Small Farm News - Oregon Small Farms - Oregon State University

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Small Farm News - Oregon Small Farms - Oregon State University

In This Issue:Find Oregon Small Farms Program on Facebook 2Small Farms Oregon Legislative Update 3Permaculture Opportunities for Small Farmers in the Willamette Valley 4Farm Profile: The Road From GateWay Farms to Little Farms, LLC 6Buying Whole Animals: Not Only Tasty but Thrifty? 8Pinning Maps Protect Vegetable Seed Quality in the Willamette Valley 10Welcome New Oregon Small Farms Program Member Amy Garrett 10Living on a Few Acres Conference Grows 11Organic Vegetable Growes Share Tricks of the Trade at 9th Annual NW 12Farmer to Farmer ExchangeFoodHub Membership Waived Until May 1st 14Conservation Opportunity for Landowners - CRP Opens Sign-ups 15Calendar 19OregonSmall Farm NewsOregon State University Small Farms ProgramSpring 2011


OSU Extension ServiceSmall Farms StaffGarry StephensonSmall Farms Program CoordinatorCorvallis, OR 97330Sam AngimaLincoln County29 SE 2nd Street, Newport, OR 97365541-574-6534Nick AndrewsClackamas & Washington Counties15210 NE Miley Road, Aurora, OR 97002503-678-1264Melissa FeryBenton, Linn, & Lane Counties1849 NW 9th Street, Corvallis, OR 97330541-766-6750Amy GarrettBenton, Linn, & Lane Counties1849 NW 9th Street, Corvallis, OR 97330541-766-6750Find ORegon StateUniversity Small FarmsProgram on FacebookYou can now find the Oregon State University Small Farms Programon Facebook. Make sure you “Like” our page to get program updatesand much more. We encourgage clientele to share stories on ourwall. While you are there check out other Small Farms pages like theOregon Small Farms Conference and the League of Women Farmersin Southern Oregon. You can even “Like” your own county ExtensionService office.Dana MartinDeschutes, Crook, & Jefferson Counties3893 SW Airport Way, Redmond, OR 97756541-548-6088Melissa MatthewsonJackson, Josephine, & Douglas Counties569 Hanley Road, Central Point, OR 97502541-776-7371Maud PowellJackson, Josephine, & Douglas Counties569 Hanley Road, Central Point, OR 97502541-776-7371Raini RippyDouglas County1134 SE Douglas, Roseburg, OR 97470541-672-4461Chrissy LucasSmall Farms Program Assistant1849 NW 9th Street, Corvallis, OR 973301-800-365-0201Cover Photo:Gateway Farms of Goldendale, WA. See thefull farm profile of page 6.Photo provided by Lisa HarnessLayout by:Chrissy Lucas, Oregon StateUniversity Extension Service Small Farms ProgramOregon State University Extension Service offers educationalprograms, activities, and materials without discrimination based onrace, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, maritalstatus, disability, and disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran status.Oregon State University Extension Service is an Equal OpportunityEmployer.Oregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 2


Small Farms Oregon Legislative UpdateBy: Maud Powell, OSU Small Farms ProgramThis legislative session includes an unprecedentednumber of bills that affect small farms are up forreview by our state lawmakers. Most of these billshave been sponsored by the Oregon Farmers Marketboard and Friends of Family Farmers. According toOregon Department of Agriculture Deputy DirectorLisa Hanson, “the legislation this session regardingsmall farms reflects a trend that includes an agingfarm population, a broad public discussion about foodand agriculture, interest in local food production, andchallenges of balancing food safety for the publicwithout burdensome regulations on small producers.ODA sees this as an important dialogue that can helpeducate consumers and support Oregon’s diverseagriculture industry.”This article serves as a guide to these bills, with statusupdates as of March 24th, 2011.House Bill 2872: The Poultry Processing BillWhat it says: HB 2872 would provide a processingexemption for producers who raise, slaughter andprocess less than1000 birds per year. These producerswould not need to process poultry in a state or federallyinspected facility. Under this law, poultry could beslaughtered on farms, but then sold only directly toconsumers. Currently, a federal law provides the sameexemption to producers, so this bill would serve toalign state and federal regulations.Current status: HB 2872 has passed the House and isnow in the Senate.House Bill 2336:What it says: HB 2336, written by the Oregon FarmersMarket Board, would ease regulations on some valueaddedfarm products. Low-risk products, like picklesand jams, could be produced without a certified kitchenand sold directly to customers though farmers markets,CSAs, farm stands and buying clubs. Producers couldsell up to $20,000 worth of value-added productsbefore needing to use a certified commercial kitchen.The bill will require labeling indicating the productwas not processed in a certified kitchen. Other states,including Wisconsin, have already passed similar laws.Current status: HB 2872 has passed the House and isnow in the Senate.House Bill 2222:What it says: HB 2222-2, currently has two provisions.The first stipulates that the Governor must considerappointing direct market farmers to the state Boardof Agriculture. The provision is significant becausethe Board of Agriculture is typically comprised ofcommodity farmers. The second provision allowsproperty owners to earn farm deferment benefits ifthey make sufficient farming-related investments in theproperty in their first year. The current law requiresfarmers to document farm income for three consecutiveyears before receiving an agricultural deferment status:Current status: HB 2222 is expected to have a hearingin the House Agriculture CommitteeHouse Bill 2800:What is says: HB 2800 directs the Department ofEducation to provide reimbursements to schooldistricts that serve Oregon food products as part ofUnited States Department of Agriculture’s NationalSchool Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program.Originally, the bill called for $22 million in lotterymonies to fund the reimbursement program. The fundshave been reduced to $1 million.Current status: HB 2800 is still in the HouseAgriculture CommitteeAs these bills continue to move through the Oregonlegislature, representatives and senators are eagerto hear from their constituents. To find out whorepresents you and how to contact them, go to http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/. These legislativeproposals have made it this far as a result of input fromgrassroots organizations and concerned producersand consumers. As Kendra Kimbirauskas of Friendsof Family Farmers explains, “it’s been great to haveso many bills come to the Legislature this session.We’re finding that Republicans and Democrats alikeare in support of small farms and want to ensure theireconomic viability well into the future. While thesebills won’t solve all of the problems that family farmersand ranchers face, they are major steps in the rightdirection of ensuring that our small farmers are ableto remain competitive.” Stay tuned for more updateson these bills in the next addition of the Small FarmsNews.Oregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 3


