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Pollinator & Beneficial Insect Short Course and Grower’s Own Conference Set

Caldwell, ID – Farmers interested in enhancing the free pollination and pest management services of pollinators and beneficial insects are invited to attend a Friday, February 7 short course in Caldwell. The short course will be followed by the fifth annual Grower’s Own Conference, a farmer-to-farmer exchange and networking event, on Friday evening and Saturday, February 8.

Jan 14, 2014

The event is presented by the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP), Xerces Society, and University of Idaho Extension.

The latest science-based approaches to attracting and conserving beneficial insects will be presented by the Xerces Society, a national leader in pollinator conservation. Participants will learn how to conduct a habitat assessment; methods of incorporating pollinator and beneficial insects habitat around building sites, as annual plantings, or as permanent plantings in buffers and hedgerows; and conservation funding sources to support on-farm habitat installation.

Participants will receive the Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation toolkit, including the book, Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies. The toolkit is valued at $40.

A select number of participants will receive direct support from the Xerces Society and NCAP, following the short course, in conducting an on-farm habitat assessment and developing a habitat planting plan.

The fifth annual Grower’s Own Conference will be held following the short course. Friday evening will kick off the conference with “virtual” farm tours by Fred and Judy Brossy of Ernie’s Organics in Shoshone, Clay and Josie Erskine of Peaceful Belly Farm in Boise, and Karen Evans of Rollingstone Chevre in Parma.

The conference continues on Saturday, February 8 with a session on a new loan program supporting local foods by USDA Farm Service Agency and concurrent group discussions on a variety of topics. Attendees actively participate in the selection of the topics by voting during registration. Some of the topics under consideration include multispecies cover cropping; nuts & bolts of habitat installation; farm expansion considerations; agritourism; high tunnels; mechanical cultivation; farmers market sales strategies; food safety; starting livestock production; and value-added products.

The short course and conference will be held at the College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho. Registration fees are as follows: Pollinator & Beneficial Insect Short Course is $40; Grower’s Own Conference is $55; Both Short Course & Conference is $80. Pre-registration is required by January 24. Register online at or contact Jennifer Miller at or 208-850-6504.

Funding is provided in part by USDA.