Save The Date: NABC’s Wholesale Farming Success tour – “Preparing Produce For the Market,” June 28th, 2017

NABC is hosting a series of Wholesale Farming Success workshops and tours throughout 2017 to help farmers gain confidence and improve their wholesale operations.  Kicking off this series is a tour, “Preparing Produce For the Market,” scheduled for Thursday, June 28th.  Now is the perfect time to witness post-harvest operations in full swing.

This FREE three-stop tour includes the Puget Sound Food Hub, a farmer-owned cooperative, Ralph’s Greenhouse, and Skagit Flats Farm.  To learn more or register for this informative look into processing, packing and distribution, please see this LINK to the webpage or contact the NABC office: 360-336-3727 or sera@agbizcenter.org

 

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New Processing & Food Product Safety Workshop for Poultry Farmers

The Northwest Agriculture Business Center has developed a rigorous class in poultry processing in partnership with the Organic Farm School on Whidbey Island.The hands-on workshop will be held July 12th, 2017 at the Organic Farm School in Freeland and is relevant for both the commercial producer and the home flock farmer. Training will take place in both a classroom setting and on NABC’s staffed 30’ Mobile Poultry Processing Unit (MPPU) truck. Included will be overviews of regulations, processing methods, sanitation as related to food safety, quality control, and at the core a practical, hands-on master class where students will process live poultry into packaged product on board the MPPU. Students will slaughter, eviscerate and package birds purchased direct from a local farm and take their work home to prepare and enjoy. This is a great opportunity for new farmers and those ready to scale up production to tour the MPPU, see a demonstration of the unit in action, and learn what is required to process birds for sale.
NABC’s MPPU provides WSDA-approved, on-farm poultry processing services throughout Snohomish, Island, Skagit, San Juan, King and Whatcom counties.Developed to support the growing pastured poultry culture in northwest Washington, the program includes paying a fair crew wage, humane animal treatment, keen attention to food safety, and farmer engagement in both processing style and project direction in its mission focus. Students will learn the tools, techniques and rationale used on the unit in advance of service dates, to adapt to their own processing activity, or simply to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the myriad details that go into making the best possible product.
Training will take place in the classroom and on the unit combining lecture and practicum activity. Passing the exam at day’s end earns students a Certificate of Completion.The class and its materials will be translated into Spanish, as requested, by our bi-lingual instructor.More details about the class can be viewed on the NABC website. For more information, please contact Sera at the NABC office, sera@agbizcenter.org or 360-336-3727.

 

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Hands-On Poultry Processing Class on Whidbey

The Northwest Agriculture Business Center has developed a rigorous class in poultry processing in partnership with the Organic Farm School on Whidbey Island and WSU Extension.  The hands-on workshop will be held July 12th, 2017 at the Organic Farm School in Freeland and is relevant for both the commercial producer and the home flock farmer.

Included will be overviews of regulations, processing methods, sanitation as related to food safety and quality control, and a practical, hands-on master class where students will process live poultry into packaged product.  Students will slaughter, eviscerate and package birds purchased direct from a local farm and take their work home to prepare and enjoy.  Materials can be prepared in Spanish upon request.

For more information, please see this LINK to registration, or contact the NABC office at sera@agbizcenter.org or 360-336-3727.

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WSU’s Twilight Farm Walk

Learn how to manage healthy pastures for maximum nutrition.

If you graze livestock, you know that a good grazing plan is paramount to the health of your animals and land, and ultimately to the success of your farm. Join us Thursday, June 22, 2017, 6:30pm – 9:00pm for a Twilight Pasture Walk near Duvall. We’ll visit two 100% grass-fed livestock farms, one raising beef, and another raising sheep for both meat and wool.

You’ll learn how to judge poor quality vs. healthy pasture, define a grazing plan based on your goals, how plant growth and grazing time affects rotation, how to create an individual system including sizing and timing, forage plants used as tools and their properties, along with the basics of maintaining a healthy pasture-based system. In addition, we will be talking about and practicing good biosecurity protocols as part of the pasture walk.

