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CFSA's Grower's Toolbox
Dear Farmer,

Happy New Year! I hope you had a fantastic holiday season and were able to get some much-needed rest and relaxation!

As you start planning the 2020 growing season, I would like to remind you that CFSA staff can help you address food safety, high tunnel, organic production and certification, and any marketing/business planning questions you may have. Just visit our website to get started!

While you’re there, check out our lineup for this year’s Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference on Feb. 11th in Raleigh.

If you have not already done so, now is the time to be submitting soil samples and there are two great expert tip videos in this month’s newsletter to help you do that.
In addition to what's below, we want you to know:
  • For those in SC looking to get started in farming, the SC New & Beginning Farmer Program at Clemson is accepting applications until Feb. 16.
  • If you're in WNC, make note that Living Web Farms is hosting six repair cafes throughout 2020, the first kicking off on Feb. 25. The public is invited to bring in anything from rusty tools to troublesome small engines to each event for free, hands-on help to fix those items up.
  • A few folks are conducting a five-minute survey to gather data on internet connectivity from NC farmers. Take a moment and fill it out, as the data will be used to inform research, policy, and funding recommendations to assist communities where internet access is inadequate.

Karen McSwain, CFSA's Associate Executive Director for Programs


Expert Tip: Build a Soil Sampler + Collect a Sample
Collecting soil samples is important, but which equipment should you use?

While a shovel or trowel will do the job, taking multiple samples can be strenuous and getting a uniform sample can be difficult. Probes are great at creating a uniform sample but have trouble collecting compacted soils. So, what's the solution?

Our organic research coordinator breaks down how to build your own soil sampler, using affordable things you likely already have laying around the farm, and then shows you how to use it to collect uniform soil samples.

Did you know that we've been creating Expert Tips for nearly a decade?
Don't miss our
Expert Tip index!


Why You Should Consider Registering for OCLC 2020
Each winter, we host OCLC, a crops and livestock conference for growers. And our most frequently asked question that comes with it is, 'What if I'm not certified organic or don't grow organic commodities?'

While OCLC workshops are suited for farmers interested in becoming certified organic, OCLC welcomes all commercial growers! This year, we have more than eight hours of programming for farmers who aren't specifically certified organic or growing organic commodities. From four pasture-based livestock workshops to our sessions on no-till cover crops, navigating the GAP audit, Whole-Farm Revenue Protection for diversified farms, and growing hemp in high tunnels, OCLC has a variety of programming to choose from for commercial growers of all kinds.

If you've never been to one of CFSA's conferences before, OCLC is a great introduction to our organization and the many services and resources available to commercial growers at our events.

Between workshop sessions, you can connect with the conference exhibitors, workshop presenters, and CFSA staff. Do you have questions about organic certification, GAP audits, or building wholesale capacity? Our Farm Services team will be at OCLC, and this is a great time to meet them in person and consider setting up a consultation at your farm.    

OCLC is Feb. 11, 2020 at NC State University from 9 am - 4 pm
Tickets are currently on sale.

CFSA Members - $55 | Non-Members - $65

Our 2020 OCLC Keynote Speaker Is...

Credit: Sherman Thomas, The Lost Art of Farming

Thor Oechsner
25-year organic farmer at Oechsner Farms & partner in Farmer Ground Flour

In his OCLC keynote presentation, "Diverse Crop Rotations on a Food-Grade Organic Farm," Thor will discuss the importance of diversity when planning crop rotations and what decisions lead him to his current design. Thor will offer practical examples from his certified organic grain farm that demonstrate how diverse crop rotations address the needs of disease control, soil health, weed suppression, and nutrient demands for each crop.  

More about Thor>>


I Farm & I Care About the Climate 

We're so grateful for all of you, like Jim Dykes (above), that have read and added your name to the Farmer Letter on Climate Change Solutions in Agriculture thus far!

What's the letter? Farmers feel the harsh effects of climate change first-hand and know that the weather today is more unpredictable and extreme than ever. If we don't take action now to solve this crisis, many farms will not survive, and our food security will be at grave risk. Yet, politicians assume that farmers oppose action on climate change, and this campaign is intended to prove the conventional wisdom wrong.

What's our goal? CFSA wants 1,000 Carolina farmers/farmworkers to sign the letter and send a powerful message to Congress that we need action now to combat climate change and make agriculture more resilient.

Why you? Sustainable and organic farmers have pioneered regenerative practices that build healthy, productive soils and protect natural resources. Multiplying those practices across hundreds of millions of acres will help avoid the worst effects of climate change. 

Will you help lead the call for real action to solve the climate crisis? 
Once you sign the letter, take a photo with a sign like Jim's and send it to us 
or upload it to social media and tag us (@carolinfarms)!



Tuesday, February 11 | Raleigh, NC

Produce Safety Rule Grower Training
Wednesday, February 12 | Greenville, SC

High Tunnel Workshop Selection, Management & Production
Saturday, February 29 | Sneads Ferry, NC

Certified South Carolina Grower + Buyer Meetup
Wednesday, March 11 | West Columbia, SC

Caterpillar Tunnel Construction Workshop
Friday, March 13 | Ellerbe, NC

Good Agricultural Practices Workshop
Friday, March 20 | West Columbia, SC

Produce Safety Rule Grower Training
Wednesday, March 25 | Walterboro, SC

Lomax Farm Research Field Day - Save the Date!
Tuesday, May 19 | Concord, NC

Produce Safety Rule Grower Training
Tuesday, June 23 | Sumter, SC

Want more? Stay abreast with CFSA events by subscribing to our events-only monthly digest, The Training Ground.
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The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association is on a mission to bring local, organic food to your table from a farmer who shares your values – and we can’t do it without you. Together we are building a regional food system that is good for consumers, growers, and the land.
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