In this issue:

Forefront

Business

Upcoming Events

News from USDA

In Every Issue


Commissioner's Column

Dear Friends,

Image of Scott Soares

We all certainly recall that last year at this time many a Massachusetts barn roof and greenhouse frame strained under the weight of record snowfall. And while so far this appears to be “the winter that wasn’t”, it seems after a year of some of the most unusual weather many of us have ever seen that we may have caught a bit of a break that’s allowing an extended period for outdoor work that would otherwise be waiting for the not too distant spring.  

But whether two or twenty inches of snow, 17° or 50° degrees, farmers from the Cape to the Berkshires are busy with typical and previously not-so-typical activities.  Beyond the time-honored and necessary tasks of farm business planning, ordering seeds and repairs, many farmers are now also participating in very successful winter markets.  In fact over the last three years these important direct marketing opportunities have nearly doubled each year from less than a dozen in 2009 to 36 now underway across our Commonwealth.  The winter months are also an important time for attending an increasing number of annual meetings, trade shows and workshops to learn about new farming techniques and trends. At the Department, we too look forward to these meetings for even greater interactions with the farming community as well as the opportunity to establish new relationships with the increasing number of people who are interested in supporting or learning more about our agricultural identity.

Back at the MDAR “farmstead”, our five core divisions – Administration , Agricultural Markets , Animal Health , Crop and Pest Services , and Agricultural Conservation and Technical Assistance have begun the task of aligning the resources at hand with the identified objectives and goals of the agency and Administration for 2012. 
This fiscal year’s stark fiscal reality is that we are doing less with less to achieve our goals and so I would like to say again (if I haven’t already), how appreciative I am to those who recognize the value of our programs and services and have vocally advocated on their behalf!

The top four major initiatives for MDAR in 2012 remain the development of a year-round Public Market in Boston, the Commonwealth Quality Program , Food Policy Council and the . We’ve also established a dozen priority areas that range from continued support of farm energy programming, to increased attention to agriculture’s important role in health, nutrition and hunger issues as well as several programmatic areas associated with markets, increased utilization of information technology, establishing agriculture’s economic impact in Massachusetts and promoting opportunities for the farming community’s ‘next generation’. Of course all of these priority areas will remain underpinned by our continued efforts to increase working and funding partnerships while maximizing agency and programmatic delivery efficiencies.

Identified divisional priorities are also making headway. To highlight just a few, we will be looking at ways to balance the preservation of agricultural lands with renewable energy production; improving opportunities to encourage job growth and entry into agricultural industry related employment; identifying initiatives to address health, nutrition, and hunger issues primarily through partnerships with sister agencies and other organizations (see below a great joint initiative with ChopChop Magazine!); looking at the development of wholesale markets to expand on the great work that has been done associated with direct sales; working on promulgating new animal shelter regulations; and staying engaged with the Farm Bill development process to insure our needs are considered, as well as preparations for the 2014 National Association of State Departments of Agriculture that will be hosted in Massachusetts.

Finally, as the MassGrown and Fresher website continues to gain traction as the primary vehicle through which we drive consumers to the Bay State’s great diversity of local agricultural products, I am delighted to report enthusiastic response so far from some commodity groups interested in participating in the 2012 MBTA “Riding the Rails” MassGrown & Fresher Campaign. To note that the spring campaign will focus on what many might not realize is one of the largest components of Massachusetts’s agriculture – the nursery and greenhouse sector.  We are also looking at a potential dairy campaign in June and will look at additional opportunities to promote local produce and other agricultural products in the fall.

If you haven’t already, I certainly encourage all to include a link on your Homepage if you have your own business and of course if you are interested in being listed on MassGrown & Fresher, please contact Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us or at 617-626-1759. And without further ado, please enjoy the February/March Farmers’ Market Report!

Best,
  Image of Soares Signature
Scott J. Soares, Commissioner

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Special Guest Column

Image of Roy M. Henshaw

by Roy M. Henshaw, MBA, CPA

Planning For The Effects of Rising Tax Rates

There is no telling what, if any, tax policy changes might come out of a gridlocked Congress this election year. But as the national budget debate continues to press for lower spending and increased sources of revenue, one can reasonably expect that tax rates will go up at some point – and maybe soon – especially if extensions to the Bush-era Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2001 (TEFRA) expire as planned at the end of 2012.

If and when tax rates do rise, deductions will be worth more in future years even considering the present value of money spent today to pay bills. This means that some tax planning is in order, starting now. Here are a few tax-saving techniques to think about going forward:

  • Plan to accelerate income in 2012 by increasing pension distributions, recognizing capital gains and receiving bonuses this year for this year’s services. Accrual accounting-based entities and individuals should try to bill for all income earned this year. Exercise options now and pay the tax at a lower rate. Opt out of installment sales contracts in the year 2012.
  • Change to a slower method of depreciation such as the straight line method. Consider drafting sales agreements (for feed contracts, harvest deliveries, and the like) to recognize income earlier in the life of the delivery cycle.
  • Plan to defer charitable contributions into the future. When possible defer as many taxes as you can into the following year. Agricultural businesses who typically are allowed to prepay feed and planting expenses should wait and pay them in the year incurred.
  • Current tax law is aimed at assuring timely filings and higher payments earlier in the year. Thus it is becoming more common to be hit with late filing fees and interest on unpaid balances. Entities and individuals should make all required estimated tax payments in a timely manner. Where applicable, pay 125% of the prior year tax obligation or 90% of the current year tax tab. This will control penalties and interest assessed on estimated tax payments. If filing for an extension, make certain all tax payments are made at that time – remember, there is no extension on the payment of the taxes, only on filing the return.
  • Pay fringe benefits for family members in the business to keep value inside the organization. Pay children to work and set aside retirement funds for them, as they could pay future tuition bills.
  • Making the correct entity selection at the time of creating a business will provide tax savings benefits for current and future years. Consider issuing Qualified Small Business Stock to those entities that qualify, as provided for in IRS Code section 1202.
  • Prepare individual and entity tax projections to maximize acquisition and leasing decisions. This will provide flexibility for recognizing expenses including depreciation. Section 179 expensing election is available for 2012 up to $139,000 of asset purchases. The write-off is limited to the total assets purchased up to net income.

Proposed tax legislation currently circulating in Washington looks for small business to go green and offers various federal and state credits. Plan to implement cost segregation analysis on all buildings built or bought in order to accurately plan for the correct useful life. Owners of agricultural buildings and assets have always been able to elect accelerated depreciation. Consider electing out of these provisions.

Roy Henshaw is a partner of Rucci Bardaro & Barrett P.C. , where he heads the firm’s Agricultural Business Practice Group. Raised in dairy farming, Roy's agricultural roots go back four generations. Today, his practice reflects experience in a broad range of industries, although agricultural businesses (fruit and produce, livestock, equestrian, dairy, food distribution) remain his specialty.

