OSU Mid-Valley Small Farms Program Updates
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Pitchfork & Crow, Lebanon, OR

Mid-Valley Small Farm Program Updates

Hello and welcome to our very first OSU Mid-Valley Small Farms newsletter! We hope you are as excited as we are to kick off the Small Farms program for the mid-Willamette Valley.

This newsletter is a bi-monthly update on programs we are offering, but also seeks to be an inclusive list of agricultural classes, workshops, and fun events happening in Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties. We encourage you to help us populate the upcoming small farm events list and give us feedback on how we're doing and what you'd like to see us do in the future.

Finally, we want to thank those of you who have been involved in our program in the past, and share that we are excited for things to come. 2017 is going to be big!

- Javier, Heather, Erica, Victoria, and Eliza

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Mid-Valley Small Farms Program News

Beginner Farmer Curriculum Development in Spanish for New Small Growers 

The OSU Mid-Willamette Valley Small Farms team, in collaboration with Chemeketa Community College and Huerto de la Familia (The Family Garden), is developing a core curriculum to train Spanish speaking beginner farmers. The farmers are either participating in the “Cambios” farm and small business incubator program or have an interest in starting their own farming operation. The curriculum will consist of eight modules and will cover a comprehensive range of topics, including: small farm business management, introductory plant physiology and propagation, soil fertility management, plant nutrition, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), irrigation techniques and scheduling, organic certification, food safety, and other basic licensing and farm regulations.

For more information, click here.

Para más información en español, haga clic aquí
What are the needs of the small farms in our region?
Mid-Valley farmers who have participated in our Small Farms needs assessment.

The Small Farms team is conducting on-site, in person interviews as part of our needs assessment of farmers in the Mid-Willamette Valley. The objective is to identify how to better serve and provide support to our valuable clientele. We are still looking for more farmers interested in participating. The interview takes 45 minutes and we will meet you at your farm! We are also developing an electronic survey that will be available online for your convenience.
Please contact Eliza Smith if interested.

More Mid-Valley Opportunities

OSU Small Farms Conference

February 18th, 2017

The Oregon Small Farms Conference is a day-long event geared toward farmers, agricultural professionals, food policy advocates, students and managers of farmers markets. 27 educational sessions are offered on a variety of topics relevant to the Oregon small farmers and include a track in Spanish. 

The all-day Spanish track is organized by the Mid-Valley Small Farms Program. The three sessions that will be at this year's Small Farms Conference are:

  • Producción de Hierbas y Cultivos Ancestrales Mexicanos Orgánicos (Organic Production of Ancestral Mexican Herbs and Crops) Presenter: Javier Lara, Anahuac Produce
  • Riego por Goteo y Fertirrigación: Como Utilizar estas Técnicas de Producción en su Finca (Drip Irrigation and Fertigation: Utilizing These Production Techniques on Your Farm) Presenter: Javier Fernandez-Salvador
  • Producción Orgánica de Olivos para Pequeños Agricultores (Organic Olive Production for Small Farmers) Presenters: Jesús Garibay, Huerto La Creole en Dallas, Oregón; Javier Fernandez-Salvador
Pricing Info:
  • Register between Dec 16-Jan 25: $50
  • Register between Jan 26-Feb 10: $75
  • Register on-site (day of event): $150 (subject to availability)

More info & registration available. Click here.

Growing Farms

Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management is a six-session course available online or in a hybrid online and in-person format that provides farmers with the tools and knowledge needed to develop and manage a successful farm business. This course is intended for people who are considering starting a farm business, those within their first five years of farming and others who may be considering major changes to their farm business.

What you'll learn:

  • Techniques for whole-farm planning.
  • Current farm operations and equipment.
  • Skills to market farmed and raised products.
  • Finance, administration and personnel management.
  • Ecological agricultural production.
  • Liability and risks of farming.
To learn more or register, click here
The Agritourism Summit for Marion & Polk Counties
Keynote speaker Dr. Lisa Chase from the University of Vermont.
February 28, 9 am-3 pm
The program is designed for all sizes and types of farms including nurseries, produce, vineyards, woodlands and animal as well as processors including wineries, food and botanical gardens.
The Agritourism Summit will include specialized training in Farm Direct Marketing and Other Agritourism practices with keynote speaker Dr. Lisa Chase from the University of Vermont. Sessions include:
•         Agritoursim Trends & Markets
•         Safety & Liability for Farm Visits
•         Land Use Laws and Regulations
•         Models of Success
•         Effective Marketing
Cost is $18 and includes catered lunch and self-guided tour.  Pre-registration REQUIRED at or email

USDA Provides New Cost Share Opportunities for Organic Producers and Handlers

Organic Producers and Handlers May Apply for Certification Cost Share Reimbursements; Expanded Eligibility for Transition and State Certification Cost

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that starting March 20, 2017, organic producers and handlers will be able to visit over 2,100 USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices to apply for federal reimbursement to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic or transitional certification.

Eligible producers include any certified producers or handlers who have paid organic or transitional certification fees to a USDA-accredited certifying agent. Application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement/arrangement requirements, travel/per diem for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments and postage are all eligible for a cost share reimbursement from USDA.

