The Night-Before Party & Jam 7-9 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 9, 2018,
Minnesota Street Market, 27 W Minnesota St, St. Joseph, Minn.
Come socialize with your farmer friends and local food enthusiasts the night before the Annual Conference. Bring the whole family, your musical instruments, or just drop in to say hello. Lots of space to chat inside one of St. Joe’s fine local food establishments.
All are welcome to attend this free event. See the cool flyer HERE.
Registration Open 7:30 a.m.
Veggie Buds Children’s Program 9:00 a.m. – 4:10 p.m.
Bring the kids! They have their own program that frees you up to attend the sessions.
Veggie Buds is for children ages 3-12 (must be potty-trained!). Registration is $10 per child. Along with all the other fun activities, the children will also take a tour of the College’s Deep Winter Greenhouse, Full Circle.
They will join you for lunch, which is on-your-own at this conference, with lots of opportunities, including bring-your-own.
Children under 3 are free and welcome at the SFA Annual Conference but are the responsibility of their parents.
Register your kids and yourself HERE.
Opening Combined Session 8:30 a.m.
Featuring the Chapter & Networking Group Showcase, the State-of-Sustainable Farming Address, and a special recognition of Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Farming (MISA) for its 25th anniversary.
9:20-9:40 a.m. Exhibits/Break
Benefits of Grazing Public Lands: Ecological, Potential, Practicality 9:40 a.m.
Jess Berge, Cattle Farmer, Sunburg, MN
Troy Salzer, Cattle Farmer, Barnum, MN
Greg Hoch, MN Department of Natural Resources
J.B. Bright, US Fish and Wildlife Service
Kelly Anderson, MN Department of Agriculture
Wayne Monsen, Moderator, Sustainable Farming Association
A panel discussion about grazing public lands. J.B. Bright, wildlife manager from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Greg Hoch, Prairie Team Leader from the MN Department of Natural Resources, will explain why they want public lands grazed. Kelly Anderson, MN Department of Agriculture, will demonstrate an online matchmaker tool that connects managers of public lands to producers looking for opportunities for grazing. Cattle farmers Jess Berge and Troy Salzer will share their experiences with grazing public lands.
The Forever Green Initiative 9:40 a.m.
Dr. Nicholas Jordan, Professor of Agroecology, Univ. of Minnesota
The Forever Green Initiative (FGI) is a network, spanning many partners in the Upper Midwest and organized by the University of Minnesota. FGI is working to develop new crops and high-efficiency cropping systems that can enhance conservation, production, and profit in farming. FGI is working on several fronts, including biomass, cover crops, forages, and is perhaps best known for its work with Kernza (intermediate wheatgrass). Dr. Nick Jordan, Professor of Agroecology at the Universtiy of Minnesota, will bring us up to date on Forever Green and try to answer your questions about the initiative.
Telling Your Story to Sell Your Product 9:40 a.m.
Liz Morris Otto, SFA Board of Directors and messaging specialist
Katie Feterl, SFA Multimedia Coordinator
Katie Myhre, RED Market, Frank and Ernest Foods, Appetite for Change
You produce a great product – it’s fresh, local, delicious, and hand-crafted – but successfully selling it is another story. Learn how to discover and tell your story in this intensive session that covers messaging, social media and marketing your business, moderated by SFA Communications Director Jason Walker.
In any of her professional pursuits, Liz Morris Otto has utilized her skills as a storyteller to help organizations sell products and ideas that make the world a better place. She is currently CEO of her family’s trucking business and Chief Garden Officer for Haberman, an integrated marketing agency in Minneapolis. Otto farms in Delano with her family and is an SFA board member.
Katie Feterl is passionate about building resilience in local food systems and communities. She supports SFA as the Multimedia Coordinator and is a hydroponic farmer for Urban Organics.
The momentum is picking up for farms adding solar energy to their operations, with several producers installing systems of various sizes in the last couple of years. This session will explore soem of the resources and innovative ideas at work.
