agriculture

Ask UConn Extension Your Questions

Indu
Indu Upadhyaya, Food Safety Assistant Extension Educator. Photo: Kevin Noonan

UConn Extension has collaborated with our partners, communities and stakeholders for over 100 years. We are proud to serve all 169 cities and towns in Connecticut. The worldwide pandemic involving COVID-19 (coronavirus) has produced unprecedented challenges in the UConn community and around the world. Our services continue during this challenging time.

We are still delivering the science-based information you need. We are ready to answer your questions. Consult with us by email or on the phone. All of our educators are working and ready to serve you. Ask us a question online.

We are developing virtual programs to offset canceled in-person learning Abby Beissingeropportunities. Our educators are writing and updating fact sheets and other information. You have access to educational materials on our YouTube channel. We are growing our suite of online resources every day to meet the needs of our communities and stakeholders.

UConn CAHNR Extension educators have curated resources related to COVID-19 for our statewide audiences, including families, businesses, and agricultural producers.

Resources for all audiences includes:

  • Food safety and cooking
  • Hand washing and sanitizers
  • Infection prevention
  • Financial advice
  • Listings of open farms/farmers’ markets and school emergency meal distribution

Parents and families with children out of school can use the resources from our UConn 4-H program to provide new educational activities for youth. Activities available will keep youth engaged and learning and are appropriate for a variety of age groups.

Bruce Hyde presenting at Land Use Academy
Bruce Hyde presenting at Land Use Academy.

A list of resources has been collected for Connecticut businesses. It is a clearinghouse of resources, and not an official site. Business owners can connect to the state resources we provide for official and legal advice.

Agricultural producers are still working on farms, in greenhouses and along the coast in Long Island Sound during the COVID-19 outbreak. Extension educators have developed resources for specific agricultural sectors, including fruit and vegetable farms, aquaculture, and nursery and landscape professionals. Links to important updates from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture also are available.

Our Extension educators are updating and adding resources regularly. Please visit http://bit.ly/COVID-19-Extension.

We are also ready to answer your other questions, including:

  • How do I get my water tested?
  • What is wrong with my plant?
  • Can I eat healthy on a budget?
  • How does my son/daughter join 4-H?

UConn CAHNR Extension has more than 100 years’ experience strengthening communities in Connecticut and beyond. Extension programs address the full range of issues set forth in CAHNR’s strategic initiatives:

  • Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply
  • Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally
  • Designing sustainable landscapes across urban-rural interfaces
  • Advancing adaptation and resilience in a changing climate.

Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities.

We are here. We are ready to serve you.

 

Agriculture Producer Survey Request

Angie Harris
Agricultural Producers: Please take this five minute survey on the impacts of COVID-19 on your business. The Governor of Connecticut issued a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order except for essential businesses on March 23, 2020. The Commissioner of Agriculture clarified, per Executive Order 7H, that agriculture businesses are considered “essential businesses”. This anonymous survey will help us to better understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state’s agriculture industry. Results will be used to continue developing Extension resources.
 
Take the survey at: bit.ly/Ag_COVID

Soil Testing Lab is Open

soil in hand

In light of agriculture (including community gardening) being designated as essential, the UConn Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory will remain open utilizing best practices; social distancing and disinfecting are a high priority. No one will be allowed in the lab but essential personnel. Any soil tests need to be mailed or left in the drop box outside the lab. Anyone needing a soil test should go to http://www.soiltest.uconn.edu. Tests will take longer because they are running on essential lab personnel only.

Aquaculture Farmers: Local Health Dept. & District Contact Info

Connecticut state flagIf you are considering direct sales via farm stands or markets, we previously sent the guidance and it is also at:http://aquaculture.uconn.edu. An important step in the approval process is to contact your local health department or district. Contact information is below. Keep in mind that these folks are very busy right now. Be persistent; be kind.

Sincerely, The Sea Grant Staff

If your health department/district is not listed (this list was created for aquaculture) visit https://portal.ct.gov/dph/Local-Health-Admin/LHA/Local-Health-Administration—Site-Map for the full list.

Local Health Department and District Contact Information

Ledge Light Health District – Serving Stonington, Groton, Ledyard, New London, Waterford, East Lyme, Old Lyme

