CISA Workshops 2023

Honing your Spring Employee Onboarding Plan

March 22, 2023 @ 3:00-4:30pm

As you gear up for the arrival of new farm employees and seasonal crew members, let us help you put finishing touches on your employee onboarding plan. With an eye to Massachusetts-specific legal requirements and best management practices, this information-packed workshop will help you make sure you’re dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s from day 1 and building a solid groundwork for your employees during their initial days at your farm. This workshop is open to all, and content will be relevant to both new and experienced farm managers.

Click here to read more and register.

Insights on Vegetable Farm Financial Benchmarks

March 28, 2023 @ 4:00-5:30pm

For the past couple years, CISA and Pasa Sustainable Agriculture have worked with a group of diversified vegetable farmers across the region to collect key farm financial metrics and develop benchmarks to help farmers evaluate the health of their vegetable operations. CISA staffperson Kristen Wilmer will share insights gained thus far from this project, including what the numbers suggest about the health and challenges facing diversified vegetable farms in our region, and how you can use key financial benchmarks to more strategic business decisions at your farm.

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Managing a Multicultural Farm Team in the Pioneer Valley

March 29, 2023 @ 4:00-6:00pm

This online workshop will provide information on how to develop essential communication skills and manage conflict. It will give tools to oversee a multicultural team and emphasize strategies for decision-making to build an effective workplace culture and manage towards farm and family goals. The workshop is open to all, but most relevant to diversified farm owners, managers, or aspiring managers.

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An Introduction to FSA and NRCS Assistance Programs

March 30, 2023 @ 12:00-1:00pm

This remote workshop is intended for beginning growers who have never worked with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) or Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) before, or for producers who are familiar with these programs but have questions about the process and/or programs available. The presentation will include an overview of FSA and NRCS technical and financial assistance programs, and information about how to connect with your local service centers to receive tailored support. We will hear from Bailey Albert of the FSA and from Jack Loomis of the NRCS. This event is co-sponsored by UMass Extension, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), Southeastern MA Ag Partnership (SEMAP), Sustainable Nantucket, and Sustainable Business Network.

Click here to read more and register.

Managing Farm Labor Costs 

April 4, 2023 @ 4:00-6:00pm

The past few years have posed unprecedented employee management challenges for local farms – from rising wages and employee shortages to the added demands of the pandemic and weather extremes. As your 2023 season ramps up, Presenter Ellen Polishuk of Plant to Profit will share insights to help you respond to these challenges, based on her decades of farm financial consulting and vegetable farm management experience. Ellen will offer tips for tracking and improving work efficiency, supporting effective teamwork, and evaluating labor-saving investments. You will also learn about farm financial assessment tools – like benchmarks and crop costing – that can help you identify the best avenues for increasing farm profitability to keep up with rising costs.

Click here to read more and register.

Irrigation Systems and Management at Warner Farm

July 13th, 2023 @ 4:00-6:00pm
Warner Farm, Sunderland, MA

Warner Farm, a CSA and wholesale farm as well as the home of Mike’s Corn Maze, located in Sunderland, MA, has been developing its irrigation capacity since the late 1970s. Join CISA and Dave Wissemann of Warner Farm for an up close look at how they are optimizing their water resources and water distribution systems to ensure the sustainable production of crops throughout the season and in the face of increasingly uncertain growing conditions. The workshop includes a farm walk to see irrigation equipment and set up and a detailed explanation of how the farm’s systems are designed and maintained. 

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Sawyer Farm Field Trials On-farm Workshop

July 20th, 2023 @ 4:00-6:00pm
Sawyer Farm, Worthington, MA

Over the past several seasons, farmers at Sawyer have been experimenting with different ways to plant row crops into perennial white clover and reduce tillage using a series of innovative practices. Join Sawyer Farm’s Lincoln Fishman for a close look at transplanter shoe adaptations designed to reduce soil disturbance and weed competition in perennial clover and cash crop production. This in-person workshop will be followed with an on-farm networking opportunity.

Click here to read more and register.

Reed Poultry Farm: Composting for Business Diversification and Climate Change Adaptation

September 21st, 2023 @ 4:00-6:00pm
Reed Farm, Sunderland, MA

Join Reed Poultry Farm for a look at their new composting enterprise that adapts to climate change by diversifying income streams and reducing farm waste. Reed Poultry Farm received an adaptation grant from CISA last year and used it to attend the Maine Compost School to learn about turning their farm’s “waste” into compost and a new source of income. After taking a look at the composting system we’ll have time for networking with technical assistance providers and other farmers who have received adaptation grants. Drinks and snacks provided!

Click here to read more and register.

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