CT NOFA’s annual Getting Started in Organic Farming Conference

This annual Conference helps aspiring organic farmers develop successful farming careers. Learn the basics of developing and running a successful organic operation. Workshops are geared to new and established farmers transitioning to organic practices. Attendees will access valuable support and resources and interact with knowledgeable experts and experienced organic farmers.

Saturday, January 24, 2015, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Snow Date: Sunday, January 25
Connecticut College, 270 Mohegan Ave, New London, CT 06320.
Directions here. Campus Map here.

NOFA/RI Members and RI Students may register at NOFA Member rates.
View full Conference agenda and register here.

Presenters:

Holistic Farmland Management
Crystal Stewart - Cornell Cooperative Extension Vegetable Specialist

Caring for the land involves understanding its natural qualities and then matching your farm goals to land stewardship goals. This talk will discuss methods to assess the capabilities of land and how to select the right path towards long-term land and farm improvement.

Organic Farming and the Age of the “Locavore” Movement
Patrick Horan - Waldingfield Farm

Patrick will lead a discussion about the “locavore” movement, and how organic food production was a principle reason for the local food movement’s rise in the Northeast. But cost of production and the availability of locally produced conventional product has made it increasingly difficult to survive. How do we survive?

Basics of Livestock Raising & Infrastructure
Ed & Belinda Learned - Stonyledge Farm

Learn the basics of raising beef, pork and chicken on a small scale, in a pastured/grassfed setting and infrastructure and equipment needed. We hope to share what has worked for us along with local suppliers and USDA processors.

Getting Started in Organic Certification
Duncan Cox -Baystate Organic Certifier

Duncan will explain how the organic certification process works. He will describe how crop, livestock, and processing operations large and small can become certified to the USDA National Organic Standards.

Gaining Access to Quality Farmland
Kip Kolesinskas - UConn Extension
Kathy Ruhf - Executive Director for Land for Good

Participants will gain an overview of common methods/sources for gaining access to farmland, including listing services, and municipal, land trust, and private lands. Topics will include criteria for evaluating a parcel’s agricultural potential, elements of a good lease, and kinds of leases to consider.

So You Want to Farm: Keys to Financial Success
Lynn Weaver - Farm Credit East

So you want to farm, but what combination of factors are helpful in starting a farming business and being financially successful? Actual results from the FarmStart program shed light on several factors that successful businesses have in common. Lynn’s presentation will help participants become comfortable using these consistent factors.

Send questions to Stephanie Berluti, Conference Coordinator at stephanie@ctnofa.org or call 203-308-2584.

FSMA Comments Deadline December 15, 2015

FSMA Comments Deadline December 15, 2015

 Matunuck Oyster Bar’s Vegetable FarmShare your concerns or suggestions on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Tell the FDA about any specific ramifications for your own farm or local farmer near you. Once this rule is finalized, farmers will have to live with FSMA as passed.

See sample comments below for inspiration. Feel free to lift and edit sections or whole documents as you see fit. Please take the time to comment on the elements that are most important to you. The deadline to submit your comments is 11:59 pm tonight.

  • National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition guidance here
  • Ginger Nickerson, UVM Produce Safety Coordinator’s comments here.
  • Vern Grubinger, UVM Vegetable & Berry Specialist and NE-SARE Coordinator’s Produce Rule comments here.
  • Vern Grubinger, UVM Vegetable & Berry Specialist and NE-SARE Coordinator’s Preventive Controls Rule comments here.
  • NOFA/Mass overview here.
  • Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Action Alert here.
  • Friends of Family Farmers (Oregon) sample comments here.
  • Carolina Farm Stewardship comment guidancehere.

We suggest you write your comments in a document first, then paste or upload to:

  • Produce Rule – here.
  • Preventive Controls Rule – here.