Did you miss one of our 2019 (or 2018) Field Days? 

Visit the Past Field Days page 

to read reports and access handouts from those you missed.

Mastering the Art of Marketing

March 26, 2019
Oldham County Cooperative Extension Office, LaGrange, KY

 

A SUMMARY OF THIS EVENT IS POSTED ON OUR PAST FIELD DAYS PAGE.
 

Join Brett Wolff, from University of Kentucky Center for Crop Diversification, as he blends presentation and discussion to dive deeper into the art of knowing your product, understanding your market and customers, and

promoting your business.

 

· social media messaging

· basic marketing principles

· pricing strategies

· persuasive messaging

· finding new markets for your products

Irrigation Systems: Considerations and Installation

April 12, 2019
University of Kentucky Organic Farming Unit, Lexington KY

A FULL SUMMARY OF THIS EVENT IS POSTED ON OUR PAST FIELD DAYS PAGE.

Farmers and allied professionals “went with the flow” at a recent OAK Field Day focused on drip irrigation.  Drip-irrigation systems are now the industry standard due to its efficiency, explained Rachel Rudolph, UK Extension Vegetable Specialist, as drip can reduce water use for some crops up to 50%.  [Additionally, according to UK’s “Irrigation Systems” fact sheet (available via link below), combining drip with plastic mulch systems can also double marketable yields!]

UK Sustainable Agriculture Professor Brent Rowell led participants through an instructive show-and-tell of drip irrigation components and terminology.  This in-classroom introduction laid the groundwork for demonstration and hands-on installation of drip system components within a greenhouse (gravity-fed, solar-powered system) and high tunnel (municipal water and standard electrical system) at UK Horticultural Research Farm.   

Grass-Fed and -Finished Beef Production and Marketing

May 2, 2019
Elmwood Stock Farm, Georgetown, KY

A FULL SUMMARY OF THIS REPORT IS ON OUR PAST FIELD DAYS PAGE.

Hearing John Bell, of Elmwood Stock Farm, talk about his grass-finished beef production, it’s nearly impossible to distinguish whether the animal or the grass is more important: “Truly, a grass-finished farmer is a crop farmer.” This was a key takeaway for dozens of farmers, Extension personnel, and allied professionals who joined OAK for an early May Field Day on Organic Grass-Fed and -Finished Beef Production.


Although Elmwood Stock Farm has raised cattle in central Kentucky for six generations, they’ve refined their production of organic, grass-finished beef during the last two decades. Motivated by the benefits of a grass-finished system to human health, animal welfare, and natural ecosystems, John and his family have evolved their livestock systems to hold soil nutrient cycling, fertility, and organic matter in equal importance to animal genetics and biology.


“Any beef cattle farmer is hoping to end with a meat product that is well-marbled, juicy, tender, and good-tasting,” John explains. “We’re working for that -- as well as for the health of the animal and the healthiest meat for ourselves and our customers.”

Organic Sheep Production

May 23, 2019
Rootbound Farm, Crestwood, KY

A FULL SUMMARY OF THIS REPORT IS ON OUR PAST FIELD DAYS PAGE.

“Why raise sheep?”

This is the question Bree Pearsall and Ben Abell answered to begin a recent OAK Field Day on Organic Sheep Production. Their Rootbound Farm supports a successful organic produce operation serving a 700 member CSA and a local farmers market.

“We have 35 acres in produce production,” Ben explained, “but 80% of our 300 acres of land is untillable.  We want to be stewards of that land, to manage it well… grass-fed animals just make sense!”  

 

With no livestock experience and limited infrastructure, introducing a small ruminant flock was a manageable option - not just to manage their land, but to diversify their market offerings and close the fertility loop with an integrated crop/livestock operation. As a protein option for their current customers and to attract new customers with more diverse products, Bree and Ben saw lamb as a profitable and marketable option that complemented their produce production. 

 

Organic Row Crop Production

June 25, 2019

Durham Farms, Crofton KY

SUMMARY AND HANDOUTS FOR THIS EVENT WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON!

Operating a dual organic and conventional farming system, Durham Farms has increased its organic acreage from 60 acres to 1600 acres in the past 6 years.  Visit their fields in production to learn their systems for organic corn, soybean, and hemp production. 

