Archive for the ‘Market Farming’ Category

Thinking about getting into farming? Farm Dreams is a good place to start


I meet all kinds of people who want to get into farming–whether it’s someone who wants to expand a backyard garden or cultivate a field for vegetable production, raise chickens to market eggs and meat, or get into larger pastured livestock production, organic grains, fiber, dairy, you name it! It seems like everyone has a “farm dream.”

But moving those dreams toward reality is a big step. How to get started, time, access to land, money, markets,–all those questions can cause a person with a farm dream to put it back on the shelf with a sigh–and without action.

Truth is, we need more farmers on the land to provide for an ever-growing demand for locally and regionally produced farm products and to strengthen our rural communities and economies. We need you and your farm dream!

Every year, Land Stewardship Project holds a couple of workshops that are helpful for exploring the aspirations of would-be farmers with a vision but without a clear idea of how to start down the path. The Farm Dreams workshop “…is the first step in planning an educational path toward farming and is designed to help people who are seeking practical, common sense information on whether farming is for them,” says Nick Olson, a Farm Beginnings instructor.

This year, the class is being held in Clinton, Minnesota (my fair city!) on Sunday, January 8th from 1-5pm. Class size is limited and the deadline is fast approaching, so pre-registration is required. The class costs $20 for LSP members and $40 for non-members, and it’s probably the best investment of time and money a farm dreamer can make.

Click HERE for the Farm Dreams workshop press release on the Land Stewardship Project website. For more information on the workshop (and to register), contact Nick at (320) 269-2105 or nicko@landstewardshipproject.org.

Hope to see you there!

South Dakota Local Foods Conference & GAPs Training Nov. 11-12


The South Dakota Department of Agriculture, Dakota Rural Action, Buy Fresh Buy Local SD, and the SD Cooperative Extension are all teaming up to hold a South Dakota Local Foods Conference, November 11th and 12th at the Huron Events Center in Huron, SD.

Friday break-out sessions include discussions on farmers markets, high tunnels, value-added, food safety, farm to school, and Buy Fresh Buy Local. Saturday focuses on GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices) training–good for all producers, but especially important for producers looking to sell to institutions or through distributors.

Contact Alison Kiesz at the SD Dept. of Ag for more information or to register: (605) 626-3272 or alison.kiesz@state.sd.us.

Spaces Still Available for Farm Beginnings in Sioux Falls!


Farm Beginnings is a farmer-led training and support program offered by Dakota Rural Action that provides participants an opportunity to learn first-hand about low cost, sustainable methods of farming and offers the tools to successfully launch a farm enterprise.

The course runs from fall through spring, with participants meet two Saturdays per month to learn about farm planning, financial planning, resources, marketing, and more. The next course starts in November, and applications are being accepted now!

Anyone interested in developing or transitioning their farm enterprise can and should apply. Participants can be of any age, do not need to own land, and prospective, beginning, part-time, and full-time farmers are welcome!

Participants come with a wide array of sustainable farming interests and experience, including:
Cattle, hogs, goats, poultry, and other livestock
Dairy Vegetable and fruit production
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and farmers markets
Grains
Fiber production
Specialty products like value-added foods
Flowers

The size and scale of production ranges from very small (just a few acres or a small urban plot) to large (hundreds or thousands of acres in production). Experience levels range from no experience farming to currently owning and operating their own farm.

To find out more about Dakota Rural Action’s Farm Beginnings course, visit their website.

Also be on the lookout for Farm Dreams workshops being held this winter through Land Stewardship Project and Dakota Rural Action on both sides of the Minnesota-South Dakota border.

A Correction on the SD Home-Processed Foods Law Tweaking


More information about HB1240’s hoghoused strangeness, that I wrote about rather scathingly in a recent post:

Apparently, the new piece of legislation does not change the previous Home-Processed Foods Law for shelf-stable baked goods and third-party processing authority-certified acid or acidified canned goods sold at farmers markets, roadside stands, and similar venues.

Here’s what it does do: it sets a $5000 yearly gross sales limit for homemade shelf-stable (non-temperature controlled) baked goods from the home itself.

The bill was crafted in response to a request from a constituent who has a cottage bakery business. The sales limit was reportedly set by the Dept. of Health in consultation with commercially licensed bakeries–the sales limit at which those commercial bakeries felt they were not threatened.

The limit was not set due to health or safety concerns.  The limit basically tells a home baker that they have to walk out their door if they want to sell more than $5000 worth of bread or cookies or cakes a year.

The new law is all about point of sale (where the money changes hands), and sales of baked goods at farmers markets, roadside stands, and similar venues do not count toward the $5000 gross sales limit for in-home sales.

I apologize for any confusion my initial post on this law has caused, though I have to admit that clarification on the content and intent has only increased my own confusion about the point of this thing.

SD Home-Processed Foods Law Gets Unnoticed Updates


I no longer live in South Dakota, but when I saw this legislative–>hoghouse maneuver, it really ticked me off.

