Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Putting Small Acreage to Work Was a Huge Success!

Last Saturday's conference had 108 people pre-registered and attendees were given the option of choosing between 11 diferent topics that include: raising sheep for food & fiber, weed control for small acreage, field grown cut flower production, heirloom vegetable production, selling to restaurants, food preservation, pastured poultry & mobile processing units, rice production in the piedmont, building & managing a grade B goat diary, & marketing grass roots style. A local foods luncheon was provided with food supplied by the following farms: Ashe County Cheese, Barbee Farms, Ladybug Farms & Bakery, Cheval Farmstead Dairy, Clearview Farms, Coldwater Creek Farms, Davis & Son Orchard, Gilcrest Natural Farm, Lewis Farm, Lineberger's Maple Springs Farm, and Yum Yum Farms.

As promised we will be placing many of the presentations/resources from the conference for those that wanted access to them within the next few days.

Resources/presentations from conference:

Marketing Grass Roots Style:http://www.scribd.com/doc/80926994/Marketing-Grass-Roots-Style

Pastured Poultry & Mobile Processing Units:http://www.scribd.com/doc/80926866/Pasture-Poultry-Mobile-Processing-Units

Marketing to Restaurants & Institutions: http://www.scribd.com/doc/80927122/Restaurant-and-Institution-Sales

Raising Sheep for Food & Fiber: http://www.scribd.com/doc/80928716/Sheep-Breeds


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kudzu Kollege Workshop - “The How-to on Kudzu Removal”

February 4, 2012
Kudzu Kollege Workshop
"The How-to on Kudzu Removal"
9 AM – 12 PM
Citizens Resource Center
1303 Dallas-Cherryville Hwy., Dallas, NC 28034

Kudzu, sometimes known as "the vine that ate the South", is one of our most legendary invasive species. It thrives in areas experiencing mild winters and humid summers. Kudzu scrambles over the ground killing native plants and trees, prevents productive use of land, presents a fire hazard for trees and can damage power lines and buildings. Kudzu vines can grow up to 1 ft. per day, and, in the 6 month frostless period in the Southeast, one root can send out 30 vines and each vine can reach 100 feet in length. Some sources estimate the kudzu infestation in the United States involves up to 7,000,000 acres!

The purpose of this workshop is to teach participants how to remove this severely invasive species without the use of herbicides. The Kudzu Coalition of Spartanburg, SC will conduct the workshop. The organization began in 2004 and became a 501(c) 3 non-profit in 2005. They specialize in evaluating methods of eradicating kudzu without chemical treatment. For information about the organization go to their website at: http://kokudzu.com/default.aspx

The workshop will include presentations on the history of kudzu, the Kudzu Coalition, kudzu identification and kudzu removal techniques. Following the classroom presentation, and weather permitting, participants will get the opportunity to apply the techniques they’ve learned to a kudzu patch here in Dallas Park.

Who Should Attend?
• Land owners
• Master Gardeners
• Groups interested in performing community service
• Scout troops
• Friends of Crowders Mountain
• Land Conservancy personnel
• Landscapers
• Anyone interested in becoming a "kudzu killer"

Please dress appropriately for the outdoor portion of the workshop. You will get dirty. Wear boots or work shoes and bring work gloves. You are welcome to bring folding saws and picks if you own them. We will have some tools at the workshop. We will also provide bottled water.

There is no cost to attend the workshop, but pre-registration is required. Please call (704) 922-2112 or 922-2119 by February 2nd to register.

For accommodations for persons with disabilities, contact Jim Burke, (704) 922-2119 no later than 5 business days before event.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

N.C. MarketReady Announces 2012 Equipment Funding Cycle for Agricultural Operations

The North Carolina Value-Added Cost Share (NCVACS) program, administered by N.C. MarketReady, is now accepting applications for the 2012 equipment cost share funding cycle. The program, funded by the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, provides up to $50,000 to agricultural producers and processors seeking to purchase specialized equipment to start or grow a value-added operation.

A value-added agricultural product is a raw, agricultural commodity that has been changed in some manner so that it no longer can be returned to its original state. This change results in increased market value, allowing the producer to receive a higher price for these value-added products compared to the original commodity. Cheese (from milk), wine (from grapes) and bread (from grains) are a few examples.

The NCVACS program works hand-in-hand with the USDA Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) by reducing the costs of equipment purchases that are not funded by the USDA grant. The 2012 cost share cycle allows value-added producers and processors to apply for funding to purchase new or used equipment. Equipment cost share awards will vary from 25 to 50 percent of the total cost of the equipment, up to a maximum of $50,000.

