Saturday, January 28, 2017

We are bringing together regional and national experts for this one-day conference on Saturday, January 28 at the Grand Traverse Resort. 

Full Agenda

7:30am  Registration Opens

8:30am Trade Show Opens

9:00 - 10:15am Concurrent Session 1

10:15 - 10:30am Refreshment & Trade Show Break

10:30 - 11:45am Concurrent Session 2

11:45am - 1:30pm Certified Local Foods Lunch & Trade Show

1:30 - 2:45pm Concurrent Session 3

2:45 - 3:00pm Refreshment & Trade Show Break

3:00 - 4:30pm Concurrent Session 4 & Evaluations

4:30 - 5:00pm Trade Show & Networking

5:00pm Trade Show Closes, Conference Concludes

Full Session Details

Sessions are listed BELOW AlphabeticallY

For a full list of sessions and finalized schedules at the conference, please see the Full Agenda at a Glance. 


The 100 Layer Flock on Pasture with Aaron Brower, Bluestem Farm

A host of small farms raise free-range laying hens. Plenty raise meat birds on pasture. Surprisingly few raise laying hens on pasture. This workshop details why pasture-raised layers benefit the soil, the chickens, and the bottom line of a small farm


A Natural, Hands-On Approach to Cow Handling with Stefani and Mike Schulte, Narrow Gate Farm

Health, humanely managed cattle are raised with and nurse on their biological mothers, spend the whole of their lives on pasture managed with superior grazing techniques, and have free choice access to Organic minerals and Redmond’s salt. All cattle are handled with thoughtful taming methods, including but not limited to; Having a knowledge of Herd Dynamics, Reading Rumen Fill and Manure composition, understanding individual needs, and the consistent use of brushes to yes, brush your beef animals! Trust me, all these details play a significant role in having the most beautiful, productive, and enjoyable herd ever.


Addressing Soft Skills with Hard Core Strategies with Kristine Ranger, The Learning Connection

In today’s restricted labor market, farmers of all sizes must understand how to attract, develop, manage and retain skilled labor. Participants will learn about strategies, resources and support to identify and improve their employment brand, guide their Human Resource Management practices and grow their organization through its people.


Advantages to Diversifying Livestock with Cody Holmes, Rockin H Ranch

Mono culture farming/ranching hinders the potential of the productivity as well as profitability of the farm whether we are talking livestock or crops.   Begin an understanding how 3, 4, 5 or more species of animals work in a symbiosis to create a system in which the whole is greater than the sum if it's individual parts.


Agritourism - Is This Right for Your Farm? with Michelle Walk, MSU Extension

Agritourism is one of the fastest growing segments of U. S. tourism. Find out which of the many options might work for your farm, considerations in inviting the public onto your farm, zoning considerations, and how to connect to traditional tourism marketing channels.


Creating a Fruitful Landscape with Michael Phillips, Lost Nation Orchard

The planting of fruit trees and berries should be done right. Michael will explore home orchard design based on ecosystem advantage. Important health connections in turn make for fruiting plants better able to stand up to disease challenges and pests. Overviews of rootstock, training considerations, the right varietal mix for your family, proper soil prep, and ongoing “fungal duff management” will help guide good intentions to a bountiful organic fruit harvest.


Effective Farm Finance - Growing the Future of Your Farm with Brian Bates, Bear Creek Organic Farm, and Jeff McCabe, Nifty Hoops

Debt is not a dirty word. Alternative financing for small farms is easier and more accessible than ever. We will explore FSA microloans, crowd-sourced microloans, Hoophouses for Health, and other unique sources of farm credit.


Grow Them, Cut Them, Sell Them with Kalin Sheick, Owner of Sweetwater Lavender Farm and Stems & Sprigs Floral Design

Lots of people grow flowers. But selling them for profit is its own challenge. How to sell to florists. How to sell from the side of your road from a small cutting garden. How to sell on social media & how not to stress out about all of it. Bonus: design tips so your bouquets look too good to resist. Flowers are most beautiful when they are making you money, not when they are wilting in a bucket in the barn.


Farm to Facebook - Using Social Media to Build Your Farm with Anne Morningstar, Bear Creek Organic Farm

Social media builds community, brand loyalty and awareness to your operation. Anne will provide tips to build your marketing plan into the fabric of your workday to increase customer loyalty painlessly and turn that online 'Like' into real cash flow.


