Solace Farm

Finnsheep for the Farmstead Sustainable Family Farm

Blog

Soil Testing for Farmers March 25

Posted by solacefarmfiber on February 28, 2014 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

March 25 – Soil Testing for Farmers – don’t guess, soil test! This two-part class will introduce farmers and ag producers to basic soil science, teach correct soil sampling procedure and assist in the analysis of the lab results to develop a nutrient management plan. The first class will be held at the WSU Extension office, 986 S Main. Cost is $10 per farm, which includes a soil test valued at $35.

 

 

Access to Farmland 2014 Symposium

Posted by solacefarmfiber on February 24, 2014 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Access to farmland for the next generation of farmers looks like it's lining up to be the most pivotal issue facing agriculture today. Consider this question: "How can young farmers, almost universally cash-poor and yet who have such energy and vision for a re-invented, sustainable and localized food and farm system in the U.S. even get started when land costs are rising, the resource base of arable land is shrinking and start-up costs are steep?" This upcoming symposium has the promise of being a gathering where some real, practical and paradigm-shifting solutions to questions like this will be identified and described.

I say this because of who is behind the organizing effort, namely, The Schumacher Center for a New Economics which is the organizational and philosophical heir of the E. F. Schumacher Society that was based in Great Barrington, MA.

E.F Schumacher was the visionary economist who wrote the book "Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered " way back in 1973 because he saw the train wreck coming and had the economics chops to describe an alternative track. Sadly, not enough people heeded his warning or embraced his proposals. But some folks did. The E.F. Schumacher Society was instrumental is not only developing the concepts for local currencies, community land trusts, and micro-lending program, they assisted communities to implement them.

Now, in its new incarnation as the Schumacher Center for New Economics, you can bet the concepts and proposals that will be discussed at this symposium will be the ones to pay attention to. Since most of us won't be able to attend, they will be uploading podcasts of the proceedings (see below).

Agrarian Trust, a program of the Schumacher Center for New Economics, is pleased to announce the schedule for our 2014 Symposium:

OUR LAND: a Symposium on Farmland Access in the 21st Century.

April 26 + 27, Wheeler Hall (UC Berkeley) and the David Brower Center

In the next 20 years, an estimated 400 million acres of farmland will change hands as 70% of current farmland owners retire. Meanwhile, entering farmers struggle to compete with non-farming landowners for access to prime farmland, particularly in peri-urban areas. This dilemma of farmland succession is shared by Greyhairs and Greenhorns alike, who all hope for a more sustainable and resilient farming future.

We will examine this imminent inflection point from historical, ecological and political economy perspectives, and address both practical and philosophical approaches to transition. With both national and international speakers joining to reflect on this topic, we expect a full room and a lively convening of stakeholders.

Please join us on April 26 + 27 for a conversation about farmland access and transition.

This event is presented in partnership with Chelsea Green Publishing, The David Brower Center, Berkeley Food Institute, California FarmLink and Roots of Change.

All lectures will be recorded as podcasts for farmers and others who cannot make it in person. To get the lectures please join our email list.

Please read up on the event details and reserve your ticket today at: http://agrariantrust.org/symposium/.

Symposium Press Page

Thank you for sharing this announcement widely.

 

Cultivating Success Webinar

Posted by solacefarmfiber on January 24, 2014 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

PLANNING FOR PROFIT II

AN ADVANCED, 9 WEEK, ONLINE WHOLE FARM PLANNING COURSE

Take your financial & marketing plans to the next level of profitability!

 

JANUARY 28 – MARCH 25, 2014

Live Course Webinars Tuesdays 4-6:00 pm Pacific / 5-7:00 pm Mountain

$50 per farm/ranch (one set of printed educational materials included)

Planning for Profit II is an advanced farm planning course for existing farmers/ranchers.

In this course you will refine your whole farm or business plan, clarify your farm and financial goals, improve your budgeting and recordkeeping, and develop and improve your marketing strategies for an existing or new enterprise. Mastering these skills will help you take your operation to the next level of profitability!

 

Course topics include: Strategic Planning; Farm/Ranch Financial Analysis; Enterprise Assessment; Selling Into Different Markets; Market Assessment and Expansion; Successfully Selling into Retail Markets; On-farm Labor; Food Safety Assessment & Certification.

