayor Thomas Menino for his vision and choice. The Department looks forward to working with Edith and the City of Boston. At the event, a $2,500 grant was awarded to Community Servings to help spread the word that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) customers can use their SNAP benefits at the Jamaica Plain farmers' market through the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. These efforts will help make farmers' market products more accessible to customers receiving SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps. To find a farmers’ market and/or a farmers’ market that accepts EBT cards, click here.

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Energy News 

FY 2010 Ag-Energy Grant Program - Great Response!!!

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) was pleased to receive 56 applications valued at more than $1.172 million for the FY 2011 AgEnergy Grant Program. Congratulations and thank you to all who replied!

The strong response included:

  • 30 Energy Efficiency Projects (Total of $554,614)
  • 26 Renewable Energy Projects (Total of $618,373)

Application receipt notices have been issued and applications are currently being reviewed. Award announcements are anticipated in September, 2010.

USDA Rural Development REAP for FY 2010 Application Period Completed

Applications for USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for fiscal year (FY) 2010 (October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010) are now completed. REAP is a USDA program that will provide grant funding for up to 25% of total project costs 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. Loan guarantees are also available in combination with grant requests or on a stand-alone basis.

This year the MA Farm Energy Program (MFEP) assisted 15 agricultural applicants in grant writing services for REAP. MA farms have been the recipients of over $1 million in grants and loan guarantees from REAP in the past two years alone. This year’s REAP accepted applications on a two-week rolling basis until deadline, with funding appropriations highest at the beginning and lowest at the end. Award announcements for this year’s grants are expected shortly.

Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP):

The MA Farm Energy Program (MFEP) has issued a Response for Proposals (RFP) for Best Management Practices (BMPs) on MA farms primarily based on audits, assessments and implementation of MFEP projects to date. Replies were due August 9, 2010. An award for services is expected soon thereafter with a final product delivery scheduled for this coming fall.

The other Technical assistance provided by MFEP continues on with strong interest from the AG community. 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%.

Federal 30% ITC Cash Option Reminder

For those still interested in pursuing the Federal Investment Tax Credit Cash Option, the current deadline for this opportunity is December 31, 2010. Enacted as part of the 2009 ARRA stimulus package, this option provides non-residential commercial projects the opportunity to receive cash at the completion of the project in lieu of receiving a tax credit. Eligible renewable energy projects must have been completed in calendar years 2009 or 2010 OR there are eligibility provisions for those initiating the project by the end of December 31, 2010, including executing a financial contract, executing an installing contractor contract and demonstrating at least 5% project expenditures by this date. This means if you can at least begin implementing an eligible renewable energy project by the end of this year you could still be eligible for the tax credit cash option.

Mass Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) - Community Wind Solicitation

The next block, Block 4, of Mass CEC’s Commonwealth Wind Community Scale Wind Initiative opened on July 28, 2010. This program is for wind turbines 100 kW in capacity or greater.

The Commonwealth Wind Community Scale Initiative provides grants through a competitive application process for the installation of Wind Projects by professional, licensed contractors at commercial, industrial, institutional, residential, and Public Entity facilities. The Applicant and project site must both be served by distribution utilities that pay into the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund, administered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). The grants are based on the size and other characteristics of the Wind Project. MassCEC is offering grant funding for the in-depth study of the feasibility and the design and construction of eligible wind projects.

Block 4 Solicitation Schedule

Solicitation Posted – July 28, 2010
Webinar – was scheduled August 5, 2010
Deadline for Written Questions – August 16, 2010
Final Question and Answer Posted – August 20, 2010
Applications due at MassCEC – September 14, 2010 4:00 p.m. (applications received after 4 p.m. will not be accepted)
Interviews for Design and Construction Applicants – September 21-22, 2010
Awards Announced - October 2010

Please contact the MassCEC for more information or visit them online.

Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
55 Summer Street, 9th Floor Boston, MA 02110
Phone: 617-315-9355 | Fax: 617-315-9356

New State Energy Blog

As noted in the last FM&R edition, 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.”

Please visit Energy Smarts at www.mass.gov/blog/energy and let MDAR or the site know what you think of the blogs already posted. As well, if you have an idea for an agricultural energy blog, please email Gerald.Palano@state.ma.us.

