Saturday, January 25
SESSION 1: 9:00 to 10:15am



Financing Your Farm Business
Learn how to finance your farm business. Traditional lenders and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) require various documentation. The Michigan Good Food Fund team will explain how to be financially ready when the time comes to expand your farm business. The Michigan Good Food Fund is a healthy food financing initiative that provides business support and financing options for healthy food businesses all along the value-chain.
Jamie Rahrig + Chris Wendell | MSU Center for Regional Food Systems

Fertilizing for Weed Decline
Learn how growers have influenced weed growth or decline with how they fertilize. The wrong dairy manure or the wrong type of lime can cause serious weed problems. Managing soil fertility carefully can bring about better results. Mechanical weed control information will be included. See how a “cold-turkey” transition to organic methods could be troubling and how correcting some of your worst soil problems first will lead to success.
Jay McCaman | AgriEnergy Resources

Farm-Based Education Ideas
Offering on-farm education opportunities to schools can connect your farm with the next generation of eaters, their families, and institutional purchasers. Learn how to  identify audiences, how to structure, price, and promote on-farm activities to schools and community groups, and try out some hands-on activities that can be adapted to your farm.
Abbey Palmer + Allison Stawara | Michigan State University Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center

Bare-bones Farm Infrastructure Start-Up
High tunnels, Jang seeders, root washers? What do you really need to start farming? This workshop will cover the essential infrastructure needed to begin producing local, organic vegetables and protein on a small, yet profitable scale. With the understanding that every person’s context is different, we will discuss how to choose your investments and how to establish priorities for the immediate and future goals of your farm. Finally, we will briefly cover potential resources for funding your farm’s necessary capital. Attendees will leave with a framework to approach their own plans for a farm start-up.
Sarah Longstreth | Goodstead Farm

Matching Improved Forage Varieties to your Fields and Needs
Picking the right forage species and variety for your farm can make the difference between average and great performance. This session will include a look at new ones with potential for in Northern Michigan and the U.P.
Jeremy Sweeten | Sweeten Farms/Cisco Seeds

Re-imagining the Family Farm [MIFMA Track]
Changing and diversifying farm production can be an intimidating process, but can ultimately lead to a more economically resilient business. Troy Haynes will share his story on how his second generation dairy farm incorporated a farmers market kettle corn business to supplement their income and how that's grown into a key part of their business operations. GreenStone Farm Credit Services will support the conversation by discussing available tools and considerations for farm businesses in transition.
Troy Hanes |  Superior Kettle Corn and Haynes Dairy Farm + Nathan Buning + Ann Edgecomb | Greenstone Farm Credit

Framework of a Flower Farm–Farm Infrastructure & Season Extension 
Rowan and Shailah have been farming for just over 10 years in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Much of their farm investments have gone towards efficient production of crops and season extension. These investments can be difficult, but the payoff is felt almost immediately. Learn about the virtues and faults of caterpillar tunnels and low tunnels, how to make your hoop house movable at a low cost, the labor savings in using woven ground cloth and automated Irrigation. This session includes a cost analysis for each investment as well as the vendors they use to purchase supplies.
Shaliah and Rowen | River Rock Farm

Integral Soil and Plant Management for Health [MOFFA Track]
The foundation of organic farming is rooted in the details of how we manage our soil for plant
health. John will explain some of the key management recommendations using a graphic format that you can use to assess your current management strengths and areas for improvement. John will also make the connection to the role of the gut microbiome to human health.
John Biernbaum | Michigan State University

Farmer Round Table: CSAs
Please check back at www.smallfarmconferenc.com for a description of this session.


SESSION 2: 11:00 am to 12:15 pm

Sustainable Livestock: Starting Out & Scaling Up
Are you looking to start a small livestock farm or diversify an existing operation by adding livestock? Whitney and Dan will share what it takes to start, operate and scale up a successful direct-marketing sustainable livestock farm. They’ll cover how to meet your animals’ needs in the most simple and economical ways that yield the highest returns. After this session, you will be able to define the goal(s) of your livestock enterprise, ask the right questions to achieve your livestock farming goals, access your available resources to start (or scale up) a livestock enterprise and think creatively and critically about integrating your livestock venture onto your farm.
Whitney and Dan Belprez | Two Sparrows Farms

