In this issue: 

Commissioner's Column - Scott J. Soares
Special Guest Column - Steve Goodwin

Forefront

BusinessUpcoming EventsNews From USDA

In Every Issue


Commissioner's Column

Dear Friends,

With more snow on the ground, roofs and fields than many of us have seen in decades, I think most of us by now are looking forward to spring. As I drive past the beautiful farm and field winterscapes, I can’t help but think of the snow stories told to me by my recently-turned 100 year old grandmother – stories absent of snow removal trucks or snow blowers! But as beautiful as these Currier and Ives like winter scenes can be, they can also be dangerous and why I’m starting this edition with a reminder about the hazards of excessive snow load like that we’re seeing this season.

In fact, many businesses, including farms, have already experienced significant damage from building collapses. This has led the Patrick Administration to explore possibilities of federal assistance that might provide some relief to those residents who have been impacted. Toward that end, we are joining the USDA Farm Service Agency in encouraging farmers to report losses as a result of this historic winter. Although the farming community may be a bit less busy than during the growing season, I recognize that taking any time out from preparation for the upcoming season to report damages is costly. Nonetheless, it is important that even what might be considered a minor loss is reported as such reports are critical toward our ability to seek assistance. I also encourage any who have experienced losses to stay tuned for the possibility of future assistance as well as existing programs such as those provided by the USDA Farm Service Agency that is further detailed in this publication.

Looking toward the 2011 growing season and based upon the great developments the industry brought to fruition last year, the integration of energy conservation and continued development of on-farm renewable energy systems such as solar, wind, and anaerobic digesters look to have promising long-term prospects. We’ve already seen where the implementation of energy conservation measures and pioneering energy systems has allowed for continued diversification and expansion of production; this in turn has encouraged greater investment, provided new sources of income, offset production costs and continued to feed the growing demands that we are experiencing for locally grown and manufactured agricultural products. Kudos to the agricultural community for their often challenging groundbreaking efforts and for their important contributions to a Green Energy Future for our Commonwealth! I encourage any in our farming community to watch for upcoming courses to learn about these exciting opportunities.

From the Department’s perspective, we have also been very busy in preparation not only for the upcoming growing season but the second term of the Patrick-Murray Administration. We were fortunate to have had a great team in place during the Governor’s first term and, I am happy to report that moving forward a new re-energized team has been assembled. With that in mind, many of you may already be aware that Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. has assumed the leadership role for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Secretary Sullivan brings with him not only experience from managing the Town of Westfield but also four years of experience leading DCR, the largest agency within the secretariat, and collaborating with sister agencies, including MDAR. As the new term gets underway, Secretaries and Commissioners have been asked to reflect on how each agency will implement the initiatives necessary to carry out identified goals and objectives. Accordingly over the last few weeks I have been meeting with senior staff here at MDAR to make certain that we have an equally energized and focused team as we look ahead to the opportunities and challenges before us (of which there are many!).

In spite of facing one of the toughest budget years in recent memory, we are committed to finding ways to streamline operations, utilize more public/private partnerships, and leverage more federal dollars where we can so that we may continue to provide superlative programs and services to our constituency. We also look forward to hearing from you about the programs and services most important to you.

A few examples of our efforts to meet current challenges: 1) Efficiency – the recent transfer of all MDAR land use programs and technical services into one Division (stay tuned for details) and efforts to streamline mosquito control operations, 2) Partnering – successful collaboration between Wholesome Wave, Harvard Pilgrim Health Foundation, Federation of MA Farmers’ Markets, and MDAR to increase access opportunities for locally grown products to the Commonwealth residents, and 3) Resourcefulness – successful leveraging of federal dollars e.g. the creation of the new APR Improvement Program, the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program, and the recently launched Commonwealth Quality Program.

Besides the ongoing and much appreciated support of the agricultural community and those of you reading this newsletter, we also know that continued outreach to new audiences is essential to ensuring a vibrant agricultural future. In this newsletter, you’ll read about many familiar as well as new events and opportunities that I invite you to share with others.

In the meantime, stay warm, watch for falling ice and I look forward to seeing many of you out in the field this 2011!

Best,

Scott J. Soares, Commissioner
https://twitter.com/mdarcommish 

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Special Guest Column

What’s New in Agriculture at UMass Amherst? by Steve Goodwin

Although UMass’s involvement with agriculture goes back to our founding in 1863 as Mass. Agricultural College, it is rare to see a time of as much change and promise as we have in the last six months. Agricultural outreach, research and education are taking on sharper focus.

In a reorganization last year, UMass Extension (the university’s largest outreach unit with programs in agriculture, landscape and other areas), was moved into the Center for Agriculture in the College of Natural Sciences. For the first time in many years, agricultural and other outreach from UMass Extension is united with the unit that supports and promotes research in the same areas, the Mass. Agricultural Experiment Station. Both are now part of the Center, a close partner of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, also in our college.

This new arrangement brings with it potential for greater efficiency as we stretch our limited resources as far as we can. The reorganization also is a big boost to integrating our research and outreach efforts, important because we can bring unique value to the Commonwealth in this way. University scientists work on the pressing problems, Extension program specialists work with farmers and others with a full set of up-to-date tools in their toolboxes and the whole process is better informed. Also, the Center for Agriculture now provides one doorway at UMass Amherst for agriculture, natural resources, and food system issues.

Stockbridge School of Agriculture continues to flourish, with two-year programs that train students for skilled employment in farming, turf management, arboriculture, landscape and other fields. We are very proud of our students -- this past year, four of our students placed in the top ten of the major competitions in their fields. As we consider ways we can best serve both our students and the state’s agricultural and landscape business needs, we are looking at new options for expanded program offerings for students in the future.

Just as it does for you, the economy continues to challenge us to focus on the highest priority areas and to continue to make progress. Two new Extension faculty members will join us this year, one specializing in green building technologies and the other in water management issues. These are key areas for growers and businesses and the contributions of these experts will help us move forward.

UMass Amherst has been committed to agriculture and the green landscape industries since 1863 and we intend to keep it that way.

Dean Goodwin joined the faculty in the Department of Microbiology in 1986 and focused his research on environmental microbiology and the use of microbes to produce biodegradable polymers. Dr. Goodwin received a BS in Zoology from the University of Maine, an MS in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia, and a PhD in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin. From 2001, Dr. Goodwin served as Dean and as Associate Dean for the former College of Natural Resources and the Environment prior to becoming CNS dean in 2009. He is active on the boards of many regional organizations, including Community Involved in Supporting Agriculture (CISA), the Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors, and the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute (PVLSI). Steve and his wife Gay are both originally natives of Beverly, MA.Photo by Jim Gipe / Pivot Media.

