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Smarten up!

A compendium of the best and most interesting courses and conferences for small farmers

By CONNIE DUIVENVOORDEN

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Alberta Beef Producers (ABP)
Here’s a meaty proposition! Every month the ABP will offer a free webinar and fork over information that producers can use on their own operations. The webinars can also be downloaded for free, or even mailed on a DVD.
Details: One webinar/month, at 7 pm MST. 30 minutes speaker time, and up to 30 minutes for questions and conversation.
Fee: Free
Info: http://albertabeef.org/media/webinars/
Phone: 403-275-4400 (Calgary)

Farmers Weekly Interactive
Novice small farmers will appreciate the basic, short how-to videos for calves, cattle, and sheep offered by this U.K. magazine. There is sound vet-approved information for the four-legged farm set from how to deal with difficult lambing, to how to remove a rusty nail from the foot (and knife sharpening too).
Info: http://www.fwi.co.uk/livestock/how-to-videos/See also: http://members.xlvets.co.uk/farmskills

Event: The first Dairy Cattle Welfare Symposium
An international three-day Symposium dedicated to the welfare of dairy cattle.? The program will feature nationally and internationally renowned keynote speakers, multiple brief presentations of research reports and four 2-hr hands-on workshops: Lameness–Lesions and Management; Low Stress Dairy Cattle Handling; Euthanasia of Dairy Cattle; On-Farm Assessments to Improve Cow Comfort.
Details: Oct. 24-26, 2012, Guelph
Fees: Full Symposium $400 before Aug.1; $425 before Aug.31; $450. Day rates available. Symposium Registration includes lunch, coffee breaks, Symposium Proceedings in CD format, and admission to poster session, trade show and interactive activities.?Webcast: Full Symposium (Excluding Workshops); $325 Webcast Registration includes Symposium Proceedings in CD format.
Info: http://www.dairycattlewelfaresymposium.ca
Email: info@dairycattlewelfaresymposium.ca

Kansas State University —The Beef Cattle Institute
Course: Youth Animal Care Training Modules
These new online educational training modules are for youth through high school age to improve their knowledge of animal handling, animal welfare, antimicrobial residue avoidance and food safety. These materials were developed and reviewed by the industry’s most respected animal welfare experts and veterinarians.? Training packages are: Youth Beef Quality Assurance (28 modules); Youth Beef Industry Food Safety (7 modules); Youth Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance (31 modules); Youth Humane Equine Management (10 modules).
Details: Self-paced. No time limit to complete. Modules range from 5 to 20 minutes.?Certificate on successful completion.
Fee: free
Info: http://www.animalcaretraining.org/Youth/main.aspxEmail: bci@ksu.edu
Phone: 785-532-4844 (Kansas)

Goat School
Learn about numerous aspects of raising goats for meat, fibre and dairy. Topics will include choosing your new goat, management, breeding, kidding, medical problems, nutrition, hoof trimming, milking, tattooing, necessary paperwork, record keeping and a special segment on emergencies. Can’t attend? Janice Spaulding has just released a do-it-yourself manual called?Goat School: A Master Class in Caprine Care and Cooking.
Details: Oct. 6-7, 2012, Maine, U.S. The school does travel, with requests as far away as Prince George, B.C.
Fee: $200. Spouse $100. $75 teens. Includes 2 lunches, 1 breakfast and a copy of the Goat School Manual.
Info: http://www.goatschool.com
Email: kenjan@tds.net (Stony Knolls Farm, Ken and Janice Spaulding)?207-938-3714?(Saint Albans, Maine).
Or, save your travel budget for some goat education in a more exotic locale. The International Conference on Goats will be held on the Canary Isles (Spain) from Sept. 24-27, 2012. ?It only happens every four years.

The National Learning Center for?Private Forest and Range Landowners
Course: The How, When, and Why of Forest Farming
Become familiar with a variety of specific forest farming practices and be able to decide if they are suitable for your own site conditions and management objectives. Participants will understand methods and techniques for establishing, managing, and monitoring American ginseng, goldenseal, and at least three edible mushroom varieties.
Fee: free
Info: http://forestandrange.org/modules/modulesf.asp
See also Extension U.S.A. listing for forestry farming.