Roy is a member of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau and the Massachusetts Arborists Association. He is also a member of the American Institute of CPA's, Massachusetts Society of CPA's, Massachusetts Association of Independent Public Accountants, National Society of Public Accountants, and National Association of Tax Professionals. royh@rb-b.com.

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Forefront


Energy News

USDA Rural Development Announces Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Notice of Funding Availability for 2012

USDA announced on Friday, January 20, 2012, the Notification of Funding Availability for their annual REAP Program. Initiated as part of the Farm Bill in 2002, this program provides grants and loan guarantees for rural area agriculture and small business. Some highlights of this year's program include:

  • Program will support nationally approximately $12.5 million in budget authority for grants and $48.5 million for loan guarantees.
  • Grant offerings include funding for 25% of eligible costs for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements; renewable energy feasibility studies; energy audits and renewable energy development assistance.
  • Loan Guarantees for eligible renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements, either alone or in combination with a grant request. 
  • USDA will allocate state funds from the overall budget – MDAR awaits state fund allocation information.           
  • USDA will also have a national pool of funds allocated for oversubscribed state pools - MDAR awaits National pool fund allocation information.           
  • Prioritizes  $20,000 and less grant and loan guarantee requests (total project costs of $80,000 or less).
  • Program overall has been cut to 60% of last year's funds -  the program has been oversubscribed every year and with reduced funding, this year will be very competitive.
  • Grant applications and combined grant and guaranteed loan applications for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement projects will be accepted up to March 30, 2012.
  • Guaranteed loan only applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement projects will be accepted on a continuous basis, but to compete for Fiscal Year 2012 funding, complete applications must be submitted to the Agency by June 29, 2012.
  • Applications for renewable energy feasibility studies will be accepted up to March 30, 2012.
  • Energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants will be accepted up to February 21, 2012.

For more information please see the attached Notice from the Federal Register and contact your local USDA Office to determine eligibility and learn about program details.

The Massachusetts Farm Energy Program may be providing limited grant writing assistance this year to farmers for REAP applications, with support from MDAR. Please fill out an application for possible grant writing support. If you have any questions, please contact Jess or Layla at 413-256-1607.

USDA NRCS Announces EQIP Signup Dates – Energy Efficiency Included

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced three rounds of funding for four conservation program in Massachusetts. These federal programs, authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill, provide financial and technical help to farmers and forest land owners to protect soil, water and other natural resources.

The assistance is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) , the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) , Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) , and the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) , all administered by NRCS.

NRCS will offer three ranking periods with the following closing dates: February 3, March 30, and June 1, 2012. Farmers can submit applications for these programs anytime throughout the year; all complete applications will be batched and ranked on these closing dates for funding decisions. For an application to be considered complete for ranking, the following criteria apply:

  • All land and producer eligibility requirements must have been met.
  • A conservation plan identifying conservation practices to be included for proposed funding must be finalized for the enrolled land.

As well with regarding to energy projects, farmers wishing to apply to the ”Clean Air and Energy” component under EQIP will need to submit an NRCS approved energy audit. Farmers will need to apply to NRCS’ AgEMP program for this audit. Eight energy efficiency funding opportunities will be available, including greenhouse and maple sugaring technologies. For more information please contact your nearest NRCS office.

Wind Energy Survey – Repliers Wanted!

The following is a request from a MA small business start-up that recently received a USDA Grant to further their creative effort for implementing wind in rural areas. As part of their grant obligation, they are seeking rural MA feedback on their newly patented wind concept and would greatly appreciate input from our farming community:

Altaeros Energies is a small business that is working towards a more efficient and economical source of wind energy for farmers and for members of rural communities. Its patent-pending airborne wind turbine is a more reliable source that is able to harness higher altitudes winds that are 5x stronger than tower-mounted wind turbines can reach. Our company is currently funded through a US Department of Agriculture Rural Communities grant to support renewable energy innovation. With help from the University of Maine – Presque Isle, we have developed a short survey to gather the perspectives of members in rural communities on new wind turbine technologies. We would greatly appreciate your feedback so that we can continue to develop our product and improve the livelihoods in remote areas and farming communities.

Thank you for your time and help, and feel free to email us with any questions at info@altaerosenergies.com

Update & Reminder - MA Net Metering Reaching Capacity

Here is the latest information on net metering capacity by utility from their respective WebPages with bold highlights by MDAR. The private sector cap obligation for each utility is the 1% value stated within; the 2% is for state, city and town governments. Currently, approval as a net metered service is based on actually operating, i.e., transmitting power to and from the grid, and is on a first come, first served basis. Therefore, only those who have been inter-connected and commissioned to operate with their respective utility count toward each utility’s respective net metering cap obligation. Those with applications to net meter do not count toward the cap until they have finally been inter-connected and commissioned.

As an example: National Grid has an obligation to provide net meter service equal to 51.31 MWs or 51,310 KWs. There are currently 27,217 KWs commissioned and operating, or approximately 53% of National Grid’s obligation. Only another 47% or 24,093 KWs are needed for National Grid to reach their cap obligation of 1%, at which time under current regulations no more net metering projects are required to be accepted by National Grid. As you can see below, there are an additional 176,440 KWs in line with an application to net meter but do not count yet until they are commissioned to do so. Only the next 24,093 KWs from either those applications or any new applications who are commissioned first to operate will be allowed to net meter.

National Grid

Obligation: National Grid’s historical peak load of 5,131 MWs occurred on August 2, 2006 in Massachusetts Electric territory; making the 1% limit, private sector, 51.31 MWs or 51,310 KWs, and the 2% limit, municipals, 102.62 MWs.

As of January 6, 2012 in Massachusetts, there are 27,217 KWs with net-metering service under the 1% limit (or approximately 53% of cap obligation) and 3,908 KWs with net-metering service under the 2% limit. There are 176,440 KWs with net metering applications in the process of being interconnected under the 1% limit and of those 30,477 KWs have returned the Schedule Z. There are 16,437 KWs with net metering applications in the process of being interconnected under the 2% limit and of those 14,647 KWs have returned the Schedule Z.

NSTAR

The following is historical information about NSTAR's electric system and key milestones.

  • NSTAR's Highest Historical Peak Load: 4,978 megawatts (July 22, 2011)
  • Net Metering Cap: 49.78 megawatts or 49,780 KWs (1 percent of highest historical peak load)

Net Metering Totals (As of January 6, 2012)

  • Projects Online: 33.15 megawatts (or 33,150 KWs or approximately 67% of obligated cap)
  • Projects with Applications Submitted: 151.18 megawatts
  • Total (both above): 184.38 megawatts 

Unitil

Net Metering is allowed up to 1% of the Distribution Company's historical peak load for non-municipal customers and 2% of the historical peak load for municipal customers or other government entities, including current customers and approved interconnections.