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FOREFRONT


Smile - MDAR Just Took Your Picture!

Pictures from 2011 New England Grows, the largest and most popular horticultural and green industry event in North America, at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

Energy News

First MA Farm Anaerobic Digesters Now Under Construction!

After several years of feasibility studies and due diligence, MDAR is pleased to announce that construction is under way for the first MA agricultural anaerobic digesters (AD). Two projects are underway with four more planning to be phased in later this year. For those not familiar with this technology, an AD essentially replicates our stomach by digesting organic wastes - in this case manure and/or agricultural and food wastes, in an oxygen starved process with heat (95F). With this chemistry a renewable, methane predominant biogas is produced. The biogas can then be used for a number of applications including direct thermal combustion or as a fuel in engine generator sets to generate electricity. Moreover, the process eliminates odors and the by-products have great soil nutritional value as well as livestock bedding potential. In fact, because of these latter factors, MDAR views ADs as a manure management solution first, with the value-added benefit of being a renewable energy technology.

Now the projects: The Aragi family at Pine Island Farm in Sheffield, the largest dairy in MA, began studying this technology over 4 years ago. A collaborative effort ensued involving numerous people and agencies. The project began phased construction last fall. Using a hybrid plug-flow AD design by GHD Inc. of Wisconsin, the project will utilize all of the dairy’s manure to create enough methane biogas to feed a 220 kW engine generator set year round.

Meanwhile, approximately 3 years ago, Jordan Dairy Farm of Rutland, MA, joined a group of four other similar size dairy farms and Boston based project developer SJH & Associates, to form AGreen Energy, LLC. The concept behind this venture was to try to develop an AD project technology that could be duplicated at each farm, share in technology knowledge, financial strength, and more importantly project management services, including design engineering, construction and the on-going preventive and maintenance services needed to keep the systems up & running. These ADs will be of the mixed feedstock, mixed-flow design by Quasar Technologies, Ohio, whereby the feedstock will be a combination of manure and organic food wastes. Jordan’s project began construction last fall as well and the methane generated will power a 280 kW engine generator set year round.

Aside from the incredible energy and “can do” attitudes of the farms, consultants and developers themselves, the development of our Commonwealth’s first agricultural anaerobic digesters involved a comprehensive collaborative effort between private business, and local, state and federal agencies. Included among the many were Farm Credit East, the Town of Sheffield, the Town of Rutland, USDA Rural Development (RD), USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Department of Treasury, MA DEP, MA Clean Energy Center, EEA, DOER and MDAR. We all look forward to “turning on the switch!” Congratulations Pine Island and Jordan Farms!

Wind Turbines Approved on Two Martha’s Vineyard Farms!

On January 19th at a Chilmark Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) Meeting, the zoning board concurred with the town building inspector by a vote of 4-1 that two farm wind energy projects should be approved for building permits as agricultural structures under the zoning exemption of MA General Law Chapter 40A, Section 3. As well, the ZBA did not vote in favor of involving the Martha’s Vineyard Commission in their decision. As a result, the historical, multi-generational (dating back to the 1600’s) Allen Farm will begin construction of a 50 kW Endurance wind turbine for their diverse livestock operation, while the brand spanking new The Grey Barn will start their efforts on a 100 kW Northwind wind turbine for their under construction new diverse dairy, egg, vegetable, livestock, and cheese-making operation. Both these projects exemplify the desire of many of our Commonwealth’s farms to become long term sustainable through the implementation of clean, environmentally friendly, renewable energy technologies. Congratulations to The Grey Barn and Allen Farm! We look forward to these turbines generating clean renewable energy for their farms! For more information contact Gerry Palano, 617-626-1706, gerald.palano@state.ma.us.

Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP) – Winter Energy Workshops Almost Completed

The Winter Energy Workshop series on technical assistance and financial incentives for farms and forest product businesses is in progress and attendance has been good despite some of the real wintry weather we’ve been getting. Only one scheduled workshop is remaining:

February 11, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm, Lanesborough Town Hall, Community Room, 83 N. Main St, Lanesborough, MA

If you missed one of the earlier workshops held this winter throughout the state and are still interested in energy for your farm or for more information about the workshops or MFEP services, please contact Ann Gibson agibson@berkshirepioneerrcd.org or Darlene Monds, Darlene.Monds@ma.usda.gov at 413-256-1607 or Gerry Palano at 617-626-1706, Gerald.Palano@state.ma.us. Additional MFEP information can be found at www.berkshirepioneerrcd.org/mfep/.

Federal 30% ITC Cash Option Reminder

For those still interested in pursuing the Federal Investment Tax Credit Cash Option for selected renewable energy technologies, the original deadline of December 31, 2010 for “Beginning Construction” for this opportunity was extended until December 31, 2011 by the lame duck session congress at the end of last year. 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 now need to have been completed in calendar years 2009, 2010 or 2011 OR meet the are eligibility provisions for those initiating the project by the end of December 31, 2011, 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. For more details on all eligibility requirements and other information please see: www.treas.gov/recovery/1603.shtml.

At the same time, MDAR encourages those in our agricultural community who favor such a tax incentive to contact your local U.S. congressional representatives and senators to request this extremely beneficial cash tax equity option be extended beyond this year’s end as part of the new agenda of our new Congress in Washington, D.C.

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MassGrown & Fresher Warms Up February -- see what's NEW!

MassGrown & Fresher continues its great traction course. The site was developed last year as a resource that connects consumers to locally grown products and farmers to new consumer bases.The numbers show that from its debut in April 2010 to December 2010, the MassGrown & Fresher received over 80,000 page hits. Feedback from visitors has been positive with one of the most popular pages the interactive Agri-Google map that allows consumers to easily find ALL of their locally grown needs in one convenient one-stop-shopping spot. Last year the site was twice featured on the Mass.Gov Homepage and has been referenced as a link in newspaper articles featuring ag-related stories.

New this month:

  • Photographer Paul Goldberg is featured on Faces of Massachusetts Agriculture. His beautiful photography captures the essence of Massachusetts agriculture
  • We've added new add-on enhancements to the Agri-Google map. Check out organic farms, maple sugar, and more!
  • February is all about CSA's -- have you joined one yet?
  • Click on the Calendar and find the latest upcoming "ag"-tivities and events near you

This year we'll continue to develop this site to be clutter-free and right-to-the-agricultural-point! There is no cost to being listed. If you are interested in being part of the MassGrown & Fresher portal community, please contact Rick LeBlanc at 617-626-1759 or or Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us.

Farmers (retailers and wholesalers): As part of our on-going marketing efforts, we highlight Massachusetts farms and agricultural businesses through various publications, special events, B2B opportunities, and most importantly, on our website, www.Mass.gov/Massgrown. Helping you find profitable markets for your products is an important part of our mission. As a Massachusetts producer, you are entitled to the many different listings on the MassGrown website and brochures. If you would like to be included, or update your information, please complete our Farm Marketing Survey.