Permaculture Opportunities for Small Farmers inthe Willamette ValleyBy: Amy Garrett, OSU Small Farms ProgramPermaculture has spreadaround the world as agrassroots movement of farmers,gardeners, activists, designers,and teachers. There are manydesign concepts in the study ofpermaculture that could benefitthose building the infrastructurefor a new farm, and potentiallyincrease long-term efficiencyand profitability.Permaculture is a set ofPhoto by Levi Fredricksontechniques and principles for designing sustainablehuman settlements and economic systems, as well asproductive agro-ecosystems that have the integrity ofnatural ecosystems. This article will touch on someof the ways permaculture design can be a useful toolfor small farmers in creating integrated sustainablefarming systems by using a whole farm approach,water catchment systems, and increasing plant andanimal diversity. Some local resources and educationalopportunities will also be provided for those interestedin learning more.Many of the components of permaculture design, suchas increasing biodiversity, creating beneficial insecthabitat, raising smalland/or large livestock,mulching, buildingsoil and digging pondsto hold rainwater forirrigation are not newconcepts. According topermaculture designerand teacher, AndrewMillison, one of thegoals of permaculturedesign is creating“intentionally patternedOne of three ponds at Wolf Gulch Farmused for irrigation. Photo by Jude Hobbsperennial infrastructureof multifunctionalproductive plants.” It isthrough well thought-outdesign and putting all theenergy and resources thatenter your farming systemto work (e.g. stacking thefunctions of each element ofthe farm system), that time,effort, and money can besaved.According to permaculturedesigner and teacher JudeHobbs, there are a lot of new farmers moving onto landthat are interested in creating these kinds of holisticfarming systems. In establishing a small farm, thereare multiple things to consider at the very beginningincluding water rights, soil quality and conservation,marketing, and the creation of a business plan justto name a few. Teachers of permaculture, advisefarmers to start small expanding out from the house,work intensively, and then grow into it. Jude Hobbsrecommends starting with one acre, getting perennials,greenhouses and water catchment systems in place.The perennials take a few years to start producing, sothe sooner you can get them established the sooner youwill start harvesting! Getting a greenhouse up extendsyour growing season and expands your window forproduce availability. Installing your watering systembefore you plant is critical for some crops consideringour very dry summers here in the Willamette Valley.As all well-seasoned Oregonians know, a majority ofthe rainfall we have in the Willamette Valley happensin the winter. Conversely, in desert regions most ofthe rainfall happens in a few days. The goal then is tocatch the rain when it happens so that it can be usedwhen there is no rain. Harvesting rainwater can be aless expensive and, in many cases, much cleaner watersource than the alternatives. Rooftops are an excellentplace to catch rainwater and ponds are a great way tostore it. Jude suggests installing ponds as high on theOregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 4


property aspossible sothat irrigationcan begravity fed.The soil isanother greatplace to storewater. Oneway of doingRainwater havesting for livestock. Photo provided by Jude Hobbsthis is withswales. A swale is a shallow trench laid out dead levelalong the lands contours to allow water to enter the soil(Hemenway, 2000). The down-hill side of the swale isthen the perfect place to plant perennials and fruit treeswhich will gladly use that water to establish and grow,which in turn reduces soil erosion and produces morefood! These are just of couple of the many examplesof how water catchment systems can be incorporatedinto a small farm.In designing sustainable farming systems,diversification is very also very important. Forexample, the beauty of incorporating poultry andlivestock into a farm is that they turn the things thatmost people don’t like to eat, such as worms, insectsand weeds, into fertilizer and food! Enhancing thediversity on your farm can minimize large pest outbreaks, attract beneficial insects and pollinators,in addition to creating more potential income. Bymimicking nature, the “outputs” of one species arelinked to the “inputs” of another. For example, whenhousing chickens in or adjoined to a greenhouse,they warm it with their body heat in the winter andincrease plant growth with the carbon dioxide fromtheir breath, in addition to providing eggs, meat, andfertilizer. Utilizing this model of thinking for all theplant or animalspecies onyour farms canhelp you makeIn Jordan, the location of the 2011 InternationalPermaculture Conference (www.ipcon.org), theGreening of the Desert project (www.greening-thedesert.website.org)led by Geoff Lawton, transformeda once barren desert landscape into a lush, productive,edible forest garden. This is one of the many inspiringexamples out there that illustrate what is possible withpermaculture design.connectionsbetweencomponents.Then, toenable a designcomponent tofunction, you must put it in the right place, or arrangefor some connections (Mollison, 1988).According to Bill Mollison, one of the founders ofpermaculture, “the limiting factor of good design andyield is the imagination of the designer” (Mollison1988). In this article we have barely touched thesurface of the permaculture toolbox for farmers. If youare interested in learning more about how permaculturecan potentially improve the efficiency, productivity,and profitability of your farm, there are multipleeducational opportunities coming up in the WillametteValley and all over the world. There is now an onlinePermaculture Design Course organized by AndrewMillison offered through Oregon State University fromMarch 28 through June 10 th along with many othercourses coming up in Oregon listed in the chart below.Useful Links for Permaculture EducationalOpportunitieswww.beaverstatepermaculture.comwww.cascadiapermacuture.comwww.siskiyoupermaculture.comwww.aprovecho.netwww.lostvalley.orghttp://tryonfarm.orgReferencesHemenway, T. Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-ScalePermaculture. Chelsea Green Publishing Co. 2000.Mollison, B. Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual.Tagari 1988.Oregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 5


Farm Profile: The Road from GateWay Farmsto Little Farms, LLCBy: Susan Kerr, WSU Klickitat County Extension DirectorGateWay Farms began for David and ReneeKreinbring five years ago with an 80-acre parcelwest of Goldendale, WA. The initial plan was to raiselambs and pigs, but instead the plan became to produceSouth African Boer goats. The foundation herd waseight does a buck and a few wethers. Renee reflects,“What did we know about goats, anyway.”Nature being what it is, the kids began coming. TheKreinbrings liked the goats but didn’t really know whatto do with them. To get some help and direction, theyjoined a newly-formed group for goat producers calledthe Columbia Basin Goat Guild (CBGG). Through theCBGG, Renee met Mary Wilson, a fellow local goatenthusiast who was raising Kiko breeding stock andmeat goats. Mary and Renee both agreed they wantedmore from our farms then just raising goats—there hadto be a market for them so the farm could be profitable:otherwise what was the purpose?GateWay Farms began to sell at the farmer’s market inThe Dalles, OR in 2008. They found some customersinterested in buying goat meat and were excited aboutthat. They joined the Gorge Grown Food Network andbegan to sell in the Hood River, OR farmers marketas well. They noticed they didn’t get a lot of traffic attheir booth if they only had closed coolers of meat.Realizing theyneeded to drawsome attentionto their booth,they startedmaking andoffering jams,sauces andchutneys as well.It worked! Morecustomers beganto come to theirbooth and theybegan to sellThree young kids. Photo by Lisa Harnessmore goat meat.Mary and Reneeparticipatedin the Womenin Agricultureprogram offeredin Goldendalein 2009-2010and then in theMid-ColumbiaFarm EnterpriseInvestigationSeries offered byWSU and OSUExtension inWhite Salmon,WA; bothprograms werefunded by theRenee Kreinbring and her dogs. The Welsh PembrokeCorgis are all working dogs on the farm. Photo by LisaHarnessWestern Center for Risk Management Education.Renee says “We learned so much, including the needto have many revenue streams so if one is negativelyimpacted the others can fill the in space. With all thisinformation, we decided to broaden our livestock toinclude beef, pork, chicken, turkeys and eggs.”During this growth period, Mary Wilson, David Oshnerand David and Renee Kreinbring formed a partnershipcalled Little Farms, LLC. Being an LLC is a wise riskmanagement decision. This business structure protectsall partners’ personal assets from any claims broughtagainst the corporation.Little Farms now offers a meat CSA that providescustomers with 23 lbs. of a variety of meat pluseggs by delivery on a monthly basis. They also offerturkeys and specialty sauces on a seasonal basis.Customers can order specific cuts of meat or jams,sauces, or chutneys on-line from www.littlefarms.org.They make deliveries to customers in the Stevenson,Vancouver, Portland, Troutdale, and Cascade Locksarea on the second Friday of each month and to Lyle,Bingen, Hood River, Mosier, The Dalles, DallesportOregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 6


