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Farm Tours Scheduled for Summer 2014

The National Center for Appropriate Technology, MOA, NRCS, MSU and Montana Farmers Union have been working together on a USDA Risk Management Agency-supported project to explore cover cropping and crop insurance issues. As part of that project, there will be several farm tours offered, including the operations of well-known MOA members. The remaining farm tours include:

July 8, 2014A conventionally managed farm tour and workshop near Conrad, Montana, on cover crop cocktails. This tour is based on a USDA-WSARE study headed by Perry Miller, Cathy Zabinski, and Clain Jones and is in its third year out of four (2012 was cover crops, 2013 spring wheat). The tour will highlight May-seeded cover crops consisting of different ‘functional groups’ including fibrous rooted, nitrogen fixers, tap rooted, and brassicas. The full mix contains eight species and there are also spring pea and fallow controls. Spring wheat was planted across the site last year at three different nitrogen rates including a 0 N control. Tour participants will have this unique occasion to compare and discuss various cover cropping options.

July 11, 2014—A tour and lunch at Bob Quinn's organic grain farm, 13 miles SE Big Sandy, MT
Registration at 9 - tours start at 9:30 - 4 tours to run concurrently throughout the day - 1: how organic systems work - our 9 year rotation 2: Our experiments with new wheat varieties and alternative crops including dry land vegetables 3:  An orchard on the prairie 4:  the Oil Barn - raising safflower first for food and then cleaning waist oil up for fuel. 
There will be 2 tour sets in the morning and two in the afternoon - dinner will be served at noon and supper about 5:30. There will be a cooking Demo in the morning and the afternoon and activities for the kids all day. There will be a variety show starting about 6:30 which will go until about 7:30 and a barn dance that will follow until about 9.  Everyone is welcome and we would appreciate an RSVP (see below).  The meals are sponsored by Montana Flour & Grain and Kamut International.
July 16, 2014A conventional farm tour and workshop in Toole County with mixed livestock and small grain grower Griff Bye, who is developing a unique cover cropping and livestock system.
Although he has never experimented with cover crop cocktails before, Griff Bye is going about in a big way, with ten percent of this year’s 11,000 crop acres being planted to covers in some form. Griff obviously believes in the potential of cover cropping and realizes that it will be a few years before he sees results. At this tour of his farm, participants will see a cool season cover of 11 species that is being grazed by 150 pairs, a warm season cover of 10 species, and a nine-species cover crop intermixed with the sunflower cash crop. This will be an excellent opportunity to see grazing cover crops and to hear about one man’s startup experiences.

August 16, 2014An organic farm tour and workshop with Judy Owsowitz at Terrapin Farm in Whitefish, Montana. Judy is a long-time organic producer who has extensive knowledge of cover cropping in diverse vegetable production systems. With over 20 years of certified organic production, Terrapin Farm is comprised of over 500 varieties of diversified vegetable, herb and seed crops, incorporating greenhouse, hoophouse and high tunnel production. Judy interplants her cover crops. She also oversees over 30 varieties of seed production, some of which are Terrapin Farm exclusives. This tour will also include a presentation on cover cropping in diverse horticultural operations by Andy Pressman, a farmer and NCAT specialist from New Hampshire. “In addition to viewing the farm,” Owsowitz says, “we are also working on a fabulous farm feast to follow the tour.”

If you are interested in attending this farm tour or others below, please pre-register at:

We will send you the details. If you have other questions, please contact Jeff Schahczenski by email at or phone at 406-494-8636.

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The Inland Northwest Permaculture Guild's 2014 Convergence: "Back to the Roots"
Sept. 11-14, 2014
Heartsong Retreat Center, 7034 Hwy 291, Tumtum, WA
(between mile markers 24 and 25)
More Info here.
Phone: 509-725-0712

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MOA's 2014 Conference
Organic Business: Benefitting Producers and Consumers
December 4-6, 2014
Great Falls Airport Hosting Facility
Great Falls, MT
Details to come!

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