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Commonwealth Quality Sign-Up Drive for Fresh Produce Kicks Off!

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), UMASS extension educators, and regional and state commodity associations met with growers in Sturbridge on January 7, 2011 to present the sustainability standards adapted for "Commonwealth Quality," a state initiative designed in cooperation with various commodity groups to promote local agriculture and help consumers identify products that are produced, harvested and responsibly processed in Massachusetts.

More than 200 Massachusetts growers attended the meeting sponsored by the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers’ Association. UMASS educators presented standards developed specifically for Commonwealth Quality program participants. Based on a combination of industry best management practices developed with MDAR support through the MA Farm Bureau and designed to address soil health, insect control, disease prevention and food safety, these compilation of CQP standards is a result of ongoing collaboration between MDAR, the UMASS Agricultural Extension, and Massachusetts Commodity Groups.

To date, the state’s Commonwealth Quality initiative has been endorsed by the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers’ Association, the Massachusetts Fruit Growers Association, and the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation. More than 25 farms have already registered for the program resulting from the Sturbridge gathering.“Support and enthusiasm from both farmers and consumers is indicative of a resounding call for food safety and environmental stewardship assurances across the state,” said Commissioner Scott J. Soares. “We are proud that Massachusetts is again showing itself a leader in the nation.”

A second sign-up session will be taking place at the Northeast Agricultural Day at the Topsfield Fair on February 23, 2011. Please check the MDAR' s calendar of events for further details. For more information about Commonwealth Quality, contact Michael Botelho, 617-626-1721, michael.botelho@state.ma.us.

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Department of Public Health to Conduct Public Hearings on Regulations Affecting Mobile Poultry Processing Units

Notice is hereby given pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, §2, that the Department of Public Health will hold two public hearings on proposed amendments to 105 CMR 105 CMR 532.000, Inspection of Poultry and Poultry Products. The proposed amendments contain requirements for the operation of mobile poultry processing units (MPPUs) by small farmers in Massachusetts. They also delete certain obsolete regulations regarding small farmers’ exemption from inspection by USDA.

The first hearing will be held on March 10, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. in the Cafeteria, Department of Conservation and Recreation, 180 Beaman Street, West Boylston, Massachusetts. The second hearing will be held on March 11, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. in the Public Health Council Room, Second Floor, Department of Public Health, 250 Washington Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Speakers are requested to provide a copy of their oral testimony. The Department encourages all interested parties to submit testimony electronically to the following address: Reg.Testimony@state.ma.us. Please submit electronic testimony as an attached Word document or as text within the body of an email and type “MPPU” in the subject line. All submissions must include the sender’s full name and address. The Department will post all electronic testimony that complies with these instructions on its website. Persons who are unable to submit electronic testimony should mail submissions to LouAnn Stanton, Office of the General Counsel, Department of Public Health, 250 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02108. All testimony must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on March 18, 2011.

A copy of the proposed amendments may be obtained from LouAnn Stanton, Office of the General Counsel, at 617-624-5220.

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Now Available at Your Local Farmers’ Market – Massachusetts Wine!

Farmers’ market aficionados shopping recently at the new Somerville Winter farmers’ market were pleased to discover a new Massachusetts farm product represented– local wine! The Somerville Winter Farmers’ Market which opened January 8th at the Somerville Center for the Arts at the Armory, has the distinction of being the first farmers’ market approved for the sale of wine under legislation signed by Governor Deval Patrick last August which gives local cities and towns the ability to issue special licenses to wineries. The licenses allow them to sell wine at farmers’ markets, agricultural fairs and other approved agricultural events across the state.

“The legislation opens up a brand new market for consumers to purchase and learn about Massachusetts produced wine”, says MDAR Commissioner Scott Soares. A growing industry, Massachusetts currently has 34 licensed wineries.

In order for a farmers’ market to become an approved venue, the winery must submit an application to MDAR to approve the market as an “agricultural event”. Supporting documentation must be included to ensure that the market includes Massachusetts farms, promotes local agriculture, and has guidelines in place that meet the Department’s policy on recognized farmers’ markets. Once approved, the winery must apply to the local city or town for a special permit. To date, five winter farmers’ markets and one summer market have been approved with ten wineries participating. “As the summer season approaches, we expect to receive additional applications”, says David Webber, Farmers’ Market Coordinator for MDAR.
For more information on wine sales at farmers’ markets contact David Webber at 617-626-1754 or David.Webber@state.ma.us.

Claire Kozower, Somerville resident and Executive Director of Waltham Fields Community Farm, at the Somerville Winter Farmers’ Market showing off her purchase – a bottle of Local Blend from Zoll Cellars of Shrewsbury.


 

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BUSINESS


Notice of Restricted Farmland Sale in Worcester County and Request for Statements of Interest

The MDAR is considering assigning its Option to Purchase 273 acres of land on Company Farm Road and Woods Road in Barre, MA for $273,500. Approximately 100 acres are currently in agricultural production. The property is subject to an Agricultural Preservation Restriction (see Book 19751 Page 338 at the Worcester Registry of Deeds) which may be amended at the time of assignment. This assignment does not include a 5.5 acre lot which includes a house and other structures. For more information, visit: www.mass.gov/agr/landuse/APR/sale_notice.

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New Maple “Passport” Program and Kick off

New Maple “Passport” Program and Kick off March 4, 2011- New for 2011 is the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association (MMPA) March “Passport” program, launched to encourage consumers to visit Massachusetts sugarhouses. The “Passport” can be downloaded from www.massmaple.org as well as obtained from sugarhouses open to the public. MMPA will have official “passports” that sugar markers will sign with the sugarhouse name and the date of the visit. Those visiting four or more sugarhouses by April 10 can send their passport to the Association to be entered in a drawing for prizes.

Plan now to attend the ceremonial tapping of a sugar maple tree to kick off the brief but sweet season on March 4, 2011, 10am, Zawalicks Sugarhouse, Northampton. Heralding the onset of the growing season, maple sugaring is the Commonwealth’s first agricultural harvest of the year. In addition to tapping a sugar maple, area legislators and members of the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association, MDAR Commissioner Soares will read the proclamation declaring March as “Massachusetts Maple Month.” For more information contact Winton Pitcoff, MMPA Coordinator, winton@massmaple.org, www.massmaple.org.

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Patrick-Murray Administration Secures Federal Relief for
Massachusetts Farmers in Five Counties

Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. recently announced that United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Thomas Vilsack has granted the Commonwealth's request for federal disaster relief in five Massachusetts counties that suffered agricultural production losses due to unseasonably hot, dry weather last summer and fall.

