UVM Farmer Training Program 2017

UVM’s Farmer Training Program is a six-month, hands-on program for aspiring farmers and food-systems advocates that provides experiential, skills-based education in sustainable farming. Students will get a unique and comprehensive education by running all aspects of the 10-acre Catamount Educational Farm, learning from expert farmers and educators in the classroom, and alongside successful, inspiring farmers in the Burlington area.

Graduates will gain:

  • A Certificate in Sustainable Farming from UVM
  • Experience in organic crop production, from seed to market
  • A deeper understanding of small-scale farm management
  • Entrepreneurial skills to start a farm business
  • A network of incredible people to provide support and guidance

Why is this program important?

Now more than ever we need to sow seeds of resistance. Climate change, environmental degradation, poverty, and food access – are all issues at the forefront of our society. We must combat these socio-economic and environmental problems however we can. Growing local food is one significant way. Small, diversified farms that employ sustainable practices can improve soil, water and air quality, sequester carbon and increase biodiversity. The Farmer Training Program provides you the skills to manage a diversified farm and be that change our planet so desperately needs. Planting those seeds of resistance is the first step to localizing your community’s food system and healing the earth.

“They tried to bury us. They did not know we were seeds.” – Greek poet Dinos Christianopoluos


(application deadline: April 1)

S’ra DeSantis and Rachel Stievater

Co-Directors of the Farmer Training Program

“It’s not a bachelors, masters or doctorate, but this certificate means more to me than any achievement or degree in my life. I am a man transformed because of the Farmer Training Program. I have discovered my passion, my purpose and even more who I am. And I owe it to those six months.” – Taylor Jespersen, FTP graduate 2016

Winter chill, bud break, and frost risk, late February, 2017

By Terence Bradshaw

February 26, 2017

I am following up on a notice I received from Mary Conklin at UCONN regarding recent warm temperatures in Connecticut and thoughts on bud break in fruit crops. I started to look at this on Friday, Feb 24, but went away to Montreal for the weekend where cooler temperatures were the norm. Prior to leaving, the forecast for Vermont showed a gradual cooling trend which I assumed would prevent any loss of cold hardiness in apple trees and grapevines. However, temperatures hit 72°F in Burlington on February 25, and although temperatures are cooling down from there, it is worth assessing the situation.

Temperate fruit crops undergo several phases of cold hardiness development. In fall, trees reduce shoot growth and export water from cells into intercellular spaces in response to shorter day length and cooling temperatures. During this period, known as acclimation, the cold hardiness of plant tissues increases until maximum dormancy is reached , usually sometime in mid-December. This state is called endodormancy, and requires a period of cold below 45° and above 32°F for the tree to ‘reset’ and initiate hormonal processes that will allow it to bud out in spring. Without this process, plants would bud out easily during winter warm spells, and subsequent cold could kill deacclimated bud s and other tissues. The chill hour requirement ranges from a high of about 1200 for apples to as low as 200 for some grapes. As of today, Shoreham, VT has accumulated 1173 hours since November 11, and East Dorset 926. So, warmer regions may have accumulated chill hours for apples or are near doing so, while cooler upland orchards still have a little ways to go. We should assume that all orchards will have met this requirement in the next few weeks. After chill hour needs have been met, the plants are in a state known as ecodormancy, where environmental conditions are the only thing preventing them from resuming growth. However, that doesn’t mean that buds will immediately start popping. Trees will then need to undergo deacclimation which is driven by accumulated heat units.

Unfortunately, we do not have a good handle on how much accumulated heat is needed to push apple (or cold-hardy grape) buds. I looked at the last seven years’ ‘McIntosh’ budbreak date from the UVM Hort Farm and calculated accumulated growing degree days (GDD), base 39°F (or about 4°C) since January 1 for each of those years from NEWA. This is far from comprehensive, as a true analysis would need to consider bud health going into the winter, acclimation conditions, date when chill hours were reached, soil moisture, and soil temperature conditions. But this is what I pulled together quickly on a Sunday night anyway. Bud break occurred after an average of 134.7 accumulated GDD base 39°F (range 132-174) from January 1 in South Burlington, VT. Today, we are calculating 54.1 GDD at this same site. In order to accumulate any GDD at this base, we need to see high temperatures in the high 40s and above. In the near-term outlook, I only see a couple of days (2/28 and 3/1) that might accumulate a few GDD in the Champlain Valley, and in cooler upland regions I don’t know if those days will accumulate GDD as far as apple phenology is concerned. Plus, it is likely that upland orchards still need some chill hours to accumulate before dormancy is broken, so they are even better off. In my opinion, apples are fine as far as cold hardiness to the temperatures expected in the near future and early (pre-April) bud break are concerned.