Cost is $25 per farm (up to four in one vehicle) or $15 per person. Exact location address will be sent upon registration. For more information and to register online see TwilightPastureWalk.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Kate Ryan, kate.ryan@wsu.edu, (425) 357-6024.

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Biological Control Workshop in Mount Vernon June 14-15

Posted on behalf of Risk Management Agency:NurseryHeader.jpg

Please consider attending, promoting or being part of our event on biological controls. Working with biocontrols is an important part of IPM, organic or transitional growing for nurseries and greenhouses. The training includes a tour of local nurseries and technical experts!

Training has been approved for continuing education credits:

  • WSDA Pesticide Applicator Credits-5 for Wednesday and 3 for Thursday
  • Certified Professional Horticulturist Credits-6 for Wednesday and 3 for Thursday
  • ecoPRO credits-6 for Wednesday and 3 for Thursday

Please register and contact me if you have any questions. Registration and agenda can be found here: http://www.pesticide.org/biological_control_workshop_2017

Megan Dunn Healthy People and Communities Program Director, Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP)
www.pesticide.org
mdunn@pesticide.org
425.238.4089

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Puget Sound Food Hub Cooperative Now Hiring for Marketing & Sales Manager

 
Position Description: Sales & Marketing Manager

 
Background:
The Puget Sound Food Hub Cooperative (PSFHC) is a farmer owned cooperative operating in the Puget Sound region. The PSFHC combines marketing, aggregation, and distribution for member farms and ranches. The goal is to develop relationships between local farms and businesses/institutions with a vision of creating healthier communities while expanding economic opportunities for local Northwest Washington farms. PSFHC’s purpose is to increase the production, distribution, and consumption of regionally produced food.

 
Description:
The Sales & Marketing Manager has two roles: 1) to oversee all marketing, advertising and promotional activities for the PSFHC and 2) assist in creating market opportunities for PSFHC farmer members. The Manager will establish marketing strategies to meet PSFHC organizational objectives. The Manager is responsible for creating a marketing/communications plan for PSFHC and will work with the Board of Directors and General Manager to implement the strategies of the plan. The Manager will continually evaluate customer research, market conditions, and competitor data to implement plan changes as needed.
The Manager will implement a sales plan to increase sales to existing customers and market to new customers to expand the existing customer base. This person will be responsible for promoting the Puget Sound Food Hub Cooperative and increase awareness of PSFH farmer products. This position will be responsible for all aspects of food hub sales and direct supervision of Account Managers.
This Manager will also work with farmer members individually or in groups to assist in identifying and making efficient decisions that will lead to successful marketing results. The Manager will develop and maintain relationships with wholesale distributors, restaurants, and retailers. This is an outcome based position; the Manager is expected to provide opportunities for farmer members that will generate successful results.
PSFHC serves customers in King, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties. This full-time position requires extensive work throughout the market service area with flexible working location and hours. The offices of PSFHC are in Mount Vernon, Washington. The PSFH Sales & Marketing Manager reports to the General Manager and functions as the chair of the Marketing Committee.

 
Scope of work:
Marketing and Sales
•Prepare and execute on the Puget Sound Food Hub Cooperative Marketing & Communications Plan to createawareness of the PSFHC
•Develop a sales plan and work with Account Managers to increase sales to institutions, grocery stores,restaurants and wholesale customers
•Foster and facilitate relationships between farmer members and buyers
•Provide marketing and branding support to PSFHC farmer members
•Develop strong relationships with retail, foodservice and wholesale businesses
• Manage advertising, media coverage, fundraising events and marketing materials
• Represent and promote PSFH at industry conferences and trade shows
• Responsible for contact lists, content management and preparing electronic and direct mail communication
including Fresh Sheets, Newsletters and Blogs
• Prepare content for the publication of marketing materials and oversee distribution
• Post, track and monitor social media accounts
• Maintain a high level of integrity as a representative of PSFHC
• Collaborate with the PSFHC team for planning, implementing and evaluating marketing/sales strategies
• Other duties as assigned

