- Application Period Still Open for Three Grant Programs
- Energy News
- Renewable Energy, Wastewater, Slaughterhouses, Taxes, Mortality Management
- MassGrown & Fresher “Riding the Rails” Campaign Continues in June
- Milestone Moments for @MDARCommish and @massgrown
- Join Now! Massachusetts Cheese Guild Being Formed
- Craft Beer and Local Ingredients in MA
- The Hampshire and Hampden Conservation Districts Local Working Group Project Invites Participation in Survey!
- Foundation Grant Opportunity
- Bay State Brings Big Taste to the DC Summer Fancy Food Show – You Can Attend!
- Great Ideas! Summer Conference and Trade Show
- Northeast Organic Farming Association's 38th Annual Summer Conference
- 2012 MA Harvest for Students Week is September 17 through 21
- Save the Date: Northeast Greenhouse Conference and Expo - November 7 and 8, 2012
In Every Issue
Dear Friends, Old and New!
With this inaugural commissioner’s column I’d like to first and foremost say that it is truly an honor to find myself back as Commissioner of Agriculture at MDAR.
When I say “back”, some of you may not know that I served as Commissioner from 1990-1993 . Twenty-plus years later it is extremely encouraging to see the strides that have been made towards sustainable agriculture. As just one example, in 1990 there were 86 farmers’ markets scattered throughout our state. Today there are nearly 250! This certainly seems testimony to the fact that in spite of our sometimes heated political differences, passion for locally grown food and agriculture products is something that every man, woman, and child can appreciate (and is increasingly demanding!).
Since being sworn in on April 2nd by Governor Patrick (a bona-fide “Ag"-enthusiast if there ever was one), I’ve been very busy reconnecting with the agricultural community, without whom the tremendous progress being made would not be possible. It’s good to see so many familiar faces again and reassuring to see the number of new faces working towards our common goals.
As we move forward together, I’d certainly like to thank my immediate predecessor, Scott J. Soares. As former Commissioner, Scott’s contributions to the growth of a vibrant agricultural community are deeply appreciated. On behalf of the Department of Agricultural Resources, we wish him the best of luck as he embarks on a new and exciting opportunity at the U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee. Thanks Scott!
There are exciting opportunities ahead. My goal is to continue to build strong partnerships that draw on the diverse resources from all cross sections. As one of most important priorities, I want to focus on working with partners to increase access to locally-grown food and agriculture products to all Massachusetts residents. To achieve this we will need to look beyond traditional growing, processing, and distribution environments to better serve rural, suburban, and urban demand for locally grown, and to make a special effort to ensure that the low-income and elderly residents of the Commonwealth enjoy the benefits of this vitally important resource.
We must also be vigilant in maintaining a healthy inventory of our working landscapes – something that is always a challenge against the backdrop of competing development pressures. Our Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) program has to date preserved over 67,000 acres of farmland thanks in large part to support from Governor Patrick, the Massachusetts Legislature and the hard work of APR staff. Together we have leveraged federal dollars in our protection efforts 86% of the time by acreage. As the 2012 Farm Bill makes its way through Congress, we are hopeful that funding for land conservation programs, along with other Massachusetts-identified priorities, will be robust.
And of course energy is a very important topic as it relates to agriculture – what it costs farmers to use energy and the potential for farms to produce new sources. Renewable energy installments (e.g. solar, wind, and anaerobic digesters) and improvements in energy efficiency will continue to be key to the success of Massachusetts farmers in lowering their cost of doing business, creating new sources of energy, and reducing organic waste.
And now for summer! For June that means locally grown, fresh and sweet strawberries of which there are plenty to find at Pick-Your-Own Farms. June is also Dairy Month and on June 5th I was delighted to join Governor Deval Patrick, the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board, and dairy farmers to officially recognize the many positive contributions by dairy farmers to agriculture and to the state. Our farmers’ markets are also getting into full swing and I hope to get a few new ones that are opening up this season.
I am looking forward to meeting many of you along the way this summer and throughout the year. If ever you have questions related to the over 60 programs and services MDAR offers; please do not hesitate to contact us here in Boston or at our Amherst satellite office.
In the meantime, please enjoy reading the rest of our June/July Farm & Market Report below!
Gregory C. Watson, Commissioner
Sustainability continues to be the buzzword in agriculture – as much here in Massachusetts as around the world. With high demand for safe and locally grown food, along with increasing pressure for sustainable farming practices, we can expect Massachusetts farmers to adapt accordingly (and as they are historically already well known for doing!). It is in this mix of opportunities and challenges that we see encouraging signs of how the Commonwealth’s own dairy farmers continue to work to ensure that dairy remain a vital segment of the agricultural landscape.