Local Goldendale store display of sauces,jams, and chutney from Little Farms, LLC.Photo by Lisa Harnessand Goldendalecustomers on thethird Friday of eachmonth.The CSA hasincreased LittleFarms’ client baseand has giventhe partners theopportunity to get toknow their customerson a personal level.Due to increasedbusiness, theyhave begun to usea co-packer to produce their most popular jamsand chutneys. These products can be found at theHood River and The Dalles Farmers Markets andat the “Everybody’s Business” cooperative storein Goldendale. Little Farms, LLC isn’t restingon its laurels. The partners are working with thecounty Planning Department and state departmentsof Ecology, Health and Animal Health to build aWSDA-certified poultry processing facility.The goal is to have a processing facility that will beable to process up to 20,000 birds annually. Theybelieve such a facility is very much needed in thearea. It would benefit many in the community whowant to sell birds at Farmers’ Markets and specialtystores but are unable to do so due to restrictions inhome processing regulations.The road from GateWayFarms to Little Farms,LLC was influenced byeducation, experience,advice, marketing, trialand-error,demographics,goals, preferences,reality, re-visioning, restructuringand friendship.By diversifying its offeringsand providing high-quality productsthrough a convenient CSA, the partners may find theneed to change their farm name again—they won’tbe Little for long!COMPENSATION FOR CLAIMS OFDISCRIMINATION TO WOMEN ANDHISPANIC FARMERS AND RANCHERSIf you believe that theU.S. Department ofAgriculture (USDA)improperly deniedfarm loan benefits toyou between 1981and 2000 becauseyou are Hispanic,or because you arefemale, you may beeligible to apply forcompensation. Youmay be eligible if:1. You sought afarm loan or farm-loan servicing from USDAduring that period; and2. The loan was denied, provided late, approvedfor a lesser amount than requested, approvedwith restrictive conditions, or USDA failed toprovide an appropriate loan service; and3. You believe these actions occurred becauseyou are Hispanic or female.If you want to register your name to receive a claimpackage, you can call the Farmer and Rancher CallCenter at 1-888-508-4429 or access their website atwww.farmerclaims.gov.In 2011, a Claims Administrator will begin mailingclaim packages to those who have requested onethrough the Call Center or website. The claim packagewill have detailed information about the eligibility andclaims process. In order to participate, you must submita claim to the Claims Administrator by the end of theclaims period.If you are currently represented by counsel regardingallegations of discrimination against USDA or are in alawsuit claiming discrimination by USDA, you shouldcontact your counsel regarding this claims process.USDA cannot provide legal service to you. You arenot required to hire an attorney to file a claim, but youmay contact a lawyer or other legal services provider inyour community for additional guidance.Oregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 7


Buying Whole Animals: Not Only Tasty butThrifty?By: Lauren Gwin, OSU Department of Agricultural and Resource EconomicsFor the last ten years, I have bought meat directlyfrom farmers and ranchers, mostly on an “on thehoof” basis, bringing home a half or quarter for myfreezer. While occasionally challenging (I need to finda better recipe for beef heart), buying meat this way isvery satisfying. My family and I get a delicious, highquality product from livestock producers we know andtrust, without making them go through the logisticalacrobatics of by-the-cut sales, including the uncertaintyabout whether they can sell the whole animal at a highenough price across all cuts to make a profit or simplybreak even.We also get good value for our money. What’s notto like about $3 per pound for 100% grass-fed beefor pastured pork, locally raised, without antibioticsor synthetic hormones, and processed by a small,independent butcher shop?Anyone who has bought meat this way knows it’snot that simple. That price doesn’t include the cost ofprocessing, and it is based on “hanging weight,” not theactual weight of the meat you bring home.There are other challenges to buying wholes, halves,or quarters – AKA “freezer” or “locker” meat. You(probably) need a chest freezer, which takes electricity,unfamiliar cuts, remembering to thaw out the frozenmeat in time, etc. But strictly considering the cost of themeat, how does buying by the quarter, half, or wholeanimal compare in price with buying meat by the cut ata retail store?We compared the total cost of buying a whole, grassfed,hormone- and antibiotic-free beef animal froma rancher in Eastern Oregon, including the cost ofprocessing, with the retail price of the same volume ofgrass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free beef bought bythe cut from a retail store. The two types of beef aresimilar but not identical: the retail beef is not alwaysfrom Oregon but from a broader western region. In eachcase, we hypothetically bought 360 lbs of meat – the“cut out” from a 1000 lb live animal.The upshot? Based on the price and cut data wecollected, a whole animal bought live from a rancherand processed for me at a custom-exempt butcher shopwould cost $2195, see Table 1. The equivalent of awhole animal bought as retail cuts would cost $2507,about 14% more. If the animal is processed at a USDAinspectedplant, which typically charges a bit more, thedifference is only 10%.Cost of processing USDA CustomexemptSlaughter fee $99 $65Brand inspection $15 NAProcessing rate ($/hwt) $0.65 $0.55Processing cost/animal $390 $330Total paid to processor $489 $395Total paid to producer ($3/lb) $1800 $1800Total cost to the consumer $2289 $2195Table 1: Cost to buy whole animal directly from producer. *Live weight = 1000 lbs,hanging weight = 600 lbs, cut out = 360 lbs.These numbers certainly aren’t absolute: producersdon’t all charge the same rate, and neither doprocessors. If you only want to buy a quarter animaland not a half or whole, you may pay a bit more perpound of hanging weight. Table 2 on the following pageshows the cost of the equivalent carcass from a retailer,by the cut.Again, prices will vary – even daily – for retail beef.Record-high commodity prices for beef have nudgedretail prices up, even for non-commodity beef. And thecut-out – the percentage of the carcass represented byeach cut – will vary somewhat among carcasses (andprocessors).All these caveats aside, what does our comparisonmean? Some people (I’m one of them) will interpretthis math as good news: I don’t have to pay extrato buy high-quality, delicious beef from an Oregonrancher. And for that rancher, selling by the whole,half, and quarter can be far easier than by-the-cutOregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 8