Historical Peak Load: 102 MW (July 27, 2005)
Non-Municipal Customers  
Net Metering Cap: 1.02 MW, or 1,020 KWs (1% of historical peak load)
Net Metering Online as of 01/12: 0.72 MW* (or 720 KWs or approximately 70.5% of cap obligation.)
Amount Remaining: 0.30 MW*
Completed Applications Pending: 0.23 MW*(or 230 KWs)

Municipal Customers  
Net Metering Cap: 2.04 MW (2% of historical peak load)
Net Metering Online as of 01/12: 0.26 MW*
Amount Remaining: 1.78 MW*
Completed Applications Pending: 1.50 MW*

*Calculated using 80% estimated DC rating for solar pv.

WMECO

Service under this tariff will be closed to new applicants once the aggregate capacity of all Class 1, 2 and 3 facilities has reached one percent of WMECo's highest historical peak load. The highest historical peak load at WMECo is 845 MW and was recorded on August 2, 2006. One percent of the highest historical peak load is 8.45 MW, or 8,450 KW. As of January 1, 2012, the aggregate capacity of all installed Class 1, 2 and 3 facilities is 4.341 MW or 4,341 KW or approximately 51% of cap obligation. Additionally, the aggregate capacity of Class 1, 2 and 3 facilities pending interconnection is 14.338 MW.

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MassGrown & Fresher Pageviews Grew Impressive 175% in 2011

Our MassGrown & Fresher “webmasters” recently shared news that made us smile here at MDAR and we thought we’d share the great news. Namely from 2010 to 2011, the consumer-based MassGrown and Fresher portal showed an impressive gain of 175% increase in growth of pageviews as it continues to establish itself as a one-stop resource for Massachusetts local agriculture. Here are the numbers:  
20102011
Pageviews:80,000Pageviews:233,230
Map:81,224Map:204,552
Referrals:11,641Referrals:26,561
Total*:149,583Total*:411,221
* Total Formula: (MG + MAP) - Referrals* Total Formula: (MG + MAP) - Referrals

Needless to say, this 175% increase makes for a very solid foundation from which to launch a planned 2012 “MassGrown & Fresher Riding the Rails” campaign. Mentioned in the last Farm & Market Report, the campaign will target the MBTA’s North/South/Metro West Commuter Rails with eye-catching train posters using “QR” codes.

Some commodity groups have already signed up to help match the $10,000 USDA Specialty Crop grant received by MDAR to optimally leverage this great opportunity that will reach hundreds of thousands of commuters over multiple months.

What does participating in the spring 2012 Riding the Rails campaign mean for commodity groups? It means that businesses in your associations will enjoy greater market visibility not otherwise possible with stand-alone promotions.

We hope you’ll take a few moments to learn about the benefits of our planned spring campaign in this brief presentation pdf format of 2012-MBTA-Ad-Campaign.pdf
. For additional information, contact Rick LeBlanc at 617-626-1759 or Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us.

*All Farm Businesses (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 . 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 click here for our Farm Marketing Survey pdf format of 1-mktg-farms-survey .pdf
. If questions, contact Rick LeBlanc, Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us.

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Environmental Officials Launch Outdoor Recreation Mobile App Contest

Agencies make data public and will award developers unique prizes to create a free mobile app for outdoor enthusiasts. Get Outdoors Massachusetts Mobile Apps contest rules and information.

Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. recently announced a contest that invites smart phone mobile application developers to create applications to help the public find outdoor recreation hot spots in Massachusetts.

The Get Outdoors Massachusetts Mobile Apps Contest is open to the public and seeks participation from application developers to create mobile apps that feature Massachusetts outdoor and natural resources. The contest begins today, the submission deadline is March 30, and registration is free. Entrants will compete for prizes including the opportunity to showcase their work to local technology executives. EEA will announce the winners on April 18.

EEA’s MDAR, Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Fish and Game (DFG) have published geospatial data for developers to create a mobile app designed to map public lands, state parks, farms, public water and land access points, rinks, pools, and other outdoor venues for outdoor recreation.

EEA will feature the winning applications on its website and during a media event to be held on April 18. Entrants will compete for a package of prizes including a chance to join wildlife biologists on a bald eagle banding expedition or a black bear survey, a local farm bed and breakfast weekend stay, and a weeklong stay in a yurt (a cabin-like structure) at one of three prime state outdoor camping destinations. The top prize winner will win a year-long MBTA subway-bus LinkPass. The winning developers will have the opportunity to sell their winning apps after offering them free to the public for a year.

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MA Dairy Promotion Board Survey Confirms Significant Economic Impact of MA Dairy Farms

To assess the contributions and impact of dairy farms and the importance of state and federal farm programs to dairy agriculture, Manomet Center for Conservation Services worked with The Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board (MDPB) to randomly survey 100 Massachusetts dairy farmers. The goal of the study was to determine how dairy farms affect local economy and communities, their conservation practices, and the importance of existing state and federal programs.

The results indicate that Massachusetts dairy farmers significantly contributed to the economy of the Commonwealth and local communities through jobs, revenue, taxes, and local purchases. They are much more likely to apply measures to conserve natural resources than other U.S. farmers. They also provide support to their local communities by conserving farmland and agriculture heritage, producing local food, volunteering, and providing recreation access at levels greater than comparison groups.

A complete summary of the survey results and highlights can be found here pdf format of 2010 MA Dairy Board Dairy Farm Impact Survey Results
file size 1MB .

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New Collaborative Featuring ChopChop E-Newsletter

This past January, the MDAR and the MA Department of Public Health teamed up to announce an exciting new resource in the effort to provide healthy, sustainable foods to Massachusetts families – a free monthly newsletter called ChopChop. Each month in ChopChop, we’ll feature a fun, easy-to-make and healthy recipe –- featuring locally-grown produce -– which parents and children can make together.

The new collaboration was announced by Governor Deval Patrick at a fun-filled event at Community Servings, a not-for-profit food and nutrition program in Boston. Following his opening remarks, the Governor was joined by an energetic group of young people in the program’s test kitchen to prepare Cranberry Applesauce. The recipe is featured in the ChopChop newsletter using locally grown apples and cranberries. Be sure to check out ChopChop each month.

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Agriculture a Frequent Contributor to Commonwealth Conversations

Social Network Media remains the “buzz word” for organizations and businesses looking for ways to affordably and efficiently expand their outreach to new audiences, and certainly blogs play an important role in getting the word out. To promote local agriculture and farm-based energy, MDAR regularly contributes to two of Mass.Gov’s Commonwealth Conversations blog sites: The Great Outdoors shares ideas to protect and enjoy our natural environment while Energy Smarts is the go-to place for sharing ideas for a clean energy future. Bloggers include Commissioner Scott Soares, Chief of Staff Anna Waclawiczek, Director of Agricultural Technical Assistance Gerard Kennedy, and Energy Efficiency Coordinator Gerry Palano.