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Patrick Administration To Bring a Year-Round Indoor Farmers' Market to Boston! 

Image of Proposed Boston Market

As a part of its continuing support for agriculture, the administration recently announced a commitment to making a year-round farmers’ market in Boston a reality. Many have pushed for such a public market for years, the farmers and customers are ready, and now through a partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), and the Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), a site for the market and State resources to assist in its creation will be made available.

MassDOT has identified the first floor of the building known as “Parcel 7”, a prime location along the greenway, as a suitable site for a public market. The 2008 Environmental Bond Bill authorized the MDAR to spend up to $10 million to create such a market. As a key local partner, the City of Boston has signaled its strong support for a public market in this location.

This market will not just benefit the people of Boston, it will serve as a key location to promote and sell fresh and value-added agricultural products from across the Commonwealth. Support has been strong from the Massachusetts agricultural industry as small businesses see a public market in Boston as an opportunity to bring their products directly to interested buyers with significant disposable income.

In the coming weeks, MassDOT, EEA and MDAR will announce a public process to solicit information and proposals from organizations interested in designing and managing a Public Market with an explicit goal of benefitting the agricultural community across the commonwealth. We will keep you informed as we go forward with this exciting new opportunity.

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The Beta Gloves Are Off! - August is the Official "1.0 Release"
of www.mass.gov/massgrown
 

Image of Massgrown Map

It’s August and time for the official Release 1.0 of the MassGrown & Fresher website – your gateway to local!

Since its Beta launch in April, the new MassGrown & Fresher website is proving a great interactive tool that connects farmers to consumers and vice versa. In its Beta version, the site has tracked over 10,000 page views per month! The most popular page is the interactive “Agri”-Google map which puts people just one click away from Massachusetts grown farm products and other “ag”tivities.

Thanks to your great feedback, Release 1.0 debuts as a clutter-free, get-to-the-point website built around the philosophy of not WHY buy local but HOW to connect to it faster and easier. A number of promotional events are planned throughout the month to get the word out and we hope we can count on you to make this one-source-for-agriculture site a superlative means to benefit the agricultural

Visit us today at www.mass.gov/massgrown!

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MDAR's Legal Services Offers
Agricultural Law Memos (ALM) Online
 

From time to time, the Department’s Legal Services Division makes available short informational memoranda addressing commonly encountered situations that implicate the laws and regulations of the Commonwealth governing agriculture. The ALM is not legal opinion or advice and is not intended to have direct applicability to any specific situation that may have prompted its issuance. A new ALM recently added to the roster is Bill.Gillmeister@state.ma.us

Topic: Small Plot Farming: Amendments to Chapter 40A, Section 3 (ALM #10-04)

ISSUE: On Thursday, August 5, 2010, Governor Patrick signed into law Chapter 240 of the Acts of 2010. Section 79 of Chapter 240 amends General Laws Chapter 40A, Section 3, by adding as an additional category of agricultural uses protected by that statute any parcel of 2 acres or more that generates annual revenues from the sale of products of $1,000 or more per acre. The purpose of this ALM is to explain the meaning of this addition.

Chapter 40A, Section 3, provides a conditional exemption for the use of land and the construction and use of structures on land for the primary purpose of commercial agriculture. It provides that no zoning ordinance or by-law may prohibit, unreasonably regulate, or require a special permit for the use of land and the construction and use of structures that have a primary purpose of commercial agriculture. Prior to amendment, Section 3 applied to (1) parcels of land of any size devoted primarily to commercial agriculture within districts zoned for agriculture, and (2) parcels of land of five acres or more devoted primarily to commercial agriculture within any zoning district. Neither of these has a minimum revenue requirement.

As amended, Section 3 provides an additional third category of protection: (3) parcels of land of 2 acres or more if the sale of products from the agricultural use generates $1,000 per acre or more of gross sales. Therefore, if a parcel falls into any one of these three categories, the parcel will enjoy the protections of Section 3. The full text of Section 3, as amended, is attached to this ALM.

Readers should note three points: (1) the amendments to Section 3 became effective immediately upon the Governor’s signing on August 5, 2010; (2) agriculture is broadly defined by reference to General Laws Chapter 128, Section 1A; and (3) the amendments do not alter the acreage requirements of other laws, such as use taxation under Chapters 61, 61A and 61B.