Cut% ofanimalAveragelbs/animalRetailprice/lbTotal per cutper animalBrisket 2.0% 7.3 $6.29 $45.93Boneless Chuck 20.6% 74.3 $5.24 $389.10Strip Loin 4.4% 15.9 $12.59 $200.71Flank 0.7% 2.7 $12.59 $33.67Rib Roast 7.1% 25.7 $14.69 $377.73Top Round 3.5% 12.7 $5.76 $72.93Sirloin Tip 4.6% 16.5 $5.24 $86.23Tenderloin 2.7% 9.9 $22.04 $217.62Bottom Round 7.9% 28.3 $5.24 $148.20Eye of Round 1.3% 4.7 $0.00Top Sirloin 2.9% 10.3 $8.39 $86.29Short ribs 3.5% 12.8 $5.24 $66.83Ground Beef 10% 33.4% 120.3 $4.71 $567.36Tri-tip 1.1% 4.0 $10.49 $42.08Skirt 1.3% 4.6 $11.54 $53.41Hanger 0.5% 1.9 $8.39 $15.53Flat iron 2.3% 8.2 $12.59 $103.59Total cost to the consumer 100.0% 360 $2,507.22enough ahead to allow forthaw time.Yet with that potentialinconvenience come productchoices and characteristicsthat aren’t easy to find atthe supermarket, even onewith a local-food orientation.And when you work directlywith your processor, you canchoose how you want yourmeat cut and packaged, andsometimes even how long todry-age the carcass.In a future issue of the SmallFarm News, I’ll do the samemath for pork.Thanks to Camas Davis,founder of the Portland MeatCollective (pdxmeat.com) forcollecting the price and cut-out data.Table 2: Cost to buy whole animal by the cut from retailersales, especially when selling fewer than 100head per year. By buying freezer meat, youcan support a livestock producer in much theway that community supported agriculturesubscribers support fruit and vegetablegrowers. Furthermore, I like to support small,regional processors (though we absolutely needthe mid-sized processors, too).Others may see the negligible savings as notreally worth the challenges of dealing withfrozen meat, owning a freezer (and payingfor the electricity to run it), and workingwith a processor directly (phoning in cuttinginstructions, direct payment, picking up yourmeat).In the end, whether or not you think it’s worthit to buy direct from a rancher will depend onwhat else you value beyond the sheer cost.Buying direct is less convenient in some ways– though a trip to my freezer is much easierthan a trip to the store, if I can plan dinnerGrowing a Sustainable PortlandMetropolitan FoodshedA new project – Growing a Sustainable Portland MetropolitanFoodshed – is underway to identify how our regional food economymight be strengthened. The project is funded by Western SustainableAgriculture Research and Education (SARE) and includes a uniqueproject team comprised of Portland State University, Oregon StateUniversity, Cogan Owens Cogan, LLC and the City of Damascus.This project seeks to identify the needs faced by producers andprovide strategies to link producers, consumers and government tostrengthen the local food production system in a way that supportsregional sustainability goals. We will also explore the possibility of aregional strategy and partnership for a sustainable food future for theregion.We are currently seeking small and medium farmers in the followingcounties to complete a short survey: Multnomah, Washington,Clackamas, Columbia and Yamhill. The survey can be taken onlineor downloaded at the project website at www.pdxfoodshed.com.Following the survey and related research the project team willproduce a user-friendly menu to tools that mat be used to guide andshape state, regional and local polices in support of a sustainablePortland metropolitan foodshed economy.For additional information about the survey, contact Bob Wise atbob.wise@coganowens.com or 503-225-0192. To learn more aboutWestern SARE, please visit http://wsare.usu.edu or call 435.797.2257Oregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 9


Pinning Maps Protect Vegetable Seed Quality inthe Willamette ValleyBy: Ted Hake, Universal Seed CompanyThe Willamette Valley Specialty Seed Association(WVSSA) was formed in 1980 by companiesinvolved in producing vegetable seeds and otherspecialty crop seeds. With the assistance of OregonState University Extension Service, this group wascreated to promote quality seed production.One of its major activities is to maintain maps wherefields are marked and recorded to ensure adequateisolation distances between genetically compatiblecrops. WVSSA isolation guidelines help guaranteethe seed you purchase for your farm or garden is trueto type. This quality control gives seed buyers of theworld confidence in vegetable seed crops grown andharvested in the Willamette Valley.In conjunction with OSU Extension Service,WVSSA maintains a map in Marion County forthe north valley and a map in Linn County forthe southern portion of the Willamette Valley.Membership in the association is required toparticipate in mapping, and may include growers.WVSSA also provides the opportunity for seedsavers to pin their crops with the assistance of aWVSSA member.The Willamette Valley is one of only five areas inthe world where vegetable seed can be successfullyproduced. The unique growing characteristics, suchas weather and climate, contribute to the successof its specialty seed production. Because of theseimportant characteristics seed production must beprotected so growers can continue to provide highquality seeds for the United States and the rest of theworld.For more information, visit the website at http://www.thewvssa.org/. To learn more about theWVSSA, its purpose, isolation guidelines andpinning procedures contact any of the officersat http://www.thewvssa.org/documents/Board-Members.pdf.The Willamette Valley Specialty Seed Association (WVSSA) Website provides informationabout seed production, pinning map rules and membership information for boththe WVSSA and the Specialty Seed Growers of Western Oregon Association.Welcome New Oregon Small FarmsProgram Member Amy GarrettAmy Garrett started working with OSU Small Farms Programin February serving Benton, Linn, Lane counties. Amy grewup in Indianapolis and has studied and worked in the field ofhorticulture for fifteen years. She has experience rangingfrom landscape design, installation and maintenance to farmmanagement, teaching and research. Amy completed herM.S. degree in horticulture at OSU in 2009, and then movedto Lummi Island, Washington to manage a diverse three-acrefarm providing farm fresh produce, meat and eggs for theWillow’s Inn and the Lummi Island Farmer’s Market. Shehas a special interest in Permaculture design and recentlycompleted a PermacultureDesign Certificate coursewith Bill Mollison andGeoff Lawton in Istanbul,Turkey. As a Small FarmsInstructor, she is devotedto learning and teachingothers about ways toimprove the economicand environmentalsustainability of our foodproduction systems.Oregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 10


