Monday, January 25, 2016

Missouri organic conference Feb. 4-6 in Springfield

The Missouri Organic Association (MOA), a non-profit all volunteer organization, is gearing up for its 2016 Annual Conference to be held February 4 - 6 at the University Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Springfield, Mo. This educational event will be the seventh annual regional conference hosted by the Missouri Organic Association.

Beginning as a local state conference in 2010, this event has evolved into a mid-America regional conference with participants attending from Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas and Oklahoma. MOA invites other states to mark their calendars for the first weekend of February and join the excitement that is MOA Annual Conference 2016.

Keynote speakers for the MOA Annual Conference 2016 are Dr. Arden Andersen, presenting on “Healthy Soils, Healthy Bodies,” and Dr. John Ikerd addressing "Healthy Soils, Healthy Economies, Healthy Communities.” 

Sue Baird, MOA Executive Director, welcomes everyone to attend. “This conference is not just for farmers and producers who attend to learn the latest 21st century farming practices,” she said. “It is for anyone concerned about independent food sources, rising health issues in our children, supporting sustainable family farms, environmental issues and solution-based philosophies of biological and organic growing practices. Everyone will have something to gain from this conference.”

New for this year, MOA will host a special “Consumer Health Education Day” on Saturday, February 6, featuring medical and health experts who will discuss the link between the foods we eat and the health of our bodies. Also on Saturday, MOA will have a special networking event, "Meet the Wholesalers"  — connecting organic producers to regional and national food store buyers, marketing managers, chefs, food distributors and others that will help producers grow their businesses.

MOA Annual  Conference 2016 will have more than 54 educational sessions and hands-on workshops focused on organic and sustainable agriculture including: grain production, livestock production, vegetable production, high-tunnel small fruits and vegetable production, sustainable living skills, culinary and medicinal plants and a whole lot more.  Network and learn from 70+vendors.

Friday night's "Throw Down at the Hoedown Top Chef Challenge" features chefs from St. Louis, Springfield, Kansas City and Columbia all competing for the MOA Top Chef award. The cooking competition is followed by the MOA Hoedown, a good ole country celebration, with bluegrass music, a cake walk, pie auction and a photo booth to commemorate your attendance at MOA Annual Conference 2016.

Agendas: MOA Annual Conference 2016 agendas are available at

Fees: An individual three-day conference registration fee that includes meals and events is only $175. Or, grab a friend and take advantage of our 'Double Deal" discount...the second registration fee is 50% off!  If you can't attend all three days, a single day registration fee is $75 and the "Double Deal" discount applies on single day registrations too. To register, go to  

Accomodations: Hotel reservations are available at a special MOA Conference block price of $84 (+ tax) per night at The University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center, Springfield.  Mention you are part of MOA Annual Conference to get this special rate.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

USDA Revokes Grass Fed Label Standard

Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Speaks Out Against Decision

Washington, DC, January 12, 2016 – Today in the Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) rescinds the labeling standard for grass fed meat that was developed over the course of four years and finalized, with the support of national farm and consumer organizations including NSAC, in 2006.

“Meat labeling just became even more confusing for farmers and consumers,” said Ferd Hoefner, Policy Director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. “USDA is revoking a label standard that had widespread farm and consumer support. Actions such as this take us into a Wild West situation, where anything goes and both farmers and consumers lose.”

In the Federal Register notice, AMS states that having a strong, clear, consumer-friendly labeling standard “does not facilitate the marketing of agricultural products in a manner that is useful to stakeholders or consumers” because a different USDA agency, the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), must approve meat labels and “there is no guarantee that an USDA-verified production/marketing claim will be approved by FSIS.”

“The rationale that a strong USDA label standard for grass fed beef is not useful because it might not be recognized by a partner agency is outrageous,” said Hoefner. “It is both sad and true that these two USDA agencies often do not coordinate, and worse yet that in some cases FSIS has looked the other way, allowing particularly unscrupulous meat companies to abuse the USDA standard,” Hoefner said. “But the common sense solution is not to revoke the standard, but instead to tackle siloing and lack of interagency communication head-on.”

The Federal Register notice gives producers using the grass fed label 30 days to either convert the newly revoked USDA grass fed label claim into their own private grass-fed standard, or to develop a new grass fed standard of their own.