 

Tyler Durham will share his experience with transitioning land to certified organic production, advantages to using cover crops, seed varieties of choice (including two CBD hemp), equipment for weed control, and the benefits of having a strong network of fellow farmers and support professionals.  

 

This OAK Field Day is geared towards large-scale producers in transition or interested in the possibility.

Organic No-Till Market Farming

June 27, 2019

Rough Draft Farmstead, Lawrenceburg KY

At this summer Field Day with a few dozen farmers and ag professionals, Jesse Frost and Hannah Crabtree of Rough Draft Farmstead provided a deep dive into their natural-mulching no-till systems.  Using occultation, disturbing the soil as little as possible, planting intensively all-year round, keeping roots in the ground, and diversifying plantings within beds, Hannah and Jesse preserve and conserve the living systems underground, reduce their weeding, and improve the health of their plants and harvest.

 

With a production footprint of ¾ acre and an “Everbed” system of near-constant production within their beds, the Rough Draft team serves three seasons of CSAs, two farmers markets, a local pay-what-you-can restaurant, and a local community center food distribution program.  In recent seasons, they’ve converted their system from one of minimal tillage reliant on hay mulch to their current methods.

 

“When we’re not tilling, our crops are almost always successful.” 

Organic Disease and Pest Management

July 25, 2019

Locust Ridge Organic Farm, Brooksville KY

SUMMARY AND HANDOUTS FOR THIS EVENT WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON!

For pest and disease management in organic crop production, growers must emphasize cultural and preventative practices before they even consider the use of approved organic crop protection products.  USDA organic regulations allow use of certain botanical and  natural pesticides only as a last resort.  Pest management on all farms, but especially those that are certified organic and transitioning, relies on the "PAMS" strategy: prevention, avoidance, monitoring and suppression, with a strong emphasis on prevention and avoidance. 

Join Kelly and Nick Brown at Locust Ridge Organic Farm as they discuss their challenges in high tunnel and open field growing conditions and explore the most effective strategies for control with Emily Pfeufer, UK Extension Plant Pathologist, and Ric Bessin, UK Extension Entomologist, including:

· Scouting, prevention, and accurate identification of pests/diseases

· Simple cultural and sanitation strategies to disrupt pest and disease life cycles

· Crop rotation, cover cropping, cultural practices for crop health

· Habitat for, and introduction of natural predators of pests

 

Open to all, this Field Day is geared toward production farmers and features mid-scale, diversified vegetable production.

Organic Hemp Production

September 18, 2019

1-4pm ET
KSU’s Harold R Benson Research and Demonstration Farm

1525 Mills Ln, Frankfort, KY 40601

 

HANDOUTS & PRESENTATION AVAILABLE AT LINK BELOW.

A WRITTEN SUMMARY OF THIS EVENT WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON!

This event was generously sponsored by A1 Implements LLC


Back by popular demand, join us to explore the research, logistics, and production realities of growing organic hemp in Kentucky.  Dr. Shawn Lucas, (Kentucky State University), Doris Hamilton (Kentucky Department of Agriculture) and Tony Silvernail (Beyond the Bridge Organics/OAK) will share legal updates, KDA and organic certification requirements, genetics, propagation, weed/pest management, fertility, cultivation, protected culture, and more!

Fertility, Cover Crops, and Soil Testing

September 26, 2019
UK Horticultural Research Farm, Lexington KY

 

SUMMARY AND HANDOUTS FOR THIS EVENT WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON!

Fertility management in crop production systems involves the soil’s physical, chemical, and biological conditions.  Ongoing monitoring of soil nutrients and composition can help growers to

  • determine the appropriate amount of manure, compost, or other nutrient inputs to apply;

  • select cover crops to build soil organic matter, conserve soil nutrients, or manage weeds;

  • understand how management practices are affecting nutrient availability.

UK Extension Vegetable Specialist Rachel Rudolph and Sustainable Agriculture Professor Krista Jacobsen will walk producers through these and other tools and strategies in developing efficient and targeted nutrient budgets and fertility management plans for open field and high tunnel production. 

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