Organic Farm Calls: Evidence-Based Agriculture and Aerated Compost Tea

Compost Tea Brewer

Compost Tea Brewer

This month we received a request for tech support on “farm-scale” Aerated Compost Tea (ACT) brewing. This request brings up the larger issue of evidence-based agriculture practices. [Read more…]

Farm Calls: Growers Ask for Recommendations on
Applying Hardwood Chips to Cropland

Wood-Chips-Cropland-ApplicationJune 30, 2012 a Derecho windstorm cut a path over Jersey’s Outer Coastal Plain farming areas, downing thousands of trees.

The area received a federal disaster declaration and crews are clearing trees and chipping. Atlantic County Extension Ag Agent Rick VanVranken has been fielding a number of calls from vegetable and hay growers about the use of hardwood chips on cropland. [Read more…]

Improving Soils with Leaves and Other Local Organic Wastes

Un-composted Municipal Leaves Improve Soils

Un-composted Municipal Leaves

Farmers face conflicting soil management challenges:

  • Building soil health, by minimizing tillage and optimizing crop rotations;
  • Weed control, which requires significant tillage;
  • Cash Cropping every year for economic viability, which pressures growers to chose sub-optimal crop rotations.

Finding the proper balance between these competing tensions is difficult. [Read more…]

Sustainability Starts with a Marketing Plan

From Growing Produce 3-8-2012
Rick VanVranken gives tips on developing a marketing program that works for your growing operation.

“Your marketing plan is the map that will identify your potential customers and what products you might sell them.”

In late November 2011, American Vegetable Grower asked readers of their E-newsletter to describe their marketing plan. Only 13% to 15% responded that they were satisfied that they had a strong marketing plan. A third of respondents said, “Looking to improve” while more than 20% indicated their marketing plans were “non-existent.” [Read more…]