Here’s a profile of some of the other blog contributors:

Great Outdoors bloggers
Energy Smarts bloggers

Check out the great tips, ideas, and upcoming events on both sites!

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MA Winery Association Recognizes MDAR Staff

Massachusetts Farm Wineries & Growers Association , at its all-day annual meeting on February 7 at the Publick House in Sturbridge, heard MDAR’s David Webber deliver a presentation evaluating wine sales at farmers’ markets in 2011. David gave those assembled something to cheer about, distributing a concise statistical summary with full details. The soon to be released MDAR-conducted study shows noteworthy growth of wine sales at farmers’ markets as well as a positive impact with respect to job creation.

The Association celebrated the first full year for amendments to state law permitting participation at Massachusetts farmers’ markets and other agricultural events. The change in the law was largely through the efforts of the Association. David was recognized by the Association for his diligent efforts throughout this past year in overseeing MDAR essential role in wine sales at such events by presenting him with a special award. The Association also presented awards of recognition to MDAR General Counsel Bob Ritchie and Jessica Burgess from Legal Services for their availability and assistance to the Association and to its legislative advocates as they worked on the revisions to state law that made all of this possible.

The luncheon speaker was Assistant Commissioner Nathan L’Etoile who gave the twenty or thirty members of the Association his perspectives on the current state of agriculture in the Commonwealth with a focus on Massachusetts wineries.

Bonita Oehlke was cheered for her tireless efforts on behalf of the Association, and for her invaluable assistance to the Association from its formative days back in 2007 to current. All in all, MDAR was well represented at the gathering, something that all of the wine growers much appreciated.

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Business


MDAR Solicits Proposals for USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

MDAR Solicits Proposals for USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant ProgramMDAR is soliciting proposals through a competitive RFR process for approximately $400,000 in USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant funds. Grants are awarded to projects that strengthen the market for Massachusetts specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers, commodity groups, individuals, agricultural organizations, colleges and universities, producers, municipalities, state agencies, and agricultural nonprofits are eligible for this grant program, provided their proposals meet all the specifications in the Department’s RFR and the USDA’s Notice of Federal Assistance.  USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program information, the RFR and all necessary documents, including proposal submission requirements and deadlines can be found here.

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2012 Federal – State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) Grants Announced

Subject to final appropriation action by Congress, the United States Department of Agriculture just announced a solicitation of applications for FSMIP grants, which would enable states to explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the U.S. marketing system. Agricultural and commodity organizations, community-based organizations, economic development organizations, and groups that represent Native American and socially disadvantaged producers are encouraged to apply. Multi-State and/ or regional initiatives are also encouraged to apply.

FSMIP applications must be received no later than: 3 pm, Friday, March 16, 2012
Please send applications via email to: Lisa.Damon@state.ma.us

Click here for more information pdf format of FSMIP-2012.pdf

For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact Lisa Damon, FSMIP Coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources at Lisa.Damon@state.ma.us or 617-626-1731

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Water Management Act Reminder

Please be aware that the Water Management Act Annual Report forms have been mailed to all Massachusetts cranberry growers. These reports are due back to MassDEP by February 29, 2012. Remember to mail these forms to the MassDEP, One Winter Street address in Boston. This reporting form is different than the annual bill which is returned mailed to a P.O. Box – don’t mix them up or combine them as the reporting form will get listed as missing!

MassDEP has informed us that like last year, there will be no grace period for late returnees. If you miss the deadline, MassDEP is immediately going to start enforcement procedures and mail out Notices of Non-Compliance. If any grower still does not comply under the guidelines of the non-compliance letter, you will lose your Water Management Act registration or permit. It is highly recommended that you mail in your report form as soon as possible and if you haven’t received one in the mail, contact Jim McLaughlin in the MassDEP Lakeville office directly at 508-946-2805 or visit the Growers’ Association’s web site for a form. For your protection, it is suggested that you use certified mail to return your form to allow for documentation in the event of any delivery issues.

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Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom (MAC) Updates

Volunteer with Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom - Training February 21 & 23

Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom is growing and we are looking for volunteers to help us grow. These volunteers will assist with our conferences and workshops on the farm. We are also seeking assistance to support an expanding outreach to parents and young children at fairs, festivals, farmers’ markets and other educational venues.We invite you to join us as a volunteer. You will be supporting MAC, while learning more about agriculture. A training session is scheduled for the Winter School Vacation Week on February 21 & 23 in Marlborough from 9 am to 2 pm, with lunch included. Once training is completed, you’ll be given the opportunity to represent MAC at public events, working along with at least one other volunteer or board member.If you, or someone you know, would make a terrific volunteer for MAC, please let us know. The training is sure to be both educational and fun. Volunteer training is supported thanks to a grant from the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture. For more information, visit http://www.aginclassroom.org/Support_Us/Volunteer/volunteer.html

MAC Annual Winter Conference - Saturday, March 10
MAC is sponsoring their 11th Annual Winter Conference for Educators at the Paul R. Baird Middle School in Ludlow on Saturday, March 10th, from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. The conference provides teachers with activity ideas, resources and framework connections to link the farm and the classroom.Four workshop sessions will be held during the day, with a choice of six concurrent workshops per session. Each workshop will be taught by a teacher, or teacher working together with a farmer, and will offer specific background and activities for either elementary, middle or high school. The $50 fee includes all workshops; breakfast snack and lunch from nearby Randall’s Farm; materials, and ten PDPs with a related classroom activity. A limited number of Scholarships are available thanks to a grant from the Farm Credit East AgEnhancement Program. A full list of workshops, registration form and the scholarship information can be found at www.aginclassroom.org/Conferences_Workshops/

MAC Workshop on the Farm for Teachers - Friday, April 20
Join us for a spring workshop on the farm and try out some hands-on activities for the classroom and garden. The workshop runs from 9 am - 3 pm. The fee of $30 includes pdps, lunch and all materials.Spend the spring break at Heifer International’s Learning Center at Overlook Farm in Rutland on Friday, April 20 learning about eggs, chickens and soils. We’ll spend the morning with Donna Kilpatrick, Livestock Manager, and Liz Ellis Culinary Coordinator, learning about the history and science of chickens and eggs and cooking our own ‘egg-centric’ lunch. In the afternoon explore soils and composting with Garden Educator Liz Joseph and then tour the Learning Center’s Global Village sites, barns and farm fields and learn their mission with Education Manager Paul Bertler. Limited to 12. 