Without consulting or notifying those who are affected, or those who actually worked on this legislation in the last session, SD legislators made some changes to the Home-Processed Foods Law and got them through committee and passed without anyone noticing–until now, that is.

First off, on initial introduction, HB1240 would have required a yearly $40 license from the Health Department to operate a “cottage food industry.”  Then the bill was hoghoused (SD speak for “stripped of its language and pretty much completely changed but still under the same bill #”) and changed to one that sets a $5000 yearly income limit on sales of homemade baked goods (pdf!).

I know the history of the SD Home-Processed Foods Law, so I know whereof I speak.  When our producer group worked with the SD Dept. of Health to draft this law, we asked for our own version of the MN Pickle Law, which does have a $5K income limit per year on home-processed baked goods and acid or acidified canned goods, but does not require testing of those canned goods.

What we ended up with was a version that allowed home-processed shelf-stable baked goods and acid and acidified canned goods to be sold at farmers markets, farm stands, and “similar venues”–but those acid and acidified foods needed to be tested by a “third party processing authority.”  And, there was no yearly income limit on sales of these goods.  At that time, the Health Department deemed income limitations unrelated to preserving the public health.

The recent legislation does not set a yearly income limit for the canned goods (cutbacks to the Cooperative Extension–the main processing authority–should pretty much see to that), but it does set a yearly income limit on baked goods.

So, why exactly did South Dakota’s legislators suddenly decide a fee limit was needed?  And why weren’t there any discussions about this new legislation with the people who are affected by it?

Representatives Greenfield and Sly? Senator Nygaard?  South Dakota’s small producers are on the line, and they have some questions…

 

Season Extension Day in Lamberton


Cross-posted from Big Stone Bounty.

University of Minnesota’s Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC) is holding a comprehensive season extension field day in Lamberton on Thursday, April 7 from 8:30am-4:30pm. Cost of the field day is $20.  Register in advance by March 30th.

Topics include high tunnel production and irrigation, troubleshooting, NRCS cost-share programming, geothermal greenhouses, using low tunnels for season extension, and marketing local food to schools.

This looks to be a comprehensive program for both producers who are already engaged in season extension and those who are interested in learning about options.  Click on the link below to view the flier (.pdf).

Season Extension flier

Extension Food Entrepreneur Workshops


Seats still available for Feb. 22, 25, and 28 Extension home-food entrepreneur
workshops

BROOKINGS, S.D. - Entrepreneurs who seek the latest information on preparing and
marketing foods they make at home can get insight at three workshops set for Feb.
22, Feb. 25, and Feb. 28.

The South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service will host each workshop. Each will
take place from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and they will be held in Montrose on Feb. 22; in
Hot Springs on Feb. 25; and in Sisseton on Feb. 28. Each workshop costs $15 and the
fee includes materials and lunch.

To take part, call the Extension office in each workshop location's county:

 *   Montrose, McCook County Extension office at 605-425-2342.
 *   Hot Springs, Fall River County Extension office at 605-745-5133.
 *   Sisseton, Roberts County Extension office at 605-698-7627.

The South Dakota Horizons project is sponsoring scholarships for participants who
want to take part but cannot afford the fee. Ask about the scholarship opportunity
when you register.

The workshops are designed for people who plan to sell foods that they have made at
home at local or regional farmers markets in South Dakota. Producers of these foods
must comply with a new South Dakota food-safety law that sets requirements for baked
goods and foods canned or processed in the home. In addition, the workshops will
help home-food producers learn marketing skills that can help them succeed in these
types of business ventures.

Among the speakers is Extension Food Safety Specialist Joan Hegerfeld-Baker. She
said the workshops are a place where  sellers can address any questions they have
about following the rules and regulations related to home-processed food sales.

"This workshop will provide critical food-safety information that producers need to
know beforethey take their products to farmers markets," Hegerfeld-Baker said.
"Extension staff at the workshops can answer their questions and be there to help
themwork through the details. We will provide the information and resources that
anyone canning, baking, or producing food in their home needs in order to meet state
requirements."

Beyond learning the important aspects of South Dakota food safety standards,
participants will gain sharp insight on market feasibility, promotion, and sales.
Kari Fruechte, Extension Community Development Associate, said that newcomers to
home food preparation and sales can develop connections that can help their
home-businesses succeed.

"These workshops pack in lots of information for entrepreneurs hoping to take their
food products from their home or farm to the marketplace where they can earn extra
income," Fruechte said. "Beyond the rules and regulations, we'll take an in-depth
look at the options of available markets and the ways to best promote their
products."

In addition to Hegerfeld-Baker and Fruechte, Extension Horticulture Specialist Rhoda
Burrows, Extension Leadership and Community Development Specialist Karla Trautman,
and Extension Community Development Educator Darah Melroe will present information
at the events.

Call Hegerfeld-Baker with other questions or to suggest other sites in South Dakota
where this sort of workshop would be beneficial at 605-688-6233.