The Clean Energy Resource Teams – CERTs – are a statewide partnership with a mission to connect individuals and their communities to the resources they need to implement clean energy projects. Fritz Ebinger is CERTs Rural Energy Development Program Manager for the U of M’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension, and he works on energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives with agricultural producers to reduce farm production costs and advance utility conservation planning.
James Darabi, owner and installer with Solar Farm, LLC, will talk about his experience working with farms and farmers, and will give lots of tips and advice.
Dennis Compton raises grass-fed beef near Dassel, MN, and has a new 6.5kW system, installed by Solar Farm, that was designed to provide about 90% of the electrical usage.
Chris Gamer of Common Sense Energy will lead us through some innovative DIY solar thermal resources and energy storage systems.
The session will be moderated by Jerry Ford – his farm added a 9.6kW ground-mount, grid-tie system in 2015, which is designed to offset all of their annual electrical use.
10:50-11:10 a.m. Exhibits/Break
Passing on the farm business and the land to the next generation is hard work—and it takes time. Come hear from two farm families who are in the midst of this process. Jimand LeeAnn VanDerPol will talk about decreasing their roles in the family farming and meat business, and their strategy of land transfer that provides for both their farming and non-farming heirs.
Jerry Ford and Marienne Kreitlow will discuss the legal, financial and emotional issues of their unusual situation: they are working with an ongoing three-generation transition involving non-family heirs.
Food Safety Regulations for On-Farm Meals and Farm-Related Events: Do I really need a permit for a potluck?! 11:10 a.m.
Jane Jewett, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture
All of us in the sustainable agriculture and local food community need to be concerned about food safety. Bringing the public out to our farms for pizza nights, pumpkin patches, harvest festivals and so on is a fun way to build those farmer-consumer connections, but there have also been heartbreaking cases of the fun gone badly awry when people get sick. Working with a regulator and getting the proper food licensing for your activity can protect your customers, protect you from claims of negligence, and ensure that your food activity is legal. But how do you get that proper licensing? Minnesota’s food licensing system is complex and confusing, and it isn’t always easy to figure out which laws apply or even which food inspector to approach. This session will help you sort it out, and will also provide information about food safety best practices to protect your customers even if your activity is exempt from licensing.
Soil Health for Small Acreage 11:10 a.m.
Kent Solberg, SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist
SFA Livestock and Grazing Specialist Kent Solberg will cover tools and techniques that can help you apply the principles of soil health on smaller acreages.
Deep Winter Greenhouses: How do they fit in a Sustainable Farming System? 11:10 a.m.
Sue Wika and Tom Prieve, Reality Greenhouse at Paradox Farm
Brooke Knisley, Alternative Roots Farm
Kim Erickson, Way Cool Farm
This session features experienced deep winter producers discussing deep winter production from a holistic perspective. Topics will include farm systems, economics, DIY DWG, winter production options.
12:20 – 1:40 p.m. Lunch On Your Own, and VISIT the EXHIBITS!
Spotlight on Sponsors free box lunch for the first 40 attendees! 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Sai Thao, Compeer Financial
Sonja Bjork & Niles Austvold, Highview Advisors
Teresa Opheim, Iroquois Valley Farms
Jan Joanides, Renewing the Countryside
Bruce Miller, Minnesota Farmers Union
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Hear from SFA Annual Conference Sponsors about what’s happening in the area of funding for farm operations and ag businesses and farm financial planning.
Agro-ecological Lessons and Practices in Oaxaca 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Liz Moldan, Organizer for Witness for Peace, Midwest
Grab some lunch from the nearby snack bar or cafeteria, and join us to learn about the agro-ecological practices of La Milpa from the region of Mixteca, Oaxaca. In a region that has some of the highest rates of erosion and deforestation in the world, Mixtec people are reclaiming Indigenous agricultural systems offering viable lessons to other farmers.
