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Local Farm Walks Highlight Farming Issues and Practices

Posted by struscott | April 1, 2007

Rotational grazing, a goat dairy and a cheese facility were just three of the many features discussed at the first 2007 Farm Walk at Pine Stump Farm in Omak. Producers, farmers and community members toured the farm April 16 and learned the benefits and challenges of having a diversified, value-added livestock operation.

Photo of Albert Roberts of Pine Stump Farms in Omak explains his system of intensive forest management for rotational cattle grazing in a Ponderosa Pine understory. Photo by Marcy Ostrom
Albert Roberts of Pine Stump Farms in Omak explains his system of intensive forest management for rotational cattle grazing in a Ponderosa Pine understory. Photo by Marcy Ostrom.

Organized by Washington State University’s Small Farms Team and Tilth Producers of Washington, these walks provide an opportunity to exchange ideas, on an advanced level, on specific types of farming practices and issues. Participants are encouraged to engage in discussion about the farm’s production and marketing practices. “We want people to learn about the best management practices in a hands-on environment, question present methods and discover new and, possibly, better methods through dialogue,” said Marcy Ostrom, Small Farms Program Director at Washington State University.

The walks are scheduled throughout the growing season and take place on organic and sustainable farms throughout the state. The focus for each farm walk is unique to the host farm. Topics this season include Weed Control in Perennial Systems, Ranching and No-Till Grains, Machinery Maintenance, and Soil Health. Farm walks focus on the skills and knowledge of the farmer. “Gathering in a real-life setting encourages farmers to openly discuss their opinions and personal experiences,” explained Ostrom. “The role of WSU specialists on a Farm Walk is to serve as a resource and offer scientific expertise when needed,” she added. Each Farm Walk is designed to highlight local growing conditions and the local farming environment.

Upcoming Farm Walks:

  • May 7 – Cascadian Home Farm, Rockport
    Topic: Weed Control in Perennial Systems, Compost Production
  • June 4 – McLean Ranch, Coulee City
    Topic: Ranching and No-Till Grains
  • June 17 – Gibbs Organic Produce, Leavenworth
    Topic: Machinery Maintenance Workshop
  • July 30 – Full Circle Farm, Carnation
    Topic: Soil Health Field Day

All Farm Walks are from Noon – 3:30. The cost is $10.00 for Tilth Producers members and $15.00 for non-members. On-farm registration or pre-register by sending a check with your farm walk choice to: Tilth Producers, PO Box 85056, Seattle, WA 98145. Details on the Farm Walks are available on the Tilth Producers Web site.

By Betsy Fradd, Washington State University