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12th Annual Urban and Small Farms Conference

2024 Urban and Small Farms Conference (February 20-22)

Tuesday, February 20

Cut Flowers

Time Speaker Session Resources
9:00-9:30am

 USU Small Farms Lab: 

The USU Small Farms Lab is led by Dr. Melanie Stock to conduct research on high-value crops and sustainable resource use for small farms. Her senior research team includes M.S. students Nick Volesky and Cambry Adams, and undergraduate intern Olive Stewart.  Her writing and graphics team include farmer Ali Harrison, Amanda Pratt, and Kellie Webb.

USU Kickoff: Welcome & New Research Highlights


Welcome to the 6th annual cut flowers session! We'll have a short survey on farm demographics and then share snippets of the projects that began in 2023, including our: delphinium and larkspur trials, dahlia irrigation trial, warm-season annual trial (aka the wool mulch), and what is next on the horizon.

9:30-10:00am Nick Volesky, Utah State University:
 

Pest Identification and Management for Cut Flowers

 
10:00-10:30am Kelly Webb, North Ogden Flower Farm:
Business in Bloom: Agritourism on a Flower Farm

Agritourism is a unique combination of farming and tourism. What are the benefits of this rapidly emerging Utah market? What are the risks? How do you find your niche among other farms? What types of experiences would you like to offer? Let’s discuss together!
10:30-11:00am Claudia Nischwitz, Utah State University:
Updates on Cut Flower Diseases and Pests in Utah


11:00-11:30am Kynda Curtis, Utah State University:
Intermountain Florist Preferences and Needs for Local Cut Flowers

11:30am-12:00pm Melanie Stock, Utah State University:
Utah Production Guide Listening Session

Animals

Time Speaker Session Resources
1:00-1:30pm

Kelsey Romney, Extension Associate Professor, Utah State University: Kelsey Romney, M.S. has worked for Utah State University in several positions since 2014. She is passionate about bringing the research from our land grant university to a grass roots level. On a personal level, she enjoys spending time outdoors, especially raising backyard chickens!

Backyard Chickens

Come learn the basics of getting started with a small flock of chickens in your very own backyard!

1:30-2:00pm Chad Page, Utah State University:
Chad works for Utah State University as the Sheep and Goat Extension Specialist. He also teaches a variety of classes at the university, including sheep and wool management. Originally, he and his wife are from Chandler, AZ, but now reside in Logan, UT with their four children. Chad has worked across the intermountain west conducting applied sheep research while he obtained his Bachelor, Masters, and PhD degrees.
Targeted Grazing: Considerations for Sheep and Goat Production
2:00-2:30pm Ryan Larsen, Utah State University:
Dr. Ryan Larsen is an Associate Professor and Extension Economist in the Department of Applied Economics at Utah State University. He specializes in farm and risk management. He teaches courses in agricultural finance, risk management, and decision analysis.
Understanding Profitability
2:30-3:00pm Jessie Hadfield, State Agriculture and Animal Science Specialist, Utah 4-H:
Jessie currently serves as the State Agriculture and Animal Science Specialist for Utah 4-H. Her role takes her all over the state supporting county programs including small livestock. One of the fastest growing program areas is rabbits. Jessie grew up raising and showing rabbits in the Salt Lake valley and currently raises rabbits for meat and show in Cache County with her husband.
Meat Rabbit Breeding and Reproduction 101
3:00-3:30pm Karl Hoopes, DVM, Equine Extension Specialist, Utah State University:
Karl grew up on a small dairy farm in western Wyoming. Horses were, and still are, an important part of his life. He grew up trail riding, 4H and FFA, chariot racing, and draft horse pulling contests. He graduated with a BS from the University of Wyoming and then a from Colorado State University with a DVM. Karl came to Cache Valley in 2003 and worked in a general veterinary practice for 12 years before coming to USU to teach and work in Extension. He is currently the Equine Extension Specialist at USU and teaches Animal Anatomy and Physiology, Equine Nutrition, and Equine Lower Limb Form and Function.
Importance of Farrier Veterinarian Relationship
3:30-4:00pm Reganne Briggs, Utah State University Mineral Supplementation for Livestock

Wednesday, February 21

Resilience in Agriculture

Time Speaker Session Resources
9:00-9:30am

Grant Cardon, Utah State University:
Grant’s work at USU focuses on the training and assisting of county Extension agents on soil management issues, particularly soil fertility and salinity management.  As the Extension Soils Specialist, Grant works to provide accurate interpretation of test results for soils, waters, plant tissues, manures and composts.

