Future Farms 2008: Planning for Change

Click here to see tour photos
Click here to see tour photos

Information, food, fellowship, and fun: all four were found in abundance at Future Farms 2008: Planning for Change.

The two day event featured a day of farm tours and a day of sessions on financial planning, production and marketing.

Future Farms 2008 was the fifth in the Future Farms series of conferences sponsored by the Kerr Center, in partnership with the USDA Risk Management Agency (see complete sponsor list below).

On Tuesday, Aug 5, about 150 people got up early to go on one of the three bus tours that visited farms in the central, northwest and eastern parts of the state.

Tour-goers included farmers, ranchers and students looking for first hand information. Each tour included a livestock operation, a fruit and vegetable farm and a winery.

Food raised on Oklahoma farms were served for lunch. At Wichita Buffalo, central tour-goers were treated to a full buffet featuring buffalo burgers.

At Cattle Tracks Ranch in northwest Oklahoma, the Gosney family served organic meats raised on this centennial farm overlooking the Glass Mountains.

At Tiger Mountain Ranch, a cowboy serenaded the group as they ate a chuckwagon lunch. Indian dancers and storytellers also performed.

Almost everyone who filled out evaluation forms believed the information they received would help them better manage production or marketing risks, and help with financial planning.

On Wednesday, Aug. 6, the conference moved inside the Bricktown Convention Center for a full day of sessions with expert speakers.

Oklahoma Commissioner and Secretary of Agriculture Terry Peach addressed the lunch crowd of about 150, describing his department’s many innovative programs such as agritourism and farm–to-school.

Lunch, catered by Kam’s Kookery in Oklahoma City, was also an Oklahoma-grown affair.

According to the evaluations they were asked to complete, conference/farm tour attendees said they found ideas and inspiration in abundance.

After visiting Christian Cheese in Kingfisher one farmer commented, “Now I know I can do it also.”

To see many of the conference presentations, see below. For photos and information on the farm tours, click here.


Wednesday, August 6:
Breakout Sessions

Presentations may be downloaded in PDF format by clicking on the link below the speakers names.

Speaker Bios and Presentations


Dr. Derrell Peel
Professor & Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist, OSU

Dr. Peel received his undergraduate and Master's degrees from Montana State University and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. In addition to extension and research responsibilities, Dr. Peel teaches Introduction to Agricultural Economics and other courses. He has numerous publications and is a co-editor and a chapter author of the Oklahoma Beef Cattle Manual, published by the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.

View presentation (2.66 MB)

Financial Planning

Making a Business Plan

Dr. Rodney B. Holcomb

Agricultural Economist, Oklahoma State University,
Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center

Business plans serve as both a personal “things to do” list and a tool for obtaining capital.  Using examples of various types of agribusinesses, Dr. Holcomb will discuss the basic components of a business plan, what lenders usually request, and how to develop financial analyses.  He studies processing alternatives and business structures for adding value to farm products, and their impacts on local and state economies.

View presentation (540 KB)


Getting the Most Out of Your Business Tax Returns

Emily Oakley
Co-owner, Three Springs Farm

Are you are taking all of the legal deductions and depreciations possible on your federal business tax returns?  Ms. Oakley will address general expenses and where to file returns, as well as highlighting some commonly overlooked expenses that can help reduce your tax burden.  The information presented will be useful for farmers preparing their own tax returns as well those who hire accountants.  Join her as she de-mystifies the tax process.  With her partner Mike Appel, Oakley jointly owns and operates Three Springs Farm, a diversified, certified-organic vegetable, fruit, and herb farm an hour outside of Tulsa.  They cultivate over fifty different crops and more than 150 individual varieties on five acres of land.  They strive to maintain a two-person operation not dependent on hired labour that demonstrates the economic viability of small-scale agriculture.  They sell produce through two area farmers’ markets and through a community supported agriculture (CSA) Program.

View presentation (188 KB)


Insurance Options  for Farmers, Ranchers, and Small Food Businesses

Kim Holland
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner

View presentation (588 KB)

Donna Reynolds
Risk Management Specialist, USDA Risk Management Agency


Legal Issues for Producers: Liability and Food Safety

Harrison M. Pittman, B.S., J.D., LL.M.
Director, National Agricultural Law Center, University of Arkansas

Harrison Pittman is a frequent presenter on various agricultural law and policy topics, including environmental law, the impact of globalization and the World Trade Organization on U.S. agriculture, conservation programs, legal liability issues in agritourism operations and other landowner liability issues, agricultural liens, the future of farm commodity programs, and the interrelationship between local food systems and public health issues.

View presentation (174 KB)


Getting a Loan: What Farmers and Ranchers Need to Know

Dale Beerwinkle
Agricultural Business Coordinator, Caddo Kiowa Technology Center

View presentation (1.28 MB)

Don Taylor
Senior Vice President, First American Bank

What do commercial banks require of applicants for agritourism loans? Mr. Taylor, in banking since 1974, will talk about the questions bankers will ask and what applicants need to be successful.


Panel: Professional Resources

Barry Dodson
USDA Risk Management Agency

View presentation (1.25 MB)


Ron Hilliard
Oklahoma State Conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

View presentation (1.2 MB)


Brent Kisling
USDA Rural Development

Dr. Damona Doye

View presentation (81 KB)


Gary O’Neill
Assistant State Conservationist, Director of RC&D

View presentation (2.74 MB)


Terry Peach
Oklahoma Commissioner of Agriculture

Jim Reese
State Executive Director, Oklahoma Farm Service Agency



Affordable Year-round Vegetable Production in Israel

Itzhak Esquira
Greenhouse and Plasticulture Extension Specialist, Israeli Plants Board

Israel has very similar growing conditions to Oklahoma, from forested areas with higher rainfall to flat, arid growing areas. Israel is a world leader in season extension research and successful application. Mr. Esquira will present current technology for year-round vegetable production with respect to energy reduction, environmental friendliness and economical viability.

