Ag Opportunities

Volume 25, Number 4
April 2014


Hoop House Symposium Videos Online
The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation has posted three videos from its Basic AG Hoop House Symposium. The videos include a five-minute piece on types of structures, a nine-minute piece on construction materials and end-wall options, and a 16-minute segment on site selection and preparation and hoop house installation.

Farms Selling Locally Boost Economic Growth in Some Regions
Farms that sell their products locally may boost economic growth in their communities, at least in some regions, according to a team of economists that published their work in the February 2014 issue of Economic Development Quarterly. By establishing that direct sales have a positive effect on total agricultural sales, which in turn have an effect on income growth, this study demonstrates that direct sales expand local economies in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

Cornell Study Considers Local Economic Impact of Food Hubs
A three-year Cornell study on the economic benefits of food hubs to local communities was released in December through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Researchers found that medium-scale farms benefited the most from the services that food hubs provide, especially freight and storage facilities, and access to new wholesale markets. These medium-scale farms were more likely than commodity-oriented farms to spend their money in the local economy.

New Website Invites Participation in Protecting Bumble Bees
The Xerces Society has announced that the new website allows people to be directly involved in protecting bumble bees throughout North America. In addition to uploading bee photos, individuals can identify bumble bees, learn about their ecology, and connect with bee experts and others engaged in pollinator conservation. The information gathered from participants will help researchers locate rare or endangered populations, as well as track species whose status is less well known.

Comprehensive Guide for Shiitake Growers Available Online
Cornell Cooperative Extension, in collaboration with UVM Extension's Center for Sustainable Agriculture and a team of farm advisors, has released Best Management Practices for Log-Based Shiitake Cultivation in the Northeastern United States. The complete guide is available online for free download. The guide is the culmination of a three-year research and education project.

Company Focuses on Tools for Small Farmers
Oregonian Michael McGowen's company, Carts & Tools, is addressing the lack of equipment for small-scale farmers with a line of electric farm implements, reports Capital Press. The company is offering a line of battery powered tillers, weeders, and other tools that can be charged with a solar panel and easily maneuvered on small plots. Though the tools are not inexpensive, they offer a growing number of small farmers an alternative to searching for appropriately sized used equipment. In the future, the company hopes to make an electric grain harvester, as well. For more information:

Extension Publications Available from MU Extension:
MX3772014 Midwest Small Fruit and Grape Spray Guide
G5153Woody Biomass for Energy in Missouri
G9422Integrating Practices That Benefit Wildlife With Crops Grown for Biomass in Missouri

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