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Farming with Horses 2014 CRAFT Field Day

By Shelbie Blank, Farmer Training Program Assistant

Nestled in-between subdivisions, highways, and strip malls is the farm home of Lane Linnenkohl’s two Percheron draft horses: Molly and Sally and two Morgans: Daisy and Violet.  Lane keeps his horses at a farm that his cousin leases; his cousin uses this land to grow corn. A bank located just across the street owns this farm and Lane struck a nice deal with them. Instead of the bank having to pay someone to come in and brush hog the adjacent lots twice a year, Lane hays these fields free of charge. Lane uses...

Integrating Livestock into Vegetable Operations Field Day

By Meg Augustine, Farm Finance Program Coordinator

It was one of the first great, sunny, spring days of the year when CRAFT Farmers gathered with Matt and Peg Schaeffer in Monroe, Wisconsin to learn about Sandhill Family Farms' efforts to incorporate livestock into their vegetable farming operations. Sandhill Family Farms operates a well-known community supported agriculture (CSA) farm that serves the Chicago area, and Matt and Peg’s family recently obtained a herd of sheep to diversify the farm's offerings to customers in the fall.

Field day participants eagerly listened while Matt explained the importance of protecting and maintaining pasture in...

Farm Beginnings Farm Finance Program Coordinator Meg Augustine Angelic Organics

Sunshine (well intermittent sunshine at least-- oh the joys of an Illinois spring), fresh air, happy goats, proud, industrious farmers, and a welcoming, knowledgeable staff. In a phrase, this has been my experience since the beginning of May when I took on the role of farm finance program coordinator at Angelic Organics Learning Center. What a fantastic, dedicated group of people. The enthusiasm is contagious, and the proximity of my office to the vegetable fields has given me an unexpected, yet welcomed round-the-clock craving for vegetables.

By Shelbie Blank, Farmer Training Program Assistant

    Monday, April 21st CRAFT members gathered at Montalbano Farms to get a detailed look into Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification. It was a warm, windy day, threatening rain, so—first things first—farm tour! Farmer Christina Goy and Farmer Camelia Minasian guided the group past the barns out back to the hoophouses and 96’x30’ greenhouse. Christina spoke about GAP standards required for greenhouses, hoophouses, and also the fields. She also answered questions and told us about their farm’s newly acquired land; mending soils that were previously farmed conventionally and reverting them back into organic....

By Shelbie Blank, Farmer Training Program Assistant

February 28th CRAFT members gathered at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin for the annual CRAFT Open Meeting! Learn more about the meeting details, the first CRAFT Field Day of the year "Rightsizing Your Farm" panel discussion and a QuickBooks Recordkeeping workshop which also took place at the meeting.

Upper Midwest CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training), along with 12 other CRAFT farmer alliances from across North America, met at Hawthorne Valley Farm Jan 2-4 in Ghent, New York, for an inaugural in-person meeting of CRAFT farmers and coordinators. This special meeting happened in conjunction with, and was hosted by, the Farm Beginnings Collaborative, a network of 9 US nonprofits--including Angelic Organics Learning Center--that offers the Farm Beginnings strategic farm business planning program to their farmer networks.

In a few weeks, on January 29, 2014, Angelic Organics Learning Center’s Farmer Training Initiative will be the beneficiary of a Whole Foods 5% day!

Call for nominations for the Second Annual Beginning Farmer of the Year Recognition, sponsored by the Upper Midwest CRAFT farmer alliance and Angelic Organics Learning Center.

Not only do farmers require ingenuity and creativity in dealing with issues that arise on the farm, today's modern small-scale, organic farmers must possess this same level of ingenuity when it comes to marketing and selling their products. Farmers must set themselves apart, create an edge in the market. As a 5-foot-tall, spunky, single woman farmer with long dreadlocks, Andy Hazzard naturally stands out.

By Justin Farr, Farm Finance Program Coordinator

The Upper Midwest CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) just finished our final field day of the season! We had an amazing field day focused on animal processing and pasture management that took place at two locations. We started the morning at Eickman’s Processing Facility where we were able to witness the complete slaughtering process, starting with the kill floor. It was a very eye-opening experience for everyone there. I was worried about observing a cow getting slaughtered, but I left with a sense of calm, thinking that these guys are doing it the...

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