The local food movement is growing by leaps and bounds. Everywhere you look it seems there is a new farm or farmers market starting up, giving rise to the notion that small farms are the latest success story. While true for some, there are plenty of small farms trying to find their niche in the 21st century’s latest iteration of the world’s oldest occupation – agriculture. To help these modern-day agriculturalists, the Cultivating Success™ program has put together four Farm Talks to address the challenges today’s small farms face.

1.  Join us starting Thursday, March 3, 2016 for Farming Is a Risky Business, an informal Q&A-type panel discussion on the legal, financial, farm management, and food safety issues farmers often find themselves up against. Our panelists include George Benson of Schweet Linde & Coulson who specializes in estate planning and commercial real estate, as well as the banking and legal issues farmers might face; David Poor from Northwest Farm Credit Services whose focus is on credit and debt restructuring; the Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network; and Brian Bookey from National Food Corporation. In addition, we’ll have local farmers bringing their unique “Been there, done that!” perspective to the conversation.

2. We’ll continue on Thursday, March 10 with Managing Your Water Resources with Bob Simmons, WSU Olympic Region water resources specialist; Scott Patee, Skagit NRCS forecasting expert; and John Rose, hydrologist and GIS analyst with Washington Department of Ecology’s Water Resource Program. The evening will focus on water quality, quantity, and rights including: H2O facts and myths: Will we have enough? Do you know your water rights? and Water quality: What you need to know as a farmer.

3. Thursday, March 17 will be devoted to Selling What You Grow with Whitney Keyes from Whitney Keyes Productions and Greg Prang, an expert on consumer insight. During the evening, you’ll learn how to gather and put to use information about you and your customers to make marketing and promotional efforts more strategic and effective. Learn how to find and reach the right customers, gain more value from your efforts, and be more profitable.

4. We’ll wrap up the series on Thursday, March 24 with an evening devoted to No Fear Farm Financial Management with Dr. Michael Brady, WSU Extension economist, and Wendy Knopp from Northwest Farm Credit Services. Topics covered include financial statements, benchmark ratios, investment analysis, budgeting, and tips to help put your bottom line in the black.

With locations on both sides of the state connected synchronously, each evening session runs from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Eastern Washington location is WSU Spokane County Extension at 222 N Havana, Spokane, WA. For those in Western Washington, location is at Everett Community College’s Gray Wolf Building, 2000 Tower St. Everett, WA.

All Farm Talks are free! However, space is limited and you must pre-register to ensure your spot. To register, visit For more information on the FarmTalks, visit or contact Jeremy Cowan at or 509-477-2145.

Course sponsors include Snohomish Conservation District, Moss Adams LLC, Western Extension Risk Management Education, USDA RMA, and Northwest Farm Credit Services.

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