"The NCVACS program supports the development of North Carolina value-added agricultural operations," said Brittany Whitmire, program coordinator for NCVACS. "NCVACS is one of the few cost share funding sources for equipment, and we’ve seen many recipients grow their businesses and become more successful after being awarded the funds." (Award Recipient Bios)
Continuing from the 2011 funding cycle, the program’s expanded guidelines for value-added products include non-standard production methods (such as organic), physical product segregation – keeping genetically modified (GM) corn separate from non-GM corn, farm-based renewable energy and some locally produced food products.

Examples of equipment previously funded include an aging cooler for meats, pasteurizing machinery for goat milk, a seasoning applicator for roasted soybeans and fermentation tanks for producing wines.

Applications for the NCVACS 2012 equipment cost share are available online at http://plantsforhumanhealth.ncsu.edu/extension/cost-share. Applications are due by March 1, 2012. Guidelines and a list of frequently asked questions can be found on the website.
NCVACS is coordinated by N.C. MarketReady, the Cooperative Extension outreach of the N.C. State University Plants for Human Health Institute, located at the N.C. Research Campus. Funded by the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, the cost share program was launched in 2009 and will have provided nearly $1 million in direct cost share assistance to value-added producers and processors throughout North Carolina by the end of 2012. Learn more at http://plantsforhumanhealth.ncsu.edu.

Foothills Pilot Plant is Open for Business!

Foothills Pilot Plant, the first community-administered, non-profit meat processing facility in the US, is open for fully-inspected poultry and rabbit processing as of January 15, 2012. A collaborative effort of state & local governments, small-scale meat animal producers, and grant-making agencies, this facility is operated under joint USDA/FDA authority to provide regional growers with the opportunity to market their meat products to a broader consumer base. Products processed at this facility can be transported and sold across state lines. Foothills Pilot Plant is the only USDA-inspected facility serving independent poultry growers in the Southern Appalachian region.

Additionally, the plant is working to become certified “Animal Welfare Approved,” demonstrating a commitment to low-stress, humane handling of the food animals in their care. Project leaders have spent five years bringing this resource to the community; plant oversight is provided by the McDowell County Economic Development Association (MEDA) and an Advisory Board comprised of professionals with related expertise.

Chickens, turkeys, rabbits, and other specialty fowl are processed on a fee-for-service basis into retail-ready, custom-labeled packages according to the clients’ needs. The facility is operated as a processing service to independent growers in the region and does not take possession of animals or meat products.

In addition to its processing services, Foothills Pilot Plant will work with the producers it serves to develop best practices for small-scale meat animal production and share this information with the community. This facility is an integral step in building resilient, sustainable local food systems. Please contact Dr. Paljinder Manhiani, Plant Manager, with questions or to schedule your processing at 828-803-2717 or by email at foothillspilotplant@gmail.com. Pricing information is available at our website, www.foothillspilotplant.com.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Putting Small Acreage to Work - Registration Deadline is Jan. 23

Date: January 28, 2012
Time: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Location: Gaston Citizens Resource Center, Dallas, NC

You will be able to explore alternative enterprises by speaking with successful producers, university personnel, and experts in the field who are already growing, producing, and researching various crops, livestock and field techniques to enhance production. They can give you the practical, no-nonsense advice you will need when considering business planning, crop & livestock production, market development, etc. Topics to be discussed include: raising sheep for food & fiber, weed control for small acreage, field grown cut flower production, heirloom vegetable production, selling to restaurants, food preservation, pastured poultry & mobile processing units, rice production in the piedmont, building & managing a grade B goat diary, & marketing grass roots style.

Class sessions will start promptly after registration. The program will include three breakout sessions. Three to four topics will be discussed concurrently during each of these breakout sessions.

For additional information on this conference, contact Gaston County Cooperative Extension at 704.922.2112.

Small Flock Poultry Workshop

Date: January 19, 2012
Time: 9:30 am-3:30 pm
Location: Harnett County Cooperative Extension office in Lillington, NC

9:30 am - Registration

10:15 am - Forage Species, Management - Dan Campeau, NCSU

11:00 am - Alternative Poultry Species - Jeannette Beranger, American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
Noon - Lunch
1:00 pm - Multi-species Farming Systems - Steve Moize, Farmer & Poultry Producer

1:45 pm - Egg Rules, Private Labeling - Richard Hoyle, NCDA

2:15 pm - Processing Concerns, Inspection Process, Expected Yields - Abdul Chaudhry, Chaudhry Halal Processing

2:45 pm - Center for Environmental Farming Systems Ongoing Research - Lisa Forehand, NCSU

3:00 pm - Questions and Answers3:30 pmAdjourn

Registration details for this workshop are on the Growing Small Farms website calendar at http://bit.ly/19Y7lt

If you have questions about this workshop please contact Poultry Agent Dan Campeau at 919-548-9895 or dan_campeau@ncsu.edu.