Interpreting Soil Test Results

9:30-10:00am Melanie Stock, Utah State University: Melanie is an Assistant Professor / Extension Urban & Small Farms Specialist in the Plants, Soils, and Climate Department at USU. As a soil scientist, her research targets improving cut flower production in the Intermountain West, small farm resource use efficiency – particularly soil fertility and water management, and urban soil contamination. She is also an avid urban homesteader. Advanced Soil Fertility 

10:00-10:30am Laura Haskell, Utah Department of Water Resources: Laura Haskell works at the Utah Division of Water Resources in the River Basin Planning Section. Her main duties include coordinating Division drought efforts with federal and other state agencies, and collecting and compiling water flow data for the Utah water budget. Prior to joining the Division, Laura worked in the public and private engineering sectors for over 15 years. She joined the Division in 2017 and has been coordinating the drought effort since 2018. 2024 Water Outlook
10:30-11:15am Ethan Page, Central Wyoming College: Ethan Page runs the Beginning Farmer Training Program at Central Wyoming College, with the goal of training new and under-resourced farmers in diversified vegetable production. This includes a season-long crop production class, associates degree, and farm incubator, where students have the opportunity to start their own small farm business on site with access to tools, infrastructure, and mentorship. He lives in Lander, WY with his wife, son, and 2 dogs.

Michele Schahczenski, USU Extension:
Michele works as USU Extension’s Organic Outreach Coordinator working on the TOPP Project (Transition to Organic Partnership Program)

Cody Zesiger, Sustainable Grazing Institute: 
Cody Zesiger is a Utah native living in Ogden with his wife and two daughters. He joined Utah State University Extension in 2019 after leaving the K-12 classroom. Cody's interests include the sustainable management of small family farms, weed ecology and management, and production horticulture.
Urban and Small Farms Training Programs



USU Organic Outreach TOPP Project

This session will highlight the TOPP Project which aims to connect producers who might be interested in becoming certified organic with information, resources and potentially a mentor.




Sustainable Grazing Institue

The Annual Utah Sustainable Grazing Institute is a hands-on workshop that merges the art and science of management intensive grazing. Participants learn about: grazing cell design, grazing principles for sustainable grazing management, financial analysis of grazing management, soils, fertility, and nutrients, low-stress livestock handling, weed management in pastures, and diseases and parasites. This session will discuss the event and inform participants how they can sign up to attend!







11:15am-12:00pm Cody Zesiger and Alex Zesiger, Lily and Juniper Blooms: 

Cody Zesiger is a Utah native living in Ogden with his wife and two daughters. He joined Utah State University Extension in 2019 after leaving the K-12 classroom. Cody's interests include the sustainable management of small family farms, weed ecology and management, and production horticulture.

Alex Zesiger was a successful wedding and event florist when she and her husband Cody decided to start a flower farm. In addition to her farm, Alex now works as an event coordinator with the USU Botanical Center in Kaysville, Utah.
The Lily and Juniper Blooms Farm Story

Lily and Juniper Blooms and Design is a family-run flower farm in Ogden, Utah offering wedding floristry services. Owner Alex Zesiger has always had a love for nurturing plants, and her passions have only grown since she started farming flowers. This skilled professional has also completed a variety of workshops and training to help build her design skills. As a result, she is able to offer the full package of fresh home-grown flowers and beautifully arranged wedding decor. Alex and the team gather flowers from their own farm, as well as neighboring farms and small businesses. They love to include native wildflowers in their arrangements as a nod to Utah's natural beauty.This session will feature farm operation details Alex's thoughts on integrating a farm business and floral event planning.
       

