NRCS EQIP Technical and Financial Support for Conservation on eOrganic Farms Webinar

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In its fourth year, the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives (EQIP) Program’s Organic Initiative, aims to provide technical and financial assistance to certified organic, transitioning to organic, and exempt from certification producers. The agency has made many improvements in how the program is implemented and numerous changes are in place for the 2012 sign-up. Sarah Brown manages Oregon Tilth’s Organic Conservation Program which aims to bring organic technical assistance to the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). When she is not working with NRCS and providing outreach to producers, Sarah is also a beginning organic farmer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

New webinars on Marketing Organic Produce, Organic Transplants, Food Safety and Hops Production

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Join eOrganic and SARE for a series of 4 free webinars on marketing organic produce, organic transplants, food safety, and hops production in October and November! All webinars are open to the public, and advance registration is required. Save the dates and register now at for the following webinars at
Plan for Marketing Your Organic Products, by Susan Smalley, Michigan State University: October 25, 2011 at 2PM Eastern Time. Register at
Root Media and Fertility for Organic Transplants, by John Biernbaum, Michigan State University: November 1, 2011 at 2PM Eastern Time. Register at

Tracking Your Produce—For Your Business and Health, by Colleen Collier Bess, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources: November 8, 2011 at 2PM Eastern Time. Register at
Starting Up Small-Scale Organic Hops Production, Rob Sirrine, Michigan State University and Brian Tennis, Michigan Hop Alliance: November 15, 2011 at 2PM Eastern Time. Register at

Find the updated eOrganic webinar schedule and listen to recordings of past presentations at


Prospective Winegrape Grower Workshop in Tarrant County

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The Texas AgriLife Extension Service will conduct a Prospective Wine-Grape Grower Workshop from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on July 20 for people interested in commercial wine-grape production.

Texas-grown winegrapes are in demand by the ever increasing numbers of Texas wineries, and courageous horticulturists will find a ready market for the fruits of their labors.

The program will be held at the LightCatcher Winery & Bistro, 6925 Confederate Park Road, approximately 15 miles from downtown Fort Worth, near Lake Worth.

Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the program to follow.

“This workshop will be useful to those considering planting a commercial vineyard or those thinking about expanding a smaller operation to a commercial scale,” said Fran Pontasch, AgriLife Extension viticulture adviser for North Texas, who works from the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Stephenville.

Pontasch said the workshop was developed to help small-scale producers determine if it is both economically feasible and individually suitable for them to commit to a commercial vineyard enterprise. Program topics include necessary viticulture expertise, site selection, risk factors, labor requirements and economics.

AgriLife Extension presents prospective grower workshops in regions of Texas conducive to wine-grape production, and the workshop is a prerequisite for registration and acceptance into the Texas Viticulture Certificate Program.
AgriLife Extension also offers advanced programs on the specifics of wine-grape growing in Texas. More information on these workshops can be found at under Educational Opportunities.

The cost for the prospective grower workshop is $150 per person or $250 per couple, which includes educational materials and lunch.
To register for the workshop online, go to the AgriLife Conference Services website at and enter “wine grower” in the keyword field.

For more program information, contact Pontasch at 254-968-4144, ext. 225 or

Texas Specialty Crops High Tunnel and Biodegradable Mulch Conference

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Lubbock grown strawberries

Tunnel grown strawberries!

The Texas Specialty Crops High Tunnel & Biodegradable Mulch Conference  will be held on April 26, 2011 at the Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Center in Lubbock. The center is located just north of the Lubbock airport, exit 11 off I-27.   The conference will begin with registration at 8:00 am.  The cost is $45/person.   

The Lubbock AgriLife Extension team currently have planted lettuce, tomatoes and strawberries inside the tunnels.  Strawberry yields have been excellent.    

For more information about the project, visit

Also, Dr. Russ Wallace  is seeking growers to attend a special Focus Group the day before the conference.  You can contact him at  806-746-6101 or by E-mail at

Pros In Parks Video

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Pros In Parks.

Click the link to see a video presentation of photographs from the Pros in Parks program.

Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Conference

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The Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s (TOFGA) tenth annual conference is January 28-30 in Killeen. This 3-day conference will be offering over 30 sessions  with topics such as:

• Soil fertility management

• Beekeeping

• Composting

• Establishing and maintaining fruit trees and orchards organically

• Beginning and advanced sessions on pasture poultry and grass-fed beef production

• Livestock processing

• Organic certification

• Direct and retail marketing

Almost 50 speakers are scheduled for this conference, including many faculty and staff from the Texas A&M University system:

• Robert “Skip” Richter – Texas AgriLife Extension Urban Director for Travis county

• Dr. Joe Novak – Department of Horticulture

• Dr. Betsy Pierson – Department of Horticulture

• Dr. Richard Teague – Associate Resident Director and Professor of Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Vernon

• John Smith – Extension Program Specialist, Water Resources

• Justin Mechell – Extension Program Specialist, Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Among the other speakers include representatives of the USDA, Kerr Center, ATTRA and many more. For more information and the full schedule visit:

Be a Player in Super Grow XLV!

