MILLERSTOWN, Pa. — The PA Veteran Farming Project, in collaboration with Pure American Naturals and the Glen Cauffmann Farm in Millerstown, PA, Perry County, is hosting two half-day workshops for farmers. Registration is open for the Friday, August 7 “Small Farm Success” workshop from noon to 4:30 pm, and “Establishing and Sustaining a Small Ruminant (Goats/Sheep) Farm” Saturday, August 8 from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.
Attendees may register for one or both workshops; the agendas will be different for each session. Cost is $10 each for military/veterans and $20 each for the general public, which includes workshop materials and a box lunch. Both days will feature ‘classroom’, field walks, and hands-on learning. Register at www.troopstotractors.org/events .
Topics for the Friday workshop include: Business planning, agronomy and soil health, and conservation best management projects installed on the host farm, and will be of interest to farmers of any experience level interested in improving production and profitability.
Saturday’s topics will focus specifically on building a successful goat or sheep farm, and will include Animal health and nutrition, Grazing systems, and hand-on animal husbandry with the Angora goats on the farm. Farmers who now raise goats/sheep as well as those planning to will all find information useful to them.
The featured presenter is Glen Cauffmann, retired Penn State University College of Agriculture educator. With a BS in Animal Science and a master’s degree in Ag Engineering, Cauffmann is certified to teach business planning and is a Certified Crop Advisor. The 190-acre Glen Cauffman farm, site of the workshops, also produces alfalfa hay, corn and soybeans that are sold on the commodity market as well as feed the Angora goats. Glen’s passion is conservation and ecosystem stewardship.
Co-presenters Ben and Lynn Reisinger volunteer and work with Cauffman, respectively. Ben has served for over 20 years with the National Guard and looks forward to sharing with his fellow veterans the serenity and calm he feels while working with the livestock, which provides a respite from the stress of his combat experiences. The Reisingers will host a post-workshop social and cookout Friday evening following the workshop; attendees can obtain details and RSVP by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org Rustic camping will be allowed Friday evening with by prior arrangement.
Pure American Naturals (PAN) is a 190-acre 200 Angora goat farm in central Pennsylvania recognized for superior soil, water and air conservation and certified for animal welfare practices. Angora goats produce a soft durable fiber called mohair which is utilized in luxury apparel. PAN exemplifies the financial opportunity of value adding to farm production by processing the farm commodity into consumer products such as socks, scarves, gloves and hats. Pennsylvania’s military/veteran community for those who operate farms or agribusinesses.
Small ruminants (sheep and goats) in grazing systems represent an economically viable farming enterprise with a modest investment compared to commodity production. Direct to consumer marketing is robust in the Mid-Atlantic region due to the prime location within a few hours of one third of the US population. Veterans interested in starting or building a sheep or goat operation will learn skills in animal agriculture, precision grazing and in marketing direct to consumers at the workshop.
Attendees will be required to comply with federal and state public health guidelines current at the time of the workshop.
–Mimi Thomas-Brooker, PA Veteran Farming Project