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Get Farming! Announces Five Fall Workshops

Classes will help startups, build marketing and business skills for veterans

September 22, 2011 |

Jim Sluyter
  Attendees at one of a prior Get Farming! workshops hear about different farming techniques and business practices.

For Immediate Release
September 22, 2011

Jim Sluyter, Get Farming Coordinator
Michigan Land Use Institute
Phone: 231-941-6584, ext 15
Email: jimsluyter@mlui.org • Web site: www.localdifference.org

TRAVERSE CITY—The Michigan Land Use Institute’s Get Farming! program has announced its fall lineup of classes and workshops designed for aspiring and experienced farmers.

The workshops address the strong interest in local foods and farm products and the unique challenges growers face in providing them.

“Local food systems are a bright spot in the region’s economy,” says Rob Sirrine,

Extension Educator. “Get Farming! programsoffer the information people need to improve their operation or get into farming.”

Some of the workshop Get Farming! is assembling for the rest of 2011 include:

  • Marketing Your Farm: Two separate workshops will cover “Certification to Differentiate Your Products” and “Wholesale Pricing and Food Aggregation Strategies.” Oct. 28, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., NW Michigan Horticultural Research Station.  
  • Michigan’s Safe Food Assessment Program:Food safety on the small farm. Nov. 16, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Boardman River Nature Center in Traverse City.
  • Good Agricultural Practices - the GAP Audit:Nov. 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the NW Michigan Horticultural Research Station.
  • Hoophouse Management:Dec. 23 at Black Star Farms, times to be announced.  

The 2012 workshop schedule is still being determined. It will include more sessions on marketing, as well as seed saving on the small farm and other topics. In addition, the Business of Farming Series will offer classes covering business, legal, and financial concerns and planning, beginning in early 2012.

MLUI has assembled a broad group of experts for these workshops via partnerships with the region’s Small Business and Technology Development Center, Michigan State University Extension, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and others.

New farmers in Michigan, which are Get Farming’s primarily target, are coming to agriculture, Michigan second-largest industry, at a time when farmland in the Grand Traverse region can cost thousands of dollars an acre.

That sobering statistic helps explain why last year’s workshop series attracted such strong participation: Getting the business of farming right is now more crucial than ever.

“The turnout was great last year, and so was the diversity in the classes,” said Jim Sluyter, a veteran farmer who coordinates MLUI’s Get Farming! program. “And it is clear that agriculture is changing. Smaller farms, more diversified production, innovative marketing, and adding value to farm products are strong trends in the region’s farms and ag businesses.”

According to Mr. Sluyter, “The classes and workshops have served a range of participants, from those who want to sell produce from a large garden to experienced growers with hundreds of acres of commodity crops.” 

Some of these workshops have limited attendance, and early registration is encouraged.

Updates, further details, and online registration will also be posted at the project’s Web page, www.localdifference.org/getfarming.

For more information contact Mr. Sluyter at 231-941-6584, ext. 15 or jimsluyter@mlui.org

Get Farming! is part of MLUI’s Taste the Local Difference program, which builds local food markets and farm profitably to keep land in active agriculture.

About the Institute
The Michigan Land Use Institute is an independent, nonprofit research, educational, and service organization founded in 1995. More than 2,400 households, businesses, and organizations have joined the Institute in support of its mission to establish an approach to economic development that strengthens communities, enhances opportunity, and protects Michigan's unmatched natural resources.

Michigan Land Use Institute

148 E. Front Street, Suite 301
Traverse City, MI 49684-5725
p (231) 941-6584 
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