As of March 31, 2011, many of the Sierra CRAFT project objectives have been accomplished. A Steering Committee made up of six farmers and ranchers and three Cooperative Extension advisors was formed and communicates regularly. The Steering Commitee developed an on-line needs assessment survey for farmers and ranchers in the six-county area served by the Western SARE funded project in order to plan workshops. Workshops began in October 2010. A total of three on-farm workshops, one marketing workshop, a beginning farming short course, a farm business planning course and a community-building event have occurred.
The farmer-to-farmer listserv became active in fall 2010. The Foothill Farming website (http://ucanr.org/foothillfarming) went live in December 2010 and has already become the go-to place for information for area farmers.
– Identify farmer moderator for listserv (Steering committee)
– Arrange for listserv hosting (Listserv coordinator)
– Publicize listserv to producers, interns, etc. through regional ag organizations and Cooperative Extension (Steering committee, area producers, UCCE through extension mailing lists, High Sierra RC&D)
– Begin sign-up for listserv (List serv coordinator)
By September 2010
– Gather educational and on-farm research topics for farm field day workshops. Identify potential hosts. Identify farmer coordinator for field days. (Steering Committee, High Sierra RC&D and UCCE)
– Listserv live (Farmer listserv moderator)
– Producers prioritize topics and decide on 8-10 field day topics (Steering committee, farmer coordinator)
– Plan calendar of field days and publicize (Farmer coordinator, High Sierra RC&D and UCCE)
– Prepare research-based information sheets relevant to each field day
– Implement four-five on-farm field days on area farms(Farmer coordinator, steering committee, and UCCE)
– Publicize listserv and business planning classes to field day audiences (Farmer coordinator, steering committee, UCCE)
– Survey producer participants on critical techniques and recruit producers to participate in on-farm research on topics relevant across the region
December 2010 -January 2011:
– Plan for farm business planning classes in two locations. Identify producer trainers and responsibilities for each training, schedule trainings and publicize. (Steering committee, farmer trainers, High Sierra RC&D and UCCE).
– Implement farm business planning training for 10-18 producers in each location. (Farmer trainers and UCCE)
– Aim to provide four-five on-farm field days on area farms, including farms participating in collaborative on-farm research. (Farmer coordinator, steering committee, High Sierra RC&D and UCCE).
By late summer 2010, a listserv moderator had been hired, the listserv set up, and in fall 2010 outreach to encourage participation began and the listserv started. In addition, a website has been established (http://ucanr.org/sites/placernevadasmallfarms/)which provides links to Sierra CRAFT-scheduled activities and also serves to publicize the listserv.
On-farm Field Days
In late summer, an on-line training needs assessment was developed by the Steering Committee and sent out to farmers and ranchers in the six county area. By September, 108 farmers and ranchers had responded, and the Steering Committee developed a list of workshop topics. Four on-farm field day workshops have been held to date.
Beginning Farmer Workshop
On October 21, 2010, a Beginning Farmer Workshop was hosted by Alan Haight at Riverhill Farm in Nevada City, California. The workshop had 43 participants from six counties and three states. Topics included the economics of establishing a farm or ranch and other issues related to production and marketing for new farmers.
Soil & Water Management in Vegetable Crops
A workshop on soil and water management in vegetable crops was held on December 7, 2010. Jim Muck hosted the workshop at the Muck Farm in Wheatland, California. Thirty-eight area farmers from five counties participated in the workshop.
Direct Marketing Workshop
A Marketing Workshop with 27 participants was held in Auburn, California on January 28, 2011. Experienced producers shared their assesments of available direct marketing channels, helpful marketing tools and strategies.
Lynn Miller Event
A community-building event was held in Auburn on February 26th. Lynn Miller of the Small Farmers’ Journal spoke and led discussion on what is sustainable in ranching and farming and why it’s important. Twenty-six area agriculturalists attended.
A Lambing Workshop was held on March 5, 2011 hosted by the Beltramos in Auburn, California. It was a very practical workshop teaching skills for processing new lambs.
Other workshops planned for 2011 include:
-Greenhouse/High Tunnel Workshop (April)
-Orchard Soil & Water Management (April)
-Ranch Diversification Tour (May)
-Pest Management Workshop (July)
-Regulations affecting Farmers & Ranchers
-Agricultural Resources Fair ((October)
Beginning Farming Short Courses
A six-hour Beginning Farming short course was offered in Auburn in January 2011 with 22 participants. In May, a one-day course will be offered in El Dorado/Amador County as well as another two-session course in Auburn.
Farm Business Planning
A six-week Farm Business Planning course took place in Auburn in February and March. Twelve producers completed the course.
- Beginning Farming Workshop
- Marketing Workshop
- Soils Workshop
- Orchard Workshop, Chicago Park, California, April 2010
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
The Sierra CRAFT project has brought together farmers and ranchers from across the foothills. The Foothill Farming website has been a great tool for getting information out to area farmers and ranchers and brought many new participants to workshops. Most events have participants from six-eight counties, many of them beginning farmers and ranchers but also experienced producers. The training offered through this grant has helped farmers and ranchers across the foothill region and beyond.
Most workshops have filled well in advance, indicating the demand for such practical training in this area. Until recently, it has been a small group providing training, but the Sierra CRAFT grant has expanded that group considerably. It has helped to bring together a larger group of producers who are willing to share their knowledge and train others. The farmer-to-farmer learning and building of networks has been invaluable for all involved.
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