Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Polyface Farm field day July 19 in Virginia

Time is running out. Register by June 25th for big savings!

You might have heard Joel Salatin speak, read of his farming practices in magazines or in The Omnivore's Dilemma, or seen Polyface Farm featured in the film Food, Inc. or a video, but there's nothing like a visit to the farm. On July 19 in Swope, Va., witness firsthand the layered farming operations, the intricate dance in the pastures, the simple elegance which is the backbone of the highly productive and profitable family farm.

Joel SalatinNot merely a farm tour, it's a complete open house with Joel, Daniel, family, staff and interns explaining and demonstrating everything about the Polyface system in production-level detail so that you can return home and immediately improve your farm. Visit with two dozen Polyface suppliers in the on-farm trade show. Taste farm-grown Polyface food at the giant barbecue. And take part in the many demos and the Q&A session with Joel.

Register by June 25 for earlybird savings. Adults, $100 / Ages 15-20, $60 / Under 15, free After June 25: Adults, $150 / Ages 15-20, $90 / Under 15, free All food is grown to order.  Registrations after July 10th on a space-available basis only.

Downloadable brochure (PDF) and complete details at

Attendees: Save 20% on all Joel Salatin books.Details and listing of Joel Salatin books online.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

'Toolbox' a cornucopia for small ruminant producers

Flash Drive or Free Download Now Available on ATTRA Website

Raising sheep and goats can be a fruitful way for small and limited-resource producers to diversify their operations. They just need the tools to make the enterprise successful. A new Small Ruminant Toolbox developed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) with the help of a number of collaborators fits that bill nicely.

The free toolbox, which was funded by USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), is a well-organized collection of some of the best information available on small ruminants.

The Tools
• Relevant ATTRA materials, including the comprehensive, 978-page “Small Ruminant Resource Manual”
• Several informative presentations shared by Susan Schoenian of University of Maryland Extension
• The entire course for the Tennessee Master Meat Goat Producer Program
• An extensive library of related Power Point Presentations
• A “Frequently Asked Questions” section on sheep and goat production
• A list of other resources

Not Just for Producers
The information in the Small Ruminant Toolbox is also a great resource for Extension agents and other educators. Most of the materials can be freely shared, and if there are restrictions, the toolbox lays out what they are. There is even a section specifically geared toward Extension agents.

Where to Find the Toolbox
The Small Ruminant Toolbox is available at no cost on the ATTRA website at

Grab Your Toolbox and Go
This collection is also available on a USB flash drive. It’s easily portable and all the content is readily available even when you don’t have Internet access. The flash drives are $5 each, and can be ordered from the website. Information about bulk orders is available by calling 800-346-9140.

ATTRA — National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service — was developed and is maintained through a cooperative agreement with the USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service by the National Center for Appropriate Technology, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Butte, Montana. ATTRA has been the nation’s leading resource for information on sustainable agriculture since 1987, covering a wide range of topics, including reducing pesticide use on cropland, promoting food safety in sustainable production systems, reducing farm energy use and costs, enriching soils with the use of cover crops, and providing technical assistance in the growing areas of local farmers markets and urban gardening. In addition to hundreds of sustainable-agriculture publications, ATTRA’s other popular offerings include a free sustainable-agriculture telephone helpline and the “Ask an Ag Expert” feature on the home page.  It has an archive of webinars and videos generated by NCAT and partnering organizations. ATTRA also maintains numerous popular databases, including sustainable-agriculture internships and apprenticeships, and is a source for the day’s agriculture news, among other features.

Since 1976, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has been helping people by championing small-scale, local and sustainable solutions to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities and protect natural resources. In partnership with businesses, organizations, individuals and agricultural producers, NCAT is working to advance solutions that will ensure the next generation inherits a world that has clean air and water, energy production that is efficient and renewable, and healthy foods grown with sustainable practices. More information about its programs and services is available at or by calling 1-800-ASK-NCAT.