Growing the Working Landscape Agenda 2018

City Hall, St. Albans, VT – November 8, 2018

8:30 AM – 9:00 AM



9:00 AM – 9:30 AM

Welcome & Keynote

Dan Smith, President, Vermont Community Fund


9:30 AM – 10:15 AM

Panel: Scaling – small to large

Scaling is an important step in business planning. Do you want to serve your neighbors or become a national brand? We will talk to 5 businesses at different scales to better understand their market choices, how they got there and what is next.

Panelists: Christine Kubacz (Foggy Brook Farm, Fairfield, VT), Phelan O’Connor (Pigasus Meats, South Hero, VT), Bob “Cranberry Bob” Lesnikoski (VT Cranberry Co., Fletcher, VT), George van Vlaanderen (Doe’s Leap Farm, Bakersfield, VT), Cathy Branon (Branon’s Barrywilde Maples, LLC, Fairfield, VT) Facilitator: Dan Smith (President of the Vermont Community Foundation)


10:15 AM – 10:30 AM

Networking Break

Opportunity to get individual questions answered


10:30 AM – 11:45 AM

Breakout Session I

• Is Your Farm Profitable?: Farm Financial Management and Enterprise Analysis

This workshop will explore the concepts of profitable business management. We will cover topics including the fundamentals of profitable farm management, farm financial tracking, and enterprise analysis. Lessons will be applicable to all farm types but we will be using grass-based beef production for the sample budgets. || Sam Smith, Farm Business Specialist, Intervale Center

• Food and Farm Tourism: How to Participate in this Growing Sector

Food and farm tourism covers a lot of ground – from hosting farm stay guests to welcoming out of state visitors at farmers markets to encouraging neighbors to get out and explore local on-farm events. This workshop will provide a lay of the land for statewide activities, resources, and challenges. There will be a combination of presentation and discussion. || Helen Labun, Executive Director, Vermont Fresh Network

• BEEF TRACK – Minerals Make a Difference

Minerals are an important part of cattle nutrition. This workshop will cover why minerals are important to your herd health, how to utilize different kinds of mineral , and the expected return from a proper mineral program. || Kelsey Bornt, LPS, Purnina Animal Nutrition

• FOREST & WOODLAND TRACK: The Business of Maple Syrup

This presentation combines the perspectives of a business educator and a maple business owner to discuss the world of maple syrup today. We will discuss how maple industry trends, economics, market developments, new products and the environment impact maple syrup today. The presentation will highlight current events that relate to consumers, communities and the operators of maple enterprises. || Mark Cannella, Farm Business Management Specialist, Director of UVM Extension Agricultural Business Program & Dave Folino, Addison County Sugarmaker


12:00 PM – 12:45 PM

Local Foods Lunch

The Clean Spoon & 14th Star Brewery


1:15 PM – 2:30 PM

Breakout Session II

• Hemp: From Seed to Shelf

CBD sales and production are on the rise in Vermont, yet growers and businesses owners still face many hurdles. Learn what the federal and state regulations actually are and where the VT State rules are going and how some are making it work. || Cary Giguere (Director of Public Health and Agricultural Resource Mgmt, State of Vermont), Stephanie Smith (Chief Policy Enforcement Officer, State of Vermont), Michele Waters (Green Mtn Hemp Co.), and Keith Morris (Willow Crossing Farm)

• Funder Fishbowl

A funder fishbowl is designed to put funders into a conversation that might feel like a fishbowl because instead of a panel they are in the center of the room. A moderator will ask a few questions to launch the conversation while the audience listens. Then, audience members will have a chance to join the circle and ask their questions. || Facilitators: Betsy Hands (High Meadows – VT Food Funders Facilitator), Elijah Massey (Loan Specialist, USDA) 

Funders || Liz Gleason, VHCB Farm & Forest Viability Program; Dan Winslow, VT Community Loan Fund; Laurie Lock, Franklin County FSA; Ryan Horrigan, FSA; Dave Lane, Yankee Farm Credit; Lynn Ellen Schimoler, Working Lands Enterprise Board

BEEF TRACK – Local Beef: Real Conversations About Today’s Market

Marketing and selling local beef in today’s market comes with plenty of challenges, from labeling regulations to marketing effectively while ensuring profitable production. In this workshop, we’ll discuss those challenges and the work being done by farmers and service providers in Vermont to address them. Join us for an honest discussion of the pitfalls and possibilities in the local beef market, with perspectives on policy, supply chains, and on-farm realities. || Bruce Hennessy (Owner/Operator, Maple Wind Farm), Jenn Colby (Pasture Program Coordinator, UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture), Maddie Kempner (Membership Coordinator & Policy Advisor, NOFA Vermont)

FOREST & WOODLAND TRACK: The Promise of Silvopasture

Humans’ relationship to animals has a long and storied past, yet modern agriculture has sought to separate forest and field, animal and pasture. The agroforestry practice of silvopasture combines trees, animals, and forages in a symbiotic and dynamic ecosystem. This lecture includes historical narratives, case studies, and the latest research outlining how silvopasture systems rank among the best solutions to a changing climate, all while providing an ethical and productive system for healthy livestock. || Steve Gabriel, Wellspring Forest Farm


2:30 PM – 3:00 PM

Case Study

Andrea Gagner, CEO of 14th Star Brewing Company


3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Service Provider Matchmaker Session

Get connected! || VT Farm & Forest Viability, VT Agriculture Credit Corporation, Pumpkin Village Foods, Nofa-VT, The Intervale Center, USDA Rural Development, VT Community Loan Fund, Small Business Development Center, VT FEED, VT Economic Development Authority