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Forefront

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Commissioner's Column

Commissioner Greg Watson

Dear Friends!

I’d like to first take this opportunity to introduce a very special MDAR Farm & Market edition! We decided we would share some of the great stories we’ve encountered across the state about a generation of new farmers taking on careers in agriculture.

The “seedling” for this special edition started while I was on a recent whistle-stop tour of agriculture projects on Martha’s Vineyard. Their Farm-to-School program began as an effort to get school cafeterias to use as many locally produced ingredients as possible in school lunches. Many of the schools now have their own gardens designed by teachers, and planted by students.  The connection the students feel to the local farms carries home as well. 

Which got us thinking: What is the current snapshot of young people now pursuing future careers in agriculture? With four competitive agricultural vocational public high schools in the state, a robust FAA organization (formerly known as the Future Farmers of America), a degree program offered at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMass Amherst, these are just a few of the many opportunities for aspiring young farmers to pursue. This edition features some of the inspirational stories we’ve come across. As it so happens, we are featuring five young farmers. As a tribute to the 2012 Olympics we are calling them the “Fab Five” (farmers). We hope these stories will inspire more!

As is typical for this time of year in agriculture, weather is on everyone’s mind.  As we head into late summer, severe or extreme drought has impacted nearly 65% of the United States with the Midwest and South bearing the brunt.  Our thoughts are certainly with our farming friends who now anxiously await for this crisis to play itself out. Thanks go to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack who recently announced the streamlining of the disaster declaration process that will benefit all farmers and ranchers impacted by this and other natural disasters.

Fickle weather is certainly not new to farmers, particularly those living in unpredictable New England.  For me it is a reminder the importance of building as robust a food system as possible with respect to soil conservation, the cultivation of hybrid plants, and continued diversification that allows farmers to modify their business plans when Nature has plans of her own! Making sure that we preserve our working landscapes into the future will also act as an extra insurance policy against unpredictable weather that may hit major growing areas elsewhere in the world.

Mosquito awareness poster by 5 year old EmmaRae

In July, Massachusetts contended with a different kind of curve ball from Mother Nature.  Due to earlier than normal detection of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)-positive mosquito pools in southeastern Massachusetts, the Department of Public Health (DPH) announced aerial spraying for the weekend of July 20-22 to help knock down the mosquito population and reduce public risk.

MDAR, which carries out the operational logistics (e.g. procuring specialized planes and pesticides), worked with DPH and other state agencies to make sure this very complex mission was carried out expediently and safely. The operation was successful in reducing the mosquito population by about 60 percent within a 21-community spray zone.

While we saw a significant reduction in mosquitoes following the July aerial spraying, there is still concern about high levels of EEE that pose a public health threat to residents in southeastern Massachusetts. Consequently we will continue to work at the local and state level to employ the tools available to us to further knock down the mosquito population. It is important that residents also take personal precautions against mammal-biting mosquitoes.   For more information about protecting yourself against EEE, go to www.mass.gov/dph .

Kudos go to our hard-working MDAR team who oversaw the operations. This year we developed an inter-active aerial spray map so that residents could find out whether their area was going to be sprayed on a particular night. The Department also worked closely with certified organic farms in the area to ensure they would be exempted, along with drinking water sites and endangered species areas, from spraying.

On a brighter note, Massachusetts’ summer harvest has so far been good. Farmers’ markets, farm stands, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s) and Pick-Your-Own farms are all reporting steady business and good sales. As you’ve perhaps read in earlier newsletters, Massachusetts now has over 250 farmers’ markets throughout the state (which ranks us 7th in the nation!) – testimony that the small farm/direct sales model is proving a successful one for many Bay State farmers.

There’s lots more to report and some great stories below. Please enjoy!

P.S. – this just in: On Tuesday, August 7th Governor Patrick signed into law legislation establishing Agriculture Inspection and Infrastructure Trust Fund. Revenue from the trust fund will be utilized to fund a variety of agency programs including the integrated pest management program, animal health programs, registering animal rescue and shelter operations, and for the agricultural innovation center.

Best,

Commissioner Greg's Signature

Gregory C. Watson, Commissioner

www.twitter.com/MDARCommish

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Special Guest Column

image of Alvin Craig

by Alvin Craig

YOUTH + FAIRS = AG EDUCATION. Having been involved for nearly a half century in education and the agricultural fair industry in Massachusetts, it’s been my observation that fairs are one of the best learning tools to spark young folks’ interest in agriculture.

Today’s fairs are a unique melting pot of traditional values, current trends, and future possibilities. Everywhere you look there are educational activities – many of which involve young folks and their exhibits.

One thing I realized early on from being involved with fair management was that fair goers are most intrigued by young people participating in competitions and exhibitions. If you want to draw a crowd, just ask a young exhibitor to stroll through the grounds leading his or her llama, calf, sheep, goat, or pet rooster and you have automatic interaction with a built-in crowd of interested fair goers!

There’s a lot of labor, TLC, and sometimes frustration involved with getting an agricultural exhibit ready to enter in the fair. But the prospect of going home with an award or perhaps just a word of encouragement from a wise and friendly judge outweighs the hours of work and cost involved. It makes you start thinking about coming back next year!

Changing demographics continue to play an important role in the relationship of our local fairs to the areas which they serve. As an example, if one looks at the fair archives at Topsfield Fair, Essex County was once home to some of the finest dairy herds in the country.

With changes come new challenges and opportunities. Fair patrons have broadened their educational horizons. Beyond animal Best of Show competitions, visitors are very interested in the safety and quality of their food supply and where it comes from. They also look to the local fair to learn where they can buy local produce and agricultural supplies. They are more aware of and concerned for how we care for our animals. Our state agricultural fairs are the perfect setting for educating our fairgoers about these and so many other important issues. Incidentally, several fairs have seen an up-tick in the number of entries in many of their agricultural departments during the past few years.

Home gardening, poultry, crafts, food preparation and aquaculture are some of the items sparking new interest. Of course, the diversity of exhibits – from of insects and baby chicks to draft horses and giant pumpkins is always a special attraction for spectators.

On a personal note, many of us long-time fair goers are amazed by the concept of going to the computer to check out what will be happening at the fair! I sometimes forget that I can capture a photo of an outstanding fair exhibit on my cell phone. And entering your exhibits over the internet can be a little awkward for some of us “old timers”.