In a recently conducted impact study file size 1MB , it was shown that stewardship and hard work of Massachusetts dairy farmers contribute to make the state’s food supply more sustainable and reduce negative environmental impacts. Further, dairy farmers significantly contribute to the economy and local communities through jobs, revenue, taxes, and local purchases. They are collectively inclined to apply measures to conserve natural resources, and they support their local communities by: conserving farmland and agriculture heritage, producing local food, volunteering, and providing recreation access. It is not surprising that almost three-quarters of Massachusetts dairy farmers reported that their local communities were supportive of dairy farming.
Massachusetts’ dairy farmers are fortunate in that they have available a number of state and federal programs to support their sustainability efforts. And just as their use of programs such as the Massachusetts Dairy Farm Tax Credit , the MA Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR), and Massachusetts Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP) greatly increased in this last decade, the good news is that the numbers of dairy farms in the state have stabilized after decades of decline.
Recently, dairy farms have also been identified for their potential to significantly decrease organic waste matter, produce energy, and reduce green house emissions through the installation of anaerobic digesters on their farms. Anaerobic digestion is a non-combustion process by which natural microorganisms break down organic material like cow manure and other organic waste material. Within the last two years, two dairy farms, one in Rutland and the other in Sheffield, have installed anaerobic digester systems with several more planned at other dairy locations. The positive environmental and economic potential for these facilities complements the Patrick-Murray Administration’s goal to greatly reduce organic waste matter in the state by 2014.
Dairy farmers are also recognizing the need to diversify their farm businesses in order to survive in a very competitive dairy market place. Some, even a number of the larger wholesale operations, now sell compost, hay, eggs, fruits and vegetables, maple syrup, beef, and more. These types of business models are proving to be successful for many.
Such trends may be the best evidence for continuing the aforementioned programs and business strategies as a means of enhancing the sustainability of Massachusetts’ dairy farmers. All have played an important role in maintaining economic viability of dairy farms and the flow of benefits that they provide to the Commonwealth and its communities. These trends also place the Massachusetts’ dairy industry in a unique and positive place for the U.S.: great stewardship and farm stabilization. Overall, dairy farmers and state and federal efforts have created a remarkable story of farm stewardship and local food in Massachusetts which is a great example of what it will take to meet the food challenges of this century.
Andrew Whitman has worked at Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences on natural resource sustainability for almost 20 years. He has a M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Maine. He currently focuses on sustainability in the agriculture, forestry, and small business sectors with projects across the northeast. A yearly highlight is when his 10-year-old son spends two weeks every summer helping his father-in-law with his 100 head cattle operation in Georgia.
MDAR will be accepting applications from farmers who wish to participate in these Farm Viability programs in Fiscal Year 2013. Applications must be received by June 26, 2012. Interested farm operators are encouraged to review these options on the web pages of the Department.
Farm Viability Enhancement Program - Provides business planning, technical assistance and grants of up to $75,000 to implement farm growth and sustainability strategies. Typical uses of funds from the Farm Viability Program include new buildings or repairing farm structures, modernizing field equipment, purchasing delivery vehicles and tractors. Applications and program information are available by clicking on this link AGR- FVEP-13-20 , or you can request a copy of the application by calling the Farm Viability Program at 617-626-1723.
APR Improvement Program - The purpose of the APR Improvement Program (AIP) is to help sustain active commercial farming on land protected by the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program. AIP provides technical assistance and business planning to improve farm productivity with the goal of enhancing the significance of APR farm operations and their contribution to the state’s agricultural industry. Grants of up to $75,000 are provided. The current Request for Response with application is available by clicking here RFR# AGR-AIP13-4 or by calling the APR Improvement Program at 413-268-8269.
Grant Program For Beginning Farmers - Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture (MEGA) Program helps with business expansion on new and beginning farms. MEGA will provide technical assistance and business planning help, and then provide funds for farm improvement strategies. Funding provided from this Program will be made available on a one to one matching grant basis and the maximum award shall be $10,000. MEGA applications and program information are available by clicking on this link , or you can request a copy of the application by calling 413-559-0949.
AgEnergy FY2013 Grant Program Closed
MDAR’s Annual Agricultural Energy Grant Program (AgEnergy) FY2013 applications closed on the posted deadline date of April 30, 2012. MDAR received 38 grants totaling $750,000 in requests. The proposed projects are once again pretty evenly split between energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Receipt notifications to all applicants have been issued. The applications are now being processed and reviewed with expected award selections to be announced later this summer. Thanks to all who participated!
