Income Opportunities for Small Acreages

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Landowners looking for opportunities to increase their income will find the “Income Opportunities for Small Acreages” workshop a great benefit.  Whether you have a small plot of land or even a large farming operation, but have some acreage to put to another use, this workshop is worth your while.  The workshop will be held September 4th, 2012 in Lincoln, IL and is free and open to the public.

The workshop will include the steps to become a certified organic operation presented by Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, Extension Educator for Local Food Systems and Small Farms, University of Illinois Extension.  Dr. Joel Gruver, Professor with the School of Agriculture at Western Illinois University, will provide the latest information on small farm organic farming research that he is conducting.

The highlight of the workshop is presentations by Dave Bishop and Kelly Schneider of PrairiErth Farms, which is a 300-acre USDA certified organic farm near Lincoln.  Dave has 30 years of farming experience and is a much sought after expert on organic farming.  Kelly will be presenting her specialty, Vertically Integrated Edible Biosystems or commonly called “Food Forests”.  Bishop says “Organic farming is very special; we enjoy working with the land and sharing our products with customers, with whom we develop a very special relationship.”

Attendees with also learn about technical and financial assistance available from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.  This agency offers cost-share programs for vegetable and specialty crop production and organic/transitioning organic production.  If your farm is not yet signed up for USDA programs, a representative from the USDA Farm Service Agency will be on hand to go over the basics of getting your farm records set-up to become eligible.

The workshop will run from 8:45 a.m. until 1:45 p.m., and then an optional tour of PrairiErth Farms will take place.  The workshop will be held at the U-I Extension Building 980 N. Postville Drive in Lincoln, IL.  Lunch and the opportunity to apply for a travel stipend are available to those who pre-register by August 27th, 2012.  For more information or to register, contact Prairie Hills RC&D at 309-833-4747 or email prairie@frontier.com.

The workshop is sponsored by the Illinois Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils, National Association of RC&D Councils, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and co-sponsored by Blackhawk Hills RC&D, Prairie Hills RC&D, Two Rivers RC&D and the University of Illinois Extension.