To see more ALMs, go to: www.mass.gov/agr/legal/ . To note: ALM serves only to inform the general public on how MDAR Legal Services interprets state law to be applicable to hypothetical but typical situations. For legal advice, an attorney should be consulted. If you have further questions, please contact Bill Gillmeister at 617-626-1811 or Bill.Gillmeister@state.ma.us.

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Savor Massachusetts Update 

Savor Mass Logo "One taste at a time"

1) Savor Massachusetts Calendar of Culinary Events & Farm FestivalsSavor Mass Logo (www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/calendar) is a hit! Recent web analytics show that approximately 1,500 monthly visitors visit our Calendar of Culinary Events & Farm Festivals to learn about your culinary farm events! Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to promote your events this summer and fall. Please submit a one or two line event description and include your current web-site to julia.grimaldi@state.ma.us. Deadlines as follows: September events - August 27, October events – September 27, and November events – October 25.

2) Our newest culinary tourism resource “How to Get Started in Culinary Tourism” (www.mass.gov/agr/markets/culinary_tourism) is now available for download. This resource has been developed as a guide for growers who are interested in developing culinary tourism opportunities. The MDAR would like to thank the following contributors for their assistance and willingness to share their resources and experiences.

Diana Rodgers – Green Meadow Farm, Hamilton
Donna Eaton Wood – Cedar Spring Herb Farm, Harwich
Mary Lynn Kiley – CLASH Volunteer & Event Coordinator, Centerville
Rebecca Gilbert – Native Earth Teaching Farm, Chilmark
Ron Smolowitz - Coonamessett Farm, Falmouth
Sarah Pike – Good Tastes Kitchen, Newburyport
Steve Johnson – Rendezvous Restaurant, Cambridge

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"Second Chance" Animal Shelter Aims for World Record 

Image of Dog Running

Second Chance Animal Shelter, located in East Brookfield, will be attempting to establish a world recordFred the dog for the highest number of rabies vaccinations given in a single day. Save the date for a rabies vaccination for your cat or dog! Vaccines will be given at a cost of $5.00 each. Dogs must be on leash and cats in carriers.

What: Rabies Vaccination Clinic
Where: Klem’s Department Store, Rt. 9, Spencer, MA
When: October 17th, 2010 – 9am-5pm

Second Chance’s goal is to protect pets against rabies. By law and as a matter of public safety, cats and dogs must be up-to-date with their rabies vaccinations. For more information, go to www.secondchanceanimals.org.

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It's Not Too Late to Protect Domestic Animals Against Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV) 

Image of Horses

In light of the high risk of mosquito-borne diseases due to an unusual mix of weather this year, Massachusetts residents are reminded to not only take measures to protect themselves but also domestic animals they may own. Fortunately for animal owners, there are precautionary measures that can be taken to protect against mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE), including vaccinations and reducing standing water on properties.

There are effective vaccines for both WNV and EEE available for horses. The best time to vaccinate animals is in May, before the height of mosquito season. However, since exposures can occur well into October, any unaffected equine can still benefit from the protection of vaccination. It takes several weeks for an animal to be fully protected by a vaccine. Foals may be vaccinated as early as 2-3 months of age when there is an increased disease risk. Animals infected by EEE and WNV develop neurologic symptoms that can lead to death. There is no treatment for either infection, although supportive care can be provided. In addition to horses, WNV and EEE pose a serious risk to other species, including ratites (e.g. ostrich, emu), pheasants, llamas and alpacas. Owners should consult with their veterinarian about vaccinations.

In addition to vaccination, animal owners can reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools, especially after heavy rains. Horse troughs provide an excellent mosquito breeding habitat and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near the paddock area. Horse owners should also keep their animals in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Additionally, using fans in stable areas may reduce the ability of mosquitoes to land and feed on horses.

Animals diagnosed with WNV or EEE must be reported to the MDAR Division of Animal Health at 617-626-1795, 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) at 617-983-6800 or 617-983-6800.

