Thank you for a very successful 2009 Conference!
Check back soon for details about our 2010 Conference
Congratulations to Bernard Beethem and Doug Paulus for winning FREE admission to the 2010 Conference!
10th Annual NORTHERN MICHIGAN
SMALL FARM CONFERENCE
"Building a Strong Community Supported Agriculture System"
Saturday, January 31, 2009
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Grayling High School
Farmers are greeting the challenges of today’s agricultural world with new found passion and creative production, marketing, and management strategies. The Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference brings these success stories to you.
Frederick L. Kirschenmann, a long time leader in national and international sustainable agriculture, is the former Executive Director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture (2000-2005), and now a Leopold Center Distinguished Fellow. Dr. Kirschenmann is also President of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantic Hills, NY, where he holds a half-time appointment to explore ways rural and urban communities can work together to build a more resilient sustainable agriculture and food system.
He oversees management of his family’s 3,500 acre certified organic and biodynamic farm in North Dakota. The farm operates as a natural prairie livestock grazing system that combines a nine-crop rotation of cereal grains, forages, and green manure.
Kirschenmann convened Agriculture of the Middle, a multi-state taskforce that researches and develops markets for midsize American farms. In 1978, Kirschenmann helped organize North Dakota Natural Farmers that became the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society.
He serves as a review editor for the Renewable Agriculture and Systems Journal and on the editorial board of the Journal of Sustainable Agriculture. He is recipient of the Seventh Generation Research Award (2002) for his leadership in the development of sustainable food and farming systems.
Kirschenmann holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Chicago.
Youth Keynote Speaker: Daniel Salatin
Daniel is the son of Joel Salatin, innovative farmer, writer and speaker. As the third generation on Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia he has grown up in the family business.
Daniel has gone from carrying freshly processed chickens as a child in diapers, to running and overseeing the day-to-day workings of Polyface. As a seven year old he started a pastured rabbit enterprise. Starting the rabbit business gave him first hand experience with marketing, processing, research and development, and the costs of a new business.
Today Daniel is fully employed by the farm and spends his days orchestrating animal movement, scheduling daily tasks and apprentice training. At twenty-seven, Daniel is married and has two sons and one daughter.
A. Be Your Own Boss - Panel Discussion with Teens and Daniel Salatin - A panel of youth who have developed their own businesses will discuss how they accomplished it and what their challanges were to becoming successful.
G. Youth Keynote - Mom...Dad...I Want to Farm - Daniel Salatin
M. Let's Start Our Own Business - Panel Discussion with Teens and Daniel Salatin - Daniel and the youth panel members will help participants learn how to create, manage and market an agricultural business.
S. Everything You've Ever Wanted to Ask About... - Panel Discussion with Teens and Daniel Salatin - The youth panel and Daniel will answer questions that youth may have about developing a successful business.
Concurrent Session I
B. Honey Production - Tim Bennett - Come learn from Aphis mellifera (honey bee) how local community supported agriculture can really work.
C. CSA Farmer/Consumer Panel - Marty Heller, Bernie Ware, Meadowlark Farm, Nic and Jen Welty - Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) farms are on the rise nationwide. Whether you are currently a CSA farmer/shareholder or on the fence about becoming one, this session offers testimony from a diverse panel of Northern Michigan CSA farmers and their shareholders who have embraced this unique and expanding form of direct market agriculture. Learn what has and hasn't worked, and how each has tailored their programs for success.
D. Selecting and Using Backpack Sprayers - Roberta Dow, Jill O'Donnell - Not all sprayers are created equal. See sprayers, modifications, nozzle selections & accessories. Get information on calibration. This program is for anyone who uses a backpack sprayer for small area spraying.
E. Starting Your Specialty Food Product Business at a Kitchen Incubator - Ron Steiner - A review of the entrepreneurial mindset and discipline required to start and grow a specialty food product business. This will emphasize the equal importance of marketing and finances, as well as the actual production, and the supportive role of a licensed kitchen incubator.
F. Opportunities for Small Farmers in the New Bioeconomy - Dennis Pennington - Energy consumption and demand has increased steadily since the 1940's. Investment in renewable energy sources is at all time highs. Learn why agriculture is positioned to be a key player in the bioenergy and bioproducts industry.
