Last Day to Apply: Specialty Crop Growers for “Crop Mob” Workshops in Washington State

The Tilth Producers of Washington and the Washington Young Farmers Coalition invite specialty crop farmers to apply to host “Crop Mob” workshops. Workshops will provide an opportunity to join together and support a fellow grower, while learning valuable skills from experienced farmers. The goal is to provide a fun, educational experience for all participants while helping a grower complete a large project.

This is open to all Washington state farmers, with priority given to members of the Tilth Producers of Washington. Crop Mob / Workshop ideas must fit the specialty crop requirements but otherwise are flexible. Past sessions and ideas include:

  • Infrastructure projects – hoop houses, green houses, fencing, netting, irrigation, moving compost or compost facilities, etc.
  • Equipment projects – learning how to use machinery and/or implements; threshing, seed cleaning, etc.
  • Pruning, planting seedlings or nursery stock, crop processing, etc.
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) projects.

Tilth Producers and the WAYFC will provide:

  • Experienced growers partnered with each workshop to provide knowledge and instruction;
  • Logistical and organizational assistance, including planning, outreach and publicity, registration, and volunteer support. Host stipends are available.
  • Help developing a work plan for approximately 15-25 volunteers with a range of skill levels (farmers and non-farmers).

Application forms are available on the Tilth Producers website and should be returned by February 20, 2013 to:
Jacqueline Cramer, Education Coordinator – Jacqueline@tilthproducers.org, 206.632.7506

Women in Agriculture Conference in Washington State

The USDA and Washington State University Extension are sponsoring a conference aimed at women farmers, “Growing Your Successful Farm Business,” held on Saturday, Feb. 23rd in Washington State. The conference will be broadcast to 21 different locations throughout the state, each of which will also include a panel of local producers. Keynote speaker Trini Campbell of Riverdog Farm in California will share her experiences growing her farm, including managing labor, financial planning, and dealing with market instability. A second workshop will help producers become financially prepared to grow an operation, as well as survive a downturn in the economy.

Registration is $25 and includes a copy of the book Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat. The deadline to register is February 18th, either online or by mail. Women farmers, supporting spouses and aspiring farmers are all encouraged to attend. Visit www.womeninag.wsu.edu for more information.

Risk Management for Fruit Growers

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) has announced expansions to crop insurance options for blueberry, cherry and grape growers in Oregon and Washington state:

  • Blueberry Crop Insurance
    Expanded availability for Benton, Cowlitz, Franklin, Grant, Snohomish, Walla Walla and Yakima counties in Washington.
  • Cherry Actual Revenue History (Cherry-ARH) Crop Insurance
    Expanded availability for Gilliam and Sherman counties in Oregon and Kittitas County, Washington.
  • Grape Crop Insurance
    The Mourvedre variety is now recognized as a separate type in the central Washington counties; previously insured within the ‘all other red & pink varieties’ grouping.

RMA reminds growers throughout the country that November 20, 2012 is the last day to apply for coverage of many fruit crops (apples, blueberries, cherry “Actual Revenue History” pilot, cranberries, grapes, pears, and stonefruit). Growers who currently hold insurance policies, as well as currently uninsured growers, must make decisions about their insurance needs for 2013 before this date.

RMA encourages growers to contact their insurance agents as soon as possible – find a list of agents here. If your county does not have coverage for a specific crop under the traditional Multi-Peril Crop Insurance Program, be sure to ask your crop insurance agent if you’re eligible for coverage under a “written agreement.”

Visit the RMA website for more information on crop insurance.