The purpose of the MDAR’s Ag-Energy Grant is to assist agricultural operations in an effort to improve energy efficiency and to facilitate adoption of alternative clean energy technologies in order that they can become more sustainable and the Commonwealth can maximize the environmental and economic benefits from these technologies.
The AgEnergy Grant Program has funded over $1.1 million to 90 farm energy projects over the past 4 years.
Update & Reminder - MA Net Metering Reaching Capacity
Here are links to the latest information on net metering capacity by utility from their respective WebPages. The current cap obligation for each utility is 1% of each utility’s maximum annual peak for the private sector projects; and 2% of the same peak for state, city and town government projects.
Nantucket Electric: www.nationalgridus.com/nantucket/home/energyeff/4_net-mtr.asp
Renewable Energy, Wastewater, Slaughterhouses, Taxes, Mortality Management are all issues that the Farm Technology Review Commission has explored over the past two years. Created as a result of the 2008 Dairy Farm Preservation Act, the role of the Commission is to make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature on how to address regulatory barriers to the adoption of technology on farms. The Commission has examined taxation issues as they relate to agricultural equipment especially renewable energy systems; explored the issues of anaerobic digester technology adoption on farms; investigated the issue of the state’s slaughtering and processing capacity; provided input to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) deliberations on the issue of waste and wastewater management on farms and also carcass management. Details of the work of the Commission can be found at its website , including its recent reports. The Commission has covered a lot of ground in two years:
- Sales Tax on Renewable Energy Systems
The FTRC identified a need for MDAR to provide guidance to the agricultural community on state taxation implications as they relate to renewable energy installations and net metering. To address this need MDAR developed an Administrative Law Memo (ALM) on Sales Tax Implications for Anaerobic Digesters. The ALM is based upon a Department of Revenue Letter Rulings which concluded that the component parts of the system were largely exempt from sales tax because they were producing electricity to be sold and/or for exclusive use in agricultural production.
- Waste and Wastewater Management Regulations
The FTRC has been particularly focused on the issue of wastewater management on farms and has been working with DEP on the issue. DEP is engaged in a major overhaul of many of its regulations currently and hopes to propose regulatory revisions that will help clarify a number of these issues including ensuring that the direct land application of manure is specifically exempted from DEP permitting requirements. The changes would also allow wastes that are mixed with manure that are applied as a nutrient supplement or soil amendment to be clearly exempted from DEP's groundwater permitting program if they are managed according to the provisions of a nutrient management plan. Information about the pilot program for milkhouse wastewater management is on the MDAR website.
- Access to Slaughterhouses
Over the course of several meetings, the Commission examined the regulatory process at the state and federal level in order to review the issue of access to slaughtering facilities. The Commission learned that the needs of some producers are currently not being addressed by the existing slaughtering and processing infrastructure in the state and that a different slaughter infrastructure, other than just bricks and mortar facilities, might work to meet the needs of some producers. Among the Commission’s recommendation on the issue were that:
- Within the current regulatory framework there are ways to address the needs of producers but there may have to be a collective, or cooperative, effort on the part of the farmers. Cooperative approaches have a proven track record of success in other states. Mobile units may be an option.
- Clear guidance on the state and federal regulations as they pertain to slaughtering and processing should be developed.
- Develop a program – coordinated through a cooperative approach or at the state level- to identify and help upgrade custom slaughterhouses to a USDA inspected slaughtering and processing facility.
- Carcass Management
Farmers in the state have experienced challenges in managing mortalities, particularly horses, due to lack of clarity on regulations and process. It is increasingly difficult, and expensive, to dispose of carcasses because of limited access to incinerators and renderers. To address this MDAR has been working with DEP to develop guidance for carcass burial. MDAR has separately worked on guidance for composting of mortalities.
- Energy Issues
Among the energy related issues that the Commission addressed are exploring the possibility of a sustainable revenue source to support the development of agricultural renewable energy projects. Additional energy related issues include studying ways to promote energy conservation, collaborative purchasing, purchasing and selling of energy, energy saving technology, and alternative options for sustainability and growth.
Starting in June, the MassGrown campaign will feature the two posters above on the MBTA’s North/South/Metro West Commuter Rails with which will coincide with June is Dairy Month. The MA Dairy Promotion Board funded these posters as part of its ongoing efforts to promote consumption of dairy products produced in Massachusetts.
