Wondering how to start a successful, small-herd cattle operation? Want to learn how to defeat the hornworms that attacked your tomatoes last year? Or are you worried about finding customers for this year’s bumper crop of cucumbers?
UGA is hosting a four-part workshop on sustainable farming techniques for small and beginning farmers January through April at the J. Campbell Research and Education Center in Watkinsville. The workshops are part of UGA and USDA’s joint Piedmont Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Partnership.
Held at the Oconee County Extension office, the series will feature natural pest controls, sustainable grazing practices, food safety for small farmers and local marketing basics. The series was organized so that farmers can make the most of their new knowledge for this year’s growing season.
“This series of workshops has something for the many small farmers we have in northeast Georgia," said Julia Gaskin, UGA’s sustainable agriculture coordinator. “With the growing demand for local food, we hope this information will help farmers make their operations more profitable and more sustainable."
Each course is only $15, or well-rounded farmers can save $20 by paying $40 for the entire series. Those wishing to register for all four classes must do so by January 18. The other registration deadlines and topics are:
- January 29 – Organic Insect and Disease Control in Fruits and Vegetables (register by Jan. 22)
- February 12 – Food Safety for Small Farms (register by Feb. 5)
- February 19 – Small Farm Grazing Management (register by Feb. 12)
- March 5 – Profitable Marketing for Small Farms (register by Feb. 26)
While these courses are suitable for “beginning farmers,” they will offer the latest research-based, techniques and information that all growers can implement.
Even farmers who have been through a few crop years will find something of value in the classes, Gaskin said.
Each class starts at 5:30 p.m. with a locally grown meal and provides a chance to network with other farmers and learn what’s working — or not working — in each other’s fields.
There is a limit of 30 participants, so don’t delay registering. Those wishing to register for the upcoming program should call the Oconee County Extension office at (706) 769-3946.
More information about UGA’s sustainable farming resources can be found at Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.