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You are here: Home ›› Events ›› Sustainable Production & Systems

Sustainable Production & Systems

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Sustainable Production & Systems | Engaging With Your Market | Diversifying the Farming Landscape | Farmland & Finances | Uncovering Potential Markets | Agriculture & Society | Regulations & Certifications 

Sustainable Production & Systems I

Organic Seed Production for Diversified Markets and Farm Resiliency

  • Aaron Varadi, Organic Farm School
  • There is increasing demand nationally for certified organic seed crops, and the entire state of Washington is a prime location for various types of organic seed production.  Commercial vegetable seed production can be a good option for diversifying markets, more evenly distributing a farm's yearly cash-flow and potentially building more resiliency into a farm's production by selecting for the best-adapted varieties.
Understanding the Organic Seed Chain — Panel
  • Kiki Hubbard, Organic Seed Alliance; Jacob Slosberg, Boldly Grown Farms/Gowan Seed; moderated by Shaina Bronstein, Vitalis Organic Seeds
  • This panel will present on the various aspects of the organic seed supply chain and provide industry insight regarding policy, regulation and supply of organic seed. Each panelist will present on the initiatives being done within their field of work and give examples of the behind the scenes efforts that support the organic seed movement. Kiki Hubbard will provide highlights about on-going initiatives at OSA and on government policy updates regarding organic seed. The role of an organic seed breeder/producer in the supply chain, including how organic varieties are brought to the marketplace, will be presented by Shaina Bronstein from Vitalis Organic Seed. The panel will also include input from organic farmer and Gowan Seed sales rep, Jacob Slosberg, who will share tactics on sourcing and trialing organic varieties. The goal of this session is to convey a better understanding of the organic seed movement  and to provide an opportunity to hear real-life narratives of professionals in the organic seed sector.
Integrated Management of Spotted Wing Drosophila — Step One: Know Your Enemy
  • Matthew Grieshop, Michigan State University
  • Since its introduction to the United States in 2008, spotted wing Drospophila, Drosophila suzukii (SWD), has rapidly become the most serious insect pest of soft skinned fruit in nearly all the major fruit production regions of the world. The key feature of this pest is its serrated ovipositor, allowing it to compromise ripening and ripe fruits while they are still on the plant. Management of this pest is complicated because of its high reproductive potential and long lifespan. This talk will provide an overview of SWD biology, current management programs that work as well as explore key gaps in our knowledge of this pest’s biology and ecology.  
The Structure and Composition of Soil Organic Matter and Implications for Management
  • Doug Collins, Washington State University
  • Soil organic matter content is frequently associated with soil health. Producers are encouraged to increase soil organic matter to improve soil functions such as water-holding capacity, nutrient exchange, nutrient supply from decomposition, and carbon sequestration. While it is a common parameter of a basic soil test, increased concern about soil health and biology has encouraged interest in more advanced understanding of soil organic matter (SOM) among producers. Likewise, laboratory methods to study SOM have evolved and the conventional understanding of SOM structure, composition, location in the soil, and interaction with microbes, minerals, and chemical compounds have been challenged. As new producer-oriented soil tests emerge, those who rely on these tests should understand their potential and limitations. This presentation will describe different conceptual models for SOM and emerging tools to monitor changes in SOM structure, composition and function.

Sustainable Production & Systems II

Putting Hogs to Work in an Integrated Crop-Livestock System
  • Corine Singfield, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • This workshop is about how to bring mixed and integrative systems back into your farm to increase resilience and ecological function with a focus on pigs. Did you know that pigs can be used to manage cover crops without machinery? Help you grow permanent forage, help you control pests (like cabbage moth and flea beetle) and disease? Build soils and increase carbon sequestration while lowering your tillage requirements? We will look at some of the finer details about integrating hogs on the farm including function, nutritional requirements, shelter designs, timing, stocking rates & carrying capacity and economic feasibility.  This workshop will be an interactive opportunity where we can share our successes and challenges with livestock integration, pinpointing where knowledge gaps may be.
Putting Chickens to Work: Partnering Pastured Poultry with Regenerative Farming Systems
  • Matt Steinman, Foothills Farm
  • Both pastured poultry and regenerative farming practices have become much more popular within the marketplace as consumers demand a higher quality, more ecologically sound product. Rarely discussed is the potential for function stacking. We will be discussing methods using pastured poultry to build soil fertility within regenerative farming systems.  . 
Draft-Powered Farming
  • Chandler Briggs, Hayshaker Farm
  • Farmer/teamster Chandler Briggs will share his experiences helping start and co-manage a peri-urban, 8 acre diversified produce farm in SE Washington State. Focusing primarily on how draft power fits into the farm's day-to-day and long term vision, this presentation will also feature some photos and videos from several of the draft powered farms in the Northwest.