With matching funds from MA Fruit Growers, MA Winery Association, and MA Christmas Tree Association, posters will be placed in the fall (Sept. & Oct.) promoting Pick-Your-Own and Ag-tourism opportunities across the Commonwealth. If you have questions on collaborating, contact Rick LeBlanc, 617-626-1759, 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, 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 on our map, or update your information, please click here for our Farm Marketing Survey. If questions, contact Rick LeBlanc, Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us.
In keeping in character of what Twitter is all about, we’ll keep this shout-out short!
www.twitter.com/MDARCommish just reached 900 followers! If you’re not already, please follow us for all of the latest breaking news about Massachusetts agriculture.
Our new consumer-specific www.twitter.com/massgrown also just celebrated a cyber-birthday by reaching 100 followers! @massgrown is your gateway to local farm products, specialty foods, and fun ag-tivities!
FOLLOW BOTH! Don’t know what Twitter is all about? Find out more: https://twitter.com/about.
A new Massachusetts Cheese Guild is being organized! The Guild offers a perfect opportunity to work together with other cheese makers in the state. The Guild will organize, create and support a retail presence at the future site of the Boston Public market, with a focus on marketing Massachusetts cheeses for direct profit from sales but also branding, education and marketing based on exposure to Boston residents and tourists. The Massachusetts Cheese guild will also encourage and support the production of artisan and farmstead cheese including cultured dairy products such as yoghurt, made from Massachusetts milk or curd; advance the production and image of premier cheese from MA, education the public, retailers, distributors, institutions and the media about cheese from the bay state; provide a forum for MA cheese makers to share information, expertise and equipment; cooperate with other state cheese guilds to advance the well being of the cheese making industry and provide a collective advocacy voice for Massachusetts cheese makers. For more information, please contact Barbara Hanley: email@example.com, 508-636-8826.
The craft beer industry has seen astonishing growth in recent years across the US, and Massachusetts is no exception! In addition, featuring local ingredients in craft beer attracts consumers and supports agricultural sustainability.
Valley Malt in Hadley, operated by Andrea Stanley and her husband, have 15 breweries participating in their “Brewer's Supporting Agriculture” (BSA) project. BSA members pay for a season’s worth of specialty malted grain as an ingredient for beer. Stanley then uses the funds to pay growers up front for their grain. Valley Malt has over 100 acres of grain being grown specifically for their malting operations . Brewers can inquire about the BSA by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Valley Malt is looking for more growers in the region to participate in the BSA project.
An example of a Massachusetts brewery using all local ingredients is Wormtown Brewery, Worcester which support hops and grain farmers in Massachusetts by featuring local ingredients in the beer. Part owner and head brewer Ben Roesch has a background in sustainable forestry and land preservation and understands the impact a brewer and small business owner can make. He has a line of craft beers that feature 100% Massachusetts wheat, grain and hops from Four Star Farm, Northfield; Czajkowski Farm, Hadley and Divolli Farm in Royalston. Brewer tours including Wormtown are included on MDAR’s Savor Massachusetts website.
The MDAR is coordinating a “MA Farm Breweries & Local Ingredients" project that aims to increase business between Massachusetts growers and craft and through promotion to consumers. MDAR was awarded funding through USDA Rural Development and FSMIP (Federal State Marketing Improvement Program), backing two key projects that will strengthen business relations between growers and brewers and promote the industry.
Much of the hops, barley, and specialty ingredients used for local craft beers are sourced from outside of the state. The first project focuses on a survey based assessment to quantify the value of ingredients used by Massachusetts craft brewers, as well as the value of ingredients that are locally sourced. Matchmaking between growers and brewers will be coordinated. The FSMIP award to MDAR was $11,015.
The second project is a Massachusetts craft beer trail or passport program. Many states have successfully created Trail or Passport programs that enhance the connectivity consumers have with their local brewers. A focus for Massachusetts will be to highlight brewers who use local ingredients and the growers who provide them. The USDA Rural Development award to MDAR was $34,603.
Phillipe Marquis and Dorothy Kaiser, two business students, will be project consultants. For more information contact Bonita Oehlke Bonita.Oehlke@state.ma.us.
The Hampshire and Hampden Conservation Districts Local Working Group Project Invites Participation in Survey!
What are Conservation Districts?
Conservation Districts (CDs) serve landowners and communities in the conservation and management of natural resources; farmland, woodland, and wildlife management; and farmland preservation. Conservation Districts are state entities designated by the Massachusetts General Laws to address natural resources issues at the local level throughout the Commonwealth. There are fourteen (14) districts in Massachusetts, led by volunteer elected supervisors.