Living on a Few Acres Conference GrowsBy: Dana Martin, OSU Small Farms ProgramIf numbers tell the story,the 2011 Living on a FewAcres (LOAFA) Conferencein Central Oregon was biggerand better than ever. A recordattendance of 230 participantsenjoyed educational classes,a trade show and lunch atthe March 5 event held at theDeschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond, Oregon.More than 30 classes were offered, covering a varietyof topics in areas of livestock health and production,laws and regulations, small farm business andproduction, forestry and woodlands, weed and fieldmanagement, farm equipment, wildlife and foodpreservation.Popular topics about season extension and specialtycrops packed the classrooms, including Are we limitedto a 90 day growing season in Central Oregon?,where Jim Fields of Fields Farm shared tips onfarming in challenging conditions. Another well-likedpresentation, Raising Poultry the Natural Way, wastaught by Dr. James Hermes, OSU Extension poultryspecialist, who focused on producing poultry in smallflocks. Classes taught by Mylen Bohle, OSU Extensionagronomist, attracted people who wanted to learnabout pasture management and efficient irrigationstrategies while others were interested in learningabout honey bees from Matt Plummer of DeschutesHoney Co. Representatives of FoodHub and Locavoreshared tips on how to direct market farm products toincrease profits. Many classes, such as De-mystifyingthe Pesticide Label, qualified for core pesticide creditsfor those needing to be recertified.People traveled from as far away as Newberg,Milwaukee, The Dalles, Kimberly, and Goldendale,Washington, to join folks from Crook, Deschutes,Jefferson counties. Thanks to key sponsorshipsfrom Round Butte Seed Growers and the DeschutesCounty Farm Bureau, LOAFA participants enjoyeda complimentary lunch while listening to keynotespeaker, Peter Ballerstedt, PhD. Peter introducedevidence that the fatis-badhypothesis waswrong, and that growingawareness of this canimpact small farms inOregon. As a formerOSU Extension foragespecialist, Peter has aspecial interest in local,sustainable food production systems. “This speakerchallenged me to think about the way we do things,”said M.G. Brown of La Pine, Oregon.Important information was learned from the 90evaluations returned following the event. People gavehigh ratings for the overall quality of the conferenceand most indicated that the conference helped toincrease or enhance their knowledge of productionstrategies, animal care and/or land stewardshippractices. Eighty seven percent of the respondentsindicated that they intend to implement three or moreideas as a result of attending LOAFA classes.Other interesting facts include:• This was the first LOAFA conference for 72%of those who responded to the survey.• Size of acreage: 60 percent of the participantslive on 10 acres or less; 18 percent live on 51acres or more.• 61 percent have lived on their property fewerthan 5 years• Age of participants: 11% are 30 years oryounger; 52% are between 31-55; 37% are 55or olderLOAFA classes were taught by nearly 40 instructorsincluding OSU Extension educators, business andagency professionals and experienced farmers. TheLOAFA conference was presented by members ofSmART (Small Acreage Resource Team) whichinclude OSU Extension Service, Oregon Departmentof Agriculture, Deschutes County Soil and WaterConservation District, Wy’East Resource Conservation& Development, Deschutes County and Dancing CowFarm.Oregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 11


Organic Vegetable Growers Share Tricks of theTrade at 9th Annual NW Farmer to Farmer ExchangeBy: Nick Andrews and Maud Powell, OSU Small Farms ProgramThe annual two-day NW Farmer to FarmerExchange was recently held at Breitenbush HotSprings in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains justwest of Mt. Jefferson. Since 2003 Oregon Tilth andOrganically Grown Company have generously helpedsponsor the exchange which filled to capacity againthis year, with 38 farms represented by 86 people, pluschildren and babysitters. The dozen workshops are aseries of roundtable discussions led by experiencedorganic farmers. In the first (and most popular one) allattendees described a couple of “Ahas” or “Uh ohs”from their 2010 season. Each evening several peopleshared slide shows of their farming adventures. Beloware some notes from the sessions Nick and Maud wereable to attend.Ahas and Uh OhsTwo farmers explained how they’ve enhanced theirquality of life on the farm. One got out of the packingshed and realized how much she enjoys harvesting.The other started taking 2 days off each week withher husband during the growing season and got acommunity kitchen up and running on the farm sothey now have privacy in their family kitchen. Anotherfarmer decided to get smaller rather than getting out.They reduced their farm size from 30 acres to 20acres. Their labor costs went down only slightly, buttheir gross sales increased and net profits increasedsubstantially. A couple of growers were glad to startusing a bookkeeper to help with payroll and otherpaperwork. One recommended www.paycycle.com.One farmer lost tomatoes to late blight because theywere being watered with sprinklers on the sameschedule as the squash, now they will irrigate the cropsseparately to keep the tomato foliage drier. In contrast,another grower with lower disease pressure switchedto irrigating at night with timers because the wind diesdown and irrigation efficiency increased. A coupleof farmers reported increased yield and quality whengrafting tomatoes. They preferred side grafting overtop grafting, and recommended the instructional videoat Johnny’sSelectedSeeds (http://www.johnnyseeds.com/), andthought thesemore vigorousplants mightsometimesneed pruning.Goat skin golfgloves were praised as work gloves, because they don’thave seams at the ends of the fingers.One farm liked their new Japanese paper pottransplanter as long as percent germination is high inthe trays, see the video at http://www.smallfarmworks.com/. They used it for corn, cut flowers and saladmixes. The 5000 WD transplanter was also favorablyreviewed, the grower uses it with a 4-row setup andexplained that it was easier for 4 workers to get alongthan 6 (http://www.mechanicaltransplanter.com/).A youth farm manager liked using 288 Speedlingtrays with inexperienced young workers. One growerrecommended Androse Engineering for equipment tohandle drip tape and plastic mulch (http://www.androsengineering.com/).Every year someone says how greatit was to develop a good working partnership with alocal welder to develop simple equipment.Some CSA’s said they were having more trouble fillingshares, apparently because of the recession. Severalinnovations were shared including: 1) working withemployers to provide drop off spots at work places;2) sell $10 of vegetables per week per person throughan employee wellness program; 3) payment optionslike accepting food stamps, credit cards and post-datedchecks; 4) smaller shares and allowing customersto choose their vegetables; 5) allowing members tosave money on shares by helping pack the boxes; 6)increasing marketing efforts.Oregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 12


