Thursday, January 23, 2020 • 12:30 – 5:00 p.m.

For those who learn best by seeing other farms, we have five excellent field trips for you to choose from.

  1. Arkansas Natural Produce—Growing Specialty Crops Under Cover

  2. Tammy Sue’s Critters—Creating a Value-Added Life! Developing Educational Workshops and Internships to Support a Value-Added Production Model

  3. The Farm at Barefoot Bend—Vertical Integration at the Farm

  4. Heifer Ranch—Small and Mid-Scale Tools 2.0 Co-hosted with Johnny’s Selected Seeds

  5. Heifer Ranch—Regenerative Grazing Systems: A Crash Course in Good Land Management for Livestock Production

Field trip participants will travel on chartered motorcoaches provided by Southern SAWG. No private vehicles permitted. All field trip motorcoaches will depart from outside of the Statehouse Convention Center at 12:30 p.m. sharp! No refunds will be provided to those who miss their ride. The field trip registration fee includes a light snack.

Please be mindful of the potential to spread serious animal and plant pathogens on footwear and clothing. We respectfully ask that you clean farm boots and clothing before climbing aboard to visit these farms.

Space is limited, so register early. Pre-registration is strongly recommended.

Please note that these field trips are being offered at the same time as the mini courses.

Field Trip #1

Arkansas Natural Produce—
Growing Specialty Crops Under Cover

Hosts: Jay Fulbright and family

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Arkansas Natural Produce has been growing beautiful fresh produce in southern Arkansas since 1988. The farm is nestled in a beautiful valley south of Hot Springs, AR. We serve Little Rock and Hot Springs with high quality specialty baby greens, fresh herbs, and garnishes year-round.

In 1995, Fulbright began to transition the property from field crops and have now expanded to over 60k square feet of specialty crops under cover. Ark. Natural Produce cultivates a variety of crops, mostly developed from spring mix, which was the early focus. They are currently producing spring mix, arugula, spinach, kale, and other greens. They also grow several varieties of peppers, culinary herbs, micro greens and edible flowers.

Ark. Natural Produce markets directly to grocers, restaurants, individuals, and sell through an online farmers market. Arkansas Natural Produce adheres to sustainable, natural growing techniques, but is not certified organic by a third party. Ark. Natural Produce relies on a small crew that includes Jay Fulbright, his wife, and three employees.

This tour will explore the use and installation of high tunnels, cultivation techniques, and marketing tricks of a veteran vegetable producer.

Field Trip #2

Tammy Sue’s Critters—
Creating a Value-Added Life! Developing Educational Workshops and Internships to Support a Value-Added Production Model

Host: Tammy Pope

Tammy Sue’s Critters is a small, family-owned dairy goat farm with a flock of 35 goats.

Tammy Sue’s produces goats milk soap on site in the Soap Cottage, a 1,274 square-foot facility constructed in 2017. Goats milk is also sold on site for consumption. The farm is also home to a flock of chickens. They have collected a large variety of unusual birds to showcase how pretty a flock can be!

The Soap Cottage is a multipurpose facility where Make and Take classes are held, product is made, and a farm store is housed. The facility also houses intern quarters. Tammy Sue’s has had great success with Workawayers in terms of finding great folks to come, stay on farm, and learn. After SSAWG’s 2019 conference, Mr. Tammy Sue installed a 2,100 square-foot market garden with the intention of installing a high tunnel. Tammy Sue’s is also designing a garden to serve as a reflective space and site for future farm to table events.

Tammy Sue’s Critters has grown to offer roughly 20 different all original recipe products that are marketed through large craft shows, online sales, and wholesale. Tammy Sue’s is also the soap maker for Moss Mountain Farm and works with Family Life Ministries on a rotating basis providing products for their marriage cruises. They open the farm twice a year for Open Farms days in the spring and at the holidays.

This tour will highlight the production process, farm-to-market pipeline, and marketing farm products and workshops. The relationship and housing of Workaway interns for production will also be discussed.

Field Trip #3

The Farm at Barefoot Bend—
Vertical Integration at the Farm

Host: Damon Helton

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The Farm at Barefoot Bend is a sustainable farm owned and operated by veteran Damon Helton and family with a mission to educate their community to “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” by offering farm raised meats and produce to the community, both directly and through local stores.

The Farm at Barefoot Bend was established in October 2013. The farm is a 165-acre parcel of timber, specialty crops raised under high tunnels, pasture-raised animal, and hemp production. Specialty crops produced on the farm include tomatoes, okra, peas, and peppers, all grown in high tunnels.

Damon Helton offers visitors a tour of the production acreage, pasture, and high tunnels. He will share information he has gleaned over the past six years on topics such as growing under cover, using small ruminants as “employees”, vertical integration, and marketing. Jeremy Huff, with the NRCS will be on hand to talk about the use of tire tanks, electric fencing, grazing systems, and an interactive rainfall simulation for soil health.

Field Trip #4

Heifer Ranch—
Small and Mid-Scale Tools 2.0 Co-hosted with Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Host: Heifer Ranch

Heifer Work Smarter not harder.jpg

Heifer ranch is a 12,000-acre sustainable farm primarily used for agricultural training. Heifer is home to a demonstration market garden that includes specialty crops, flowers, and high tunnels. Sean Pessara has been cultivating food and mentoring farmers for Heifer for the last several years. This field trip will focus on the tools he uses to make the work more efficient and easier to manage with fewer man hours.  

Discover the best garden tools for running a small-scale, farm-to-market operation. Sean Pessara, Heifer’s resident horticultural expert, and a representative from Johnny’s Selected Seeds will share their first-hand knowledge of small and mid-scale farm tools.

Tools featured will be the BCS two-wheel PTO tractor, Tilmor’s Power Ox two-wheel cultivating tractor, the Paperpot Transplanter, and Quick-Cut Greens Harvester. A representative from Johnny’s Selected Seeds will demonstrate the use of a manual mulch layer and the Terrateck Wheels Hoe and Finger Weeders. We will also take a quick look at mechanical washing and root crop storage for wholesale and intermediated markets.

If you are running a production farm for small markets, this field trip will help you better understand what tools you need to cut your labor time for more efficient farm to market output.

Field Trip #5

Heifer Ranch—
Regenerative Grazing Systems: A Crash Course in Good Land Management for Livestock Production

Host: Heifer Ranch

pigs with huts and feeders.jpg

Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas is a 12,000-acre sustainable farm that’s home to pigs, goats, sheep, horses and chickens. This field trip will highlight Heifer’s regenerative livestock grazing systems. Topics include rotational grazing, fencing, and the use of silvopasture for feed and cover.

According to Wikipedia, regenerative agriculture is a conservation and rehabilitation approach to food and farming systems. It focuses on topsoil regeneration, increasing biodiversity, improving the water cycle, enhancing ecosystem services, supporting biosequestration, increasing resilience to climate change, and strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil. On a regenerative farm, yield should increase over time. As the topsoil deepens, production may increase, and less external compost inputs are required.

This field trip will begin with a hayride to the “bottoms” where Ellen Brown, Operations Manager at Heifer Ranch, will give an overview of our current work to regenerate the bottoms with the use of rotational grazing, planting cool and warm season annuals, winter forage stockpiling, and how regenerative agriculture can benefit the environment.

The tour will be led by Donna Kilpatrick, Heifer USA’s Farmer Engagement Manager. Donna will expand on the practices that Heifer employs on their 550-acre ranch to support their grass finished beef, pastured poultry, and woodlot pork, and grass-finished lamb enterprises.