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236 Small Farms/ Organic Production Systems Advisor


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This proposal has been formally submitted for the 2012 cycle.



I think this farm advisor position would fill a big void in these three counties. There are many existing in the area who lack an advisor who can address organic, small-scale issues. Additionally, there is a big surge in the area of beginning farmers (including with the California Farm Academy) who will be very excited to work with a new farm advisor in this area (I am one of those small-scale, beginning farmers myself).
Posted Jun 7, 2012 6:32 PM by Emma
The production issues that small-scale farmers face are very different from those of large-scale growers. A farm advisor who is focused on those issues and well-versed in organic production requirements and methods will be an important asset to the growing number of small-scale farmers in our region. The markets are demanding more food produced on farms that rely on specialized, intensive management techniques rather than economies of scale to make a profit. At the same time, small and beginning farmers need help to make sustainable choices with farming methods. This advisor position could make a positive impact both on the agricultural economy and on the environmental sustainability of small farms in our region.
Posted Jun 21, 2012 12:05 PM by Wendy Rash
This three county region has been identified as critical to the foodsheds of both the Bay area and Sacramento. Demand for local specialty crops is at an all time high as evidenced by the success of the Solano Grown marketing initiative ( Solano County alone has 83 crops with at least three producers of each, many of them small, family farms. A high percentage of these growers are new to agriculture and a strong subset are returning veterans. They need precisely the types of resources that this position could provide. The number of Farmer's Market certificates in Solano has nearly tripled in the past three years; vitually all of those growers are small, specialty crop producers. I cannot think of a more worthwhile application of university resources than to fund this position.
Posted Jun 28, 2012 12:07 PM by Jim Allan Solano County Agricultural Commissioner

consumers are increasingly interested in buying from local producers, most of whom are small farm owners.
Posted Jun 29, 2012 12:21 PM by Stephen Silberstein
Solano County would benefit immensely from the addition of small farm advisors. with our proximity to the bay area and the efforts of organizations of Solano Grown and the county ag commissioners office, our county has seen a tremendous growth of small farms, CSA groups and locally produced and raised produce and value added products. I own one such farm, we raise grass fed lambs and heritage berries and stone fruit. I have lived in this county my entire life, and I am proud of the efforts of many folks that have supported the outgrowth of the small farms. Having our own small farm adviser would allow us to take our efforts to the next level by providing us with the technical support and expertise many of us are currently lacking. I have attempted to get answers to my farming questions from UCD, but have had mixed success in even getting anyone to return my phone call. I fully support the funding of a small farms adviser for Solano County, there is plenty of work to keep a position 110% busy and it would benefit the citizens of this area through increased support of our locally grown efforts!
Posted Jul 2, 2012 7:38 AM by Jeanne Kluge
As farm dynamics change with an increased interest in locally sourced foods, the need for a Small Farms Advisor escalates dramatically. Additionally, with ag parcel size set down to 40 acres, the need and opportunity for smaller scale farmers builds from the land use perspective, as well as the focus on the sustainable, environment friendly practices, which is generally employed by smaller scale farmers.
The need for an advisor who can provide advice along with a link between farmers and UCCE resources as well as other resources and county entities becomes an imperative. In short, I strongly advocate for filling the Small Farms Advisor position, ASAP.
Moira Burke.
Posted Jul 11, 2012 12:30 PM by Moira Burke
We certainly have needed this position for over 25 years. We have had to make our way over the years with on farm research done during farming hours and would very much appreciate help! This county has an incredibly diverse agricultural history and needs a small scale/ organic advocate. Thank you for considering our needs and let's get this going now.
Posted Jul 11, 2012 9:29 PM by Dru Rivers
A small farm advisor would offer critical support to a growing base of organic farms in our region. This position would effectively leverage an incredible knowledge base among experienced farmers, university researchers, and private consultants. Advancing and fine-tuning organic, integrated production systems will give our farms a competitive advantage in the marketplace while developing sustainable models that can be replicated elsewhere. Please create this long overdue position in the fertile farming region of Yolo / Solano / Sacramento counties.
