Local Small Farm Expo Builds Community
On a blustery Saturday in March, over 220 small farmers joined 22 local organizations at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds for a day of education and networking organized by the Whatcom Conservation District and Whatcom County Public Works. The amazing turnout had the venue bursting at the seams, proving that the farming community in Whatcom County needs a place to learn, share and network with specialists and their peers.
The conversations focused on improving drainage; pasture and manure management; habitat restoration; water quality; feed requirements; fencing and footing; animal health and much, much more. Those new to farming sought information on how best to utilize their land, while those with years of experience were looking for new tools to improve production. Presenters included Dr. Gale DeJong, Kulshan Veterinary Hospital; Dr. Amber Itle, Washington State Department Agriculture and Dr. Susan Kerr, Washington State University extension office. These professionals provided advice on hoof health, livestock and poultry disease as well as how to establish a herd. Each of the presenters were available before and after their talk to answer more detailed questions and provide resources to the audience. Additionally, Scratch and Peck Feeds and Gallagher Fencing shared advice and demonstrations of their products and services.
In addition to the presenters, attendees gathered a wide variety of information as this migrated amongst the 22 exhibitors who provided expert advice and explanation of services. Exhibitors varied from local animal health experts, to feed and fencing manufacturers, to soil and pasture specialist. There was something for everyone. The Whatcom Conservation District (WCD) spoke with most attendees about how each farm, property and landowner has specific needs with their piece of Whatcom County. The Conservation District staff is available to help landowners realize their potential while balancing the ecological needs of our amazing Whatcom countryside. With knowledgeable staff on nutrient management, pasture care, riparian restoration, drainage, weed control and soil health, the free and confidential services provided by the WCD were well-received and great connections were made.
The small farming community in Whatcom County is as diverse as its natural resources; from mountains to rivers to the sea, local farmers represent a variety of agricultural niches. Whether folks are raising a prize horse, running twenty head of cattle, making some extra cash off duck eggs or trying to grow all their own food, the Small Farm Expo had something for everyone. See you again next year (in a bigger venue)!
Happy Farming from the Whatcom Conservation District!!
Thank you to all of the exhibitors!