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Sustainable Production & Systems

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Sustainable Production & Systems

From Seed to Harvest: Optimizing Your Seed Investment 

  • Ada Snyder, High Mowing Organic Seeds
  • Join Ada Snyder, your Northwest Regional Commercial Grower Representative from High Mowing Organic Seeds, for a discussion that will help you achieve the best possible results from your seeds. We will explore best storage options once the seed is received to preserve quality prior to planting. We will then discuss how to achieve successful germination and growth for vegetable crops. Special attention will be given to best practices and things to avoid for those crops that can often prove most challenging. The presenter will share successful methods, strategies, and tricks of the trade they have gained through first-hand experience and from growers throughout the country.

Raising Pastured Poultry on a Diversified Farm: Best Practices and Lessons Learned

  • Rawley Johnson, Early Bird Farm
  • Lessons learned from raising 500 egg laying hens per year on a vegetable farm over the last decade.  How a careful rotation of hens in mobile coops over fallowed and cover cropped vegetable fields can improve soil health and fertility for future crops, as well as provide income for the farm through the eggs produced.

Wash/Pack Design — Increase Shelf Life, Lower Risks and Reduce Bottlenecks 

  • Ryan Lichtenegger, Steel Wheel Farm; Billy Mitchell, National Farmers Union
  • A produce farm's wash/pack area is important real estate! It should be a clean and comfortable place that creates a positive environment for your farm community to effectively and efficiently wash and pack produce - keeping the quality high and the produce safety risks low. We'll cover simple design strategies, brainstorm solutions to common bottle necks, and experiment with different tools. There will be prizes!

Grazing Management to Limit Wildfire Risk 

  • Tip Hudson, Washington State University
  • Wildfires are a risk in any climate region with primarily wintertime precipitation and dry summers. And while wildfire is a natural disturbance in most of these ecosystems, the effects of fire are often exacerbated by exotic annual plants that fundamentally alter the fire cycle and vegetation response. Domestic livestock grazing is one of the few inexpensive biological control methods that is effective in reducing fire risk, but there is often a fine line between helping and hurting. Understanding plant physiology and plant community response to various combinations of grazing variables is necessary to make targeted grazing work. Tip Hudson will discuss grazing strategies before and after wildfire on a variety of plant community types to limit the extent, severity, and community cost of wildfire.

Learning from the Land: Building Organic Tree Fruit and Table Grape Programs in NW Washington

  • Elizabeth Hayes and Tom Thornton, Cloud Mountain Farm Center
  • Cloud Mountain Farm spent over 40 years evaluating varietals, training systems and pest management programs for growing organic peach, cherry, apple, pear, and table grapes in Western Washington. With the introduction of high-quality disease resistant varieties, coupled with constant improvement in fruit growing systems, there are new opportunities for Organic Market Farmers to take advantage of small-scale commercial production in Western Washington. This presentation will highlight the many business and horticultural challenges as well as successes along this journey. An overview of training systems, yield data/potential, pest management overview, and scale appropriate models for 100’ row or small acreage will all be covered. Towards the end of the presentation the Cloud Mountain Farm Center’s current director will discuss the latest project developments and ways for farmers to access this on-going work.

Organic Herbicides: What We Know and How Do They Fit Into Your IWM Plan 

  • Lynne Carpenter-Boggs and Aaron Appleby, Washington State University; Sheryl Zakarison, Zakarison Partnership
  • The difficulty and expense of managing weeds is a major barrier to successful organic transition and production. Newly registered organic herbicides are more effective than previous generations of organic registered herbicides. Repeated use of organic registered herbicides over 5 years on the same plots led to shifts in weed populations, emphasizing the need for an integrated weed management plan that fits each production method.
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