As for grapes, the news is a little worse, and yet better. There is no question that grapes have met their chill hour requirements in all of Vermont, although we really don’t know what those requirements are for the cultivars we grow. However, grapes need a bit more heat accumulation after entering ecodormancy to break bud than apples (although exposed tissue is more vulnerable to cold once it has emerged). Again, I don’t have a good handle on how much heat it will take to make grapes push bud, nor at what deacclimation stage they are in. However, the few (and not entirely reliable) long-range forecasts available are not suggesting more extreme (-0° or +50°F) weather after Wednesday. That means that even if buds have lost some hardiness (and some preliminary analysis by Tim Martinson at Cornell suggests we have), we are not likely to see the deep cold needed to cause damage, while we are not likely to accumulate the heat required to push budbreak until well into March. We’ll keep an eye on things, but I do not see, at this time, no cause for worry.

Here’s a good rundown on how things are developing in the southern U.S.:


It’s good to remember that the chilling hour requirement and generally cooler temperatures overall help keep Vermont and other northern country growers a bit more protected than those who are living in areas with warmer winters. It’s why we had fruit in 2010 and 2012 (albeit a smaller crop) when Tennessee and Michigan did not.


Summer 2017 Cold Climate Viticulture Class at UVM

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:00 am – 3:45 PM

June 20 – July 13, 2017

University of Vermont Horticulture Research & Education Center
South Burlington, VT

Information and registration

Students will learn principles and practices of commercial cold-climate grape production, including: site selection and preparation; varietal selection; vine training; nutrient, water and pest management; harvest; and introductory winemaking considerations. Special emphasis will be placed on environmental and economic sustainability of the vineyard operation. The class will apply knowledge of integrated horticultural and pest management practices in a real vineyard setting. The class format will consist of a combination of classroom lectures, hands-on fieldwork, and visits to local commercial vineyards. Students are responsible for their own transportation to the UVM Horticulture Research and Education Center.

For more information contact Terence.Bradshaw

Follow up from Feb 16 UVM Apple Program & VTFGA Meeting

I’d like to thank everyone for your attendance at the 2017 UVM Apple Program & VTFGA Annual meeting. You make those meetings work, and we work for you. Below are some follow up items from the meeting:

· Copies of presenter slides are available on our program website. Please use as you see fit, but remember that the slides alone do not come with the context of the talk they supported. More reason to attend the meeting… http://www.uvm.edu/~fruit/?Page=treefruit/tf_meetings.html&SM=tf_submenu.html under ‘2017 Annual Meeting’

· Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Alyson Eastman mentioned that there is someone in the Agency who continues to do CA room certifications: Tim Schmalz, tim.schmalz. (802)828-1317.

· Annie MacMillan detailed changes to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS), which are outlined at: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/revisions-worker-protection-standard

· Dr. Kevin Folta provided some resources for helping to craft your message with the public, including a book, Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, and his website, http://www.talkingbiotech.com/. His weekly podcast may be found at: www.talkingbiotechpodcast.com, and is an excellent way to pass time pruning or in the tractor. I particularly like the episodes that detail the domestication of numerous crops. He can also be found at: https://kevinfoltacom.wordpress.com/.

Thanks again!


2017 Initial Pesticide Certification Meeting

2017 Initial Certification Meeting.
This is a simple way to learn the material needed to pass the licensing exam to certify as a pesticide applicator in Vermont. Remember, even organic producers are required to hold a valid license to purchase or apply restricted use products, and many commonly-used products in organic production are restricted-use. -TB

Two site options are available. YOU ONLY NEED TO ATTEND ONE SITE.