At the end of the day, the unique mission of agricultural fairs stays the same: TO EDUCATE THE GENERAL PUBLIC REGARDING THE IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE! Fairs are a great venue for getting the job done and we must encourage our younger counterparts to become involved. They are our hope for a sustainable agricultural future!

Alvin (Al) Craig is a former teacher at Greater Lawrence Regional Technical High School and former General Manager at Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, MA. Mr. Craig remains active as a member of the Topsfield Fair Board of Directors and is involved with the Fairs Viability Program administered by MDAR. He and his wife own a small farm in Ipswich.

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Forefront


The “Fab Five” Farmers – Massachusetts’ New Generation

Keith Boyle

East Bridgewater, MA
Age: 22

What made you decide to become a farmer? – In the summer of 8th grade I was offered a part time position at Satucket Cranberries LLC, under the owner, Peter Oakley. I must admit I hated the work at first; after all I was only 14 years old. After a while I began to love it, and quickly got more involved. Soon after starting work there I decided to go to Norfolk County Agricultural High School, where I would major in Landscape Design. I ended up graduating the “Aggie” in 2008 as the “Outstanding Vocational Student of the Year.” I then continued my education at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture and graduated in 2010 with an Associate’s Degree in Fruit & Vegetable Crops. I decided to continue my education after Stockbridge and transferred into the University of Massachusetts Amherst where I majored in Plant, Soil, & Insect Sciences with a concentration in Sustainable Food & Farming. I graduated UMASS Amherst in 2012 with a Bachelors Degree in Science.

While continuing my education through high school and college, I continued working at Satucket Cranberries, where I am now the grounds manager. I have also worked for several other cranberry growers such as Morse Brothers, Cary Whitmore, Jeff Lafleur, and the UMASS Cranberry Experiment Station. I love working outside and doing hands on work, I wouldn’t change a thing!

Does anyone in your family have experience in farming? – No, I am the first farmer of my family!

Do you have friends who are thinking about becoming farmers? – Yes, fortunately I met several friends at the Aggie, Stockbridge, and UMASS that also plan on becoming farmers in the future.

If you could have your “dream” farm, what would it be/ where would it be/ and what would your role be? – I have already started my dream farm, as I bought a 3.5 acre cranberry bog in Hanson, MA this past April. My goal would be to own between 30-40 acres of cranberry bogs here in the South Shore and to have a contract with Ocean Spray.

What challenges do you see in fulfilling your dream? What opportunities? – There are many opportunities in the cranberry industry. You can be an owner, or work for one of the companies. There are many positions throughout the industry that you can be elected to serve, such as positions on the board of Ocean Spray and other handlers, positions at the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association, and positions on the research and financial teams. The main challenge that will get in the way of fulfilling my dream is the fact that I am such a young farmer and don’t have the money to buy a bigger farm at this time.

Who has served as an inspiration to you? – Family, friends, and teachers have been a huge inspiration to me. Some of the biggest inspirations have been my parents, Susan and Richard Boyle, all of my aunts and uncles, and my boss Peter Oakley. But there are many others such as my close friends: Kyle Dunlea, Lauren Peterson, Tom Hart, James Connors, Tylor Signorine and many others. I also look up to many of the staff at Norfolk Aggie, Stockbridge, and the College of Natural Sciences at UMASS Amherst. Specifically,Stockbridge provided an interest-free loan (a Lotta Crabtree loan) that enabled me to get my feet off the ground. Peter Oakley has also been very supportive of me in helping me jumpstart my Ag dream!

How is technology used at your farm? – Technology plays a huge part at my farm. Everything at my bog is electronic and most of it can be done on an App on my cell phone,such as irrigation and frost control. I also use Facebook to spread the word about the cranberry industry here in MA. Feel free to “Like” my page and stay up to date on some of the latest cranberry news!Yes we received an AEEP grant last year for automation irrigation. This system allows me to operate my irrigation by cell phone or computer. There are two sensors on my bog switch read the temperature, and when the temperature reaches the "high" or the "low" that I have set, the irrigation will automatically turn on. It also shuts off by itself by either clicking the "stop" button, or when those same sensors reach a certain set temperature to automatically shut off. It saves a lot of power and energy, and also a lot of fuel because you don't have to keep driving there! I also have a Facebook page that I use for promotion: www.facebook.com/KdbCranberries

What is your favorite vegetable to eat? – I love all vegetables, but I would have to say eggplant is my favorite!

Kim Buddington

Springfield, MA
Age: 17 ½

What made you decide to become a farmer? – I really can’t pinpoint one thing that made me want to decide to farm. I remember being out in the vegetable garden when I was about five and loving plants and dirt. I joined the 4-H rabbit project about nine years ago. We live in a suburban neighborhood so raising rabbits was something we could do. I was seriously into breeding and showing rabbits for about five years. At one point we were going to rabbit shows almost every weekend!

When I was twelve I began participating in the 4-H livestock leasing program. Through this program I got to have the experience of raising and showing a dairy goat. Eventually I purchased the goat I was leasing. We cannot have livestock in our suburban neighborhood, so we rented space on a nearby farm. Of course, in order to have milk you must breed the does regularly, so our herd began to grow rapidly!

We can’t sell our goat milk for drinking at this point but we would like to. Currently I make goat milk soap to sell and I am trying to build up that part of the business. I am also working on breeding to get higher quality dairy goats.

Does anyone in your family have experience in farming? – No one in my immediate family has farmed professionally.

What did you learn from the MDAR Planning for Start-up course you attended? – I learned a lot about what it really is going to take to start a successful farm. The start-up class gave us lots of information on all of the aspects of running a farm business. It helped narrow down what we really wanted to try and pursue.

Do you have friends who are thinking about becoming farmers? – I know a few people in 4-H who may farm or do something farm related. A lot of my friends barely know what a farm is, what a farmer does and how much work it takes to run one!

If you could have your dream farm, what would it be/where would it be/and what would your role be? – I would want it to be a good size, but not too big. My dream farm would definitely be in a more farm friendly location and obviously, I would own the land! It would probably be focused on dairy goats but I would not mind some cows either. I would probably have some breeds raised for meat as well.

What challenges do you see in fulfilling your dreams? What opportunities? – The biggest challenge I see right now is obtaining farmland. Our goal is to set up a dairy operation so that we can sell milk to the public. We need to either buy or long-term lease a small amount of land to make this happen. We don’t have land in the family and we live in an area where most of the space is taken up. Also, it is very expensive. I do see opportunities in being a woman farmer and that the interest in local, sustainable agriculture is increasing.