The Districts cooperate with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a federal agency addressing the conservation and wise management of natural resources (soil, water, air, plants, animals, human, and energy). We assist agricultural producers and landowners with conservation planning and applying for financial assistance to correct resource concerns. The District programs improve the health and productivity of all landscapes, urban to rural. Examples of assistance from NRCS include:
- creating or enhancing wildlife habitat for at-risk species
- improving irrigation efficiencies
- reducing soil erosion, managing manure and nutrient runoff into streams and rivers
- implementing forest management practices to increase health and productivity
- improving energy efficiencies in greenhouses and promoting renewable energy on farms
- encouraging the adoption of agronomic practices (e.g. Nutrient management planning, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) planning, cover cropping, reduced tillage, etc.)
What are Local Working Groups?
Local Working Groups are a temporary subgroup organized by the Conservation Districts (CDs) and in partnership NRCS to identify local resource needs.
I live in Hampshire or Hampden County. Why do you want my opinion?
The NRCS and the CDs are taking advantage of a national trend towards greater valuing of public input to improve the delivery of conservation services to communities and landholders. Together we can create stronger grassroots support for planning, designing and implementing sound conservation practices that improve water quality, soil and plant health, wildlife habitat and the full range of natural resource enhancements. With concerns identified by local residents and interested parties, the CDs will compile your answers and the NRCS will use this information to direct and focus technical and financial assistance towards conservation activities and programs.
How does this work?
The link below will take you to a five-question survey. Please encourage others to participate. Watch the website for results in September 2012. The survey can also be found at public venues such as clubs and associations, and municipal meetings.
The Wallace Genetic Foundation (Open)
Founded by Henry A. Wallace, the creator of the Pioneer Hi-Bred Corn Company, the Foundation provides grants to nonprofits nationwide that believe in the long-term conservation of the soil and the environment rather than the exploitation of natural resources for temporary profits. Grants are awarded in the following areas of interest: sustainable agriculture; protection of farmland near cities; conservation of natural resources; biodiversity protection; reduction of environmental toxins; and global climate issues. Of particular interest are far-sighted groups and individuals with innovative ideas. All letters of inquiry and proposals should be submitted in hard copy. No faxed or e-mail letters of inquiry or proposals will be accepted. Some additional information can be found on the Web site. | Grant Range: $25,000 To $40,000 | Contact Info: THE WALLACE GENETIC FOUNDATION, 4910 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 221, Washington, DC, 20016, Ph: 202-966-2932, Fax: 202-966-3370, Send email to email@example.com, visit website www.wallacegenetic.org, Co-Executive Directors: Patricia M. Lee and Carolyn H. Sand.
Massachusetts food companies will put their product up for the annual taste test in Washington DC at the International Summer Fancy Food Show, June 17 – 19 at the Walter E Washington Convention Center. This year’s Massachusetts Pavilion will feature products from 17 Bay State food businesses. In addition to the companies in the Massachusetts Pavilion, there will be some 35 additional Massachusetts exhibitors spread throughout the Center. The trade show has a reputation as the premier marketplace for value-added foods, with 2,400 exhibitors and 24,000 attendees. Many small to medium sized businesses develop sales from the mostly independent retail buyers in attendance.
“For our small Bay State specialty food businesses and food entrepreneurs, this venue offers a perfect opportunity to develop new business and showcase their products” said Greg Watson, Commissioner. These businesses are an important part of the Massachusetts food system, and offer those interested in locally produced products available all year. Massachusetts companies have a preference to use local agricultural products when possible.
In addition, an international buyer’s trade mission to the show that is being coordinated with assistance from MDAR will allow exhibitors to meet with buyers from 12 countries on Saturday, June 16th.
Farm stand owners are often among the attendees looking to source innovative products from small food businesses. Budding entrepreneurs also attend to see the latest products, packaging, displays and trends. To register to attend go to www.specialtyfood.com.
Massachusetts companies with innovative products that will sample and sell their foods ranging from cranberry and fruit chocolate, specialty honey, baked products, sauces and gourmet soups include:
- Bloomsbury, Salem, www.bloomsberryusa.com
- Bonnie’s Jams, Cambridge, www.bonniesjams.com
- Boyajian, Canton, www.boyajianinc.com
- Coastal Goods, Barnstable, www.coastalgoods.com
- Creative Juices, Beverly, www.creativejuicesnow.com
- Effies Homemade, Hyde Park, www.effieshomemade.com
- Fancypants Baking Co, East Walpole, www.fancypantsbakery.com
- Good Tastes, Newburyport, www.good-tastes.com
- Joe Perry Rock Your World Sauces, Westborough
- Kettle Cuisine, Chelsea www.kettlecuisine.com
- Lark Fine Foods, Essex, www.larkfinefoods.com
- Nella Pasta,Boston, www.nellapasta.com
- Root Cellar, www.rootcellarpreserves.com/
- Sauces N Love, Lynn, www.saucesnlove.com
- Taza Chocolate, Somerville, www.tazachocolate.com
For more information contact Bonita.Oehlke@state.ma.us.