Continuous Improvement Through CAPA
Let's face it, things don't always go as planned—finicky Michigan weather, customer complaints, that gate everyone forgets to close. Learn how to build a Corrective and Preventive Action process that turns problems, mistakes, and complaints into a driver of continuous improvement on your farm. CAPA systems are used the world over to root out the causes of problems, identify appropriate solutions, and prevent them from happening again. This session will explore this simple, straightforward tool and show how it works on a farm or food business.
Phil Britton | Fresh Systems, LLC

Growing and Using Medicinal Herbs
Join Nancy for recommendations and tips for growing and using medicinal herbs on your small farm or garden. She’ll share information, photos and resources that she has gleaned from over 30 years of growing and teaching about herbs on her diversified farm as well as examples and photos from other small successful herb farmers. You’ll learn the benefits of growing medicinal herbs and be introduced to a variety of her favorite herbs for the small farm niche. 
Nancy Phillips | Heartsong Farm and Wellness Center

Crop Rotation Design for Vegetable Growers
This is a hands-on workshop to work through the crop rotation design process for YOUR farm. You will receive a handout to list crop amounts, group crops by family or planting season, measure and map your land, and divide into equal-sized plots. We’ll focus on brainstorming the prioritizing of crop rotation needs, like weed control, disease prevention, fertility needs, planting times, wet/dry soil tolerance and/or double cropping. You will also see examples of crop rotations from several vegetable farms, including the MSU Student Organic Farm. 
Katie Brandt | Michigan State Student Organic Farm

Getting Started with Beekeeping in Michigan
Are you interested in becoming a beekeeper? In this session, learn about honey bee biology, hive equipment and costs, beekeeper tasks throughout the seasons, gentle beekeeping techniques, resources, and other ways to support pollinators.
Ana Heck | Michigan State University

A Role for Vermicomposting on Small Farms
Plants and soil organisms have a symbiotic relationship subject to both the good and the bad. Vermicompost tips the scale in favor of plant vigor by multiplying the beneficial populations of soil life many times over. These conditions promote strong early growth for seedlings and transplants while warding off disease. We’ll look at the research on vermicompost and consider the Michigan crops that can benefit. Explore ways to leverage farm waste into an income stream. Learn about farm-scale vermicomposting methods that work in our climate, the equipment needed and the challenges for DIY-ers.
Dan Lonowski | Michigan Soil Works

Unique Strategies for Farm Labor [MIFMA Track]
Michelle shares her experience and best practices around her unique approach to on-farm labor. Hear how this farm utilizes the CSA model to attract farm workers, increase production, and cultivate roots in her community. Representatives from MSU Extension will also be present to talk about other CSA models and discuss the Statewide CSA Working Group they lead.
Abigail Harper, MSU Extension + Michelle Ferrarese | Birch Point Farm

Plant Growing in Containers and Raised Beds with Compost as the Growing Medium 
Are you growing in raised beds or containers? What soil or growing media are you using? John Biernbaum will introduce a wide range of bed and container options and then focus on how to make biologically active, nutrient rich growing media using locally available materials such as leaves, ramial wood chips, food or plant residue, straw, hay and clay, along with good composting techniques, including vermicomposting. John is passionate about sharing what he has learned from 20 plus years of container growing and research experience without using synthetic fertilizers.
John Biernbaum  | Michigan State University

Farmer Round Table: LGBTQ in Farming
Please check back at www.smallfarmconferenc.com for a description of this session.




SESSION 3: 1:30 to 2:45 pm

Industrial Hemp: A New Crop for Michigan
Industrial hemp is cannabis grown for fiber, grain or cannabinoids other than THC (e.g. CBD). The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production for the first time in 60+ years, and many Michigan growers and processors are interested in working with this multipurpose crop. This session will cover the basics of industrial hemp from regulation to planting, pest management and harvest.
James DeDecker | Michigan State University

Exhausting Compostable Resources Before Chemicals and Fertilizers
A limitless supply of nutrient sources throughout your local community can be composted and made into stable soil amendments. Learn how to recognize these local sources of by-products and waste streams and re-purpose them for inputs on your farm. You can improve your economic efficiency and quality of product through consistency of soil. You can further this by creating a recipe for your own compost based on your soil’s profile.
Brad Morgan  | Morgan Composting

Growing Ginger in Zone 5b
Ginger is an exciting, unique food originating in the warm, humid climates of Southeast Asia. This presentation will give an in-depth tutorial on how the farmers at Michigan Student Organic Farm grow this high value, vibrant rhizome in mid Michigan.
Daniel Seggebruch | MSU Student Organic Farm

