WORKSHOPS WE OFFER

               

                                                                                                                        

Speaking Engagements

As farmers, teachers, builders, and engineers, the team at Four Season Tools has many experiences to share. We have offered presentations, lectures, and workshops on a variety of topics at conferences and events around the country. The events are visually appealing, full of cutting edge information, and delivered from a point of experience. Below you will find a list of FST available presentations. For information on speaking fees or to arrange a speaking opportunity, please contact us.

  • Pricing and Profitability for Small Scale Production
  • Farm Business Planning
  • Farm Economics vs. Crop Economics
  • Mechanics of Season Extension
  • Standard Operating Procedures for Small-Scale Production
  • Tools and Techniques for Intensive Vegetable Production
  • Components of a Successful Farm
  • Systems and Equipment for High Tunnel Production
  • Managing Water and Fertility in High Tunnels
  • Choosing and Building Season Extension Structures
  • Season Extension for Summer Crops
  • Season Extension for Winter Crops
  • High Tunnel Construction
  • Two-Day Advanced Course - Year-Round Vegetable Production
 

Workshop descriptions:

 

Pricing and Profitability for Small Scale Production

Pricing is one of the most difficult aspects of small-scale vegetable production. This workshop offers valuable tips and tools for setting pricing that will take the headache out of the process. Topics include labor tracking, expense management, budgeting, and profit analysis. This workshop also provides examples of highly profitable crops for year-round production that will fit into any market. What results is confidence in building pricing strategies that will allow you to move product and put dollars in your pocket. 60-90 min.

Farm Business Planning

Building a business plan for your farming enterprise is key to creating a sustainable and profitable business. Let FST walk you through developing your mission statement, projections, budget, and marketing plan. We will teach you how to manage your values with your markets and find ways to turn your passions and skills into an honest living. Speaking as both farmers and entrepreneurs, we offer valuable insight on small business operation and successful farm product marketing. With the proper business plan in place, you will be ready to hit the ground running and have a successful first (or next) season. 60 min.

 

Farm Economics vs. Crop Economics

Knowing the economics of your individual crop will allow you to understand the economics of your farm. This session will help you understand how to evaluate individual crops on a standard scale to better understand the profitability of each. Learn to build models to track revenue and expenses by crop, develop a pricing strategy, and maximize efficiency and profit for your farm. You will leave this workshop with a better understanding of profits, losses, and how to manage both. 60-90 min.

 

Mechanics of Season Extension

This workshop discusses the nuts and bolts of season extension. Learn about various types of technologies used to extend your season, from DIY options to professional-grade kits. You will be introduced to cutting edge labor- and time-saving tools and structures that will maximize the efficiency of your operation. See examples of purpose-built tools and components and custom structures built around an operation. This workshop will give you the information you need to determine what types of season extension fit in your farming operation. 60-90 min.

 

Standard Operating Procedures for Small-Scale Production

Learn to develop and implement standard operating procedures for your small-scale farming operation. SOPs prevent recurring mistakes, maximize efficiency, enhance safety, and streamline employee training. Learn to document processes, format information, and implement usage. 60 min.

 

Tools and Techniques for Intensive Vegetable Production

The intensive method for producing vegetables utilizes several specialized tools and techniques. See examples of how to use tools to maximize yields on small acreages. Topics will include specialized hand tools, scale-specific mechanization, season-extension technologies, bed size considerations, and crop spacing. Hear reviews of tools and technologies from those who have used them, as well as unique ways to approach time-tested practices. 90 min.

 

Components of a Successful Farm

Having worked with farmers around the country, we have been able to witness the successes and failures of farms in all climates and markets. This has allowed us to compile a list of qualities and practices that lead to the success of small-scale production farms. Topics discussed include developing processes, managing labor, site considerations, marketing & sales, systems & equipment, and structures & infrastructure. 60-90 min.

 

Systems and Equipment for High Tunnel Production

This workshop discusses the many systems and relevant equipment to high tunnel production. Learn about irrigation, ventilation, tunnel design features, automated systems, tools, machinery, and more. This workshop provides information to individuals who are considering different options for season extension, or to those who are already growing in tunnels and want to fine tune their processes. 90 min.

 

Managing Water and Fertility in High Tunnels

High tunnels are closed environments, which means the grower must managed the water and fertility within the growing space. In addition to increased management requirements, there are additional considerations for high tunnel production, including salt accumulation, nutrient movement and availability, incorporation of amendments, and pest/disease pressure. However, when properly managed, high tunnel crops can be more productive, healthier, and longer lived than many field crops. Come learn how to limit the pressures and maximize the returns for high tunnel production. 60-90 min.

 

Choosing and Building Season Extension Structures

There are many types of season extension structures available and it can be overwhelming to determine what type fits your farm's needs. Learn the advantages and disadvantages of each type and determine what season extension structures match your operation through considering factors such as desired crops, growing season, weather pressure, square foot pricing, and management requirements. 60 min.

 

Season Extension for Summer Crops

Season extension structures can be used to lengthen the season for valuable summer crops, such as tomatoes, peppers, flowers, cucumbers, squash, and eggplants. Learn how to extend the season in both spring and fall, manage fertility and water during the hot months, and maximize yields on some of the most charismatic crops available. 60 min.

 

Season Extension for Winter Crops

Winter oftentimes presents an untapped market for small-scale producers. With simple technologies, winter production is possible and profitable. Learn which crops can be grown in cold weather, how to protect them from harsh conditions, and manage financial considerations for winter growing. Beware, however, once you begin growing in the winter months, you may be tempted to take summers off! 60 min.

 

High Tunnel Construction

Learn how to build fixed and movable high tunnel structures. Topics will include proper site preparation, layout considerations, worksite safety, erecting a structure, installing plastic, and ventilation & heating systems. You will also learn tips and tricks to make the process run more smoothly, as well as gain a detailed understanding of the tools and equipment necessary to build high tunnel structures. Duration dependent on project.

 

Two-Day Advanced Course - Year-Round Vegetable Production

This intensive course combines many of the workshops outlined above to provide participants with an in-depth look at year-round vegetable production techniques at varying scales. You will learn how to start and develop your farming operation, maximize labor and systems efficiency, increase profits and markets, and maintain a high quality of life. Typically offered with guest presenters, this course offers valuable insight on small- to mid-scale vegetable production. 10 hours.