 

Desired Qualifications:
• Degree in business/marketing or equivalent
• Four or more years’ experience in “brand” marketing in the food industry
• Strong analytical, written and verbal reasoning skills
• Proven negotiation and relationship-building skills
• Sales experience with grocery chains, institutions and large-scale wholesale customers
• Minimum five years’ experience with distributor sales and familiarity with individual distributors in Washington
• Excellent computer skills and ability to pick up on new systems and software
• Self-directed with good organization skills and attention to detail
• Knowledge of Washington food and farming industry and food distribution channels
• Ability to work well independently and as a team member

 
Compensation:
Salary range is depending on experience and qualifications. Benefits and travel reimbursement will be provided in
addition to the base salary.

 
Submit a resume, letter of application, and a list of references to:
Terri Hanson, General Manager
Puget Sound Food Hub Cooperative
PO Box 2924
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
www.pugetsoundfoodhub.com
Phone: 360-336-3727
Email: Terri@AgBizCenter.org
PUGET SOUND FOOD HUB COOPERATIVE IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER AND PROVIDER OF SERVICES

March 31, 2017

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Snohomish County Growers Alliance Open Meeting March 29th

Snohomish County Growers Alliance Meeting
March 29, 2017

An evening meeting for farmers and would-be-farmers, at the Longhouse located at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe.

Industry leaders will share their opinions on potential profitable crops that either part time farmers can start with or for increased production for existing farms. The Snohomish County  Growers Alliance is working with the Soil Conservation District and Snohomish County on a new approach to increase Snohomish   County Agricultural production by examining the potential of certain crops and livestock and working on solutions to the barriers which exist to make that possible. The SCGA wants to take a more active role and encourage the producers of the Farm Community to take a more active role in supporting efforts to make that happen. This meeting will touch on many aspects, which are intended to give a comprehensive picture of what is possible.  Future  production meetings are planned to  go in great detail of specific crops or livestock working with the industry and hands-on learning experiences

Agenda
6:45 – Doors open, registration
7:00 – Welcome – SCGA President John Postema
7.05 Introduction

Panel discussions: Every panelist has 5 minutes to opine what could be a profitable agricultural activity and why. In addition how much money and effort has to be spend to achieve production, marketing possibilities and barriers for execution. Every panel presentation will be followed by 15 minutes of audience questions and answers

7:15 – Panel One.    Livestock Production Opportunities
Bobbi Lindemulder.  Operation Manager Soil Conservation district /20 years exp.
Linda Neunzig,   Sheep expert for a long time.
Darron Marzolf        Marketing of small livestock
Christeena Marzolf   Care of small livstock

7:45 –  Panel Two. Nursery and Perennial crops opportunities.
Andrej Suske. Owner of a successful operation in Woodinville
Bob Lovejoy.  A long time grower in the flood plains from Arlington
Joy Routh from Wetlands and Wood lands, who made a success of niche growing

8:15 – Panel three. Various topics
Greenhouse tomato production, John Postema  Flower World Inc.
Hard cider production  WSU
Marketing of Produce through brokers.  Diana Dempster from Charlie’s Produce

8:45 – 9.00  Break. Inspection of the NABC  mobile poultry processing facility

9:00 – 9:05  Blue berry production coordination. John Negrin with Aquilini.

9:00 – 9:30  How to proceed.  Audience participation

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NABC Welcomes Alex Perez

NABC is pleased to introduce the newest member of the team, Project Manager Alex Perez. Alex will apply his Spanish language skills to helping NABC further mature our programs and services towards a bi-lingual format.
As a Washington State Certified Spanish Interpreter, Alex provides interpreting and translation services for non-English speaking clients of all ages. He has also served as a bilingual volunteer for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and has successfully completed Security Officer Academy training for the Security Officer Certification program.
The oldest of four siblings, Alex was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and raised by migrant parents who worked in agriculture in Skagit County. Because of the seasonality of his parents’ work, the Perez family traveled back and forth between Mexico and the United States. After graduating from Mount Vernon High School, he attended Skagit Valley College and then transferred to Western Washington University, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a Minor in Spanish.
Alex is enthusiastic and excited to recruit and work directly with clients from the Latino farming community. His direct experience in fundraising, community projects, outreach and networking with the Latino community in Skagit County will be a great asset to NABC as we expand our capacity to serve local farmers.