Farms in Barnstable and Bristol counties, which were declared primary natural disaster areas, are now eligible for loans and other assistance from the United States Farm Services Agency (FSA), provided that individual farms meet eligibility requirements. In addition, farms in Dukes, Norfolk and Plymouth Counties, which were declared a contiguous disaster area, are also eligible for loan assistance.

"Thanks to Secretary Vilsack for granting this disaster declaration, which will give Massachusetts farmers affected by unseasonably hot and dry weather last year access to loans and other assistance they need to remain viable," said Governor Deval Patrick.

Governor Patrick sent a letter on January 3, 2011 to Secretary Vilsack requesting the disaster designation.

"Farmers across the state will now have access to resources that will help them recover from the damaging effects of the excessive heat that led to significant crop damage," said Secretary Sullivan.

Between June 1, 2010 and October 15, 2010, farmers in Barnstable and Bristol counties had crop losses due to excessive heat and scalding, which occurs when crops are over exposed to the sun causing discoloration and blistering.

According to the National Weather Service, 2010 was the third warmest summer on record with 25 days with 90 degree plus temperatures into September (normal is 11 days). The cranberry crops were the most significantly affected. Farms predicted seasonal production decreases of at least 30 percent. The Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) continues to work with the University of Massachusetts Amherst and with USDA officials to monitor the amount of damage to crop output this season. Actual crop loss assessments are expected later this year.

"For the agricultural industry, which represents $500 million in annual revenue, this assistance saves jobs and insures continued operations for many of our farms affected by last season’s excessively hot conditions," said DAR Commissioner Scott Soares.

The FSA will consider each farm's application based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with further information regarding available assistance.

Click here for more information about FSA disaster assistance programs.

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Berlin Farms Looking for Vendors at Fall Festival & Marketplace 2011

Berlin Farms is inviting local artisans, farms and vendors to join our annual Fall Festival! Each year thousands of families come to Berlin Farms to enjoy the bounty of the season - a great opportunity to sell your products and market your business. The Marketplace is a juried market, meaning all applicants are reviewed for acceptance and we are currently accepting applications! Email us at berlinfarmsfallfestival@gmail.com or call 617-710-8810 for more information.

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CISA's Winter Workshop Series on Farm Labor Management

CISA's 2011 winter workshop series for farmers will focus on labor management with information and strategies for hiring and managing your labor needs. The series will be made up of six workshops starting February 1st and ending by early April. Workshop are $10 for Local Hero Members and $15 for non members to cover the cost of dinner. Discounts available for attending the whole series. To register, complete a registration form. You can also register or post questions by contacting Devon at devon@buylocalfood.org or 413-665-7100.

  • Introduction to Labor Law - February 8th, 6:00pm-9:00pm
  • Employer Obligations - Thursday, February 16th, 6-9pm
  • Emmployee Management - Thursday, February 24th, 6-9pm
  • Other Possibilities - Apprentices, Volunteers, etc. - Thursday, March 10th, 5:30-8:30pm
  • Hiring the Right Employees - March TBD
  • Farm Manager as Employee, Educator, Landlord, Parent, Partner, Friend - March/April TBD.
Farmer Mentor Program - Need a mentor? Want to be a mentor?
CISA has developed a list of farmers and other types of experts that are interested in working one-on-one to share their expertise with farmers. We have some funding to support these mentoring sessions, so if you are looking for guidance in a particular area, contact Devon at 413-665-7100 or devon@buylocalfood.org. We are still adding mentors to the list, so if you have a particular area of expertise that you would be willing to share with other farmers, please let Devon know.

To register contact Devon Whitney-Deal at 413-665-7100 or devon@buylocalfood.org. For an updated listing of all workshops and the registration form visit www.buylocalfood.org. The Labor Management workshops are supported in part by USDA/Risk Management Agency, by Northeast Center for Risk Management, USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2010-49200-06201, and by individual contributors and Local Hero members.

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Catch the Beekeeping Buzz this Spring at Bristol Community College

Get the buzz about beekeeping. Bristol Community College is offering open enrollment to its spring Natural Beekeeping course. Aspiring and new beekeepers will learn the essentials necessary to begin a hobby or small enterprise as a beekeeper including purchasing and establishing a hive, disease and pest management, and harvesting the honey. The 10-week course, which emphasizes organic methods of beekeeping, includes at least one field day demonstration of installing, feeding, and the beginning steps of establishing a hive. In the spring, participants will have the opportunity to purchase their own bees, hives and equipment. The course will be held on Mondays, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm, starting February 28. It may be taken as a noncredit course or for one college credit. For additional information, contact Professor Jim Corven at james.corven@bristolcc.edu.

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2011 UMass Extension Green Directory - Now Available

The 2011 UMass Extension Green Directory is a comprehensive guide to educational resources for Massachusetts Agriculture industry professionals. This FREE 40-page guide can be used as a reference all year long!

The directory includes:
  • Contact information for UMass Extension Agriculture and Landscape Specialists and Faculty.
  • Upcoming UMass Extension conferences, seminars and workshops.
  • UMass Plant Diagnostic Lab sample submission information for insect, tick, disease and cultural problems.
  • UMass Soil and Tissue Testing Lab information.
  • Pesticide license information, including test dates, training workshops, and how to get a pesticide license.
  • Phone resources to refer home gardener questions.
  • Extension newsletters, web sites and publications.
  • Frequently used phone numbers related to Agriculture and the Green Industries.
  • An easy to read matrix outlining programs available to growers from Rural Development Agency, Natural Resource and Conservation Services, Farm Service Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.
Available online at www.umass.edu/agland/. Click on Green Directory.

For a hard copy, call UMass Extension at (413) 545-0895, fax request to (413) 577-1620, or
email eweeks@umext.umass.edu.

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Massachusetts Spring Microloan Deadline: March 4th, 2011

The Carrot Project is pleased to announce that the Strolling of the Heifers Microloan Fund for New England Farmers and the MassDevelopment/Strolling of the Heifers Small Farm Loan Program serving residents of Massachusetts will be accepting prequalified applications for our Spring deadline through March 4th, 2011 for loans of $15,000 or less. There is an additional deadline in the Fall of 2011.

For more information, please go to www.thecarrotproject.org or contact Dorothy Suput at 617-666-9637 or at dsuput@thecarrotproject.org.

The Carrot Project is also pleased to announce that we are hiring a part-time Program Coordinator! For more information on this position, please see the full project description here.

UPCOMING EVENTS


The Business of Farming

Have you thought about buying or running a farm? Are you wondering how that kind of life would work for you? Are you curious about how the “business” of farming is done? Come to this workshop and hear from experts how farming can be your 21st century career.