July 26th at Elm Bank Horticulture Center, Wellesley, MA
The Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association and the Massachusetts Flower Growers Association will again hold a joint Summer Conference and Trade Show in 2012.
Take advantage of the newest ideas and cutting edge information to put you ahead of your competition. Educational Program Sneak Peek:
- Annual Trial Gardens at Elm Bank
- Composts & Composting
- What Buyers Should Know
- Perennial Gardens at Elm Bank
- Case Studies of Landscape Designs in MA
- Impacts of Asian Longhorn Beetle on Energy Use in Cities,
- Alternative Planting Methods for Trees in the Nursery,
- 2007 Adrian Bloom Demonstration Garden and so much more!
The following is a sneak peak at the Tour de Fleur on July 25th & the Summer Conference on July 26th. Click here: Summer Conference 2012
SAVE $’s today! Early Registration through June 30, 2012
August 10-12, 2012 - University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Chellie Pingree, Congresswoman from Maine
Jeffrey Smith, Institute for Responsible Technology
Over 200 Workshops on Organic Gardening, Farming, Food Politics, Permaculture, Homesteading, Landscaping, Alternative Energy, Livestock, Cooking, and more! Hundreds of Vendors and Exhibitors, Live Entertainment, Children’s and Teen Conference, Country Fair.
Featuring a pre-conference seminar on GMOs with Jeffrey Smith, and a pre-conference seminar on Natural Fruit with Lee Reich.
Mass. Harvest for Students Week, coordinated annually by the Mass. Farm to School Project, will be in September this year. School and college interest in purchasing locally grown products continues to grow steadily and during Mass. Harvest for Students Week it is especially high; farm to cafeteria specialists at the Project are already helping schools plan menus for the Week and helping farmers identify profitable sales opportunities. New USDA regulations requiring more servings of fruits and vegetables in school meals has only heightened interested in locally grown produce. In addition to highlighting local products on their menus during Harvest Week, many schools sponsor educational lessons with agricultural themes, invite guests to share a local foods-focused meal, or ask farmers to participate in a media event. It is a great time to get community attention for your farm from parents, staff, legislators, and reporters, as well as students and food service workers.
For assistance in finding school customers or for more information about Mass. Harvest for Student Week activities, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For central and western Mass. please call 413-253-3844 and in eastern Mass. we can be reached at 617-239-2574.
The Northeast Greenhouse Conference (formerly the New England Greenhouse Conference) will be held on November 7 and 8 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.
Keynote Presentation: Why Color? by Katy Moss Warner. An all green landscape is like black and white TV. It's like newspapers without color photos. Yes, "The Artist" won the academy award in 2012. And the NY Times is still black and white. But, in general, there is an expectation of color in our lives. Katy Moss Warner will share her experience bringing color to the forefront in the gardens of Walt Disney World in Florida. Where did it start? How did it happen? What is the outcome? She will offer insight on the importance of color in municipal landscapes from her travels judging cities with America in Bloom. Can we really enhance the quality of life in our communities with colorful beautiful landscapes? Why are hanging baskets now so beloved in many of our towns and cities? She will challenge us that the green industry will do well to think and grow in Technicolor."
Katy Moss Warner is President Emeritus of the American Horticultural Society (AHS), a national, non-profit, member-based organization with a bold vision of “making America a nation of gardeners, a land of gardens.” From 1976 to 2000, she was Director of Disney’s Horticulture and Environmental Initiatives at the Walt Disney World Resort. With a team of nearly 700, she was responsible for the landscapes of four theme parks, 15 resort properties and over 70 miles of roads on the 30,000-acre property, ensuring that Disney’s horticultural traditions of beautiful gardens and environmental responsibility were sustained.
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.
The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service is preparing for the 2012 Census of Agriculture. The Census of Agriculture, conducted every five years, is a valuable tool that NASS uses to collect and provide information about all areas of agriculture. In 2007, the Census of Agriculture showed an increase in the number of farms for the first time since WWII. NASS is committed to ensuring that all farms and farmers are counted in the census. Every agricultural operation, regardless of size, is vital to the U.S. agricultural system. Your response to the census can have a positive impact on U.S. agriculture at both the local and national levels. You have the power to influence economic development and impact local and national decision making about:
• Competitive market pricing
• Farm services
• Transportation and marketing locations
• Environmental and conservation issues
• Farming trends
• Production practices
• New and changing technologies
• And many other key issues facing agricultural communities.