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Business


Agricultural Best Management Practices 

Image of Maple Bmp

Newly available through the Division of Agricultural Technical Assistance website are documentsmaple bmp's cover page describing Best Management Practices (BMP) for the following agricultural sectors:

  • Aquaculture
  • Cranberry
  • Maple Syrup Production
  • Livestock
  • Nursery
  • Orchard and Small Fruit

The website is at: at Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Agricultural BMPs are feasible practices that are applied by farmers while accounting for environmental and public health impacts. They are also dynamic in nature and can include new and innovative technologies as they are developed. Because every farm operation is different, BMPs are not intended to be regulatory. However, they are intended to provide guidance on practices that can be implemented on Massachusetts farms.

The guidance documents are current as of 2010. In order to ensure that they provide farmers with the latest guidance to benefit their operation, the documents may change, and be updated, as practices and technology change.

This publication is the result of a joint project involving the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, and UMass Extension programs at the University of Massachusetts. For more information, contact Gerard Kennedy at 617.626.1733 or Gerard.Kennedy@state.ma.us.

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Vendors Invited - Metro West Medical Center
to Host Green Fair and Farmers' Market
 

When: Sunday, September 12, from 1-4
Where: Framingham Union Hospital, 117 Lincoln Street, Framingham,MA

Events will include:

  • Medication Take Back Event
  • Mercury Thermometer Exchange
  • Farmers' Market
  • Eco-Friendly Activities for Children and Families
  • Informational Tables and booths

We would like to invite you to participate in the farmer's market.
Please contact:
Addie Gibson, Assistant Director of Food and Nutrition, adelaida.gibson@mwmc.com, (508) 650 7446

MetroWest Medical Center is committed to providing fresh, locally grown, healthy and sustainable food for our patients and would like to do the same for our community. We hope you will consider participating in this exciting community event!

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Foodborne Illness and Food Safety - New Educational Materials 

It's summer time and that means cookouts, picnics and fresh fruit and vegetables that we grow ourselves, or buy at a supermarket or local farmers' market. It can also mean an increase in foodborne illnesses such as those caused by salmonella or E. coli O157:H7 bacteria. Because people are often cooking and eating outside, away from refrigerators, thermometers and the kitchen sink, there can be a greater risk of getting sick from these bacteria which multiply quickly in the heat. Symptoms of foodborne illness can vary and include: stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and/or fever. Most people get better on their own, but some people get very sick and require hospitalization. The very young, very old and people that are immunosuppressed are most likely to experience severe disease.

So, whether you are planning a cookout, a picnic a camping trip, or even making dinner in your own home, make sure your plans include food safety. Check out the simple tips to protect your health in the NEW Massachusetts Department of Public Health's (MDPH) Farmers' Market Flyer and in the Food Safety Recipe Card. If you are a farmers' market manager and would like a supply of fliers to distribute at your markets, you can contact Lisa Carey, Administrant Assistant at the MDPH Bureau of Infectious Disease. Contact: lisa.carey@state.ma.us or (617) 983-6945. Please give her your name, mailing address, and phone number or email address. Also specify which items you'd like and how many. The maximum quantity that can be provided per item is 250. For more information about salmonella, E. coli O157:H7 and other germs that cause illness, go to the MDPH website at: www.mass.gov/dph/epi.

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Sign Up Now for the Salute to New England Specialty Foods! 

You are invited to sample and sell on the front lawn of the Massachusetts Building as part of the ‘Salute to New England Specialty Foods’ special event. This event is a great opportunity to obtain feedback and increase awareness about your products to a large audience from all over New England.

Important Information:
Bring everything you need for your exhibit: tables, coolers, tents, etc. We provide tickets and free parking. There is a $100 non-refundable cost to participate. There is no electricity provided. The space provided is 10 feet by 10 feet.

Set-up: by 8 am on Friday, October 1. Cars can be driven in front of the Massachusetts Building for set-up. The hours are 9 am – 5 pm with the option to stay until the fair closes at 9 pm. One vehicle, and up to 5 personnel entry tickets will be provided, along with a layout, map of the Avenue of the States at the Big E, and other details.

All applications must be completed and include a check for $100, made out to the “Commonwealth of Massachusetts/MA Building Trust.” Applications must be mailed no later than August 20th 2010 to ensure eligibility for the show.

Food businesses will be assigned space on a first-come, first-serve basis. Businesses which apply promptly will be included in pre-fair publicity. Confirmation will be sent via email.