Thursday, February 24th, 8:30 am – 10:30 am.
Enterprise Center at Salem State University, 121 Loring Ave, Salem, MA 01970
FREE – Click here to register

The recognition amongst consumers of the importance of local food production has generated an innovative and expanding agricultural sector in Massachusetts. With growing interest in the pursuit of agriculture as a lifestyle, this session will feature a panel presentation and discussion with local area producers related to the business aspects of farming for those interested in pursuing agriculture as a viable career path. Organized by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), Salem State University and co-sponsored by the Small Business Development Center , guest speakers will include a dynamic panel consisting of an established grower, a grower just getting started in the farming business, and a technical assistance coordinator with the Tufts University who works to help farmers develop viable business plans. Anna Waclawiczek will be moderator. Anna is Chief of Staff at MDAR; the Department offers over 30 programs and services across the state to help promote a sustainable and vibrant agricultural future in the Commonwealth.

BRIEF BIOS:

Moderator Anna Waclawiczek -- Before coming on board to MDAR, Anna worked at a number of start-up software companies on strategic marketing initiatives. Her marketing background and city roots add a unique perspective to the challenges and opportunities of the agricultural community. Suffice to say she’s hooked on “Ag” and everything locally grown! Anna oversees day-to-day operations of a staff of 75+ and is responsible for coordinating outreach efforts of the Department at the local, state, and federal level. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Salem State College. She loves hiking, writing, and eggplant.

Richard Bonanno Ph.D. is the owner of Pleasant Valley Gardens in Methuen, Pleasant Valley Gardens, started in 1910, produces 50 acres of fresh-market vegetables, 2 acres of field-grown flowers, and ¾ acre of greenhouse bedding plants and vegetable transplants. He is also Extension Weed Scientist with UMass Extension and is responsible for vegetable and small fruit weed management recommendations. He teaches the USDA Good Agricultural Practices trainings in New England. Currently he is President of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation.

Dave Dumaresq operates Farmer Daves in Dracut. Dave grew up working on the Brox Farm in Dracut learning the intricacies of New England farming from John Brox who had been tilling that land since the 1920s. In 2003 he was asked to offer his fresh products to a neighboring community and began also leasing the East Street Farm in Tewksbury. Working closely with those trying to preserve farmland for future agriculture, in 2006 he finally purchased his own farm in Dracut from the Leczynski family. This became known as Farmer Dave's Dumaresq Farm, or simply Farmer Daves.

Mckenzie Boekholder is Technical Assistance Coordinator with the Tufts University New Entry Sustainable Farming Project. She works directly with New Entry program farmers and staff, helping to develop New Entry's pilot Transitioning Farmer Program. McKenzie, together with New Entry staff, is responsible for coordinating and developing this new initiative that works to help farmers begin their own viable farm business over the course of 3 years.

Third Bi-Annual Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference

March 1-3, 2011 in Sturbridge, MA 

Register by February 14th and Save Money!
You can save $40 off each full conference registration.

Join hundreds of farmers from across the region at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center for over 25 workshops, including customer relations, using social media, understanding financial benchmarks, increasing customer sales, product packaging, winter markets, commercial kitchens, conflict management, culinary and agri-tourism, “Apps” that can increase your electronic exposure and understanding pricing food trends and lots more!

Perishable retail expert and horticultural consultant John Stanley will provide the keynote on March 2 and show attendees how to “Merchandise Your Way to Success.” A prolific author, he has written several industry specific books, including the best-selling retail management book, Just About Everything a Retail Manager Needs to Know and his customer service book, Think FOR Your Customer.

“I heard John speak at the North American Farmers Direct Marketing Conference several years ago and have been hoping to get him to Massachusetts since says Jeff Cole, Executive Director for the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers’ Markets. He had lots of realistic ideas for growers based upon solid retail experience targeted to farm direct marketers.”

A general session with Vermont farmer Ben Hewitt and author of The Town That Food Saved will round out the conference on March 3. Ben will discuss the incredible potential for producers and farms to revitalize their communities.

Two pre-conference workshops will be held on March 1, including a GAP training for farmers and a seminar for farmers’ market managers.

Participants can meet with nearly one hundred agricultural service providers in conjunction with the Conference. Attendees will have full access to the trade show and, new this year, longer blocks of time dedicated solely to visit the show. Trade show hours are 3:15 pm to 7:30 pm on March 2, allowing for over 4 hours to walk the show. A reception featuring local foods from New England will also be held in the trade show hall during this time. On March 3, the trade show will be open from 7:30 am – 3:15 pm.

A wide range of companies will exhibit, including representatives of farm equipment, fertilizer, seed, insurance, alternative energy, packaging, federal, state and non-profit agencies, specialty food companies and co-packers and more. A complete list of exhibitors to date can be found on the conference website.

A full conference registration includes all general and breakout sessions, all day coffee, 2 lunches, the trade show and reception – all for $85! Additional representatives from the same farm pay only $70!

The Harvest New England Ag Marketing Conference and Trade Show is a program sponsored by the six New England Departments of Agriculture. For complete conference details and to register, click here.


Implementation Plans for the Boston Public Market are in Full Gear

The MA Department of Agriculture Resources is working with Project for Public Spaces (PPS, www.pps.org) to develop an implementation plan for this new indoor, year-round market that will showcase Massachusetts products. PPS will be at the Harvest New England Conference Tradeshow, March 2nd & 3rd, Sturbridge, MA, to share the latest information about the market and to get ideas and feedback from producers and vendors. Nora Owens, PPS representative, will be at the MDAR tradeshow booth to share information, answer questions and hear your thoughts, so please stop by. And to learn more about the Boston Public Market, visit: click here.


Northeast Harvest - 2nd Annual Ag Day

February 23rd - Northeast Harvest and New England Cooperative Extension - “Sustainability & the Commonwealth Quality Seal”, Coolidge Hall, Topsfield Fairgrounds - 9:30am– 3pm - Registration at 9:00am. Introduce the Commonwealth Quality program and discuss how it can benefit Massachusetts growers. The Commonwealth Quality Seal serves to identify locally-sourced products that are grown, harvested, and processed right here in Massachusetts using practices that are safe, sustainable and don’t harm the environment. Having the seal of Commonwealth Quality on your produce, seafood and lumber instantly conveys the freshness, quality and reliability of your products to consumers. The Commonwealth Quality program requires growers to use a wide range of existing practices and standards that are identified in each sector’s program requirements document. Meeting Registration-$30/per person Commonwealth Quality Registration-$50. (We need separate checks if you are doing both!) Coffee in the morning - Lunch will be provided. Registration and details, www.northeastharvest.com.