Multi-species Rotational Grazing Systems 1:40 p.m.
Kent Solberg, SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist
Tom Barthel, Snake River Farm
Sue Wika, Paradox Farm
Diversity is often cited as the key to farm resiliency. Each species of livestock can fill a different niche in a grazing system. The challenge comes with how to economically and logistically manage a variety of livestock on pasture throughout the year. Join our panel as they explore the dynamic dance of managing an array of livestock across their pastures. Cattle, sheep, goats, bison, horses, hogs, poultry and domestic waterfowl will be discussed.
Resources and Funding for Women and Beginning Farmers: FSA programs 1:40 p.m.
Ryan M. Brunn, USDA Farm Service Agency, Stearns County Executive Director
Theresa Keaveny, SFA Executive Director
Learn about the array of programs through the Farm Service Agency that provide resources, including loans, for women in agriculture. This presentation also is relevant to beginning farmers, men and women, from organic to conventional.
Food Safety for Producers: Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Trainings 1:40 p.m.
Bruce Miller, Minnesota Farmers Union
Lisa Baker, Baker’s Acres Farm
FSMA, aka “Fizma”.
To a farmer, that can could be a scary word. The Food Safety Modernization Act is a brand new federal legislation that could affect many U.S. farms across the nation which will need to comply in order to keep our eaters and industry safe, and, of course, to avoid breaking the law. Some farms are required to have at least one person complete food safety training recognized by the FDA. Come learn from Bruce and Lisa how to help reduce farmer anxiety about the new regulations, and about the Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) workshops, how your farm might be affected by the regulations, and where to sign up for upcoming grower trainings.
The Main Street Project: Poultry, Perennials, and Garlic 1:40 p.m.
Julie Ristau, Chief Operations Officer
Wil Crombie, Communications Director
2:40-3:00 p.m. Exhibits/Break
Deep Winter Greenhouse Tour 3:00 p.m.
Sophie Buysse, College of St. Benedict Sustainability Office
Carol Ford, Co-Author, Northlands Winter Greenhouse Manual, & Garden Garden Greenhouse, Milan
Just a five minute stroll across campus, the “Full Circle” is a student-run passive solar winter greenhouse project committed to engaging the college and surrounding community in the cyclical process of growing their own food, from seed, to table, to compost. See a great video here.
Livestock Health: To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate 3:00 p.m.
Al Sletten, DVM, Wall Lake Veterinary Services
Tim Anderson, Anderson Organic Farm
Tom Prieve, DVM, Paradox Farm
Sue Wika, Session Leader
What is the place of livestock vaccinations in a sustainable farming system? A panel of livestock producers and food animal veterinarians will discuss experiences and options.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 3:00 p.m.
Noelle Harden, Jim Chamberlin, Joel Rosen, Chris Gamer, SFA Board of Directors
Theresa Keaveny, SFA Executive Director
SFA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team is working on strategies to ensure our programs and leadership reflect and engage the diversity of Minnesota’s agricultural community. Hear what’s happening, share your thoughts and get involved.
Jerry Ford & Connie Carlson, Garlic Project Coordinators
Luke Ahrndt & Brian Neff, Harvest Moon Garlic
Les Olson & Russ Swenson, Big Stone Garlic
With “The Minnesota Premium Garlic Project” well under way, this session will highlight the practices of three seasoned garlic operations, and Connie Carlson will talk about some promising market expansion work. As part of this Specialty Crops grant on garlic, we will be encouraging networking among the new and would-be growers. We’ll also talk about the upcoming field research and how your operation can be involved in the project.
4:10-4:30 p.m. Exhibits
Compeer Financial End-of-Conference Social 4:10 p.m.
Also sponsored by Lakewinds Food Co-op, it’s a great way to round out the day with friends and colleagues. Cash bar, snacks and a surprise or two.
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