Posted Jul 14, 2012 8:20 AM by Thomas Nelson
At Full Belly Farm, we are convinced that farm models using direct marketing channels, diverse cropping systems and sustainable approaches to production can continue to be an important and growing part of the farm economy. These approaches provide a supportive environment for innovation and economic development. Potentially, it is the organic and sustainable practitioners who will be the source of new ideas to help address the converging environmental, public health and economic problems that face agriculture. A small farm advisor with the ability to understand the challenges faced by small farms is critical to the continued success and growth of this sector.
Posted Jul 15, 2012 8:44 AM by Judith Redmond
In my community of small farmers in the Capay Valley, there is a high demand for the support of a small farm advisor. We are a region with great potential to grow and thrive and an advisor could facilitate success in a very challenging field that encompasses a lot of expertise. I come from an urban/ non agricultural background (which is the fastest growing farmer demographic) and I would not be able to succeed, let alone thrive, without the generosity and support of this community and this community in turn needs support. Please invest in this crucial facet of our economy. It is an issue of our general stability and welfare.
Posted Jul 16, 2012 8:59 PM by ingrid
They say that the average age of farmers is now around 60 years old, but soon that statistic will change! There is a boom of young people such as myself that are getting into farming, and while we have the enthusiasm to learn and work hard, many don't come from agricultural backgrounds. I feel incredibly lucky to be following in the footsteps of those who bucked the trend and started farming sustainably in the 1970s, and to have the support of that community, but it would be incredibly beneficial to have an elected official to support and advise us all. As a new young farmer in the Capay Valley, I feel I know enough about growing food to do it, but I lack specific knowledge about the soil, climate, pests and other factors of this area that would help me farm better. A Small Farms Advisor would be such a great resource.
Posted Jul 17, 2012 7:56 AM by Annie Hehner
A Small farms advisor who is well-versed in organic production requirements and methods will be an important asset to the growing number of small-scale farmers in our region. We have seen an increase in the number small and beginning farmers in Yolo County and this position is critical to helping them get a good start. We strongly support this postion.
Posted Jul 19, 2012 12:46 PM by John Young Yolo County Agricultural Commissioner
The Center for Land-Based Learning (centered in Winters, straddling Yolo and Solano Counties) has just started a new program called the California Farm Academy, which is a beginning farmer training program. Our first class of 18 "beginning farmers" graduate on August 18th, and approximately half of them will begin farming in this region. I can't think of a more important position for this area than the small farms advisor. These beginning farmers will be in need of assistance - technical and financial - but especially the ability to have a network of people and organizations in the region to go to and start their farming careers. Most of them are interested in diversified, small-scale organic production and this position fits their needs to a tee. The CFA will be holding our 6-month training program annually, and we had over 40 apply for our first class. This position is a huge need for our region, and I hope that the CFA program, as well as the very large amount of small farms that are already in this region, is taken into consideration when prioritizing regions for funding.
Posted Jul 20, 2012 1:22 PM by Mary Kimball
Yolo and Solano Counties would benefit immensely from the addition of a small farms/organic production systems advisor. Our family farms organic walnuts in both counties and while we benefit immensely from our walnut farm advisor, an organic farm advisor would fill a crucial gap - especially for small farmers. More and more new farmers are starting up in our region and many hope to produce organically. This new position would be instrumental in these new and existing farmers’ success.
Posted Jul 20, 2012 2:49 PM by Jenny Lester Moffitt
We are conventional walnut growers. Over the years we have met many people who farm specialty crops in Yolo and Solano Counties for local sale either on farm or other forms of direct marketing. I think there is a definite need for a farm advisor who can serve these groups in this three county area, but the scope of the position needs to be expanded to include small scale non organic farmers also.