Who has served as an inspiration to you? – Many people have inspired me in my farming ventures. My 4-H rabbit leader, Nancy Searle, started me off for sure. I learned so much about basic animal husbandry and selection from her. Carrie Sears, who is involved with UMASS Extension and works with the 4-H dairy cattle, is a good example to me of someone who is successful in agriculture. Some wonderful adult dairy goat breeders have been willing to help me build up my herd. Michael Covey from NH and Sam & Amy Smith from CT have provided me with some lovely goats!

Do you use social network media or other technology for your business? – I have a website and I use Facebook. I update the Facebook page most frequently and the website when I have the time. I plan to open a PayPal account on my website in September so people can purchase soap products over the internet. Here are the addresses to these pages: www.ontheroadagainfarm.com and www.facebook.com/ontheroadagainfarm

What is your favorite vegetable to eat? – I like many different vegetables. Asparagus is especially yummy!

Image of Christopher Grant
Christopher Grant

Essex, MA
Age: 22

Like many high school seniors, Chris Grant was faced with the task of sifting through a myriad of college options.  Essex Aggie, where he had attended high school, helped guide him through the maze of choices as well as cost considerations. Soon enough, Chris’s heart was set on the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The two-year school offered the perfect degree program for him: fruit and vegetable crop production, small classes, and access to all of the UMass services available. Another aspect of Stockbridge that Chris liked was the fact that undergraduates can design schedules and classes to fit their needs.

Stockbridge students can usually be spotted walking through campus wearing boots, carrying plants, fruit, climbing rope, or landscape plans. Some of Chris’s favorite classes were vegetable production, greenhouse crop production, small fruit production, orchard pruning, and tree fruit production just to name a few. These classes revolved around hand- on work in the fields and greenhouses. This type of learning sets students up to not only have knowledge at graduation about their fields of study but actual skills that can be applied in the field.

Over the course of his studies, Chris built strong relationships with fellow students and a supportive faculty. One of his favorite expressions he always heard from one of his professors, Dr. Frank Mangan, was, “If you cannot sell it, do not plant!”  Chris later interned with the Marini family at Marini Farm in Ipswich Massachusetts. Here he learned the adage, “If you don’t plant, you don’t pick!”

After graduating, Chris continued on to get his Bachelor’s Degree in Plant Soil and Insect Science with a Horticulture Business concentration from UMass. He graduated in May 2012.

Chris is now an entrepreneur working full time for Grant’s Plants, a business he started in high school. Grant’s Plants sells vegetables, eggs, and cut flowers at farmers’ markets across the North Shore of Massachusetts. Chris wishes more students knew about the Stockbridge program.  He has given tours to perspective students and likes to tell them that a big part of college is finding out where you belong. And if you’re anything like Chris Grant, you belong at Stockbridge School!

Chris also uses social media to promote Grant's Plants. He has a Facebook page which he says is an invaluable resource when it comes to directly interacting with customers. He has a website www.grants-plants.com, Twitter feed @massagvocate, and also a personal LinkedIn profile. Chris thinks social media is a great tool to connect with customers and even other people in the industry.

Image of Alissa Martin
Alissa Martin

Deerfield, MA
Age: 31

What made you decide to open a farm stand? – I graduated from UMass in 2011, and after four summers of working on farms, this year felt myself hesitating when it came time to applying for farm work. The event that really sparked the farm stand is my upcoming wedding in September. I knew I wanted to grow all the vegetables for our family and friends and be able to say: Here is my work – this is what it looks like – thanks for coming – let’s eat! Magically, my fiancé Chip owns five acres next door to our apartment, and he let me grow there. I ordered seeds, started seedlings, transplanted them and before I knew it I had a massive amount of plants in the ground. And I was broke. Chip brought out his old birdseed shed which I fixed it up, and put myself and my veggies out there. It was very scary. But I felt I had hit a point: I went to school, I learned the science, and it was time for me to get out there and give it go.

Does anyone in your family have experience in farming? – I am originally from the Midwest, and my mother's side of the family (mainly my Uncle Kevin) grows corn and soybeans in Iowa. Everyone loves to point out that I moved to Massachusetts to learn how to farm! But growing food is so different here. I wanted to learn about farming on a smaller scale and on more diversified farms.

Do you have friends who are thinking about becoming farmers? – I do... I think there are many young people – especially those who live in big cities – that dream about moving to the country and starting a farm (I was one of them). If they ask my advice or opinion, I try to encourage them and tell them how satisfying and gratifying the work is, not to mention that you get to work outside. But I also try to stress this: don't romanticize it! It can be strenuous work, it can be tedious work... you've got to be ready to hand-weed carrots for eight hours and then go back out the next day and the next.

If you could have your “dream” farm (or other career in agriculture), what would it be/ where would it be/ and what would your role be? – My biggest dream for farming is finding a way to grow food for people who need it the most... especially people who live in neighborhoods where there are more convenience stores than markets with fresh produce.

What challenges do you see in fulfilling your dream? What opportunities? – As for challenges, I'd say working to find a niche in a pretty packed market, learning to find balance between farming and life beyond farming, and then the biggies like money, learning how to start a business, land, mortgages, all the fun stuff. Opportunities that come to mind are bringing fresh vegetables to people who need and want it, meeting new people and getting them to try new things, and always learning and working to improve my farming skills and knowledge.   And to remind myself how lucky I am to be able to work outside and do what I love!

Who has served as an inspiration to you? – Hands down, I'd say Will Allen of Growing Power. I love him and the work he is doing. I visited Growing Power in Milwaukee and saw him working in the greenhouses, but I was so nervous I had to leave. Next time I'll try to work up the nerve to say “Hello Will, and you're awesome!”

Do you use social network media or other technology in your business? – Yes. I have a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/TheSmallFarm

What is your favorite vegetable to eat? – It is a classic answer, but definitely tomatoes. Tomato sandwiches with lots of basil and lots of mayo. I also love the early green cabbages and Walla Walla onions. Oh, and sweet corn. I'll stop.