North Carolina State University Department of Entymology
Course: The Beekeeper Education and Engagement System (BEES)?is a new online resource for beekeepers at all levels, with three ascending levels of difficulty (Beginner, Advanced, and Ambassador) and three general areas of content (honey bee biology, honey bee management and the honey bee industry).
Details: On-line. Pick and choose individual topics or an entire “bee school”. Self-paced; for an introductory short course about bees and beekeeping, you can bundle all three introductory level lectures into one plug-and-play short course for beginner beekeepers.
Fee: $25 U.S./person/course. Group rate (30+) $15.
Info: http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/entomology/apiculture/BEES.html

Ontario Maple Syrup?Producers Association
Event: Tapping into Healthy Markets 2012 Summer Tour & AGM
Noted guest speakers on the latest research of nutritional values and health benefits of maple sugar, value-added workshops, sugar bush tours and field demos — this is an extra sweet option when combined with three days in vacation country.
Details: July 12-14, 2012, Huntsville, ON
Fee: Full registration: $110 includes all meetings, seminars, & tours.12 and under, $60. Meals extra.
Info: http://www.ontariomaple.com/
Email: admin@ontariomaple.com
Toll Free: 1-866-566-2753 (Kemptville)

Society of Ontario Nut Growers (S.O.N.G.)
Nut growing offers small-scale farmers an opportunity to grow with a new industry in Ontario. Meet with others interested in nut growing during a special summer meeting and tour in Nova Scotia. Be surprised about what nut trees grow and prosper there. Thomas Haliburton, a long time nut grower and retired Nova Scotia horticulturalist will head the meeting and tour to three orchards.
Details: All are welcome.
nfo: http://www.songonline.ca
Date: Aug. 4, 2012
Fee: TBD. Minimal cost.
Email: tom.haliburton@eastlink.ca

Workshop: Getting Started in Aquaculture
This day-long workshop, intended for novices, investigates all the key requirements of initiating and operating a fish farm. This workshop investigates introductory concepts and techniques in aquaculture and has been held since 1988.
Info: http://www.aps.uoguelph.ca/aquacentre/aquacentre/getting-started-in-aquaculture.html
Fee: $75/person, includes: all lectures, a tour of the Research Station, coffee breaks and lunch.
Details: Pre-registration only. Held at the Alma Aquaculture Research Station. Enquire about a wait-list for next workshop.

University of Missouri –?College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR)
Symposium: The First International Symposium on Elderberry
Could elderberry be the next new super fruit? It’s been known for centuries as nature’s medicine chest, but modern scientists have mostly ignored the elderberry — until recently. Next year, that changes as scientists from around the world, in multiple disciplines, gather in mid-Missouri during peak elderberry flowering season for several days of scientific exchange that will interest future growers.
Details:? June 9-14, 2013.
Fee: TBA (There is an email notification list. Info on a Farmers Forum to be added.)
Email: ThomasAL@missouri.edu.
Info: http://extension.missouri.edu/news/DisplayStory.aspx?N=1393
Phone: 417-466-2148 (Andrew Thomas)

Utah State University
Course: BEHAVE
BEHAVE is a research and outreach program that explores the principles of animal behaviour. Our primary focus is on diet and habitat selection of livestock. Understanding how animals learn will enable us to train animals to fit our landscapes rather than having to modify our landscapes to fit our animals. Using grazing as a tool will reduce our use of expensive machinery, fossil fuels and toxic herbicides. By understanding how animals learn we can use their natural behaviors to manage weeds, enhance biodiversity, improve feeding systems, minimize use of riparian areas and much more.
Info: http://extension.usu.edu/behave/htm/learning-tools#economics

Cornell University –?Northeast Beginning Farmers Project
Course: Machinery & Equipment — Evaluating What’s Right for Your Operation
Even small-scale farmers are susceptible to the shiny equipment syndrome. Learn to evaluate what equipment you really need for your scale of operation — determine whether to buy or make other arrangements, and then how to keep the equipment running smoothly.
Details: March 2013. Online. Two virtual classrooms: one accessible anytime and one for scheduled webinars.
Fee: $175 U.S. Registration opens Jan. 2013
Info: bóng đá trực tuyến http://nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-105-machinery-and-equipment/
Email: ejf5@cornell.edu (Erica Frenay)
Phone: 607-255-9911 (NY)
Registration for other online courses opens Aug. 2012, and courses include: Poultry Production — Profiting from Layers, Broilers, Turkeys, and Ducks; Berry Production — Getting Started with Production and Marketing; Making Money — Pricing, Positioning in the Market; Guerilla Marketing Tactics; Veggie Farming — from Planning to Planting.? Most courses are $175 U.S.

