2023 Classes

Small Farm School 2023 Class Schedule: September 13th, 2023

Classes and Descriptions – click on hyperlinks for selected presentation slides and class handouts.

Block A 8:30am-10:00am

Enhancing Beneficial Insects with On-Farm Habitat  
On-Farm Habitat can enhance beneficial insect populations that provide help with pest control and pollination. Most farms have many opportunities to add habitat for beneficial insects. Corin will review pollinators and natural enemies of pests that are commonly found on farms and what they need to thrive. He will discuss a typical farmscape and areas on the farm that could incorporate habitat. Kathy will discuss the best plants for beneficial insects and how to establish them on your farm.
Instructor: Corin Pease, PNW Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Xerces Society. Partner Biologist, USDA-NRCS; and Kathy Pendergrass, Oregon Plant Material Specialist, USDA-NRCS
Field-to-Market: Selling Farm Direct, Producer-Processed, Value-Added Products in Oregon
Since 2011, farmers and producers across Oregon have been selling farm direct, value-added, low-risk products, such as fruit spreads, and pickled and lacto-fermented fruit and veggies to consumers under the Oregon Farm Direct Marketing Law. At the time it was passed, it was one of the most progressive “cottage food” laws in the nation. Earlier this year, SB507 was signed into law which expands the product list, opens new sales channels, including intrastate online and third-party sales, and increases the gross sales limit. These changes take effect later this year. This session will introduce the new law, along with the Next Steps and Timeline for implementation. 
Instructor: Kelly Streit, MS, RD, Food & Nutrition Instructor, OSU Extension Service
Growing Medicinal Herbs in Oregon
Kristie and Rachel will present information collected from Oregon’s growers of medicinal herbs on field practices (plant spacing, fertility estimates, planting and harvest information). Preliminary results from research trials on harvest methods and plant compounds will be shown.
Instructors: Kristie Buckland, Vegetable and Specialty Seed Specialist; and Rachel Cross, Graduate Research Assistant,Oregon State University
Nutrient Management and Cover Crops in Organic Vegetables  
(Presentation slides, class handout)
Healthy soil helps vegetables to thrive. In this session you’ll be introduced to cover crops, some organic fertilizers, and soil testing to fine-tune your plans. You’ll also see how to estimate nitrogen supplied by legume cover crops – usually the cheapest and most environmentally friendly way to supply nitrogen to your vegetables.
Instructor: Nick Andrews, Organic Vegetable Extension, Oregon State University
Season Extension and Winter Vegetable Production
(Class handout)
Learn about effective practices for successfully producing a bountiful harvest of cold season vegetable crops from fall through spring! Learn from Danny of Full Plate Farm in Ridgefield, WA how he plans production, manages harvests, markets his winter CSA, and why he stopped growing vegetables for the summer season! 
Instructor: Danny Percich, Full Plate Farm
Small Scale Orchard Establishment (outside)
If you are thinking about installing a small orchard on your property, this session is for you. We will cover all the preliminary steps including; site selection and preparation, species and variety selection, pest and disease considerations, and the realities of managing small orchards.
Instructor: Tonia Lordy, Executive Director Home Orchard Education Center
Staying Above Water: Controlling Mud and Manure on the Farm
We will discuss ways to minimize mud associated with livestock such as track systems, Heavy Use Areas and pasture rotation. We will also address the poop problem and how to turn this detriment into a compost dream.
Instructor: Suzi Cloutier, Conservation Specialist, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District
The ABC’s of CSA’s
(Presentation slides)
We’ll discuss distribution models, payment methods, member recruitment and management, crop planning, incorporating e-commerce, and more. 
Instructor: Bryan Allan, Zephyr Organics Farm; and Holly Hutchinson, Executive Director, Pacific Northwest Community Supported Agriculture  

