Posts Tagged With: Transition to Organic Farming

USDA Offers Grants for Organic Agriculture

At AgriEnergy Resources we pride ourselves in being a leader within the biological/organic farming community. With great leadership, comes great mentorship. We’re always looking for opportunities where our customers can benefit. Whether it’s a list of transitional buyers here, organic buyers there, or product giveaways/discounts at our seminars, we always have your best interest at heart.

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We test a variety of product combinations, new products, and more on our summer research plots. Here, a few of our agronomists are comparing soybean roots this past summer.

In fact, we came across this exciting funding opportunity from the USDA. With the continued demand for organics, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is offering up to $3.8M in funding to support research, education, and extension for both new and existing organic farmers and ranchers.

Research areas include documenting and understanding the effects of organic practices such as crop rotation, livestock-crop integration, organic manure, mulch/compost additions, cover crops, and reduced or conservation tillage on ecosystem services, greenhouse gas mitigation, and biodiversity.

If this is something that interests you, click here for more information. Applications are due March 9.

If you do end up receiving a grant, keep us in mind. Every year, we conduct a variety of research trials.

Good luck!

Categories: Fun in the Field | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

LaCrosse Seminar to Feature Independent Plant Breeder & Consultant

Surprise your valentine with the opportunity of a lifetime! Give him/her the gift that keeps giving. As they say, knowledge is power.

Tomorrow is the last day to register for our upcoming seminar, “Bios for Transitioning to Organics.” We’re so excited to discuss various ways to improve your organic operation or offer support to begin your transition journey. No matter which stage of organics you are in, we’re here to help.

In addition to discussion on dry beans, organic programs, crop rotation options, insect/disease control, and biologicals for transitioning, we’ll also be discussing nitrogen fixation from the roots up. Madison-based independent plant breeder and consultant, Ken Kmiecik, will focus on biological nitrogen fixation and strengthening the plant/bacteria/soil system.

With 40 years experience in researching field studies, genetic resources, plant breeding, related laboratory techniques, and plant pathology in the most common bean production areas, we’re so excited he’ll be joining us in LaCrosse.

If you haven’t reserved your spot yet, there’s still time. Call us today at 815.872.1190 or email info@agrienergy.net. Our seminar will be held from 1:00pm-9:00pm February 22 at the AmericInn Hotel & Conference Center, 1835 Rose St., LaCrosse, Wisconsin.  

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Hope to see ya there and Happy Valentines Day!

 

 

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2016-2017 Winter “Plot” Tour

By now, most of you should have received our postcard detailing our Winter “Plot” Tour. If you haven’t please let us know so we can get you on our mailing list. In the meantime, we put together this exciting digital invite.

As Henry Rollins once said, “In winter, I PLOT and plan. In spring, I move.” We are so excited to plot and plan with you this winter season. Reserve your spot today by calling 815-872-1190 or info@agrienergy.net.

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Buyers to offer premium price on transitional grains

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on our Ground Work, but we received such positive feedback we thought we’d share it on our blog too. 

Organic sales have been steadily increasing since 2006, and there’s no sign of it slowing down. Today’s consumer demands organic products, and we’re here to help farmers fulfill those demands efficiently.

Today 5,300 farmers plan to increase their organic production and 170,000 acres are currently being transitioned to organic production, according to the Organic Production Survey by NASS. Of those 170,000 acres, our customers are responsible for a large percentage.

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Many are transitioning only part of their acres, with long-term goals of transitioning all their acres within 5 years. Take this first-year transition soybean field, for instance. The farmer has been using our Residuce® O on 150 acres. With minimal weed pressure, the soybeans look phenomenal. This particular farmer plans on transitioning the remaining 850 acres in the next 4 years.

While it can be nerve-wracking navigating the transition years with lots of expenses and little income, many well-known buyers have started offering premiums for transitional organic grains. Lately that’s been the biggest concern – how can I make it through the 3-year transition period financially? Well this could help!