Contact Bonita.Oehlke@state.ma.us or call 617-626-1753 for an application. For more information on the Big E visit www.thebige.com.

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This October, Join Us for the First Boston Local Food Festival, a Free Event Celebrating
Healthy and Local Food for All!
 

Sustainable Business Network (SBN), in collaboration with many community groups and local businesses, is presenting the first-ever Boston Local Food Festival, to be held on Saturday, October 2, 2010, on the historic Boston waterfront at Boston Children's Museum Plaza in Fort Point Channel. This zero waste event will be a delicious outdoor celebration of the many health and economic benefits of eating locally grown food.

The festival will feature freshly harvested produce, delicious dishes created with locally grown ingredients, and take-away from Made in Massachusetts producers. Participants will be able to meet local farmers, interact with local Boston restaurant chefs, check out a "Fishstock", featuring a fish "Throwdown" competition and demonstrations, and sample local beer. Other activities include health and fitness activities, urban gardening exhibits, chef and butchering demonstrations, kids activities, local music, and a variety of workshops.The most important objective of the Boston Local Food Festival is to increase accessibility and availability of healthy local food for all. Massachusetts eaters of all ages, races, and socio-economic levels will be able to see, taste, and appreciate the variety of healthy, ethnic, and delicious food choices that local specialty crops and products make available to them in their own back yards. We anticipate festival participants to come from the Greater Boston area, and extending throughout Massachusetts into other New England states.

This unique festival will bring Massachusetts farms together with individuals and families from diverse backgrounds, organizations, businesses and local food advocates in an informative and fun way. Join us on October 2, 2010, and enjoy luscious local food and support our farmers and food entrepreneurs! For more information contact: Nicola A. Williams, nicola@thewilliamsagency.net, telephone: 617-575-9165

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Upcoming Events


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

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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26th Annual Massachusetts Tomato Contest 

Image of Tomato Trophies

The 26th Annual Massachusetts Tomato Contest will be held at Boston’s City Hall Plaza Farmers’ Market on Monday, August 23rd in conjunction with the City Hall Plaza Farmers’ Market and the start of Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week. Tomatoes will be judged by a panel of experts on flavor, firmness/slicing quality, exterior color and shape. Always a lively and fun event, the day is designed to increase awareness of locally grown produce.

Farmers who want to submit entries can bring tomatoes to the City Hall Plaza Farmers’ Market between 9:00 am and 10:15 am on August 23rd or drop their entries off with the corresponding registration form to one of several locations around the state on August 21st or 22nd. These tomatoes will be brought in to Boston on Monday. For the complete details, including contest criteria and a registration form, go to www.mass.gov/agr/markets/tomato_contest.htm.

The 26th Annual Tomato Contest is sponsored by the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Association, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and Federation of Massachusetts Farmers’ Markets.

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Did You Know Massachusetts Now Ranks 6th Nationally?
Massachusetts Farmers' Market Week
to be Held August 22nd to 28th
 

USDA ranks Massachusetts 6th nationally in number of farmers' markets. Governor Deval Patrick has declared August 22nd -28th Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week. Calling farmers’ markets essential to the vitality of Massachusetts farms, the week is set aside to remind everyone to enjoy the sumptuous, locally grown products available at farmers’ markets as well as the festive community environment that they foster.

Farmers’ Market Week will kick-off with the 26th annual Tomato Contest at the Boston City Hall Market. But the festivities will not end there. Markets across the Commonwealth will be holding special events throughout the week. Visit the Massgrown website to find out about all the exciting activities happening throughout the Commonwealth. And if you would like to host an event at your market, contact Jennifer.Obadia@state.ma.us for more information.

Massachusetts Farmers’ Market week is sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, Federation of Massachusetts Farmers’ Markets with support from Massachusetts Edible Magazines.

Farmers’ Market Week Blogathon to Benefit Mass Farmers Markets

Loving Local: Celebrating the Flavors of Massachusetts will take place from Sunday, August 22, through Saturday, August 28. Hosted by In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens with support from MDAR and Mass Farmers’ Markets, the Blogathon will not only promote locally grown foods but also raise funds for Mass Farmers’ Markets, a non-profit charitable organization that helps farmers' markets throughout the Commonwealth.

