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Friday Night Social & Jam Session
Friday, February 10, 7-9 p.m., Minnesota Street Market (across the street from the conference)
Come socialize with your farmer friends and local food enthusiasts the night before the Sustainable Farming Association’s Annual Conference. Bring the whole family, your instruments, or just drop in to say hello. Lots of space to chat inside one of St. Joe’s fine local food establishments.
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The Seed Swap returns, once again under the direction of Greg Reynolds of Riverbend Farm.
The swap will run throughout the day in the lobby at the Gorecki Center – bring your seeds to trade and share your techniques with other growers from around the region.
All-day Children’s programming from Veggie Buds (formerly Budding Farmers) only $10 per child! Ages 3-12, must be potty-trained. Register today! Children under 3 may attend free but are the responsibility of their parents; no registration for children under 3 is required.
Chapter & Networking Group Presentations
Connect with out Chapters and Networking Groups! Each will be doing an “infomercial” in the opening session at 8:30 a.m., and they will be displaying materials in the main meeting room all day.
Want to get your Chapter or NG involved? Contact Valerie McGoldrick, Conference Intern, mcgoldrickv
Intro to Soil Health & Restoration
New to the concepts of soil health? Is it just no-till and cover crops? Kent Solberg will cover some soil science basics and provide you with a solid foundation on soil health. If you plan to attend other sessions on soil health or the Midwest Soil Health Summit, this session is a great place to start. If you have been practicing soil health management techniques for a while, it will be a good review of fundamental concepts and applications.
Organic Control of Spotted Wing Drosophila: Going Beyond Sprays in Berry Crops
Dr. Andy Petran is a postdoctoral associate at the University of Minnesota. He is a specialist in organic small fruit production, and currently manages all Minnesota sites in a multi-University project investigating organic control of Spotted Wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii, SWD) along with Dr. Mary Rogers. Andy spent three years investigating season-extension techniques for strawberry production in the Upper Midwest, and now focuses on blueberries and fall-bearing raspberries.
Join SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist Kent Solberg, beef producers Ivan and Dayle Reinke and shepherd Lynn Mizner will discuss techniques for wintering livestock in northern climates, including large and small ruminants, hogs and chickens. There will be a follow-up field day to be arranged.
FARM TRANSITIONS SESSIONS
by Teresa Opheim
editor of “The Future of Family Farms“
with Jim and LeeAnn Van Der Pol, Pastures A Plenty
Our Farmland: What Matters Most?
Ten percent of U.S. farmland is expected to be transferred during the next five years alone – and Minnesota farmers are in the thick of dealing with this massive turnover. If you own farmland, what do you want most for the future of that land? In this session led by Teresa Opheim, you’ll hear from landowners who have thought through that simple yet difficult question, and you can offer your input as well.
Keeping the Family Farm Going: On-farm and Off-farm Heirs
There is probably no more vexing issue for farm families than how to keep the farm going for the next generation, particularly when there are farming and non-farming heirs. Come discuss with others what is fair to both those who stayed home to farm and those who went away. Plus, give your feedback on a method for valuing the contribution of the farming heirs.
—– LUNCHTIME SESSIONS —–
Free box lunch for the first 16 attendees
Sonja Bjork, Highview Advisors LLC, and Rachel M. Dahl, Hellmuth & Johnson, Attorney at Law, present a dynamic session designed to help you determine the success factors to further strengthen the financial position you have established. Your life’s work deserves the best care, and this workshop will help make sure you understand the financial planning success factors, including leaving a legacy you want.
See presenter bios here.
Free box lunch for the first 10 attendees in the door.
David Birky, Ag Resource, Inc., fields your questions about supplies and equipment for the small fruit and vegetable farm. How do we prep the soil, plant or transplant, weed, fertilize, irrigate, harvest, prep for sale and sell it, all while taking care of our sanity, health, soil and financially viability? We can’t cover it all in 45 minutes, but we can look at some equipment options which make the important work of growing good food easier.
Free box lunch for the first 30 attendees in the door.
2016 brought in the official launch of a Slow Money Minnesota network. Already, several connections have been made that have led to the financing of farm and food businesses. And we helped launch the Grow a Farmer fund, which raised nearly $100,000 small loans for small farms in southeast Minnesota. Join Jan Joannides from Renewing the Countryside and Julie Ristau from Main Street Project to learn about what is happening and how you can get involved.
