Extension offers Small Farm and Ranch Programs in the Treasure Valley this Fall

Wednesday, September 1 2010

CALDWELL: Idaho -- Small- and mid-sized family farms have unique advantages: they can adapt quickly to new markets and they can meet the heightened demand for local and sustainably raised food. But how do those who are either new to farming—or new to sustainable farming—identify and use these advantages?

University of Idaho Extension will offering three programs to help participants find those answers.

The first program, Exploring the Sustainable Small Farm and Ranch Dream, is planned Saturday, Oct. 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ada County Weed & Pest at 975 E. Pine Ave in Meridian.

This interactive one day workshop will introduce participants to the many opportunities for small acreage enterprises in Idaho. Explore the basics of sustainability, direct marketing and whole farm planning. Is a small farm in your future? The cost will be $35 per unit. Books & materials provided, please bring a lunch.

The second program will be an extended course, Sustainable Small Acreage Farming and Ranching, planned Thursday nights, 6-9 p.m., Nov. 4,11,18 and Dec. 2,9. An additional tour is planned on a day still undetermined. Participants will meet at the Ada County Weed & Pest at 975 E. Pine Ave. in Meridian. The cost will be $175 per unit with books, materials and tour provided.

For both classes a unit is an individual or two people from the same farm who will share materials.

This intensive, five week course has been growing new small farmers and ranchers in the Treasure Valley for over five years and is part of the Cultivating Success program www.cultivatingsuccess.org. Acquire the small farm knowledge and know-how required to dream it, manage it, grow it, market it, sell it, and sustain it! You’ll leave class with a Whole Farm Plan and a brand new support network.

Cultivating Success is a collaboration between University of Idaho, Rural Roots, and Washington State University. Partial funding for these classes is provided by the Western Center for Risk Management Education.

The third program is the Practical Farming and Gardening Series planned this year and next that will allow participants chances to practice skills needed to succeed in small farm or ranch enterprises.
This is a brand new series of hands-on workshops, farm walks and other learning experiences that can be taken individually or together at locations across the Treasure Valley throughout the year.
All levels of experience and expertise welcomed. Topics will include planning a market garden, drip irrigation, integrated pest management, fruit tree pruning and more.
The full schedule is under development. Series times, locations and prices will vary. Graduates of Sustainable Small Acreage Farming and Ranching, Living on the Land, Idaho Victory Garden Series and Master Gardener will receive a 20 percent discount.

To register for these programs, contact Ariel Agenbroad, Horticulture Extension educator or any of our staff at the University of Idaho Canyon County Extension office at 501 Main St. in Caldwell, (208) 459-6003 Monday- Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or canyon@uidaho.edu. Also check out www.extension.uidaho.edu/canyon/horticulture for the latest schedules and information.

Find out more about the local Extension horticulture programs at http://www.ag.uidaho.edu/mg/ .and visit our Canyon County Extension Horticulture web page at http://extension.ag.uidaho.edu/canyon/horticulture/.