Here’s how you can get involved: Sometime during the week of August 22-28, put your post on the internet. Please make sure your post mentions the blogathon, includes a link to In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens,(http://www.ourgrandmotherskitchens.com) and encourages readers to donate to Mass Farmers Markets. The organization’s donation link is www.massfarmersmarkets.org/FMFM_Main.aspx.
Posts should focus to some extent on locally grown food in Massachusetts. You don’t have to be a food writer to participate, however. Gardeners can write about herb or vegetable growing. Architects can write about the design of barns or farm stands. Watchers of the statehouse or even the federal Capitol can discuss the politics of agriculture and/or local food. And so forth.

Posts can be recipes, critiques, short stories, reminiscences … whatever you feel like writing. Let the flavors of the Bay State inspire you! It’s hoped that non-bloggers will participate as well. Please consider linking to the Blogathon Facebook page. This will keep you abreast of upcoming posts so you can read and comment.

For more information go to www.ourgrandmotherskitchens.com/?p=7979 or contact Tinky Weisblatt at lovinglocal@earthlink.net or go to the Blogathon Facebook page.

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Energy Efficiency Tools for Year-Round Cooler Use 

CISA and the MA Farm Energy Program invite you to explore Energy Efficiency Tools for Year-Round Cooler Use. Come learn about energy efficient refrigeration systems and retrofits for your farm or food business that can save energy and money. Dan Rosenberg will lead us through the Real Pickles facility, Gerry Palano (MDAR), FreeAire Refrigeration, and Jess Cook (MFEP) will review energy efficiency upgrades and opportunities for public utility and governmental funding resources.

Wednesday, August 25th, 6:00-8:00 pm at Real Pickles, 311 Wells St., Greenfield. Snacks will be served. Suggested donation is $5.00. Please RSVP by Friday, August 20th to Devon Whitney-Deal at 413-665-7100 or devon@buylocalfood.org

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Dairy Policy Reform: Finding the Right Path
for New England Dairy Farmers
 

August 17–19, 2010 with Chandler Goule, VP of Government Relations for the National Farmers Union

Several plans are floating around Washington to reform federal policy. Which ones are gaining momentum, and what options look positive for New England farmers, consumers and the environment? New England Farmers Union and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association are sponsoring these events with partners who care about the health of this important industry. Our guest will be Chandler Goule, Vice President for Government Relations for the National Farmers Union (NFU). Click here for details pdf format of flyer-dairy-reform2d.pdf
file size 1MB .

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Save the Date for the Harvest New England Conference 

The 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


U.S. Asparagus Producers Eligible for Assistance
Under TAA for Farmers Program
 

Applications must be submitted to USDA FSA by September 23, 2010

A grower, of any size, who produces asparagus and can meet the USDA TAA for Farmers eligibility requirements (see below), is eligible for an intensive technical assistance training program, professional consultation in the development of a business plan, and a cash payment of up to $12,000 to help implement the plan. It is important for asparagus producers to get word of this program in time for them to apply with the USDA Farm Service Agency by the September 23, 2010 application deadline.

Information on the Asparagus TAA for Farmers program is available at:
1. any local USDA Farm Service Agency office
2. on the web at: http://taaforfarmers.org or
3. by emailing or calling John Nelson at the WSU Western Center for Risk Management Education, jgnelson@wsu.edu, 509-477-2176.

Eligibility Requirements: Asparagus producers must provide documentation that they produced asparagus in the 2009 marketing year and during at least one of the three previous marketing years (2006, 2007, or 2008). Producers may also need to certify that their production or price declined from previous years. Interested family members or business partners may be listed as an alternate on the application form if producers are unable to attend training.

More information on TAA for Farmers: TAA for Farmers provides training to help any asparagus producer increase profitability, improve production efficiency, consider marketing opportunities, evaluate alternative enterprises, and in general become more competitive. TAA will also help participants develop a business plan, evaluate changes to their business, and provide cash payments up to $12,000 to help implement changes. The training will be developed and provided by Extension Educators, Specialists, and industry experts. Training will be available on-line and in person-to-person workshop formats.

Asparagus producers have until September 23, 2010 to apply for training and benefits.

