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Cultivating Success session starting

Dec 4th, 2014 | Category: News

SNOHOMISH – In 2012, when Petrina and Jonathan Fisher of Skylight Farms near Snohomish purchased a 20-acre farm on the banks of the Snohomish River they knew it would take more than hard work to grow their new farm. They enrolled in one of the Cultivating Success courses being taught by WSU Snohomish County Extension.

Skylight Farms near Snohomish use moveable fencing and a chicken tractor to provide access to fresh pasture for their laying hens. The chickens eat insects and help spread manure from the farm’s cattle. PHOTO BY KATE HALSTEAD

Skylight Farms near Snohomish use moveable fencing and a chicken tractor to provide access to fresh pasture for their laying hens. The chickens eat insects and help spread manure from the farm’s cattle. PHOTO BY KATE HALSTEAD

Two years later they are feeding customers from Snohomish to Seattle. Over 80 varieties of produce are harvested by the crew during the season, with 200 hens laying eggs on site as well as grass-fed beef. Jonathan credits part of their success to the farm plan he put together during the Cultivating Success Sustainable Small-Acreage Farming and Ranching course.

“Both the process and the product were massively valuable. I was able to develop models for different cropping scenarios to help us evaluate the best use of land and resources,” Jonathan said. He went on to say that they still use the plan developed during the course, updating the data each season to track their crops. Using that information they decide what items to drop, increase, or add.

Cultivating Success Sustainable Small-Acreage Farming and Ranching helps participants explore the unique advantages available to the small farm and ranch owner. Sponsored by WSU Snohomish County Extension and Snohomish Conservation District, the course gives participants a broad overview of production and marketing options for today’s small farm.

Weekly presentations include local growers, organizations, and university specialists with expertise in direct marketing, value-added processing, production planning, agronomy, livestock production, and more. In addition, two Saturday field trips will visit nearby farms to learn about different styles of successful small farm enterprises.

Course facilitator, Holly Thompson, is a Stanwood Angus beef rancher and WSU graduate in animal science and agriculture economics with an MS in agriculture education. Well-versed in farm economics, sustainable practices, and current market trends, Thompson also facilitates Agricultural Entrepreneurship, the farm business planning course in the series and has worked for Northwest Farm Credit Services as a loan officer.

The 12-week course Sustainable Small-Acreage Farming and Ranching will be held on Tuesdays, 6 to 9 p.m. starting January 20 at WSU Snohomish County Extension’s Cougar Auditorium in Everett. Cost for the 12-week course is $275 per farm or family. Visit CultivatingSuccess.brownpapertickets.com to registeror download the form from snohomish.wsu.edu/sustainable-small-farming-and-ranching and mail with your check. For more information on the course and/or questions on registration, contact (425) 357-6024.

–Kate Halstead

 

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