Pinpoint soils data leads to successful tree planting for Iowa apple orchard

2019-06-13T15:05:10-05:00May 20, 2019|Grower Midwest|

by Jason Johnson, NRCS

Iowa’s Apple Trails Family Orchard is prospering after soils information provided by USDA helped two beginning orchardists start off on the right track.

Darren and Becky Housberg moved to Osceola, Iowa, in 1995. They began making plans for their orchard in 2010. Becky researched apple varieties, and the couple set aside 40 acres of land for their planned orchard. (more…)

Testing agricultural water

2019-04-08T18:03:46-05:00April 8, 2019|Grower Midwest|

by Sally Colby

As growers become more familiar with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Produce Safety Rule (PSR), it’s important they understand the meaning of and regulations pertaining to testing agricultural water used for irrigation and other areas of production. (more…)

Today’s Marketing Objective: When All Good News Is Not Good News

2019-04-08T18:39:21-05:00April 8, 2019|Grower Midwest, Grower West|

When All Good News Is Not Good News

The clerk handed me the receipt and pointed to instructions at the bottom. “Please fill out our customer survey,” she said, “but only if you have good things to say about our store. We don’t want to hear any negative comments,” she quipped, and then quickly added, “Remember – if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!” (more…)

Seeds of Science: If Tony Stark and Bruce Banner grew spinach

2019-04-08T18:49:20-05:00April 8, 2019|Grower Midwest, Grower West|

The battle never ends. Growers, across regions and soil types and seasons, are constantly fighting against all the elements to produce healthy (and profitable) crops. They contend against the weather, insects, changing consumer tastes, diseases and more, always hopeful for a good harvest. Luckily, there is an army of scientists marching right alongside them, always striving to make the process easier. (more…)

The pomp of the year of the pumpkin

2019-06-13T16:19:36-05:00April 8, 2019|Grower Midwest, Grower West|

by Courtney Llewellyn

Autumn harvest may seem like a small goal on far horizon, but there is already one crop that’s gaining attention – the pumpkin.

The National Garden Bureau has declared 2019 “The Year of the Pumpkin,” and for good reason. “The long term trend is an increase in sales” of pumpkins, said Jamie Hoffman, the founder, president and breeder of Outstanding Seed Company LLC. “People are spending more on Halloween every year. You can see how the popularity is growing in the offerings of farm markets and websites.” (more…)

Meeting organic challenges in the west

2019-04-08T16:42:46-05:00April 8, 2019|Grower West|

by Sally Colby

The results of a nationwide survey of organic farmers to identify research priorities didn’t hold any surprises. Mark Schonbeck, research associate at the Organic Farming Research Foundation, said organic farmers listed soil health, fertility and nutrient management as top priorities. (more…)

Agritourism ~ Considering the risks

2019-04-08T18:58:01-05:00April 8, 2019|Grower Midwest, Grower West|

by Elizabeth A. Tomlin

Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of a three-part series on agritourism. Information comes from a six-part webinar by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Schoharie, Otsego, Sullivan and Ulster Counties, hosted by Delaware County CCE, and sponsored by the Northeast Extension Risk Management Education.

“How risky do you want to go?” asked Mariane Kiraly, Delaware County CCE Senior Resource Educator/ Farm Business Management.

Inviting the public onto your property to tour your agricultural business and participate in farm activities incurs risk. How much responsibility do you need to take if someone gets injured? (more…)