Participants at the 9th Annual NW Farmer to Farmer Exchange gathered for a group photo outside the main lodge. Photo by Josh Volk (Slow Hand Farm).Several growers were glad to make improvements ontheir farm. One simple innovation was putting springson deer gates so they never accidentally get left open.A few people built insulated rodent proof rooms forstoring seed and some crops like winter squash andsweet potatoes. Another was relieved to finally have aconcrete floor in his repair shop.Food SafetyDuring a session on food safety, farmers discussedthe Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certificationprocess. One farmer shared his own experience ofbecoming GAP certified after the Organically GrownCompany, one of his primary wholesale accounts,requested certification. He explained that certificationwas fairly straightforward because he uses onlygroundwater, raises no animals on his farm, uses noanimal compost, has no neighbors with livestock, andhas very little wildlife pressure. The major challengeshe faced during the certification process involvedthe creation of new documents to track relevant farmactivities, and enforcing members of his crew to fill outthe new paperwork.Producers also shared information about the newfederal food safety legislation that moved throughCongress and is now in the rule-making stage. Thebill passed with the Tester amendment attached; theamendment stipulates that any farm grossing under$500,000 per year is exempt from USDA food safetystandards. While many small farmers in attendancefall below the minimum gross, mid-sized producersexpressed concern about the potential for moreregulatory oversight. These farmers talked about waysto stay under the $500,000 threshold, including makinga farm publically owned or splitting the farm intoseveral distinct businesses. Another farmer suggestedthat while new federal regulations on the horizon maybe intimidating, a greater threat to small and mid-sizefarmers is the difficulty in finding insurance companiesthat are willing to cover them. Participants agreedthat good recordkeeping and a clear understanding ofthe regulations that apply to their farms are critical formanaging their legal risks.Growing SeedWhether a farmer is saving seed for their ownpropagation or growing commercial lots of specificvarieties for companies, seed production can beeasily be integrated into any scale of farm operation.Producers who attended this session represented awide spectrum of experience in seed growing. Severalveteran seed growers shared basic information withlong-time vegetable producers who have never savedany of their own seed. Experienced seed producersexplained some of the differences in saving seed fromwet-seeded crops, like melons, peppers, and tomatoesfrom dry-seeded crops, including lettuce, onions andbroccoli. Wet-seeded crops require a fermentationperiod, while dry seeded crops can be harvested fromthe plant stalk and immediately dried down. Thebooks Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth and Breedyour own Vegetable Varieties by Carol Deppe, aswell as the Organic Seed Alliance web publications(seedalliance.org ) were cited as resources for peopleinterested in seed saving.Also touched on were the differences between openpollinatedand hybrid seeds. While hybrid varieties.....continued on page 17Oregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 13


FoodHub Membership Fee Waived Until May 1 stAll Northwest Food Producers and Buyers Offered Risk-Free Opportunity toJoin Online Marketplace and Benefit from the Demand for Local FoodFoodHub’s dynamic ability to catalyze and facilitateconnections rests on critical mass and activeengagement among members, Ecotrust, the creator ofFoodHub, is waiving the $100 annual membership untilMay 1st to rapidly build its active user base.“During our first year we recruited nearly 800 usersand through their experience and feedback, we’verefined and improved the FoodHub business model andservice offerings,” said Deborah Kane, vice president ofEcotrust’s Food and Farms program. “Most importantly,we learned that the annual registration fee was a barrier.By testing a three-month ‘free membership’ we hope toadd hundreds, if not thousands, of new farmers, chefs,ranchers, restaurateurs, fishers, foodservice directors,and professional food buyers and sellers of all kinds toour current database.”A survey of FoodHub users conducted by Ecotrust inthe fall of 2010 showed that 83% of the buyers areextremely committed to buying locally. 85% stating thatthey joined FoodHub to source more products locallyand have become aware of local suppliers they did notknow existed before using FoodHub. According to thesame survey, sellers who made connections to newbuyers estimated the total dollar value generated fromnew FoodHub connections to as much as $10,000.At this time of year, food buyers are actively solicitinginterest in forward contracts with growers. Farmers whotake advantage of the free FoodHub membership offerand become active users, can find buyers for their cropbefore their seeds go into the ground. Chefs and grocerslining up suppliers for seasonal menus and specials canbuild relationships with farmers and food processors.Also, the existing Buyer and Seller membershipcategories will be joined by an Associate category,which will accommodate the vast community ofpractitioners, government agencies and serviceproviders who are integral to the regional foodeconomy. The new Associate membership category,also free, will welcome all Northwest commoditycommissions, trade associations, seed producers,farmers markets, extension offices, nonprofits andservice suppliers.“As an Associate member, farmers market managerscan use FoodHub to recruit vendors for this year’smarket season, an agricultural irrigation company canintroduce its services to a targeted list of farmers andranchers, and a mobile bottler can promote its rates andequipment to small Northwest wineries,” said Kane.“This new membership category demonstrates howFoodHub is becoming a go-to resource for everyone inthe Northwest food community, from seed to plate. Nowis the time to join.”More Features & Services Added in 2011Later this year, the free membership drive will befollowed with the introduction of new customizedsearch and find features and enhancing the siteas a marketing platform. For example, upgradedmembership levels will offer added benefits includingthe ability to enhance a profile page with photos andvideo; and preferential searches can be used to optimizea seller’s profile based on specific search criteria. Therewill also be more opportunities for FoodHub membersto connect in person, and a program for membersinterested in advertising on the site.About Ecotrust’sFood & FarmsProgramFoodHub (www.food-hub.org) is an Ecotrustproject made possible by the generous support andcontributions of many. Ecotrust’s mission is to inspirefresh thinking that creates social equity, economicopportunity, and environmental well-being. With regardto our Food & Farms program, we improve publicunderstanding of agriculture and the challenges itfaces and increase the market share of locally grown,processed, and manufactured foods. Whether byintroducing a farmer to a chef or a food processor toan institutional buyer, Ecotrust is a trusted “benevolentbroker” that has been making connections between foodbuyers and sellers in the Pacific Northwest for morethan a decade. Learn more at ecotrust.org.Oregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 14