White River Junction

April 4, 2017

VFW Post 2571, 97 South Main Street

~ or ~

Burlington, VT

April 5, 2017

Robert Miller Community Center, 130 Gosse Court

Meeting will be held from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at each location

Sponsored by UVM Extension and Vermont Agency of Agriculture with financial support from the USDA RiskManagement Agency

New for 2017

*Two site options are now available. YOU ONLY NEED TO ATTEND ONE SITE. Please choose site during registration.

*Registration is ONLINE ONLY. Please see links for each site below.

*Lunch will NOT be provided. You may bring your own or leave during the break to seek other options. Kitchen facilities are not available.

Program Overview

*This program will provide training and review of Vermont Pesticide regulations and the information covered in the Pesticide Applicator Training Manual that is necessary to understand and to pass the VT pesticide certification license exam.

*The Core exam will be given after this training in the afternoon from 2-4pm.

(No category exams will be given but can be scheduled with VAA for a later


*Coffee and pastries provided. Lunch on your own.


This meeting is for anyone wishing a Vermont Pesticide Applicator license:

Nursery employees, landscapers, school custodial staff, farmers, garden center employees, pest control operators, government or municipal employees, university employees, etc.

Pesticide Applicators

This program will provide two Vermont recertification credits.


Topics will be presented by members of UVM Extension and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

Study Materials

It is necessary to study the Core manual BEFORE the review to have all the knowledge necessary to pass the exam. Core manuals ($41) and required inserts must be obtained in advance from http://agriculture.vermont.gov/pesticide_regulation/applicator_dealer_resources.


Registration fee is $30.

After April 1st, Late Registration is $40.

Space is limited so register early!



~ or ~

Register ONLINE for BURLINGTON at:


To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Sarah Kingsley-Richards at (802) 656-0475 by March 21, 2017 so we may assist you.


Please contact Sarah Kingsley-Richards at (802) 656-0475 or sarah.kingsley@uvm.edu with questions or visit http://pss.uvm.edu/pesp/ for more information.

"This institution is an equal opportunity provider" Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. University of Vermont Extension, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status

Details on March 9 NY-VT Winter Grape School

2017 Northeastern NY and VT Grape School

Register here: https://enych.cce.cornell.edu/event.php?id=632

Come and join Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program and the University of Vermont Grape Program, Dept. of Plant and Soil Science for the 2017 Northeastern NY and VT Grape School!

For questions about the program contact Anna Wallis 518-410-6823 or email aew232

8:00 AM Registration & DEC Credit Sign In

8:30 AM Welcome & Introductions
Anna Wallis, Fruit Specialist, CCE ENYCHP
Dr. Terence Bradshaw, Fruit Specialist, UVM
Lindsey Pashow, Agr Business Development and Marketing, Harvest New York

8:40 AM Eastern NY Grape Industry Summary
Elizabeth Higgins, Business Management Specialist, CCE ENYCHP

9:00 AM Weed and Floor Management for New and Existing Vineyards
Tim Martinson, Viticulture Specialist, CCE

9:30 AM Crop Insurance Update
Elizabeth Higgins, Business Management Specialist, CCE ENYCHP

9:50 AM Break

10:15 AM Vineyard Disease Management for Cold Climate Grapes
Ann Hazelrigg, University of Vermont

10:45 AM A Minimal Spray Program for Cold Climate Grapes
Dr. Terence Bradshaw, Fruit Specialist, UVM

11:15 AM Resistance Management
Laura McDermott, Fruit Specialist, CCE ENYCHP

11:45 AM NY Grape and Wine Association Update
Sam Filler, President, NY Grape and Wine Association

12:00 Noon Lunch

1:00 PM Wine Faults Workshop
Dr. Anna Katharine Mansfield, Cornell University
Chris Gerling, CCE Geneva

5:00 PM END

February Northern Grapes Webinar

Dear Northern Grapes Project Webinar participants:

The Northern Grapes Project Webinar Series:

A recording of the January 2017 Webinar “Integrated Disease Management Based on Cultivar Susceptibility and Fungicide Sensitivity” is now available online. Please visit this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sTFsUcylDw&feature=youtu.be

Be sure to follow our Facebook page Northern Grapes Project for updates and announcements. We encourage feedback on current webinars and requests for future topics through Facebook.