Ally Scholtz

Newburyport, MA
Age: 14

How old are you and what Ag School will you be attending? – I am 14 years old. I just graduated from the 8th grade at the Inn Street Montessori School in Newburyport MA. In the fall I will be attending The White Mountain School in Bethlehem NH. I will be studying Farming and Sustainability. Their website address is www.whitemountain.org

What made you decide to become a farmer? – My interest in farming came from two things. One was my grandmother. She has a HUGE garden on her property. She plants her garden and harvests it, then keeps/stores some vegetables, sells some and gives some away. She makes pies and jams and jellies and lives very simply. She always let me help her in the garden and I loved harvesting the most when I was younger. She taught me about the good and bad of having a garden - she has to work hard to keep possums, deer and other animals out of the garden. Sometimes the weather isn't good and sometimes she forgets what she plants and has to wait to find out! She works very hard, but loves every aspect of gardening. The other reason is that I LOVE being outdoors. My parents always bring our family hiking for vacation. I've climbed Mount Washington six times and still am not sick of it. I love sleeping in a tent and it doesn't bother me not to take a shower for three days :). I don't like computers or TV very much. I hardly ever talk on the phone or text. I just like to be outside. My favorite books are Field Guides (my most favorite is Field guide to edible plants!). I want to hike the Appalachian Trail some day!

Does anyone in your family have experience in farming? – See the story about my grandmother above - I know it's on a small scale though. My great grandfather owned a nursery - it was gone before I came, but I think farming is in my blood.

Do you have friends who are thinking about becoming farmers? – Yes and no. None of my school friends wants to become farmers. They are all happy for me, but I think most kids think I'm odd - not for wanting to be a farmer as much as not being into Facebook and technology. I've made a lot of friends on the farm at Cider Hill though - they are mostly interns from Romania, Brazil, Czek Republic and Hungary - some of them are working there just for the experience of it, but I think a few of them want to become farmers some day. Some want to go into the food industry. 

If you could have your “dream” farm, what would it be/ where would it be/ and what would your role be? – My dream farm would be somewhere warm - maybe in the Carolinas. It would be a little bit bigger than Cider Hill. But much like Cider Hill it would be very community oriented. It would grow fruits, vegetables and maybe chickens. I would sell my crops to local restaurants and stores. We would have a store too and sell local products in our store. I would want a small bakery. I would want a CSA and would work/donate/volunteer at local food pantries if the crops are good. We'll make things like jams, preserves, cider. I would want to do a Halloween Maze or some kind of community event (Cider Hill has a 5K run called the Cider Mash). As owner of the farm, I would hire some "experts" for each aspect of the business - then I would work everywhere that I am needed. I will plant, weed, harvest, mentor, build community and WORK on the farm - but there will be an office person to do the paperwork because that is no fun.

What challenges do you see in fulfilling your dream? What opportunities? – Ooh. That's a really hard question. I think getting the money to buy land or a farm will be a challenge.  I think starting out will be REALLY hard - it's like exercise - when you start doing it, you just want to fall over and die and give up - but if you stick with it, it gets easier and more fun. Cider Hill didn't make a profit for 20 years - but Glenn and Karen stuck with it and their farm is beautiful and they are happy and doing well. The best opportunity I have in fulfilling my dream is the incredible amount of support I've been given by my teachers, the Cooks and my family. My parents are very happy and proud that I want to be a farmer. My mom thinks that "going back to the basics is the wave of the future” and that I am ahead of my time and onto something big!

How has working with the Cook family helped you? – It has helped me so much. I have learned a lot about farming. There were so many aspects of farming that I didn't know when I started interning at Cider Hill. I always thought Mother Nature did most of the work and then we got food. I didn't realize how many sleepless nights farmers must have worrying about the weather and pests and whether to use chemicals or not. Karen has taught me how to be kind to people even when they are not kind to you. She is teaching me how to engage with people at the farmers market - to talk to people and be more outgoing. They have taught me that even though my favorite part of farming is being in the field, getting dirty and harvesting - it's a WAY bigger thing. It's about seed-to-consumer , it's about caring and giving to everybody - the people you work with, the people you sell to,  - Karen says it's relationships that make her farm successful, not just the products (my grandmother does the very same thing, just in a smaller garden).

What is your favorite vegetable to eat? – Ooh another very HARD question. It’s really hard to pick a favorite. I can’t choose between tomatoes and cucumbers. I also love rhubarb. I will tell you which vegetables I DON’T like much easier. It’s asparagus and cauliflower (yuck!).

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Energy News

AgEnergy FY2013 Grant Program Closed

As noted in our last report, MDAR’s Annual Agricultural Energy Grant Program (AgEnergy) for 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. Thanks to all who participated!

In the meantime, MDAR has created an initial short list of potential recipients who are currently being assessed further in order to finalize a recommended list of awardees.

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.

MassCEC Launches Solar Thermal Hot Water Program

MassCEC is pleased to announce the launch of the first year of the Commonwealth Solar Hot Water Program, a $10 million, 4.5 year program that will last through the end of 2016. The first year of the program has a budget of $1.5 million, which will support residential and commercial-scale solar hot water systems from July 2012 through June 2013.

This program can be particularly beneficial to farms across MA and MDAR along with the MA Farm Energy Program (MFEP) will be working to promote this great program to farms across the state.

For more information please visit the MassCEC Solar Thermal Hot Water website.

Update &Reminder - MA Net Metering Reaching Capacity

The recent congressional session that ended July 31st increased net metering capacity for both the private and public/government sectors to 3% each. As well, anerobic digesters are now eligible for net metering for all constituents. Net metering language of the Energy portion of the Bill included:

Section 23-30, 49. Net Metering

  • Increases the total net metering cap from 3% to 6% of peak load, and exempts certain projects from the cap altogether.
  • Increases the private net metering cap from 1% to 3%. Increases the net metering cap for governmental entities and municipalities from 2% to 3%.
  • Exempts net metering facilities that generate a small amount of electricity from the private net metering cap. Exempts certain net metering facilities whose capacity is under 10 kW or 25 kW, depending on the circuit it will interconnect with.
  • Adds anaerobic digestion to the list of allowable net metering generation facilities
  • Directs the DPU to develop an enforceable standard interconnection timeline. 

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 now 3% of each utility’s maximum annual peak for the private sector projects; and 3% of the same peak for state, city and town government projects.

National Grid: www.nationalgridus.com/masselectric/home/energyeff/4_net-mtr.asp

Nantucket Electric: www.nationalgridus.com/nantucket/home/energyeff/4_net-mtr.asp

 NSTAR: www.nstar.com/business/rates_tariffs/interconnections/other.asp

Unitil: www.unitil.com/energy-for-residents/electric-information/distributed-energy-resources/net-metering

 WMECO: www.wmeco.com/residential/understandbill/ratesrules/NetMetering.aspx

***Reminder to Sign into your Online Farm Energy Discount Program Account***

Last year the Department developed an online option for farmers to review and update their Massachusetts Farm Energy Discount Program information.  Program participants were provided with a  website address, a Farm ID and an Access Code  to review and make changes to their account information.   To verify that you are receiving your discount on your electric and natural gas bills, please remember to access the website to make sure that the information accurately reflects your providers.  If there are no changes to the account, simply click on the “no changes” button.   If you have a new account or need to delete an account, the change can now be made online and submitted to the Department by clicking the “submit” button.