(860)448-4882
Email:smansfield@llhd.org

https://llhd.org/about-us/staff/

East Shore Health District – Serving Branford, East Haven, or North Branford

203-481-4233

Email:info@esdhd.org

https://www.esdhd.org

Bridgeport Health Department

(203) 576-7680

Email:Albertina.Baptista@Bridgeportct.gov

http://bridgeportct.gov/health

Fairfield Health Department

(203) 256-3020

Email:scleary@fairfieldct.org

http://fairfieldct.org/health

Greenwich Health Department

(203) 622-7836

Email:cbaisley@greenwichct.org

http://www.greenwichct.org/HealthDept/HealthDept.asp

Guilford Health Department

(203) 453-8118

Email:johnsond@ci.guilford.ct.us

http://www.ci.guilford.ct.us/departments/health-department/

Madison Health Department

(203) 245-5681

Email:josepht@madisonct.org

http://www.madisonct.org/200/Health-Department

Milford Health Department

(203) 783-3285

Email:djoseph@milfordct.gov

http://www.ci.milford.ct.us/health-department-0

New Haven Health Department

(203) 946-6999

Email:mbond@newhavenct.gov

http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/Health/

Norwalk Health Department

(203) 854-7776

Email:ddamore@norwalkct.org

http://www.norwalkct.org/676/Health

Stamford Health Department

(203) 977-4399

Email:jcalder@stamfordct.gov

http://www.stamfordct.gov/health-and-social-services

Stratford Health Department

(203) 385-4090

Email:aboissevain@townofstratford.com

http://www.townofstratford.com/content/39832/39846/39915/default.aspx

Town of Darien

(203) 656-7320

Email:dknauf@darienct.gov

http://www.darienct.gov/content/28025/28541/default.aspx

West Haven Health Department

(203) 937-3660

Email:mlillis@westhaven-ct.gov

http://www.cityofwesthaven.com/164/Health-Department

Westport Weston Health District

(203) 227-9571

Email:mcooper@wwhd.org

http://www.wwhd.org

If your health department/district is not listed (this list was created for aquaculture) visit https://portal.ct.gov/dph/Local-Health-Admin/LHA/Local-Health-Administration—Site-Map for the full list.

Virtual Town Hall for CT Farmers on Monday, March 23rd

Farm Bureau logoConnecticut Farm Bureau Association Hosting a

Virtual Town Hall Meeting for Connecticut Farmers on COVID-19 

Monday, March 23, 2020

7:00 pm

ZOOM Video-conference/Teleconference

  • Up-to-date information on COVID-19 Emergency and its impact on Connecticut farms
  • Opportunity to ask questions.
  • Opportunity to raise concerns, address problems, share strategies and resources, and provide feedback.

Agenda:

  1. Newest guidance and resources for farmers.
  2. Up-to-date financial support and services available for agri-businesses
  3. Your questions.
  4. General concerns, issues, problems, problem solving strategies, feedback
  • Bryan Hurlburt, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Agriculture
  • Clark Chapin, State Director, USDA Farm Service Agency
  • Bonnie Burr, Assistant Director/Department Head, UConn Extension
  • Don Tuller, President, Connecticut Farm Bureau Association
  • Joan Nichols, Executive Director, Connecticut Farm Bureau Association

Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/869074836

Meeting ID: 869 074 836

Phone:  +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

Join us for a Farmer Focus Group Tomorrow

vegetables in a wheelbarrow in a greenhouse
Photo: USDA
Invite to Farmer Focus Group

Do you struggle with getting all the work done on your farm?  Do you have challenges attracting and retaining employees?  Are you interested in working with other farmers to design solutions to labor challenges?  If so, consider attending the farmer focus group, Exploring Novel Approaches to Farm Labor, at the CT NOFA Winter Conference in Middletown on March 7th from 12:30—1:45.  [A vegetarian box lunch will be provided]  We will discuss three potential farm labor models and the opportunities, challenges, and interests of each one.  Be prepared to provide your input and feedback! Register now by clicking here We are seeking small to mid-scale diversified fruit and vegetable farmers in Connecticut (and New England + New York) who practice sustainable growing methods and market products directly to consumers or engage in wholesale/institutional markets.  We are particularly interested in producers who hire full-time, part-time seasonal workers, and/or family members.  An electronic gift card of $50 will be provided. 

FYI – A second opportunity to participate will be in the evening of March 30th at CT Farm Bureau Association, time tbd.

This project is funded by a Northeast SARE Novel Approaches grant, LNE19-386R. 

Why We Need Local Food in our Schools

Robert Schacht photo of him talking about local food in Connecticut schools

Who wants local food in schools, and why? We’re partnering with 81 school districts in Connecticut through our Put Local On Your Tray program, and helping them to source local food from Connecticut farms. This short video explains the importance of local food in our schools:
 
#UConnImpact

Vegetable Production Certificate Course

vegetable production flyervegetable production flyer
We’re offering a Vegetable Production Certificate Course, beginning on March 12th. It’s a hybrid format, online and in-person for new and beginning farmers. This year only, we have a special introductory fee of $100 or $150 depending on the course option you choose.

This vegetable production course is designed to benefit beginner vegetable producers who have 0-3 years of vegetable growing experience or no formal training in agriculture. The participants will learn answers to the basic questions about farm business planning, planning and preparing for vegetable farm, warm and cool-season vegetable production techniques, season extension, identification of biotic and abiotic issues, and marketing.

The course description is available at http://bit.ly/Vegetables2020 and online registration is at http://bit.ly/ExtensionStore. Registration is due by 5 PM on March 2nd.
Please contact the course coordinator, Shuresh Ghimire (Shuresh.Ghimire@uconn.edu, 860-870-6933) with any questions about this course.

One-On-One Agricultural Advising Sessions

one on one agricultural advising with UConn Extension

The UConn Extension RMA program has offered one-on-one advising sessions for several years. Due to the popularity of this program, we are offering 3 days this winter for you to meet in a private session with an advisor. We are offering a wide array of topics to choose from. The brochure has the full schedule.

Contact MacKenzie White at mackenzie.white@uconn.edu or at 860-875-3331 to register.

Workshop: Production Agriculture – Back to Basics

back to basics flyerProduction Agriculture – BACK TO BASICS 

Farmers of all experience are encouraged to join the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, University of Connecticut, and the American Farmland Trust on Thursday, January 9, 2020 from 9 AM to 1 PM at the Tolland Agricultural Center in Vernon, Connecticut to hear the latest in IPM/biocontrol, soil management, and water programs.

Aaron Ristow of the American Farmland Trust will discuss his findings on the economic and environmental impacts of soil health practices. This is a free program and pesticide credits will be offered.

Register online now at http://bit.ly/2PNPDPC. For more information please contact Erin Windham at 860-713-2543 or Erin.Windham@ct.gov.