Green and Clean?Extension U.S.A.
Webinar: 2012 BioEnergy Fridays
Learn about applications of the latest technologies for generating energy from biomass feed stocks and solar photovoltaics in this new web seminar series. Topics may cover subjects of ethanol, biodiesel, biochar, anaerobic digestion, and solar technologies.
Details: 10 a.m. Central time, last Friday of the month. Hosted by University of Nebraska and eXtension Farm Energy.
Fee: Free
Info: http://www.extension.org/pages/62809/bioenergy-webinar-series-2012
Subscribe: http://bioenergy.unl.edu
Course: Online bioenergy courses with “On-farm Energy Conservation & Efficiency” and “Anaerobic Digestion” added June 2012.
Details: Modules can be studied in sequential order or stand-alone.
Info: http://www.extension.org/pages/63365/bioenergy-curriculum
An educational partnership of 74 U.S. Universities ensures a constant stream of updates and new information on this website. There is new forest farming information being added providing a good starting point to explore new revenue streams for the small woodlot owner.
Info: http://www.extension.org/pages/62961/forest-farming-contents

FarmStart
Tours: Ecological Livestock and Market Gardening
Visit ecological farms and learn from experienced farmers. These two new skill-building tour series build on the farmer-to-farmer training offered by FarmStart. Field days include a morning farm tour and in the afternoon the farmer will teach a new skill or lead an in-depth discussion on the tour theme: Cover Crops; CSA; Winter Crop Storage; Pasturing Mixed Livestock; Dairy Goats; Grass Fed Beef and Intro to Honey Bees & Making Beekeeping Profitable by the Ontario Beekeepers Association Technology Transfer Team & Tuckamore Bee Co., Aug. 25, Guelph.
Details: April to Oct. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. Sign up for one or all of them.
Fee: $30 + HST or?$50 + HST/family.
Info: http://www.farmstart.ca/programs/training/skills-building-farm-tours/tour-guide/
Email: ali@farmstart.ca
Phone: 519-836-7046 (Guelph)
FarmStart also offers workshops & courses for continued learning, (i.e. Pastured Pigs and Poultry, Soil Health).

Greener Pastures Ranching
Course: Year Round Grazing Systems: A Business Management School
Greener Pastures is an environmentally sustainable ranch that uses intensive cell grazing concepts. The business school is based on a grazing system for both summer and dormant seasons but is highly focused on management. Learn how to use a gross margin analysis and a cash flow, and participate in a cell design workshop to help with fence planning and in developing a grazing plan.
Detail: Nov. 12-14, 2012 or Jan 21, 22 & 23, 2013, Westlock, AB
Fees: $800/Farm Unit? (plus GST) for 2 members.
Info: http://www.greenerpasturesranching.com/events.html
Email: skenyon@greenerpasturesranching.com
Phone: 780-307-2275 (Steve Kenyon)
April, 2013: a two day “Profitable Pastures” school that focuses on production practices of the ranch. $500/farm unit, for two.

Endeavour Centre
Course: Sustainable New Construction: Building a New Future
The five month, full-time Sustainable New Construction certificate program involves participants in every aspect of making a highly sustainable building. From simple natural building materials such as straw and clay to state-of-the-art energy systems, students experience the learning that comes from being responsible for all aspects of construction, from planning and budgeting to fine finishes and systems commissioning.
Students work with designs, materials and technologies that are at the forefront of sustainable building.
Details: April–Aug. 2013
Fee: $4950
Info: http://endeavourcentre.org/
Phone: 705-868-5328 (Peterborough)
Or, choose from a selection of 3-5 day workshops — time enough to build a yurt or earth oven.