All participants were provided with a Farm ID and Access Code last year. If you have forgotten your ID or code please notify Linda Demirjian at linda.demirjian@state.ma.us  or Joao Tavares at joao.tavares@state.ma.us

We realize that not all participants are interested in managing their accounts online. Farmers who are unable to make the changes online should notify Linda Demirjian who coordinates the program at
617-626-1733 or Joao Tavares at 617-626-1719.

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"Riding the Rails” Campaign Continues in September/October

With matching funds from MA Fruit Growers, MA Christmas Tree Association, and possibly others, posters will be placed in the fall (Sept. & Oct.) promoting Pick-Your-Own and Ag-tourism opportunities across the Commonwealth. Posters will run throughout North and South Station commuter lines. If you see one, snap a picture and send to 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 pdf format of 1-mktg-farms-survey .pdf
for our Farm Marketing Survey. If questions, contact Rick LeBlanc, Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us.

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Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week - August 19-25

Governor Deval Patrick has proclaimed August 19-25, 2012 Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week. Calling farmers’ markets “essential to the vitality of Massachusetts farms” Governor Patrick says “it is befitting for the citizens of Massachusetts to recognize the continued contribution of farmers’ markets to local consumers, as well as their positive impact on the economy of the Commonwealth.“

The week will officially kick off on Monday, August 20 at the City Hall Plaza Farmers’ Market in Boston when MDAR Commissioner Gregory C. Watson will read the proclamation at the 28th Annual Massachusetts Tomato Contest. This summer, more than 250 farmers’ markets are operating across the state – up from 139 just five years ago.

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Massachusetts Tomato Contest to be Held August 20th

Image of Tomato Trophies

The 28th Annual Massachusetts Tomato Contest will be held at Boston’s City Hall Plaza Farmers’ Market on Monday, August 20th in conjunction with the City Hall Plaza Farmers’ Market and the start of Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week. Tomatoes will be judged by a panel of experts on flavor, firmness/slicing quality, exterior color and shape. Always a lively and fun event, the day is designed to increase awareness of locally grown produce.

Farmers who want to submit entries can bring tomatoes to the City Hall Plaza Farmers’ Market between 9:00 am and 10:15 am on August 20th or drop their entries off with the corresponding registration form to one of several locations around the state on August 18th or 19th. These tomatoes will be brought in to Boston on Monday. For the complete details, including contest criteria and a registration form.

The 28th Annual Tomato Contest is sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Association and Mass Farmers Markets.

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2012 Update on Giant Hogweed

MDAR’s annual survey of known populations of the invasive plant known as giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is currently finishing up for the season. Each year, nursery inspectors check hogweed infestations in their assigned regions, in some cases assisting property owners with management by digging up plants or cutting flower heads to prevent seeds from spreading. So far, inspectors have visited over 30 sites, assisted with management at 10 of them, and were able to declare 11 sites “Eradicated” after 5 consecutive years with no new plants found.

Giant hogweed is a federally listed noxious weed that is prohibited from being sold in Massachusetts. As that common name suggests, hogweed plants are huge, with leaves reaching several feet wide and flowering stalks exceeding ten feet in height that are topped with wide heads of tiny white flowers. The plant is considered dangerous because it contains a poisonous sap that can cause painful blisters if it comes in contact with skin. To report a sighting (after looking at comparisons), visit http://massnrc.org/pests/hogweedreport.aspx.

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Asian Longhorned Beetle Outreach

MDAR’s Asian longhorned beetle Outreach Coordinator, Stacy Kilb, trains environmentalists of all ages about the invasive Asian longhorned beetle. Here, as part of the ongoing effort to eradicate ALB, a Shrewsbury Girl Scout troop learns firsthand about this invasive forest pest and the devastating effect it has on trees.

For more information about how you can help stop the spread of ALB, contact Stacy Kilb at (617) 626-1764 or stacy.kilb@state.ma.us

 

 

 

 

 

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New Animal Control Bill Signed into Legislation

Image of New Animal Control Bill Signed into Legislation

Seen with Governor Deval Patrick, a smiling Director of Animal Health Mike Cahill attended the signing ceremony in Ashland of “An Act Further Regulating Animal Control”. Learn more about some of the highlights of the bill below. Thanks Mike for representing the Department and congratulations that this long-awaited bill made it over the finish line!

  • Creates a statewide spay/neuter program to reduce the number of homeless animals in the Commonwealth. Would, in turn, also reduce the cost to cities and towns for housing and sheltering these animals. This provision is funded by a voluntary tax check-off
  • Adds an enforcement provision to section 139A (the spay/neuter deposit law for animals adopted from shelters and animal control facilities) to ensure animals that are adopted out will not add to the burden
  • Provides for animal control officer training. People are often surprised to learn that their local animal control officers are not required to receive training for the complicated work they do to keep the people and animals in their community safe. This mandatory training would be funded by the tax check off
  • Establishes appropriate methods of euthanasia for companion animals. Current statutes have not been updated since the 1970's. More humane methods have been introduced since that time, and should be established as the only acceptable standards
  • Reduces dog bites by improving the dangerous dog law in a breed neutral manner
  • Allows pets to be included in domestic violence protection orders to protect both animals and people.

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Eugene Cassidy New President and CEO of Eastern States Exposition

Image of Eugene J. Cassidy

Eugene J. Cassidy became the seventh Chief Executive Officer of Eastern States Exposition (ESE) in its 95 year history on June 27. He joined ESE as Director of Finance in 1993 and was named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in March, 2011. He succeeded Wayne McCary who retired June 26 after 21 years at the helm of the West Springfield institution.

Cassidy said, “The Big E is a balance of agriculture, industry and entertainment all designed to move the core mission of the Exposition forward while retaining the roots on which it was built.” His goals are to preserve and advance the programs, the facilities and the mission of Eastern States Exposition, and to promote the aspect of stewardship upon which the organization was founded. He is looking forward to this year’s Big E, less than three months away, and expanding the Expositions roster of year-round events and shows.