Conservation Opportunity for LandownersConservation Reserve Program Opens Sign-upsThe general signup for the Conservation ReserveProgram (CRP) began on March 14, 2011, andcontinues through April 15, 2011. This is the secondconsecutive year that USDA has offered a general CRPsignup.Through CRP, eligible landowners receive annualrental payments and cost-share assistance to establishlong-term, resource conserving covers on eligiblefarmland. Land can be enrolled for a period of up to15 years. During the general signup period, farmersand ranchers may offer eligible land at their countyFarm Service Agency (FSA) office. Land currently notenrolled in CRP may be offered in this signup providedall eligibility requirements are met. Additionally,current CRP participants with contracts expiring thisfall may make new contract offers. Contracts awardedunder this signup are scheduled to become effectiveOct. 1, 2011. The general sign-up for CRP will notaffect cropped acres for this growing season. Acreswill be enrolled in the program in the fall.The FSA implements CRP on behalf of CommodityCredit Corporation. FSA will evaluate and rankeligible CRP offers using an Environmental BenefitsIndex (EBI) that shows the environmental benefits tobe gained from enrolling the land in CRP. The EBIconsists of five environmental factors (wildlife, water,soil, air and enduring benefits) and cost. Decisions onthe EBI cutoff will be made after the sign-up ends andafter analyzing the EBI data of all the offers.In addition to the general sign-up, CRP’s continuoussign-up program will be ongoing. Continuous acresrepresent the most environmentally desirable andsensitive land. For more information, visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/crp.CRP protects millions of acres of American topsoilfrom erosion and is designed to safeguard the Nation’snatural resources. By reducing water runoff andsedimentation, CRP protects groundwater and helpsimprove the condition of lakes, rivers, ponds, andstreams. Acreage enrolled in the CRP is planted toresource-conserving vegetative covers, making theprogram a major contributor to increased wildlifepopulations in many parts of the country. Through the2008 Farm Bill, CRP is authorized for a maximumenrollment of 32 million acres. USDA estimatesthat contracts on 3.3 million to 6.5 million acres arescheduled to expire annually between now and 2014.USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, AssistantSecretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretaryfor Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410,Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992(English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (EnglishFederal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay). USDAis an equal opportunity provider and employer.2011 OSU Small Farms ConferenceWas a SuccessSix hundred and twenty five people attended, and once againwe broke the attendance record. The conference was held onFebruary 26th in Corvallis. Chuck Hassebrook, Center for RuralAffairs, was the keynote speaker. Congressman Kurt Schraderof Oregon’s 5 th congressional district was capnote speaker.The conference included three concurrent tracks of sevensessions each. An entire track of three sessions was devoted tomeat production for niche markets; topics included productionchallenges, processing considerations, and managing nichemarketing relationships. Combined with a Sunday carcassbreakdown workshop, these combined sessions made a nichemeat short course. Similarly, a full track was devoted to theprofessional development of farmers’ markets managers, andincluded on-farm visits to verify product source, Oregon’s farmdirect bill and its impact on farmers’ markets, and increasingmarket access to clientele receiving electronic benefits.Fifty percent of participants described themselves as farmersor ranchers, and indicated this was the first Small FarmsConference they had attended.Sponsorships and grants enabled us to set an affordableregistration fee. Sponsors included the Oregon Departmentof Human Services-WIC Program, Oregon Department ofAgriculture, USDA-Western SARE, and the Cascade-PacificRC&D.Next year’s conference is scheduled forSaturday, 25 February, 2012.Oregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 15


The 2011 Regards to Rural Conference, held at Oregon State University on June 24-25, will featurepresentations and sessions aimed at enhancing community – based food systems and economies in ruralOregon communities. Organized by Rural Development Initiatives in partnership with Oregon State UniversityRural Studies Program and Extension Service, Regards to Rural 2011 will highlight tools and innovations suchas new marketing strategies for local food producers, successes of Farmer’s Markets, farm to schoolprograms, and initiatives that link food producers directly with consumers.EXCITING KEYNOTE PRESENTATION will be given by Ben Hewitt, author of “The Town that Food Saved”and Tom Stearns, well-known local food systems activist and teacher who is featured in Hewitt’s book. Theconference is aimed at convening healthy food experts and community leaders to explore ways that enhancinglocal food production and consumption can enhance community vitality and healthier individuals, as well aslead to economic development.Powered by Food SessionsFriday, June 249:00 am to 10:15 am• Veggie Power: How Local Food Helps RuralCommunities Thrive• Can Agriculture and Tourism Thrive Togetherin Rural Oregon?1:30 pm to 3:00 pm• Planting seeds of Change: Improving HealthThrough Edible Educational Endeavor• Food Systems Resource Panel3:30 pm to 5:00 pm• Powered by Foods conversationSaturday, June 258:30 am to 10:00 am• Increasing Awareness of Hunger Issues inRural Communities10:30 am to Noon• Inclusion of New Immigrants in Local FoodSystems: Building Community Capitals$199 Early Bird RegistrationScholarship opportunities are availableEarly Bird deadline is April 30, 2011Stay on campus at OSU$40 single room ratesFor more information and to registerplease visit: http://r2r.rdiinc.org »SPACE IS LIMITEDPlease take advantage of the early birddiscount and register online today!• Community Food Systems: Tools forCommunity OrganizingOregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 16


....continued from page 13may result in more reliable and uniform plants, theirseeds are generally not worth saving as they expressthe genes of multiple parent lines with a wide rangeof unpredictable characteristics. Finally, producersdiscussed concerns about GMO crops and the impactson the viability of organic seed.Community Supported AgricultureNew to the world of Community Supported Agricultureprograms are a couple of web platforms that promiseto take the hassle out of CSA administration. Farmigo(farmigo.com) and CSAware (csaware.com) performa host of marketing, bookkeeping and administrativefunctions, including billing members, generating pickand pack lists andsending out regularemail communication tomembership lists. Whilenone of the producersattending this sessionhave used either ofthese services, severalhad taken virtual toursof the sites and spokehighly of the potentialto make larger CSAsmore efficient. AnotherCost for one acre of a crop (i.e. broccoli)1.Production Costa.b.Direct Costs (i.e. tillage, planting, weeding,irrigation, seed, fertilizer, etc.)Overhead: (i.e. electricity, managementlabor, labor, depreciation, etc.)Cost$3,000/ac$5,000/acc. Yield: $8,000 ÷ 10,000 lbs/ac$0.80/lb2. Harvest and box cost$0.20/lb3.Sell rate = 0.85 (assumes 15% of the broccoli goingto market doesn’t get sold): ($0.80 + $0.20) ÷ 0.85$1.18/lb4. Marketing fee = 0.35 of gross sales: $1.18 ÷ 0.65 $1.82/lbTable 1. One method for calculating the cost of producing and marketing a crop.approach to streamlining Community SupportedAgriculture programs is the model of multi-farmCSAs in which a number of farms pool resources andmarkets. This model may be especially appropriate fora group of smaller farms in which the economy of scaleworks against the amount of administration required ofa CSA program.Sharing Yields and Harvest TimesTo maintain a profitable farm and grow high qualityaffordable food it is important to understand the costof production. Growers use this information to setthe prices of CSA shares, adjust crop mixes so theyfocus on profitable crop, to make decisions about newequipment purchases, and to better understand when acrop yield is lower than can be expected. One farm alsouses this information at farmer’s markets to explainhow they set their prices. Most growers in the roomhad read The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook byRichard Wiswall (Chelsea Green).Yield estimates and labor for harvest are both tricky tonail down accurately. One grower kept track of actualharvest time for all her crops and spent the time toenter all that information into Quick Books. Anothermeasured the time to harvest a portion of a bed andextrapolated that out to the whole crop, they also madenote of weather conditions so he could adjust expectedharvest times accordingly. Some give workers Rite inthe Rain notebooks to record all labor, others preferredsign in and sign out sheets.On diverse farms it is a challenge to account foroverhead costs shared by many crops, such as somelabor, depreciation, etc. Some budgeting software canattribute these costs more accurately to individualcrops such as OSU’s AgTools TM (http://agtools.org/). So far the growershere have been usingsimpler approachesand include costs likeelectricity, managementlabor, depreciation, fueland other costs in abroader overhead costcategory. One groweruses the approach inTable 1.CompostThese farms compost different types of feedstocksuch as vegetable packing waste, horse manure, dairymanure and chopped leaves. They compost betweenabout 20 and 600 cubic yards per year. Under the newDEQ Composting Rules (http://www.deq.state.or.us/lq/sw/compost/) farms composting more than 100 tons peryear (i.e. at 1,000 lbs/cubic yard, 200 cubic yards = 100tons) need to get a Land Use Compatability Statement(LUCS) from their County planning department andundergo risk screening by the DEQ. LUCS shouldnot be difficult to get when the composting is part ofan agricultural operation, and the rules will probablynot prevent farmers from composting when their sitescreens out as low risk. The risk screening decision isnormally in effect for 10 years. Under the new rulesfarmers now have legal access to a wide variety of nonagriculturalcompost feedstock.Oregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 17