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USDA Announces Small Business Innovation Research Grant 

Deadline: September 2, 2010

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requests proposals for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Phase I. The USDA SBIR program supports U.S. small business R&D projects that address important problems facing American agriculture and that have the potential to lead to significant public benefit if the research is successful. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to: Biofuels and Biobased Products; Forests and Related Resources; Air, Water, and Soils; Rural Development; Small and Mid-Size Farms; and Plant Production and Protection. Proposals are strongly encouraged to address areas including but not limited to Climate Change and Sustainable Bioenergy. $21.88 million expected to be available, individual awards NTE $100K. Responses due 9/2/10. For more info, contact Scott Dockum at sbir@nifa.usda.gov or go to: www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/rfas/sbir_rfa.html. Refer to Sol# USDA-NIFA-SBIR-003240.

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USDA Awards Grants to Advance and Improve
Agricultural Marketing System
 

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced last month over $1.3 million in 22 matching grants to 18 states supporting agricultural market research and demonstration projects. These grants, provided under the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), will explore new and innovative approaches to marketing U.S. food and agricultural products and to improve the efficiency and performance of the marketing system.

“These projects reflect the new realities of today's increasingly competitive global marketplace," said Vilsack. "They are focused on developing innovative, more efficient and market-oriented ways to benefit our agricultural sector and support our nation's economy."

These grants focus on developing agricultural marketing strategies for an array of projects including eight local/regional food projects, two bio-energy projects, a farm-to-school project and a food safety for direct marketers project. FSMIP funds a wide range of applied research projects that address barriers, challenges, and opportunities in marketing, transporting, and distributing U.S. food and agricultural products domestically and internationally.

USDA awarded $38,870 to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, in cooperation with Tufts University and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, to identify factors that explain why some farmers markets succeed and others fail, and evaluate the impact of the new Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) cash voucher program on farmers and WIC clients.

For complete list of awards to other states, click here.

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Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Farmers Program to Review a Petition for Ground
Fish from the Northeast Region
 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) will accept a petition for review under the fiscal year 2011 Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Farmers Program. The petition was filed by the New Hampshire Commercial Fisherman’s Association representing northeast ground fish producers in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

The TAA for Farmers Program provides technical assistance and cash benefits to eligible U.S. producers and fishermen of raw agricultural commodities whose crops or catch have been adversely affected by imports of like or directly competitive commodities. The TAA for Farmers Program was reauthorized and modified by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

Accepting a petition for review begins the process by which USDA determines a commodity’s eligibility under the program. Petitions must demonstrate that either the national average price, or production, or value of production, or cash receipts, of the U.S. commodity has declined by greater than 15 percent in the most current year—compared to the previous 3-year average—and that an increase in imports during the same time period contributed importantly to the decline. If a commodity is determined to be eligible, USDA will certify the petition and publish a notice in the Federal Register. Affected producers then have 90 days to contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency to apply for assistance under the program.

Groups interested in joining the petition filed by the New Hampshire Commercial Fisherman’s Association must complete form FAS-930, which is available on the FAS Web site. Forms may be sent by fax: (202) 720-0876; or by e-mail: tradeadjustment@fas.usda.gov; or by U.S. mail: TAA, Foreign Agricultural Service, Stop 1021, USDA, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-1021; or by courier delivery: TAA, Foreign Agricultural Service, Suite 400, USDA, 1250 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20024. The use of fax or e-mail is preferred.

FAS must receive form FAS-930 no later than 15 days from the date of the Federal Register notice that announces the petition’s acceptance. TAA Federal Register notices can be found on the FAS Web site.

FAS will hold a public hearing on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time to receive oral comments associated with this petition. The petitioners requested a public hearing to present evidence showing that imported ground fish are in direct competition with eastern ground fish production in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

The hearing will be held via teleconference. Persons who wish to listen or speak at the hearing must register with the TAA Coordinator, tele. (202) 720-0638 or (202) 690-0633, at least 24 hours before the hearing. Presenters will be allotted time to speak via telephone and must dial 1(800) 867-6144. When prompted for a conference code, speakers should enter 5453 on their telephone keypad. Participants should also submit a written summary of their remarks for the record by faxing them to (202) 720-0876.

Persons with disabilities who require accommodation should contact Francesca Kerr, at (202) 720-7233, or 1(800) 877-8339 (Federal Relay Service), or by e-mail at Francesca.Kerr@fas.usda.gov.

