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Farm King County

News & Updates

Got Beavers? Get Answers! Tues. June 20 - Carnation

Beavers are amazing creatures. Instinctual engineers, their dam-building abilities are legendary. When built in natural areas, their dams can enhance and enrich the landscape. But when beavers move into agricultural lands, their efforts may create an impossible situation, often rendering areas unusable for farming in a short amount of time. Over the last few years, the problem has become significant for many of our lowland farms, forcing some to plant later or abandon certain fields altogether. Unfortunately, there is a fair amount of confusion regarding what can and cannot be done to remedy the situation.

Join us Tuesday evening, June 20, 2017 from 7pm-9pm, to learn what options exist for farms inundated with water from beaver dams. Location is Carnation Farms’ Alpine Room, 28901 NE Carnation Farm Rd, Carnation, WA.

On hand will be individuals from organizations in King and Snohomish counties focused on helping farmers and other landowners find the appropriate solution for their unique beaver problem. Representatives from King and Snohomish Conservation Districts, Beavers Northwest, The Tulalip Tribes, Snohomish County Surface Water Management, Snoqualmie Watershed Improvement District, King County Water and Land Resources, and Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife will be there to share the options their programs offer and help answer questions.

Space is limited for this free event and we ask that you pre-register to ensure yourself a seat. Visit Got Beavers to reserve your spot now. View more information on the workshop or contact Kate Ryan, (425) 357-6024. Sponsored by WSU King County Extension, King Conservation District, and King County.

Twilight Pasture Walk: Grass-Fed Livestock Production

Learn how to manage healthy pastures for maximum nutrition.

If you graze livestock, you know that a good grazing plan is paramount to the health of your animals and land, and ultimately to the success of your farm. Join us Thursday, June 22, 2017, 6:30pm – 9:00pm for a Twilight Pasture Walk near Duvall. We’ll visit two 100% grass-fed livestock farms, one raising beef, and another raising sheep for both meat and wool.

You’ll learn how to judge poor quality vs. healthy pasture, define a grazing plan based on your goals, how plant growth and grazing time affects rotation, how to create an individual system including sizing and timing, forage plants used as tools and their properties, along with the basics of maintaining a healthy pasture-based system. In addition, we will be talking about and practicing good biosecurity protocols as part of the pasture walk.

About the farms and farmers:
Jeff Rogers and wife Katya own and operate Aspen Hollow Sheep Station, which produces lamb and wool on 100 acres of pasture in the Snoqualmie and Sammamish Valleys. The Rogers pride themselves on being the only certified organic 100% grass-fed operation in North America. By paying careful attention to genetics, pasture improvement, and optimum rotational planning, the majority of their ewes quickly raise healthy triplets to market weight each year.

Bobbi Lindemulder and husband Chuck own West Valley Beef, a grass-fed beef operation where they are working towards the dual goals of sustainable farming and promoting local agriculture. Bobbi is also a program manager with Snohomish Conservation District, where for 20 years she has been working with landowners to develop farm plans, improve their natural resources, and meet their farm goals. A graduate of Montana State University with a degree in Range Resource Management, Bobbi oversees the district’s small farm and cost-share programs. In addition, she teaches farm-related classes throughout the year and consults with landowners on issues affecting their farms.

Space and parking is limited and pre-paid registration by June 21 is required. Event held rain or shine, dress for the weather. Be prepared to walk a fair distance to visit the pastures. To address biosecurity concerns, our farmers request that you wear clean and disinfected boots/shoes to ensure our hosts’ farms remain free from any potential for pathogen transfer. For more information on current biosecurity protocols for livestock, we encourage you to download and read the new publication from WSU Extension, Practical Biosecurity: Recommendations For Farm Tour Hosts.

Cost is $25 per farm (up to four in one vehicle) or $15 per person. Exact location address will be sent upon registration. Register online. For more information, contact Kate Ryan, (425) 357-6024.

Organic Farming Research Foundation educational guides

Organic Farming Research Foundation has published a new series of educational guides designed to help organic farmers and ranchers enhance the soil health and overall resilience of their operations. These guides to practical organic soil health management will assist farmers in selecting the best practices for their particular circumstances, while leading the way toward more sustainable agricultural systems

The first three guides in the series are now available to download free of charge. The remaining four guides will be released over the coming weeks. This summer, a limited number of printed copies will be available upon request. The complete series includes:

Now available:

Soil Health and Organic Farming
Building Organic Matter for Healthy Soils: An Overview
A discussion of the attributes of healthy soil, the central role of organic matter, and how to monitor and enhance soil organic matter and soil health in organic production.