View presentation (10.4 MB)


Organic Production for Market Gardeners

John Leonard
Owner/Partner, Organic Gardens

Built on inspiration 8 years ago, Mr. Leonard’s family-owned farm has become a success, providing unique herbs, bedding plants, and certified organic produce to farmers’ markets and restaurants in central Oklahoma. He will share his experience in organic production, focusing on soil building, integrated pest management (IPM), and crop management.

View presentation (9.29 MB)


Bumper Crops Early and Late: Season Extension and Plasticulture

Glynis Coleman
Deep Valley Farms

Ms. Coleman and her family run a small-scale farm operation on 40 acres, selling at the Okmulgee Farmers’ Market.  They apply sustainable agriculture principles and holistic management practices.  A participant in ODAFF’s plasticulture program, Coleman will address plasticulture as a means of season extension, weed control, and increased competitiveness for small scale farmers in local markets.

View presentation (3.16 MB)

Steve Upson
Horticulture Consultant, Noble Foundation

Mr. Upson will give an overview of the various components used in a plasticulture growing system. including drip irrigation, plastic mulch, floating covers, mini tunnels and high tunnels (hoop houses).  He will highlight examples of the application of this technology by local growers.  Upson has been with the Noble Foundation for the past 20 years, and previously worked as a county and district horticulture agent with OSU Cooperative Extension, and as manager of a commercial market gardening operation.

View presentation (3.21 MB)


Pasture Monitoring and Management

Rebecca Baril for Charley Orchard
Land EKG, Inc.

Mr. Orchard grew up in Wyoming, a fourth-generation rancher. His innovative "Land EKG" is a way to monitor the health of rangeland that is comprehensive yet easy to understand and simple to master.  He will explain how to do it and what ranchers will learn using this approach.

View presentation (9.16 MB)


Multi-species Grazing in Oklahoma

Dave Sparks, D.V.M.
Area Extension Food Animal Quality and Health Specialist, OSU Cooperative Extension

Dr. Sparks will relate the findings of his current research grazing cattle and goats together under range conditions.  He will consider impacts on parasites, range plant composition, and economics.  Dr. Sparks has practiced veterinary medicine in Oklahoma, Kansas, California, and Arizona, and joined the OSU Cooperative Extension Service in 2006, covering 40 eastern Oklahoma counties.

View presentation (1.7 MB)


Goat Production Basics

Dr. Steve Hart
Goat Extension Specialist, Langston University

Dr. Hart will share the fruits of his 17 years of work in goat extension at Langston, asking several questions that producers need to answer before getting into the goat business, and discussing some considerations in planning a goat enterprise.  He will also provide a list of suggested goat information resources, and discuss several current Oklahoma goat enterprises.

View presentation (449 KB)



Marketing through Farmer-Consumer Co-ops: The Oklahoma Food Cooperative

Robert Waldrop
President, Oklahoma Food Cooperative

Mr. Waldrop is a 4th-generation Oklahoman, born and raised in Tillman County in southwest Oklahoma.  He will discuss the history and operation of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, which is a monthly order and delivery network connecting Oklahoma farmers and customers.  In addition to founding and directing the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, he is the founder of the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House, which delivers food to people in need who don’t have transportation.


Elements of a Marketing Plan

Chuck Willoughby

Business & Marketing Relations Manager, Oklahoma State University,
Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center

Just like the business plan, the marketing plan serves as a tool that directs and evaluates the marketing activities of an organization.  Marketing can be defined as the process of initiating and building mutually beneficial relationships with customers.  While no two marketing plans are alike, Chuck will present and discuss recommended elements that should be included.

View presentation (569 KB)


Out of the Sale Barn: Marketing Alternatives for Livestock Producers

Sky Shivers
Cowboy Storyteller, Rancher

Mr. Shivers raises goats and cattle and is also a popular humorist and cowboy storyteller. His Kiko bucks were among the top performers in the Kerr Center's 2007 Meat Goat Performance test.

View presentation (1.22 MB)


Challenges in Value-Added Marketing

Dr. Richard Ortez
El Sueño Enterprises

After a career as a microbiology professor, Dr. Ortez achieved his lifetime goal of owning a farm. In 1994, he established El Sueño Enterprises, consisting of gardens, commercial kitchen, and café, as portrayed in the company motto: “Nurturing your meal from seed to table.” He has since closed the café, but continues to grow and transform fresh vegetables into value-added processed foods to sell at a local farmers’ market. The 20 items in his stable product line each contain at least one ingredient grown on his farm. His practical presentation is aimed at helping those interested see through the mystique of starting a small commercial food processing business. He will describe how El Sueño Enterprises got started and developed into its present form, addressing such issues as health regulations, setting up a commercial kitchen, business and other skills, and product cost analysis.

View presentation (975 KB)


Catering from Your Garden

Kamala Gamble
Kam’s Kookery and Guilford Gardens

Chef Gamble operates a catering service featuring fresh produce from her own suburban organic garden as well as other local growers, and meat and dairy items from Oklahoma farms and ranches. Kam’s Kookery and Guilford Gardens also host cooking classes and run a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Gamble helped to found the Oklahoma City Slow Food Convivium.


Panel: Marketing

Abby Cash
Agritourism Director, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, & Forestry <

Chris Kirby
Oklahoma Farm to School Program Administrator

Rick Maloney
Oklahoma Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture, Head of Marketing Division, ODAFF

Doug Walton
Community Foods Coordinator, Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Justin Whitmore
Diversified Agriculture Marketing Development Coordinator, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, & Forestry


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