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Thanks to all who contributed to a successful 2013 MOSES Conference!
Information on this page pertains to the 2013 event. Look for details in December about the 2014 MOSES Conference Feb. 27-March 1, 2014-- our 25th anniversary!
2013 MOSES ORGANIC FARMING CONFERENCE
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4. Successful Long-Term High Tunnel Management
John Biernbaum and
Adam Montri of Michigan State University
After four previous successful offerings, this is the first time the Organic UniversityTM High Tunnels course will focus specifically on topics for intermediate and advanced farmers with previous high tunnel growing experience. John Biernbaum and Adam Montri have been involved with the Michigan State University Student Organic Farm that is in the 10th year of year-round hoophouse management (currently with 16,000 sq ft). John has also managed a home garden tunnel since 2001, and together with Adam has worked with many rural and urban farms to get started and expand with tunnels. Adam and his family launched Ten Hens Farm in 2008 and now manage 13,000 sq ft of tunnels year-round in addition to field production.
This course will focus on three key topic areas:
We will not be covering structure selection, construction methods, or disease and pest management beyond cultural activities such as crop rotations. Participants will have time to ask questions throughout the day. If possible, participants are encouraged to arrive early to submit questions they would like addressed during the day.
1 – will include crop selection, rotation, high tunnel yield and income projections plus real-life, on-farm examples of crop economics and profitability. The economic portion will include record-keeping sheets used by Michigan farmers. It will also look at both labor hours by crop and return-to-labor and how these numbers can be used to set wages or determine if additional help should be hired.
2 – will address issues related to soil, water and fertility management including soil testing, compost production and use, mineral applications, irrigation and salt accumulation with possible remediation strategies.
3 – will consider light, temperature, ventilation and related cover and structure management including factors influencing polyethylene replacement and selection, monitoring light quantity, shading, management of roll-up/drop-down sides, end wall ventilation, rain water diversion and collection, heavy snow load management and the use of interior crop covers.
John Biernbaum is Professor of Horticulture at Michigan State University, where he teaches courses in greenhouse management, organic farming principles and practices, organic transplant production, compost production and use and passive solar greenhouses. He does research and farmer/community outreach on use of high tunnels and compost for year-round diversified organic farming and urban agriculture.
Adam Montri is a hoophouse outreach specialist at Michigan State University where he works with farmers throughout Michigan on vegetable production, marketing, and economics. He and his wife, Dru, along with their two daughters own and operate Ten Hens Farm in Bath, MI where they farm year-round in hoophouses and the field.