Posted Jul 20, 2012 4:34 PM by Nancy Lea
We certainly would have benefitted from this Advisor Position 32 years ago! What an opportunity to have this under consideration, finally! The Small Farms/Organic Production Systems Advisor position is essential. Supporting farmers at the beginning of their farming careers is essential. The learning curve and costs of entry to agriculture are very steep. Many new farmers venture into agriculture inspired by the organic option, local food, and socially responsible enterprise. We all know they'll need that inspiration to carry them through the work they are committing to do. Beginning small and building from success to success is realistic and satisfying. Let's support their effort and energy with an Advisor. It's what we can do now. It's the least we can do!
Posted Jul 21, 2012 2:26 PM by Nick Charles
As a small-scale organic farmer (for the past 18 years) in Yolo County, I have often availed myself of UCCE advisors' expertise. I have watched with great disappointment as the number of advisors has dwindled over the years. As a grower of many diverse crops/livestock, I sometimes have problems that don't fit neatly into a particular category. I believe that a Small Farms/Organic advisor could help us better puzzle things out amid the factors relating to our size, organic certification & diversity.
Posted Jul 22, 2012 6:28 PM by Robert Ramming
My own experience as a beginning farmer over 30 years ago was tremendously enhanced by the science based, hands on approach of our local Farm Advisors. Today small farm, direct-to-retail and local organic sales add up to over $8 billion per year nationally. Our counties of Solano, Yolo and Sacramento desperately need qualified farm advisors to assist farmers in all aspects of production and marketing. These positions are a must have if we are to continue our role as leaders in organic and sustainable production.
Posted Jul 23, 2012 10:56 AM by Craig McNamara
We certainly need more small farm advisors and in this region in particular, as many young people want to farm. Between the decline in the number of Extension personnel and the shift to more specialists, the needs of small farmers are less and less attended to by the University. These are the people who really need public assistance, who can't afford all the private consultants. But they are the future.
Posted Jul 24, 2012 3:22 PM by Dave Runsten
A small farms advisor for this region would be a great benefit and support to new and small growers in Yolo and Solano counties. Having available someone who understands the challenges in production, marketing and sustainability would greatly increase the viability of small farm production in the region. This position supports the ability of our region to continue to grow and supply the market with fresh and local food.
Posted Jul 25, 2012 5:41 PM by Marcia Gibbs
Indeed, there is a great need for small-farms advisors. This area really needs one. There is a burgeoning crop of young farmers and a group of established ones that need and deserve UC support.
Posted Jul 28, 2012 9:08 AM by Aziz Baameur
An old African Proverb says, “Knowledge is like a garden: if it is not cultivated it cannot be harvested.” Regardless of any financial support available, the key to success has always been knowledge. Everyday, an individual decides to make a positive difference by being a part of this region’s sustainable future. . I believe small organic farms are an integral component of a sustainable future and the small farm advisor is critical to their success. One year ago I started my own home garden and this year I transformed it into an organic garden. I have now expanded and am in the early stages of developing a sustainable localized food system within a correctional facility in this region. I firmly believe that our correctional facilities are Sustainable Programs in waiting. Our sustainability program will revolve around a small organic farm designed to serve our closed community. It would include a Vermicomposting/ Vermiculture component, herb garden, pest management, sustainable irrigation practices, demonstration garden and provide vocational and post secondary educational opportunities along with re-entry job training. It also will have the ability to accommodate a variety of research opportunities. My biggest hurdle is KNOWLEDGE. I find myself trying to piece meal together the knowledge base necessary to make this a successful program that can hopefully be reproduced throughout our region and beyond. I am confident others are in the same situation. Like us, they have the passion, desire, and fortitude to move forward, but are in need of the small farm advisor. UCCE and UC Davis have always been and continue to be an integral and critical part of this regions agricultural success. It only makes sense the small farm advisor be the next logical step to moving forward.
Posted Jul 29, 2012 11:04 AM by A. Hagadorn

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