Farm Scoop – October 2020

Roots of the Soil: Legal and Policy Issues in Succession Planning for Socially Disadvantaged Farm Families

A LIFE Project Webinar
Wednesday, October 28
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET

During this webinar, staff members from the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center will be discussing the public policies surrounding access to credit and heirs property, and will provide an update on the work of the Policy Research Center leading up to the 2023 Farm Bill. In addition, a farmer from Kentucky will share his first-hand experience with these issues.

To participate in this free webinar, click here to access the online registration form by Monday, October 26. Instructions for accessing the session will be sent to registrants by Tuesday, October 27. Please pass on this invitation to others you believe may be interested. Contact AgrAbility at 800-825-4264 or email agrab… if you have questions.

Small Bites – The Eisenhower Box

Authored by Coach Polly Shyka

Small Bites are short, informational articles with practical ideas about stress reduction, improved communication, and farm and family well-being. They are written by coaches from UMaine Extension’s Farm Coaching team. Farm Coaches are available at no cost to work remotely with farmers and farm teams.

When the pigs need new pasture, the salad mix needs to be seeded and the kitchen looks like a tornado went through, it seems impossible to tend to the back burner projects that are always lingering in the background. How do you prioritize which one to do? This time management tool, called the Eisenhower Box, can capture all of those back burner projects in one place.

Urgent? Not urgent? Important? Not Important? You may wind up throwing out an unimportant, not urgent task after all. Or you may decide to delegate the important, not urgent ones.

The trick is making or finding time to attend to them. Can something wait until January? Or is there a two hour block you can block off to schedule time for yourself to address one of these longer-term but important projects?

Usually taking the first step is the hardest to get the list out of your head and on to the paper. The key is to address the back burner projects before they make it to the urgent state and everything jumps into the urgent and important box!

Try out the Eisenhower Box in a farm coaching session!

Farmer to Farmer Conference 2020

November 2, 4 and 6, 2020 – Monday, Wednesday, Friday
MOFGA’s Farmer to Farmer Conference brings farmers together and invites agricultural service providers to learn from speakers and each other in a conference that is built around learning from the knowledge present in the room. This year it will go virtual bringing together presentations, panels and breakout groups mixed with farmer-led discussion groups and 1-on-1 video chatting opportunities. If you cannot attend the online conference due to internet access issues or device availability please email Anna Mueller. A few hotspots and tablets available for participants on a first come, first serve basis.

$50 early bird registration (by Oct. 10)
$60 per person
Sliding scale option: choose to pay $20, $30, $40, $70 or $80

Raising a Hog on the Homestead

October 20, 2020 – Tuesday, 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Online. Fee: Free. Optional donation of $5. Are you looking to raise a pig for the first time? Or maybe you need help figuring out if pigs are a good fit for your homestead. Join Jacki Perkins of MOFGA for this introductory webinar on how to get started. Jacki will discuss breeds & piglets; housing, feeding and fencing in your pig; considerations when raising pigs on pasture or in the forest; and preparing for slaughter, either on-farm or at a licensed facility. Bring questions! Contact with questions. REGISTRATION

Small Bites – There’s no “I” in… Team Building with Collaboration on the Farm 

Authored by Coaches Polly Shyka and Leslie Forstadt

Small Bites are short, informational articles with practical ideas about stress reduction, improved communication, and farm and family well-being. They are written by coaches from UMaine Extension’s Farm Coaching team. Farm Coaches are available at no cost to work remotely with farmers and farm teams.

Coaches and leaders the world over aim to cultivate a sense of team spirit, togetherness, cohesion in their teams. Cooperatives work hard to maintain a sense of community and alignment among varying personalities in their teams.

Farmers who are small business leaders, and those in organizing roles in cooperatives may find great benefit in finding ways to intentionally team build. You know how the banks have “Jeans Friday?” Dressing up or dressing down may have no relevance on the farm, as we dress for the work to be done, but there are so many ways to bring people together.

We want the farms as workplaces to be mutually beneficial, not superficially “fun,” but truly places of deep and broad collaboration and commitment.

Leadership and guidance sends clear messages. Here are a few specific ideas that may increase a sense of team vibe and togetherness:

  • All members contribute an item for the morning meeting

  • Tackling difficult tasks all together

  • Rotating roles for a short time to “step into another person’s shoes”

  • Meetings that are short and sweet

  • Sing together as the work is done

  • Look at stats and benchmarks together for creative decision making

  • Make a goal together to improve a specific enterprise or task

  • Share the glory and success

  • Discuss retooling or reorganizing together

  • Signs in the workplace that say WOW, THANK YOU.

  • A nice new speaker for music in the packshed or barn or workshop.

  • Funny cartoons posted at people’s work stations.

  • Celebrating birthdays (Ice cream or ice cream sandwiches are easy treats.)

  • Shared meals during the day and after the work day

The culture of the farm is influenced by the people who are part of it. Your group will come up with its own, of course. Knowing your co-workers is step #1. Small steps to make your workplace fun, interesting and collaborative is ongoing work. Depending on your situation, it can be the foundation upon which the farm is run, and for established farms, it can be an ongoing part of team development.

Ways to work together and celebrate the accomplishments are part of how farm coaches can sit with you and your team. If that sounds helpful, drop us an email and sign up for farm coaching!