2019 Pre-conference Short Courses

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 • 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
      through
Thursday, January 24, 2019 • 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

These 1 ½ day intensive short courses are high-value learning experiences that provide you comprehensive and in-depth information with practical lessons from some of the most experienced experts in the region. Instruction is based on practical experience and on lessons learned from years of working in this field. Each course will include excellent classroom instruction along with resources for continued learning. You must register to participate in the short courses. Pre-registration is strongly recommended, as space is limited.

The four short courses we are offering this year are:

  1. Growing Farm Profits for Horticulture and Livestock

  2. Start-Up Organic Vegetable Production and Marketing

  3. Food Safety Practices for Small to Mid-Scale Producers

  4. FSMA Facilities Rule—Preventative Controls for Human Food


Short Course #1
Growing Farm Profits for Horticulture and Livestock

Instructors: Ellen Polishuk, Farm Consultant (MD), Jim Munsch, Deer Run Farm (WI),  and John Hendrickson, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (WI)

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If you are serious about staying in farming you have to understand how to manage for profitability. This course will teach practical methods for understanding and tracking profitability on your farm, providing a variety of tools to manage the farm for profit. The Growing Farm Profits training program has a proven track record for improving farm profitability for participants and this year, for the first time, the needs of both horticulture and livestock producers will addressed. This course will cover:

Do you learn better when working as a team? This year we are encouraging farmer-mentor teams to participate in the training together and learn together after the course. This is certainly not required but may prove helpful for more rapid success. Consider inviting someone to learn with you and be your accountability partner in trying out some new goals for the New Year. Possible mentors could include your local county extension agent, technical college teacher, neighboring farmer, or a consultant. We have a limited number of $500 travel scholarships for farmer-mentor teams that also provide free course tuition for this class. For application information click here. If you apply for the scholarship we recommend that you do not register for the short course until after the announcement of scholarship awards have been made on December 7th.

  • Managing for Profitability

  • Evaluating Market Channels

  • Evaluating Crops or Products

  • Investing in Equipment 

  • Keeping Records that Matter 

  • Calculating Profitability

  • Controlling Labor Costs

  • Using Crop and Livestock Budgets 

  • Discovering True Cost of Production

  • Pricing Products

The Growing Farm Profits training team includes three experienced farmer-trainers. Ellen Polishuk, a long-time Virginia vegetable producer and now farm consultant will provide examples from her own farm to show how to analyze your farming operation and make more informed decisions that will increase farm profits. John Hendrickson conducts research and education programs for specialty crop producers at the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His work focuses on fresh market vegetable production systems and he is particularly interested in farm scale as it relates to finances, labor, equipment, and management. John also owns and operates his own organic vegetable farm. Jim Munsch is a cow-to-finish, grass-fed beef farmer, and consults with many organic vegetable and livestock farms, to analyze their operations so growers can make more informed management decisions.

This course is supported by a generous grant from the Southern SARE Program.

Short Course #2
Start-Up Organic Vegetable Production and Marketing

Instructors: Cathy Jones, Perry-winkle Farm (NC) and Josh Hardin, Laughing Stock Farm (AR)

 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 couple of years of experience who want to improve their operations. Cathy Jones and Josh Hardin have different backgrounds and experiences that defined how they arrived at their respective farms. Josh grew up on a “conventional” family farm in Arkansas and went on to start Laughing Stock Farm 11 years ago. Cathy and her husband started Perry-winkle Farm as “first generation farmers” (with no previous experience) 28 years ago. They will use their 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

  • Transplant Production

  • Irrigation

  • Pest, Disease and Weed Control

  • Farm and Market Equipment

  • Harvest and Post Harvest

  • Marketing Strategies

  • Record Keeping and Crop Planning

  • Emerging Technologies for Small-Scale Production

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 #3
Food Safety Practices for Small to Mid-Scale Producers

Instructors: Billy Mitchell, National Farmers Union (GA) and Susie Marshall, Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association (TX)

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Do you want to ensure that your farm products are safe for consumers, and stay in compliance of new regulations? Small to mid-scale fruit and vegetable growers interested in learning about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and co-management of natural resources and food safety will benefit from this comprehensive course. Upon completing, it will give you the requisite certification as regulated by the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule § 112.22(c). Instructors Billy Mitchell and Susie Marshall are trained by the Produce Safety Alliance and qualified to instruct the FDA-recognized training. Billy is the FSMA Training Coordinator for National Farmers Union and has experience in farming and food safety training with other organizations. Susie serves as the FSMA Training Project Director for the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. She is also Executive Director of GROW North Texas in Dallas. This workshop is based upon work that is supported and made possible by a grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The course will cover the following:

  • Introduction to Produce Safety

  • Worker Health, Hygiene, and Training

  • Soil Amendments

  • Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, and Land Use

  • Agricultural Water (Production and Postharvest Water)

  • Postharvest Handling and Sanitation

  • How to Develop a Farm Food Safety Plan

Thursday morning will include a visit to the processing facility at Heifer Ranch for more applied learning. Participants completing the entire course and documentation will receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials.

This course is partially supported by a grant from the NIFA Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grants Program in association with the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (TOFGA).

Short Course #4
FSMA Facilities Rule—Preventative Controls for Human Food

Presenter: Dr. Ravi Jadeja, Oklahoma State University (OK)

The new FSMA regulation requires every processing facility that meets certain requirements to have a trained resource person or Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) who will oversee the implementation of the facility’s food safety plan and other key tasks. This short course is the specialized training course developed by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) and approved by the FDA for PCQI persons. Dr. Ravi Jadeja is trained by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance and qualified to instruct the FDA-recognized training. Ravi is an Assistant Professor and Food Safety Specialist at Oklahoma State University with 11 years of food safety training and consulting.

The training offered here is a blended course with a portion of the required study being completed online and the other portion as a one-day, instructor-led workshop to finish the completion certificate. This involves a two-part registration. 

Part 1: The online portion consists of roughly 10 hours of coursework and must be completed before attendance at this short course. Register for the online coursework here: https://apps.dasnr.okstate.edu/fapc.okstate.edu/preventive-controls-blended-course-online. When the online portion is complete, you will receive an email that will be your final entry pass into the Part 2. 

Part 2: Registration for the in-person training is through SSAWG: https://www.ssawgconference.org.

The online and in-class courses will cover the following:

  • Food Safety Plan Development for Facilities

  • Good Manufacturing Practices

  • Biological Food Safety Hazards

  • Chemical, Physical and Economically Motivated Food Safety

  • Hazard Analysis and Preventive Controls Determination

  • Process Preventive Controls

  • Food Allergen, Sanitation, and Supply Chain Preventive Controls

  • Validation and Record‐keeping Procedures

  • Recall Plan Development

  • Regulation Overview — cGMP, Hazard Analysis, and Risk‐Based Preventive

Thursday morning will include an onsite visit to a facility for more applied learning. Participants completing the entire course and documentation will receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials.

This course is partially supported by a grant from the NIFA Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grants Program in association with the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (TOFGA).