Sustainable Production & Systems III

Nutritional Weeds as Potential Crops
  • Terri Wilde, Cascadia Skillshare Faire
  • Many agricultural weeds are nutritious and delicious. Learn about  nutritional values and recipes for purslane, lambs quarters, wild amaranth, chickweed and others. Strategize for how to collectively market these volunteer crops.
Managing Soil Health and Crop Diseases With Brassica Cover Crops
  • Justin O'Dea, Washington State University Clark County Extension
  • The ability of brassicas to produce compounds that can suppress soil-borne crop pathogens (“biofumigation”) has been well-documented. Consequently, certain brassica cover crops are increasingly popular with growers looking to effectively mitigate soil-borne crop disease issues. Nonetheless, biofumigation with brassicas has not always proven to be reliably effective in the field. A number of factors may affect biofumigation potential on-farm, including circumstantial environmental factors and misunderstanding of what management is needed to maximize biofumigation potential. Successful biofumigation hence requires some advanced understanding of growing of brassica cover crops for biofumigation, and how to effectively facilitate biofumigation in the field. Importantly also though, when brassica cover crops are used and managed well, they may also by default generally benefit soil health, nutrient use efficiency, and weed management. In this session, expect to learn some of the known factors that affect the success of biofumigation with brassicas, and how these cover crops may otherwise serve your farm and soils in several different ways. 
Liming Can Do More Than Just Change pH
  • Gudrun Mart, Columbia River Carbonates
  • Liming to change soil pH is an old farming practice.  But today, we know that a sensible, timed liming program adds more value to your bottom line than just pH. Working with micronized natural minerals can provide predictable results through precise application. We will focus on liming and valuable calcium nutrition at the right time, right amount, and right place. This presentation includes examples and photos from many years of liming studies, crop response, and a variety of application methods to fit any farming operation or vegetable production.

Sustainable Production & Systems IV

Using Native Bees to Increase Farm Yield
  • Dave Hunter, Crown Bees
  • Biodiversity, whether in crop or orchard is a must for an organic farm. With bees, Crown Bees has found methods to increase yields using solitary bees rather than the social honey bees. In this session, through learning how pollen is gathered, transferred, and stored by comparing both honey and solitary bees, you should have insight on increasing your yield. Spoiler alert... using solitary bees is another element in creating a closed loop for your farm.
Successful Medicinal Crops for the Pacific Northwest
  • Caitlin Gilson and Katie Vincent, Bastyr University - Botanical Medicine Department
  • In this lecture we will introduce some of the most successful and marketable medicinal crops to grow in the Pacific Northwest. We will cover the basic propagation options, sourcing material, cultivation protocols, harvesting and medicinal uses.  We will also touch on potential value-added products and information on possible markets.
A Queen for All Seasons: Bees as Seeds
  • Melanie Kirby, Washington State University and Zia Queen Bees
  • This presentation will focus on emerging research both from the U.S. and abroad that shares the connection between forage, nutrition and health, and how to better understand the relationship between them and bees for selective breeding. Through selective breeding and quality stock integration, beekeepers can help to strategize hive management and encourage environmentally friendly stewardship. The connection between habitat and health, and how it affects bee health, hive management, and community wellness will be explored. Additional information will include if and how bees self-medicate, and how that can translate into potential value-added products for health and and wellness of humans. 
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