[Market-farming] Help available for new farm ventures
kancell at goodearthgardens.com
Sun Dec 1 08:32:36 EST 2002
Help available for new farm ventures
Goal is to link local food producers with consumers
By Mike Surbrugg
Globe Staff Writer
MOUNT VERNON, Mo. - Sustainable agriculture means something different to a
lot of people trying to make a living on a farm.
To help these people, the University of Missouri has established Community
Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture (CFSSA). Anastasia Becker is the
extension coordinator for the program in Southwest Missouri. She works at
the university's Southwest Center at Mount Vernon.
Center Superintendent Richard Crawford said program goals are to support
family farming by promoting economic, environmental, and socially
sustainable practices, and encourage local consumption of locally produced
foods by better linking the producer and the consumer.
A meeting to talk about direct marketing meat from farms is to start at 6:30
p.m., Thursday at the Southwest Center. Details: (417) 466-4225.
Sustainable agriculture does not mean organic food. However, organic food is
a big part of such enterprises, Becker said.
She said many of the questions she gets are about organic production and
where buyers can find organic produce.
Many growers sell organic food at local farmers' markets. Most demand is
near cities such as Columbia, she said. In these locations, demand from
consumers willing to pay a higher price for organic produce exceeds
supplies, she said.
State grants are available to help producers test ideas to make farms more
The Missouri Department of Agriculture provides help through the
AgriMissouri Matching Fund Grant program. Its goal is to increase consumer
awareness and sales of products grown, raised or made in Missouri. It funds
50 percent, or up to $2,500, for marketing projects.
Other help comes from Harvest Connection, headquartered at Warrensburg. Its
goal is to link restaurant chefs with local farmers who raise fresh fruit,
vegetables, cheese and other items. The goal is for chefs to tell growers
what they need and for growers to tell chefs which crops are available at
what times of the year.
The link is to be with local restaurants who have a clientele that will
appreciate fresh produce, said Teresa Hoy, Harvest connection coordinator.
She is at her office Monday, Wednesday and Friday at (877) 684-0669.
In addition to meetings, events such as the National Small Farm Trade Show
and Conference is held in Columbia.
Several Southwest Missouri residents talked at the recent session held Oct.
At that conference:
. Crawford talked about the center's seasonal grazing dairy that is used to
demonstrate how dairy producers can lower costs by using more forages and
less purchased feed.
. John McArthur, Lockwood, talked about his success irrigating improved crab
grass for summer grazing.
. Rick Hopkins, Marionville, talked about sustainable beef production and
how he markets veal and other products.
. Larry Willis, Washburn, talked about his hydrophonic greenhouse that gets
water from a tank where he produces fish. He sells fish and vegetables.
. Pat Byers, horticulturist at Southwest Missouri State University's fruit
experiment station, talked about efforts to find improved elderberry
varieties to produce wine and other products.
. Southwest Center horticulturist Andrew Thomas told about studies to show
how to produce nuts as a sustainable farm crop. The center has hundreds of
seedling nut trees in a newly established study that is to continue for many
The goal is to find varieties best suited for commercial production in this
area. That study seeks better pecan, black walnut, hickory and chestnut
varieties, Thomas said.
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