MA Farm Wineries & Growers Association (MFWGA) 4th Annual Meeting

Tuesday, February 8th, 8–5 pm, Publick House, Sturbridge, MA. This meeting is perfect for anyone who is a grower, a winery owner, or who is thinking of starting a winery. The MFWGA meeting will include presentations by the wineries who have participated in the winter markets selling wine, discuss lessons learned, how to be successful and to avoid pitfalls. In addition, there will be valuable information about new federal and state grants available. And finally, sustainability in the winery and tasting room will be discussed. To register and for more info: leesidemini@gmail.com. The cost is $75 and includes lunch.


The 2nd Annual 2011 Winter Hops Conference

February 18th, The 2nd Annual 2011 Winter Hops Conference, coordinated by UVM Extension and supported by the MA Department of Agricultural Resources and Vermont Agency of Agriculture, will be held at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT, Friday, February 18th from 10 am - 3:30 pm. Last year the event was sold out - so plan to RSVP by February 11th at the latest. Dr. John Henning will discuss strategies for achieving high quality hop production as well as the challenges and opportunities presented by a low-trellis system. Hopyard trellis construction, the history of hops in Vermont, and a Brewers Panel made up of local brewers are also on the agenda. Cost of registration: $30 for members of the Northeast Hop Alliance, $40 for non-members. Lunch is included. To register and for additional information, contact Rosalie Madden: ramadden@uvm.edu  802-524-6501.


Attention Poultry Enthusiasts!
The Annual Massachusetts Poultry Enhancement Meeting

Massachusetts Poultry Enhancement Meeting
March 24, 2011, Bolton Public Library, 738 Main Street, Bolton, MA 01740, 978-779-2839
Time: 6pm-9pm (registration begins at 5:45pm)
Cost: FREE (light refreshments)

For the backyard chicken enthusiasts to more established poultry operations, the MA Poultry Enhancement Meeting has all the latest information on poultry. This year’s meeting is hosted by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and the Massachusetts Poultry Enhancement Council (MPEC) and will be held at the Bolton Public Library on March 24, 2011 at 6pm to 9pm. Agenda items include all aspects of the poultry spectrum:

• Leading guest speakers from the poultry sector
• Poultry Best Practices Guide
• Regulatory Guidelines
• Emergency Disease Response Plan
• Information about MassGrown & Fresher (a free online marketing tool to promote your poultry business to consumers) and other MDAR marketing materials.

This is an open meeting for residents of Massachusetts and surrounding states. Any business or individual group may provide their contact information and a representative will be present at the meeting. Please contact Ed Hageman at 617-626-1796 or Edward.Hageman@state.ma.us for more information.


Mass Aggie: Home Garden and Small Farm Series

Sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Location: Varies around the state depending on workshop

  • March 5 - Growing Apples in the Home Garden
  • March 5 - Pruning Apples Trees: A Hands-on Workshop
  • March 12 - An Introduction to Growing & Pruning Grapes in the Home Garden
  • March 19 - Managing Weeds Organically in the Home Landscape
  • March 26 - Wildflowers for Beginners
  • April 2 - Grafting Apple Trees, A Hands-on Workshop
  • April 16 - Backyard Apple Orchard Fruiting Wall
  • April 30 - Backyard Apple Orchard Fruiting Wall

Go to http://www.UMassGarden.com to register.


Mass Aggie: Backyard Livestock and
Poultry Management Workshops

Saturday, February 12th, The Hadley Farm, 111 North Maple St., Hadley
Saturday, February 26th, Bristol Agricultural High School, 135 Center St., Dighton

Join the UMass Amherst agricultural faculty and Extension staff for a day-long seminar designed for the home gardener or nonprofessional small farmer. Learn about housing, breed selection and breeding, pasture, hay and weed management, regulations and more. Two sessions offered: Session I 9:00 am- 12:00 pm, and Session II 1:00 pm- 4:00 pm. Room is still available! To pre-register and for further details visit http://umass.edu/cdl/news.html or contact Jacqui Carlevale at cdle@umext.umass.edu or 413-545-5221.


UMass Community Tree Conference

Tree Workers & Working Safely - A Reality Check - A Conference for Arborists, Foresters, Tree Wardens, Sugar Bush Owners and Anyone Who Loves Trees

Tuesday, March 8th, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Stockbridge Hall, UMass Amherst

This one-day conference is designed for arborists, tree wardens, municipal managers, city planners, foresters, sugar bush owners and landscape architects who are involved with the management of property, both private and public. The University of Massachusetts Extension, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the USDA Forest Service sponsor this annual conference.

Two pesticide contact hours available for Applicator's License, categories 29 and 36.
Association credits available: 5.5 ISA, 1 MCA, and 5.5 CFE's. For a registration form or to register online using a credit card, go to http://umassgreeninfo.org/. Click on Conferences and Workshops. For more information, contact UMass Extension at (413) 545-0895, eweeks@umext.umass.edu, or Dennis Ryan at (413) 545-6626, dr@nrc.umass.edu.


Employee Training for Garden Retailers

Tuesday, March 29th, 9:00am-3:30pm, Publick House, Route 131, Sturbridge, MA

For garden center employees, horticulture retailers, roadside stands and others that work with retail customers in horticulture. Learn about helping customers to choose the right plant for the right place and answering questions about good soil preparation and management. The fternoon will focus on customer service and merchandising.

  • Choosing the Right Plant for the Right Place - Ron Kujawski, Consulting Horticulturist, Berkshire County. You have limited time to educate your customers to help them choose the right plants. Ron will share details on matching plants with their ideal environments in the landscape. He will include site assessment and drought tolerant plants.
  • Top 10 Landscape Pests - Bob Childs, UMass Extension
  • Soil Preparation and Management - Doug Cox, UMass Plant, Soil & Insect Sciences. Let Doug help you to sort through the basics of soil preparation and management. Learn about pH, nutrients and soil amendments to help you better answer questions from customers.
  • Sales and Customer Service Skills are the Keys to Better Sales - Bruce Baker, Middlebury, VT. Bruce Baker has lead over 600 workshops throughout the US in the past 25 years on displays, sales and customer service. Those who try his suggestions say the results are like magic! Learn how to greet customers and sell more products in this lively and entertaining workshop. Bruce will cover all aspects of selling, from greeting customers to closing a sale. He will also provide merchandising tips for displaying products so that customers will purchase more every time they come to your business.

Cost is $50 per person; $45 per person for three or more registrations from the same company (10% discount). Morning coffee and handouts included in registrations. Send checks payable to UMass to: Garden Retailer Training, UMass Extension, French Hall, Amherst, MA 01003. Details and on-line registration is available at www.UMassGreenInfo.org.


