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Courses Will Teach Small Farmers Keys to Success

RICE, Wash. — To understand what it takes to produce crops for higher value markets it helps to see for yourself.

Farmer Lora Lea Misterly has been sharing her keys to success for four summers with her “Farm School” in rural Stevens County, north of Spokane.

This summer Misterly is offering two intensive courses specifically designed for farmers, beginning farmers, and agricultural professionals from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. The first session will be held May 18 through 21 at Misterly’s Quillisascut Farm near the town of Rice. The second on-farm session is scheduled for August 7 through 11.

At each session up to a dozen people will spend five days learning on the farm, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency and a partnership with the Washington State University Small Farms Program.

“People attending will get a firsthand experience of what it takes to be a successful small farmer,” Misterly says. “They’ll take on some of the day-to-day challenges we face, and they’ll enjoy the rewards, too, like sharing wonderful meals from freshly-harvested farm produce.”

Under the guidance of Misterly and neighboring farmers, participants will plant and harvest vegetable crops, milk goats, make cheese, make compost, manage pastures, and care for beehives. They will also learn about organic soil, pest management, tree fruit production, making jam and garlic production. The program will feature presentations on innovative whole-farm management by local farmers, direct marketers and WSU Extension faculty.

More information and an application form are available at the Quillisascut Farm School web site, and at the WSU Small Farms Program web site.

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