Equine Guelph Centre for Open Learning and Educational Support
Course: Equine Stewardship Environment

Reduce your environmental ‘hoofprint.’ This practical course delves into your horse farm’s ecosystem, beneficial management practices, water and manure management concepts, poisonous plants, pasture and woodlot management and wildlife habitats.
Details: 12 Weeks. Online. There are no set times you must be online each week. It is recommended participants visit the course site at least 3 times a week.
Fee: $495. Early bird registration to Aug.10, 2012.
Info: http://www.coles.uoguelph.ca/offerings/

Weed control in organic agriculture
This online course covers the principals and practices of weed management in organic field crop production. It highlights aspects of basic weed biology and ecology that make weeds vulnerable to various management techniques. Practical cultural, mechanical and biological techniques are considered, within an integrated weed management system. This course is applicable to horticultural crops and rangeland management as well as field crops.
Details: Online; non-credit or credit
Fee: $399+GST+ $10 material fee
Info: ccde.usask.ca/weedcontrol
Email:jill.turner@usask.ca
Phone: 306-966-1382

Master gardener program
Whether you are a first time gardener or a seasoned veteran we can meet your gardening needs. You can take classes just for interest or enroll formally in the program and work towards your Master Gardener designation. The program is structured so you can enroll at anytime, work at your own pace and study at home or in the classroom.
To receive the Master Gardener newsletter or for more information, visit ccde.usask.ca/mastergardener?or email master.gardeners@usask.ca?or phone 306-966-5546

Prairie horticulture certificate program
The Prairie Horticulture Certificate Program is the first home study program in horticulture designed specifically for use in the Prairie Provinces. The Program has been offered since 1994 and has graduated more than 1000 graduates across the Prairie Provinces. The program is unique in that it offers fours streams of study: Fruit and Vegetable Production, Greenhouse Crop Production, Landscaping and Arboriculture and Nursery Crop Production.
For more information or to apply please visit ccde.usask.ca/phc?or phone (306) 966-6488.

Degree or diploma in agriculture and bioresources
The College of Agriculture and Bioresources is an interdisciplinary applied-sciences college with expertise in — and integrated across — three primary scientific and social domains:

Sustainable Production Systems— safe and high-quality food and bio-based products produced by efficient and globally competitive agriculture and forestry sectors in alignment with other natural resource development.

Environment, Ecology, Community— responsible management of soil, water and biotic resources provides improved economic opportunity and quality of life, especially for people in rural areas.

Safe Food Supply and Bioproducts— safe, nutritious and affordable food, beverages and wellness products — as well as bio-based industrial and pharmaceutical products derived from renewable resources – required to meet the demands of a healthy and growing world population.

For information on a 4-year degree or 2- year diploma: agbio.usask.ca

McGill University—Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Program: The Farm Management and Technology (FMT) Program?

Here is an investment in some farm smarts. This three year academic and practical college?program develops the professional competencies needed to operate and manage a modern agricultural enterprise. Develop skills related to new technologies, computer software and robotics, soil and water conservation, sophisticated machinery and equipment, financial management, risk management and decision making skills. Graduates who go on to own part of an agricultural business within Quebec are eligible for a $40,000 establishment grant.
Fee: Tuition is approximately $1650/year for Canadians, plus books, supplies.
Info: bóng đá trực tuyến http://www.mcgill.ca/fmt/
Email: fmt.macdonald@mcgill.ca
Phone: 514-398-7818

For the urban farmer
Course: Urban Agriculture Business Information Bundle (BIB)

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs has developed a central website for information about urban agriculture. From finding space to relevant regulations and legislation, and production information, it’s all bundled for convenient searching.
Info: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/urbanagbib/welcome.htm

FoodShare
Event: The First Urban Agriculture Summit
Yes, you can! This summit will bring wanna be city farmers down to earth — to plant that is. FoodShare and Ryerson will host the keynote and training sessions with talks, tours and activities throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Half-day skills training workshops: Make Money as an Urban Farmer with SPIN-Farming ($175 delegates); Season Extension–Cold Frame Design And Building Techniques Course ($50 delegates); Compost 101 by Will Allen, Growing Power and the Summit keynote speaker ($175 delegates); Urban Mushroom Growing ($50 delegates); Organic Worm Magic ($50 delegates). Presented by FoodShare and Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.
Fees: Full pass: $349; $199 non-profit. Option for 1-day pass.
Info: http://www.urbanagsummit.org
Email: rblack@greenroofs.orgThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.? or Info@urbanagsummit.org
Phone: 416-971-4494 x 226 (Rebecca Black)

