Authors, The Independent Farmstead

Shawn and Beth Dougherty have been farming together since the 1980s, for the last twenty years in eastern Ohio, where they manage 27 acres designated by the state as ‘not suitable for agriculture’, as well as a monastery farm of 100 acres.

Using intensive grazing as the primary source of food energy, they raise dairy and beef cows, sheep, farm-fed hogs, and a variety of poultry, producing most of the food, and feed, on the farm.

Concerned that farming is so often dependent upon multiple off-farm resources—from feed, fuel and fertilizer, to water and electricity—their ongoing project is to identify and test the means by which farming was done for centuries with a minimum of off-farm inputs.Their research has led them to identify grass conversion, especially the daily conversion of grass into milk by dairy ruminants, as a key to whole-farm sustainability, feeding the whole farm community: humans, ruminants, pigs, poultry, and soil.

They write and travel on farming, dairying, farm-raised animal foods, and off-grid captured water systems. Shawn & Beth are the authors of The Independent Farmstead, published by Chelsea Green Publishing.

Topic: Farm Stays: Running a Successful Farm BNB

Everyone loves a farm stay, and chores are entertainment to the city visitor who doesn’t do them every day! Draw income from your farm by repurposing the spare bedroom, garage apartment, or even RV as guest space for paying visitors. With online services available to manage booking, billing and even insurance, it’s easy to offer farm hospitality – and it pays. From simple visits to farm workshops, from a bed for the night to a farm-to-table banquet, share the peace, beauty and wisdom of your country homeplace with eager visitors, and make good money doing it. Let us share what we’ve learned in three years of full-time country innkeeping.

DATE: Friday, January 21st at 10:30AM

Topic: Marketing Your Surplus: Making Money Selling a Little Bit of Everything

Consider the advantages of selling farm shares, like running a protein CSA.  Farm memberships allow you to market limited surpluses to a small but committed customer base. Fewer customers means fewer tastes to please, and less on-farm traffic, while sharing high-value crops like dairy and meat to farm community members means more income per member. And marketing farm memberships can be a way to provide top-quality food without violating food sales restrictions.

Local online sales can also provide a ready outlet for small-volume surpluses that command a high-quality price, like eggs, maple syrup, produce and baked goods. Our local on-line farmers market, lets us sell whatever is extra this week, with one-stop delivery and online payment. This is a model we expect to see more of in the days that are coming.

And a little sometimes goes a long way, especially when it comes to marketing specialized knowledge! Farm skills like butchering, shearing, hoof trimming, canning and carpentry are getting to be hard to find – and some folks will pay to get them. Share your expertise and pick up an income boost at the same time when you take your skills to the neighbors.

DATE: Saturday, January 22nd at 8:00AM