Hosted by Red Fire Farm: 184 Meadow St., Montague
Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) will spend time going over the conservation planning process and how to apply for financial assistance conservation programs. Farm Service Agency (FSA) will cover the first step in the whole process – registering your agricultural operation in the USDA database. NRCS will dive a little deeper into soil health and other relevant technical topics at the farm. Host Red Fire Farm will share their experience working with NRCS programs and current soil health and resource conservation practices on the farm.
Kate Parsons, Resource Conservationist at NRCS
Kate has worked for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in different capacities for 19 years. Formerly a district conservationist in the Pittsfield Field Office, Kate now serves as a resource conservationist providing technical support to the NRCS conservation planners and farmers with agronomy, grazing and soil health. She also prepares technical guidance documents, such as the cover crop specification and calculator for designing mixtures. Kate is actively involved in her family’s dairy farm in Westhampton where she uses rotational grazing and no-till and cover cropping practices, including tarping in her family’s small garden.
Red Fire Farm grows certified organic produce and IPM tree fruits on about 200 acres of farm land in Granby and Montague. The crop pattern is a diversified mix of mostly annual vegetable crops to supply about 1300 CSA shares, our farm store in Granby and several summer and winter farmers markets around MA, as well as a significant wholesale business. The farm is owned by Ryan and Sarah Voiland, and employs a bit over 100 people at peak season, with a core of 25 people year round.
The farm uses extensive cover cropping, scouting & Integrated Pest Management, and soil testing & nutrient budgeting. Also in recent years getting into more specific plantings for pollinators, experimenting with no till interseeding, tarping, and other innovative soil health and conservation approaches. Although the farm would use many of these strategies anyway, we have worked with NRCS programs over the years to optimize our conservation strategies and take advantage of cost share and other incentives.