The PlacerGROWN Food and Farm Conference will feature two workshops on wool and fiber. The conference is scheduled for Saturday, February 4th at Lincoln High School. There is more to selling wool than raising sheep and hiring a shearer. In these two workshops you will learn what it takes to grow a quality product from selecting the breed of sheep to management of the flock. We will discuss what to do with the wool after it is off the sheep including skirting fleeces and processing options. We will also explore ideas for adding value to your wool and how to market your fiber products. You will have a chance to see and feel different types of wool and help skirt a fleece.
In the second workshop you will get hands-on experience class and learn what to do with your wool after it is off the sheep including processing options. You will learn how to skirt fleeces and evaluate fleece quality and will have an opportunity to handle different types of wool.
Topics covered will include:
Growing quality wool
- Choice of breeds
- Raw fleece and value added products
Robin Lynde of Meridian Jacobs (www.meridianjacobs.com) started weaving about 28 years ago and will teach this workshop. On her 10-acre farm north of Vacaville, she raises Jacob sheep, a rare breed, and promote their unique spotted wool. Robin markets the wool as carded sliver, yarn, or handwoven blankets and scarves. She actively promotes conservation of the Jacob sheep breed, working as Registrar for the Jacob Sheep Breeders Association and she enjoys exhibiting my sheep, and selling other products including lamb. Robin weaves other products for sale, including popular cotton baby blankets and rayon chenille scarves In addition, She weaves custom blankets and scarves for people who raise sheep, but don’t work with the wool themselves. Robin teaches classes in spinning, weaving, and dyeing, and is a member of several local fiber guilds. Robin is pictured below modeling a shawl she made and showing her Jacob Sheep in Eugene, OR. The first photo is of a shawl class at Meridian Jacobs in the Dixon/Vacaville area.
These fiber workshops will be one of 25 workshops to be held on February 4th at the Lincoln High School, Lincoln,CA. For more information, including registration, visit either http://placergrown.org/wp/ or http://ucanr.org/sites/PGFFC, or call PlacerGROWN at (530) 889-7398 or UC Cooperative Extension at (530) 889-7385.
Two workshops will be held on loan and financing options for small producers at the February 4th PlacerGROWN Food and Farm Conference at Lincoln High School. Lack of scale of operation has come up many times over the last four years during farm business planning classes taught by UC Cooperative Extension. While the farm and ranch direct marketing enterprises produce a positive margin, they typically are not large enough to pay a reasonable annual salary. Increasing scale of operation for many means increasing from a micro-farm or ranch to a small one. Scale does not mean a large corporate farm.
Getting to scale presents challenges regarding having sufficient resources (land and irrigation), capital, and length of time to repay the capital investment. Most people that have taken farm business planning or beginning farming courses lack sufficient capital to self-fund expansion. This means some type of loan will need to be sought.
No matter what loan you are seeking, here are important considerations for a lender:
- Have you been in business for at least 3 years?
- Is your business profitable, with sufficient cash flow to meet your new and current obligations (both personal and business)?
- Do you have a satisfactory personal and business credit history?
Panel members will include representatives from: USDA Farm Service Agency, Sierra Economic Development Corporation, Northern Farm Credit, California Farm Link, and Briar Patch The panel will provide you with a wide array of loan and finance options. In addition, a second session will discuss the main components of a loan package as well as providing time for your questions.
The PlacerGROWN Food and Farm Conference will be held on Saturday, February 4th at Lincoln High School. You can register for the conference at the PlacerGROWN website:
The keynote speaker will be Scott Vernon of I Love Farmers.
“I Love Farmers,” as it is affectionately known, is a national agricultural advocacy group of young people with headquarters in San Luis Obispo. J. Scott Vernon, an agricultural communications professor at the Cal Poly State University, help found the group. Together, they have launched an ambitious campaign to inform the young people, primarily in urban areas, about agricultural issues, and family farming in particular.
The group’s mission is “to celebrate the choices we have in the marketplace for our food supply.” Vernon says, “we have pitched a big tent and welcome all types of food production models to join the conversation. It is not an ‘either or’ proposition, but instead helping young people understand the importance of balance in American agriculture that will secure our domestic food supply.”
I Love Farmers…They Feed My Soul originated out of the frustration by the students who have a passion for agriculture, but realized most of their peers don’t know how food is really produced in America.
Using new media technology, the young people decided to take matters into their own hands and launched an aggressive social media movement to share information about family farmers and ranchers. “I Love Farmers…They Feed My Soul” has become one of the fastest-growing FaceBook groups on farm advocacy issues in the world. The group’s leaders have gone on numerous stump speeches across the country, and have inspired young people nationwide to action by forming local “catalysts for conversation” teams around college campuses. They bring their message to Lincoln High School in February at the 2012 Food and Farm Conference as keynote presenters.
Many people are looking at farming or ranching as either full or part-time work. A workshop on Beginning Farming is being held Thursday, October 21 at Riverhill Farms in Nevada City. The workshop is being held as part of a five county Sierra Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training project. The funding is for the project is provided through the Western Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.
In addition to a Riverhill Farm tour, the workshop will address the following topics: assessing your resources, access to land – leasing vs owning, choosing enterprises and marketing strategies, evaluating capital investments, evaluating new opportunities, and future plans at Riverhill Farms.
The workshop is free and runs from 10 AM 4 PM. Please being a brown bag lunch. Coffee and water will be provided. Riverhill Farms is located at 13500 Cement Hill Road. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Dan Macon at 530-305-3270 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The picture below is Alan Haight of Riverhill Farms speaking at a farm tour held October 2009.
The 2010 Multi-species Grazing Academy was held September 17-19, 2010. University of Tennessee and Tennessee State University Small Ruminant Specialist An Peischel cam over to help teach the Academy. This year's Academy was greatly enhanced by conducting field work on actual ranches. Tony Fairchild of Goatbrushers provided goats, sheep, electric fencing materials, and a place to eat lunch. Dan Macon of Flying Mule Farm provided grass-finishing lambs, electric netting, and portable corrals. Ellen Skillings of Byrne's Border Collies provided border collies and demonstrated their skill in moving and controlling sheep.
Here are some comments from one Multi-Species Academy participant. "This year, it is great to hear the chatter between Tony and Randy. They are enthusiastic about what they have learned at the academy, and of course, it helps make me look not so picky when they realize they are getting the same instructions from you (the original sources)! When we met in the office on Monday a.m., we talked about areas on which they would like to focus. Tony is interested in animal health, Randy wants to learn more about plants and forage /browsing management. They were amased by what they already knew, and how that helped provide a structure for new information, and how much more there is to learn.
Kelsey's mom reports, Kelsey followed her all over the farm, digesting every aspect of the Academy aloud. I wondered, how a 14-yr old would evaluate the workshop? Kelsey loved the Browsing Academy. She is eager to step up efforts on herbal permanent pasture improvement, developing hedgerow forage, and acquiring portable fencing to better manage new areas. She thought discussion about minerals and the role different minerals play was especially interesting."
For more information on upcoming programs, email me at email@example.com.