Western MA Agcom Conference

Saturday, March 5, 2011, the Deerfield Ag Commission will host the 9th gathering for western Mass Agricultural Commission members, farmers, and interested friends of agriculture at Deerfield Town Hall, 8 Conway Street, South Deerfield. Contact Pete Westover for details: westover03@comcast.net, www.massagcom.org.


Farmers' Market Workshops: Food Safety, Consumer Education,
and Wine too!

The workshops will provide an overview of Massachusetts food regulations and permitting requirements as related to farmers’ markets; update market managers on recent legislation that allows for the sale of wine at farmers’ markets by licensed farm wineries and provide an opportunity for conversation, questions and discussion. Speakers and facilitators include representatives from the MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources, MA Dept. of Public Health, Food Protection Program, Federation of MA Farmers’ Markets and a local health inspector.

There is no fee, however space is limited!
RSVP at least one week prior to the date of the workshop to Martha Sweet at 781-893-8222 or  by email: martha@massfarmersmarket.orgWhen responding, please email any questions for the Q & A and include names and contact information (phone number and email) for each attendee.

  • February 9th - Plymouth Public Library, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • February 15th - Charlton Public Library, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
  • March 30th - Burlington Public Library, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Massachusetts Agriculture Day at the State House

Save the Date! Thursday, April 7, 2011

From the Berkshires to the Cape, to the farmers’ markets in Boston, each year this exciting event draws hundreds of farmers, agriculture officials, legislators, and industry leaders from across the Commonwealth. Participants gather at the State House to acknowledge not only the positive impact and economic growth of agriculture in Massachusetts but also to discuss issues and legislation affecting their farms and communities.

The event includes a speaking program, ‘Agriculture Day’ awards, informational exhibits and a reception featuring Massachusetts’ farm and specialty food products. Please join MDAR and many others from the agricultural community in recognizing the contributions of Massachusetts’ farmers; learn more about the department’s current and new programs and its efforts to maintain the long-term viability of Massachusetts’ agriculture; and celebrate Massachusetts agricultural products which benefit all Massachusetts residents.

For more information, contact the MA Agricultural Promotional Board at agpromoboard@mfbf.net, "Save the Date" flyer, click here.

NEWS FROM USDA


Agricultural Officials Announce FSA Programs Available for Livestock Producers Affected by Harsh Winter Weather

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Massachusetts State Executive Director Richard Burke reminds livestock producers throughout Massachusetts that FSA programs may be available to assist them. Many are dealing with harsh winter weather, which is causing serious harm to livestock and forage due to heavy snow, ice and extremely cold temperatures.

"This is turning out to be a tough winter for many ranchers and farmers in Massachusetts, and learning about our FSA programs is an important step for producers to take," said Burke. "We need producers to document the number and kind of livestock that have died as a direct result of these winter storms and timely notify their local FSA office of these losses. There may be situations where producers are transporting feed to their livestock. Producers should document these additional costs."

"It’s critically important that producers document any weather-related livestock losses and report these losses to FSA officials as soon as possible ," said Commissioner Scott Soares. “Folks may also call our Department and we will make sure to direct constituents to the information they need.”

FSA administers several programs that help producers recover from livestock deaths that are beyond normal mortality rates, losses of purchased and/or harvested forage, and with the additional costs of providing or transporting feed. Among the key programs are the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP). For livestock death losses to be eligible under LIP, producers must file a notice of loss with their local FSA office within 30 calendar days from when the loss is apparent to the producer.

Fact sheets for these two programs can be found at www.fsa.usda.gov; click on Newsroom, then Fact Sheets.


On-Farm Energy Audits Help Massachusetts Farmers Improve Energy Conservation and Efficiency

USDA assistance available to producers to conduct and implement energy audits

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the expansion of an initiative to help local farmers conduct energy audits and improve their overall energy efficiency. On-farm energy audits are tailored to each agricultural operation’s primary energy uses. The audits help farmers determine the amount of energy used by the entire operation and also identify short- and long-term measures farmers can implement to conserve energy and achieve greater energy efficiencies.


USDA Develops, Revises Conservation Practice Standards -
Seeks Public Comments

USDA has revised or developed several conservation practice standards and published them in the Federal Register for public comment.  Revised and new practices include nutrient management, aquatic organism passage, bivalve aquaculture waste control, cross wind trap strips, irrigation field ditch, and waste facility closure. USDA is seeking comments on all the practices through February 25, 2011. Click here for more.


Business Planning for Dairy Processing

Business planning for dairy processing is the subject to be discussed at the Risk Management Workshop at the Makris Lobster and Steak House in Concord, NH on March 1, 2011 from 9:30 AM to 3:00PM.

The featured speaker is Taryn Fisher of Contoocook, NH. Taryn develops strategic direction and leads special project client teams for both profit and not-for-profit entities to pursue business opportunities. She conducts needs assessment and formulates strategic plans to seize new market opportunities. She has provided management and operations support to senior leadership of companies in the manufacturing, consumer products marketing, and financial services sectors. In addition, she has non-profit fundraising experience. Currently, Taryn is pursuing a doctorate at Franklin Pierce University. Her dissertation includes a case study focus on planning and budgeting for a NH-based dairy processing plant.

Taryn is going to discuss identifying the market demand and sources of supply, developing an operations plan, determining distribution strategy, planning organizational structure, and preparing a budget for on-farm milk bottling and bottling by a third party.

A panel of dairy producers who diversified into milk processing on farms will share their experiences, benefits and pitfalls with developing their added value operation. Additional speakers will give a brief overview of a new insurance program for dairy farmers and basic regulations for milk processing on-farms.

Registration is $15 to cover lunch. Registration deadline is February 25th. Checks can be made payable to UNHCE – Grafton County. For registration and other information, contact Mike Lunak at 787-6944 or go to http://extension.unh.edu/Grafton-County for program information. This seminar is sponsored by USDA/Risk Management Agency.


