Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Are You a New or Transitioning Organic Farmer?

If so, you should join us at our Getting Started in Organic Farming Conference! 

January 26, 2013
8:00am - 3:30pm
Goodwin College
One Riverside Drive
East Hartford, CT
 
This conference helps aspiring organic farmers develop successful farming careers by linking them with important resources and experts in the field.  Whether you're interested in farming for the very first time, or you've been farming for a while and want to learn more about how to work organically, this conference will provide you with valuable insight and support.

Here's some information about some of the conference presenters:
 
Wayne Hansen, Wayne's Organic Garden -Diverse “Tools” For Success in Organic Vegetable Production
How several tools, some small, some larger, some inexpensive, some not so, have helped me to create a productive growing situation on a tiny lot not obviously meant for growing and selling produce. How I got there may help you do the same.
 
Bio: I never knew what I wanted to do in life. Academia seemed like a trap to put me in an unimaginative job in a world without a soul. I've found a life in soil, weather, hard work, and the joy of good food. It's all been worth it.
 
Erin Pirro, Farm Credit East - Budgeting From the Bottom Up
It's good to have a plan. Before you have a plan, you have an idea - something on the back of a napkin about how you will run your business. A budget is a plan in numbers, designed to show you not just if it's worth it, but if it can take you where you need to go. A bottom-up budget is an easy-to-use technique to help you get there.

Bio: Erin Pirro has been helping farmers large and small make their businesses run better since 2001. As a Farm Business Consultant for Farm Credit East with a background in agricultural economics, Erin's focus has been on benchmarking and profitability improvement because sustainability means economics, too! At home, Erin's small family farm raises and markets sheep and wool products in southern New England.

Kerry and Max Taylor; Provider Farm - Starting a CSA for Long Term Success
CSAs are great but starting a CSA should not be taken lightly, and involves careful planning. We will address the benefits and draw backs of starting a CSA in your first year as well as lessons learned, tools for success and how our CSA fits into our whole farm plan.

Bio: Max and Kerry Taylor own and operate Provider Farm in Salem, CT. Provider Farm is a 200 share CSA, wholesale, and market biodynamic farm. We also maintain a small herd of beef cows on 20 acres of rotationally grazed pasture.

Adam Maikshilo, USDA NRCS - NRCS Opportunities for the Organic Producer 
NRCS can provide technical and financial assistance to organic producers utilizing Farm Bill programs. Who is eligible and how do you apply? Common conservation practices for an organic producer.

Bio: Adam has been a Soil Conservationist for CT NRCS for approximately 2 years. Previously worked as a Wildlife Technician for USDA - Wildlife Services for approximately 6 years. Graduated from UCONN with a degree in Natural Resources.
 
Kip Kolesinskas, Gaining Access to Quality Farmland
Participants will gain an overview of the common methods and sources for gaining access to affordable farmland, such as matching services. Opportunities on Municipal and Land Trust properties will also be explored. Basic elements of a good lease, technical resources, and its role in risk management will be discussed.
Presenter bio

Bio: Consulting Conservation Scientist, Formerly State Soil Scientist for CT /RI, USDA-NRCS, 35 years of experience. A.A.S. SUNY Cobleskill, B.S. Cornell University, Lancaster University, and Schumacher College -UK. Kip has been a major contributor in efforts to increase farmer access to land, develop farm friendly municipalities, and promote locally grown food.
 
Kim Stoner, CT Agricultural Experiment Station - Insect and Pest Management
Organic farmers need to think ahead about pest management. Plan to reduce pest damage by diversifying, using resistant varieties, and using other non-chemical strategies of control. Learn which pests can be tolerated, which can be managed at low levels, and which can appear suddenly and devastate a crop.

Bio: Kim Stoner has been the vegetable entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven since 1987. Her current research focuses on pollination and bees – including measuring exposure of bees to pesticides, monitoring native bee species, and studying pollination in pumpkins and squash.

Duncan Cox, Baystate Organic - Organic Certification
Duncan will explain how the organic certification process works. He will describe how crop, livestock, and processing operations large and small can become certified to the USDA National Organic Standards.
 
Bio: Duncan Cox has been inspecting organic farms and processors for Baystate Organic Certifiers since 2003, after first obtaining an MS in Soils from Washington State University, organically producing apples and onions in Washington State, and assisting farmers in both the Pacific Northwest and in South Carolina. 

In addition to these presentations, the conference will also feature a CSA Roundtable with Mark Gauger of Maple View Farm, Rodger Phillips of Grow Hartford, and Karen Pettinelli of Holcomb Farm.  During the roundtable, attendees will be split into small groups and be placed with one of the three roundtable speakers.  This will give attendees a greater opportunity to ask questions and start a dialogue with farmers who have had many years of experience with running a CSA program. 

You can learn more about the conference and register here.  If you have questions, or want to register over the phone, give us a call at 203.888.5146.

Hope to see you there!
-Melissa

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