|Page updated/verified: Sep 30, 2011
Farm Wisdom: Managing Risk on Small Farms Video Series
A diverse set of small-scale producers served as farm hosts for WSDA’s 2009-2011
mobile workshops aimed at helping farmers reduce risk in their businesses.
Production practices, direct marketing strategies, business
planning, energy conservation practices, regulations for raw and processed
products are all featured in this video series. More than 100 Washington
farmers participated in nine workshops and found the information to be so
useful, that we began filming them in order to reach more farmers with this
invaluable, practical information.
While Washington has 39,000 farms and ranches, and all
face multiple business and production risks ranging from rapidly changing
markets to increasing occurrences of natural disasters, it’s the small-scale
farms and ranches that are more likely to face additional challenges to
The farmers featured in this series are leaders in
utilizing innovative and viable business and production practices to manage
risk, and to build and maintain sustainable small-scale farms.
Farm Wisdom Video Series
Microdairy Production and Marketing:
Always wanted to start a farm business? And stay in business? Maximize your dream and minimize
your risk by getting the tour at Wild Harvest Creamery to see how their mission, business and
finance plans daily shape and define their production and marketing decisions. These farmers
spent more than two years carefully planning how to open commercially without debt. See how
they re-purposed materials, made low-cost equipment selections, and put a unique barn design
to work for them. Learning from and adopting elements from their operation can save you time
and money and let you do more of the things you love - like milk goats, make and sell cheese
without the worry!
4 min 35 sec
Direct Marketing, a bilingual production in English and Spanish
Direct Marketing/Mercadeo Directo, a bilingual production in English and Spanish
Have you always wanted to set your own prices for your fruit? Visit Barrett Orchards and
learn how they have shifted from wholesaling their fruit to selling direct to the consumer
from their own farm store. Technical details on crop selection, researching and understanding
the market, finding the right location, infrastructure requirements, u-pick tips, and on-site
marketing strategies can help you transition to a successful direct marketing business.
Mercadeo Directo, una producción bilingüe en inglés y español
¿Usted ha querido siempre poder poner sus propios precios a su fruta? Visite Barrett Orchards
y aprenda como ellos han cambiado de vender su fruta al mayoreo para venderla directamente al
consumidor desde su tienda en el campo. Detalles técnicos en la selección de la cosecha,
investigación y entendimiento del mercado, localización del sitio correcto, requisitos de
infraestructura, sugerencias sobre los productos colectados en la granja por el consumidor
mismo, y estrategias para el mercadeo local le puede ayudar a hacer una transición exitosa
de su negocio hacia al mercadeo directo.
5 min 8 sec
Alternative Energy on the Farm
“Better for the animal, better for the environment, better for you” is the motto of Crown S
Ranch. From simple 1930’s extension wisdom, to high-tech prototypes walk through the full
circle of this farm’s innovative energy and input savings. Essential energy savings are realized
in this pastured beef, pork, chicken and turkey operation through unique systems like a passive
walk-through flytrap for their beef cattle, rotational grazing aided by solar powered chicken
trains, solar powered fencing and hen house doors, composting, and gray water catchment from
their poultry processing facility.
4 min 30 sec
Solar Hot Water System in a Microdairy
Contemplating a solar hot water heating system or gray water catchment system on your farm? Join
Sunny Pine Farms and see their water resource systems at work. Used daily in their micro dairy and
cheese making operation, specifics include weather requirements, equipment investments, pay-back
period and cost savings estimates.
3 min 2 sec
Alternative Energy on the Farm
Take a look at the ways Pine Stump Farms, a diversified farm complete with timber and goat micro
dairy, conserves and uses renewable energy. Highlights include a passive solar cheese making room,
gray water collection for irrigation, solar powered electric fencing with chargers, battery and fence
transported on a lawnmower spool, methane gas production via a
WSU pilot small-scale bio-digester,
movable passive solar chicken houses. Their innovative solutions abound!
4 min 26 sec
WSDA Licensed Poultry Processing Facilities
Kummer Farms and G & H Pastured Poultry. What does it take to be a small-scale commercial poultry producer and processor?
Two farms share the business planning that led them to build the licensed food processing facilities where they process and
package poultry for retail markets. Each farm has a unique set of practices that will inform your own enterprise planning.
Poultry Processing Rental Equipment
Colin Barricklow, Kirsop Farm in Tumwater, WA shares his diversified farm’s practices for cultivating row crops and small-scale
poultry production for direct to consumer sales of up to 1,000 birds allowed for in the WSDA Special Poultry Permit. Food
safety, animal husbandry, and predator control are essential components of Kirsop’s whole farm system.
Kirsten Workman of WSU Mason County Extension walks tour participants through on-farm poultry processing including how to use
rental killing cones, scalder, and plucker that Kirsop uses in their commercial production.
Al Kowitz of the Community Agriculture Development Center (CADC) and poultry farmer Cheryl Templeton present the Mobile Poultry
Processing Unit (MPPU) operated by CADC out of Colville, WA that meets WSDA poultry processing facility licensing requirements
for processing up to 19,999 birds annually.
Small-Scale USDA Inspected Meat Processing
Scott Meyer of Sweetgrass Farm on Lopez Island, WA is able to market his Wagyu Beef direct to consumers by using the USDA inspected
Island Grown Farmers Cooperative (IGFC) Mobile Meat Processing Unit (MPU). Scott shows us the unique MPU-compatible site he designed
and built on his farm. See his innovative farm management and animal handling practices that his customers value and have come to
expect. Did you know the IGFC was the first mobile slaughter unit in the U.S., beginning operations in 2002?
Small-Scale USDA Inspected Meat Processing
Colville, WA is fortunate to have a dedicated USDA cut & wrap facility in Smokey Ridge Meats. Smokey Ridge works closely with
Community Agriculture Development Center’s (CADC) USDA-inspected Meat Processing Unit (MPU) that serves small-scale producers of beef,
pork, lamb and goat. This facility combination makes direct and retail markets accessible to small-scale regional red meat producers.
Brent Olsen of Olsen Farms shares how and why he began using the USDA cut & wrap facility, and how valuable it has been to his
business and to the community to have access to a local USDA-inspected MPU.
USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) Programs
How do you minimize business risk on your farm? Join Dave Paul, RMA’s NW Regional Director, as he introduces this agency’s varied services,
and highlights Adjusted Gross Revenue-Lite (AGR-Lite), one of the best insurance programs available to owners of diversified small farms.
Formerly the Federal Crop Insurance Agency, RMA now works with private insurance companies to offer products that support farmers’ economic
viability over time.
Flood Preparation and Recovery
Are you farming in a flood plain? “Assume it will happen every year”, even if it’s called a hundred-year event. This is the advice given by
farmer Jennifer Belknap of Rising River Farm in Rochester, WA after having been through several major floods on her farm. The aftermath can be
less damaging to your farm’s bottom line if you have adequate flood insurance and a well laid-out plan that includes creating storage for
equipment, livestock, and crops that will protect them from floodwaters.
This project was made possible by a USDA Risk Management Agency
Community Outreach and Partnership Assistance Grant
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