He is accredited as a Certified Fair Executive by the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) and is actively involved as a member of the Budget and Finance and Program Committees. He is a frequent presenter at IAFE meetings on a local, regional and national level and served as Program Chair of the organization’s International Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2010.A native of West Springfield, Cassidy was educated at St. Thomas the Apostle School and remains active on its School Board and Finance Committee. He is a graduate of West Springfield High School and Western New England College where he received a B.S. degree in Business Administration and Accounting.

Cassidy began his career at KPMG Peat Marwick, Springfield, Mass. He then served as Treasurer of the Chicopee Cooperative Bank and Colonial Mortgage Company and was Assistant Vice President of Park West Bank and Trust Company, all wholly owned subsidiaries of Westbank Corporation, West Springfield, Mass. He serves on the Finance Committee of The Springfield Technical Community College Foundation, is Treasurer of the Western Massachusetts Chapter of Legatus, and a Director of the Springfield Forum. He is Chairman of St. Mary, Longmeadow, Capital Campaign, and is a member of the parish Finance Committee. He also sits on the Board of Directors of NUVO Bank & Trust. He resides in Longmeadow, Mass., with his wife, Catherine, and two sons, Brennan and Colin.

ESE is home of The Big E, the 8th largest fair in North America, which takes place September 14-30, 2012, and 120 year-round shows and events, Storrowton Village and Storrowton Tavern.

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50 MA Food Companies Exhibited at the International Summer Fancy Food Show

Some 50 Massachusetts food companies exhibited in Washington DC at the International Summer Fancy Food Show, June 17 – 19 at the Walter E Washington Convention Center.  The Massachusetts Pavilion featured products from 17 Bay State food businesses. Many small to medium sized businesses developed sales from the mostly independent retail buyers in attendance. 

Two Massachusetts companies had sofi award attention - the academy award of specialty food products.  Nella Pasta, Boston, was nominated for a sofi award and Lark Fine Foods, Essex, received two sofi gold awards for their cookie and cracker products.  The winners were selected by more than 200 buyers at the Summer Fancy Food Show. 

Several exhibitors from Massachusetts used the Branded Program to offset 50% of their participation costs including booth space including Bonnie's Jams, Cape Cod Select LLC, Effie's Homemade, Fancypants Baking, Nella Pasta, Golden Cannoli Company, Good Tastes Kitchen, Lark Fine Foods, Little Duck Organics, and Root Cellar. In addition, several food businesses from the Bay State joined the Buyers Mission to explore export sale opportunities.  

New trends based on the food products at the show that have agricultural implications follow:
For more information go to www.specialtyfoods.com

Alternative Grains
The search for the ultimate superfood continues—and it’s revealed an array of ancient grains that’ll surely snap you out of that rice rut. And it’s not just for entrees. Semolina is made into savory herb- and spice-infused crackers, flax offers a new nondairy milk alternative, amaranth and quinoa add healthful heartiness to chili, and spelt and chia transform into bold and flavorful—and certified organic—wraps

The Pumpkin King 
No longer relegated to fall and winter months, the autumnal profile of pumpkin—in seed and spice form—is warming up an array of products. Some producers are pairing the squash with sweets, such as a pumpkin-caramel sauce and pumpkin spice creamed honey, while other are giving it an ethnic touch, such as a thai coconut pumpkin sauce and Israeli couscous with chunks of pumpkin. Snacks are scooping up the flavor too, in such products as pumpkin-spice seasoned nuts and seasoned popcorn, pumpkin seed tortilla chips and cranberry–pumpkin seed pita chips.

Maple Madness 
The irony is palpable in a year marked by a mild winter that may result in a maple-producing shortage in the months to come, but guess what? The sweet stuff is everywhere among sofi entries: spiking bread-and-butter pickles with bourbon, smoking salmon with pepper, and infusing duck sausage alongside cranberry. We’ve seen the syrup in fudge, cookies, crackers, relish and (in a nod to the pumpkin trend) spiced pumpkin dip. This versatile syrup gets around, but its closest companion is, without a doubt, bacon. The duo shows up in a salted caramel, whipped mustard and even—to top it all off—in a bottle of ale.

Underdog Ingredients 
A bevy of less-than-popular, or at least, uncommon, ingredients seem to be getting a second chance, maybe thanks to the advent of locavorism and the restaurant industry’s affair with farm-to-table dining. Among them are beets—pickled, sweetened with cranberries, spiced with ginger; fennel—in tapenade, pasta sauce, shortbread and even teaming up with beets in a pickling mix; and horseradish—in seasonings, pickled, spicing up a cheese spread and infusing condiments galore. So if you’ve scorned these unique ingredients in the past, go on—give them another try.

Seeds Sprout Up
Taking center stage in new cracker varieties are seeds, including sunflower, caraway, poppy and more. But seeds are getting more attention in other categories too. In the Dessert or Dessert Topping category, seasoned pumpkin seeds offer a slightly savory option, caraway seeds are paired with paprika in a shortbread, and sesame seeds invade a caramel sauce, delivering a rich complexity. Sesame seeds surge in dressings, too, from ginger sesame miso sauce to black sesame vinaigrette, and even in the cookie category, showing up in sesame-almond biscotti-style biscuits and rosemary-sesame shortbread.

Lavender Bender
This floral infusion isn’t just for potpourri. Lavender is showing up in a wide array of products. It appears in a line of floral-infused vinegars and grabs the spotlight in an olive oil encased in a pale purple tin. The fragrant flower pairs up with fruits, like blueberry and pear, in jams and preserves. Lavender is even offering subtle notes to cheeses, such as ale-infused cow’s milk cheese.

For more information contact Bonita.Oehlke@state.ma.us

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Four from MDAR Recognized for Outstanding Performance

image of Award Photo A   Image of Award Photo B

Joao Tavares, Rick LeBlanc, Ngoc-Nu Nguyen, Howie Vinton with Commissioner Watson

The Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance is given to Executive Branch and Higher Education employees of the Commonwealth who have demonstrated exemplary work performance. Giving recognition for outstanding performance is an opportunity for the Commonwealth to say thank you to its employees.

Rick LeBlanc embodies the ‘teamwork’ approach in all his work responsibilities – whether with his colleagues or with the agricultural community at large. Rick has worked for the Department for over 16 years in the Division of Agricultural Markets as a marketing specialist focusing on consumer/ industry outreach, direct marketing initiatives, agritourism, social network media, and more. Project examples and inititatives include the bi-monthly Farm and Market Report , the MassGrown & Fresher website, consumer e-blasts, and Twitter. A recent campaign Rick worked on has been the “Riding the Rails” Campaign to promote local agriculture in the Commonwealth on the Boston area commuter rail.