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On January 21st, the City of Arlington will be holding its Signature Super Grow XLV tree planting event.  The main area of plantings will take place at Johnson Creek Linear park right next to the Cowboys Stadium.  This amazing event will have special guest speakers and a lot of media attention as it is the last tree planting event wrapping up the Super Grow XLV program.  This is an extremely unique opportunity to show your support for our community and our environment, and to show off your mad tree planting skills while wearing your company logo.


Date:  January 21, 2011

Time:  10:00 am

Place:  Johnson Creek Linear Park

       meet at the Volunteer check-in booth next to Rangers Stadium Parking Lot A

Attire:  Tree Planting clothes (don’t forget to wear your team colors) and gloves.

RSVP by Jan. 11th, 2011 to Matt Churches via email:

Prospective Wine Grape Growers Workshop January 25, 2011

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A Prospective Wine-grape Grower Workshop will be held January 25at the Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Center in Stephenville, located at 1229 U.S. Highway 281 North.

Registration will begin at 8:30 am, and program presentation will take place from 9a.m.-3p.m.

“The workshop is a one-day educational program designed to provide an overview of the unique requirements and economic risks associated with establishment and operation of a commercial vineyard in Texas,” said Fran Pontasch, AgriLife Extension viticulture advisor for North Texas.

Pontasch and Dusty Timmons, AgriLife Extension viticulture advisor for West Texas, will provide program instruction. Pontasch said, weather permitting, a discussion during the workshop would take place in the AgriLife Extension vineyard at the Center.

Pontasch said the program was created to address the most common concerns potential grape producers may have prior to committing valuable resources toward a commercial vineyard enterprise. Program topics include: necessary viticulture expertise, vineyard site selection, risk factors, vineyard labor requirements and vineyard economics.

“The program will help prospective growers decide if grape growing is a good fit for their farm and lifestyle, and what they would need to do or consider for their vineyard to be commercially successful,” she said.

She added that if an individual decides to plant a commercial vineyard, AgriLife Extension also offers more programs for grape growing in Texas.

The fee for each workshop is $125 per person or $200 per couple, and includes educational materials and lunch.

Registration for the workshop can be completed through AgriLife Conference Services at their website,

The workshop serves as a prerequisite for application to the Texas Viticulture Certificate Program offered by Texas Tech University and AgriLife Extension. For more information on the certification program, go to and see Educational Opportunities.

For more information, contact Pontasch 254-968-4144 or<mailto:fmpontasch@ag.tamu.

Turfgrass Ecology and Management Short Course–Register by January 10

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The 7th Annual Turfgrass Ecology and Management Short Course will be held adjacent to the Texas A&M University Campus from January 24-28, 2011 . Over the past 6 years the Turf Short Course trained 251 turf & landscape professionals. This turfgrass management continuing education program is designed to provide basic and practical information to new professional turfgrass managers, as well as to provide experienced turf managers the opportunity to review and update their knowledge. The registration deadline is January 10, 2011. The website can be accessed through keywords and course date at or directly at

There you will find links to course information, course topics, on-line registration, speaker bios, lodging information, and a downloadable program brochure. Early registration is encouraged, as enrollment is limited to 60 participants. Pre-registration is required through the Texas AgriLife Extension Conference Services.

eXtension entrepreneurship webinar series

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The eXtension Entrepreneurship webinar series is
back for the fourth season. All webinars will air monthly on the second
Thursday at 1:00pm (CT)

On Thursday, September 9, 2010 we open with a three-month series on
specialty food businesses. September’s topic will be */Starting Right in
Specialty Foods./*  Join Brian Norder, Director of the Vermont Food
Venture Center for an informative session on what it takes to start and
grow a specialty food business. Brian has over a decade of experience
assisting entrepreneurs in all phases of food-related business
development. On October 14 the webinar will focus on the importance of
branding and will feature specialty food business owners Judith Moore of
the Charleston Cookie Company ( and
Robin Rhea, Slather Sauce (
<>). The November 11 webinar will conclude
this series with a look at Culinary Tourism, an emerging niche that
combines agriculture, specialty food and tourism. This presentation will
feature a panel of Extension specialists working on Culinary Tourism

No pre-registration is required and there is no fee to participate.
About 10 minutes prior to the start time simply go the Adobe Connect Pro
meeting room at You will be
presented with a login screen that has an “Enter as Guest” option. Enter
your full name then click “Enter Room” to join the conference. You will
be able to hear the audio directly from your computer’s speakers.

Newcomers to online learning are welcome!