MAC Summer Graduate Course for Teachers
Check out Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom's 3-credit Graduate Course for teachers presented with Fitchburg State College. The course meets Wednesdays, June 27 and August 15 in North Grafton from 9 am to 3 pm Each participant will attend both sessions and participate in six additional workshops on the farm. For more information, visit www.aginclassroom.org/Conferences_Workshops/Summer_Graduate_Course/

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Greenfield-based Real Pickles Awarded at Good Food Awards in San Francisco

Image of Real Pickles Award

For the second year in a row, Greenfield-based Real Pickles was awarded a top honor for their Organic Garlic Dill Pickles at the recent Good Food Awards in San Francisco. The Good Food Awards highlight outstanding American food producers who are making food that is exceptionally delicious and supports sustainability and social good.

In addition to the pickle honor, Real Pickles’ co-owner Dan Rosenberg was among those selected to address the audience of approximately 400 artisan food producers and other invited guests assembled for the ceremony. In his speech, Rosenberg lauded the Good Food Awards for its efforts to change the way we think about food in the U.S.

As part of the award, Real Pickles was asked to recognize three members of their community who have contributed to the business’ success. Rosenberg acknowledged Atlas Farm and Riverland Farm, two suppliers who grow vegetables for the winning Organic Garlic Dill Pickles, as well as Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) for their work on raising community awareness in western Massachusetts about the benefits of buying local food.

Real Pickles uses the traditional fermentation process–with no vinegar–to make its line of pickled vegetables. Their Organic Garlic Dill Pickles, as with all of their products, are made with certified organic vegetables from local family farms. The pickles are available by the jar from area retailers, and served at many local restaurants.

The Good Food Awards are given to artisan producers in five regions of the U.S. in eight categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles, preserves and spirits, and highlight outstanding American food producers who are making food that is exceptionally delicious and supports sustainability and social good.

Real Pickles’ Organic Garlic Dill Pickles was one of 99 winning products, chosen from nearly 1000 entries from around the country. There were 8 other winners from New England, including Cellars at Jasper Hill and Vermont Smoke and Cure, both of Vermont. To learn more about Real Pickles , please contact Kristin Howard at Real Pickles: 413-774-2600 or kristin@realpickles.com.

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Grant Application Open for Private Landowners

The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) invites private landowners who want to actively manage their property to benefit wildlife to apply for a Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) grant. This Program is designed to reimburse private landowners up to 75% of the total project cost of managing lands to improve habitat for declining wildlife species across the Commonwealth. Individual private landowners, sportsmen’s clubs, land trusts, and other conservation organizations are encouraged to apply to the program. Federal, state, and municipal agencies are not eligible for this funding.

“Due to the extremely limited funding available, it is important for potential applicants to review the new, updated criteria for this funding cycle,” said Mike Sawyers, DFW LIP Coordinator.

Interested landowners can visit the LIP web page at www.mass.gov/dfg for details and the Request for Response (RFR) posting. The grant application period opened January 9, 2012 and will close on March 5, 2012. All application materials must be submitted to the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Field Headquarters by 4:00 pm on March 5, 2012. Faxed or electronic applications will be not accepted.

Since the first funding cycle in 2005, the Landowner Incentive Program MDFW has funded 157 LIP projects and provided technical assistance to private landowners from Cape Cod to the Berkshires. Past projects have benefited a wide array of species-at-risk across the Commonwealth from enhancing beaches for shorebird breeding habitat to protection of grassland-bird breeding habitat to rare turtle habitat maintenance. Through this program DFW has contributed close to $3.5 million for the conservation of declining species on private land over the program’s six year history.

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Upcoming Events


Massachusetts Ag Day - April 3

From the Berkshires to the Cape and Islands, 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.

For one full day, participants gather at the State House to celebrate Massachusetts agriculture and 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.

Massachusetts' 7,691 farms maintain some 517,879 acres of open space and generate $364,481,000 in crop sales and $125,338,000 in livestock sales*.

Please join us in recognizing Massachusetts' farmers; learn more about efforts to maintain the long-term viability of Massachusetts' agriculture; and celebrate Massachusetts agricultural products!

For more information, contact Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation at 508-481-4766 or info@mfbf.net.

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Second Massachusetts Farm to School Convention

March 15, 2012 - Location: Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA

Come hear how inspiring food service directors, educators, students, parents, and community members are building connections between schools and farms in Massachusetts - and learn what you can do to further those connections.

This year's convention will feature Curt Ellis, Executive Director of FoodCorps, and Abbie Nelson, Vice President of the SNA in VT and Director of VTFEED, as well as six workshop tracks:

  • New Ideas for Locally Grown in School Cafeterias
  • Farm to School for Very Young Students
  • New Strategies for Expanding Farm to School Sales
  • Models for Successful Agriculture-Based Education
  • Community Connections
  • New Initiatives in Colleges and Other Institutions

To make this convention a success, we need your help getting out the word. Your members or partner organizations may be very interested in the convention and we would greatly appreciate you announcing it through an e-newsletter, an events page on your website, an active Facebook page, or however else you share news. Help us ensure the conference attracts as wide an audience of farm to school advocates as possible!

For more information, check out our convention webpage: www.massfarmtoschool.org/convention.htm. We will be updating the page with our agenda, list of workshops, keynote speakers, and more in the coming days and weeks so check back regularly.

If your organization is interested in having an informational table at the convention, please contact Lauren Wetherbee at 413-253-3844 or lauren@massfarmtoschool.org.

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Maple Tapping Event - March 2

Maple sugaring is the state’s first agricultural harvest of the year. To help kick off the Commonwealth’s Maple Sugaring Season, MDAR Commissioner Scott Soares will take part in the ceremonial tapping of a sugar tree at Paul's Sugarhouse, 28 Goshen Rd. (Route 9), Williamsburg, 10:00 am on March 2, 2012. Contact person: Rose.Arruda@state.ma.us or 617-626-1849.

Sugaring is the first sign of the agricultural “awakening” and as maple producers take to the woods with their buckets, tubing and drills to gather sap from the sugar maple trees, visitors are welcome to share in this “Rite of Spring”.
More than 300 Massachusetts maple producers - most located west of Worcester - typically produce between 50,000 to 60,000 gallons of maple syrup worth almost $3 million annually.

Many sugarhouses in central and Western Massachusetts serve pancake breakfasts, sell maple products including maple syrup and maple candy, and offer sugarhouse open houses and tours. To find a sugarhouse, visit MDAR's interactive map , visit www.massmaple.org, or call the Massachusetts Maple Association at 413-628-3912.

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Commissioner Soares Participates at Northeastern University’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs

Each semester the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University sponsors the “Open Classroom,” a graduate level course and lecture series that meets each Wednesday evening, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, and is open to the general public regularly attracting 100-125 diverse participants each week. You can see more about the Open Classroom series at http://nuweb9.neu.edu/policyschool/lectures-and-seminars/open-classroom/.