 

Prerequisites: You must have an up and running farm/ranch operation and been producing and selling your products for at least a year. AND you must have completed at least one of the following courses: Planning for Profit Level I; Sustainable Small Farming and Ranching; Agriculture Entrepreneurship and Business Planning…OR if you haven’t completed one of these courses you must be using some form of business plan, marketing plan, or whole farm plan that you developed to guide you in your farming/ ranching operation. You must have high-speed Internet to access the course materials. Open to residents of Idaho, eastern Washington and northeast Oregon.

 

For more info and to register visit Planning for Profit Registration

 

http://www.ruralroots.org/programs/planprofitII.asp

 

 

Course registration is limited to 35.

 

Self Sufficient Saturday

Posted by solacefarmfiber on January 13, 2014 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

“Self-Sufficient Saturday”

You are invited to a fun and educational morning full of

Enlightening self-reliant presentations, information, pictures,

Displays, Plus place your order for excellent deals on bulk grain.

Saturday, February 22nd

9am till 12:30pm (in the gym)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

34221 N. Newport Hwy, Chattaroy

9 am “When there is no 911”, by Scott Haney

A though provoking presentation with Q&A.

10:15am “How to build a sturdy, cost effective greenhouse”,

by Joe and Tammy Fausti. Extend your growing season!!!

11 am “Show and Tell”, by Joan Haney

“Secure and economical livestock feed”

See a working 6 tray Fodder System

*View displays of a 72 hour kit, making yarn, and other self- reliant

items and topics

*Taking order for bulk grains from Davenport Warehouse

11:30 Potluck Competition: Bring your favorite potluck

or side dish. If you’d like, we challenge you to bring something

prepared, using items from your food storage. Prize will be awarded

for best food storage dish!

If you don’t have time to make something… join us anyway!

There is always a lot of food! :0)

See you there! Let’s continue to get prepared!

Farm Energy Audit: The Audit You'll Want to Have

Posted by solacefarmfiber on December 17, 2013 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Farm Energy Audit: The Audit You'll Want to Have

A farm energy audit is a tool to help agricultural producers conserve energy and save money by implementing energy-efficient equipment. The audit collects and analyzes information on farm energy consumption and its associated costs, and then recommends ways to reduce them. Farm energy audits also explore ways to capture renewable energy resources that are available on a farm. Dairy operations are often good candidates for farm energy audits as there are significant opportunities for dairies to save energy and money through conservation and efficiency measures. Farm energy audits can be conducted by a professional or through do-it-yourself energy-efficiency calculators. For more information on energy audits and farm energy calculators, see the ATTRA publication Farm Energy Calculators: Tools for Saving Money on the Farm.

Farmer Knows Best

Posted by solacefarmfiber on November 1, 2013 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Whether you're a sustainable-agriculture producer, educator, researcher, student, or enthusiast chances are you have a lot of insight to share, and maybe a question or two as well.

A new user forum on NCAT's ATTRA website, called Farmer Knows Best, gives you that chance offering more than a dozen topic areas where you can start a conversation or contribute to the conversations already going on. ATTRA sustainable-ag experts will be joining in too.

Farmer Knows Best just started, so this is your chance to get in on the ground floor of the conversations. Please pas the word to anyone you know who would be interested. The details are in the attached documents, and if you should get a copy of this email without the documents, you can find Farmer Knows Best along with all of our other resources at www.attra.ncat.org.

 

Animals and how to Green the World's Deserts

Posted by solacefarmfiber on March 11, 2013 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Finally someone talking sense!!!   http://youtu.be/vpTHi7O66pI

Shearing Day Is Here

Posted by solacefarmfiber on March 4, 2013 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

The shearer has arrived.

Remind him that your primary focus on shearing is to get quality fleeces with minimal second cuts. You are selling the fleece not slick shearing for the show ring. Be sure to provide a clean hard surface for the shearer to work on…if you don’t have a clean hay free barn or shed to work in then lay out a 4 x 8 foot sheet of plywood. As the shearer begins have him throw the belly wool and tags off to one side (this make great compost). Have a skirting table set up nearby (I use a 4 x 8 foot piece of PVC garden lattice supported by 3 saw horses) to throw the freshly shorn fleece on for its first skirting once over.