If you have any agricultural activity, your participation in NASS data collection matters. If you have never received a questionnaire from NASS or stared farming in the last five years you may not be signed for the census. To ensure that you are signed up, please reply in one of two ways:
By phone: (800) 892-1660 ; Online: www.nass.usda.gov/counts
For more information about the census of agriculture, visit online at: www.agcensus.usda.gov. USDA realizes that your time is valuable. We are grateful for all of the farmers and ranchers who sign up and respond. You should receive your 2012 Census of Agriculture report form in January 2012.
In Every Issue
- Farmers’ Markets Seeking Vendors - Markets are seeking additional growers for the 2012 season. For a complete list, click here. Check back often for updates to the list, as additional markets are added periodically.
- Next Generation Farm Ownership Opportunity - Dairy/Cheese/Composting Farm Business
Opportunity: The owner of a diversified dairy/cheese/composting farm business in central Massachusetts is willing to provide a “young entrepreneur” with the opportunity to be the next generation owner. Well established markets are in place for both the cheese and the compost. The owner is willing to consider owner financing toward the ultimate purchase. Qualifications: The successful candidate will need to demonstrate their ability to transition from worker, to manager to owner from all aspects of business operations. The candidate can be an individual or could be a couple. For Questions or to Apply: Please contact Jon Jaffe at OtterRiverHR@FarmCreditEast.com. Addition Information can be found here.
- New England Farmland Finder makes it easy for farm properties to be posted, and for farm seekers to search through them. It is free, simple, region-wide, automated and constantly current, serving as a friendly portal for property holders and farmland seekers. Site was created to help New England’s farm seekers and farm property holders find each other. For many new and established farmers, simply finding available land is a huge challenge. On the other side of the equation, more and more private, public and organizational landowners want to make land available for farming. They want farmers to find them: www.newenglandfarmlandfinder.org/
- 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, email@example.com, 978-897-9977.
- Empire Packaging - New for 2012 All Natural Wood CSA Weekly share boxes. Stackable with farm name imprinted on side. Sold in lots of 100 +. Also keep us in mind for Berry packaging , Roadstand & wholesale packaging for fruits & vegetables. (508) 426-7813.
- Turtle Creek Winery seeks one or two persons to represent our Winery at farmers markets around Boston. Must be able to work Saturdays (other days available), have a car, and be responsible for the market day's accounting. Seek persons with a positive, outgoing manner, who enjoy meeting & talking to the public and who demonstrate responsibility and a good work ethic. $13.00 per hour. firstname.lastname@example.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.
|8||Aldo Leopold Documentary - Pothole Pictures in Shelburne Falls is kicking off their Riverfest with a documentary of the conservationist, Aldo Leopold, 7:30pm. The first full-length documentary film ever made about legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold, Green Fire highlights Leopold's extraordinary career, tracing how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement. Leopold remains relevant today, inspiring projects all over the country that connect people and land. www.greenfiremovie.com/ shelburnefallsmemorialhall.org/pothole-pictures/|
|11||High Tunnel Extension Training, Flats Mentor Farm, Seven Bridge Rd, Lancaster, MA. 3-7pm. Start early and extend your growing season. Refreshments will be provided! For more info., contact: Peter Jakubowicz, Farm Manager Phone: 978-479-0661. Details at www.flatsmentorfarm.org.|
|13||Christmas Tree Twilight Meeting, 5:30pm, Evergreen Farm, Bill & Julie Gauld, Hosts, 155 Kendall Hill Road, Sterling, MA. www.christmas-trees.org/calendar.htm|
|14||Sheep School, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Grafton, 10am-3:30pm. Learn about sheep health, managing meat and wool enterprises, feed, handling, and work on your vaccination, hoof trimming and other hands-on skills. Featuring speakers from the School of Veterinary Medicine, veterinarian and sheep farmer Rosario Delgado-Lecaroz, and special guest Tom Colyer, President of the MA Federation of Sheep Assoc. Registration fee is $40 ($25 for additional registrants from the same farm; includes lunch and resources). Click here to register. For questions, email@example.com or call 978-654-6745. Other workshops.|
