Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, Pamzpix
Next Tuesday, August 4th at 3:00 p.m. Eastern the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is hosting Opportunities for Conservation in Organic Livestock Systems, a free webinar to highlight organic livestock systems and their conservation benefits.
USDA staff will begin the webinar by describing organic management practices and regulations relevant to livestock, focusing on pasture and outdoor access, feed management, and pasture management. Next they’ll highlight conservation practices that can work well with organic livestock systems, such as rotational grazing, fencing, and pasture management.
During the webinar, New Hampshire farmer Steve Normanton will talk about his grass-fed beef farm and how he put NRCS conservation practices into action.
Pre-registration for the webinar is not required. Click here for more information and instructions on how to join.
Photo © Patty O’Brien / www.summercrowphotos.com
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is now conducting a national survey of organic farmers. OFRF will contact more than 13,000 certified organic farmers via email or postcard asking for their participation. (Or you can access the survey here.)
The survey is confidential and will ask organic farmers to list data such as their farm size, production methods, and — most importantly — information about organic farming opportunities and challenges. Results from the survey will identify critical issues for organic farmers, and will inform OFRF’s National Organic Research Agenda, which recommends research priorities for the USDA and other policymakers.
For more information, contact OFRF at (831) 426-6606 or visit their website.
This farmer’s conservation plan includes tire tank watering facilities in each of his pastures. Photo: USDA Flickr Creative Commons
Join the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Oklahoma for a Saturday afternoon and evening workshop that will cover ranch watering systems and stream and pond conservation. Specifically, the workshop will address riparian area management, stabilized stream crossings, and livestock watering systems such as: gravity flow from ponds, tractor-tire watering tanks and portable watering systems.
The workshop runs from 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm on July 11th and costs $15 (includes sandwiches and drinks). The registration deadline is July 7th. Click here for more information and to register for this workshop.
Photo: © Patty O’Brien www.summercrowphotos.com
Join the Kansas Rural Center (KRC) for a “Women in Farming” workshop series. The series consists of four workshops that will explore the opportunities and challenges that women farmers face.
- Workshop One: Saturday, March 14th, in Lawrence, Kansas. This workshop will focus on specialty crop production in the morning and will conclude with a tour of the women-owned Red Tractor Farm. The morning session will include topics such as food safety, crop insurance, and whole farm revenue insurance, and will feature representatives from the Douglas County Extension, Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Douglas County Conservation District (DCCD), and Kansas Farm-to-School Program (KSDE). The workshop costs $15, and includes a catered lunch, snacks and materials. Click here for registration and details. **NOTE: Please eregister by Wednesday, March 11th.
- Workshop Two: Saturday, March 28th, in Bird City, Kansas. This workshop will continue with the topic of specialty crops. The morning session will include discussion of high tunnels, season extension, food safety, organic certification, pest management, cooperative marketing, and specialty crop insurance. The afternoon includes a farm tour of Y-Knot Farm and Ranch’s 960 acres of certified organic wheat, forage, and pasture.
- Workshop Three: Saturday, May 9th, in Linn, Kansas. The morning session of this workshop will focus on business, financial, and legal risk management. Speakers include representatives from Kansas State University who will cover financial and business planning, land price trends, leasing and tenant issues. The afternoon farm tour will take place at Lucinda Stuenkel’s farm near Palmer, Kansas, where participants will learn about conservation practices like cover crops and no-till, and cattle management specifically for women.
- Workshop Four: Saturday July 11th, in Emporia, Kansas. The final workshop in this series will focus on soil health, cover crops and integrated crop and livestock farming. The afternoon farm tour will take place at Gail Fuller’s farm.
Registration and more information about the last three workshops will be made available soon. Check KRC‘s website for details, and contact Joanna Voigt at (866) 579-5469, firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Photo: © Patty O’Brien / www.summercrowphotos.com
The 5th Annual Vermont Organic Dairy Producers Conference is coming up on March 11th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The conference is sponsored by the University of Vermont Extension’s Northwest Crops & Soils Program and NOFA Vermont’s Organic Dairy and Livestock Technical Assistance Program.
Keynote speakers include Dr. Roger Moon, a veterinary entomologist at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Guy Jodarski, a staff veterinarian for Organic Valley, CROPP Cooperative. Dr. Moon will talk about pests and organic dairy, and Dr. Jodarski will cover innovative ways to deal with livestock health, nutrition, and management challenges.
Sessions include farmer-to-farmer panels that feature certified organic farmers telling stories of their challenges and successes.
Registration closes Wednesday, March 4th. Visit UVM Extension for more information and to register.
If you’re curious about making the transition to organic production, tune into the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s upcoming webinar. This webinar will cover different types of NRCS support that producers can utilize for the transition. Specifically, how producers can use a Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) 138 to help identify conservation practices that are a good match for their operation.
The webinar is scheduled for Feb 18th at 3:00pm EST. For more information and to join the webinar, visit the USDA’s Science & Technology Training Library.
The USDA is inventorying organic producers, certified and not, across the U.S. This information will help the agency track organic agriculture’s economic impact as well as trends and opportunities for organic products. The 2012 Census of Agriculture showed substantial growth in the organic market—an increase of 83 percent since 2007.
Approximately 17,000 organic producers received the census in early January. Organic farmers are required by law to respond. Survey responses are due by mail by on February 13th or online by April 3rd.
Data collected from the survey will help boost organic producers’ needs. Results will help the government assess crop insurance programs for organic producers, determine funding and extension support for organics, and calculate disaster payments for producers.
Read more about the USDA’s organic producer survey and learn about the history and consequences of the survey from the National Sustainable Agriculture’s blog post.
It’s conference season! PASA is taking part with their 24th Annual Farming for the Future Conference from February 4 – 7 in State College, PA.
The conference will feature over 100 workshops over the weekend to educate attendees with courses ranging from Vegetable Farm Irrigation to The Deeper Wisdom of the Biodynamic Preparations. The conference also presents the Future Farmers Program for children from kindergarten to eighth grade.
For more information and to register visit: http://conference.pasafarming.org/