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Record-Keeping Workshops Planned

Canadian Organic Growers and the Organic Food Council of Manitoba are offering two new continuing education opportunities for Manitoba farmers before they get into the field this spring. These one-day workshops are designed to help farmers handle the record-keeping requirements of organic production, learn about the new organic rules that came into force last summer, and improve their planning skills. The workshops will help farmers improve field-totable traceability and efficiency, improving consumer confidence and farm financial viability.

The first workshop, “Record-Keeping for Organic Farmers” will be held at the Arborg Bifrost Community Centre in Arborg on March 12.

Organic inspector and chair of the Manitoba Organic Alliance, Priscilla Reimer, will help farmers to understand the new rules for organic production that came into force on June 30 (Organic Products Regulations), how to set up an organic audit trail, prepare for an inspection and improve business practices and efficiency through better record keeping. Though intended for organic farmers, the workshop will be valuable for all farmers wanting to improve their record-keeping skills.

A second workshop in Winnipeg at Crossways in Common (101-222 Furby Street) March 13 is intended for market garden or CSA producers who grow a diversity of crops, use direct-marketing outlets (CSA or farmers’ markets) and are interested in transitioning to certified organic production.

The course is designed for producers who grow on smaller acreages (under five acres) and are already experienced with produce farming. It does not cover basic production methods, nor does it address marketing and business planning. Rather, it focuses exclusively on those aspects of the Canadian Organic Standards that most apply to market garden producers and the planning that needs to be done to transition to certified organic production. The workshop is led by Theresa Schumilas, owner and operator of a certified organic produce farm near Waterloo, Ont.

Both workshops run from 9 a. m. to 5 p. m. and cost $50. Pre-registration is required. Visit www.cog.caor call 1-888-375-7383 to register.

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