Oct 14, 2015
Farmer Field School set at MSU

On Sunday, October 18, the Farmer Field School, a Michigan State University Student Organic Farm collaboration with MSU Center for Regional Food Systems and Michigan Food and Farming Systems will be holding the second workshop its inaugural workshop series.

“The Farmer Field School is designed to work with growers in their first 10 years of production, to help provide hands on continuing education opportunities hosted on farms and co-lead by farmers”, said Jeremy Moghtader, Director of the MSU Organic Farming Training Program.

The Farmer Field School will be hosting the workshop Holistic Soil Management: Fertility, Cover Cropping, Weed Management and Tillage at the Student Organic Farm in East Lansing from 8 a.m-6 p.m.

Participants will spend the day in the field and hoop houses gaining practical hands-on information on how to use and integrate a broad variety of weed management, soil building and tillage tools and strategies to enhance the production of the vegetable crops they grow.

Those attending will learn a range of crop rotation approaches, best practices with tillage tools, how to plan and implement cover cropping into their farm, diverse mulching systems with an overall emphasis on understanding and building their soil’s health as well as , learning helpful record keeping approaches for management. Presenters include Lee Arboreal of Living Edge Farms a 15-year veteran organic production, Jeremy Moghtader of the Organic Farmer Training Program and Dan Brainerd, MSU associate professor in Horticulture, focused on weed management systems in organic vegetable production.

The new MSU Farmer Field School is comprised of intensive one and two day hands-on workshops, tailored to deliver in-depth, practical information to farmers, primarily focused on sustainable vegetable production in Michigan.

“Statistically, start-up businesses across sectors including farming fail at rates of over fifty percent in the first seven years, the goal of the Farmer Field School is to help start up farm businesses succeed,“ said Moghtader.

These workshops are part of a collective effort to stem alarming loss of 36,000 farmers from the Midwest (4,000 farms lost in Michigan) from 2007-2012, by recognizing that farms are businesses, that they face the all challenges and vulnerabilities of any beginning business and that they have a high chance to fail (some 54 percent of businesses fail in their first 5 years) and often fail for the same reasons as all businesses – lack of information and skills on how to run their business well enough.

Workshops coming up later this fall :

*November 14 – Year Around and Seasonal CSA Success: Strategies and techniques for improving profitability and satisfaction. Location: MSU Student Organic Farm. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Workshops planned for 2016 :

*Business Planning – Finding and Focusing on Profitability.

*Scaling Up your Farm Business.

*Planning for Better Pest and Disease Management.

For more information on the Farmer Field School visit here:

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