Small Farm Conference 2015

Here you will find session descriptions and presentation slides from the 2015 Conference Sessions. Click on speakers’ names to download presentation slides in PDF format. Please note that not all sessions had slides that were used or that could be shared.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 6

Beekeeping and Pollinators

Bee Health Update and Honey Bee Queen Rearing

Dr. Greg Hunt, Purdue University, Department of Entomology

Bee health concerns are in the news on almost a daily basis, hear the latest on many of those issues and the queen rearing process and current queen breeding and rearing efforts at Purdue University.

Marketing & Value-Added Honey Products

Jim Hoffman, Hoffman’s Honey LLC
Are you a honey producer who’s thought of taking the next steps and making and selling value-added products?  Learn about some of the opportunities and challenges as you consider if bee based products would be a good addition to your enterprise.

Pollinator Habitat and Managing Pollinators on your Farm

Dan Luczynski, NRCS

Alex Smith, Rise Up Farms
Learn why pollinator habitat is important, and how to create and manage pollinator habitat on your farm, and where you can receive technical and possible financial assistance.  The discussion will cover specifics of preserving habitat for wild bees, with an introduction of wild bees of Indiana, and research showing that farmers can boost crop pollination and protect wild bees by maintaining perennial vegetation on the farm.  Examples of wild bee habitat preservation from Indiana farms will be shared.

Pastured Poultry

Successful Pastured-Poultry Operations

Chris Baggott, Tyner Pond Farm

Kyle Becker, Becker Farms

John Anderson, Ohio State University, Animal Science

Learn the basics of pastured-poultry production, with an eye towards housing/pen designs to optimize cost and labor efficiency.  You’ll hear from two Indiana farmers about their successful pastured-poultry operations and practical information that you can apply to your small farm poultry enterprise.

Understanding new poultry regulations in Indiana

Jeff and Zach Hawkins, J. L. Hawkins Family Farm LLP

David Bough, Indiana Board of Animal Health (BOAH)

Mark Straw, Indiana State Egg Board (ISEB)

Lisa Harrison, Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH)

The 2014 Indiana General Assembly passed Senate Enrolled Act 179, which modified Indiana Code related to eggs and the slaughter, processing, and sale of poultry.  Learn about these changes from several Indiana state agencies, and the promise that one Indiana farm sees in SEA 179, which led them to the decision to process their own poultry under the USDA Producer/Grower <20,000 exemption.

Poultry feed:  Understanding the basics and beyond

Kyle Becker, Becker Farms

John Anderson, Ohio State University, Animal Science

Lisa Burke, Farming Engineers

Profitable production of high-quality poultry requires attention to the changing nutritional needs over a birds’ lifecycle. Customer expectations must also be considered when selecting feeds for your poultry enterprise.  Learn the basics of poultry nutrition and feed, things to consider whether purchasing or mixing your own feed, and farm trials with alternative feeds in pastured poultry operations.  The discussion will include considerations for broilers, turkeys, and ducks.

Soil and Land Management

Restoration Agriculture

Keefe Keeley, Savanna Institute & University of Wisconsin-Madison

Jon Zirkle, Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College

This session will focus on using diverse agroforestry crops in farming systems that mimic savanna ecosystems. We will discuss how Savanna Institute case study farms are addressing financial, management, and social challenges of implementing innovative farming systems at commercial scales. Learn how farmers are sharing knowledge and accessing information, training, land, financing, and markets needed to implement restorative agriculture.

Cover Crops and Soil Health

Dan Perkins, Jasper County SWCD, Perkins’ Good Earth Farm

Liz Maynard, Purdue University, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

We will discuss how to integrate cover crops into complex vegetable rotations and the principles of soil health.  There will also be a presentation that will review results from on-farm trials that evaluated organic soil amendments for their effect on disease, yield and quality of cabbage and winter squash as well as available soil nitrogen and soil microbial communities.

Composting and Using Compost

Jody Tishmack, Owner of Soilmaker

Daniel Perkins, Jasper County SWCD, Perkins’ Good Earth Farm

Steven Howell, Indiana Department of Environmental Management

Discussion on commercial, on-farm, and backyard composting utilizing the same basic principles of composting but at different scales and a variety of requirements.  Regulations in composting for Indiana will be reviewed.  Dan will be discussing his use of compost and leaf compost via his journey from being a licensed on-farm composter, leaf sheet composting, and when to use purchased commercial made compost on your farm.

Farm Management

Capturing and Organizing Data for GAPs, Organic Certification, and other Endeavors

Chris Blanchard, Purple Pitchfork

Paperwork can be the bane of the certified-organic, GAPs-audited, and financially-aware farmer. Learn how to capture information, get on top of your paperwork, and wow your inspector, auditor, and banker. Rock Spring Farm’s Chris Blanchard will provide an overview of the basic techniques he and his crew use to gather information and keep it organized for easy access with a minimum of effort.

Evaluating Investments and Operational Changes

Chris Blanchard, Purple Pitchfork

Whether you’re considering a new piece of equipment, an infrastructure expansion, changes to your cropping systems, or expansion into new markets, you need the right tools to evaluate your options. Join consultant, educator, and veteran farmer Chris Blanchard for a down-to-earth look at how you can better understand the economic and other impacts of investments and operational changes.

Liability Issues for Small Farms

Dr. William Field, Purdue Agricultural & Biological Engineering

Pat Sering, Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance

Many times as small farmers we overlook the possible consequences of not planning for possible liability issues.  This session will highlight insurance issues faced by today’s small farmer; specifically in regards to liability concerns for Farm Markets, Agritainment, Agritourism, and Community-Supported Agriculture.  Included will be various case studies as they related to liability issues for small farmers.

