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Tilth Conference: Finance & Marketing Workshops

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

The Cascadia Foodshed: Opportunities for Systemic Change

  • Presenter: Noah Enelow, EcoTrust
  • If our shared goal is to catalyze a strong, ecologically resilient regional food economy in the Pacific Northwest, what market interventions and investments should we pursue? This workshop will present the results of the Cascadia Foodshed research project, a yearlong investigation of the economics of alternative agriculture across six product categories including poultry, pork, beef, small grains, storage crops and leafy greens. Our research identifies the principal drivers of supply and demand for alternative agriculture products including pastured poultry and pork, no-till wheat and rotation crops, and grass-finished beef; describes emerging trends in these product categories; and identifies promising avenues for philanthropic intervention and/or capital investment in these sectors. The results of our research suggest several interrelated approaches to scaling up alternative agriculture in the Pacific Northwest, including: investment in shared infrastructure for inputs, processing and distribution; intensified rotation of diverse vegetable, grains, and cover crops with animals; and regional market integration for seasonal products such as grass-finished beef. 

Growing Farm to School: Where Do We Go From Here?

  • Presenters: 
    • Chris Iberle, WSDA
    • Joan Qazi, Washington State Sustainable Food and Farming Networking
  • Now that the Farm to School market has been established in Washington, it is important to assess where we are, what barriers remain and what opportunities exist going forward to expand the market to serve more farmers and students. Learn some of the latest survey data on the current state of the Farm to School market and share your experiences or concerns with selling to school meal programs.  We hope to facilitate a lively discussion and end by offering various marketing models, such as food hubs, the USDA Pilot Project for Unprocessed Fruits & Vegetables, distributors and direct sales that have been successful strategies for farmers interested in the Farm to School market.

It Takes Capital to Farm - How to Finance Your Operation

  • Presenter: Tanya Dostal, USDA Farm Services Agency
  • Do you need to make improvements to your storage and handling to meet food safety regulations? Are you making other infrastructure or equipment upgrades on your farm?  If you need financing to invest in your farm operation, learn about new options from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). Because USDA subsidizes the loans, the Farm Service Agency can provide low financing and excellent terms. The Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) Program, in particular, has new options for upgrading farm storage and handling facilities.  FSA has additional financing through microloans, traditional operating loans, farm ownership loans and more.

Land Access for Farmers: Demystifying the Process of Finding, Buying and Leasing Farmland

  • Presenter: Rusty Milholland, PCC Farmland Trust
  • If you’re looking for land to start or grow your farm, then you know that there are a lot of variables to consider. At PCC Farmland Trust, we’ve been buying, selling and leasing farmland in Washington for sixteen years. In that time, we’ve learned a lot about how to find land, the real estate transaction process, and what pitfalls to avoid. This workshop will focus on things to look out for when buying or leasing land, alternative options such as working with land trusts or incubator programs and much more.

Direct Marketing Strategies: Finding a Successful Market in the Changing Marketplace

  • Presenters: 
    • Laura Raymond, WSDA Small Farm Direct Marketing and Farm to School
    • Colleen Donovan, WSU Small Farms Program and Farmers Market Action Team
  • In this interactive workshop we will explore strategies for successful direct marketing in an era of rapid market change.  Consumer trends favor "fresh," "local," "healthy" and "authentic." Yet, it can be tricky to connect with and retain customers. Direct marketing farms face the challenge of differentiating their products and services in a market place that is changing quickly. Shoppers have more options than ever for buying food — grab-n-go grocery, restaurants, meal preparation services, online ordering, customization and home delivery.  Together we will explore how farms can differentiate themselves and hone their direct marketing strategies by understanding and meeting customer needs.  Come prepared to participate in a discussion where participants will learn from each other.


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