- About Extension
- Get Involved
- Statewide Locations
Living on a Few Acres Conference (LOAFA)
While the attendance was down slightly from last year, people expressed that the conference was excellent. Marie Kitchen, of Bend, said, “I would definitely go again and have recommended it to several people already.” Attendees had the opportunity to attend 4 classes, from 34 choices, during the day. New classes included Dr. Jennifer Cole’s class on ”Goats, the perfect animal for small acreages” and Christine Cole’s class on “Raising Chickens”. Marie attended both of these classes and said “they were both very, very valuable”. In fact, she had been thinking of using goats on her property and the information she gathered confirmed that goats would be a great choice. Chris Burk, of CRR, also enjoyed the goat class as she has a small herd of 7 goats. She also enjoyed the beekeeping class because she has always been interested in bees. Comments gathered from the 101 evaluations turned in suggested that chickens, goats, hogs and more horse classes should be a part of next year’s conference. Hugh Stephan, of Redmond, said of OSU Instructor Fara Brummer’s class on toxic plants, “She gave such an interesting talk I forgot to go to my next class and stayed right there for her next presentation”. Dr. Bernadine Strik of OSU shared her expertise on berries and grapes. Participants were awed by her extensive knowledge and experiences. Liz Douville, of Bend, expressed that she was planning on putting in a raspberry patch and “had she not attended the class would have planted too closely”. Other new classes ranging from using Eastern medicine and chiropractic for horses, learning how to take care of your septic system, rescue and evacuation techniques for large animals and how and why to use fertilizers were also given high praise. Instructor, Ed Bartz representing Pet Evacuation Team, gave a demonstration on how a horse can be lifted out of a deep ravine if it is not able to get out by itself.
Traditional LOAFA classes were also well received. Pasture and grazing management, irrigation techniques, pond and wildlife habitat, composting, food preserving and raising beef are classes that draw good class numbers and seem to be what new small acreage owners are always interested in. Participant Mike Burk attended the soil and composting classes hoping to gain information for ways to create a better growing medium at his home in CRR. Kris Knoernschild, of Bend said this about LOAFA, “This was the 2nd LOAFA conference that my husband & I have attended. We moved to a 40 acre property just over a year ago and LOAFA has been a fantastic resource for us to learn how to be better stewards of our land. We both felt the whole day was interesting, informative, and very beneficial to us personally….We received spot-on material to help us build a greenhouse, manage our water rights, improve our irrigation efficiency, grow berries, manage our pond, and create wildlife habitat on our property. Mark actually brought home a huge folder of handouts – it weighed over 3 pounds!”
The vendor display area had a nice selection of vendors and during breaks was filled with people wanting extra information from our knowledgeable merchants and partners in stewardship. If someone needed information about rules, resources or who to go to for land use advice this was the place to be as all the local agencies were available in the vendor area. Laurie Gordon suggested that we include more merchant vendors next year, highlighting items they stock that the small landowner or small producer might use as part of their operation. So merchants, if you think LOAFA sounds like a venue you should be at next year contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Living On A Few Acres could not happen if it were not for sponsors and people to plan the event. Sponsors of LOAFA this year were; Deschutes County Farm Bureau, Central Oregon Irrigation District, Wy’East Resource Conservation and Development and the Deschutes County Commissioners by way of the Deschutes County Economic Development Grant program. Many agencies collaborated to plan LOAFA, included in this group are, OSU Extension Service, Oregon Department of Agriculture, Deschutes County Soil and Water Conservation District, Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Deschutes River Conservancy, Central Oregon Irrigation District, Round Butte Seed Growers, Deschutes Native Seed Resources and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Chris and Mike Burk wrapped up the conference this way, “All in all this is something we plan to do again if it is offered next year.” And it will be offered in 2014. Save the date of March 15, 2014 for your exciting day of learning, socializing and networking with others at Living On A Few Acres.