Cultivating Success - Sustainable Small-Acreage Farming and Ranching Helping people gain the knowledge needed to start or
continue farming successfully is focus of 12-week
2012, when Petrina and Jonathan Fisher of Skylight Farms purchased a 20-acre
farm on the banks of the Snohomish River they knew it would take more than hard
work to grow their new farm. As professionals from the non-profit and legal
fields, they could apply their collective business acumen to the fledgling
business, but realized they needed assistance figuring out the farming part of
the enterprise. To meet that need they enrolled in one of the Cultivating
Success courses being taught by WSU Snohomish County Extension in Everett.
a short two years later they have a thriving farm that feeds customers from
Snohomish to Seattle. Eggs from 200 laying hens, melons of all kinds, grass-fed
beef, tomatoes, greens, in fact over 80 different kinds of produce are harvested
by the Skylight Farms crew during the season.
credits part of their success to the farm plan he put together during the
Cultivating Success Sustainable Small-Acreage Farming and Ranching
course that fall. According to Jonathan, “Both the process and the product were
massively valuable. I was able to develop models for different cropping
scenarios to help us evaluate the best use of land and resources.” He went on to
say that they still use the plan developed during the course, updating the data
each season to track the profitability of each of their crops. Using that data
they can make educated decisions about items to drop, increase, or add to the
next season’s plan.
Success Sustainable Small-Acreage Farming and Ranching
helps participants explore the unique advantages available to the small farm and
ranch owner. Sponsored by WSU Snohomish County Extension and Snohomish
Conservation District, the course gives participants a broad overview of
production and marketing options for today's small farm. Whether you are just
exploring the opportunities available or already have an existing operation,
you’ll learn what it takes to create, sustain, and grow a viable small farm
presentations include local growers, organizations, and university specialists
with expertise in direct marketing, value-added processing, production planning,
agronomy, livestock production, and more. In addition, two Saturday field trips
will visit nearby farms to learn about different styles of successful small farm
facilitator, Holly Thompson, is a Stanwood Angus beef rancher and WSU graduate
in animal science and agriculture economics with an MS in agriculture education.
Well-versed in farm economics, sustainable practices, and current market trends,
Thompson also facilitates Agricultural Entrepreneurship, the farm
business planning course in the series and has worked for Northwest Farm Credit
Services as a loan officer.
in the series, the 12-week course Sustainable Small-Acreage Farming and
Ranching will be held on Tuesdays, 6:00pm to 9:00pm starting January 19,
2016 at WSU Snohomish County Extension’s Cougar Auditorium, 600 128th
St SE, Everett. Two Saturday field trips will also be included.