Pastured Poultry Infrastructure Do’s and Don'ts
Jacob will cover the lessons learned about the housing and equipment for raising chickens, ducks, turkeys on pasture for both meat and eggs. Determining what kind of equipment is right for your farm will also be covered.
Jacob Farley | Circle F Ranch

Beekeeping: Successful Overwintering
How do bees survive the winter cold? What can we do to make it easier on them? We’ll cover the biology of the the winter bee, with focus on how their behavior can drive our management. We’ll also cover ways that we can improve overwinter success. 
Meghan Milbrath | Michigan State University

Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa (GTB) Agriculture & Food Sovereignty Dept Overview
The GTB has a centuries long history of practicing agriculture in our region. This new department will be paying homage to the wisdom of the ancestors, while taking advantage of modern agricultural technology to provide agricultural products and experiences to its tribal members. The GTB, with its impressive agricultural resources, is well poised to be a leader in sustainable agricultural development in our region. In this session, hear about their processes, obstacles and triumphs.
William Derouin + Delora D. Wilson | Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa

Managing Farm Stress [MIFMA Track]
Taking care of crops and animals is hard on farmers and agribusiness professionals. Caring for your own health and wellness in this high-stress profession is often overlooked but is just as critical as caring for your farm business. Join MSU Extension in learning about managing farm stress.
Paul Gross + Eric Karbowski | MSU Extension 

Solar Panels Panel
Ken Zebarah | Harvest Energy Solutions
Please check back at www.smallfarmconferenc.com for a description of this session.

Farmer to Farmer Round Table—Families on the Farm
Please check back at www.smallfarmconferenc.com for a description of this session.


SESSION 4: 1:30 to 2:45 pm

 

Maple Syrup 
Getting Started in Maple
Information is key in starting any successful business. This session will discuss the history, the potential, and the future of the maple industry. Craig will present an overview of different types and sizes of maple operations and give you the tools to gather the necessary information you will need to make an intelligent decision on your next steps.
Craig Waldron | Far Hills Maple Syrup LLC

Root Crops: Details from Seed to Sale
Root crops are a fundamental part of most small diversified market farm systems. In this workshop, Dion will discuss a nearly year-round root crop production system which includes radishes, beets, salad turnips, and carrots. She will focus on planning for continuous successions, seeding, planting, cultivation, harvesting, and washing methods. She will discuss building efficiencies, use of the paper pot transplanting system, and marketing. Dion will present details of her entire system from seed to sale. 
Dion Stepanski | Presque Isle Farm

Investing in and Establishing Perennials and Shrubs on Your Flower Farm
Adding perennials and shrubs to your farm will expand your season, but they can be a big investment and can take years to recuperate the cost. Keeping your plantings weed free and healthy is another challenge. Michelle will teach you what plants to invest in and how to manage them for long term vigor and ease of care. She will also discuss harvest and post harvest techniques for the some of the most popular varieties. You will leave this session ready to add these long term plantings to your farm.
Michelle Shackleford  | Leelanau Specialty Cut Flowers

Employees on the Farm Panel
Please check back at www.smallfarmconferenc.com for a description of this session.
Brian Bates | Bear Creek Organic Farm + Andrea Romeyn | Providence Farm

Managing Small Woodlots for Wildlife and Profit
The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides assistance to forest landowners in implementing good conservation practices on their forest acres. USDA staff in partnership with Conservation District foresters will walk through conservation practices that can be implemented/installed on woodlots for small farms and how those practices affect forest health and wildlife, but can also be a contributing factor to a farm’s income stream.
Scott Hughey + Nia Becker | Conservation District + Scott Hughey | USDA NRCS

Raising Rabbits on 100% Grass
Join Julie as she outlines her rabbit system, coined "The Coney Garth." She will cover rabbit grazing habits, nutrition on grass, her paddock system, breeding management, kindling, growth and slaughter, and finances.
Julie Engel | The Pasturage, LLC

Avoiding Market Burnout  [MIFMA Track]
Selling at farmers markets can be a lot of work, especially when you're juggling multiple markets in a single day! Learn from farmer and market vendor Sharon Ostrowski on how to maintain energy and excitement throughout the market season.
Sharon Ostrowski | Sharkar Farm

Farmer Round Table: Hemp
James DeDecker | Michigan State University
Please check back at www.smallfarmconferenc.com for a description of this session.