This coming spring semester (January 11 – April 18) the theme is Food and Society: The Urban Perspective. On Wednesday, March 14, 2012 Commissioner Soares will be a guest speaker on the topic “How food is produced: Agriculture in America and in Massachusetts”. He will be one of three guests offering remarks on how our food is produced, with attention to the agricultural system in the US generally and Massachusetts in particular. Please join Commissioner Soares for a lively discussion that will follow the formal presentation.

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Save the Date: “The World is Waiting!"

February 29, Publick House, Sturbridge, MA, 8:45 am – 4 pm

Featuring resources and rationale to develop export sales for small – medium sized agricultural and food businesses. Topics and speakers include:

  • Welcome from Commissioner and President Food Export USA Northeast, Scott J. Soares
  • Why should a small business consider export marketing? –Pamela Wells Russell, Caribbean In-Country Marketing Representative Food Export Northeast and Vice President
  • How to develop export business strategies - Bob Burke, Principle, Natural Products Consulting
  • Specialty food companies and export opportunities – Ron Tanner, Vice President, Communications, Education, Government & Industry Relations, National Association for the Specialty Food Trade
  • Lunch and comments from Carol Coutrier- Executive Director, MA Specialty Foods Association
  • Small food business panel on export strategies featuring: Michael Thompson, CFO, Venus Wafers and Frank Carpenito , President & CEO , Dancing Deer Bakery moderated by Bonita Oehlke, MA Department of Agricultural Resources
  • Networking/meetings with sponsors regarding services/programs and next steps

Sponsors include the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, Food Export USA Northeast, the Massachusetts Specialty Foods Association, The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, ACCION, and the MA Export Center. There is no cost to attend, however space is limited. For more information Bonita.Oehlke@state.ma.us. Click here to register.

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Massachusetts Poultry Enhancement Council Meeting

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - 5:45 pm to 8:45 pm
Northborough Free Library, 34 Main St., Northborough, MA, 508-393-5025, NorthboroughLibrary.org

Resources for Massachusetts Poultry Producers

Agenda:

  • Rodent Control Methods: Ron Forquer
  • FDA egg Rule: Wendy Johnecheck
  • Review Filed Legislation Affecting Poultry Growers: Brad Mitchell, MFB
  • Outlining the Inspection Process: Kim Foley, MDPH
  • 2012 Feed Forecast/Insight: Dan Wright, Poulin Grain
  • NE Poultry News Wrap-up: Dr. Mike Darre, U. Conn.

This is an open meeting: Please get the word out to all who might be interested in attending. Questions, contact: Edward Hageman, 617-626-1796, Edward.Hageman@state.ma.us.

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2012 Community Tree Conference - New Research - New Insects & Diseases - A New Safety Standard - A Reality Check

A Conference for Arborists, Foresters, Tree Wardens, Sugar Bush Owners and Anyone Who Loves Trees

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - 9:00 am - 4:00 pm, Stockbridge Hall, UMass Amherst - http://umassgreeninfo.org/

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.

Topics include:

  • UMass Arboricultural Research Update - Brian Kane, MAA Professor of Commercial Arboriculture, UMass
  • Storms and Storm Response 2011- David Bloniarz, Urban Forest Scientist, USDA Forest Service
  • Context for Forest Pathology and Climate Change in the Northeast - Kevin T. Smith, Project Leader Plant Physiology, USDA Forest Service
  • New Z-133 Safety Standard - Peter Gerstenberger, Senior Adviser for Safety, Tree Care Industry Association
  • Asian Longhorned Beetle Status and Restoration Program - Julie Coop, Mass DCR Lead ALB Forester
  • Choices for Insect Pest Management: How to Protect the Trees with Bio-rational Options - Robert Childs, UMass Extension Entomologist

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/ - under UPCOMING EVENTS.

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Flower Grower Programs

Diseases of Greenhouse Crops
March 9, 2012 - 9:30 am - 12:30 pm - Publick House, Sturbridge, MA

Spend your morning with Dr. Rob Wick and Bess Dicklow, UMass Diagnostic Lab learning about important greenhouse diseases including downy mildew, root diseases, botrytis, viruses, chrysanthemum white rust and more. This is an excellent opportunity to brush up on disease symptoms and management strategies and earn 3 credits toward pesticide recertification. Details and registration (by mail or on-line): http://extension.umass.edu/floriculture/

Employee Training for Garden Retailers
March 29, 2012 - 9:00 am - 3:00 pm - Publick House, Sturbridge, MA

Our popular annual program with topics that vary from year to year. Topics will include an update on landscape and garden pests, dealing with the most commonly asked about weeds, teaching customers to plant a fruiting wall and culinary herb favorites. One pesticide recertification credit. Details and Registration (by mail or on-line): http://extension.umass.edu/floriculture/

New YouTube videos are available on greenhouse soil sampling and testing and spanish versions of using biological control in greenhouses. See the UMass Floriculture YouTube Channel at website: http://extension.umass.edu/floriculture/

Greenhouse Growers interested in receiving pest messages via email (New England Greenhouse Update)  throughout the growing season should contact Tina Smith, UMass Extension Greenhouse Crops and Floriculture Program: tsmith@umext.umass.edu. See past messages at: www.negreenhouseupdate.info/

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Ag Commission Meetings

February 24 - MA Association of Agricultural Commission's Dinner and Annual Meeting - Sturbridge Host Hotel - Social 5:00 pm, Buffet Dinner 6:00pm, Annual Meeting, 7:00 pm. RSVP by February 15, 2012: Laura Grabski, Vice President of Advocacy, MAAC, 2 Brookview Road, Boxford MA 01921. $32.00 per person payable to MAAC, Inc., 781-248-4576.

March 14 - Worcester County Conservation District and Agricultural Commissions Quarterly Meeting, 7 pm, Holden USDA Service Center, 52 Boyden Rd. The topic is “Farmers' Market Issues” and Ag. Commissions. Members within the County are encouraged to come and participate! Call Lisa 508-829-0168, ext. 5 or email Lisa.trotto@ma.usda.gov for more information.

General information on starting an Ag Commission here, MA Assoc. of Ag Commissions, www.massagcom.org/.