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NABC’s Education and Client Services Expand to Latino Community

Supported in part with funds from USDA’s Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant and in partnership with Viva Farms in USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, NABC kicked off agriculture business support services last fall specifically geared for the Latino farming community. Now with the hiring of new bi-lingual Project Manager Alex Perez, NABC is ramping up cultural and linguistic business development training materials, workshop presentations, outreach efforts, and technical assistance tools for the benefit of Spanish speakers in the communities we serve.
This year alone, NABC has already hosted five workshops in its Transitioning to Value-Added Products series with a bi-lingual support component. Topics included Value-Added Producer Grant guidance in partnership with USDA Rural Development, Access to Capital with one-on-one lender introductions, Business Feasibility evaluation, Getting Your Products to Market and market readiness, and Writing Your Business Plan including price setting and a deep-dive into calculating profit and loss. More classes are in the planning stages for 2017 including Product Development, Starting Your Business (a basic primer), and Poultry Processing; please see the NABC website for more information as it is posted.
NABC staff is employing and developing diverse strategies to reach Latino farmers both to introduce NABC’s new bi-lingual programming and client services, and foster new connections with Latino farmers and food entrepreneurs. Classes were promoted in both English and Spanish, including information disseminated to collaborating NPO’s and agencies by email, flyers placed in community gathering places, KSVR radio spots during shows broadcast in Spanish, personal phone calls, and in-person at community events Both Alex and Mobile Poultry Processing Unit Supervisor Miguel Martinez were present at these classes to offer welcome, answer questions, and provide translation services, and then provided post-class follow-up support.
As part of the Latino-centered effort, NABC will host a family-friendly Economic Opportunities for Latino Farmers event on March 18th. Representatives from Minnesota-based cooperatives Cooperativa Aqua Gorda and Shared Ground Co-op will talk about these two Latino-owned co-operatives and their journey to successful establishment. The event is on a Saturday to help families participate, and features food, games, a kids’ bouncy house, piñata and more. All presentations and activities will be in Spanish.
NABC is pleased to continue this new phase of organizational development, and looks forward to providing services to a wider audience. For more information about our bi-lingual agribusiness development program, please contact Alex Perez at Alex@agbizcenter.org or (360) 770-4072.
Se habla español. Para mas infomación, contactar a Alex Perez: Alex@agbizcenter.org (360) 770-4072.

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Capital, The Fuel That Runs a Business

NABC held its Access to Capital Workshop on Tuesday, January 24 in Anacortes, WA. Attended by 23 small farm and food businesses, the workshop featured financing and representatives from programs that provide loans from less than $5,000 to more than $300,000. Lending programs included Business Impact Northwest, Craft 3, Farm Services Agency, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Port of Bellingham Revolving Loan Fund, Skagit Council of Governments Revolving Loan Fund, and USDA Rural Development.
The workshop also featured business planning and technical assistance providers including Growing Veterans, Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County/SBA Small Business Development Center, NABC, Sustainable Connections Food & Farming Program, Viva Farms, and Western Washington University/SBA Small Business Development Center.
Angie Shephard, co-owner of Valley View Farm, San Juan County, was a satisfied participant. “This workshop was an efficient way for a busy producer to visit with more than a dozen lenders and technical assistance providers in one day! I was able to get useful information that is specific to my particular situation and needs. The diversity of programs and options was great and I was able to bring back information and connections from these providers to share with my community. I also really valued the time to network, learn, and share with other producers. I left with practical information and next steps that I could act upon.”
Be looking for more opportunities to learn about accessing capital and USDA grant programs in the Fall of 2017.

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