Learning more about starting a farm business in Idaho

Starting a farm business

This week, there was a meeting in Moscow about the Extension service and what Extension can do for local food growers.  So, I attended the meeting.  Iris Mayes gave a brief presentation about the University of Idaho Extension Small Farms and Horticulture program.  Basically, she described what activities that Extension is involved with in Latah county.  Extension at the University of Idaho is involved with 4-H, Small Farms and Horticulture educational programming (i.e. Master Gardeners Program), and Financial Education.
Then, they had a series of questions that they wanted the local growers attending the meeting to answer.  Some of the questions were:  ideas to increase the number of growers, how to increase local food production, how to increase food being sold locally, etc…  I did not have too much to add to the conversation because I am just still learning.  Unfortunately, the meeting was poorly attended with only about 3 of us “local growers” in attendance.  
One of the local growers, Pat Allan, described his vegetable farm.  He then offered me some space on his farm if I wanted to get the hang of growing some vegetables.  I asked for his contact information and called him.  I am going to go out to his farm on Monday afternoon!  He has a Facebook page: 
He also mentioned that his dad was a wheat breeder.  So, when I got home, I asked Henry (my hubby) if he knew of a wheat breeder with the last name of Allan.  Henry knew his exactly and said that Dr. Allan had studied at Kansas State University!  Henry and I met at Kansas State.  What a small world.  Dr. Allan works with club wheat and is now retired but Henry says he still comes into “work” each day at Washington State University.  Henry said he thinks he may be working on writing a book.  What a small world…
Okay, back to the Extension/Local Growers meeting…at the end of the meeting, they asked me what I would like from Extension.  Since I am just beginning, I said that I was in the process of looking up rules, regulations, licensing and such for farm products.  I know that there are different rules for different crops but I have NO idea what they are.  So, Iris ran up to her office and brought me this book:
If you click on the book, it will take you to the website.  So, I have started reading all about doing business in Idaho, direct marketing strategies, selling specific products and labeling…
One last thing that I learned at the meeting…There is a Palouse Grown Market that is online and available for people to sell their locally produced good through.  
If you click on this picture, you will be taken to their website.  It is supposed to be opening sometime this spring 2015.  This is a 100% local online market where community members, farmers, ranchers and artisans sell their products straight to the consumer.  Members order online, swing by the pick up spot, pay, and leave with their weekly order of fresh, local goods. 
Simple and Local, Fresh and Healthy!  I have a LOT of garlic planted that will probably be ready in July.  I am considering the Palouse Grown Market as maybe one way to sell my extra garlic!
So, I would say that was a pretty productive meeting: made a local Farm contact, got a book about starting a farm business in Idaho, and possibly identified a market to sell local products through!  
I will have a big garden update next week…

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