Farmer Trainings

Farmer Trainings

Welcome to Solid Ground Farmer Trainings, a program of UConn CAHNR Extension. We are so excited to be offering another season of trainings including our Agro-Ecology and Ag-Mechanics trainings! Find out more information about learning opportunities below. Please note: These trainings are intended for production farmers in Connecticut, if you have a a hobby farm or are gardening, please reference this other wonderful UConn Extension program here: https://homegarden.cahnr.uconn.edu/ 

See our previous trainings. See what kind of topics we cover and get an idea of what we do.

If you have suggestions as to what kind of trainings you would like to see, please email our coordinator.

Join our email list, so you can be updated on trainings we are presenting  in the state.

Ag Mechanics

Irrigation and Water on the Farm
Date: Saturday, April 20th 2024
Time: 9 AM- 3PM
Location: Brown Farm, 537 Devotion Rd, Scotland, CT 06330

Description of class:
Gain hands-on experience setting up irrigation systems on the farm; drip irrigation, header lines, sprinklers/wobblers, timers, and water sensors will all be touched on in this on-farm training. Learn about sourcing materials and some of the grants available to help fund your irrigation projects.  Lunch will be provided.

 Sign up:
https://s.uconn.edu/sgirrigation

Climate Smart Field Days

These events were made possible by the Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP), a national program that helps farmers navigate the ins and outs of certification, and provides mentorships and technical assistance to those who are considering organic certification. USDA Organic Transition Initiative and the Transition to Organic Partnership Program.

Safe & Efficient Water Management
Date: Sunday, April 28, 2024
Time: 1pm - 4pm  
Location: Russo's Roots Farm, 289 North Society Road, Canterbury

Description of class:
Too much water? Not enough water? Climate change in Connecticut continues to impact farms every year and incorporating different water management techniques can mean the difference between a successful season and not. Libby from Russo’s Roots will go over the different water management techniques used on their farm, water sources, using timers for watering, and the different nozzles they use when doing overhead watering. We’ll also touch on what hasn’t worked in the past and changes they’d like to make in the future.

 Sign up:s.uconn.edu/watermgmt

Energy Efficiency on the Farm
Date: Sunday, May 5, 2024
Time: 1pm - 4pm 
Location: Four Root Farm, 257 Tater Hill Road, East Haddam

Description of class:
Ridge vents? Shade cloths? As temperatures continue to rise, finding ways to protect your crops in the high heat of the season is just one more thing for farmers to worry about, including the raising energy bills! Implementing new strategies on the farm can be expensive so learn about what’s out there before making that big purchase. Aaron from Four Root Farm will go over some of the techniques they’ve implemented over the years to help with Energy Efficiency on the farm and the benefits they’ve seen as a result.

 Sign up:s.uconn.edu/efficientfarmenergy

Soil Health Assessment 3 Ways: Biological, Chemical, Physical
Date: Saturday, May 11, 2024
Time: 10am - 2pm 
Location: Sunset Farm, 1057 Andrew Mountain Rd, Naugatuck, CT 06770

Description of class:
We will break down the various ways we study soil to get a complete picture of how well our soil functions as a living ecosystem.  The Field Day will cover the various testing methods that evaluate the physical structure of soil, chemical composition and biological activity as well as address how these methods of testing can be incorporated into your soil management plan.   Lunch will be provided.

 Sign up:s.uconn.edu/soilhealth3ways

Soil Health Benefits of No-Till Production
Date: Sunday, June 2nd, 2024
Time: 1pm - 4pm 
Location: Sweet Acre Farm, Lebanon

Description of class:
Are you thinking of trying out some new soil health practices on your farm? Join us at Sweet Acre Farm to learn about what practices they’ve implemented over the years and the changes they’re seeing in their soil. They’ll discuss low/no-till methods, cover crops, field rotation, and how they’ve begun to integrate their flock of chickens into their field plans.

 Sign up:s.uconn.edu/notillsoilhealth

COST PER AG-MECHANICS WORKSHOP $25 - Lunch included. Please contact us if cost is prohibitive and we will work with you to make this affordable

Please contact us 2 weeks in advance with special needs (dietary, translation, accessibility, etc.) We'll do our best to accommodate you.

FOR ALL WORKSHOPS THAT INCLUDE TRAVEL: If the cost is prohibitive, Travel Stipends will be made available to participants at any event where travel is required to attend 

Please do not attend if you are not feeling well - you will receive a refund.

Skill Shares

As these are small groups, signing up does not guarantee a spot in the skill share. By June we will contact you to let you know if you are part of a skill share.