Currently 3 buyers are offering premiums for transitional grain:

  • Stonebridge LTD – Stonbebridge is looking for 3,000+ Midwest transition soybean acres. Premiums available at $4 over CBOT/clean weight.
  • Grain Millers – Grain Millers is looking for transitional oats, hard red spring wheat, and hard red winter wheat.
  • Clarkson Grain – Clarkson Grain is looking for certified transitional corn, soybeans, wheat, and dry beans.

Contact:

  • Tim Daley, Stonebridge, 319-277-4277
  • Lykke Westgren, Grain Millers transitional oats, 952-983-1299
  • Jessie VanderPoel, Grain Millers transitional hard red wheat, 952-983-1277
  • George Kalogridis, Clarkson Grain, 217-763-0089

Or your AgriEnergy Resources rep at 815-872-1190!

Categories: Fun in the Field, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Transitioning to Organics webinar 4/5

At our winter seminar we heard organic farmers are generating “more consistent income, more annual net income, and less risk to the lender with higher crop insurance guarantees.” With over 23 years of experience, Senior Vice President of Agricultural Lending at Flanagan State Bank, Richard Ritter, believes organic commodities are less tractor & planterrisky than conventional. In addition to hearing from organic farmers, organic consultants, agronomists, and marketing reps, Ritter’s statement was quite powerful. That was all some farmers needed to hear, prior to taking the leap into organics.

If you’re still on the fence, there is a FREE “Transitioning to Organic Production” webinar at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Presented by the USDA NRCS Science and Technology and Oregon Tilth, this webinar will explore the challenges producers face when transitioning part or all of their acres to organic. Hear from presenters including Robert King of the University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics and Drew Katz of Oregon Tilth. Learn how both grain and livestock producers found success in transitioning.

Click here to register and as always we’d be happy to assist you in developing a fertility program for your acres!

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We’re headed to MOSES

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 2.02.52 PMSome of you may remember learning about new and emerging markets at our seminar last month. The excitement was almost tangible as various buyers, including Clarkson Grain and Organic Valley, discussed how the demand for organic grains is here to stay.

That excitement continues to grow, as we head off to the biggest organic event we attend all year, the MOSES Organic Farming Conference in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where we’ll hear more from Clarkson Grain and Organic Valley Friday and Saturday.

If you recall, Clarkson Grain is an Illinois-based grain, oilseed, and ingredient supplier to the food manufacturing and animal feed industries, while Organic Valley is a mission-driven cooperative, owned by family farmers, who have been leaders in organic agriculture since 1988. Representatives from both will present 3 of the 65 workshops at MOSES.

Lynn Clarkson, of Clarkson Grain, will share market alternatives for farmers in transition to organic certification, the politics and reality of a “transition” label, the risks and rewards of contracts, market synergy, and competition with foreign suppliers during Marketing Transition Grains, Oilseeds, & Forages. During another session, Looking for the “co” in Coexistence, he’ll also address contending perspectives in GMO contamination, and recommend ways to prevent that contamination, from new regulations to changes in plant breeding, and insurance.

Mark Kopecky, of Organic Valley, will share about soil test options and how to interpret results during Soil Testing 101. He’ll show simple ways to apply soil test information to your farm to improve your soil for good yields and quality crops. He’ll also discuss ways to improve your soils without breaking the bank, including amendments that may give you the best return on your investment.

The stellar speaker line-up also includes a couple long-time AER customers and some university researchers we respect and appreciate, in addition to several roundtable discussions, 170+ vendors, and complimentary organic meals & snacks.

Have you been to MOSES? If so, what’s your favorite part? Be sure to visit us at the trade show in booth 204! We’ll be there through Saturday!

 

 

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A banker’s perspective on organic farming

Here at AgriEnergy Resources, we take the ‘resources’ part of our name very seriously. We strive to bring you resources to enhance your operation whether conventional, biological, or organic. We believe in working together for the future of agriculture. And what better way than to sit down one-on-one with an ag lender with over 23 years of experience?