Fruit

Time Speaker Session Resources
1:00-1:30pm

Mike Caron, Associate Professor, Utah State University Extension: Michael Caron is an Associate Professor of Horticulture with Utah State University Extension, located in Utah County. As well as having a background in retail horticulture and commercial greenhouse growing, Michael has taught a myriad of classes and workshops for degree-seeking students, Master Gardener classes, and many other community classes and workshops on a variety of horticulture subjects. He also conducts a table and wine grape cultivar evaluation study with over 20 cultivars of hardy hybrid grapes and also works with commercial wine grape producers. He enjoys gardening, greenhouse growing, photography, hiking, and building things.

Evaluation of Hardy Grapes for Northern Utah

1:30-2:00pm Wesley Crump, Utah State University:
Wesley Crump is a USU Extension Assistant Professor in Wasatch and Summit counties focused on horticulture. A few of his interests (not necessarily his strengths!) include fruit trees and other perennial crops, plant breeding, native plants, native dyes, and all things home-gardening.
A Citizen Science Approach to Identifying Locally Adapted Apple and Peach Trees 

2:00-2:30pm Kynda Curtis, Utah State University: Kynda Curtis is a Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Applied Economics at Utah State University (USU). She received her PhD in Economics from Washington State University in 2003. Her research interests include agriculture/food marketing, direct-to-consumer marketing, as well as consumer demand for value-added, specialty, and differentiated foods. As an Extension Specialist, Dr. Curtis assists small-scale growers in developing new markets for their products and assessing the feasibility of new food products and value-added processes. Utah Consumer Preferences for Local and Organic Fruit
2:30-3:00pm Benjamin Scow, Utah State University: Benjamin Scow is the Utah State University Agriculture Extension Agent in Washington County, and has been serving that community for nearly 5 years. Ben has a large focus on backyard farms and has worked with USU’s Poultry Specialist and Urban Small Farms Specialist on various chicken related projects, including online classes aimed at raising chickens from start to finish. Ben raised his own chickens solely for egg production, which he sells at the local farmer’s market, to neighbors, and of course for his own family. Ben and his wife Emily have 3 daughters who love spending time on their farm, growing peaches and tending to a large garden. Small and large livestock have often been a valuable part of the farm and they love having the whole family involved in running it.
Growing Pomegranates in Utah
3:00-3:30pm Claudia Nischwitz, Utah State University: Claudia is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist at USU since August 2010. She works on diseases of plants with focus on cut flowers and vegetable diseases. In addition, she performs diagnostics for the UPPDL lab. Diseases of Large and Small Fruit in Utah
3:30-4:00pm Benjamin Scow, Utah State University:
Benjamin Scow is the Utah State University Agriculture Extension Agent in Washington County, and has been serving that community for nearly 5 years. Ben has a large focus on backyard farms and has worked with USU’s Poultry Specialist and Urban Small Farms Specialist on various chicken related projects, including online classes aimed at raising chickens from start to finish. Ben raised his own chickens solely for egg production, which he sells at the local farmer’s market, to neighbors, and of course for his own family. Ben and his wife Emily have 3 daughters who love spending time on their farm, growing peaches and tending to a large garden. Small and large livestock have often been a valuable part of the farm and they love having the whole family involved in running it.
Considerations for Planning and Planting a Home Orchard

Thursday, February 22

Grants, Business Assistance, and Other Resources

Time Speaker Session Resources
9:00-9:40am

Allison Ross, Grant Specialist, Marketing and Economic Development Division, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Grant Basics

This session will provide an overview of what grants are, how to find them, and how to apply.  It will also go over some resources available.


9:40-10:40am Allison Ross, Grant Specialist, Marketing and Economic Development Division, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Jim Bowcutt, Director, Conservation Division

Brian Christensen, Assistant Water Optimization Program Manager

Caroline Hargraves, Director, Marketing and Economic Development Division
Grants Available Through Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF)

UDAF has various grants for agriculture producers. This session will go over the various programs, the application process and timing. The funding is for research on production, funds for improving things like supply chain resilience and pollinator habitats, and water optimization. Other programs may also be highlighted.