To learn more about organic certification cost share, please visit or contact a local FSA office by visiting

Past Mid-Valley Events
Oregon Blueberry Conference

The Oregon Blueberry Conference

Presented by: Oregon Blueberry Commission and North Willamette Research and Extension Center

The OSU Mid-Valley Small Farms Program was a sponsor of the 2017 Oregon Blueberry Conference. We enjoyed meeting some of you there at our table and learning more about blueberries!

View 2017 Conference Agenda (pdf)
Blueberry Pruning Workshop for Spanish Speaking Audiences 
The OSU Mid-Willamette Valley Small Farms Program hosted a Blueberry Pruning Workshop on December 13th in collaboration with Dr. Wei Yang, berry crops extension agent for the North Willamette Valley district. English and Spanish sessions were held in the morning and afternoon respectively, to include a diverse audience of Mid-Willamette Valley blueberry growers, workers, and contractors.
For more information, click here.
Seed and Germination Techniques for Beginner Latino Farmers
On December 20th, the OSU Mid-Willamette Valley Small Farms Program hosted a workshop in Spanish called “Seeds and Germination Techniques for Crop Production” or “Semillas y Técnicas de Germinación para Producción de Cultivos” presented by Isabel Hernández, a Horticulture and Agronomy researcher at University of California, Davis (UCD). The workshop was held at the Springfield Public Library and hosted in partnership with Huerto de la Familia (The Family Garden). 
For more information, click here.
Upcoming Events

Jan 28 - Fill Your Pantry, Salem

Feb 2-4 - Organicology Conference, Portland

Feb 6 - Local Food Connection, Eugene

Feb 7 - Transitioning Small Grain Production to Organic, Webinar

Feb 8 - Willamette Valley Tree Fruit Growers Association Winter Meeting, Aurora

Feb 16 - Growing Success: Best Practices in On-Farm Food Safety (Mid-Scale Farms), Aurora

Feb 17 - Growing Success: Best Practices in On-Farm Food Safety (Small-Scale Farms), Portland

Feb 18 - OSU Small Farms Conference, Corvallis

Feb 19 - Growing Success: Best Practices in On-Farm Food Safety (Small-Scale Farms), Corvallis

Feb 25-26 - Mid-Valley Winter AgFest, Rickreall

Feb 28 - Succession Planning Workshop, Salem

Feb 28 - Agritourism Summit for Marion & Polk Counties, Silverton

Mar 15Agricultural Biodiversity on Western Farms Conservation Practices Working for Farmers, Troutdale

Mar 21 - Assistance Programs and Educational Resources for Organic Farming Operations, Webinar

Seeking Vegetable Celebrities

OSU Extension is currently engaged in updating a guide to growing fall and winter vegetables. The publication is PNW 548, “Fall and winter vegetable gardening”. The publication revision is a collaboration between the OSU Small Farms program and Community Horticulture and is intended both for commercial and home garden audiences. We need photographs to go along with our publication of the approximately 40 vegetables covered. If you have some stellar looking winter vegetables and would like to give them their moment in the spotlight, we'd love to come out for a visit and capture some photos!
Contact Victoria Binning to volunteer your veggies.

Spread the Love

Would you like to share upcoming events in future newsletters? Please contact Victoria Binning

Who are you folks, anyway?

Great question. Check out our short bios below and if your interest is piqued, don't be shy! We'd love to chat about what we do and what we can do together.

Javier Fernandez-Salvador is an Assistant Professor of Practice at Oregon State University who joined the OSU Small Farms Program in May 2016 with his main focus being on organic and conventional production systems of pastures, specialty grains, berries and other agronomic and horticultural crops as well as farm food safety and organic regulatory compliance.

Heather Stoven is the Community Horticulturalist and Small Farms Extension Agent for Yamhill County.  Her position is housed in McMinnville and she oversees the Master Gardener program, community horticulture and small farms. Her strengths include pest management, plant problem diagnosis, greenhouse growing and nursery crops. 

Erica Chernoh is a sustainable agriculture specialist. She holds a joint position between Chemeketa Community College, where she is a Horticulture Instructor, and OSU where she works with Extension in Marion and Polk counties and serves as an OSU Open Campus Coordinator. Erica specializes in organic agriculture, vegetable crop production, strawberries, and sustainable soil management, as well as organic certification and food safety. 

Victoria Binning is the Agriculture Program Coordinator for Marion County Extension Service. She is excited to work with both the Small Farms program and Community Horticulture. Her diverse background is in sustainable agriculture, children's garden education, fisheries management, and wine.

Eliza Smith is a student at Oregon State University, majoring in Bioresource Research with a focus in plant growth and development, and minoring in Spanish. She comes from a 3rd generation family farm in Woodburn and has worked on farms in various production systems: grass seed, wheat, nursery, vegetable, and berry production. She is also an IOIA-trained organic inspector and an independent consultant for organic certifications and GlobalGAP food safety certifications.

OSU Extension Faculty and Staff

Javier Fernandez-Salvador, Assistant Professor of Practice 

Heather Stoven, Community Horticulturalist and Small Farms Extension Agent

Erica Chernoh, Horticulture Instructor

Victoria Binning, Agriculture Program Coordinator

Eliza Smith, Student Project Assistant
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Copyright © 2017 OSU Mid-Valley Small Farms, All rights reserved.

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