The Farm Systems Intensive explores the ecological thinking that will help beginning farmers learn and establish regenerative practices. Workshops will be taught by Stone Barns farmers and special guests. Workshops are available as a complete curriculum, or as crops-only or livestock-only sessions.
Full Intensive: February 25 – March 8
Crops Only: February 25 – March 1
Livestock Only: March 4 – 8
Monday, February 25th: Agroecological Land Stewardship: Environment and Conservation Ethics in Farming
Jack Algiere, Farm Director, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
Stone Barns Center uses resilient, regenerative farming practices to grow seasonal, regionally appropriate food. Highly integrated methods of composting and crop and animal rotations enrich soils and their ability to produce nutritious food. These methods contribute to a dynamic, self-renewing system of farming that doesn’t need chemical fertilizers, pesticides or other artificial inputs. Stone Barns Center’s Farm Director Jack Algiere will discuss the agroecological practices that focus on deep engagement with natural cycles grounded in practical application. This workshop will also cover how a growing number of land trusts and protected State and NGO lands offer unique opportunities for collaboration that supports regenerative farming while also furthering ongoing conservation goals.
Tuesday, February 26th: Soil Science and Testing
Will Brinton, Woods End Laboratories
The soil chemistry and testing class will introduce the history of soil management and show soil examples of good and bad management practices. We will then work through some testing and review how to interpret the Woods End soil test before discussing soil amendment decisions.
Wednesday, February 27th: Crop Planning
Daniel Brisebois co-author of Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers
You know how it’s mid July and it’s time to fill your CSA baskets but all you have is kohlrabi when what you want is carrots? Or worse yet, you don’t even have the kohlrabi! With a solid crop plan you can make sure you have the vegetables you need when you need them and emerge from the growing season feeling proud of your farm. We’ll start by reflecting on the quality of life and financial goals for your farm. These goals will be the foundation of your marketing plan and your crop plan. This workshop will put a strong emphasis on what makes a farm profitable. We will explore how these concepts apply from micro-farms to larger scale operations and explore how crop choices and farming systems influence a crop plan.
Thursday, February 28th: Compost Systems and Soil Amendments
Shane Hardy, Senior Land Manager at Stone Barns Center
Jason Grauer, Senior Crops Manager at Stone Barns Center
This workshop will teach a holistic philosophy of farm waste stream and material management, as well as on numerous strategies for on farm compost making.
Rooted in ecology and whole systems design, Stone Barns implements a diversity of practices to make the highest and best use of any organic material that passes through the property. We will discuss our waste fed pig program, growing mushrooms on waste, and how our various compost systems are used to manage diverse feedstocks for different end uses. We will see a number of these systems in action, and spend classroom time working on the principles of good farm-scale compost production.
We will be joined in the last portion of this workshop by Jason Grauer, Senior Crops Production Manager, for a walk through of the dynamic amendment program that is one part of the broad holistic soil fertility management at Stone Barns. Jason will discuss measured approaches to the addition of compost and other organic amendment materials into the soil preparation regiment for short and long term crop health. We will include topics such as seasonal consideration, crop needs, application rates, techniques for incorporation and sourcing material. This portion of the workshop will provide a deeper understanding of how we maintain a low input, high production system.
Friday, March 1st: Crop Rotation and Cover Cropping
Sarah Isbell, Penn State
Jack Algiere, Farm Director at Stone Barns Center
This workshop will introduce the use of cover cropping as a practice in agroecosystems. We will touch on why cover crops are used, how different species of cover crops impact ecosystem functions, and how cover crops can be used to increase the multifunctionality of agroecosystems. A survey of current cover crops research topics in the Northeast will also be presented, including case studies from both vegetable and grain farms integrating cover crops into their systems.
Jack Algiere will speak about the practical applications that have led to the development of the cover crop and crop rotation plans at Stone Barns Center which focuses first and foremost on the health of the soil. Understanding how to manage soil for optimum health by thinking through the intersection of its physical, biological, and chemical properties is essential for success in regenerative agriculture systems.
Monday, March 4th: Grazing Plans and Holistic Management
Mike Peterson and Leah Puro, Livestock Managers at Stone Barns Center
This workshop will focus on how and why you should implement a grazing plan and the considerations to make when designing site specific plans. We will use Stone Barns Center’s pastures as a practical example in laying out a plan. We will also discuss the basics of Holistic Management and how that affects goal setting, team building, and cohesiveness within your decision making team.
We will then cover using app based technologies for pasture record keeping and team communication with a focus on Pasture Maps. Pasture Maps is a software to track livestock movements, weight gains, and pasture inventories. We will discuss the benefits of pasture record keeping and considerations when creating a monitoring and data collection plan.
Tuesday, March 5th: Building a Cattle Herd
Ridge Shinn, Big Picture Beef
This workshop will guide participants through the basics of building a cattle herd, including the scope of animal genetics, breeding, hybrid vigor, pathways to desired traits, and understanding your production goals. This class will provide an overview for building a herd for meat production and for seed-stock. Ridge will guide the group through evaluation techniques and data recording, as well as basic animal nutrition goals for different stages of growth.
Wednesday March 6th: Flock Health 101
Isabel Richards, Gibraltar Farm
This workshop will take you through a year in the life of a sheep flock that on a once a year lambing schedule. Livestock farmer Isabel Richards will guide participants through best management practices, as well as prevention and control of diseases. The workshop will start with planning for breeding and move through the process of pregnancy, lambing, weaning, growing out lambs and then cycling back to the next breeding season.
Thursday, March 7th: Raising Poultry
Mike Badger, Director for American Pastured Poultry and owner/operator at Millside Farm
Participants in the workshop will learn fundamental pastured poultry principles as it relates to feeding and nutrition, management, and health. We will focus on managing a pastured flock that is productive, healthy, and profitable. We will explore how labor, feed and breed affect the cost of production for meat and eggs and how those inputs set the selling price of the final products. You’ll learn how to calculate the numbers that matter the most; how to forecast your cost of production, and how to measure your actual cost, so that you can make informed decisions.
Friday March 8th: On Farm Slaughter and Butchery Processing
Jared Tomlin, Livestock Assistant at Stone Barns Center
Trevor Swope, Culinary Director at Blue Hill
This workshop will focus on raising and processing animals for market. Jared Tomlin, Livestock Assistant at Stone Barns Center will guide attendees through the operations of our state certified slaughterhouse and discuss appropriate livestock management practices for good weight gain, monitoring animal readiness for harvest, record keeping, slaughter, cutting and processing. The workshop will also cover topics such as pricing, packaging, labeling and considering value added production. There will be a demonstration of poultry slaughter and processing as well as the slaughterhouse waste management systems in place.
Blue Hill Culinary Director Trevor Swope will join the workshop as farmer and chef together break down a whole lamb step by step while imparting basic butchery skills to workshop participants. Instructors will explain how lamb is featured at Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns and how the quality of lamb can be informed by the life, diet, and breed of a sheep.
For questions, please contact Shannon Algiere at firstname.lastname@example.org.