IN EVERY ISSUE

Classified Ads

  • AGRICULTURAL PROPERTIES AVAILABLE - The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has agricultural properties available for bid in advance of the 2011 growing season. Click here for details [pdf].
  • MARKET MANAGER – ENTREPRENEUR NEEDED - The A.D. Makepeace Company is seeking a creative, enthusiastic, entrepreneurial Farm Market Manager to guide its much loved country store to the next level. The Manager will be responsible for product selection, merchandising, staffing, and all operational issues, and will have marketing support. Reporting to the Vice President for Marketing and Communication, the successful applicant will thoroughly understand the concept of agritourism. Salary commensurate with experience and may include performance bonuses; generous benefits package available. Visit www.tihonetvillagemarket.com for more information or to apply.
  • AGRICULTURAL EXCAVATION – GRADING SERVICES - provide earth moving, drainage, land/pasture reclamation, greenhouse preparation, and rock raking services. Includes but not limited to orchards, Christmas trees/equine facilities/cranberry bogs/nurseries. Chris Merrill Excavating merrilltrucks@comcast.net 978-897-9977.
  • POSITION AVAILABLE IMMEDIATELY - Communication/Publications Consulting Position
    The Massachusetts Farm to School Project, a grassroots initiative located in Amherst, MA is looking for a part time consultant to focus on publications, public relations, social media, and grant writing assistance. Excellent writing and editing, attention to detail, and relevant computer software/hardware and social media skills are essential. The position requires eighteen hours per week and the ability to work in our office at least two days per week. The ideal candidate is an experienced and self-motivated perfectionist who will enjoy becoming a member of our small consulting team. Knowledge of the agricultural industry in Massachusetts or of institutional food services a plus. Reliable transportation, computer, imagination and flexibility required. $22 per hour to start, with possible increase after orientation period. Please forward letter, resume, and names of three references as soon as possible to mafarmtoschool@gmail.com; desired start date is March 1st.
  • WANT TO BUY: local [Massachusetts] natural and dyed wool and fleece roving and batts suitable for spinning and feltmaking. Will pay competitive wholesale prices for good quality wool and fleece from locally raised fiber animals. Please contact Barbara at graycraigfarm@gmail.com or 413-461-8405.

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

  • February 11: Northeast Buyers Mission, Boston. Buyers from 12 countries will be in Boston to meet one on one with food businesses. For more information, bonita.oehlke@state.ma.us.
  • February 22: Maple Sugaring Workshop for Teachers, The Warren Farm and Sugarhouse, North Brookfield. Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom (MAC) is sponsoring “Keeping Your Classroom Fresh and Growing”, the workshop will focus on Maple Sugaring with activities for the classroom. The $30 fee includes lunch and all materials. Ten Professional Development Points are provided with accompanying classroom activity. Click here for details.
  • February 23: 2nd Annual Ag Day - Northeast Harvest and New England Cooperative Extension - “Sustainability & the Commonwealth Quality Seal” , Coolidge Hall, Topsfield Fairgrounds - Introduce the Commonwealth Quality program and discuss how it can benefit MA growers. Registration and details, www.northeastharvest.com.
  • March 1-3: Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference and Trade Show - Sturbridge Host Hotel, Sturbridge, MA. Over 800 attendees attended the second conference in February 2009. Plans are for an even bigger and better event in 2011. This unique marketing conference targets New England farmers interested in learning new marketing ideas as well as fine-tuning strategies for business success. Five themed tracks with over 25 workshops will be offered covering a wide range of marketing and business planning topics, including using social media, funding, customer relations, value added, agri-tourism and more. A full trade show of nearly 100 vendors will provide information on the latest products and services for the agricultural community. For updates and to register on line go to www.harvestnewengland.org.
  • March 3: The Ecological Landscaping Association's 17th Annual Conference & Eco-Marketplace - Staying Ahead of the Curve, MassMutual Center, Springfield. Featuring keynote panelists William Cullina, Peter Del Tredici, and Jono Neiger.Learn about the latest ecological and horticultural practices in sessions given by some of the top speakers in their fields. Network with vendors at the Eco-Marketplace, where you will find a wide selection of ecological and organic products and services. Save 20% if you register before February 15th! For a full brochure, click here.
  • March 4: Maple Kick Off – 10am. Sponsored by the MA Maple Producers Association, Zawalicks Sugarhouse, Northampton. There will be a ceremonial maple tree tapping and reading of the Maple Proclamation. For more information contact Winton Pitcoff, MMPA Coordinator, winton@massmaple.org.
  • March 5: 4th Annual One-Day Farm Conference & Resource Fair, Bristol County Agricultural High School, Dighton, MA. Organized by SEMAP and Bristol County Conservation District. Join us for a day of workshops and networking. This years topics include Agri-Tourism, How to Develop a Farm Blog, Grant Writing for Your Farm, Working with Land Trusts to Protect Your Farm, and a panel discussion on Value Added. Click here for more info.
  • March 8: MA Specialty Foods Association Annual Meeting, at the Sam Adams Brewery in Boston.
    For more information contact ccoutrier@aol.com.
  • March 9: OPEN HOUSE - UMass Extension Plant Diagnostic Lab - 3-5pm. At the NEW LOCATION - Parking is free. Light refreshments will be served. 1st Floor of the Slobody Building, 101 University Drive - Suite A7, Amherst. Phone #'s and emails have stayed the same. Forms and instructions can also be found online, click here.
  • March 11: CISA's Annual Meeting - Annual business meeting and potluck, Amherst College. Guest speaker, Vern Grubinger, who will speak about the Future of Food. We'll also be celebrating the 2010 Local Hero Award winners--Belle Rita Novak, J & J Farms and Real Pickles.This event is free, but limited to 170 people, so please RSVP. Call 413-665-7100 or e-mail Jennifer Williams.
  • March 12: Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom (MAC) Annual Winter Conference - Paul R. Baird Middle School, Ludlow, MA. Titled "Growing Minds Through Massachusetts Agriculture," the conference offers offers educational and networking resources, activity ideas and framework connections that can facilitate and enhance pre-K through 12th grade classroom teachers alike and help bring agriculture to the classroom. Fill in and mail a Conference Registration Form - PDF Version or HTML Version. www.aginclassroom.org.
  • March 23: The 24th Annual Governor's Conference on Travel + Tourism, Historic Boston Park Plaza Hotel. The conference location is an a unique area, easily accessible from highway , public transportation close by and walking distance to many local attractions, theatre and dining. A full conference agenda will be available soon. If you have questions about the conference please contact Dagny Ashley, www.massvaction.com.
  • March 29: Employee Training for Garden Retailers, 9:00 - 3:30pm, Place: Publick House, Rte. 131, Sturbridge, MA. For garden center employees, horticulture retailers, roadside stands and others that work with retail customers in horticulture. In the morning learn about: Choosing the Right Plant for the Right Place and the Basics of Soils (pH, nutrients and soil amendments) for Home Gardens. The afternoon will feature Customer Service and Merchandising. Info.
  • April 10: 4th Annual Pioneer Valley Coop Tour, 12noon-6 pm, Coops of various sizes and designs and the feathered friends that inhabit them will be featured. See how valley folks manage their flocks for fresh eggs, meat, garden compost, and entertainment. This is a FREE tour and a great way to learn about the art and science of keeping a backyard flock. Beginners and children welcome! (No dogs please.) Presented by the Pioneer Valley Backyard Chicken Assoc.Contact: pioneervalleychickens@yahoo.com. For coop tour locations and details, please see our website.

*** 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 Energy and Environmental Affairs, Richard K. Sullivan, 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 April / May. Please send news, calendar and/or classified information by March 31st 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.