At this point you will understand the need to have help on shearing day. You need someone to sweep the shearer’s work surface clean between each sheep, someone to bring in the next sheep to the shearer, you also need someone to skirt the fleeces by removing all large pieces of hay, any wet fleece, dung clots or second cuts. Each fleece then needs to be bagged up with the Sheep’s Name and/or tag number so you can identify each sheep’s fleece when you are preparing them the fleece to spin and sell.

The more help you have at shearing the better as. This is an ideal time to also vaccinate and give each animal a thorough once over. You shearer is an invaluable resource. He sees 100’s of sheep and part of his training included identifying nutritional issues, parasite infestations and general sheep health.

Once the hustle and bustle of shearing day is over you get to weigh each fleece then take each fleece out of its bag and put it back on the skirting table. This second skirting is one of my favorite parts of shepherding. I use a notebook every year with a page for each sheep to keep track of all details like weight, staple length etc….

Check that your fleece is healthy and has no breaks by pulling a couple of I inch Locks from the back of the fleece and holding one end in each hand snap the two ends apart rapidly. Listen for a crisp twang sound and check that the fleece does not break apart. If the Lock does break anywhere along the staple than this fleece is suitable for felting but not spinning. Record this as a weak or broken fleece on the card in the bag and in your notebook.

Later look back over the health records for this animal since last shearing. Was there a time when the animal was ill, or stressed in any way? If several of your fleeces are broken you need to evaluate your nutrition and your shearing schedule. Shearing should always take place within 3 weeks of lambing as the stress of lambing is a common cause of broken fleeces.

Make shearing day a fun event, invite friends over to help…many fiber artists love to take part in shearing and will jump at the chance to wheedle a fleece or two from you stock of freshly shorn fleeces. You have worked all year long to produce this amazing fiber now enjoy the harvesting of it.

Getting Ready To Shear

Posted by solacefarmfiber on March 3, 2013 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Getting Ready to shear!

You have fed your flock the perfect nutritional diet and kept their fleeces clean by using 18 inch deep, ground level feed bunks for hay and clean, weed and sap free pastures. You have petted, praised and picked out any stray veggie matter on your daily visits.

Two days before their shearing appointment pen the sheep up in a covered area and keep their fleeces dry. Shearing wet fleece is harder on everybody and you may end up with moldy fleece, remember that wool can hold up to 70% of its weight in water before it feels wet.

One day before their shearing appointment withhold feed from the flock as this will make the whole shearing experience more comfortable for the sheep. This will not hurt your sheep they can easily go two days without even water without any long term ill effects.

The shearer has arrived. Remind him that your primary focus on shearing is to get quality fleeces with minimal second cuts. You are selling the fleece not slick shearing for the show ring. Be sure to provide a clean hard surface for the shearer to work on…if you don’t have a clean hay free barn or shed to work in then lay out a 4 x 8 foot sheet of plywood.

As the shearer begins have him throw the belly wool and tags off to one side (this make great compost). Have a skirting table set up nearby (I use a 4 x 8 foot piece of PVC garden lattice supported by 3 saw horses) to throw the freshly shorn fleece on for its first skirting once over.

 At this point you will understand the need to have help on shearing day. You need someone to sweep the shearer’s work surface clean between each sheep, someone to bring in the next sheep to the shearer, you also need someone to skirt the fleeces by removing all large pieces of hay, any wet fleece, dung clots or second cuts. Each fleece then needs to be bagged up with the Sheep’s Name and/or tag number so you can identify each sheep’s fleece when you are preparing them the fleece to spin and sell.

The more help you have at shearing the better as. This is an ideal time to also vaccinate and give each animal a thorough once over. You shearer is an invaluable resource. He sees 100’s of sheep and part of his training included identifying nutritional issues, parasite infestations and general sheep health.

Once the hustle and bustle of shearing day is over you get to weigh each fleece then take each fleece out of its bag and put it back on the skirting table. This second skirting is one of my favorite parts of shepherding. I use a notebook every year with a page for each sheep to keep track of all details like weight, staple length etc….

The Miracle of Milk

Posted by solacefarmfiber on February 14, 2013 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

A local Dairy friend shared this with me and I just had to share it with you...

 

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.