Some farms in the group use manure spreaders to mixfeedstock, one who had also used windrow turners saidthe mixing is more thorough with manure spreaders,but windrow turners are normally quicker to use.Managing water at compost facilities was challengingfor some. Excess water makes piles go anaerobic,and finished compost too wet to apply easily. Runofffrom composting facilities can also pollute water.One grower tried breathable compost fleece covers(i.e. Compostex) but found they don’t always protectcompost from heavy winter downpours in Oregon.Now he uses 6mm plastic. When building piles, dryfeedstock can take a long time to wet. Some farmersspread the feedstock out during wet weather so thatit wets naturally. Another harvests green chop forcomposting when it is wet with dew, so less waterneeds to be added. Another approach is to mix dryand wet feedstock to get closer to the desired 50-60%moisture.Composting is an important operation on farms, andthere was uncertainty and some frustration in the groupabout regulatory hurdles to composting, such as theNOP standards, the new DEQ Compost Rules, andGAP standards for food safety. Everyone appreciatedthe value of composting and hoped that regulatoryrequirements could be met without making agriculturalcomposting unaffordable.Cover CropsSarah Brown is an Oregon Tilth employee who workswith the Natural Resource Conservation Service to helpimplement the organic EQIP program (http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/organic/index.html). Shementioned that some cost share money is available forcover cropping. The program accepts applications on arolling basis, but every year they are cut off on March4th.Some growers were interested in relay seeding (interseeding)cover crops into late harvested vegetablecrops. One farmer had several years of good resultsbroadcasting red clover into winter squash just after thelast weed cultivation. He uses overhead irrigation sothe cover crop has plenty of moisture to get established,survives harvest in November and produces a goodstand by the following spring. Another grower hadjust tried relay seeding clover (type not specified) intowinter squash, but saw reduced yields. Another growergot a thick stand of annual ryegrass in eggplants, buthad trouble killing it the following spring. Another saidthey’d had pretty good luck with crimson clover, cerealrye and red clover in eggplants and peppers, but oatsswamped the crop before harvest was over.For summer cover crops people had successfully usedSudhan grass and Sudex (a Sudhan x Sorghum hybrid).Buckwheat was also popular for quick establishmentin a short window. One grower had some success withcowpeas as a summer legume. Some had used springcereals or other frost sensitive grains (i.e. Japanesemillet) as summer cover crops, like Sudex, these cropswinter kill with a hard frost and lie down to create ahigh biomass mulch that decomposes over the winterfor easy incorporation.Establishment can be a challenge, some growers relyon grain drills and said they produce a much moreeven stand than broadcast spreaders because of thedepth control and good seed to soil contact. Anothergrower using a spreader followed with a ring roller toincorporate. Some of the growers had experience usinga no-till drill to plant into crop stubble (i.e. corn). Allagreed that cover crops were an important part of theirfertility and soil building strategy and plan to continueinnovating.The Farmer to Farmer conference provides growerswith unique opportunities to share information,challenges and successes with their peers. Suzy Evans,the Exchange’s fearless organizer, continues to bringleadership necessary to make the event successful.Oregon Tilth and Organically Grown Company offerongoing sponsorship for the event, which makesit affordable for small-scale farmers. The meetingconcluded with feedback and initial planning for nextyear, as well as heartfelt goodbyes and anticipation forthe upcoming growing season.This article was originally published in the spring 2011 issue ofOregon Tilth’s newsletter In Good Tilth.Oregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 18


AprilCalendar14 - Redesigning Your RegionalFood TraditionsJoin us as we deepen our senseof what is local and regionalfood with Gary Paul Nabhan, aninternationally-celebrated naturewriter, seed saver, conservationbiologist and sustainable agricultureactivist who has been called “thefather of the local food movement”by Mother Earth News. 6:00 PM -8:30 PM. Clackamas CommunityCollege, Niemeyer Center, 19600Molalla Avenue, Oregon City, OR.Registration is required with LorettaMills at lorettam@clackamas.edu $516 - Making Tree ManagementDecisionsIn this hands-on session, you willlearn how to measure tree height,diameter, and estimate stand density(trees/acre). We will look at growthrings, review stand health, andpractice making decisions aboutwhether a stand should be thinned,how many trees should be thinned,as well as which trees to take.5080 Boswell Rd, Yoncalla, OR.9:00am - 1:00pm *Pre-registration isrequired* 541-766-3556 or chrissy.lucas@oregonstate.edu FREEMay4 - Pasture and Mud ManagementLearn how to improve the healthof your pastures for livestock. Wewill discuss rotational grazing,pasture renovation, how to improveproductivity, and winter-timemanagement of livestock to protectpasture health and water quality.Lebanon Library, 55 Academy St,OR. 6:00pm - 9:00pm. Participationis limited to 30 people; RSVPrequired at 541-766-6750. Free10 to 12 - Practical Introduction toCheesemaking Short CourseThis course places heavy emphasison practical application and handsoncheesemaking. The third day isspecifically targeted for participantswho are considering startingtheir own cheesemaking facility.Corvallis, OR. 8:30am - 5:00pm. Formore information contact DebbyYacas at 800.823.2357 $380 or $525per personJune1 - Biology and Control of InvasiveWeedsAre you tired of battling invasiveweeds on your property? Do youwant to know the best ways toremove and control them to savemoney and time? Lebanon Library,55 Academy St, OR. 6:00pm -9:00pm. Participation is limited to30 people; RSVP required at 541-766-6750. FreeWant to add your event to our calendar then please submit your information at http://calendar.oregonstate.edu/advanced/list/extension-smallfarms/“Click the Submit an event button.” Events haveto be approved and will not immediately post. If you have questions please contact Chrissy Lucas atChrissy.Lucas@oregonstate.edu or 541-766-3556Oregon Small Farm News Vol. VI No. 2 Page 19

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