Cover Cropping and Crop Rotation

3 Meet Ups at Massaro Community Farm
41 Ford Rd. Woodbridge, CT

Date: Monday, June 3rd
Time:  4:30 pm-6:30pm

Date: Monday, August 12th
Time:  4:30pm-6:30pm

Date: Monday, September 23rd
Time:   4:30pm-6:30pm

Description of Skill Share: Cover cropping at different stages in the season. Why are they chosen, the benefits, how and when they terminate the cover crops.

Sign up here: s.uconn.edu/covercropandrotation

 

Becoming your own Expert in Soil Health and Microscopy
Virtual Session Dates: June 5th,12th, and 19th
Time:  5:00pm-6:30pm

On Farm Date: Saturday June 22nd
Time:  11:00am-2:00pm
Location: Common Ground High School, 358 Springside Ave, New Haven, CT

Description of Skill Share: A tool that farmers are starting to utilize more to understand their soils and how to care for them is Microscopy. Through this skill you will grow in your understanding of soil health at large, how to use a microscope, microbe ID, biological activity of soil and more. Three online sessions will be to go over all the data, and in one person session will take place to help you implement these skills and use a microscope. 

Sign up here: s.uconn.edu/soilandmicroscopy

 

CSA Operation and Management

3 Meet Ups at Farms:

Date: Saturday, June 22nd
Time:  9am-11am
Location: Long Table Farm, 256 Beaver Brook Rd. Lyme, CT

Date: Wednesday, July 24th
Time:  4pm-6pm
Location: Cloverleigh Farm, 448 Jonathan Trumbull Hwy, Columbia, CT

Date: Friday, August 23rd
Time:  1:30pm-3:30pm
Location: Provider Farm, 30 Woodbridge Rd. #3525, Salem, CT

Description of Skill Share:  Understand CSA models and management from three different perspectives! The farmers will share how and why they use traditional modeling, debit systems, mix and match and/or add-ons as a part of their CSA. What software or programs do they use for CSA management? Topics will also cover crop planning considerations, CSA member management, marketing, pricing calculations, pickup system, etc.

Skill Shares Continued

As these are small groups, signing up does not guarantee a spot in the skill share. By June we will contact you to let you know if you are part of this skill share.

Poultry Processing Skill Share

Date:Saturday, June 29th
Time:10am-12pm
Location: Coruscant Farm, 14 Cushman Road, Ashford CT
Date:Wednesday, July 10th
Time:  11am-1pm
Location: Muddy Roots Farm, 175 Northford Rd, Wallingford, CT

Date: Friday, August 23rd
Time:11am-1pm
Location: Tolland Agriculture Center, 24 Hyde Rd, Tolland, CT

Description of Skill Share:  Join a group of farmers as we visit two farm operations that are processing poultry in-house for their customer base, and a session with UConn Extension's Food Safety Educator to understand what is entailed in processing poultry on your farm. We will cover regulations, infrastructure and equipment needed, different processing systems, and address common questions like "when does it become worth it to process on farm rather then send it to a facility?"
Please Note: This skill share is catering toward those who want to poultry processing as a business enterprise. If you aren't seriously interested in poultry processing as a business enterprise, please do not sign up.

 

Land Evaluation and Farmland Access

Meet Ups at Farms:

Date: Sunday, September 8th
Time: 10am-2pm
Location: Gunther Farm, 24 Hyde Rd. Vernon, CT

Date: Sunday, September 15th
Time:  10am-3pm
Location: Off Center Farm, 48 Center Rd. Woodbridge, CT and
Beets and Blooms Farm, 6 Oakum Dock Rd, Cobalt, CT

Description of Skill Share:  For folks that are still looking for land, whether to lease or purchase. Learn how to evaluate potential properties for agricultural use. Explore three different properties with Solid Ground soil, conservation, and land use consultant Kip Kolesinskas and go over pH testing, geology, topography, existing structures, irrigation, how to get power, property rights, and indicator plants for soil characteristics or microclimates. Learn how to use the Web Soil Survey, and where to find information on town zoning like ag restrictions, setbacks, and more.

 

Natural Weed and Pest Management Strategies

More info and sign up coming soon!

Description of Skill Share:  Visit the same farm over the season that does not use pesticides or chemicals to manage pest and diseases.  The skill share will cover IPM, beneficial insects, and different challenges you might encounter during the season.

 
Hemp Fiber Cultivation

More info and sign up coming soon!

Description of Skill Share:  Go through a season of growing hemp with this skill share as you meet up multiple times during the growing season to observe and discuss the processes of seeding, harvesting, and processing hemp for fiber production. If you are looking to add this into your growing operation as a product, or if you already grow it, but haven't grown it with hemp fiber mind, this is the skill share for you.