Block A/B – 8:30am-12:00pm

Tractor Operation and Safety (Please note, this class is offsite and outside – you must provide your own transportation)
Double Class Block A and Block B
This three-hour class with staff from the OSU North Willamette Research and Education Center will focus on practical, safe methods of tractor operation and implement use. Includes classroom discussion and hands-on equipment operation.  (Continues into Block B with a short snack break at 10:00AM)
Instructor: Derek Wells, Oregon State University, North Willamette Research and Education Center
Location: OSU’s North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC) 15210 NE Miley Rd., Aurora, OR 97002. (You’ll start the day at NWREC and drive yourself to Clackamas Community College for lunch and your Block C session.)
Registration instructions: Select “Tractor Operation and Safety” for Block A and select “NOT Attending a Block B class” for Block B.

Block B – 10:30am-12:00pm

Becoming Market Ready – Best Practices for Selling at a Farmers Market
(Presentation slides)
This workshop will provide a step-by-step guide into what is required to be successful vending at farmers markets. We will detail licensing, market requirements, how to establish a market presence and creative ways to gain a loyal following of customers. Get inspired to feed your community while learning skills to take your farm to the next level.
Instructor: Jessica Land, Market Director of Oregon City Farmers Market and Oregon Taste Program Manager
Forages for Summer Resilience  
This session will cover different forage species that can be used to improve summer forage production, as well as tips and tricks for managing pasture for drought and heat resilience.
Instructor: Shayan Ghajar of OSU Small Farms
Forest-cultivated Shiitake Mushroom Production for Diversified Farms in the PNW
This session will provide an introduction to producing shiitake mushrooms on logs in the PNW as an enterprise to add to your farm’s crop lineup. WSU Extension has been researching how these traditional shiitake production systems can be best adapted to the PNW, and have developed some promising results and management approaches to date. The session will provide an overview of considerations for timber selection and handling, strain selection, inoculation procedures, equipment, labor efficiency, laying yard siting and design, seasonal log maintenance, harvest, post-harvest, and integration of this system into a diversified farm business. The session will also provide some insights into this system from a recent tour of shiitake production sites in Japan.
Instructor: Justin O’Dea, Washington State University Regional Agriculture Specialist; Eric Jones, OSU Extension
Introduction to Permaculture: Site Analysis for Farms
(Presentation slides, class handout)
Learn how the site analysis process of Permaculture can be applied to develop a responsive design to the unique characteristics of your farm. This workshop offers an Introduction to Permaculture with suggestions for application when you return home.
Instructor: Marisha Auerbach, Permaculture Designer and Educator, Oregon State University, Fertile Ground, Permaculture Rising
Just Getting Started? Exploring What to Farm 
As a beginning farmer or new land owner/steward, you need to determine what CAN be grown or raised on your property and what you WANT to produce. This session will cover how to assess natural resources on a property, such as soil and water, to know what your options are. We will introduce the basic physical property and personal considerations for livestock, fruit, flower, and diverse vegetable operations. Due to the brief time we have together, we will not be covering production methods, costs of production, or marketing strategy, however, you will leave knowing what questions to ask in order to take the first step into farming and with a resource packet to help you along the way. You will have opportunity to ask questions throughout and at the end.
Instructor: Teagan Moran, OSU Extension Services Small Farms Program
Low Input High Value Fruit Crops (outside)
One way to diversify your offerings as a small-scale organic farm is to grow low input, high value fruit crops. This session will cover some of our favorite specialty fruiting plants that are mostly pest and disease free, easy to grow, highly productive, and vastly profitable at market.
Instructor: Tonia Lordy, Executive Director, Home Orchard Education Center
Soil Health for All (outside)
Are your soils flourishing? Healthy soils are resilient because they store more water, improve aeration, and provide adequate nutrients. This session will feature hands-on soil science including a rainfall simulator demonstration to illustrate the causes of soil erosion and differences between healthy and aspiring soils.
Instructors: Kacey Myers, Small Farms and Organics Specialist; Stephanie Payne, Urban Conservationist; and Marissa Theve, Resource Soil Scientist all of the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service