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Pesticide Disposal Days Coming This Spring

Are you a licensed pesticide applicator? The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources will be hosting 4 pesticide disposal days for individuals within the regulated community. Registration will be required and details will be mailed soon along with registration forms. Here is the planned schedule:

  • April 7 at Millbury
  • April 10 at Plymouth
  • April 12 at Lenox
  • April 14th at Rowley

For more information contact Taryn LaScola at: Taryn.Lascola@state.ma.us

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UVM Extension Winter Hops Conference

Monday, March 19, 2012, Sheraton Hotel, 870 Williston Road, Burlington, VT

This conference will include Ann Hazelrigg who works at the Plant Diagnostic Clinic at the University of Vermont. She is also responsible for Pesticide Education and Safety and is the Vermont Representative for the Northeast Pest Management Network. Ann will discuss the basics of pesticide rules and regulations, spray equipment and how to calibrate it, and how to identify problems in your hopyard. Daniel Sharp does research in the Food and Fermentation Science program at Oregon State University under Dr. Thomas Shellhammer. Daniel’s research currently focuses on the aroma compounds in hops and beer. Daniel has worked as a brewer at the Center of the World Brewery, Ecuador’s only microbrewery at the time. He has presented hop aroma research at the 2011 Craft Brewer’s Conference annual meeting and the 2011 Master Brewers Association of the Americas annual meeting. Chris Callahan from Callahan Engineering will present his small-scale hops harvester and small-scale oast designs. UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences students will present their small-scale baler designs. This project was funded in part by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources through the USDA Specialty Crop Grant and the Vermont Agricultural Innovation Center through the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development. For more information and to register go to: www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/hops.

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Save the Date: Northeast Greenhouse Conference and Expo - November 7 and 8, 2012

The Northeast Greenhouse Conference (formerly the New England Greenhouse Conference) will be held on 7 and 8 of November at the DCU Center in Worcester MA. Save the date for the northeast’s premier horticultural event! Don’t miss the opportunity to network with growers and other colleagues, hear the latest updates from nationally recognized speakers and visit the trade show.

Educational sessions will include 4 tracks throughout both days focused on pest and disease management, production techniques and tips, and business and marketing strategies. Pesticide recertification credits will be available for many of the educational sessions. In addition to the educational sessions, the trade show will be held both days with three dedicated hours in each day of the program. www.negreenhouse.org.

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News from USDA


Sign Up Established for Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) Following Tornado Damage

Hampden County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Executive Director Ted C. Smiarowski Jr., recently announced that the official signup for cost-share assistance under the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) began on January 23, 2012 and ends on March 23, 2012. Owners of farmland in Hampden County who suffered severe damage from the June 1st tornados may be eligible for assistance under the EFRP. While the USDA-FSA has already been accepting applications from woodland owners; this announces an official signup period that is required by program regulations.

A non-industrial private woodland owner qualifying for EFRP assistance may receive financial assistance levels not to exceed 75 percent of the eligible cost of restoration measures which are aimed at restoring forest related resources. The following types of measures may be eligible:

  • EF5 Upland Hardwood Forest Restoration
  • EF6 Upland Softwood Forest Restoration
  • EF7 Upland Mixed Forest Restoration

To be eligible for assistance, practices must not be started until all of the following are met:

  • an application for financial assistance (FSA-848) has been filed
  • the local FSA County Committee (COC) or its representative has conducted an onsite inspection of the damaged area
  • the Agency responsible for technical assistance, such as the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has made a needs determination.

Farmland owners in Hampden County who may have suffered a loss should contact Ted C. Smiarowski, Jr. at the USDA Office located at 195 Russell St. Suite B5, Hadley, MA 01035, 413-585-1000 ext. 2.

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Massachusetts State and Local Governments, Nongovernmental Organizations and Tribes May Apply for Federal Farmland Protection Program

The Massachusetts state office of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications from state and local units of government, federally recognized Tribes, and non-governmental organizations for the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP). FRPP provides up to 50 percent matching funding for the purchase of conservation easements on agricultural lands. Applications are due Monday, April 2. Details at www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov/news/news_FRPP_sign-up_2012.html

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Webinar - “The PACA Complaint Process: Promoting Better Business Practices in Produce”

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) presents “The PACA Complaint Process – Promoting Better Business Practices in Produce” - A FREE Interactive Webinar

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 , 2 pm to 3 pm Eastern Time
USDA’s PACA Complaint Process - The Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) is a federal law that facilitates fair trading practices in the marketing of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables in interstate and foreign commerce. John Koller of AMS’s PACA Division introduces PACA, reviews how to interpret inspection certificates, the proper acceptance and rejection of produce, and multiple avenues to resolve a business conflict. Subject areas include filing an informal PACA complaint, mediation, working through a formal complaint, and the PACA Trust.

If you buy and sell bulk fruits and vegetables, don’t miss this informative webinar. The webinar is free, but you must register to participate. Visit http://bit.ly/Apwmmi to register.

For additional information about PACA go to our Web-site at www.ams.usda.gov/paca or contact Karla Whalen at 202-720-4180 or disputeresolutionsection@ams.usda.gov. If you have any questions about USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, please contact Christopher Purdy at 202-720-3209 or christopher.purdy@ams.usda.gov.

