In Fiscal Year 2023, NRCS will make $850 million available for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Agriculture Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
Also, at the annual meeting Massachusetts’s own Kim LaFleur was sworn in as the next president of NACD. Kim serves as the Board Chair of Plymouth County Conservation District and is a State Advisor and Program Directory for the Massachusetts FFA Association.
Congratulations Kim! We look forward to working with you
We are excited to offer this new program and look forward to working directly with farmers in the region to implement new soil health practices!
We will announce the list of available equipment once manufacturers confirm our orders. We are already recruiting participants for the program. If you are interested in using the new equipment or serving as a mentor to other participants, please fill out this Google Form (https://bit.ly/HHCD-Equipment-Program) or contact Matthew Karas – [email protected].
I am very excited to attend my first NOFA/Mass Winter Conference this weekend! There are so many great workshops to attend on Saturday, forty-three (!) by my count, peer-to-peer consultation, two Roundtable Discussions on Sunday, and a keynote address by Ira Wallace, who will discuss the history, present, and future of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Acorn Community Farm, and other cooperative models! I am grateful to get this opportunity to learn from such an inspiring and diverse collection of speakers and connect with other farmers in our region. Registration is still open, and I strongly encourage you to participate!
Registration is on a sliding scale, from $90 to $250, and includes admittance to all in-person and virtual workshops & activities, an organic lunch and continental breakfast, and long-term access to recordings of all the sessions. In-person events take place on the Worcester State University campus, but all activities are accessible virtually.
Topics include no-till vegetable farming, collaborative marketing models, racial equity, inclusivity, and justice in the food system, understanding and supporting the microbial workforce in our soil, designing and constructing your first hoophouse, organic compost requirements, growing for nutrient density, impact of climate change on pollinators, food gardens in prison education, growing for the cannabis/hemp industry, and so much more! I hope to see you there!!
See the full schedule here:
Massachusetts residents are estimated to purchase around 1 million cut Christmas trees each year. After your festivities are over, what should you do with your tree? Here are our top 5 options for disposing of your christmas tree:
- Create habitat – place your tree in its stand outside and hang bird feeders from the branches, place pine cones dipped in peanut butter on the branches, or submerge it in a pond to create habitat for fish. Penn State extension says that the “whorled branching structure… acts as a refuge from predation by both establishing physical barriers in many different directions and creating shadows that easily camouflage sunfish, perch, or other prey species of fish”. The trees need to be weighed down, in order to stay submerged. Some people recommend attaching cinder blocks to the trunks.
- Use it for mulch or compost – your tree can be chipped into mulch, or boughs can be cut and laid atop garden beds to insulate and protect plants. You can likewise cut up the tree and add it to your compost system.
- Feed it to goats or pigs! Trees contain fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients, and are a natural dewormer. If you don’t have animals, contact a local farm to see if they want your tree.
- Burn it, but outside only! Creosote can build up and start a chimney fire.
- Crafts! Add needles to potpourri or sachet for fragrance. Use slices of the trunk for coasters or to line your garden beds.
In addition, many municipalities offer recycling programs. Northampton has pickups on the following dates. Check this site for other locations, or contact your local recycling center for information. https://www.pickyourownchristmastree.org/MassachusettsTreeRecyclingDisposal.php
Of course, before choosing any of your options, you must remove all of your festive adornments – lights, ornaments, and other artificial decorations. Next year, consider buying a living tree that can be planted after the holidays!