Start Farming Blog
For consumers (and some very enthusiastic vendors), this time of year elicits shrikes of excitement and sheer joy as people line up to see which vendor has the early asparagus, rhubarb, or coveted dry beans preserved from fall harvest.
Are you raising poultry and wondering what rules apply to you?
"What should I be pricing my melons at?" Take a step back and incorporate price into your marketing plan.
It is easy to let weeds go in the rush of spring planting. Try not to forget that a little time spent managing weeds now can save you huge amounts of time later.
It is critical to manage fruit diseases before you have them. Whether organic or not management is usually protective, not curative.
It’s been all too common that an older generation of farmers pondering: “Who will take over after I retire?” has been left without an answer. Yet there is a significant younger generation asking: “How can I get started?”
FSA recently launched their new micro-loan program. If you are a new farmer who needs a loan of less than $35,000 the micro-loan program might be a good fit.
As you are about to shear your sheep this spring I thought you might want to review our sheep shearing videos. Mike Fournier, Penn State Extension demonstrates the six shearing positions as well as tool maintenance.
Right now, livestock farmers are in a difficult position. Feed prices have skyrocketed and it can be difficult to pass that entire increase on to our customers without having very expensive chicken that might be out of the range of most of our customers. We might need to raise our prices to help recoup some of the cost but we also need to find areas where we can improve efficiencies, cut costs, and know where our greatest expenses lie.
Are you interested in or currently farming in a city? Do you wonder how to access land, how to reclaim a contaminated site, how to maximize use of a small growing space, or how to most successfully target your urban market?
One question prospective beekeepers have is: “Where will I get the bees?” There are four possibilities. Package bees, nucs, swarms and established colonies.
Join us for Introduction to Vegetable Production, a course for people planning to make the leap from vegetable gardening to production for profit and beginning vegetable producers who are ready to refine their techniques in order to optimize their production and profit. Penn State Extension is offering this course in Eastern and Western PA.
Spring is in the air. “What?” you say, “It is the coldest day of the year.” Well that may be true but as farmers I am sure you are all busy thinking about spring already.
If you have not done it yet, now is the time to finish up your crop plan for next year. Soon it will be time to start seedlings and the whirlwind will begin. At a recent CSA day organized by Lehigh County Extension’s Brian Moyer, I shared some tips for crop planning. What follows is a teaser, just the first few steps of the crop planning procedure I put together based on the great crop planning information Josh Volk from Slow Hand Farm recently shared with us. For the full procedure and example spreadsheets click the links below.
USDA Finalizes New Microloan Program Microloans up to $35,000 aim to assist small farmers, veterans, and disadvantaged producers
It seems that we are experiencing more unusually warm periods during mid- and late-winter, so trees may be more susceptible than in the past to moderately low winter temperatures. Lessons from years in which there was a sudden drop in temperature indicate that trees most injured were those that lacked adequate vigor, those that were too vigorous, and those that had been pruned before the cold event.
On January 4, 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a draft Produce Safety Rule as required under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011. This proposed regulation would establish mandatory practices that farmers must take to prevent microbial contamination of fresh produce. Below are highlights of requirements FDA would issue in the final regulation.
As effective marketers we are comfortable with the practice of being at our best when we produce and market what the customer actually wants. Unfortunately, these wants are a dynamic mix that is influenced by many factors. Trying to get a handle on shifting of our many customers’ needs can be a challenge.
With five times as many farmers over 55 than under 35 and more than a thousand farmers planning to retire in Pennsylvania in the next ten years; we need new farmers to feed the world local food. In 2009 Penn State Extension launched the Start Farming Program, responding to the need for new farmers and an overwhelming interest in farm start-up from community members. After three years, thirteen hundred participants in fifty three Penn State Extension Start Farming programs have learned tools for success.
There is an affordable way to guarantee income flow from your farm operation. The key is to be certain your farm has a recognized record keeping system in place. Historical farm performance is the basis for your guarantee.