Block C – 1:30pm-3:00pm

Agroforestry Workshop for Small-Scale Farmers in the Pacific Northwest  
(Presentation slides)
The overarching goal of the Agroforestry workshop is to share knowledge and acquaint smallholder farmers about agroforestry in the region. Workshop participants will hear introductory presentation on a range of region-specific agroforestry topics and practices, including: silvopasture, forest farming, riparian buffers, alley cropping, windbreaks, and climate change.
Instructor: Dr. Badege Bishaw, Courtesy Faculty, College of Forestry, OSU
Getting Started with the NRCS: Relevant Programs for Small-scale Farmers and Ranchers 
(Presentation slides)
Kacey and Stephanie will walk you through what it takes to participate in many of the NRCS programs available to small/beginning/organic farmers. The session will cover steps to be eligible for NRCS funding and connections to your local USDA FSA offices. Popular programs include the high tunnel initiative and organic initiative. Understand how you can share your voice on future NRCS programs for your county.
Instructors: Kacey Myers, Small Farms and Organics Specialist; Melissa Streng, Sun Love Farm; and Stephanie Payne, Urban Conservationist both of the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
Growing Grains and Pulses in the Willamette Valley  
Come learn about the opportunities and challenges associated with adding small grains or dry edible legumes to your farm: species and variety selection, marketing, equipment, and more! Brigid will also share the latest results from her variety and breeding trials!
Instructor: Brigid Meints, Assistant Professor (Senior Research), OSU
Low Cost/No Cost Marketing; Essential Strategies for a Solid Foundation 
(Presentation slides, class handout) 
Learn to leverage your low/no budget marketing by creating a solid foundation. We’ll cover email, social media, and offline marketing tools and strategies that will streamline your efforts and increase engagement with your target audience.
Instructor: Clay Scott, Communications Director, Good Meat® Project
Mushroom Cultivation: Beginner Basics (Mushroom Farming and Mushrooms on the Farm) 
Learn the basics of cultivating gourmet and medicinal mushrooms. This session covers introductory mushroom production principles such as substrate preparation and fruiting chamber conditions. You’ll also learn about integrating mushrooms into vegetable production, the relationship between mushrooms and plants, foraging, and more. Prepare to be fascinated by fungi.
Instructors: Christian Clarke, Myco Munity Mushrooms, Anna Wilson-Falk and Ryan Falk of Brown Bottle Farms
Nutrient Management and Cover Crops in Organic Vegetables 
(Presentation slides, class handout) 
Healthy soil helps vegetables to thrive. In this session you’ll be introduced to cover crops, some organic fertilizers, and soil testing to fine-tune your plans. You’ll also see how to estimate nitrogen supplied by legume cover crops– usually the cheapest and most environmentally friendly way to supply nitrogen to your vegetables.
Instructor: Nick Andrews, Organic Vegetable Extension, Oregon State University
Quick and Dirty Guide to Maintaining Soil Health on your Pasture, Forest and Cropland
(Presentation slides, class handout)
The key to soil health begins with knowing the soil map units on your land. Then we will discuss many examples of how to improve and maintain soil health on pasture, forestland and cropland. This will result in improved yields and healthy ecosystems.
Instructor: Sue Reams, retired soil scientist and conservation planner with the USDA National Resources Conservation Service
Rethinking Ruminant Internal Parasite Management  
(Class handout)
This talk will explain the crisis we face with internal parasites in ruminants; how we got where we are, what we can do about it. Traditional approached to parasite management will be challenged and sustainable alternatives presented.
Instructor: Dr. Chuck Estill, Oregon State University Extension Veterinarian, Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine and Animal and Rangeland Sciences
Succession Planning Basics    
Successfully passing on a farm or ranch can happen! Join us to discuss how either generation can start the conversation, considerations for family or non-familial succession, and making sure the right people at the table to work through obstacles.
Instructors: Andrea Krahmer, Education Program Director and Nellie McAdams, Executive Director, both of Oregon Agricultural Trust
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