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In Every Issue


Classified Ads

  • SEMAP Seeking Executive Assistant/Office Manager - New Bedford/Wareham and telecommute. Position summary: The Executive Assistant & Office Manager wears many hats, providing administrative, organizational and programmatic assistance to the executive director and program director. Undertake and contribute to special projects for senior staff and SEMAP in general as assigned. Represent SEMAP well as initial contact in varied situations. This is a part-time position, 20 hours a week at $15 per hour. Application Instructions: Applications, which will be reviewed as received, must include a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, your resume (in Word or pdf format) and your salary history. Please send to balexander@semaponline.org. Applications must be received by February 20, 2012. No telephone calls, please.
  • Help New Entry Grow! - New Entry is looking for qualified candidates to join our energetic team that works to create new farmers, cultivate local produce, and conserve endangered farmland. We are looking to fill two positions based in Lowell, MA to grow our programs: CSA and Food Access Coordinator and Assistant CSA Coordinator. To apply: Interested applicants may download an application and submit with a resume and cover letter. Please cc: nesfp@tufts.edu with your application materials.  Individuals of diverse backgrounds and cultures are encouraged to apply. For any questions related to these positions, please email Project Director, Jennifer Hashley or Program and Finance Coordinator, Kimberley Fitch.
  • New Bedford Solar Now seeks a New Bedford-based Program Manager - Resume and cover letter due February 29, 2012 - New Bedford Solar Now is a residential program to engage and mobilize eligible New Bedford homeowners to install solar on their homes. This will reduce City residents’ electricity bills, increase local jobs, and improve local environmental health. For more information, please visit here, or contact newbedfordsolarnow@gmail.com, or call 508-493-4343.
  • Agricultural excavation – Grading services: We provide earth moving, drainage, land/pasture reclamation, greenhouse preparation, and rock raking services. Includes but not limited to orchards/equine facilities/cranberry bogs/nurseries.Chris Merrill Excavating, merrilltrucks@comcast.net, 978-897-9977.
  • Mobile Cheesemaking Unit (MCU) - The Sullivan County Department of Economic Planning and Development is selling a MCU. Offers are being accepted until COB on Feb. 29, 2012. Interested parties can contact Kathy Jones, Director, Sullivan County Office of Purchasing and Central Services at 845-807-0515 for submission requirements.
  • Technical Assistance Services for Renewable Energy Projects - A summary of Cadmus’ projects can found here. For more information on Cadmus’ Clean Energy Practice, please visit our website or contact Erin Sweet at 617-673-7101 or erin.sweet@cadmusgroup.com.
  • Wanted walk behind single horse disc type grain drill in working or repairable condition. Tom 860-646-6536.
  • For Sale: Mail order business of "Alpine window box ivy geraniums of Europe". Hundreds of (UPS) customers in 48 states for 20 years. 860-342-2374, 888-geranium, www.wheelerfarmgardens.com.
  • Available lease opportunity – Pomfret, CT for agricultural entrepreneurs to use the land for financial success and public education. Six acres suitable for culturally intensive fruit, flower, and vegetable production, small intensive grazing operations and/or integrated crop-livestock enterprises, three gutter connected greenhouses with heat, water and electricity, a hoop house and cistern for rainwater collection. Some barns for equipment, walk-in cooler, and seed propagation rooms. Suited for a farmers’ market or other retail outlet. Sustainable or organic practices encouraged. Contact Erica Fearn, 413-335-5288 or Erica@LandForGood.org.
  • The Gleaners are Growing! Looking to add to Board of Directors - Boston Area Gleaners (BAG) has brought nearly 5,000 more pounds of fresh, local produce to people in need in 2011 than we did in 2010. We have more volunteers, donors, recipients, grants, and funders than ever before, but we still are only scratching the surface of our potential impact on the local food system. Our current board and staff are putting structures in place to enable BAG to grow sustainably. To that end, BAG is looking for 3-5 people to add to our working Board of Directors. Passion for our mission and time to devote to the work of building the organization are the main requirements. However, people who can contribute skills and experience in accounting, publicity, and fundraising are especially sought. The Board meets in the evening every 4-6 weeks. Additional time to devote to one committee or project is also needed. Board members serve 2 year terms. We ask that interested candidates submit a letter of interest and resume to the BAG search committee by February 29, 2012. Board member terms will start at the upcoming Annual Meeting, on April 1, 2012. Send inquiries and applications to: duck@bostonareagleaners.org.

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
9 - 11Soil and Nutrition: An Education and Coalition-Building Conference - by Northeast Organic Farming Association/ Massachusetts Chapter and Real Food Campaign. First Churches, 129 Main St, Northampton, MA. Featuring leading thinkers and practitioners of building healthy soils, this conference aims to grow the movement for enhancing soil fertility as a basis for the long-term ecological and economic sustainability of farming, the environment, and our society as a whole. Each of the three days is organized with a different format. Participants are invited to listen and share, as we all deepen our soils knowledge. Registration and details at: www.nofamass.org/seminars/winterseminar.php
10North East Buyers Mission, Boston. Take advantage of this opportunity to get feedback and sales opportunities from international buyers. This Buyers Mission presents a unique opportunity to develop and expand export business. Buyer profiles can be previewed online to find those that might offer the best prospects for a meeting. Contact: Bonita Oehlke at 617-626-1753, Bonita.Oehlke@state.ma.us. For more information click here.
11Cattleman's Conference, Norfolk County Agricultural High School, 400 Main St., Walpole. www.snesa.org
24MA Association of Agricultural Commission's Dinner and Annual Meeting - Sturbridge Host Hotel - Social 5:00pm, Buffet Dinner 6:00 pm, Annual Meeting, 7:00 pm. RSVP by February 15th; Laura Grabski, Vice President of Advocacy, MAAC, 2 Brookview Road, Boxford MA 01921. $32.00 per person payable to MAAC, Inc., 781-248-4576.
25Agriculture & Food Conference of Southeastern Massachusetts, 8:30am - 5:00pm, Bristol County Agricultural High School, 135 Center Street, Dighton. Presented by SEMAP and Bristol County Conservation District. Whether you're a professional farmer, a backyard gardener, or just curious about locally grown food, this is the event for you! This year we're expanding the day's offerings to include workshops for the public and for youth ages 9-12, as well as workshops on organic methods. farmconference@semaponline.org
29Explore Export, "The World is Waiting!" Small food and agricultural businesses and export opportunities, Publick House, Sturbridge Explore how exporting can broaden your markets, build on your market shares and increase overall revenues. Hear from industry experts as they share their successful export methodology. Contact: Bonita Oehlke at 617-626-1753, Bonita.Oehlke@state.ma.us.
March
10Growing Minds Through Massachusetts Agriculture for Educators, Paul R. Baird Middle School, Ludlow. MA Agriculture in the Classroom (MAC) will hold its 11th Annual Winter Conference which will include four workshop sessions, with six concurrent workshops in each session related to the many different aspects of agriculture in the classroom. Each will be taught by a teacher or farm educator. The fee for the conference; all materials; breakfast snack; lunch from Randall's Farm in Ludlow, and professional development is $50. Early registrations of $45 if arrive by Dec. 31.
13Massachusetts Poultry Enhancement Council (MPEC) Meeting, 5:45 pm to 8:45 pm, Northborough Free Library, 34 Main St., Northborough, MA, NorthboroughLibrary.org. Questions, contact: Edward Hageman, 617-626-1796, Edward.Hageman@state.ma.us.
14Worcester County Conservation District and Agricultural Commissions Quarterly Meeting, 7pm, Holden USDA Service Center, 52 Boyden Rd. The topic is “Farmers' Market Issues” and Ag. Commissions. Members within the County are encouraged to come and participate! Call Lisa 508-829-0168, ext. 5 or email Lisa.trotto@ma.usda.gov for more information.
15Mass. Farm To School Program is Hosting a Convention - The Massachusetts Farm to School Program will be hosting a convention on Thursday, March 15 in Sturbridge. One of the conference tracks will focus on Agriculture in the Classroom Initiatives and School Gardening. MAC has agreed to take the lead on organizing these three workshops. We are now looking for educators who can join us and offer a presentation on some aspect of their agricultural classroom or school garden. If you are interested in presenting or want more information e-mail MAC today. massaginclassroom@earthlink.net

For a Complete Ongoing List of Events and Workshops, Click Here.

*** If you have events you would like listed to our Ag industry calendar, or Consumer 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 L. 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
  • Scott J. Soares, Commissioner
  • Nathan L’Etoile, Asst. Commissioner
  • Anna Waclawiczek, Chief of Staff

Division Directors

Next issue to be published for April / May. Please send news, calendar and/or classified information by March 30 to Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us, or fax to 617-626-1850. To unsubscribe or change your address, send an e-mail message to Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us or call 617-626-1759.

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