register by July 13 the

North Carolina Trainings for Resource Conservation Professionals

Organic Production, Hoophouse Production

Monday, July 23, 2012 near Goldsboro
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 near Asheville

Thursday, July 26, 2012 near Pittsboro

Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, with support from Southern Sustainable AgricultureResearch and Education and in collaboration with North Carolina NRCS and the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, will offer three separate one-day training events focused on Organic Horticulture and High Tunnel (hoophouse) production. These events are designed for resource conservation professionals serving farmers who are practicing or interested in organic and/or high tunnel production. Farmers who themselves serve as trainers or mentors to other farmers or to technical service professionals are also eligible to attend.

The training events will be held on farms and led by practitioners with personal and practical experience with commercial organic and high tunnel farm enterprises. The focus will be on production of specialty crops on smaller farms, and will include discussion of how NRCS cost share and technical assistance can be profitably applied on these farms, especially in operations with organic and/or high tunnel production. This training is intended to help resource conservation professionals better serve farmers, including farmers with or considering NRCS EQIP Organic Initiative or Hoophouse cost-share agreements.

There is no charge for this training for qualifying agricultural professionals, but registration is required. Lunch will be provided.

Topics to be covered include the following:

  • Principles and implementation of organic and natural farming systems;
  • Building and managing soil health and fertility in an organic system;
  • Crop diversity and crop rotation, including complex rotations as management strategies;
  • Weed, pest and disease management in organic systems;
  • Organic standards and approved materials;
  • Protecting organic certification in presence of potential contamination by air or water;
  • High tunnel siting, construction, ventilation, and material/design options;
  • Basic production in high tunnels, including bed design, irrigation, ventilation;
  • Critical factors for profitable high-tunnel hoophouse production;
  • How market opportunities influence natural resource management decisions;
  • Economic viability on a small farm: Markets, customers, enterprise diversity, labor availability & cost;
  • Working with small plot sizes and small equipment, including in hoophouses;
  • Irrigation on small acreage;
  • Program outreach to new audiences using a grassroots approach.


Dr. Mark Schonbeck, an independent consultant in sustainable agriculture from Floyd County,

VA has been conducting organic related research and developing organic resources in cooperation with land-grants, nongovernmental agencies and farmers for 22 years.

Mark Cain has been operating a successful diversified organic farm enterprise in Arkansas for

over 20 years. Mark produces mixed vegetables, culinary herbs, blueberries, and specialty cut flowers for the popular Fayetteville Farmers Market and CSA distribution in Arkansas.

Andrew Williams is a retired NRCS conservationist from Alabama with 35 years of experience as a soil conservationist, district conservationist, RC&D, and state outreach coordinator.

On July 25 and July 26, Eric Soderholm, Organic Transitions Coordinator at Carolina Farm Stewardship Association will share information about organic certification.

On July 23, Karen McSwain, Organic Initiatives Coordinator at Carolina Farm Stewardship Association will share information about organic certification.

Each training event will begin promptly at 9:30am and adjourn at 3:30pm.
Lunch will be provided and eaten indoors off-site.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Location: Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) Small Farm Unit

201 Stevens Mill Road, Goldsboro, NC 27530-1056

Busha Green will host the event at CEFS on July 23.

Click here to register for training in Goldsboro

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Location: Thatchmore Farm

153 Dix Creek One Road, Leicester, NC 28748

Tom Elmore will share his farm and experience on July 25.

Click here to register for training near Asheville

Thursday, July 26, 2012

We will visit two farms near Pittsboro, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Since

parking is limited at both farms, we’ll meet at 9am and carpool from Chatham Marketplace,
480 Hillsboro Street, Pittsboro, 27312

Location 1: Dutch Buffalo Farm

1006 Jay Shambley Road, Pittsboro, NC 27312

Farrell Moose and Emily Lancaster will share their farm and experience on July 26.

Location 2: Harland’s Creek Farm

97 Plantation Drive, Pittsboro, NC 27312

Judy Lessler will share her farm and experience on July 26.

Click here to register for training in Pittsboro