“Ask the Deep Winter Grower” Advice Table
Located on the second floor near the refreshments, stop by to speak individually with deep winter growers and researchers. The advice table will be staffed by:
- Jill and David Thiel, Thiel Garden, Minneapolis;
- Sue Wika and Tom Prieve, Reality Greenhouse at Paradox Farm, Ashby;
- Carol Ford, Garden Goddess Enterprises, Milan;
- Daniel Handeen, U of MN Center for Sustainable Building Research;
- Kim Erickson, Way Cool Farm, Deer River
The advice table will be staffed following the Deep Winter Greenhouse session, during the lunch and tradeshow breaks.
Raising Sheep & Goats from a Wild Perspective – and –
The Sustainable Sheep & Fiber Community of Northern Minnesota: Keeping It Local
A two-part session by Sustainable Sheep Networking Group.
First, Alethea Kenney will discuss sheep and goats as they relate to wild herbivores, particularly the role these animals play in a grazing system in Minnesota, and how this can guide our management practices in disease and parasite prevention naturally.
Then, Julie Zika (left) will discuss the development of the new Sustainable Sheep & Fiber Community of Northern Minnesota, its roots in SFA’s Sustainable Sheep Networking Group, and how promoting small scale, locally produced fiber animals and their related products can help create communities that are more prosperous and have stronger social networks and more engaged citizens.
See the presenter bios here.
Garlic Mythbusters -and- How to Win Blue Ribbons with Garlic
The Upper Midwest Garlic Growers Networking Group presents a roundtable discussion that welcomes your input, led by Dr. Carl Rosen, garlic scientist and lead author of “Growing garlic in Minnesota“; Tom Coffman (left), award-winning garlic grower; and Chris Kudrna (right), garlic nerd.
Grazing: Fencing Innovations and Managing Rest Periods
Pasture management, the value of rest for pasture productivity and what works for fencing will get you going for your forage management. Quality functional fencing is paramount to successful husbandry of most livestock on pasture, rest is a key component of long term sustainability of forage production in our pastures, and fencing is the tool that helps producers manage pasture rest. Join SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist Kent Solberg on how we weave these critical pasture management tools into a successful system.
Water Management on Small Farms: Using Keyline Design Principles in the Central Chapter
Bakers’ Acres installed 900 feet of berm and swale to move water from concentrated areas out to drier hillside ridges, exploring how we can utilize excess water as an asset to increase productivity and resilience by capturing and storing it high on the landscape. The presentation by farmer Lisa Baker will discuss the strategy, construction process, first-year observations, and next steps. The project was funded by the Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and sponsored by SFA Central Chapter.
Returning Livestock to the Land: The Promise of Ecological Service Livestock
Presented by SFA’s Ecological Service Livestock Networking Group
Farmer and Ecologist Steven Thomforde will explore the need for and challenge of restoring our degraded landscapes, and how grazing and browsing livestock can restore ecological functionality. Two service livestock business operators, Jake Langeslag of Goat Dispatch and Kyle Johnson of Diversity Landworks, will discuss the practice of contract grazing for managing private and public lands, its potential as a business, and the basics of how to get started. Karl Hakanson, Univ. of Minn. Extension-Hennepin County, coordinates the Ecological Service Livestock Network (ESLN). See the presenter bios here.
Deep Winter Greenhouse Design and Production: Location Selection & Managing the Three Seasons
Join seasoned deep winter growers, architects and builders for a nuanced discussion on siting your deep winter greenhouse and how to grow fresh greens across the three seasons of winter. Carol Ford and Daniel Handeen of the U. of Minnesota will lead the presentation, supported by several deep winter growers: Jill and David Thiel, Thiel Garden, Minneapolis; Sue Wika and Tom Prieve, Paradox Farm, Ashby; and Kim Erickson, Way Cool Farm, Deer River.
Time to Call the Butcher: What to Expect, Terminology, and Helping Customers with the Process
Ivan Reinke of Cloverleaf Grass Farm, Andy Hayner of Freedom Rangers, LLC; Tom Barthel of Snake River Farm, Brad Bachmann of Lakes Processing, and SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist Kent Solberg for a panel discussion on communicating with your butcher. Whether you are making decisions on how to process that livestock you have raised for your own freezer or for your customers, we’ll take some of the mystery out of that communication process.
