agriculture

Job Opening – Project Outreach Coordinator in Northeast Connecticut

Job Opening – Project Outreach Coordinator in Northeast Connecticut

(Accepting applications until May 30, 2022)

UConn Extension is actively seeking to fill a part-time, six month position of Project Outreach Educator in Northeast Connecticut. This is an exciting opportunity for the right person who is versatile, responsive, and demonstrates an interest in local food and farms in Connecticut.

PLEASE DO NOT APPLY UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING TO WORK EVENINGS AND WEEKENDS.

The Project – With funding from USDA, UConn Extension is leading a project in Northeastern CT, Grown ConNECTed, that is focused on increasing sales and customers for farms producing locally grown food. The target region includes over 130 local farm and food retail businesses in 23 towns of Northeastern CT. The project is led by a Communications Coordinator and guided by an Advisory Board of farm businesses.

Summary of Primary Responsibilities – The Project Outreach Coordinator will deliver outreach across the 23-town region. Through outreach, there is a potential to tap into the social capital and networks that already exist in the region by engaging with town elected leaders, agriculture commissions, municipal employees, community-based projects, organizations and boards, as well as through tabling and making presentations about local food at community events. This approach will help build momentum for the regional marketing campaign, Grown ConNECTed.

Supervisor – Jiff Martin, UConn Extension Educator in Food Systems.

Work week – 20-30 hours per week with flexible hours. This position will require weekend and evening duties. Please do not apply if you are not available most weekends in the summer and fall. Some collaborative work (in the Vernon office) will be required, some focused work (at home) is expected, and some time traveling throughout the region for events, tabling, etc.

Candidates must provide their own transportation. The office is located at: Tolland County Extension Center, 24 Hyde Avenue, Vernon, CT 06066

Compensation – $25/hour. Timesheets are submitted every two weeks. This is a temporary, project-based position without benefits. There is an opportunity to renew the contract at least once after 6 months. This is a grant-funded position. Travel to events will be reimbursed at the federal mileage rate.

Duration – Position starts as soon as possible. Continuing or renewed employment in the following year is dependent on job performance.

Duties:

● Prepare, schedule, and implement presentations in targeted region about why and where to buy local food

● Table at farmers markets, agriculture/food events, as well as adjacent sector events (such as a health services fair or a festival where families are likely to attend) in targeted region to share communication materials, sign up residents for email, and build overall brand visibility in the region for consumers

● Distribution and delivery of marketing campaign materials to businesses, farms, town halls, farmers markets, food retailers etc in the region

● Help identify key events in the region that we should be participating in and complete registration and requirements for tabling

● Assist the Communications Coordinator in gathering content for digital and print communications, this includes updated info on farm locations, hours, products

● Provide critical input to the project team on what consumers are saying, what residents are looking for, and how town leaders are responding to the marketing campaign

Ideal Qualifications:

● Excellent time management and organization skills, including the ability to prioritize tasks while managing multiple activities and stay ahead of deadlines

● Strong presentation skills in group settings, both in-person and virtual

● Enjoys communicating with people from diverse backgrounds

● Is comfortable tabling in public settings, including setting up the display, being prepared to manage various weather conditions, maintaining engaging interaction with the public

● Familiar with region of Northeastern Connecticut; applicants from the region are strongly encouraged to apply

● Professional writing and email skills necessary to interact with public officials, business leaders, and other stakeholders

● Experience using social media, demonstrating an understanding for what works on different platforms

● Proven administrative skills, maintaining contact info, scheduling meetings, and managing Google Drive folders/docs

● Experience working with a project team, collaborative, or coalition that includes representatives of state agencies, municipalities, non-profits, and the private sector

● Works well independently as needed, good problem-solving skills

● Interested in the interconnected issues of food, health, nutrition, equity, and justice

● Must have own transportation

● Spanish speaking is a plus

● College degree preferred

To Apply – Send a resume and cover letter by May 20th to lauren.manuck@uconn.edu

The University of Connecticut is an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer.

People of color, women, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and members of traditionally underrepresented populations are strongly encouraged to apply.

A Community of Farms in Northeastern Connecticut

little girl holding a sign that says fresh is best
Photo: Becca Toms

The UConn Extension Sustainable Food Systems program launched a new brand in Northeastern Connecticut to help connect residents in the region with farms and farmers providing products directly to consumers. This new brand “Grown ConNECTed: A Community of Farms in Northeastern Connecticut” consists of a new website (grownconNECTed.org) with multiple resources for finding farms that fit residents needs, social media channels on Facebook and Instagram, and providing resources and trainings for farmers to enable them to connect with more customers. 

The brand was chosen and created in partnership with farmers and community members in the region. The phrase and logo were chosen to indicate that there is more than just the labor that a farmer puts into the products they produce. There is a community they are connected with that supports them through not just buying their products, but creating relationships that make every meal—for the farmer and consumer, a little richer in it’s meaning (and flavor too!). 

Through the Grown ConNECTed campaign, you can find farmers markets, farms that have CSAs and Farm Stands, and also alternative locations like other retailers and restaurants that sell products from local farms. 

This program was made possible through a USDA Agriculture Marketing Services grant. Visit grownconNECTed.org  for more information.

Article by Becca Toms

Multi-Faceted Approach to Nitrogen Management

aerial map of field spreading in agriculture
Photo: Rich Meinert

We have a multi-faceted approach to nitrogen management in Connecticut that addresses land use issues, agricultural production, and water quality. 