Soil Health and Organic Farming
Weed Management: An Ecological Approach
An ecological approach to integrated weed management tools that reduce the need for soil disturbance.

Soil Health and Organic Farming
Practical Conservation Tillage
The impacts of tillage on soil health, including practical, soil-friendly tillage practices for organic systems.

Coming soon:

Soil Health and Organic Farming
Cover Crops: Selection and Management
Selecting the best cover crops, mixes, and management methods for soil health, including crop rotations and cropping system biodiversity.

Soil Health and Organic Farming
Plant Genetics: Plant Breeding and Variety Selection
Plant breeding and variety selection for performance in sustainable organic systems, including potential benefits to soil biology and soil health.

Soil Health and Organic Farming
Water Management and Water Quality
The role of soil health and organic soil management in water conservation and water quality.

Soil Health and Organic Farming
Nutrient Management for Crops, Soil, and the Environment
The role of soil health and the soil food web, including practical guidelines for adapting soil test-based nutrient recommendations (especially N) for organic systems.

Farm King County Livestock Marketing and USDA Processing Project

More than 90 attendees came to Farm King County’s livestock producer workshops in April. With a fantastic informational speaker line-up covering topic areas of 1) market demand from buyers, 2) USDA processing and costs, and 3) livestock producers experiences, attendees came away from the workshop with a clear understanding of meat processing options and market challenges and business opportunities. In May, a survey was sent to attendees for their livestock numbers and species, harvest months and harvest frequency, and location via city and zip code. This information will be used by the project team to plan for 1) meeting minimum numbers for USDA Mobile Processing Unit; 2) site selection for the mobile unit. The survey closes today. Once we know livestock producers' harvest numbers and schedule, as well as location, we can assess potential sites for the Mobile Processing Unit in King County to meet producer’s infrastructure needs. Currently, farmers are driving their animals 2-6 hours away for processing. This project is funded through a King Conservation District Regional Food Program Grant. For more information contact Patrice Barrentine at 206-477-1556.

USDA Unveils New ‘Urban Agriculture Toolkit’ for Urban Farmers and Agri-business Entrepreneurs

The face of agriculture is changing, and urban agriculture is one of the latest movements to challenge the traditional view of farming. From rooftop gardens to aquaponics centers in old warehouses to growing crops on abandoned properties, urban agriculture provides many benefits to a community, including closer neighborhood ties, reduced crime, education and job training opportunities, and healthy food access for low-income residents. Download the toolkit.

Poultry Processing Equipment Available for Rent

King Conservation District provides low-cost rental of equipment for small-scale producers to safely process poultry for home consumption, or to slaughter poultry for direct marketing with a WSDA permit. At this time no other poultry processing equipment is available for rent in King County. The KCD project helps producers fill the demand for locally-grown chicken, turkey, and other poultry.

KCD rental equipment is provided in partnership with the Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC), which manages online scheduling, and Grange Supply in Issaquah, which serves as the pick-up and drop-off location.

Food Safety Modernization Act Resources.

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.

Upcoming Events

Invasive Knotweed Control Workshops, June 21, 28, July 12, various locations

2017 Small Grains Field Day, June 30, Mount Vernon,

Season Extension in High Value Specialty Crops Farm Walk — Season Extension, Monday, July 10, Growing Washington, Everson

Sno-Valley Tilth monthly potluck and farm tour. July 10,

Hands-On Poultry Processing, July 12, 2017

Sno-Valley Tilth monthly potluck and farm tour, August 14,

Organic Medicinal Herb Production Farm Walk, Monday, August 21, Sego Herb Farm, La Center

Sno-Valley Tilth monthly potluck and farm tour, September11,

Cider Production: From Tree to Tap Farm Walk, Monday, September 25, SixKnot Cider, Carlton

Organic Seed Production, Monday, October 2, Organic Seed Alliance and Essential Blooms, Chimacum

WSU NW Research Center in Mt. Vernon: Cider Foundation Class, October 9-13, 2017, This is a beginning production class

CINA Cider & Perry Production: Science & Practice, Nov 27-Dec 1, 2017. This is an advanced production class.