General information about the TAA for Farmers Program can be found on the FAS Web site, or by contacting the TAA for Farmers Program staff, Office of Trade Programs, at (202) 720-0638 or (202) 690-0633, or by e-mail at: tradeadjustment@fas.usda.gov.

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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.

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In Every Issue

Classified Ads 

  • Braintree Farmers' Market is currently seeking smaller organic grower for our vibrant market which operates every Saturday from 9 to 1. The market is located in front of Braintree's Town Hall within the historic district with an abundance of parking and less than 1/4 mile from Rte. 3. The market is heavily promoted with high attendance rates and has become a cherished community event. More unusual and heirloom items are a plus. For more information please contact Donna at donnai@sustainablebraintree.org or 781 848 2012.
  • 13 -1/4 inch irrigation pipes that are 30 feet long with Sprinkler System. Also 20 - 2 inch pipes that are also 30 feet long and pump for sale. If anyone is interested please call Enzo Della Monaca at 978-534-3445.
  • Grass fed lambs for sale on the hoof or in the freezer, fiber lambs for sale, Wensleydale crosses, 603-585-3461, Fitzwilliam, NH 03447
  • Farmers: In case you have a field of greens that you are not going to harvest, or other crop, consider calling Boston Area Gleaners at 781 648-5117 or 894-3212 for them to send out a crew to harvest for food pantries or shelters. Recently Steve Violette of Dick's Market Garden in Lunenberg invited the group out for a second picking of strawberries, which they took to Rosie's Place in Boston. Earlier Steve had invited B.A.G. out to 'glean' southeast Asian greens. Martha McDonald of Hilltop Farm nearby offered peas, turnips, lettuce and bok choi, close to bolting but still good, the peas, turnips and lettuce to Rosie's Place too, and the bok choi to the Red Cross food pantry near Boston Hospital where many Asian people come for food assistance. Oakes Plimpton, who used to manage the Arlington farmers market (still collects donations at the end of the market), is the director, and Laurie 'Duck' Caldwell at the old Field Station is the part time administrator.
  • Misty River View Quality Livestock Fencing - high tensile, no climb woven wire, barbwire , electric, board fence, deer fence .Post pounding with a rock spike. Keeping your animals in and predators out ! 508-867-9005
  • We Are Buying! We are interested in buying prime Hampshire, Dorset and Suffolk breeding stock, whether bred ewes or yearlings. If you know of anyone who may have any that they would like to sell, please forward our interest to them and have them contact us. Contact our Farm Manager, Mr. Brian Gallagher, at 845-876-5999.
  • 1st cut small square bale hay for sale. $2.50 a bale. Tractor trailer. Accessible. Mike Quinn. So. Munger St, Middlebury, VT 05753, 802-388-7828
  • Searching for would be organic growers - We are an established organic business. We are looking for 3 or 4 persons interested in growing organic produce. Must be self-motivated, energetic, willing to work together cooperatively. We can provide: certified lanc, greenhouse, equipment, housing possibilities, know how, access to markets. This is a long term possibility, profit sharing to be agreed upon, and could lead to partnership or full ownership. Preference for those with agricultural experience, proven follow through and existing group looking for a farming future. Cranberry Hill ; cranhill@capecod.net, 508-888-9179 (Bob Kristine). www.organiccranberries.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 

  • August 11: Vegetable Growers Field Day - UMass Crops Research and Education Center South Deerfield. Ruth Hazzard, 413.545.3696.
  • August 11: "Grower to Grower" Program on Greenhouse Biological Control- Grower Direct Farms, Somers, CT - 9:30 - 3:30pm. Details and Registration. Topics on quality control when receiving shipments and tips on efficient methods of application including mechanical applications of biocontrol agents. Attendees will also have an opportunity to see biological control being used on the current mum crop and poinsettia cuttings. Co-sponsored by University of Connecticut and University of Massachusetts Extension
  • 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
  • September 2: "Agriculture Encounters Sculpture" at Allandale Farm, Brookline. Opening late afternoon/early evening.
  • September 23: Massachusetts Day at the Eastern Sates Exposition
  • 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 October / November. Please send news, calendar and/or classified information by September 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.