I want to make you all aware of a new program that is happening in Putnam County.
Purdue Extension, with the help of Farm Credit Services, is helping facilitate the creation of a small farms work group. This work group is designed to help people who want to start small farm businesses or people already in cottage industries to be more successful.
This group is a free group that is open to anyone willing to put in some work to help make their enterprises successful. This workgroup offers education, networking, and experience to its participants.
The first meeting was held this past Tuesday, and we had a great turnout. Over 20 people with many different operations and ideas came to the meeting.
We first had to discover what success meant to different people. It was discovered that success was very different for each person. Some of the types of success discussed were to make money, make products you like, work from home, enjoy your work, do something with your time, reconnect with nature, and save for college.
Then there was an open discussion of what ideas we have and what we would like to accomplish. It was a great open discussion between all of the participants sharing the different ideas they had.
Ideas ranged from working with nutritionally enhanced eggs to raising a pumpkin patch to doing fiber art. The type of diversity represented was amazing as participants started to talk with each other about their needs in a small farm business.
We discussed the immediate needs of their individual operations, what would help them the most, and what they wanted out of this meeting.
Areas that were discussed were a local market for products, grants and money, marketing, obtaining business information, producing a local directory for local products, and many other ideas.
But surprisingly, with all of these diverse people and operations, many of them had the same issues and problems.
The most important outcome of this meeting was the networking they were doing with each other.
Small farmers help each other to be successful. As a result of this first meeting, the members have agreed to meet again on March 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the courthouse annex gym to further their goals.
The group hopes to discuss some information about regulations concerning the selling of perishable goods and to help each other with advertising ideas and design. This is just the start of a very exciting opportunity for small farms in and around Putnam County.
I invite anyone interested in taking part in the small farms work group to come to our next meeting in March.
For more information about this program please me at 653-8411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org