Ngoc-Nu Nguyen is key member of State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board’s fiscal and payroll team in MDAR. Nu started as a contract employee in January 2004 and was quickly promoted to a permanent position in July of that same year in recognition of her excellent performance and work ethic. After eight years, Nu continues to do a great job by responsibly servicing the (9) regional mosquito districts that consist of over 100 employees statewide and $11M in annual funds. Nu’s flair for attention to detail is complimented by her ability to look for solutions and by understanding the bigger picture. Nu adds to the good morale in the office!

Joao Tavares’s skills and technical knowledge have helped maximize the Department’s use of technology to deliver services to constituents with ease. Among his most recent accomplishments are the development and implementation of the Commonwealth Quality website, the redesign of the Farm Energy Discount website and the creation of online quizzes to allow the provision of state approved trainings to composters and poultry processors. Rarely seen without a technical book under his arm, he manages to couple his technical skills with a sense of humor and enjoys positive working relationships with staff both within MDAR and with other agencies. The quality of work that Joao delivers is of the very highest level and he has met and exceeded all expected performance goals for his position.

Howard (“Howie”’) Vinton has worked for the Department for 17 years and like most of the Plant Industries staff wears multiple hats. Howie is the chief animal feed official for the state, but also has several other duties including co-managing the Massachusetts Building Manager at the Big E. In addition he assists the Nursery Inspection program, is a certified Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) inspector, conducts Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) and invasive species inspections. Howie is also a representative to MEMA and has spent long hours in the bunker. Howie is always willing to lend a hand with any projects that arise as evidenced by all the roles that he currently fills. And what a great laugh he has!

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Upcoming Events


2nd Annual South Shore Celebration - Vendors Invited

The 2nd Annual South Shore Celebration is a local food and sustainable living event organized by Sustainable South Shore, edible South Shore Magazine, and GoGreen Web Directory. Join hundreds of locally minded connoisseurs at the Marshfield Fair Grounds on Saturday, October 6 for a day full of family friendly activities, delicious locally prepared food, gifts, entertainment and much more! View a complete event schedule here www.southshorecelebration.com.

Interested farms, food vendors and non-food vendors can apply online or contact Paula Keif at paula@gogreenwebdirectory.com, or 617-359-3587

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Worcester County Conservation District Meeting

The Worcester County Conservation District will hold its Local Working Group's 2012 Assessment of Natural Resources Concerns, Annual Meeting and Election of Supervisors at 4:00pm on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at Tower Hill Botanical Gardens, Meeting Room B, 11 French Drive, Boylston, MA. Please email Lisa.trotto@ma.usda.gov or call 508-829-0168, ext. 5 to make your reservation.

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2013 UMass Winter School for Turf Managers - Now Accepting Applications

The perennial goal of the UMass Winter School for Turf Managers is to furnish turf managers with the concepts essential to the maintenance of high quality turf, while instilling a sense of environmental stewardship and fiscal responsibility. This highly acclaimed certificate program runs for seven weeks, beginning January 2, 2013 and concluding on February 15.

Winter School is especially suited for those who desire to take their career in turf management to the next level, but are unable to schedule a two or four-year degree program. Some Winter School students have several years of experience in the turf industry and simply want to sharpen their skills. At the same time, the course is appropriate for folks just getting started, and those who are seeking a career change.

Winter School provides 32 hours of intensive, expert instruction each week for 7 weeks, covering general turf management, pest management (insects, diseases, and weeds), turf physiology, personnel management, irrigation, and much more.

Please note: The application deadline for international students is September 21, 2012 to allow sufficient time for visa processing.

For complete information on the program and application materials, refer to: http://extension.umass.edu/turf/education/turf-winter-school

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Introduction to Recirculating Aquaculture System Design

Saturday, August 18, UMass Amherst - Agricultural Engineering Building, 9:00am to 3:00pm
Limited to 15 participants - Pre-registration required, registration fee: $30

Fish growth in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) is based on creating a consistent culture environment. However, when fish are fed in closed systems, a cascade of events occurs, including increased oxygen consumption and the production of ammonia, solids, and carbon dioxide which disrupt the critical equilibrium of the systems. Successful RAS design must account for these events and utilize technologies to maintain system equilibrium and create a non-fluctuating culture environment. The workshop will introduce participants to the process and mathematics involved in designing a RAS to desired levels of fish production. The workshop will consist of three modules, each with its own lecture, practical, and discussion sessions:

The workshop will be presented by Dr. James Webb, Research Fellow at UMass Amherst whose work focuses on aquaculture sustainability. Over the past ten years his research has spanned four continents, multiple species, and a variety of culture systems. Dr. Webb’s current research includes (i) designing renewable energy-powered integrated aquaculture systems in Uganda, (ii) evaluating the potential in integrating green building and aquaculture design in New England, and (iii) developing the instrumentation and methodologies to quantify the sustainability of commercial aquaculture production.

Send check for $30 (endorsed to University of Massachusetts) to: Craig Hollingsworth, 201 Agricultural Engineering Building, UMass Amherst, MA.

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UMass Sustainable Vegetable Production Course

October 31 - December 12; meets twice/week, 9 am to 3:30 pm daily. Holiday Inn, 265 Lakeside Ave., Marlboro.

To assist new vegetable farmers, UMass Extension is conducting a Sustainable Vegetable Production course. This course is designed for beginning farmers wishing to gain an understanding of horticultural fundamentals and strategies and their relation to environmental quality. Attendees will learn about sustainable approaches to commercial vegetable production, making environmentally appropriate decisions related to plant selection, plant maintenance, and pest and nutrient management. Topics are based on current research and information emphasizing environmental stewardship, Best Management Practices (BMPs) and integrated pest management (IPM). Participants will develop an understanding of how proper management practices impact natural resources such as soil and water. This program focuses on the management of vegetable rotations as a whole, and is intended for first-time farmers.

This 60 hour course is a comprehensive certificate short course taught by UMass Extension Specialists and University of Mass faculty. Cost: $675, includes all materials. Classes run 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM daily. Register early, as space is limited. Registration deadline: October 24, 2012.