Contact us: 
agriculture@utah.gov
10:40-11:10 Kynda Curtis, Professor and Extension Economist, Utah State University: Kynda Curtis is a Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Applied Economics at Utah State University (USU). She received her PhD in Economics from Washington State University in 2003. Her research interests include agriculture/food marketing, direct-to-consumer marketing, as well as consumer demand for value-added, specialty, and differentiated foods. As an Extension Specialist, Dr. Curtis assists small-scale growers in developing new markets for their products and assessing the feasibility of new food products and value-added processes. Agricultural Marketing Service and other federal grant programs

11:10am-12:00pm Britin Van Brocklin Producers talking about their own experiences having received grants
12:00-1:00pm LUNCH    

 

Time Speaker Session Resources
1:00-2:00pm Ben Turnbow, AgExpress Division Manager, Western AgCredit

Western Ag Credit

This presentation will include information about Western AgCredit loan programs, financing tips, how they can help bridge and matching financing for grants, and more.
2:00-3:00pm Karin Allen, Utah State University: Karin Allen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Sciences at Utah State University and serves as the Food Quality and Entrepreneurship Specialist for Cooperative Extension. Dr. Allen works with small food producers (both on and off the farm) to address food processing issues including labeling, safety, and regulatory compliance, as well as issues specific to agritourism and community supported agriculture operations.

Caroline Hargraves, UDAF:
Caroline Hargraves, UDAF Director of Marketing and Economic Development, has spent over 15 years working in local food. She brings a lifelong love of food and local ag and experience in marketing and communications to her role at UDAF.  Caroline has a degree in public health and is a certified Community Health Education Specialist. She spent 8 years operating a photography and marketing business dedicated to supporting local restaurants and small businesses and several years as a baker before landing at UDAF. She has an adorable son she coerces into farm chores, a little hound dog, two cats, and 11 chickens at her very, very tiny urban farm in Salt Lake City.  

Kynda Curtis, Professor and Extension Economist, Utah State University:
Kynda Curtis is a Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Applied Economics at Utah State University (USU). She received her PhD in Economics from Washington State University in 2003. Her research interests include agriculture/food marketing, direct-to-consumer marketing, as well as consumer demand for value-added, specialty, and differentiated foods. As an Extension Specialist, Dr. Curtis assists small-scale growers in developing new markets for their products and assessing the feasibility of new food products and value-added processes.
Utah Food Business Program

The USDA Regional Food Business Centers Program was recently created to provide local assistance to farm and food businesses. The Utah Food Business Program, part of the Southwest Regional Food Business Center, is a cooperation between Utah State University and Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.  This session will provide an overview of the structure of the Utah Food Business Program, and will introduce you to resources that will be available to farm and food businesses (both through the Utah Food Business Program and the Southwest Regional Food Business Center). Information on accessing programs and resources, and where to find upcoming opportunities, will be provided.






3:00-3:30pm Arisha Franco, Urban Conservationist, NRCS: Arisha Franco works as an Urban Conservationist for the Utah Natural Resources Conservation Service in Provo, UT. Part of her work as a conservation planner is to assess farmland problems and help small farmers identify opportunities to improve their agricultural operation. During the last few years, Arisha assisted various farmers with applying for technical and financial assistance through NRCS Farm Bill programs Empowering Small Farms Through Conservation Planning

Considering assistance from NRCS? Let’s dive into the project planning process within NRCS programs and explore how conservation-focused planning benefits small farms! Learn how NRCS identifies, plans, and resolves issues impacting farmers, promoting resilience, and boosting agricultural activity.
3:30-4:00pm Cliff Russell, FSA:
Cliff is the County Executive Director for Salt Lake/Tooele/Weber/Morgan counties

Tyra Jackman, FSA:
Tyra is a Farm Loan Officer Trainee located in Provo
Utah State Farm Service Agency Programs for Farmers