Announcing the February Webinar:

“Tales from the NE1020 Coordinated Variety Trials”

Tim Martinson
Cornell University

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

12:00 Noon Eastern (11:00 am Central)

7:00 pm Eastern (6:00 pm Central)

With Tim Martinson, and NGP team members with variety trials in their state.

Confirmed participants (as of February 7th): Harlene Hatterman-Valenti (ND), Diana Cochran (IA), Terence Bradshaw (VT), Sonia Schloemann (MA), Anne Fennell (SD)

Since 2012, yield, fruit composition, and vine performance has been evaluated at experimental vineyards in ND, SD, NE, IA (2), MI (2), NY(2), VT, CT, and MA, as part of the “NE1020 Coordinated Variety Trial” multistate project. We chose to focus on Frontenac, with four to five years of field data at each site providing a window on how the climate and site characteristics influenced vine performance. Several challenges – including the 2014 polar vortex, and late spring frost (2015) – occurred at different locations, which illustrates some of the risks growers face. In the first half hour, Tim Martinson will summarize overall data trends. Then we will open it up to other project team members for informal questions and descriptions about trial results at their sites.

If you have received this email from someone other than Alex Koeberle, you need to register via the link below:


Registering for one Northern Grapes Webinar will place you on the mailing list, and you will receive announcements and connection instruction for all further Northern Grapes Webinars.

Registration will close at 12pm (Eastern) on Friday, February 10th.

Registration is NOT required if you received this email directly from Alex Koeberle, as it means that you are a member of the Northern Grapes Webinar mailing list.

All members of the Northern Grapes Webinar mailing list will receive an email the Monday before the webinar containing the web address (URL) for both webinar sessions as well as connection instructions.

Feel free to email Alex Koeberle (alk239) with any questions, if you want to check your registration status, or if you’d like to be removed from the Northern Grapes Webinar mailing list. Please DO NOT respond to the Northern Grapes listserve.

The Northern Grapes Project is online and on Facebook!

The Northern Grapes Project was funded by the USDA’s Specialty Crops Research Initiative Program of the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, Project #2011-51181-30850 and through the New York State Specialty Crops Block Program.

We thank the following organizations and businesses for their support of the Northern Grapes Webinar Series:

Grower Associations Sponsors

Iowa Wine Growers Association

Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association

North Dakota Grape and Wine Association

Eastern Winery Exhibition

Colorado Wine Industry Development Board

Michigan Wine Industry Council

Connecticut Vineyard and Winery Association

Wisconsin Grape Growers Association

South Dakota State University Grape Program

Southern Minnesota Wine Grower Alliance

Industry Gold Sponsors

Double A Vineyards

Agro K

Bevens Creek Vineyard & Nursery

Industry Silver Sponsors

Scott Labs

Dr. Kevin Folta at University of Vermont February 17

Dr. Kevin Folta, Chair and Professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Florida will present a seminar on Friday, Feb. 17 from 3:30-4:30 titled, “Communicating Science with the Public- A Focus on Genetic Engineering“. The lecture will be given in the University of Vermont Aiken Center Room 102 and is free and open to the public. Co-Sponsored By: UVM Departments of Plant & Soil Science, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, Nutrition & Food Science, and Animal & Veterinary Science; Food Systems and Cellular, Molecular, & Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs; and Apple and Grape Research and Outreach Program.

Dr. Folta has received numerous awards for his scientific and public outreach program including the 2016 Borlaug CAST Communication Award for outstanding achievement by a scientist, engineer, technologist, or other professional working in the agricultural, environmental, or food sectors for contributing to the advancement of science in the public policy arena. Information on Dr. Folta’s outreach program may be found at: www.talkingbiotech.com.

For more information, please contact Dr. Terence Bradshaw at:  (terence.bradshaw@uvm.edu).

Directions to parking and Aiken Center