Farm School

Friday, January 24, 2020

Hemp School


Hemp School with James DeDecker of Michigan State University + Leah Sandler of Michael Fields Agricultural Institute + Marguerite Bolt of Purdue University

Experts from across the region join to discuss the growing procedures of industrial hemp. Learn about the regulations in general production, CBD hemp production and pest management. End the day with a panel of growers and producers to answer your questions.

Session 1: 9:00-10:30am 
Michigan Regulations, Grain/Fiber Hemp Production
Federal legalization of industrial hemp offers many new opportunities for Michigan growers, processors and consumers. Production of hemp for grain and fiber is time tested and relatively well understood in other countries and states. However, current knowledge gaps and potential barriers to the success of hemp in Michigan are many including regulatory risk, agronomic best practices, processing capacity, consumer demand and profitability. Join our session to hear the latest on industrial hemp regulation, research and prospects for development of a grain and fiber hemp industry in Michigan.
James DeDecker | Michigan State University

Session 2:  11:00am-12:30pm
CBD Hemp Production
Industrial hemp is a unique crop in part due the variety of production methods it can be grown under. In addition to grain and fiber, with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill it is now legal to grow hemp for cannibidoil (CBD). Production of hemp for CBD looks very different than that of grain or fiber and, as such, requires a different knowledge base as well as equipment, labor needs, and unique challenges. This session will focus on the agronomic best practices for CBD hemp production, pest management considerations, and harvest and processing practices.
Leah Sandler | Michael Fields Agricultural Institute

Session 3: 1:30-3:00pm
Pest Management in Industrial Hemp
There are many challenges facing hemp production in the 21st century. However, some prospective growers may be unaware of risks associated with hemp production because of misinformation. One of the largest misconceptions is hemp is a pest free plant. The opposite is true, and many different generalist insects are found feeding on hemp. There are also specialist insects found feeding on hemp, which often surprises people because we had such a long gap in large scale production. This talk aims to educate growers on pests that are commonly encountered in the Midwest, which pests are the most concerning right now, and what they can do about pest pressure in their hemp.
Marguerite Bolt | Purdue University

Session 4: 3:30-5pm
Growing and Processing Industrial Hemp Panel
2019 was the first year Michigan farmers had the opportunity to grow industrial hemp.  While some were able to draw on expertise from other states or sectors of the cannabis industry, it has been a year of learning for everyone. Join this session to hear from a panel of Michigan grain/fiber and CBD industrial hemp growers reflecting on their experience this year.  From regulatory compliance, to agronomy, harvest, processing and marketing; learn what worked, what didn't, and how they see the Michigan hemp industry evolving. 
Dr. Adam Ingrao | Bee Wise Farms + additional speakers

Herb School

Herb Growing School with Nancy Phillips of Heartsong Farm

Growing herbs for pleasure or for market requires knowledge of growing, propagation, cultivation and harvesting. Nancy Phillips, author of The Herbalist’s Way, will cover all that as well as drying, storage and value-added herbal products.

Session 1: 9:00-10:30am 
Introduction to Growing Medicinal Herbs
We begin by discussing the beauty and benefits of growing herbs for pleasure and profit. We will discuss the many benefits of adding medicinal herbs to your small farm—increased biodiversity, dependable perennial crops, products with shelf life and the growing herbal market. We will delve into recommendations for herb selection and look closely at some specific herbs that other farmers are successfully growing for market. 

Session 2:  11:00am-12:30pm
Propagation, Cultivation and Harvesting of Herbs
Nancy will cover basic principles and tips for propagation, cultivation, and harvesting of specific herbs, including the pros and cons of direct seeding or starting plants in the greenhouse. You will be encouraged to think about the micro-niches on your farm to help you grow healthy and vibrant plants that thrive easily under those specific conditions. We will also discuss ethical and efficient wildcrafting guidelines and resources. Suggestions for tools, seed/seedling resources and highly recommended books on growing medicinal herbs will be included.

Session 3: 1:30-3:00pm
The Fine Art of Drying and Storing Medicinal Herbs
One of the great benefits of growing medicinal herbs is that you can sell some fresh and some dried. Drying herbs adds shelf life and marketing options. We will discuss the basic tenets of drying quality medicinal herbs and a look at several ways small scale farmers are doing this. 

Session 4: 3:30-5pm
Value-Added Products
Value-added products can enhance your profit margins and serve your communities with local high quality products. Nancy will delve into labeling, marketing tips, and the advantages of wholesale and local niche marketing. She will give a crash course in herbal preparations including how to make some favorites. Nancy will also offer resources for learning more and following GMP regulations.

Maple Syrup School

Maple Syrup School with Craig Waldron and Mike Ross
Expand or refresh your knowledge in the field of maple syrup. Learn how to get started, how to set up a maple syrup operation, and about the business and marketing opportunities in maple syrup.

Session 1: 9:00-10:30am 
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 information you need to make good decisions for your maple syrup operation.

Session 2:  11:00am-12:30pm
Setting up Your Maple Operation 
A number of important decisions need to be made before you get started. Mike will expand on session 1, and talk about evaluating land, site planning, sugar house design, equipment requirements and personnel needs. 

Session 3: 1:30-3:00pm
The Business of Maple
Time to talk dollars. Your maple operation can range from a few buddies boiling down sap in  an open pan, to a multi-million-dollar operation in multiple locations. This session will focus on the business end of your operation. Craig will discuss costs and potential returns of various size operations along with financing, zoning, licensing and regulations, and the hiring of employees. 

Session 4: 3:30-5pm
Marketing and Value-Added
Congratulations, you have established your new maple operation and have produced a banner crop of beautiful pure maple syrup. Now what do you do with it all? Mike will share his expertise in the fast growing and ever changing world of  marketing and value added products.