Farmer to Farmer Discussion  Group - Energy facilitated by David Coveyou, Coveyou Scenic Farm  

Join this discussion group all about Energy. Chairs will be arranged in a circle so that participants will be the "presenters" and will be able to address each other with questions, recommendations, or information to share. Topics and focus to be chosen by attendees.


Farmer to Farmer Discussion Group - Grains facilitated by Jami Blaauw-Hara, 23 Seeds Farm

Join this discussion group all about Grains. Chairs will be arranged in a circle so that participants will be the "presenters" and will be able to address each other with questions, recommendations, or information to share. Topics and focus to be chosen by attendees.


Farmer to Farmer Discussion  Group - Local Markets and Connections facilitated by Bill Palladino, CEO Taste the Local Difference 

Join this discussion group all about Local Markets. Chairs will be arranged in a circle so that participants will be the "presenters" and will be able to address each other with questions, recommendations, or information to share. Topics and focus to be chosen by attendees.


Farmer to Farmer Discussion  Group - Soil facilitated by John Biernbaum, MSU

Join this discussion group all about Soil. Chairs will be arranged in a circle so that participants will be the "presenters" and will be able to address each other with questions, recommendations, or information to share. Topics and focus to be chosen by attendees.


Growing Cider Apples and Rediscovering the Terroir of Cider with Trevor Newman, Roots to Fruits Ecological Design

There is a long history of making cider in this country and abroad; learn about the roots of cider making and where it all begins— in the orchard. Like wine grapes, cider apples are unique varieties grown specifically for the craft. This presentation will give you the tools and techniques to begin your own cider orchard.


Healthy Soil Using Biological Inputs with Brad Morgan, Morgan Composting, Inc.

Brad will discuss how using biological inputs on your soil can boost the natural biology and help with uptake of minerals and nutrients.


Innovative equipment investments on the diversified farm with Collin Thompson & Abbey Palmer, MSU Extension

The right equipment for the farm can generate big returns. See how a few tools, some built on-farm (root washer, bed shaper) others purchased used (plastic mulch layer, water wheel transplanter) affected labor and profitability at MSU North Farm. 


Introduction to Lean Farming with Brian Bates, Bear Creek Organic Farm

Lean Farming provides a framework to help producers improve operational efficiency, eliminate wasted time and effort, improve customer value, and improve your bottom line.


Inventing the Next Ag-Tech Product: Could You Do It? Have You Already Done It? Find Out with Jevon Jovanovic & Paul Sachs, Great Lakes Ag-Tech Business Incubator

Ag-tech is not just software or drones. Ag-tech is also any new tool or piece of equipment that makes farming easier. This session will help farmers identify whether they’ve created any new ag-tech ideas and how to possibly generate revenue them.


Keep Those Veggies Coming: Growing for and Running A Successful Year-Round CSA with Ellen Moje and Jeremy Moghtader, MSU Student Organic Farm

MSU's Student Organic Farm has been providing fresh produce to its 48-week CSA for 12+ years. This workshop will discuss winter hoophouse succession planting, storage crop production, handling, and other tips for managing a successful year-round CSA!


Locally Grown Hops with Brian Tennis, Michigan Hop Alliance, New Mission Organics

We start with a brief description on what hops are, the importance of starting with clean plants, and then go into as much detail as we have time. Everything from the trellis system, bugs and diseases, processing and selling them.


The Michigan GroupGAP Network with Phil Britton, Cherry Capital Foods

An in-depth look at the evolving statewide GroupGAP food safety initiative in Michigan, including how to get involved.


Online Resources for Better Farm Management with Katie Brandt & Tom Cary, Groundswell Farm

Learn to use free or low-cost online tools like Formsite, Googledocs, Wordpress, Mailchimp and RSS feeds. Use your website as a hub for online order forms, record-keeping and farmworker management..