|19||Mass. Farm-Based Educators Network Gathering - Framingham High School, 10-11:30am. Come tour the innovative school garden and cafeteria program and meet Brendan Ryan, Food Service Director of the Framingham Public Schools. Don't miss this remarkable opportunity to meet and learn from a leader in the farm to school efforts in MA. RSVP by to Margaret Chadbourne at Appleton Farms: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|20||Christmas Tree Twilight Meeting, Greenwood Tree Farm, Crystal Card & Family, Hosts - 96 Dudley Rd, Billerica, MA. Food will be provided by the Essex County Tree Farmers. Bring your own chair(s). www.christmas-trees.org/calendar.htm|
|26||Vegetable Program Twilight Meeting, 4 pm to 7:30pm. Ward’s Berry Farm, 614 South Main St, Sharon. This farm tops the charts on diversity of both crops and markets, with tree fruit, small fruit and vegetables grown for wholesale, farmstand, CSA, and restaurant deliveries. Come for new ideas on crops, equipment, scouting, management and marketing. http://extension.umass.edu/vegetable|
|June 28 - Aug. 14||Mass. Ag. in the Classroom Summer Workshops on the Farm - All 12 workshops meet from 9 am to 3 pm. The $30 fee includes lunch (unless otherwise indicated in the workshop text) lunch and all materials. Ten Professional Development Points are offered for each workshop with accompanying classroom project.|
|2||SEMAP - Twilight Grower Education Series - Specialty Crop: Garlic, 6:30pm – 8:00pm Dave Purpura, Plato’s Harvest Organic Farm, 46 Soule Street, Middleboro. Details here.|
|12||MA Fruit Growers Association Summer Meeting, 10-3pm, UMass Cold Spring Orchard 391 Sabin Street, Belchertown MA. Contact Jon Clements, email@example.com or 413-478-7219.|
|14||Internal Parasite Management for Small Ruminants, Heifer Learning Center at Overlook Farm, Rutland, 10:00am-3:30pm. Internal parasites are the most serious health concern – and often the most serious overall management concern – for many sheep and goat farmers. This hands-on field school will deal with how to identify and selectively treat infected animals, how to prevent a parasite problem on your farm, and what to do if your farm already has drug-resistant parasites. Registration fee is $40 (includes lunch, resources, and FAMACHA cards). Click here to register. For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 978-654-6745.|
|26||Great Ideas Summer Conference & Trade Show, Elm Bank, Wellesley, MA|
Educational Program Topics include: Composts: Evaluation & Use in Production and in the Landscape, Revolutionary Garden Centers – Snapshot of “Tour De Fleur”, Annual Trial Gardens at Elm Bank, Impacts of the Asian Longhorn Beetle on Energy Use in Cities, Alternative Planting Methods for Trees in the Nursery and What Buyers Should Know, Perennial Gardens at Elm Bank, Strategic Marketing of Green Industry Products, QR Codes Project at Elm Bank, Case Studies of Landscape Designs in MA, Scouting for Pests in Landscapes. Registration begins April 15th at http://mnla.com.
|10 -12||NOFA 2011 Summer Conference, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Over 200 Workshops on Organic Gardening, Farming, Food Politics, Permaculture, Homesteading, Landscaping, Alternative Energy, Livestock, Cooking, and more! Hundreds of Vendors and Exhibitors. Live Entertainment. Children’s and Teen Conference. Country Fair. Keynote Speakers: Chellie Pingree, Congresswoman from Maine and Jeffrey Smith, Institute for Responsible Technology. Featuring a pre-conference seminar on GMOs with Jeffrey Smith, and a pre-conference seminar on Natural Fruit with Lee Reich. View website for more details|
For a Complete Ongoing List of Events and Workshops, click here and bookmark.
*** 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.
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, Gregory C. Watson, Commissioner
251 Causeway St., Suite 500,
Boston, MA 02114
617-626-1700, Fax: 617-626-1850
|Amherst Satellite Office:|
101 University Drive, Suite C4
Amherst, MA 01002
413-548-1900, Fax: 413-548-1901
- Gregory C. Watson, Commissioner, Greg.Watson@state.ma.us
- Anna Waclawiczek, Chief of Staff, Anna.Waclawiczek@state ma.us
- Rose Arruda, Director of Outreach and Events, Rose.Arruda@state.ma.us
- Michael Cahill, Director of Animal Health, Michael.Cahill@state.ma.us
- Lee Corte-Real, Director of of Crop and Pest Services, Lee.Corte-Real@state.ma.us
- Mary Jordan, Director of Agricultural Markets, Mary.Jordan@state.ma.us
- Gerard Kennedy, Director of Agricultural Conservation and Technical Assistance, Gerard.Kennedy@state.ma.us
Next issue to be published for August / September. Please send news, calendar and/or classified information by August 1 to Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us, 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.