Certificate: Certificate is optional. For those wanting a certificate it will be awarded upon achieving a passing score based on an average of daily quizzes. It is not necessary to take the daily quizzes if receiving the certificate is not desired.

For more information, contact UMass Extension at (413) 545-0895 or eweeks@umext.umass.edu or Dr. Frank Mangan fmangan@umext.umass.edu.

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Permaculture for Ecological & Social Transformation

September - December 2012

Permaculture offers skills, tools, solutions and strategies for healing social and ecological systems. It is a vision, design system, and global movement that draws on patterns and principles found in nature to meet human needs, while regenerating the natural world.

This course is structured in twelve weekend day sessions with some evening sessions, allowing full-time workers, students and people with families more flexibility to participate.

Topics include:
urban homesteading • forest gardening • water harvesting • soil regeneration • creative waste cycling • micro-livestock • energy and building systems • social justice • food systems planning • cooperative economics • design for climate change • community building • health & well-being • aquaculture • design projects, methods, and tools

Learn more and register at www.PermacultureFEAST.org.

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2012 MA Harvest for Students Week is September 17 through 21

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 info@massfarmtoschool.org. For central and western Mass. please call 413-253-3844 and in eastern Mass. we can be reached at 617-239-2574.

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In Every Issue


Classified Ads

  • For Sale: Calhoun Forage Wagon: Good condition. Stored under cover for 20 years. Tires flat. $500. Todd Miles, Millbury, 508-688-4657.
  • Ward’s Berry Farm, a family-owned and operated 150-acre fruit and vegetable farm in Sharon, MA is seeking four seasonal employees as Hayride Tour Guides & Farmers Market Associates. 2-4 days per week (Monday-Friday) from August through early Nov., with varying 8-12 hour shifts starting at 7 AM. There is a possibility for continued post-season employment for those who excel here. Previous farm experience preferred but not required; reliability is a must. If interested and excited, stop by our store (614 S Main St., Sharon, MA) to pick up an application or visit our employment page at http://wardsberryfarm.com/EMPLOYMENT.html. Please include the answer to the following question: "Why would you be a good addition to the staff at Ward’s Berry Farm?" Thank you! We look forward to hearing from you.
  • Looking for implements for an Allis Chalmers G tractor. My number is 978-692-1680, and the email address is noel_almeida@hotmail.com.
  • Stearns Farm Manager Position Open - Looking for full-time, year-round position that reports directly to the Board of Directors. The Farm manager’s primary responsibility is crop production and the distribution of produce through pre-sold CSA shares. Some specific expectations of Farm Manager include: Develop crop plan, Intensively farm the site to maximize production while preserving and enhancing the soil, using organic farming practices in every aspect of organic production and distribution, including but not limited, to: greenhouse work, bed preparation, seeding and transplanting, weed control, etc. Our Farm manager is an entrepreneurial individual who can successfully shape this community farming operation and work with the board of directors to achieve financial stability, develop educational programming ,honor the history of Stearns and plan for the future. Questions to Lisa Kamer, Lisakamer@rcn.com.
  • Position Announcements: Equine Program - Equine Center - Hadley Farm. The Stockbridge School of Agriculture,University of MA Amherst is seeking applicants for the following positions
    • Extension Assistant/Associate Professor PhD DVM, The Center for Agriculture and the Stockbridge School of Agriculture
    • Extension Assistant Professor, MANAGED LANDSCAPES, Stockbridge School of Agriculture
    • Extension Educator, GREEN INDUSTRIES SUSTAINABILITY SPECIALIST/ REGIONAL UNIVERSITY REPRESENTATIVE, The Center for Agriculture

How to Place a Classified Ad

Classified ads are accepted free-of charge on a first-come basis. Be sure to include a phone number. No display ads will be accepted. Only one ad per business/individual per issue, unless space permits. Ads may run in consecutive issues, space permitting. Ads must be of interest to Massachusetts farmers. The Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) reserves the right to refuse any listing it deems inappropriate for publication. E-mail, fax or mail ads to: Farm & Market Report, MDAR, 251 Causeway Street, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02114, fax: 617-626-1850, Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us.

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Calendar

August
10 -12NOFA 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
2028th Annual Massachusetts Tomato Contest, Boston’s City Hall Plaza Farmers’ Market. Tomatoes will be judged by a panel of experts on flavor, firmness/slicing quality, exterior color and shape. Always a lively and fun event, the day is designed to increase awareness of locally grown produce. The event is sponsored by the MDAR, New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Assoc. and Mass Farmers Markets. This friendly contest is designed to increase consumer awareness of local agriculture. All commercial growers are encouraged to participate. Details here.
23Weed Identification Workshop - Grassy Weeds: an in-depth look - French Hall, UMass Amherst, 9am - 3pm. Correct weed identification is an important first step in the development of an effective weed management program. Using a classroom presentation, potted weed herbarium and weed walk, Ext. Specialist Randy Prostak will help participants enhance their weed identification skills. Feel free to bring a weed or two to identify. Cost $95/person (pre-registration required, as space is limited). 5 pesticide credits available. For a registration form, go to www.umassgreeninfo.org/.
September
15MA Christmas Tree Association Annual Meeting, Radebaugh Tree Farm, Belchertown, MA. Members and non-members welcomed. Tour of farm by Dave Radebaugh and pesticide credit(s) planned. www.christmas-trees.org/calendar.htm. Questions, contact Julie Gauld, bandjevergreen@gmail.com.
20Massachusetts Day at the Big E, W. Springfield. Questions, contact Rose Arruda, Rose.Arruda@state.ma.us.
23NEBC Poultry and Small Animal Swap & Sell. 9-noon. The Fairgrounds at Lancaster, Rt. 117. Everyone is welcome to buy or sell standard chickens, bantams, ducks, geese, pigeons, rabbits, and other stuff they raise, plus hatching eggs, cages, supplies, whatever. No advance registration required but all chickens and pheasants, guineas, etc. must be pullorum tested or young birds from Pullorum tested flocks. $5 to set up for NEBC members, $8 for non-members.For more info., contact H Heusmann at 508-529-4007 or h.heusmann@state.ma.us.

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.

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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, Gregory C. Watson, Commissioner

Boston Office:
251 Causeway St., Suite 500,
Boston, MA 02114
617-626-1700, Fax: 617-626-1850
Amherst Satellite Office:
101 University Drive, Suite C4
Amherst, MA 01002
413-548-1900, Fax: 413-548-1901

Division Directors

Next issue to be published for October / November. Please send news, calendar and/or classified information by September 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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