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Tilth Conference: Education & Policy Workshops

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Workshops: Climate & Resiliency • Education & Policy • Finance & Marketing 
Versatile Livestock Operations • Organic Production • Tree Fruit Management

Farm Incubator Training Programs: Contributions to Sustainable Food Systems

  • Presenters: 
    • Kate Smith, WSU
    • Matthew McDermott, Cloud Mountain Farm Center  
    • Kyong Soh, Seattle Tilth Farm Works
    • Jim Baird, Cloudview EcoFarms 
    • TBD, Viva Farms 
  • Farm incubators have surfaced as one method for training the next generation of farmers. How are these programs designed and what lessons have been learned? What kinds of contributions are farm incubators having toward our sustainable food systems? How do we measure the impacts of these programs environmentally, socially and economically? Hear from incubator organizers from around Washington state in a panel discussion followed by a presentation on incubator evaluation with a preliminary Impact Evaluation Report of Viva Farms, presented by WSU graduate student Kate Smith.

At the Table or On the Table?: Knowing Your Food & Farming Policy

  • Presenter: Nate Lewis, Organic Trade Association
  • Agriculture and food policy affects everyone, and you’re either “at the table” or “on the table” depending on how well informed you are and how constructive you are with your input.  It is important to be well informed about current issues facing farmers and consumers, and to know how to get involved so your voice is heard in the discussion. Join three policy experts for a panel discussion of hot topics that will affect organic and local producers and their markets.  Nate Lewis, Farm Policy Director at the Organic Trade Association, will brief the group on important issues coming down the pike that will affect the organic industry including hydroponics, animal welfare, compost, GMO labeling and upcoming 2018 Farm Bill priorities. Russell Lehman, Executive Director of Washington State Food and Farming Network will describe local and state efforts to support the growth of local and regional food systems.

What’s New and Mandatory? FDA Produce Safety Rule 101  

  • Presenter: Karen Ullman, WSDA
  • The finalization of the FDA Produce Rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in December 2015 marks the first federal food safety law that sets specific standards for produce farms. What exactly does that mean for Washington growers? Learn what types of farms, crops and handling practices are impacted. WSDA will review all the small farm exemptions, compliance deadlines and plans for education and enforcement. Gain a comprehensive understanding of requirements involving animals, compost, equipment, worker health and hygiene, training and water quality. Learn requirements for water testing and how standards vary depending on water source and application. Cross-comparisons to voluntary Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) standards through the growing and post-harvest handling process will provide insight and guidance.

Facilitating Healthy Relationships with Interns & Employees

  • Presenters: 
    • Matt Gordon, Rogue Farm Corps
    • Rawley Johnson, Early Bird Farm
    • Sean D'Agnolo, Cloud Mountain Farm Center
  • This panel discussion will dive into some practical ideas for farm operators and crew leaders who supervise interns and/or employees.  Topics will include strategies for good mentorship, systems to keep communication/feedback flowing in all directions and ideas on setting reasonable expectations. Time will be reserved for participants to offer their ideas as well. Panelists include Matt Gordon, Chapter Coordinator for Rogue Farm Corps, who facilitates an internship program with host farmers near Portland; Rawley Johnson, owner of Early Bird Farm near Tacoma, who currently mentors three interns on his 11 acre farm and has interned and been a crew leader himself in the recent past; and Sean D’Agnolo, Intern Education Coordinator for Cloud Mountain Farm Center, who facilitates an Internship Education Program for student-interns on-site at Cloud Mountain, as well as a number of local farms in Everson, WA.

Transitioning Farms to the Next Generation

  • Presenters: 
    • Nate Lewis, Oragnic Trade Association & Oyster Bay Farm
    • Melissa Barker, WSDA Organic Program & Oyster Bay Farm
    • Addie Candib, Cloud Mountain Farm Center
  • Passing a farm business from one generation to the next is very complicated. A plan must be in place to not only address the legal and tax considerations of transferring ownership of the business and the land, but also allow the progressive transfer of farm responsibilities. This workshop will feature a panel of farmers who are in the midst of transitioning their farms to the next generation of farmers. The farmers will talk about the challenges of transitioning farms to the next generation as well as the nuts and bolts of how to overcome these challenges. Facilitated by Addie Candib, this panel discuss will be an honest look into the transition of Oyster Bay Farm.
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