2017 Short Courses

2017 Pre-conference Intensive Short Courses

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 • 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 26, 2017 • 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

While our general conference offers a wide variety of 1 ½ hour sessions that allow participants to gain valuable information about many different things, these pre-conference short courses are different. These courses are high-value learning experiences that provide you comprehensive, and in-depth information on the topic most important to you right now. Instruction is based on their own practical experience and on lessons they have learned over the years from studying and collaborating with others around the region. You just can’t ask for better expertise! In addition to excellent classroom instruction, participants will get a collection of useful take-home materials that they can use for continued learning and to share. 

The four short courses we are offering this year are:

  1. Start-Up Organic Vegetable Production and Marketing
  2. Mixing and Matching Cattle, Sheep and Goats on Pasture
  3. Permaculture for Commercial Vegetable Production
  4. Student Farms: Maximizing Learning Opportunities on College Farms

You must register to participate in the short courses. Pre-registration is strongly recommended, as space is limited.

Please note the short courses are being offered at the same time as the OARS symposium.

Short Course #1
Start-Up Organic Vegetable Production and Marketing

Instructors: Cathy Jones, Perry-winkle Farm (NC) and Daniel Parson, Oxford College Farm (GA). 

Perry-winkle Farm produce for sale. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Perry-winkle Farm produce for sale. Photo by Debbie Roos.

This comprehensive course on organic vegetable production and marketing will give you the critical information needed to get off to a great start and make the most of your early farming years. Information in this course is designed for new farmers, interns and apprentices, and those thinking about switching careers to farming. It will also be valuable for farmers with a few years of experience who want to improve their operations and farmers who are thinking about switching to organic or are in the early stages of transition. Cathy Jones and Daniel Parson each have over 15 years of experience growing organically and marketing through various direct marketing avenues. They will use their vast experience running successful, small-scale, diversified farming operations to teach you what you need to know to make a success of your new farming enterprise. The course will cover:

  • Organic Farming Principles
  • Soil Health
  • Crop Rotation and Cover Crops
  • Field Planning and Planting
  • Transplant Production
  • Irrigation
  • Pest, Disease and Weed Control
  • Farm and Market Equipment
  • Harvest and Post Harvest
  • Marketing Strategies

Take-home materials will include a DVD from Southern SAWG’s Natural Farming Systems in the South series that provides a virtual farm tour of a successful organic vegetable farm, and Southern SAWG’s comprehensive Organic Vegetable Production and Marketing in the South CD ROM featuring Alex Hitt and hundreds of useful articles, photos and resources.

Short Course #2
Mixing and Matching Cattle, Sheep and Goats on Pasture

Instructors: Ann Wells, Ozark Pasture Beef, LLC (AR) and Greg Brann, USDA/NRCS (TN)

Now that mainstream America has learned the health benefits of meat raised and finished on pasture, it’s time to capture the market and diversify into more grass-finished products. This course is for those who already have some knowledge of livestock management, and want to create a multi-species Management Intensive Grazing (MIG) system. Ann Wells, a producer and veterinarian with over 30 years in sustainable animal health management, is well-known around the South for her grazing and animal health knowl­edge. As one of the founding members, she also co-manages a pastured-based beef and sheep co-venture direct-marketing under Ozark Pasture Beef. Greg Brann, Tennessee State Grazing Specialist for NRCS, has nearly 40 years of experience in grass and plant science and animal husbandry, and manages his own pasture-based operation raising cattle and sheep. They will focus on multi-species management—cattle/sheep/goats, cattle/sheep, or cattle/goats— with a special emphasis on filling the information void around sheep production. In-depth instruction will cover:

  • MIG Overview
  • Dealing with Different Species
  • Farm Considerations and Layout
  • Forages
  • Pasture Management 
  • Fencing 
  • Water Systems
  • Animal Health
  • Economic Considerations
  • Processing
  • Marketing
  • Additional Emphasis on Sheep

Take-home resources will include two DVDs from Southern SAWG’s Natural Farming Systems in the South series featuring LeVonna and Tony Uekman’s farm where MIG is practiced and Bill Legg's pastured meat goat operation. 

Short Course #3
Permaculture for Commercial Vegetable Production

Instructors: Dave and Lee O’Neill, Radical Roots Farm (VA)

Photo credit: Norm Shafer.

Photo credit: Norm Shafer.

This course will provide a wealth of information for beginning and established farmers who want to learn how permaculture design can make their farm more sustainable, efficient and profitable. Permaculture techniques and strategies that work for any scale will be covered. Dave and Lee will share how to interweave permaculture and production symbiotically to harvest the many benefits and layers of resilience. Dave and Lee O’Neill have over 40 years of combined farming experience. They will share their experiences starting Radical Roots Farm from the ground up. In 2003 they purchased five acres and through the use of permaculture design principles they have created a diverse, productive, and profitable farm, built the infrastructure needed and started a family. The course will cover:

  • Radical Roots Case Study
  • Goal Setting
  • Permaculture Ethics and Principles
  • Permaculture Design Methods
  • Zone and Sector Analysis
  • Efficiency and Relative Location
  • Access and Energy Flow
  • Pilot Projects 
  • Feedback Loops
  • Optimizing Production
  • Design Exercises

Come learn about permaculture from experienced commercial vegetable producers. Take-home materials will include a list of permaculture resources compiled by the presenters.

Short Course #4
Student Farms: Maximizing Learning Opportunities on College Farms

Instructors: Shawn Jadrnicek, Clemson University, Robin Kohanowich, Central Carolina Community College, Mark Williams, University of Kentucky

This course addresses the unique challenges facing the creation, design and management of student farms on college campuses. Information in this course is designed for those already running student farms as well as schools and organizations interested in starting a student farm. Representing unique and successful models of student farms in the Southeast, each instructor brings a wealth of experience in managing farms where a key “product” is new farmers. By sharing their own experience in managing farms where student learning is a priority (but funding can be a challenge) this course will help you avoid common pitfalls and set realistic expectations for your school farm. Plenty of time will be given for questions and discussion. The course will cover:

  • Getting Started
  • University and Community Support
  • Red Tape (School, State, National)
  • Funding Models
  • Farm Designs
  • Curriculum Development
  • Education vs Production
  • Season vs School Calendars
  • Sustainable Labor
  • Management Practices
  • Record-keeping
  • Certifications

Take-home materials will include a resource list for student farms and classroom training compiled by the presenters. Come learn from those at the forefront of college farm development in the South.