Advance registration ends Feb. 8 along with the discount rates for admission--don't miss this chance to be part of the great organic get-together Feb. 22-24 in La Crosse. Plug into the latest organic practices and tools, and recharge for the 2018 growing season! Pack your plaid and your dancing shoes: the Friday night dance features Boiled In Lead, a Twin Cities favorite punk-folk band. See all the conference details here. On-site admission will be available.The lineup for the pre-conference Organic University is outstanding this year, with 11 all-day courses. Save $40 when you register by Feb. 8.
Jim Munsch, John Hendrickson
Growing & Marketing Small Organic GrainsThor Oechsner, Harold Wilken, John Wepking
Francis Thicke, Guy Jodarski
John Mesko, Bob Yanda, Kellee James, Dave Bishop, Ross Duffield, Danielle Kusner, Matt Leavitt
Thanks to our Blazing Star Conference Sponsors:
|and catchy, compelling them to open the email.|
Missouri Farmers: Bus to MOSES
EarthDance Organic Farm School has chartered a bus to take Missouri specialty crop growers to the MOSES Conference. The bus leaves Ferguson in the morning on Wednesday, Feb. 21, stopping at a couple of innovative organic farms along the way. The bus returns to Missouri on Sunday, Feb. 25. The bus ride, funded through a specialty crop block grant, is free for farmers from the area. The grant also provides some scholarship funds. See details and sign up here.
Regeneration Conversation at MOSES 2018
A group of Midwest organizations will host a public meeting at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference Friday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. in Room F to discuss how communities can come together to build strong local and regional food systems that support independent farmers and revitalize local economies. The focus will be on a regenerative agriculture model that promotes public health, a clean environment, social and economic justice--and fights climate change. The meeting is sponsored by Regeneration International, RegeNErate Nebraska, MOSA, Main Street Project, and Organic Consumers Association. A cash bar will be available.
Just prior to this meeting at 6:30 p.m. in Room F, leaders from the Organic Farmers Association will provide an update on the group's agenda and progress over the past year. Both meetings are open to everyone at the conference.
For a non-intimidating overview of food safety for vegetable farmers, visit MOSES' new Food Safety webpage.
You'll find information on food safety in general, as well as specifics about Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audits and the new FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. If you're intimidated by food safety -- don't be. There are lots of resources available, and many knowledgeable people standing by to help you improve your vegetable handling practices.
Beginning Farmer Training
|MOSES partners with Renewing the Countryside and Land Stewardship Project to offer a weekend training for beginning farmers April 27-29 in Wisconsin Dells. The event includes 90-minute workshops on topics such as holistic farm management, organic certification, farm law, land access, and more. There's also a panel presentation featuring experienced farmers explaining what worked well and didn't work in their early years, plus activities and time for networking and connecting with local service providers. Cost for the training, lodging, and meals is just $125, with a $25 discount for farm partners. See newfarmeru.org.|
|Two of the authors of Fearless Farm Finances, Dr. Craig Chase, Iowa State University, and Paul Dietmann, Compeer Financial, will teach an all-day workshop on basic farm financial management April 27, 2018, just prior to New Farmer U in Wisconsin Dells. The workshop is $50 and includes lunch and a copy of Fearless Farm Finances. |
|MOSES offer a workshop to help produce growers develop a food safety plan for their farm. The all-day workshop takes place Friday, April 27, 2018, just prior to New Farmer U in Wisconsin Dells. The workshop is $50 and includes lunch and a binder with food safety recommendations and room for storing the farm's food safety plan. Cost to attend is $50.|
Conservation Stewardship Program
Producers have until March 2 to submit an application for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for 2018. The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) will enroll an additional 10 million acres of cropland, pastureland, rangeland, and forestland in CSP for the 2018 signup period. Although applications are accepted year-round, those submitted after March 2, 2018, will not be considered for funding in 2018. Applying is easy--just contact your local NRCS office
. To learn more about CSP, check out NSAC's handy "Farmers Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program."
Organic Pesticide Safety Survey
The University of Minnesota Extension Pesticide Safety and Environmental Education
team is working to develop more resources for organic growers about the use of organic and homemade pest management products. They aim to address safety, technical education, effectiveness of different products, and integrated pest management. To help them gain an understanding of current practices, questions that farmers have, and how to share information and resources most effectively, they are asking farmers to take this 5-minute online survey
Farmers Market Legal Toolkit
Are you a farmers market vendor? Thinking about becoming one? Any producer who sells at a farmers market should be aware of the Center for Agriculture & Food Systems' Farmers Market Legal Toolkit website
. For everything from implementing SNAP and EBT at your stand to managing food safety risks to choosing a business structure for your farm, this website has the resources you need to keep your farm on the right side of the law.
Labor is often the biggest conundrum for farmers. The seasonal and often part-time labor needs of farms make it challenging for farmers to hire and retain a good labor force. What if your farm could collaborate with other farms to hire labor? Farm Commons
has put together a resource addressing just that question: Coordinating Farm Labor Across Farms: A Toolbox for Diversified Farmers and Farmworkers
. Now available on the Farm Commons website as a free download!
Cover Crops, Soil Health Webinars
Calling all soil health and cover crop nerds! Michael Fields Agriculture Institute
is in the midst of a Wisconsin Cover Crops and Soil Health Research Webinar Series
. Highlighting the latest Wisconsin research on cover crops and soil health, these webinars take place every Wednesday at noon for the next three weeks. Participants can even earn CEU credits.
Newsletter for Commodity Farmers
Mercaris, a data service and trading platform, has a new bi-weekly Organic Grains Report to help farmers keep abreast of market trends and commodity prices. Sign up for the free e-publication at the bottom of the Mercaris website homepage.
Clif Bar & Company and the National Young Farmers Coalition are raising awareness of America's young farmer shortage and supporting federal legislation that would relieve young farmer student debt burden, helping a new generation choose agriculture as a profession. Clif Bar spotlights farmers through "Farmers Speak," a video series posted online here.
Last year, The Xerxes Society introduced "Bee Better Certification,"
a third-party verified label ensuring customers that their food was grown with pollinator-friendly practices. Oregon Tilth provides the verification. Recently, Sran Family Orchards
became the first farm to be Bee Better Certified. Based in the heart of California's San Joaquin Valley, the Sran family have a long-held commitment to sustainable farming, and supporting the bees that are central to the success of their harvest.
Food entrepreneurs in the Twin Cities Metro Area will soon have access to a new office space in Minneapolis' Northeast Food District
--Minnesota's first "food cluster." Midwest Pantry
is accepting applications for co-working spaces, which include resources like private offices, semi-private desk spaces, conference rooms, and event spaces. Adjacent warehouse spaces will be available later in 2018.
Wisconsin organic farmer Tony Ends is in Guinea as a Peace Corps Response volunteer working on a pilot project with seven market gardens and their schools to increase local production. He is working on a proposal for a $450,000 grant from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to expand the work to three West African countries. Seeds, appropriate varieties, seed-saving, seed development and value-chain establishment are the comprehensive project's focus. He is looking for commercial partners as well as paid staff to write into the grant. If interested, email [log in to unmask]
The MOSES website has many new job posts, classified ads, land listings, and events to help you grow. Check out these resources:
Farm internships + help wanted
Buy, sell, rent farmland.
Find equipment, crops, livestock, more.