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Co-sponsored with

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logo34th Annual Winter Conference

Western CT State University
Midtown Campus
181 White Street, Danbury

Sunday, March 13, 2016 ~ 9:00 am to 3:30 pm


Sunday workshops

9:00 - 9:30    Registration
9:30 – 12:00   Morning Session
12:00 - 1:00   Lunch
1:00 – 3:30    Afternoon Session

Double Session Workshop - 9:30 to 12:00 & 1:00 to 3:30

Intensive Vegetable Growing Techniques - Bryan O'Hara, Tobacco Road Farm
This all day workshop will describe the various techniques utilized on Tobacco Road Farm to achieve maximum yields of vegetable from relatively small acreage. Soil fertility, no-till, crop selection and spacing, continuous cropping, intercropping, year round growing, weed control, irrigation and liquid fertilizers, foliar feeding, harvest and root cellaring and more.

Bryan O'Hara has been profitably growing vegetables at Tobacco Road Farm in Lebanon, CT for over 20 years. He speaks throughout the Northeast on vegetable production techniques and is known for providing “mountains of details in a concise, practical and cohesive manner” (NOFA/Mass)

Getting Started in Organic Farming Track - 9:30 to 12:00 & 1:00 to 3:30

9:30 to 10:30
Record Keeping Basics - Dina Brewster, The Hickories

Keeping good records is an essential part of a healthy organic farm plan. We will look at how our diversified farm has grown, evolved, and developed record keeping for profitability in its first ten years.

Dina Brewster farms at The Hickories, a certified organic fruit, vegetable, and flower farm with pastured pigs and sheep.

10:30 to 11:15
Understanding the Balance Sheet - Colleen A. Osterhout, Farm Credit East

Understanding balance sheet items and how to interpret to better manage your business.

Colleen Osterhout is a 14 year loan officer in the Middletown NY office of Farm Credit East, ACA covering Fairfield Co CT, Westchester Co NY, and the northern portion of NJ. Colleen operates her family's part time horse farm in the Catskill Mountains of Sullivan County, NY.

11:15 to 12 noon
Getting started with extending the growing season
- Steven Munno, Massaro Community Farm
steve munnoWe'll talk about extending the growing season in CT for a variety of crops using low, high and movable tunnels, and whether or not season extension is right for you. We'll cover tunnel basics, crop choices, opportunities and challenges.

Steve Munno is the Farm Manager at Massaro Community Farm in Woodbridge. Massaro is a non-profit, certified organic farm, growing mixed vegetable for CSA, markets, restaurants, hunger relief organization, and offers on-farm educational programs and events. Steve currently serves as Vice President on the CT NOFA Board of Directors.


1:00 to 2:00
Tools to Support Local Agriculture - Joan Nichols, Connecticut Farm Bureau Association

joan nicholsPractical tips: Applying for tax savings programs for CT farmers and working successfully with local zoning.

Joan Nichols Director of Member Relations and Community Outreach. Specializing in all aspects of land use and taxation programs as relates to CT agriculture. Provides one on one support to CT farmers. Advocates on in local communities to support sustainability of CT agriculture.


2:00 to 2:45
Gaining Access to Quality Farmland - Kip Kolesinskas and Kathy Ruhf

Participants will gain an overview of the common methods and sources for gaining access to affordable farmland, such as listing services. Opportunities on Municipal and Land Trust properties and how to evaluate a parcels agricultural potential will be explored. Kinds of leases and land transfer options will be discussed.

Kip Kolesinskas, Consulting Conservation Scientist for the CT Department of Agriculture, American Farmland Trust, and UConn Extension. Formerly USDA NRCS State Soil Scientist CT/RI, Kip has been a major contributor to protecting farmland, increasing farmer access to land, developing farm friendly municipalities, and promoting local food systems.

Kathy Ruhf, Sr. Program Director and MA & RI Field Agent for Land for Good, a New England-wide nonprofit that specializes in farmland access, tenure and transfer. Kathy has taught, consulted and written about beginning farmer, land access, and farm succession issues for 26 years. Prior to joining LFG in 2004, she co-directed the New England Small Farm Institute for 17 years.

2:45 to 3:30
Social Marketing for your Agribusiness - Leslie Silverman, SmartSite Consulting

Help for the smaller business owner/farm operator in understanding what's involved to market their products and services online in the digital age. Introduction to how to use social media marketing, search engine optimization for your website, getting found online, and persuading your audience to do business with you.

Leslie Silverman is an internet marketing consultant who helps smaller businesses with their online presence. She assists with organic search engine optimization (SEO), website content creation/promotion, social media, blogging, email marketing and online advertising. She has served organics recycler Harvest Power Northeast (formerly GreenCycle) for many years.

Morning Session - 9:30 to 12:00

How to Apply for Organic Certification - Laura Davis, Long Life Farm
Want to get certified, but daunted by all those forms? Using the application forms from Baystate Organic Certifiers, we will help you fill out the paperwork, step by step, page by page. All questions and meanings explained. Bring your own forms or pick them up at the workshop.

Laura Davis is the Organic Certification Assistance Coordinator for NOFA/Mass. She has operated a certified organic farm for five years. Laura is in training to be an organic inspector. Don Persons from Baystate Organic Certifiers will be present to answer questions about the organic standards.


Afternoon Session - 1:00 to 3:00

The "Value" in Value Added Products - Patrick Horan, Waldingfield Farm
This workshop will approach the "value added" space with an eye on the "local" product. From concept and development, then execution and then bringing to market. What makes a good product? How do you pay for it? Is it a viable product? The workshop will address these issues, and more.

Patrick has been farming since 1990. He is a graduate of Union College (B.A. English) and The Stella Adler Conservatory (MFA program). Patrick also works with Five Acre Farms, a brand that markets local milk, eggs, and apple products. www.fiveacrefarms.com. He divides his time between Brooklyn, NY, and Washington CT.


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CT NOFA's 34th Annual Winter Conference is being brought to you in cooperation with Western Connecticut State University and its Jane Goodall Center for Excellence in Environmental Studies.