“Rather than bringing consistency and common sense to our food marketing system, USDA seems to be throwing in the towel,” said Hoefner. “This is terrible public policy that will create a multitude of non-uniform labels, which will open the door to more confusion and subterfuge in the marketplace. It is an affront to consumers, who have the right to know how their food is raised, and to the farmers whose innovation and hard work created the trusted grass fed label standard. NSAC and our member organizations believe this reversal is a detriment to a fair and transparent food system and we urge the USDA to come up with an alternative solution quickly.”

The grass fed label claim standard now being revoked was originally published in the Federal Register on May 12, 2006, the result of several years of meetings between farmers and farm and consumer organizations sponsored by AMS and facilitated by NSAC, as well as by a formal public notice and comment process. The standard stated among other things that grass, forbs, and forage needed to be 99 percent or more of the energy source for the lifetime of a ruminant species after weaning in order to qualify as grass fed. Prior to the setting of that standard, grain fed animals were often sold as grass fed, with USDA’s approval.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Mississippi goat & sheep auction moving to new home

Y&R Livestock, which holds a goat and sheep sale on every third Saturday of the month in Ripley, Miss., will hold a grand opening for its new sale barn this Saturday, January 16. This long-running sale has been housed at the old cattle auction building just off Highway 15 north of downtown Ripley. The new location  is east of Ripley off Highway 4. The address, which can be found via GPS, is 8451 County Road 600, Ripley MS. The auction is operated by Wendell Yates and Mike Robbins. The sale begins at 1 p.m. Saturday but goats and sheep can be unloaded beginning Friday evening. The auction markets breeding stock as well as slaughter animals for buyers and sellers. For more information, contact Wendell at 662-720-6006 or Mike at 662-891-6554.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Ky. goat producers can apply for promotional grants

For goat producers living in Kentucky, here’s an opportunity to receive financial aid for promoting your ranch and products. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is now taking applications for promotional grants through it’s “Kentucky Proud” program.

About the grant. This grant reimburses up to half of eligible expenses for advertising, marketing and reaching consumers at the point of purchase to promote Kentucky Proud products with direct Kentucky farm impact. For more information and to download a grant application, click here.

What is direct Kentucky farm impact? The dollar value of agricultural products bought, sold, grown, raised, manufactured or processed with sources clearly linked to Kentucky farms.

What is Kentucky Proud? It is a brand, a statewide network of consumers supporting
Kentucky farms and the chief marketing program of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA).

Kentucky Proud Membership. You must be a member of Kentucky Proud to be considered for a grant. Apply for membership at

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Farmer-owned co-op offers ag scholarships

MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 6, 2016  — The CHS Foundation, the major giving entity of CHS Inc. (NASDAQ: CHSCP), North America's leading farmer owned cooperative, invites new and existing college students with agriculture or energy-related interests to apply for scholarships. 

The CHS Foundation will award more than 300 scholarships in 2016. One hundred $1,000 scholarships will be made to high school students who choose to pursue agricultural-related degrees or STEM-related (science, technology, engineering, math) fields of study with an interest in agriculture or energy industry careers. 

"CHS and the CHS Foundation are dedicated to developing future leaders," says William Nelson, president, CHS Foundation and vice president, CHS Corporate Citizenship. "We are proud to invest in educating young people to ensure they gain experience and build the skills necessary for long-lasting careers in the agriculture and energy industries." 

High school scholarship applications must be submitted by April 1, 2016. An independent, external committee will select scholarship recipients based on essays, transcripts and reference letters. For additional eligibility information and to apply, visit

More than 200 additional scholarships will help fund expenses for existing agriculture college students currently pursuing agriculture-related degrees at two- and four-year colleges. These scholarships are directly administered by more than 30 partnering universities throughout the U.S. and application deadlines vary by by school. For more information and a list of partnering universities, visit

The CHS Foundation is the major giving entity of CHS Inc., the nation's leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company. As a part of the CHS stewardship focus, the CHS Foundation supports education and leadership programs that invest in the future of agriculture, cooperative business and rural America.

CHS Inc. ( is a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States. Diversified in energy, grains and foods, CHS is committed to helping its customers, farmer-owners and other stakeholders grow their businesses through its domestic and global operations. CHS, a Fortune 100 company, supplies energy, crop nutrients, grain marketing services, animal feed, food and food ingredients, along with business solutions including insurance, financial and risk management services. The company operates petroleum refineries/pipelines and manufactures, markets and distributes Cenex® brand refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products.