University of Guelph

Course: Cheese Making Technology
Learn the scientific and technological principles of cheese making through interactive lectures, and apply them in hands-on cheese making laboratories. Explore the manufacturing of Cheddar, Provolone, Gouda, Colby, Havarti, Ricotta, Feta, Camembert, Romano, Swiss-type and frying and processed cheese. Guelph’s cheese-making course has been offered continually in its current form since 1956.
Info: http://www.uoguelph.ca/foodscience/shortcourselist/
Fee: TBA
Details: 1st week of May every year
Email: fsevents@uoguelph.ca
Phone: 519-824-4120 x 52183, Kay Norwell

Mapping your soil
A new service launched this past fall by the Geomatics Unit of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. This new page on the OMAFRA website, www.ontario.ca/agmaps, offers a variety of soil map resources. The Geographic Information Portal provides users with a dynamic interactive Agricultural Information Atlas; geospatial data downloads; and an explanation of program information and initiatives provided by OMAFRA GIS Staff.
Email: omafra.gis@ontario.ca
519-826-4047; Toll free 1-877-424-1300

Assiniboine Community College ?

Program: Horticultural Production
Learn the art and science of horticultural production with hands-on greenhouse training. Get field production lab experience in the college’s very own greenhouse. This one-year certificate program is designed to meet a growing need for trained personnel in the horticultural industry. Horticulture is a broad and diverse field of commercial enterprises that supply a variety of products and services, as well as a large portion of our diet and aesthetic enrichment in our communities.
Details: Applicants are expected to demonstrate competency with the Windows operating system, word processing and the Internet. Manitoba Grade 12 completion and some course prerequisites. Every Sept. at ACC’s North Hill Campus, Brandon.
Fee: $2745 one-year certificate.
Info: www.assiniboine.net?
Email:?ag.enviro@assiniboine.net
204-725-8712 Toll Free: 800.862.6307 ext 6617 (School of Business, Agriculture & Environment)

Fleming College

Course: Blacksmithing (ARTS0038)
Learn the basics of blacksmithing in a hands-on studio situation. Learn the skills required to produce appealing and functional objects using traditional blacksmithing techniques. Instruction will provide an understanding of simple forging principles. Ample opportunity will be provided to practice what you’ve seen demonstrated. Please bring a project concept with you.
Details: Aug. 6-10, 2012 (M-F 9:00 am – 4:30pm)
Fee: $392.33
Info: http://flemingcollege.ca/continuing-education-courses/blacksmithing/006161COURSE
Email: createit@hsta.caRT
1-866-353-6464 or 705-457-1680 (Haliburton School of the Arts)

Course: Chainsaw Operator (MECH082)
This entry-level course is based on the competency standards set by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The first eight hours are spent in class learning chainsaw use, maintenance and safety techniques. Then two days are spent in the bush practicing these methods. You must provide your own chainsaw, supplies, and safety equipment.
Details: Nov. 17, Nov. 25, 2012. Sat.? Sun. (8:00am – 5:00pm)
Fee: $172.62
Email: createit@hsta.caRT
http://flemingcollege.ca/continuing-education-courses/chainsaw-operator/008704
1-866-353-6464 or 705-457-1680 (Haliburton School of the Arts)

Kwantlen Polytechnic—Institute for Sustainable Horticulture

The Richmond Farm School is a 10 month program focused on providing training for those who wish to join the ranks of those engaging in local agriculture. The purpose of the Farm School is to prepare people from all walks of life to engage in human scale, urban focused agriculture enterprises including production, processing, adding value, distribution, marketing and sales. Students will have access to “incubator” farm and (lease of up to a half acre for three years upon program completion) to begin their agricultural enterprises. Technical support and possibly shared equipment will be available to incubator farmers.
Details: Classes Thurs. and Friday, 2-6pm? & Sat. 9am-5pm. Core classes 350 hrs. Practicum, 350 hrs.
Fees: $5,000 for the full cohort; open to general interest at $30/class hour.
Info: http://www.kwantlen.ca/ish/RFS.html
Email: anna.rallings@kwantlen.ca
778-235-6420 (Anna Rallings, Farm School Coordinator)