Organic Tool Box with Michael Phillips, Lost Nation Orchard

Insect pests can do a number on harvest hopes in the organic orchard. Damage is either to the foliage or the fruit itself. Some of this consists of adult feeding, but more often than not it’s the egg hatching out a very hungry caterpillar or grub. Looking at family groupings within the insect world is a quick means of getting a handle on potential pest situations. Safe spray tools to deal with all this require that we understand righteous timing and appropriate mode of action. A core paradigm of holistic orcharding states that we spray not so much to “kill” as to create health so that the system can take care of itself. That begins with helpful allies in the orchard ecosystem which keep balance to the fore.


Pack House Design with Sandy and Paul Arnold, Pleasant Valley Farm

The Arnolds will go through the evolution of their almost 30 years of various wash/pack facilities on their small farm, and detail the great new systems in their recently updated washing station that are designed for efficiency and food safety for year-round use.


Pizza Farming: Value Added Opportunities for Small Farms with Lance Kraai and Joel Schraam, New City Farm

This workshop will compare value added soup and pizza production to show how on site value added production can reduce produce waste and in increase farm profitability.


Producing Fresh Unprocessed Whole Milk with Ted Beals, M.D. and Peggy Beals, Farm-to-Consumer Foundation

Peggy and Ted will review the current status of fresh whole milk production in Michigan, including an apparent shift in the MDARD’s attitude about fresh milk production. They will describe the Farm-To-Consumer Foundation’s latest educational book project Producing Fresh Milk, now with both a cow and goat editions. There will be time for questions


Reducing Farm Energy Expenses with Charles Gould, MSU Extension

This workshop focuses on helping farmers understand how an audit can be used to reduce overall farm energy expenses, leverage dollars to implement energy conservation practices, and facilitate applying for renewable energy project funding.


Relocalizing Fiber – The Michigan Fiber Cooperative Project Continues with Lori Evesque, Tillers International and Board Member of Michigan Fiber Cooperative, and Bridget Kavanagh-Patrick, Happy Goat Lucky Ewe Fiber Farm.

MFC are livestock growers promoting growth & profitability of small farms & local markets for fiber. We describe the coop, & the second phase of the project. Opportunities for fiber farms to market their fiber will develop the MI Fibershed expands.


SARE Grants and Grant Writing with Dean Baas, MSU Extension

USDA SARE offers grants to farmers and ag educatiors. Participant will be introduced to theses grants and address how best to apply for the. A past farmer grant recipient will speak about their project and their thoughts on the application process.


Small Scale Sustainable and Traditional Milling with Alisa Crawford

Just like grains, not all milling processes are the same. Find out what is different about traditional milling, and how this miller carries out the process with Michigan grown grains and sustainable power.


So You Want to Be a Beekeeper? with Brian Bates, Bear Creek Organic Farm

Would you like to raise honeybees? Learn how to get started raising bees, the clothing and equipment needed, building a hive, collecting honey, common challenges, and best resources for beekeepers.


Using Technology to Improve Small Farm Operations with David Coveyou, Coveyou Scenic Farm

Technology can benefit the small farm production efficiency and operating costs. Various applications of wireless, geothermal, solar technologies used on our farm will be described including our new geothermal salad greens winter production system.


Utilizing Corn Stover in Beef Cattle Diets with Kevin Gould, MSU Extension

The program will discuss cost for harvest and feed values for fall harvested corn stover in beef cow diets during early-mid gestation.


Vermicomposting, A Value Added Process for Small and Mid-Sized Farms with Jesse Raudenbush, Starr Valley Farm

Looking to share a little history about my family's worm business and our humble beginnings. Focal points will be on: closing the loop for food producers & Large scale vermicomposting for agricultural production.


Vineyard Establishment for Table or Wine Grapes with Jim Peters, Straits Area Grape Growers Association

Workshop will cover the basic requirements and vine selection for establishing a vineyard for table or wine grapes. Will discuss location, varieties, sourcing, cost, care and timing of vineyard establishment.


Wild Plants for Food and Medicine - Learn to Love Your Weeds with Sierra Bigham, Bear Earth Herbals

A deeper look at wild plants commonly found in the farm and garden and the health benefits they offer to humans, the soil and other plant life. explaining ways we can use these plants as food and medicine and outlining some of the processes used.


Wildlife Management on Michigan Farms with James DeDecker & Ashley Autenrieth, Tony Aderman, Monique Ferris

Learn from researchers, public agency biologists and practitioners about the damage to crops caused by wildlife and integrated approaches to wildlife management on Michigan Farms.