Extension faculty from the Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) are working on several applied research projects in support of better nitrogen (N) management. They are collaborating with the University of Rhode Island and EPA to create an online tool, “N-Sink,” to track the movement of N in coastal watersheds (Highlights, 2020). In a project funded by the Long Island Sound Study (LISS), they are using cutting-edge high resolution land cover data to explore the relationship of land use to N export for the over 4,300 small watershed basins in Connecticut. Finally, the CLEAR geospatial team is part of another LISS study, led by Dr. Ashley Helton of the 

Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, that is looking at “legacy” N loadings that are derived from past land uses that are no longer apparent but that continue to export N to our waters. 

Rich Meinert is working with three farms on developing accurate as applied maps for farm applications. Current as applied maps provided by GPS systems are inaccurate on smaller New England farms. Our small irregularly shaped fields require spreaders to negotiate tight turns. Current generation software does not calculate the differences in as applied rates between the inside and the outside of a turn. Preliminary measurements using equipment on one of the farms has resulted in a 30% decrease in application rate on the outside of a turn versus the inside of the turn. 

Another challenge in our smaller fields is overlap. Current spreaders have a fixed operating width. They throw lime, fertilizer, or manure with a set amount of force, across a fixed width, or they spray manure, or pesticides from a single point or a set of nozzles with a certain pressure and spray pattern, like a paint sprayer. Having a fixed application width and a varying field shape inevitably results in overlap. Certain sprayers can shut off nozzles to prevent overlap, but fertilizer and manure spreaders cannot vary their discharge. This research is currently collecting data to develop a computer algorithm to show where the nutrients are actually going so that future nutrient applications can target areas of fields that need it, and avoid areas that have had excess nutrients applied previously.

Visit CLEAR.uconn.edu and s.uconn.edu/nutrientmanagement for more information.

Article by Chet Arnold and Rich Meinert

Urban Agriculture Webinar – January 19th

hydroponic lettuce in a greenhouseJoin us on January 19th at 7 PM for a webinar on Urban Agriculture Opportunities in Connecticut. Dean Indrajeet Chaubey from the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, and Extension educators Jacqueline Kowalski and Jiff Martin are presenting along with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, USDA, and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

Full details and registration are available at https://s.uconn.edu/urbanagwebinar

USDA Ready to Help Connecticut Farmers and Ranchers Recover from Extreme Weather

USDA Ready to Help Connecticut Farmers and Ranchers Recover from Extreme Weather

TOLLAND, Connecticut, November 15, 2021 — Recent extreme weather conditions have impacted farmers in Connecticut. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), has disaster assistance programs available to help agricultural producers recover after natural disasters, including flooding and wind events.

FSA offers a variety of disaster assistance programs to support farmers through times of adversity.  Many disaster programs have a 30-day window to report losses, so once producers are able to evaluate their losses, it is important to contact the local FSA office to report all damages and losses and learn more about how we can assist.

FSA offers many programs to help producers recover from losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP)Emergency Forest Restoration Program and the Tree Assistance Program. Producers located in counties receiving a primary or contiguous disaster designation are eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses.

To participate in LIP, producers must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is apparent. In addition, livestock producers should bring supporting evidence, including documentation of the number and kind of livestock that died, photographs or video records to document the loss, purchase records, veterinarian records, production records, and other similar documents. Owners who sold injured livestock for a reduced price because the livestock was injured due to an adverse weather event, must provide verifiable evidence of the reduced sale of the livestock.

To participate in ELAP, producers must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent. Producers should also maintain records and receipts documenting that livestock were removed from the grazing pasture due to adverse weather, costs of transporting livestock feed to eligible livestock, receipts for equipment rental fees for hay lifts, and feed purchase receipts.

The FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters.

Compensation is also available to producers who purchased coverage through FSA’s  Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which protects non-insurable crops against natural disasters that result in lower yields, crop losses or prevented planting. Eligible producers must have purchased NAP coverage for 2021 crops and file a notice of loss and application for payment on qualifying crops

Please contact your local FSA office for more information about our disaster assistance programs or resources are available online at farmers.gov, where we offer a Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool and a disaster-at-a-glance brochure.

Faces of Extension: Bill Davenport

Bill DavenportBill Davenport quote

Meet Bill Davenport, our UConn 4-H Litchfield County Educator. “After growing up as an active UConn 4-H member, my ultimate career goal was to become a UConn 4-H Educator so I could help provide 4-H youth with the life-changing experiences, skills and friendships I received from my own 4-H experience. I am thrilled to finally reach my goal of being the Litchfield County UConn 4-H Educator!”

USDA Issues Statewide Farmland Disaster Declaration

FSA logoGovernor Ned Lamont announced late yesterday that farmers statewide will be able to apply for emergency disaster loans due to production loss based upon severe weather caused by Tropical Storm Elsa. Farmers have eight (8) months from yesterday’s date to apply for federal assistance.

Please contact your local FSA office to discuss emergency assistance that may be available to each agricultural producer.

We will continue to monitor potential disaster losses resulting from this evening’s remnants of Tropical Storm Ida. Should this storm prove worthy of the estimated rainfall, please report further crop losses arising from this evening’s storm to your local FSA office as soon as possible.

Job Opening: Assistant/Associate Cooperative Extension Educator Urban 4-H

banner of Extension programs

Job Opening: Assistant/Associate Cooperative Extension Educator Urban 4-H

UConn Extension is seeking applicants for a full-time (11-month), non-tenure track Assistant/Associate Extension Educator, primarily based at the Fairfield County Extension Office in Bethel, CT. Extension Educators are community-based faculty who make a difference in communities by connecting community needs with university resources. Position level/rank will be commensurate with experience working with Extension. The successful candidate shall create an active 4-H youth development program with a focus on STEM, food, and agricultural literacy.

More information and application instructions are available at s.uconn.edu/urban4-hposition

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