Tag Archives: USDA

Season Extension and Commercial Strawberry Production Field Day

Season Extension and Commercial Strawberry Production Field Day

Season Extension and Commercial Strawberry Production Field Day

A joint presentation of Mississippi State University

and the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production

APRIL 4, 2017, 9 A.M.-4 P.M.

MAFES Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station

2024 experiment Station Rd.

Crystal Springs, MS 39056


Lunch provided by the Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, including a strawberry tasting, but please call to be added to the lunch count (601-892-3731) or you may not get a chair or a chance to try some of those berries.

Activities will include classroom presentations on strawberry culture and management, and tools to extend vegetable and fruit growing seasons by several weeks in the spring and fall.

After lunch, we will go to the field to see the strawberries you tasted at lunch time, and we will see examples of mulches, row tunnels, low tunnels, insect barrier cloths, high tunnels and greenhouses. You can even try your hand at setting up some low tunnels, so bring your hat and boots.

This field day is supported by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture/USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant program. We thank them for their support. The field day is jointly hosted by the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station, Mississippi State University Extension, and the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production.

Muscadine Field Day

Muscadine Field Day

Mississippi State University will host the annual Muscadine Field Day Aug. 27 at the McNeill Research Unit.

Speakers from the MSU Extension Service, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service will discuss muscadine cultivars, best production practices, and insects and diseases.

The field day is from 9-11 a.m. Preregistration is not required for the free event. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

The McNeill Research Unit is located at 7 Gill Road near Carriere. Take Exit 15 off I-59 and drive west to Highway 11 in McNeill. Drive south on Highway 11 for about 2 miles.

Small bags will be provided for sampling fruit. Other bags and containers will not be allowed for that purpose.

For more information, contact Eric Stafne, MSU Extension fruit crops specialist, at 601-403-8939.

Know Your Farmer Know Your Food Compass Map Updated!


kyfkyf compass map

When was the last time you looked at the KYF2 Compass Map? It’s now updated and easier to use! The Compass Map shows USDA and other federal investments in local food in your community and around the country – plus data on farmers markets, food hubs, and more. Zoom in on your city or town or search the map by keyword to see how other communities are using federal resources to do innovative work on local foods. Explore this comprehensive tool and other resources from USDA on the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food website.

American Farmland Trust Introduces “Growing Food Connections”


Washington, D.C., March 2, 2015 – Eight communities across the country will receive training and assistance to link family farmers and local residents who lack access to healthy food. Growing Food Connections (GFC) will help local governments, planners, family farmers, and consumers work together to strengthen their food systems.


“Growing Food Connections is a landmark, collaborative effort bringing national expertise in food policy and planning to assist citizens and their communities. American Farmland Trust (AFT) and our partners will help create and strengthen local policies to better serve residents,” said AFT President Andrew McElwaine. “We are proud to lead outreach, technical assistance and education in our eight Communities of Opportunity.”


The eight Communities of Opportunity (COOs) are:

Chautauqua County, New York (Jamestown)

Cumberland County, Maine (Portland)

Dougherty County, Georgia (Albany)

Doña Ana County, New Mexico (Las Cruces)

Douglas County, Nebraska (Omaha)

Luna County, New Mexico (Deming)

Polk County, North Carolina (Columbus)

Wyandotte County, Kansas (Kansas City)


“We have found that local leaders want tools and resources, not handouts,” said AFT Assistant Vice President for Programs, Julia Freedgood. “And, that’s what GFC will do – help local governments develop a vision and a game plan to benefit farmers and ranchers and community residents who are

underserved by our current food system.”


Over a three-year period, GFC will help local governments create their own plans, policies, partnerships, and make public investment to support family farmers and enhance food security. The COOs will also serve as models for other communities nationwide that face similar challenges.


Samina Raja, PhD, GFC Principal Investigator and Associate Professor at the University at Buffalo, notes that “these COOs were selected from a competitive nationwide search and application process. The selected local governments will blaze a path for more than 30,000 local governments in the United States that have traditionally overlooked the problems and opportunities in their communities’ food systems.”


AFT will lead outreach efforts in partnership with the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York (GFC project lead), Ohio State University, and Cultivating Healthy Places. The American Planning Association and the Growing Food Connections National Advisory Committee also advise the project.


Learn more about GFC at growingfoodconnections.org.


GFC is a five-year, $3.96 million research initiative funded by award #2012-68004-19894, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Cochran-Leahy bill would boost farm to school program

Cochran-Leahy bill would boost farm to school program

From The Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi 8:58 p.m. CST February 28, 2015


U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran has joined Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont to introduce the Farm to School Act of 2015, a measure to improve a program that promotes the use of home-state agriculture products in school cafeterias.

The Leahy-Cochran legislation (S. 569) would expand the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School grant program created in 2004 but not funded until 2010. The 2015 legislation would increase school eligibility, reduce barriers for farmer participation, allow broader use of agriculture and aquaculture (including catfish) products and restrict the amount of program funding that can be used for administrative costs.

The bill would raise the program’s authorized level from $5 million to $15 million, and increase the maximum grant award to $200,000. A similar bipartisan reauthorization bill (HR. 1061) has been introduced in the House.

“Farm to School is a simple, but great concept to provide more economic opportunities to farmers and more home-state food options for our schools,” Cochran said.

USDA Media Advisory Regarding Support for Local Foods


USDA Secretary Vilsack Hosts Media Call to Announce Historic USDA Support for Local Food Systems

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2014—TOMORROW, Thursday, May 8 at 1:15 pm EDT, USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will announce historic investment opportunities to strengthen local and regional food systems, including food hubs, farmers markets, aggregation and processing facilities, distribution services, and other local food business enterprises. The funding Vilsack will announce comes through programs authorized by the new 2014 Farm Bill.

As consumer demand for locally-grown food continues to skyrocket and the local food industry matures and expands, Secretary Vilsack has identified local food as one of the four pillars of USDA’s commitment to rural economic development. USDA support of local food gives farmers and ranchers more market opportunities, provides consumers with more choices, and creates jobs.