Growing & Marketing Herbs
with Connie Karstens, SFA Herb Specialist
When growers and would-be growers begin to consider herbs as a potential crop, they often think about the common fresh market herbs such as basil, thyme and flat leaf parsley. But have you ever thought about carving out a new niche with herbs? In this session, we will discuss unique approaches to growing and marketing both culinary and medicinal herbs. Learn about the income potential by adding a new twist to product selection, creative marketing strategies, value-added products and education of consumers. You will leave this eye-opening session with a fresh approach of new ways to diversify your enterprise with herbs. SFA’s Herb Speciallist, Connie Karstens, MS, is an herbalist and health educator who uses local plants for medicinal remedies. She has taught college nutrition classes for 15 years, and is the owner The Lamb Shoppe and Wellness Center, an on-farm store that features grass-fed lamb, beef, chicken, and eggs, along with organic foods, herbs, and educational information for healthy living.
Starting and Managing a Profitable Orchard
Apples and other tree fruit can be profitably grown in Minnesota, but potential growers need to start planning before the first tree is put in the ground. In this session, we will go over the steps every grower must take from planning to caring for the plants the first two growing seasons. Topics that will be covered include site requirements, soil fertility, rootstock selection, potential training systems and variety selection. The advantages and disadvantages of high-density production will be covered.
Thaddeus McCamant has been involved with fruit production since he started picking fruit in Western Colorado at the age of 12. He worked with fruit growers in West Africa, Oregon, Washington and Montana before landing in Minnesota. He has been working with Minnesota fruit producers since the fall of 2000.
The Forever Green Initiative
With Craig Sheaffer and Katherine Frels
The Forever Green Initiative is a University of Minnesota and USDA Agriculture Research Service (ARS) program to develop new winter annual and perennial crops and high-efficiency cropping systems. The Forever Green Initiative combines crop breeding, agricultural production methods, food science, and utilization technologies to develop these new crops and systems. These winter annual crops can be used within traditional crop rotations and provide new economic incentives to farmers while protecting water and other natural resources.
Craig Sheaffer is an agronomist in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul. He teaches courses in crop production and sustainable agriculture, and conducts research in sustainable cropping systems with a focus on crop rotations, pasture management, and native perennial systems. He has extensively studied alfalfa, clovers, and perennial grasses and most recently research on Kernza intermediate wheatgrass as a perennial grain and forage crop. Kernza intermediate wheatgrass is one of the new crops that is a component of the Forevergreen Project.
Dr. Katherine Frels is a research associate at the University of Minnesota whose research focuses on breeding and developing field pennycress as a winter annual cash cover crop. She currently runs pennycress breeding trials in St. Paul, Rosemount, Lamberton, and Morris, MN. Katherine is trained as a plant breeder and agronomist with a B.S from Iowa State University and a Ph.D from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Year-Round Income Streams on 15 Acres or Less
With Rod Greder, Jeff Aldrich and Mark Boon
Steady cash flow is necessary for all businesses. Small farms trying to become larger farms are no different. If your dream is for your hobby to become your livelihood you’ll need to be creative to add additional income streams beyond fresh summer produce. Learn from practitioners who are expanding their timelines and product lines to add more revenue to keep the dream alive. Come share your creative ideas.
Jeff Aldrich and his wife Mary Sue operate Mana Gardens, a small market garden and CSA farm in Buffalo, MN. Mana Gardens offers a twelve-week “winter greens” CSA from January through March out of a heated greenhouse. Additional off-season income streams include value-added products, eggs, honey, plant start sales, classes and community education.
Mark Boon operates Little Boon Farm, which has a 35-week CSA to provide fresh fruits, vegetables and eggs through much of the year. A newly installed hoop house has brought much needed season extension. Meat, trophy deer, dogs and other livestock are also available throughout much of the year.
Soil Health for Small Farms
with Sharon Perrone and Liz Perkus
Soil health is an exciting and popular topic in agricultural circles. While many of the articles seen in the agricultural press are targeting larger operations, the principles are the same and can be applied to smaller acreages with practical modifications. We will explore the fundamentals of soil health and talk about how you can apply these concepts to your farm.
See the presenters’ bios here.
Deep Roots Alumni Gathering
Hosted by Cassi Dutcher and Holly Pearson. Come enjoy the company of fellow farm enthusiasts who know that farming is as much about constantly learning as it is constantly doing. This session is designed for those who’ve taken any Deep Roots course (Farm Skills 101 or short courses) and those curious to see if Deep Roots courses would be a good fit. Whether you are starting to see your farming ambitions realized, or you are just beginning your farming journey, you will find validating and engaging conversation, and the opportunity to be a part of a growing beginning farmer support network. Bring a farming book or magazine to trade and an inquisitive spirit. Go here to learn more about the Deep Roots Farmer Development Program.
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