GROWING SMALL GRAINS ORGANICALLY

Project:  Farmer-generated training and equipment solutions for producing and processing value-added grains

For land-constrained farmers in the Northeast, value-added grain production holds great potential for increasing farm profitability while growing crops that can enhance agro-ecosystem health.  When the traditional small grains crops, which are largely grown in the region as feed or soil-improving cover crops, are managed organically and for food-grade quality, they and their exotic cousins, the ancient wheats spelt, emmer, and einkorn, can fetch retail prices comparable to those of high-value vegetable crops.   However, a survey of farmers in PA, NY, and NJ showed that two constraints to the development of value-added grain enterprises are lack of expertise in food-grade grain production and processing and difficulty in finding affordable, scale-appropriate production and processing equipment. NOFA-NJ, in partnership with the Organic Growers’ Research and Information-Sharing Network (OGRIN), has developed the following series of training webinars for farmers that includes information on management practices and equipment (such as seed cleaners and grain dehullers) critical for high-quality grain production and processing.  This work is made possible by an NE SARE Research and Education grant (LNE17-357).

Session One, October 19th 2020: Production with a focus on harvesting. Harvesting continues to be critical especially for new grain farmers who are not familiar with combines. You can watch two videos on NOFA-NJ’s You Tube Channel: 1) The video Grain Growing and Harvesting by Kennette Productions and 2) the full webinar with Elizabeth’s presentation and farmer Scott Morgan’s comments on harvesting and cleaning grainElizabeth’s PowerPoint presentation can be seen here, Some images from new Winter Wheat growing at North Slope Farm, There are some additional materials on the Growing small grains resource page.

Session Two October 26, 2020: Cleaning, drying, storage.
Presented By: Elizabeth Dyck of OGRIN and Aaron Gabriel of Cornell Cooperative Extension. Cornell has published many helpful resources on the Cornell Blog, local grain economy resources, In addition, please see the presentation posted for today’s meeting and the related videos on NOFA NJ’s YouTube Channel. For Additional Resources on Managing Dry Grain in Storage (Grain Drying, Handling, and Storage Handbook, MWPS-13, and Dry Grain Aeration Systems Design Handbook, MWPS-29) check out the Iowa State University website, North Dakota State University website, and the University of Nebraska website. Websites for Do-It-Yourselfers https://www.farmshow.com/  https://farmhack.org/tools

Session Three November 2, 2020: Processing and Marketing Presented By: Leonard Bussanich and Larry Mahmarian of River Valley Grains, Elizabeth Dyck of OGRIN, with video from Joel Steigman of Small Valley Grains and Wholesome Acre  Farms, Processing and Marketing Images from River Valley

Principles of Processing, Marketing Channels. Full Class 3 Video. For more resources on growing grains, please go to Elizabeth’s fabulous site, https://www.ogrin.org/