Trade Show Demonstrations

Control of Woodland Invasive Species

Lenny Farlee, Purdue University, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Learn about treatment options for invasive plants you encounter on your land. Watch a demonstration with various equipment.

Extending the CSA Season

Todd Alexander and Carlton Jackson, Tunnel Vision Hoops 

Learn about ways to extend your growing season in order to increase revenue. Two of the company’s founders will join us to talk about planning and crop selection for growing in high tunnels.

Saturday, March 7

Small Farm Energy

Solar Energy for your Small Farm and Community

Jason Monroe, Tipmont REMC

Darrian Petruzzi, Solar America Solutions

Mark Bechman, USDA Rural Development

Interested in solar energy for your small farm and community?  Learn about net metering policies and a unique Community Solar project operated by Tipmont REMC.  Applications of solar thermal technology will be discussed, with a focus on how this technology can work in conjunction with other operations of a farming business.

What on Earth?!  How your geology can provide energy for your farm

Kevin Ellett, Indiana Geological Survey

Charles Zuppann, Indiana Geological Survey

This session will help farmers understand how their unique geology may provide energy for their farm.  Geothermal heat pumps can be installed anywhere in Indiana to provide energy-efficient heating and cooling for farm buildings and residences.  We will present the latest research findings aimed at identifying the most favorable geological conditions necessary to achieve the lowest cost of installation for geothermal systems.  We will also demonstrate on-line tools developed by the IGS to help inform the public about the location of known oil and gas resources throughout the state.

Grant Writing

Joan Fulton, Purdue University, Department of Agricultural Economics

Roy Ballard, Purdue Extension-Hancock County

This session will provide participants with important tips on how to develop and write a successful grant proposal.

Livestock Management

Preventing and dealing with livestock death

Bethany Funnell, DVM

Mark Kepler, Purdue Extension-Fulton County

Unfortunately death is a part of livestock production. The speakers will discuss identification of potential problems and hazards, steps to maintain healthy animals, psychological effects and procedures for dead animal disposal.

Fencing and Water Infrastructure for Rotational Grazing Systems

Robert Zupancic, NRCS

Often we are looking for ways to increase pasture production on smaller acreages.  This session will discuss how watering systems and fencing can improve grazing management to increase forage and livestock productivity.

Introduction to Aquaponics

Bob Rode and Kwamena Quagrainie, Purdue University, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

John Woodbury, Nature’s Gift Aquaponics 

This session introduces aquaponics (growing vegetables and fish in one system) and practical applications behind the science. Join us for a Q & A with researchers from Purdue’s Aquaculture Lab and the owner of an aquaponics business in Morgantown, IN producing year round.

Farm Management

Realizing the Value in Your Woodland

Lenny Farlee, Purdue University Extension Forester

Raoul Moore, Woodland Owner from Montgomery County

Woodlands provide diverse opportunities to contribute to income and environmental health on the farm. Management for a variety of forest products such as hardwood timber, edible or medicinal plants, craft items, and hunting/recreational leases. The presentation will discuss managing for timber income in particular as well as talk about other potential income sources both from an extension and land owner perspective.

Tools and Equipment Planning and Purchases

Dr. William Field, Purdue Agricultural & Biological Engineering

Many times as small farmers we are faced with purchasing used equipment.  This session will explore the purchase of agricultural equipment for small farms with a special emphasis on cost and safety. Avoiding the trap of purchasing high cost new machines will be discussed.

Meeting the Demand of Organic Grain: The Blackhole of the Midwest

Lynn Clarkson, Clarkson Grain Company

Current and potential markets for organic and non-GMO grains, oilseeds and edible beans will be discussed.  Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear from the Founder of Clarkson Grain Company and opportunities that exist for small (and large) farms in the grain sector.

Vegetable Production

Organic Disease Management in and out of High Tunnels

Dr. Dan Egel, Purdue University, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology

Tomato growers in Indiana need the tools necessary to deal with the disease pressure that comes with our Indiana climate, learn about management strategies that can be used under protected structures and out in the field to protect your crop and increase your yields.

Winter Management of Vegetable Crops in High Tunnels

Nate Parks, Silverthorn Farm

Eli Robb, Full Hand Farm

Learn how to manage vegetables for winter production using high tunnels.  Two Indiana farmers will discuss what and when to plant for success in the “offseason” markets. Knowing your markets will determine the diversity of crops that you grow!

Putting Together an On-Farm Food Safety Plan

Scott Monroe, Purdue Extension

This session will provide a starting point for growers who, as part of their GAP’s program, wish to get started on a Farm Food Safety Plan.

Trade Show Demonstrations

Hand Sprayer Usage:  Dos and Don’ts

Dan Egel, Purdue University, Department of Botany Plant Pathology

Come watch a demonstration on calibrating hand sprayers. This session will also discuss cultural methods to manage diseases in high tunnels and general usage of small sprayers.

Vermiculture and Compost

Keith O’Dell, Castaway Compost 

This demonstration will show you why and how you should vermicompost. Come learn about a “flow thru worm compost bin” design.


The Small Farm Revival

Dr. John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri-Columbia

Since the middle of the last century, American farm policy has taken the nation into the dead end of industrial agriculture, resulting in fewer and larger farms. Farming, at its core a multi-functional way of life, has been transformed into an industrial bottom-line business, demolishing the cultural, social, and economic values upon which the nation was founded.  Along the way, small farms have been ridiculed and dismissed as inconsequential.  However, the seeds of a rural renaissance have been planted by the growing realization that industrial agriculture is not sustainable. The consequent revival in sustainable farming promises new opportunities for more real farmers and smaller farms.

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