Concurrent Session II
H. Ag Tourism, Value Added Agriculture and Local Zoning - Don Coe - Everyone is talking about the growth of agriculture tourism and value added agriculture. Locavore is the hot issues, but in a state that values home rule, are our townships governments ready to embrace the fact that for many small farms to be successful they have to be able to grow, process, retail and market their products from the farm?
I. Root Cellars - John Biernbaum - From construction to use, see how this traditional preservation method is gaining new popularity for it's ability to extend and diversify your small farm, contribute to year-round local food availability, and minimizing energy costs.
J. Drip Irrigations - Jack Middleton - The objective of this program will be to give you confidence in selecting and using drip irrigation for food production. Water needs; characteristics of drip irrigation; applications of drip for vegetable, fruit and hoophouse; materials available and other options will be discussed. Drip irrigations materials will be available to see and handle.
K. Finding Local Food Funding - Jim Sluyter - A strong movement is growing in northern Michigan to increase economic development through sustainable agriculture. Many growers and producers need funding to expand current operations, find ways to grow year round, and to establish new businesses.
L. Liability, Food Safety and the Small Farm - Chris Bedford - Melamine in milk from China, E-coli on spinach and peppers. Huge ground beef recalls, Global industrial food system safety and quality problems have spawned new initiatives on food safety and farm liability that, potentially, will have a large impact on the operations of Michigan's small farms. This session will consider the nature of this challenge and what we can do about it.
T. Conserving Pollinators for Sustainable Crop Pollination - Rufus Isaacs - There is concern over the long term health of honey bee colonies in the United States, but recent studies suggest that native bees can provide significant pollination services particularly in small diverse farms. Larger monocultures are more dependent on honeybees, and this is particularly true for spring blooming fruit crops. This talk will review the diverse array of crop pollinators found in Michigan and will describe tactics growers can use to integrate sustainable pollination practices into their farms.
Concurrent Session III
N. Maple Syrup Production - Mark Majszak - Mark brings us his extensive experience in sugaring in both lower and upper Michigan. He's been involved in large and small commercial production and provides insight into running these operations. He'll show some equipment and talk about techniques.
O. Alternate Hoophouse Panel Discussion - Craig Schaff, Nic and Jen Welty, Adam Montri, Jenny Tutlis and Jon Watts - Hoophouses have long been valuable assets in northern climates for propagating transplants in early spring and producing cold hardy greens and root crops throughout winter. More than just season extenders, they have been used to produce specialty crops for niche markets and aid in the successful production of heat loving crops in the summer. Learn current techniques and production methods for a wide variety of crops while discovering ways your operation may integrate hoophouse production with your current operations.
P. Grain Grinding - Lee Purdy - Processing grains can add value and opportunity for the small farm. Learn how to put together the systems, what regulations apply, and how this opportunity may fit within your farm.
Q. Growing Pasture Poultry on a Small Scale and Now Taking the Next Step - Tom and Waneta Cook, Rick and Sue Duerksen - Two local families share how they began raising pasture chicken and turkey. They will take you downt he road to where they are today. How did they start? How did they grow their businesses? Marketing differences? Where are they headed?
R. Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories - The Emissions That Greatly Contribute to Climate Change - Michael Powers, SEEDS Project Manager - Featuring information specific to farms and small businesses. Mike will talk through the process of doing a baseline assessment, setting reduction targets, analyzing reduction measures and evaluating progress over the long-term. One important method for reducing emissions is increased usage of biofuels, including methane digesters. There will be time for Q&A and discussion on the development of regional biofuel collaborations between growers and consumers - including municipalities.
Take Exit 259 toward downtown Grayling. Turn West onto I-75 BL/Hartwick Pines Road/M-93. Turn right onto Grayling Highway/Old US-27. The school is on the left.
Co-sponsors to date:
Michigan State University Extension County Offices of the North Region
Michigan State University— Project GREEEN
C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture
Northern Lakes Economic Alliance—NLEA
USDA Farm Service Agency
WCMU Public TV and Radio
GreenStone Farm Credit Services