Certified Farm Startup (CFS) Program 2022 Workshop Schedule 

The below workshop series is for beginning farmers and ranchers enrolled in the Certified Farm Startup Program. Program participants will receive Zoom information for virtual workshops and locations for field days via email.


Workshop 1:  Welcome and Introductions 

Wednesday, March 16, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Virtual Workshop

During the workshop you will get the chance to meet some of your course instructors and learn important CFS program information. We will also hear some inspirational stories from farmers who have made farming a successful career and how they have done it!

Presenters: Nicole Jarvis (CFAC), Mary Ellis (CFAC), and Patrick Mangan (MSU Extension)

Guest Speakers: Josh Slotnick (former director of PEAS Farm), Tracy Potter-Fins (County Rail Farm), Melissa Allred (Aspen Grove Farm)

Workshop Resources:

Books that Inspire:

Lentil Underground by Liz Carlisle

One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka

Farming While Black by Leah Penniman

Indigenous Food Sovereignty by Devon A. Mihesuah

Practical Permaculture by Jessi Bloom & Dave Boehnlein

You Can Farm by Joel Salatin


Workshop 2:  Soils 101

Wednesday, March 30, 2022, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Virtual Workshop

This workshop will cover different soil varieties, soil health and amendments, soil samples, and crop requirements from soil.  

Presenter: Patrick Mangan (MSU Extension)

Guest Speakers: Mary Bricker (SweetRoot Farm)

Workshop Resources:

What is Soil Health

The Soil Jar Test

How to collect a good soil sample

Soil testing contract labs in our area

How to interpret your soil test results


Workshop 3:  Montana Plant Varieties and Plant Considerations for Farmers and Ranchers 

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Virtual Workshop

This workshop will cover plant biology basics, including plant families and growing requirements for Montana specific varieties.

Presenter: Patrick Mangan (MSU Extension)

Guest Speakers: Mitchell Rose Bear Don’t Walk (Salish Plant Society) and Karl Sutton (Fresh Roots Farm

Workshop Resources:

“Can I grow that here” Guide

Agricultural Plant Families

Plant Identification Basics

Managing Cover Crops

Transitioning from Conventional to Organic Agriculture


Workshop 4:  Intro to Farm and Ranch Marketing

Wednesday, May 11th, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Virtual Workshop

This workshop will cover how to find the correct market for your farm or ranch, and how to advertise your farm or ranch to gain the attention you seek.  

Presenter: Tammy Howard (NCAT)

Guest Speakers:

Dave Prather (Western Montana Grower’s Cooperative)

Ian Finch and James Keys (Community Food and Agriculture Coalition Market Specialists)

Homework: Optional pre-workshop homework

Food Safety Self Assessment

Food Safety Evaluation

Workshop Resources:

Frameworks for Cooperative Farming – A Greenhorns Guidebook

National Young Farmer’s Coalition Practical Guide to Food Safety


Workshop 5:  Financial Planning and Management 

Wednesday, May 25th, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Virtual Workshop

This workshop will address issues surrounding financial management of agriculture businesses, how to budget, plan, and manage farm expenses and investments. We will also include how to manage finances surrounding employees.  

Presenter: George Haynes (MSU Extension AGeconMT) (borrower training)

Guest Speakers: Katie Madden (Missoula Grain and Vegetable Company)

Workshop Resources:

The Farmland Investment Company

National Young Farmer’s Coalition Find Farmland Calculator

Land For Good’s ‘Acquiring Your Farm’ Free toolbox


Workshop 6:  Land Assessment: How to find the right business for your land OR the right land for your business

Wednesday, June 22nd, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Virtual Workshop

This workshop will discuss different land purchase options and lease options, as well as how to conduct a site assessment of the land you will be using for your farm or ranch business.  

Presenter: Elyse Caiazzo (University of Montana Graduate Student) 

Guest Speaker: Caroline Stephens (PEAS Farm and University of Montana Lecturer)



Field Day 1:  Rivulet Apiary/Hindu Hillbilly

Wednesday, July 13; 4:00 p.m.

In-person Field Day

Location: Location information shared via email



Field Day 2: Ruby Habitat Foundation 

Saturday, August 20, 10:30 a.m.

In-person Field Day

Location: Location information shared via email


Field Day 3: County Rail Farm/Field Five Flowers

September 14th – 4:00 p.m. 

In-person Field Day

Location: Location information shared via email


Certified Farm Startup FAQ: 


What are the dates and times of the workshops and field days?
To see the dates and times of the workshop, click here. You can also find a google calendar showing the dates and times of workshops, field days, and cohort meetings on the schedule page or by clicking here!

Where is the zoom link for the workshops?

The zoom link for each workshop and cohort meeting will be emailed to you before each event. Please check the email account you provided in your application. Feel free to email Mary or Nicole with questions.

Is there an option to participate if I can’t attend at those times?
The virtual workshops will be recorded, and available a few days after the original date and will be emailed to you if you miss a meeting. Field day events are in-person. Please contact us if you are not able to attend any of the in-person dates.

What do I do if I miss a Workshop, Field Day, or Cohort Meeting?
Please contact Nicole at nicole@missoulacfac.org

Will all the workshops be online?
Yes, there will be 6 online workshops. There may be additional, in-person or online cohort meetings depending on the season.

What safety measures will be in place for in-person Field Days?
CFAC asks that each participant sign a waiver of responsibility. We expect our participants to be respectful of the property and its owner, as well as the other participants attending the event.

How can I find wifi access or computer access?
There are many places to access free wifi, depending on where you are living. Bookstores and libraries, as well as coffee shops and bakeries typically allow you to access free internet, and some libraries have computers and headphones you can borrow.

Who should I contact if my computer or Zoom app aren’t working?
If you cannot get your zoom link to work, please either contact a zoom customer service representative, or one of the workshop presenters.

What if I have something specific I want to have covered during the workshop?

If you attend the workshops, you will be allowed to ask questions in the chat box during the presentation. If you are unable to attend the live workshop, please email us ahead of time so that we may address your question during the presentation. Questions can always be emailed to us at any time, before or after an event.

How can I submit a question for a Workshop speaker if I can’t attend?
Please email Nicole at CFAC before the workshop so that we may address the question during the live recording.