Saturday Sessions

A Selection of Saturday’s Breakout Sessions–

Each session is approx. 1 hr in length

Advancing Your Soil Health (How can you tell?) , Presenters: Jerry Allen, Dave Dearstyne, Rudy Garcia

In this session you will get hands-on experience to help you determine whether your practices are improving or degrading your soil health. There will be stations with real hands on demonstrations to help you go home and determine your soil health score. Rotate to different stations manned by soil health experts to determine if you are truly managing for better soil health. 

Agri-hoods, Presenters: Barry Pennell, Shawn Gardner, Melissa Young- Millsap, & Adam Millsap

Are Agrihoods Pro Farming, Pro Conservation and Pro Development? How can that be? Come learn about how an Agricultural Neighborhood could benefit you, your farm and your community. Examples of various models will be discussed. Learn how an Agrihood could help monetize your land and provide affordable housing  while keeping your land in production.

Be First to Market: Strategic Crop Planning, Presenter, Jessica Washkowiak

Find out how a crop planning process can help you be more strategic, more profitable and maybe even a little less crazy! A good plan helps organize everything and everybody, so opportunities are capitalized upon – not missed. Learn how Field to Fork has employed a system that works! 

Cover Cropping and Strip Tilling for Annual Vegetable Production, Presenters: Mindy Perkovich & Mike Nolan

Mike and Mindy received a Western SARE Research Grant to study annual vegetable production using roller crimping and strip tilling in 2018. This session will cover what they learned during the 2018 and 2019 seasons using these tools with a focus on soil sample results, crop yields, weed pressure and management, water usage and soil temperatures. Come join them to hear what they learned and how they will continue to implement these technologies.

Drip/Micro Irrigation Strategies and Benefits, Presenter: Todd Queen

The presentation will cover the various components it takes to build a micro-irrigation system and the value that each component provides to the effectiveness and efficiency of the system. Pumps, filters, valves, nutrient injection, infrastructure, micro-sprinklers and more will be covered.

Entrepreneur Best Practices for Growing Your Family Businesses, Presenter: Jan Salisbury

Family owned and small businesses know that to sustain their business and transition to the next generation, they must grow their business and team.  What are the best practices for doing so?  We will review the Entrepreneur Operating System and how it is helping business owners get more of what they want from their business.  Get ready to learn simple, practical, real-world tools for leading accountable meetings and creating the core values that drive your success. Hear about the experiences of one farm family who applied these tools!

Fencing Your Friends and Foes, Presenters: Jim and Bill Parker

Learn basic and advanced techniques of electric fencing to manage various types of livestock and to keep out predators. Components, chargers, poly wire, reels, grounding, testers, and tumble wheels will be covered. 

Grain Production and Processing for a Local Market, Presenter: Julie Zavage

This workshop will cover integrating small grains in to small to mid-scale vegetable or livestock operations, focusing especially on the equipment required for different crops and ideas for marketing. A discussion of heirloom grains that are becoming more popular in the market along with their agronomic characteristic and challenges will be included. 

H-2A as a labor solution for small scale farms, Presenters: Kerri Owen, Kerry Scott & Gwen Cameron

Diminishing domestic supply of farmworkers is a business risk for many producers.  Are temporary foreign workers part of the answer?  Join us for a panel discussion where we explore how H-2A works, innovative use of the program such as group H-2A, and how growers can succeed with increasingly sought after labor source.  Hear from the key Colorado Department of Labor and Employment point person, a private sector H-2A provider, and a grower using H-2A workers.

How to Improve and Assess Soil Health Using In-Field Tools and Observation, Presenter: Rudy Garcia

Improve soil health by honing your field skills. Learn how to evaluate: infiltration, aggregation, compaction, surface residues, earthworms, surface and soil temperatures, and other indicators with simple to use tools and observations.

Nutrient Management Panel, Moderator: Patrick O’Neill; Panelists: David Harold, Frank Stonaker, Seth Urbanowitz

Soil Health Specialist and Agronomist Patrick O’Neil will moderate a producer panel about effective nutrient management in crops. From understanding the role of soil micro-organisms in plant health, to applying foliar nutrients, Patrick and his producer experts will discuss best practices in testing and managing for proper crop nutrition.

Planned Grazing for Profit and Planet, Presenter: Alejandro Carrillo

Learn how planned grazing, based on the principles of Holistic Management can help you increase profitability by improving herd and  soil health. Join Alejandro Carrillo, operator of 1,000 head Las Damas Ranch for an introduction to Holistic Management and to learn how to increase stocking rates and decrease inputs, while ranching in desert conditions.

Positioning Your Operation for Financial Success, Presenter: MacKenzie Stokes

This breakout session will provide farmers and ranchers with the financial knowledge needed to help their operation thrive. Participants will learn the importance of a strong credit score and how to prepare financial statements with related analysis to help make better business decisions. Participants will walk away with a better understanding of the many financial considerations of operating an agricultural business and working with a lender.

Seedling and Seedbank Management Practices for Improved Weed Control, Presenter: Dr. Eric Gallandt

Discover how combining stacked cultivation and high levels of seedling mortality with proven strategies to reduce the weed seedbank, could establish a positive feedback loop to improve weed management outcomes over time. Organic farmers rely heavily on cultivation to reduce weed densities and crop yield loss. Efficacy of this physical weed control is, however, low and often highly variable, resulting in high rates of weed survival, abundant weed seed rain, and an increasing weed seed bank. Explore how precision tools, timed disturbance, solarization and predation can support improved seedbank management and improved physical weed control. 

Small But Mighty: understanding the microbes in your soil, Presenter: Courtland Kelly

In this advanced soil health session we will focus on the current state of the science on soil microbes, how they fit into metrics of soil health, and what we can do to foster their (beneficial) activity. Participants will learn about the current techniques used to measure soil microbial communities and what we know about how farm management affects the microbes. We will also discuss the role of microbes in controlling nutrients and increasing soil organic matter. Prepare to think small about the big picture!

Soil Health in the Organic Orchard, Presenter: Frank Stonaker

This discussion will give an overview of the major factors influencing soil health, and how they are measured. It will go on to discuss methods that may be used to sustain and improve soil health, recognizing that there are very specific relationships that exist between tree crops and the soil micro-organisms. Finally, challenges that are unique to Western Colorado environments will be discussed, and how orchardists might address manage them.

Understanding and Planning for On-Farm Food Safety, Presenter: Harrison Topp

On-Farm Food Safety practices are playing an increasingly important role on the fresh produce farm.  Not only because we don’t want to make customers sick, but also because food safety accountability is becoming an important requirement for buyers and regulators.  This course will review the basics of developing good agricultural practices on your farm and take a look at the inspections and audits to be on the lookout for.

Unpacking Your Seed Source, Presenter: Laura Parker

It all starts with the seed. Should you choose regionally adapted, organic, open source, hybrid, heirloom, open pollinated seed or some you saved? Take a romp through regional and global seed issues and learn what a regional seed shed looks like. Sort out your choices and why they matter with Laura Parker of High Desert Seed and Gardens. High Desert Seed and Gardens – 

You Are What Your Food Eats: How soil health and microbes influence nutrient density, Presenter: Nicole Masters

Join keynote speaker, Nicole Masters, for a deeper dive into the relationship between soil health and growing nutrient dense food. Explore how to “cheer on”  your underground team of bacteria, protozoa, nematodes (and more)  to maximize plant health and ultimately the quality of what you eat.