Richard Ritter, Senior Vice President of Agricultural Lending at Flanagan State Bank, took the time to talk with hundreds of farmers who are thinking about transitioning to organics at our seminar. He believes organic farmers can generate more consistent income and more annual net income at less risk to the lender.

Ritter offered a few pointers:

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Over the years, seed, farming practices, experiences, and science all have helped improve today’s organic yields, which have been rising since 2011, and continue to rise. 

  • Organic crop insurance coverages have been improved over the past few years, which can help a producer lock in profits and reduce risk. The organic producer can now insure their crops at the same price per bushel if sold before the acreage report. Example $12 corn sold and $30 soybeans sold.
  • The United States presently imports 60% of the organic products needed. The demand is here!
  • You must work with experienced and knowledgeable mentors in organic farming that can both help and advise you. This will save you a lot of money, time, eliminate numerous mistakes, speed up your success, and help the producer cash flow quicker. This is important for producer success.
  • Every organic producer must have their own transitional plan for converting conventional crop acres to organic certified acreage. This process will take a minimum of three years, and could take as much as eight years on a gradual basis to convert. This plan should include: time frame, crops to be planted, estimated crop prices to be received, available markets, a cash flow for each year of transition, and an estimate of all expected fees or costs for you to become certified.
  • The lease – Ritter recommends a fixed cash rent of $200, with a 25% flex bonus payable back to the landowner once gross income per acre exceeds: $750 on corn, $600 on soybeans, and $300 on other crops. He’d also encourage to strive for a long term lease if possible. If not a long term lease, then try to negotiate in the lease to prorated cash settlement for the producer for their investment in improving the farm, if they’re terminated before they can recapture their cost.

He then went on to share some real-life scenarios in his 14-page handout. If you’d like to get your hands on a copy, we have a few left. Give us a call and we’ll hook you up!

 

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I see the light and I feel the heat! Seminar scheduled

More and more growers are showing interest in organics, especially with $3.50/bushel conventional corn prices. The atmosphere in coffee shops is sometimes a bit tense, with the gathered local farmers wondering out loud . . . Are we going to make any money this year? Can we cover all our expenses? Where are the prices headed? Should we be thinking about some changes?

I see the light and I feel the heat is the point many growers are at when they approach us asking about organics. While organic corn is currently selling for $12.63/bushel, it’s a quite obvious decision on paper. Why not jump full-force ahead into organics?

Because change is scary. How will I survive during the 3-year transition period? How will I control my weeds? What will my neighbors think? How will I deal with pests? Where would I get equipment? My operation is too large…How would I be able to support 1,000+ acres of organic grain? Do I know all of the risks associated with transitioning?

While these are legitimate concerns, it is very possible to make a nice profit farming organically. Modern organic agriculture is SO similar to conventional farming. With all the technology and equipment made specifically for organic farming, organic producers can out compete their conventional neighbors; looking very professional. We’ve seen firsthand some well-rounded individuals go from full-fledged conventional practices to 100% certified organic and they’re doing a darn good job while making big money! One transitioned in honor of his father and one found a niche in alternative crops.

Want to learn how YOU can make it too?

Our friend, Keith Landis, has organized an organic farming seminar scheduled from 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 14 at Deer Valley County Club along Route 40 at 3298 Hoover Rd., Deer Grove, Illinois.

Keith owns and operates a certified organic operation near Sterling, Illinois and says he’s been approached by a few growers who have also been walking on pins and needles since conventional prices spun out of control. He hopes to show any interested farmers that there’s a number of options out there to help get them started.

We will have a booth along with several other seed, grain marketing, and farm data vendors. Guests will get the opportunity to learn from an organic certifier, a crop insurance specialist, and a real-life farmer panel.

Reservations must be made by July 2 by calling Keith Landis at (815) 499-4118. The cost is free for interested farmers and a complimentary lunch will be provided.

With hundreds of thousands of bushels of organic corn being imported into the U.S. from foreign countries such as Romania, Turkey, Netherlands, Canada, Argentina, and India, the market is waiting.

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